Cheryl Says for July 2021

I spent part of this weekend with a precious young woman who called me in 1985 from a northern state. She had heard about CPO from an acquaintance in Oklahoma and was in need of immediate help. She was young and pregnant and receiving no support from her family or friends. This young woman was […]

CPO asks, “Why do you serve?”

We asked Rhonda Fisher, CPO assistant Director and Board Member, Why do you serve at CPO? Pictured is Birth Mother Amanda, daughter Milly and Rhonda Fisher I always knew I wanted to adopt someday, but I just didn’t know how/when/where. When I first heard about CPO, I have to be honest… I was glad it […]

My Mother’s Love by Ahnah Katsis

If you were not able to read my previous post about my adoption story, then let me give you a brief overview. I was adopted as a baby and have a great relationship with my birth mom. She got married when I was only 3 and she and her husband have 6 children together. My […]

Sibling Love in Adoption

Sibling Love in Adoption by Ahnah Katsis I have never felt any different growing up being adopted and having biological siblings. I am one of those people who is obsessed with my family and very close to all my siblings. My parents adopted 3 kids before having 2 biological children. I am the oldest and always […]

I’m Proud of You

My name is Ahnah Katsis and I am 23 years old. I was adopted at birth and have always known my birth mom for as long as I can remember. My parents have always been very open and willing to answer any questions I have had about my adoption. My birth mom has also been the same way. I have many memories about growing up and my birth mom being there. From her wedding when I was 3, to my kindergarten graduation, to countless sleepovers at her house, many birthday parties, my high school graduation and just random times of showing up at her house just to hang out with her and her kids. I have never not felt welcomed by her and also knew I had a place in her heart as well as her other biological children. I have always loved her and felt loved by her and never felt like she “gave me up”. Being adopted has really changed my life and a lot of my friends’  lives. I have been telling my story for as long as I can remember and in a way have been educating my friends about adoption also and now they can tell my story and educate others. 

My story is not like a lot of other adopted kids’ stories though. Even though many other children (especially who were adopted through CPO) have open adoptions, my story of having a very close and personal relationship with my birth mom is rare. An example is my brother who was also adopted through CPO and has an open adoption with his birthmother, refers to her as “Miss so&so” rather than just her first name like I do mine. Another example is a very close friend of mine who was adopted through CPO not long after me, has a very rough relationship with her birth mom that has caused her a lot of pain and sadness in her life. 

The relationship I have with my birth mom is definitely more of a friend relationship than a parent-child relationship. I have always been able to talk to her and address her like a friend. She also has never tried to punish me or told me what I’m doing is wrong. I feel as if she has always shown respect to my parents in that way. As I have gotten older and experienced life a little more and found out who I really am, I have been more open to talking to her about those things. For instance with school. I went to 3 colleges before dropping out and when I felt the guilt from that, I talked to her about it and she reassured me that she was never a big fan of school either. It was nice because we had something in common and it was good to hear that it was not just me who felt like this. Another thing is the depression that I have gone through. I talked to her about it just to maybe get an answer as to why I was going through it. She told me that it ran in the family, she didn’t have it, but her mom did and that is probably why I have it. It is nice having this relationship with her because even though we don’t have all the answers, I can find out a little more about myself that I might have never gotten the chance to know. 

I never really went through a period of thinking my birth mom didn’t want me. She always reassured me that that was not the case. My parents also made sure to let me know. I’ve always understood that what she went through was very hard and she was so young and could not take care of a baby and that she specifically picked out my parents to raise me. Now at my age, I can not even begin to imagine what she went through when she found out she was pregnant. And how she made the adult decision to look for other options because she knew she was not capable at that time to raise a baby. I don’t know if people who have not been associated with adoption know what it is really like to have to go through something like that. Like I said, as I’ve gotten older I have really tried to put myself in her shoes and really understand what she went through, not because I felt like it wasn’t the right decision, but more so to understand how much of a grownup decision she had to make at 16 years old with not much support in her life. 

I am thankful every single day for my parents. They are the best people I have ever met in my life. I am the oldest of 8 kids, us older 3 were adopted through CPO, the middle 2 are biological, and the younger 3 are adopted through foster care. Both of my parents have the most selfless hearts. They have helped so many people in their lives and continue to do it everyday. If were being honest, my mom still helps me make decisions and helps me through things and I’m 23 years old. She doesn’t have to, but that is the type of person she is. She really puts everyone before herself and it shows. My dad is the same way. I literally could not think of better people to be my parents and I am not only thankful to God, but also my birth mom because she found the exact right people to place me with. It has not only helped me, but it has also helped her. I have never told her personally but if there were four words I could tell her that really show my genuine love for her is “I’m proud of you”. I don’t know if she’s heard that at all and I don’t know how it feels hearing it from the child that she placed for adoption, but I really am proud of her. Making that decision had to have been one of the hardest decisions of her life and it really means the world to me that she made that decision not only for me but also for herself and stayed to tell me about it.

Humbled by your generosity!

$280,565!  Wowsers!  That is the amount of money our generous donors gave to CPO during the Christian Chapel matching challenge as of Jan.4th.  A big shout out to Christina Chapel for the $100k and so much thanks to ALL of our other donors!!  When we first discussed moving to a new location, we had no […]

This blog post was written by a CPO adoptive father and we appreciate his perspective.

Starting a Family
We started discussing adoption before we got married.

Christina was adopted and she wanted adoption to be a part of our future family. I agreed. It sounded like an excellent plan to me, after we had a couple of “our own” kids.

Six months after getting married, we decided we were ready to try to have a baby. We were in it for the long haul. However, in my mind, the long haul meant it would take up to six months for Christina to get pregnant. After over two years and no pregnancy, we decided we needed to seek professional help to get pregnant. We looked into fertility treatments, but the cost and uncertainty was a drawback. We decided to start exploring adoption a little earlier than originally planned.

Thankfully we had some good friends at church who had explored adoption and had specifically looked into open adoption. They loaned us some literature and shared with us what they had learned. We had so many different lines of thought. Did we want to pursue fertility treatments that may not be successful? Did we want to look more into adoption and the cost involved? Was open adoption as scary as it seemed initially? My mind always seemed to go back to “what’s the worst that could happen with each scenario?”

Christina and I spent a lot of time discussing the options, praying, asking for advice, and being frustrated with our situation. It was hard to see God’s hand at work in our lives as our friends were getting pregnant around us. It sucks to be simultaneously excited and saddened by your closest friends’ great news.

Open adoption
Eventually Christina and I came to the decision to pursue adoption.

We looked at several agencies in the area and the adoption types they offered. We looked at international adoption, closed adoption, open adoption, foster-to-adopt, etc. I probably took into consideration the financial cost of each option more than Christina did. It probably isn’t the best criteria to focus on when adopting, but it is something that needs to be considered and discussed. We settled on open adoption through Crisis Pregnancy Outreach.

The idea of being chosen by a birth mother to be the parents to their child sounded very noble to me at the time. We were more than a little concerned that we would be chosen by a birth mom who would try to take advantage of us or change her mind. Or that a birth father would step in and refuse to let an adoption go through.

Nevertheless, during a major winter storm (that snowed us in at our apartment) we completed our application and sent it off. I remember it feeling like forever from that day until we met Angela, but it really was less than three months. We know families who have waited years. 

After one or two interviews with birth mothers who chose other families, Christina got a call about a birthmother who was interested in adoption and she would be at the birth mother support group that night. Christina went that night and was able to meet Angela.

A few days later we all met over a Mexican dinner for the “official” interview. At the end she let us know that she had chosen us to adopt her baby. She was approximately 8 months along so none of us had much time to figure out all of the details. Christina was able to attend some of the check-ups with Angela and go to support group with her. We also met with the birth father, Christopher, which was unexpected when we started the open adoption process. I had a stereotype in mind of what a birth father would be and that stereotype included not wanting to be involved in the process at all. That wasn’t the case. 

Becoming a parent
The day after Memorial Day we met Angela at the hospital early in the morning so the doctor could induce labor.

It ended up being an all day event, but that evening with Christina and me in the room Angela gave birth to Sammy. One of my biggest fears about adoption was that I wouldn’t feel the same bond or love with this child that a natural parent would feel with them. The first time I got to hold him and see that beautiful face those fears left. We held Sammy, we passed him to Angela to hold, we passed him to Christopher, Angela and Christopher’s friends who were there for support held him. We all marveled at this amazing person who was now in the world. 

At the hospital we weren’t exactly sure how to act. We wanted Angela to be able to see Sammy as much as she wanted, but we also didn’t want to force him on her if she needed some time. We erred a little too far on the side of not forcing him on her. Thankfully she had a CPO assistant there to advocate for her and who was able to ask us if she could spend some time with just Sammy. We dropped Sammy off with Angela and headed to the hospital cafe for some food.  It was our first date as parents!

Going home
After a couple of days, everyone was released from the hospital.

We all went out the door together and pulled two cars around to the entrance. Angela got in one car and Sammy was placed in a different car. As I drove away with Christina next to Sammy in the back seat, Christina started sobbing.

I hoped it was a cry of happy relief after an emotional few days, but the truth was she was crying for the separation that had just taken place. It was a separation that allowed us to add a wonderful new member to our family, but it was also a separation of a mother and her child. Although open adoption is a great option and it can be healing for all involved, it never can fully resolve the separation that took place. 

Angela was very patient and forgiving of us as we learned how to be parents and how to integrate birth parents into our family. We were able to get together several times and she got to see Sammy growing. After a couple of years, Christina and I felt the pull to grow our family again.

Stepping out in faith
Again we went the route of exploring fertility treatments.

Whereas the last time we explored fertility treatments we got the impression that it would be a bit of a challenge but not impossible, this time the door was slammed shut. I remember Christina rushing out to the car while I finished some paperwork at the front desk. When I joined her in the car there were a lot of angry tears.

Eventually we pulled ourselves together and went to pick Sammy up from the friends who were watching him and we took a trip to the zoo. We needed to take a break to mourn. It was difficult to do nothing when we wanted a baby as soon as possible, but it was necessary. It was part of God’s plan.

After about six months, we applied at CPO again to adopt. This time was quicker than the first. We barely had our application in when Christina got another phone call. She was at lunch with Angela (for her birthday!)  when she got the call to schedule a meeting with a birth mother and her husband. Technically it was considered a drop-in because the baby was due within a few days. We met the birth parents over dinner that night and two days later we were with them again at the hospital for the birth! Then things got scary…

Life and Death
Abigail was born by cesarean section. During her birth she inhaled a large amount of blood and meconium and struggled to breathe.

She had to be resuscitated and eventually she was intubated and put on a ventilator to help her breathe. Unknown to anyone, Abigail’s birth mom was bleeding internally while they were transferring Abigail to the Children’s Hospital at St. Francis. We were being informed by Abigail’s doctor the long list of issues that she was fighting against in her first hours. It sounded bleak.

She was on a ventilator and they had lowered her body temperature and placed her in a medical coma to help slow down any potential brain damage that might have occurred due to a lack of oxygen. We were told she would be that way for at least 3 days and then they would start to bring her temperature back up and see how she responded. Eventually we made our way to the room they had set up for us.  We were met by two CPO mothers who had personal experience with babies in the NICU. They prayed over us and told us it would be okay.

Hospital days
The next morning after visiting with Abigail and her doctor, we went back to the birth mother’s room only to find it empty.

After asking the nurses and having them confer on what they were allowed to tell us, we found out that she was in the ICU. When we tracked her location down she was also on a ventilator and unconscious. They had performed emergency surgery on her to stop the internal bleeding. It saved her life but a lot of damage had already been done. Thankfully her husband was there by her side. 

We all spent most of the next few days at the hospital. Thankfully we found friends to keep Sammy for us while we spent time with a sleeping Abigail. Personally it was a dark time for me. I thought about things that I didn’t think I was capable of considering. I was mad. Mad at God and mad at Abigail’s birth parents, even though they hadn’t done anything to deserve that anger. I thought through some of the possible long term physical and mental effects on Abigail and how we would live with those. I wondered what would happen if we walked away.

Tested faith
I didn’t have any revelation from God assuring me that things would work out OK, but I know that God is the one who kept me in that hospital room with Abigail.

Those first few days she didn’t cry, she didn’t move, she didn’t open her eyes, and she didn’t even breathe on her own. Somehow God still knitted our hearts to her. I’m grateful He kept us there those first few days because walking away from her would have been the biggest regret of my life. It makes me ashamed to even type those words and know that one day Abigail might read how close I got to giving up on her.

Eventually Abigail woke up and I realized I was already wrapped around her finger.  Her birthmother recovered fully and came to see her in the hospital. Finally, after four weeks in the NICU,  Abigail got to come home with us. 

Although 2020 has been tough, it has also contained two of my very favorite moments.

This spring we were able to get together with Abigail’s biological brothers, sister, and birth parents. It was pretty special to get our big, adoptive family together. Over the summer, Sammy’s birth father Christopher, who lives in California, came back to visit.  He reached out to us and we planned a meet up. Sammy was able to spend time with his birth father and bio sister plus we all got to meet Christopher’s fiancée, Tara. 

Angela remains a constant figure in our children’s lives. She is there for all of us and pours love into our lives. She often takes the kids out for dinner or fun events. We love having her over for movie nights, etc.

Adoption is never easy but always worth it. There have been painful moments, and I’m sure there will be more. We trust that God will continue to carry us through as he has in the past.


My Baby Brother

My Baby Brother Written by Ashley Conklin Hi, my name is Aiden.  I have a little sister.  I love her very much.  We do EVERYTHING together. I used to live with my mom AND my dad.  I love my parents a lot.  We used to live in an apartment together.  We were so happy.  Well […]


We are excited to announce that we will be moving into a new 5800 sq. ft. facility sometime in early 2021!  We are hoping that this new location will make it much easier for clients to find us and increase our visibility.  It also offers us a central location for all our programs and services.  […]

Celebrating 5 years partnering with Life Church!

On Thursday, October 15th, 2020 we were blessed with an extra $5000 gift in celebration of our 5th year partnering with Life Church. Members of Life Church Midtown also presented an annual gift of $23,500. That makes a total of over $64,000 in gifts over the last 5 years! We are so grateful to have […]