Evie Lastra West spent her teen years living a rough life as a gang member and drug addict.
She went through two teenage pregnancies and almost aborted her second child. But while making an adoption plan for her son, West completely changed her life around.
Now, she is a pro-life advocate who speaks across the country about her difficult past. Later this month, West will be the keynote speaker at the Options Pregnancy Center banquet in Alpena, Michigan, according to The Alpena News.
As a young teenager, West joined a gang in her home town of Orange County, California. The Daily Advance reports she spent a lot of her time partying with the gang and getting high on drugs.
When she was 16, she became pregnant and gave birth to her oldest son. She said she basically left her son to her parents’ care.
“For the first two years of my son’s life I wasn’t around,” West said. “I was literally sucking the life out of my parents.”
Eventually, she said her parents packed up her bags and told her that she had to leave. They enrolled her in a Christian college in Cleveland, Tennessee called Lee University; and, knowing no other option, West went.
She said her son, who was 2 years old at the time, went with her.
“My son became the campus baby,” West said. “He got lots of attention, everybody wanted to play with him, and I liked that. Things were starting to go well for me.”
Here’s more from the report:
One winter night West was invited to a revival where the message — aren’t you tired, aren’t you tired of running from God — seemed tailor-made for her. That night she went to the church altar and gave her heart and life to God.
“I would get up and read my Bible,” West said. “Everything about me began to change.”
But just as she started to gravitate toward a positive new life, West said, her old one claimed her attention again. She found she was pregnant by the boyfriend she left behind when her parents sent her away.
West said she thought she wanted an abortion. Struggling already as a single mom in college, she said she did not know how she would handle a second child.
She changed her mind when she saw her unborn baby’s image on an ultrasound screen. West said she went to a pro-life pregnancy center that supported her by providing the ultrasound and counseling. After discussing her options, West said she decided to make an adoption plan for her second child, another son.
“The Lord spoke to me and said ‘trust me, do the right thing and trust me’ and I did,” West said.
Giving him up on the day he was born was one of the hardest things West had ever done. Initially, West said she was in agony at the hospital when she had to say goodbye to her newborn son. However, when she prayed to God for help, she felt a sense of peace about her son’s adoption.
“Has it been a rough road, absolutely,” West said. “But even when we make bad choices God still loves us. And life is always the best choice.”
West now serves as a police officer in Cleveland, Tennessee and a mother to two children. According to the Alpena News, in March, she was reunited with her second son for the first time in 20 years. He now is in college.
She serves as a volunteer at her local pregnancy center in Cleveland, Tennessee. West also is the author of a book, “Revolving Choices: Playing Roulette With Life,” in which she tells her story.