We’re So Thankful

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We’re So Thankful

Today we all take a minute to pause and think about all that we’re thankful for. At CPO, we’re thankful for the courageous birth moms who make adoption plans, the loving families that are created through adoption, and all of the people who have helped CPO over the years.

Here are just a sampling of the beautiful children and families that CPO has seen over the years.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving today!


The Long Run

This blog is going to tell a story about my journey.  I will share my experience and the tools available to deal with the crisis pregnancy process.  My goal is that it is relatable and interesting and that you get something of value out of these posts.

Just the Good News

In the Beginning – What to Do When You Don’t Know What to Do

When you are 13,  you are thinking about being head cheerleader, being the high scorer in a basketball game, turning a double in softball and being able to do a back handspring.  What you are not thinking about is if you should have an abortion, if you should parent your baby, if you should place your baby for adoption, what you’re going to do now that your boyfriend has broken up with you.  Unless you are me.  That is what I was thinking about when I found out I was pregnant.

The decision to have an abortion or not was not easy nor was it difficult.  I was raised in church and in Christian School.  I knew right from wrong, and had said that I knew having pre-marital sex was wrong.  So I was faced with a major dilemma, tell my parents what I had done and disappoint them or get an abortion and face the lifetime of repercussions that come with that.  My boyfriend did not make this any easier.  As you can imagine, I didn’t want to go through this alone and he was not willing to stay with me if I went forward with the pregnancy.

I remember that I had a friend who could drive. I was only 13, so I couldn’t even get to a place to have an abortion.  Anyway, my friend said he would take me.  I was going to skip school to go.  However, on the day we were going, I backed out.  My boyfriend broke up with me and there I was…13, pregnant and with no clue what to do next.

This is a life-altering moment that girls face every day.  If you are facing this decision, before you choose what you think is best for you, I hope that you will come in to CPO.  In Oklahoma, you are required to have an ultra sound before an abortion.  CPO offers them for free and our nurses are here to help you gather all the facts you need to make the best decision for you.

 

In the Middle – Options and Education are Key

One of the most difficult things to do when you are 13 and pregnant is to tell your parents.  I waited until I was a little over 4 months along to tell them.  My dad went for an 11 mile run and when he got home he said, calmly, that they would be supportive of me and help me decide what the best option for me was.  We quickly started attending support groups for girls who had parented their babies and also ones for girls who were placing and had placed their baby for open adoption.  I began researching birth families that were on the waiting list and chose the one I wanted my raise my son.

At this point I was 37 weeks along and we were going to tell the Adoptive Parents on Monday.  On Saturday, my parents and I went to a support group that had a panel of birth moms who had parented and others who had placed their babies.  Also on that panel were adoptive parents who received a child and also who were thinking they were getting a child and the birth mom had changed her mind when the baby was born.  Right then I knew….I would be that girl who changed her mind.  I told my parents after the seminar that I had to keep my baby.

Without that support group, my life would have forever been changed.  Here at Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, we have several groups just like that.  If you are facing this decision, do not think you are alone.  We are here and ready to provide you with the resources to help you make the decision that is best for you.

 

The End – Just the Good News

If you would have told me when I was 13, pregnant, single and kicked out of school that my life would end up as great as it has there is no way I would have believed you.  I found myself, and continue to find myself through the journey of being a mom.  My son started kindergarten the same year I started college.  He was 10 when I had my daughter.  He turned 16 the same year I got a divorce.  He was 27 when he chose to be the bravest person I know and beat addiction.  This week he will be 29.

I know when you are in the middle of the crisis pregnancy it is difficult to see anything but the present, but please know that there is an amazing future ahead.  Let us here at Crisis Pregnancy Outreach provide you with resources to make the best decision for you and help you get to the rest of your story.  The good news is that you are not alone.

CPO provides many services, which include:

  • Birth Mom Support Group
  • Parenting Mom Support Group
  • Therapy with a Licensed Professional once a week for LIFE
  • Transitional Home with a Live-in House Mom
  • A mentor who can walk with her and “be there” for her, around the clock
  • Medical Care with a doctor who will really listen to her and support her wishes
  • A Doula (professional labor and delivery support person) who will stay by her side, regardless of the length of her labor
  • Childbirth Education
  • Christmas parties and other holiday events
  • Life Books of families who are waiting to adopt, if she wants to make an Open Adoption Plan
  • Assistance in planning for the future


CPO Makes Families BIG!

Families come in many shapes and sizes. For this, I am grateful. Twenty years ago when I started thinking about having my own family, I never knew how big and beautiful it would become.

I became pregnant with Hank in 2002. He was born in March of 2003. He was 5 weeks early and we were both pretty sick. I had never heard of the HELLP syndrome, but I had it and the only way to fix it is to have the baby. Therefore, I had a preemie. (Hank was soon thriving and is now a healthy, happy 16 year old.)

In 2007, we decided we wanted to add to our family, but knew that pregnancy could be risky. So, we found CPO. That summer, we got a “drop in”. His name is Barrett. His birth parents weren’t in a place to parent, so I woke up one day a mother of one child and by 10 that morning, I had two boys!!

A year later, those same two birth parents had another baby boy. Eli was lovingly placed with the Hisey family. We wondered how we would navigate these waters, but both of our families knew that we wanted the boys to have a relationship since they were biological brothers. It was fun to watch these two boys. We made it a point to get them together at least a couple of times a year. We knew then that Eli and Barrett would have an incredible bond that we wanted to nurture and support. We also agreed that our other children should be considered family as well. We didn’t want to leave anyone out.

A few years later, the same two birth parents had another baby. It was a boy, Dax, and he was placed with the Hisey family too. So Barrett had another brother. We were thrilled. Again, we would get these boys together and talk about the way their eyes crinkled up and shined when they smiled or how that had the same “duck tail” on the back of their hair. I loved having this for Barrett. And for Hank.

A few years later, Abigail was born. Same birth parents. We couldn’t believe that we had a sister. She was placed with the Domer’s and we were all immediately smitten. When she was a baby, we would say she looked like Barrett with a bow in her hair!!

Today, we live in Tulsa, the Hiseys are in Enid and the Domers are in Broken Arrow. I would love to say that we see each other all of the time, but you know how life is. School, sports, church, families, etc make schedules complicated. But, I will tell you that my heart holds not only Hank and Barrett, but also the Hisey and Domer children.

Barrett loves having his younger siblings. In our house, he is the baby. But, with his biological siblings, he’s the big brother.

When Barrett was “graduating” from elementary school, all of the 5th graders were interviewed for a supplement for the year book. Some of the questions included favorite color, nickname, etc. But, I was speechless when I saw his answer to the question about siblings. He said, “ I’ve got two biological brothers, a biological sister, 2 step sisters and a brother. “ There is so much I love about this. 1. His biological family is always in his heart. 2. Hank is just that, his brother. 3. He is proud of his diverse family. It may not be like his friends, but it’s his and he’s happy.

At the end of the day, I have a really big, beautiful family. We pray for each other, celebrate each other and love each other. We know that our children have something really special that we want to honor. We are so grateful that these birth parents chose life and chose us. It’s all a great big blessing from God that gave us a wonderful, big family.


Our Adoption Journey — Orrey and Kristi McFarland

Orrey and Kristi McFarland share the story of their adoption jouney with CPO.

Our adoption story starts like many others. We had been trying to start a family for years, and we had been through numerous tests, but the only result was unexplained infertility. We knew adoption was a possibility, but it felt somewhat out of reach. Then we were contacted by a cousin of mine (Orrey) who had adopted through CPO. She told us about how great the agency had been for her and her husband in adopting their son. After a lot of prayer and conversations, we felt called to adopt and we contacted CPO. We attended the Waiting Families Workshop and over that weekend we were convinced that CPO was the agency for us.

After 8 months of waiting our lives changed forever on April 10, 2018. My wife, Kristi, and I got a call from our CPO counselor. A birthmom wanted to interview us. Five minutes later — time to try to compose ourselves and say a quick prayer — we spoke with her. A few minutes after that, she had officially chosen us. We were thrilled beyond belief. Four days later we found out that she was going into labor a couple of weeks early, so Kristi hopped on a flight — although from Oklahoma, we live now in Ohio — and I drove 13 hours through the night to Tulsa. We were present for the birth of a beautiful, healthy boy. We were immediately in love: our hopes, dreams, longings for a family had been realized in this child.

Little did we know that 22 days later we would see him leave with his birth family, and that we would drive back to Ohio after a month of being gone. A car full of baby stuff, going to a home full of baby stuff, but with no baby. It was the most devastating, heartbreaking loss of our lives. Right after handing over our baby boy, a CPO counselor and family met with us to pray with us, to share in our tears, and to point us towards hope even as they affirmed us in our grief.

We knew that we would try to adopt again, but we didn’t know how we could move on after this loss. Nevertheless, after two months passed, we decided to put our book back out to view. The first time it had taken 8 months. We assumed the process would take a while again, giving us more time to grieve, heal, and pray as we waited. So, of course, we were selected again in a matter of weeks (to be clear, this is not quite normal!). We were surprised and conflicted. It was hard for us to imagine going to Tulsa again so quickly — to St. Francis again! — to be with another baby, when we were already experiencing such a huge range of emotions every day. Through encouragement from CPO counselors and families, we put one foot in front of the other to go through the interview process with these new birthparents, to make travel arrangements, and to go back to Tulsa.

Lainey Grace arrived early — right after midnight — on July 3, 2018. She was placed into our arms: a beautiful, healthy girl. We couldn’t believe that we had been selected again; that Lainey’s birth parents believed in us to parent and love this little girl. That this little life, with her wondrously full head of hair (and powerful lungs), was ours to hold, to love, to care for.

We were able to start building a relationship with her birth parents before she was born. A gift of open adoption is that Lainey will always have that many more people loving her, supporting her, and sharing in her life story. And in ways that they probably didn’t realize, Lainey’s birth parents helped us to grow in trust and in love because of the trust that they put in us to raise this precious girl. After our experience in May, we were aware, more than ever, of how “risky” this relationship could feel, but that experience also gave us the smallest of glimpses into their part of the adoption story (the heartache, grief, and questioning they were feeling). This made us all the more thankful for how much they were willing to trust us.

Lainey is growing and developing every day, and we marvel that we get to call her our daughter. She is the joy of our lives — a bright light out of the darkness. We give thanks to God every day for this beautiful gift that her birth parents gave us, our “Lainey Bug,” and we can’t now imagine life without her. Without her smiles and her laughter; without her little personality we see coming out every day; without getting to love her every day.

We would’ve never chosen to have this year go the way it has gone. And yet now we wouldn’t remove the loss and pain, because we wouldn’t erase our relationship with a beautiful boy whom we delighted in for those 22 days. We are still in contact with his birth mom; he is happy, healthy, and loved. That loss will always be there, but in the midst of that loss we received a gift beyond anything we could’ve hoped for. And we are excited to see our relationship with Lainey’s birthparents continue to develop — they will be a significant part of her life, and she will know them and the love they have for her. We are incredibly grateful to everyone at CPO for the way they have walked through this year with us, and we feel blessed to know that they will be by our side in the future, too.

The adoption process is hard, but it is worth every step. Our Lainey Grace reminds us of this truth every day.


How Empowered to Connect Changed Us

 

Empowered to Connect is an annual conference we simulcast to benefit CPO families. We highly recommend you take advantage of the opportunity and join us on April 26th & 27th. You can register here

My name is Serena Lowe. My husband, Brad, and I have 5 children.  We are a blended, traditional, and adopted family.  There is Zach (18yrs), Hannah (15yrs), Addie (11yrs), Andrew (10yrs), and Ava (1yr). Our belief is that children are a gift from the Lord, however, they don’t come with instruction manuals and we wanted to do this parenting thing right.  We both have always said they would be raised differently from our childhood experiences.  Our desire was to follow Ephesians 6:1-4 ESVChildren, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.  Honor your father and mother (this is the first commandment with a promise), that it may go well with you and that you may live long in the land.  Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord.

hungered to learn a different, more effective way of parenting.   There had to be something to teach and make sense to everyday parenting, that taught us to honor our kids as much as we expect to be honored, and with tools to help us to not provoke our children to anger.  After adopting Ava 10+ years after our last was born, learning how to parent a child with ADHD, and raising up preteens and teensall at the same time, we became desperate for better tools and skills to help us ALL enjoy life under one roof, anchored in peace.

Two years ago, I attended my first Empowered to Connect conference.  Brad was running kids to and from sports, while I sat and soaked up every spoken word.  I felt throughout the entire conference every speaker was speaking to me about my hope for new parenting styles.  I learned so much and couldn’t write fast enough to collect all the wisdom and knowledge wanted for our family.  My eyes were filled with tears, hearing stories of things that touched my heart as I yearned for answers. believed this was going to be what we needed to effectively and lovingly nurture our kids.

I learned that even though my adopted daughter was born physically healthy and brought straight to our home from the hospital, she had experienced trauma.  I learned that this may come out developmentally; helping her to have a voice, while understanding non-verbal cues, I could help her. Learning about time ins instead of time outs would make all our kids feel valued and secure.  How to listen and speak with my eyes, while offering time and connection, is going to help us build better relationships with our teens.  Learning how to read the temperature of any situation, helping my child regulate with decreased frustration, along with connection will be a game changer for my child with ADHD. 

Through the Empowered to Connect strategies we feel much more equipped to understand the needs of our children.  We are now able to better give them a voice along with honor as we meet their needs, while at the same time building trust.  We look forward to the next conference to refresh our knowledge as we continue this parenting journeyempowered to connect with our children!

 

CPO is hosting this powerful conference at Christian Chapel on April 26-27, 2019. Register here to attend for free.


Empowered to Connect 2018

Every year, CPO encourages all of our families to attend Show Hope’s Empowered to Connect conference, a two-day conference designed to help adoptive and foster parents, ministry leaders and professionals better understand how to connect with “children from hard places” in order to help them heal and become all that God desires for them to be. Honestly, this conference has something to offer all parents and anyone who works or interacts with children. Each year we hear from those who attended about how much this conference has shaped their lives, improved their families, and empowered them with the tools they needed.

This year, the simulcast is being held at the Southern Hills Baptist Church Youth Chapel at 5590 S. Lewis, Tulsa, OK 74105 on April 13-14th. Please click here to register.

This conference is only once a year and you don’t want to miss it!


Birth Mom Success Story: Barbara Hemphill

At CPO, there really is nothing better than hearing from a birth mom or parenting girl who is thriving after her time with us. Last week we were lucky enough to hear from a birth mom who came to CPO and made an adoption plan 14 years ago. With Barbara Hemphill’s permission, here’s her story.

Dear CPO,

I am a birth mother who chose open adoption through your agency 14 years ago. I want to just express my gratitude for the services provided and the family that has become. My story is always an amazing one for me to tell. You all are amazing at what you do and I am eternally thankful for what you have done for my daughter and myself and our extended family. I’m sending a picture of my now family and my daughter from this past October. Fourteen years and the connection is stronger than ever and building daily.

love to share my story to let the ladies know it works for the long run. It’s such a scary time being a birth mom in the moment and having to trust that this relationship will last through the years. I feel like a success story! I called CPO 4 days before I had my daughter, and I’m native American so it li

mited my options down to ONE family! They were and are perfect. You have moments where God just puts exactly what you need right there in front of you, and it still is a bit surreal even now. It couldn’t have worked more perfectly. I was lost and horrified and faithless, and then I found you guys. It’s been spectacular, I realized I never contacted the agency afterwards, and wanted to just let you guys know what you’re doing is amazing and so many families are so appreciative.

Adoption works. Adoption is a blessing. Adoption was perfect for us then, and I’ll always cherish your establishment for making this all possible. Thank you so much CPO, you changed so many lives in just helping how you could.

Thank you,
Barbara Hemphilll


CPO’s Thankfulness

This is the time of the year that we all slow down a bit and take time to reflect on the many blessings we have in our lives. All of us here at Crisis Pregnancy Outreach have so much to be thankful for: the wonderful women that God sends into our lives, the ability to be there to help others, all of our amazing volunteers, the generous donors, the birth and adoptive families we work with…we are so incredibly blessed that the list could go on and on.

We want you to know that we are thankful for each and every one of you and it is our prayer that you have a joyous Thanksgiving.


Help Spread Christmas Cheer

 

It’d be hard to miss the fact that the Christmas season is upon us. It’s everywhere we look: the stores are decorated, Christmas music has started on the radio, there are even channels devoted to Christmas movies already. It’s a wonderful time of year. But for some people, Christmas can be hard. We have people from all walks of life who join us at CPO and several years ago we noticed that some of the girls who come to us need a little help making Christmas bright. So we started our Adopt-A-Girl initiative.

Adopt-A-Girl is an opportunity for you (or a group of you and your friends) to adopt a CPO girl for the holidays. We’ll give you a list of what she likes, or what her children have asked for, and you get to dawn your proverbial red hat and step into the roll of Santa. It’s truly rewarding.

A few years ago when my wife and I were volunteering at the Transition House, we saw the young women light up when they received presents from complete strangers who just wanted to help share the love of Christ. It was amazing and something that I know touched each and every one of those girls. There are always those in need which is why we ask for your help.

To adopt a girl, contact Melissa Thompson at melissacurled@gmail.com.