Letter from a grateful Birth Mother

Author Archives: Kelly Jacobson

Letter from a grateful Birth Mother

Hello everyone, thank you for taking the time to read my personal story.   My name is Dorothy Smart and I am a CPO birth mother.  I came to Tulsa 4 months pregnant, broken, scared and had just graduated a 7 month stay at a rehabilitation center.  I needed help for myself and my unborn child.  CPO lovingly took me into their care.  I will forever be grateful.

I found CPO through an adoption agency in Tallahassee FL, who assisted me in placing my first child in an open adoption.   Within two weeks of hearing of CPO, I found myself flying into Tulsa, a place I knew nothing about.  I was met right away by Delores White, former housemother of the CPO transitional home, and a few other pregnant women.  Every one of them was so friendly to me and guided me all the way to my new home.  I successfully graduated from my CPO program in about 22 months.

My time spent in the CPO ministry was life altering.  So much good came out of my time there.  While under the care of CPO, I was cared for in so many ways.  Our transitional home was a beautiful showcase home so we did our best at all times to keep it very clean because at any given time we would have to house a pregnant woman in a crises situation.

I came to CPO hungry and lost, CPO filled me with constant love, structure, and discipline.   I was never in need of anything.  I received help with everything from clothing, food, toiletries, dental and medical care, professional counseling, and mentors. This was all given to me for free.  CPO assisted me with every legal aspect concerning the process of making my open adoption finalized.  This was no easy task because my baby was going to Florida, yet CPO handled it so smoothly.  Even throughout my 19-hour labor and delivery, CPO never left my side. Thank you to Delores White, my 2 doulas, and many CPO family members that stopped in to encourage me.  I was treated like a queen during my stay at the hospital.   CPO graciously housed my adopted family from Florida so they also could be with me every step of the way through my labor and delivery and thank you Kobi Redman for housing, feeding, and entertaining us for the two-week clearance time it took for my adoption to be processed.

I stayed at the transitional home for an additional 17months after I placed my baby.   During my time there, I learned how to focus on myself and learned how to live a positive life especially in a Godly manner.  I was transformed from the inside out.  I was able to work a couple of part-time jobs and attend Tulsa Community College for a semester and a 1/2.  When my time came to an end at CPO, now 11 years ago, I flew to my new and current home of Charlotte NC to live with my aunt for a few months.  I was under her strict and disciplined guidance.   I was able to find my first job within a month.  I kept that job for about 4 1/2 years.   I fell in love with my now husband within a few months of moving to Charlotte….  Things went fast, we had two sons back-to-back right away.  As soon as my boys entered kindergarten, I went back to school where I am currently working on my master’s degree.

In my adoption story, we have always made God our focal point when communicating with each other.   Within our adoption triad we have much love and respect for everyone involved.   We are honored by each other.  I haven’t seen them in 4 years but that’s OK.  I feel as if a reunion could happen soon.  I love my birth daughters.   They are so loving and forgiving with me.  I am so proud of them.  Thank you for letting me share my story of open adoption with you.  We are a community of unity and love.


How CPO led me to Law School

How CPO led me to Law School By Isaac Jacobson, CPO Adoptee

I took the crumpled note shoved in my pocket with my sweaty palm and squished it into the crevices of the dusty stones that formed the Western Wall—the last wall still erect from the Holy Temple built in the Biblical period—located in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. I was seventeen years old and a senior in high school on our graduation trip to the Holy Land where I stood before this site. Written on this paper I held was a prayer and a desperate wish that I would meet my biological mother for the very first time.

My birth mother is a Middle Eastern Muslim woman who gave birth to me outside of wedlock putting her in danger of an honor killing. Because of the life-and-death circumstances, my birth mother kept me a secret from the man in charge of restoring the family honor: her father. She fled from the Middle East to Oklahoma where I was born. She had a C-section to reduce signs of childbirth, placed me in the arms of my adoptive parents, and returned to her homeland. To this day, twenty-one years later, I have never met her.  My senior trip to Israel brought to the surface all of the emotions I have felt and experienced my entire life regarding my adoption. I have come to realize that the injustice that women in the Middle East face every waking moment was the primary reason I was separated from my birth family. I went to Israel seeking my birth mother or anyone I was related to. I was motivated with a desire stronger than anything I have ever wanted and with a burden that formed a hole in my heart for my biological family. I did not find her, nor did I find anyone related to me. However, what I did discover was ultimately greater. I discovered a fiery spirit to expose and mend the bleeding injustices not only in the Middle East but in the United States as well.

I returned from Israel with this passion and channeled it into my collegiate studies of International Relations at Oral Roberts University.  The calling to pursue a future in the legal field has become even more imminent
throughout the completion of my college tenure. While there are many fields suitable for mending injustices and progressing society, my passion calls for a profession far more than just “suitable”. I am more confident than ever that my desire for justice is now steering me to my next goal: law school. This is undeniably the route I must pursue in order to maximize my impact for underrepresented voices, like the voice of the Muslim woman who fled. I am certain that my ambition will direct me to a lifetime of goals to achieve and communities to assist. As I seek to begin this new endeavor, I envision the dusty stones that form the Western Wall. Like those steadfast stones of ancient commitment to a higher calling, I am determined to stand to this call.

(excerpts from Isaac’s application to law school.  He will start at The Oklahoma City University School of Law in August, 2021.  CPO is still saving lives!)


New Adoptee Support Group

We have some exciting news to announce!

Beginning in August we will offer an adoptee support group meeting!! We will meet the third Thursday of every month at the same time the adoptive family support group is meeting across the hall.

The last couple of years at the waiting family workshop we have had an adoptee panel and we realize that some of the struggles and joys that adoptees have experienced have been easier with support from others; including other adoptees.

Growing up adopted in the 80s and 90s I didn’t know anyone else adopted and looking back it’s something I longed for. To know someone like me. One of the great joys of open adoption is my kids not only see their birth families but also, through our involvement with CPO, have become friends with other adoptees. But as these adoptees hit 12, 13, 14+ (even in open adoptions!) we find them having some unique struggles that would be best addressed in a support group with other adoptees who have gone before them.
This group will be a safe place to ask questions of other adoptees, to express sadness and even anger associated with adoption. But mainly it will be a place to make friends with other adoptees.

We’d love to see you starting August 19th at 7pm. This support group is for any adoptee age 13 -113.

If you have questions please let us know.

Christina Domer
Assistant Director, adoptive mom and adoptee 💜


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 very apologetic as she told me she would need a place to live, arrangements for medical care, a family to adopt her baby, and food, until she found a job. I assured her that we could provide all of that. She packed all of her belongings in her small car and left for Tulsa! Over the next few years, she lived with several wonderful families with whom she still has strong relationships. They poured unconditional love into her life. She made an Adoption Plan for her precious baby and made the decision to live in Tulsa. In a few years, she met the amazing young man who would become her husband. Now, after many years of marriage, they are the parents of 4 very successful adult children. When my dear friend drove off, I shed happy tears and, once again, felt so amazed that God trusts us to love on hurting young women, and pour into their lives.

In His Service,

Cheryl


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 was local, that newborns were their most common adoption, and that it was very affordable. The whole “open adoption” thing was a foreign concept to me but I’m always up for a good adventure so that was fine.
Our first adoption experience at CPO was very difficult, and not just because it ended in an interruption. The personalities just weren’t meshing and I knew it would be hard but I remained resolved to have an open adoption relationship and trusted that God would equip me for the difficulties along the way.
After it was interrupted, we were eventually chosen by a different expectant mother and she was an absolute ray of sunshine. Our personalities definitely meshed! That made my willingness to have an open adoption for the rest of my life much easier, but more importantly, my mindset had changed. Throughout the course of our first adoption effort, I had begun to appreciate CPO’s ministry efforts. I had come to truly love the birth mothers I met at group, including the one that had chosen me, personality differences or not.
My first adoption at CPO was not of a baby… it was of a ministry mindset. I began to see CPO as a great way to serve not only the first mother of my eventual daughter, but also many, many other women, children, and families.
I serve on the board of directors, but I have a much more important job at CPO: mentoring prospective adoptive families. I know many families come to CPO for the same reasons I did: it’s close, it’s newborns, it’s cheap. My job is to guide them through the process. That means answering logistics questions, sure. But on a much deeper level, I’m hoping God will use me to have them adopt a ministry mindset too. I do this by being sure to prepare them for the inevitable difficulties, encouraging them to manage their expectations, reminding them of the birth mother’s needs, and convincing them to allow God to grow them throughout this time.
Mentoring families is my favorite job at CPO, and it’s because I know how extremely important they are in the adoption triad and I want to prepare them to fulfill their role to the best of their abilities. It’s the most rewarding volunteer job I’ve ever had, and I don’t plan to ever stop. It’s too good.

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 felt the same amount of love from our parents, sometimes knowing that I am the favorite child.

There is a term in the adoption world and it is called “gotcha day”. It refers to the day that a child was adopted and a lot of families have little celebrations on that day. My family has never celebrated that day with any of us adopted kids and a lot of kids I know that were also adopted do not celebrate it. I feel as if it is almost more negative than positive. I do not need a day to celebrate when I was adopted. When my parents took me home from the hospital after I was born is the day that I believe I was adopted. I feel like if we did celebrate it, then it is just a constant reminder that I am a little different than their biological children. I feel like for any adopted child when they have biological siblings, all the kids are equal in their parents eyes and do not need to be celebrated extra because we are all loved the same. 

My relationship with not only my biological siblings, but all my siblings, is great! I think sometimes people might think its hard to be super close to their family when there are 8 kids, but I have always been. I would pick hanging out with my family over friends 9/10 times because I love being around them. There even is a huge age gap between me and my youngest brother. I am 23 and he is 7, yet I love hanging out with him and being with him because it brings me so much joy. Hanging out with any of my siblings does. My youngest sister is 14 and one of the biological siblings and she is one of the funniest people I have ever met and we get along just how any sisters would. We will always love each other and have the other’s back, but we sure can fight about the most petty things but still love each other the same. There are many similarities between me and my siblings. Just the way we act, talk, or sometimes look. People have told me that me and my youngest sister look alike which is crazy to me. Obviously every person is different but the way our parents raised us we act and talk the same. 

I would have to say that the reason I am so close to my siblings is because of the way our parents raised us. They did/are doing an amazing job. They never forced us to be close and act the same, but just in the way we have grown up we do. I think it is so important to be close to your siblings and I am so lucky that I am because I don’t know how I would live if I wasn’t. My family is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn’t want to change it for the world.


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 idea how many doors God was going to open!  But we have gone from an idea in February 2020 to a dream come true by December 2020.  I personally am so humbled and excited to see what God has planned for 2021.  We will be moving into the new building on Jan. 10th.  I hope everyone will come out and take a look around and I ask for many prayers for 2021.  Please pray that we will clearly see Gods will for 2021 and that every woman who needs us will find us.  We are ready to serve!


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 most of the time we were happy.  Sometimes my dad would drink this bad smelling stuff.  When he did, he would get very loud and scary.  Sometimes he would hurt my mom.  I would be so scared and hug my little sister and tell her everything would be okay.  I didn’t know if it would be okay or not.  But I knew I was happy living with my parents, so I believed everything would be okay.

Then one time my dad drank too much of the smelly stuff and tried to hurt my mom and me.  It was very scary.  I still loved my dad, but he no longer lived with us.  I missed my dad a lot.  I loved him.  But it was nice not being scared by him.

I still got to see my dad, this made me and my sister very happy.  My mom would work a lot, so I missed her a lot.  My dad would also work a lot.  I missed him too.  I I loved them both.  He still drinks the smelly stuff, but not as much.  He is just gone a lot.  That is okay.  I get to spend time with my other family when I am at my dad’s.  It was cool.  I had a grandma who watched me when my dad worked.  I had also had another grandma who watched me when my mom worked.  I wish they did not work so much.  I missed them a lot.

One day, when I came back from my dad’s, my mom said she had a baby in her tummy.  I was happy.  I loved babies.  I loved my little sister a lot, and was excited for a new baby.  But mommy said this baby was special.  He was going to answer a prayer for another family.  I was confused and sad.  What was a prayer I asked?  My mom says sometimes a family cannot have another baby.  And this makes them sad.  So they pray to God, to bring them a baby.  But why can’t God let us keep this baby I asked.  I was sad.  Did God care if it made me sad?  My mom was also sad, I could tell she was crying.  This made me really sad.  I was mad at God for making us sad.  I wanted to know why.

Mom gave me a kiss, and said I love this baby too.  I Love you and your little sister a lot also.  But I work so much for food, clothes, toys, and everything else.  I prayed for an answer.  I want to be home and play with you two but with another baby I would have to work more and more. This would make us all very sad.  Mom told me she loved me and missed me too!  I love her, but I was still sad.  She told me that a different family will raise my baby brother.  That way mom can spend time with us and not work ALL the time.  Thinking about mom gone all the time made me sad also.  I was still very sad.  Mom told me this family was very special.  And this baby will make them very happy.  They loved us very much for helping them get a baby.  Mom said this is called an open adoption.

I was less sad now and asked what an open adoption was.  Mom told me it is when a family takes a baby home with them that grew in another mom’s belly.  Mom pointed to her belly and said this baby is growing in my tummy, but it will go home to a different family.  This is called an adoption.  This made me sad again thinking about the baby going home with another family.

I wanted the baby to be my brother. I asked mom again why he can not come home with us.

Mom reminded me that she has to work a lot for money.  We need money for food, clothes, toys, and everything else.  If we had another baby.  Mom will have to work even more. Mom said remember I will have to work all the time. And I love you, I miss you when you work.  I told mom I love her too and that I also missed her when she works. I didn’t want her to work all the time.

I was happy this baby was making another family happy.  But I was still sad about the adoption.  Mom was still sad too.  I now knew what an adoption was.  An adoption is when a baby grows in the belly of a mom, but then goes home to a different family.  This still made me sad.  But it made the other family very happy.  And it means mom will not have to work all the time.  Knowing mom will still play with me made me happy.  I asked mom if I can still see the baby.

Mom said yes!  This is an open adoption, that means we will still see him, and sometimes we will go places together like the park.  And we will get photos of him.  And he will learn our names.  This made me really happy.  I really like babies and even though this baby was going to this special family.  He will still be my brother.

Now when people ask me how many brothers and sisters I have.  I tell them about my little sister, who is always with me.  And I get to tell them about my special baby brother who was adopted by a special family.  I still sometimes miss him.

But when I do, he comes to the park and plays with me!


BIG NEWS! WE ARE MOVING!

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.  The address is 10207A E. 61st St. in Tulsa.  The build out is underway.  It will include the following spaces: A reception area and check-in desk, a counseling room, an office, 2 bathrooms, a childcare room, a kitchenette “Hang Out” space,  2 large classrooms and a boutique.  We have plenty of room to add an ultra sound space in the future when we are ready to reopen our clinic.  It has many windows, great parking and even a bus stop right out front.  Look for more info to come!