Category Archives: adoptees

Navigating Transracial Adoption

written by Jenni Hutchins

When Kobi Redman’s now teenage daughter was 5, her brown-skinned girl looked up at her and asked “When will my skin turn white like yours, Mommy?” Kobi and her husband, James, became a CPO adoptive family 18 years ago when there was not a long list for adopting a non-Caucasian child. “We believed God gave us this gift of these babies, so we wanted to accept whomever God gave us,” explains Kobi. Their first two girls are Caucasian; their third and fourth are African American.

The Redman Family

Today, the number of families open to adopting any race has greatly increased. Rhonda Fisher adopted her daughter of mixed descent five years ago and says, “Adoption has changed so much over the years. There is no longer a clear expectation of how a family has to look.”

The Fisher Family

Along with the other unknowns of adoption, transracial adoption comes with its own list of unique concerns: How will having different color skinned parents or siblings affect my child at school? Will our extended family accept a child of a different race? How will I manage hair that is a different texture than my own? Kobi’s family deals with these concerns like all families do: one at a time and as they naturally arise. “Raising children comes with challenges no matter your skin color,“ says Kobi. “When race issues arise, we discuss them open and honestly with our teenagers and look for resources that in turn help us all.”
Preserving the child’s cultural heritage is important to transracial families. CPO adoptive parents can look to birth parents, siblings and their extended families as relationship opportunities through which their children learn to appreciate the color of their own skin. These relationships also serve as safe, valuable resources for the parents to ask questions about hair, history and culture. “Having a wonderful relationship with my daughter’s African American birth mom has been an amazing resource for me. I get her perspective and assistance on so many topics,” says Kobi.
Adoptive parents also look for mentors at church, at school and in their social group to help their children see a reflection of their skin color in others around them. Maddie McCoy, who is Caucasian and adopted her African American daughter three years ago says, “We work to create diversity in our daughter’s life through her birth family, church, books, dolls, and toys. We moved to a more diverse neighborhood so we would be in a more diverse school district. She is too young to notice the color difference yet, but I want diversity set up in her life so she grows up surrounded by different colors.”

The McCoy Family

More than anything, Rhonda says, “I want my daughter to appreciate all the shades, and believe not one shade is superior.” When her daughter began asking questions about her skin color difference, Rhonda explained the science of melanin and how its quantity determines the color of your skin. She reads books to her daughter and shows her photos of women with similar melanin levels explaining, “You are always going to be this beautiful color you are.”
These parents are navigating the issues society has created revolving around skin color. Sometimes they get looks or questions, but these families spend the majority of their days not noticing their color differences, but instead, laughing, loving, and caring for each other.
Rhonda simplifies her transracial adoption this way, “A child doesn’t have to look like you for you to be their parent.”


Ziona’s Adoption Story

At CPO, we call birth mom’s Superheroes. I know there are people out there that don’t understand this, but they really are. Don’t take our word from it, read Liona’s story. Liona wrote this back in 2015 when she was only 9 years old and she tells her story.

 

I was 3 1/2 years old, and it was a beautiful day in Hawaii. The sun was shining in my eyes. My mom seemed a bit worried, but I wasn’t. I had a peace in my heart that I can’t explain. I knew I was going to meet my new Mommy and Grammy when they got off the plane in Hawaii. I was sad to leave my birth mom and the only family I had known, but I was certain that where I was going was going to be a good place. When I saw Natalie, my new mommy, asked her if she was going to be my mom and she said yes. It felt like the happiest moment in my life. I kissed my birth mom goodbye and told her not to cry because I would see her again soon. I snuggled close to my new mommy that night in the hotel, and she promised never to leave me and to keep me safe.

Then the plane took off, and I held my new Mommy and Grammy’s hands and prayed because they were crying. I prayed that this would be a good family and that we would always be happy. I also prayed for Miss Shawna too that God would help her not to be sad. When we got off the plane, I was a little nervous. My mommy held my hands even though I had trash in my hair. “How could they even love me or want me,” I thought. Then we walked over to a big group of people, and it was my new family! My brother Zach, my sister Kennedy, and best of all, my DAD!

You may ask why that would be my favorite part. The answer is because my birth father left me and Miss Shawna because he didn’t want to have me for some reason.

We went and got my suitcase that my mommy had brought my special things in. Then we went to the car. I was nervous because I hadn’t been in a car very often because Miss Shawna and I had to walk everywhere we went, even to get food from the shelter. Then the car stopped at a big house. It was magical. I had never even had my own bed before. I kept sneaking food from the pantry and hiding it because I was afraid that we would run out of food. Sometimes, it would be days before Miss Shawna could get us food so I was afraid it could happen again.

Now that I am 9, I know that Miss Shawna made an adoption plan for me because she loves me very much. I can’t imagine what a hard decision that was for her. She gave me the best of both worlds. I have a family that can take care of me and provides the life she wanted me to have, and I still get to know her. What Shawna did for me was like a superhero because she was unselfish and brave. She made a very loving decision for me because she believed I was worth so much. I would never be mad at Miss Shawna. I’m very proud of her and thankful she gave me an opportunity.


Have Fun for a Great Cause!

CPO’s Super Hero Run

CPO's Super Hero Run

In case we haven’t mentioned it enough, CPO’s Super Hero Run is now only days away!

Check out this post for more information on how you can participate, volunteer, or sponsor!

Register online: superherorun2016.eventbrite.com
Facebook: Super Hero Run Tulsa
Instagram: @superheroruntulsa

Create a team, join someone else’s team, participate individually, or volunteer. And be sure to dress up!! No matter how you get involved at this year’s run: It is sure to be blast!


Retro CPO: Meet Kelly Jacobson

Each month we will feature a “retro” CPO article, one that is pulled from our archives of quarterly newsletters. Whenever possible we will provide details regarding the author and date of publication.
This month’s Retro CPO article was written by Kelly Jacobson, one of Cheryl’s assistants at the time (and still!). It was written in winter of 2009, and is her personal testimony.

I began volunteering for CPO sometime in 1996. At the time, i just wanted to support a pro-life ministry, because at 19, I had an abortion. I believe that if I had known of a crisis pregnancy ministry, I would have made a different choice.

Sometime along the way, God gave me a strong desire to adopt. Steven and I turned in our life book in December of 1997, but since we had three biological kids already, we wanted to only adopt a “special needs baby.”

We expected to wait for a long time, but in only two weeks Cheryl called to tell us about Jewel. She was born 9 weeks early, and only weighed 2 lbs., 14 oz. And that began our “adoption adventure.” We now have seven awesome kids and are blessed beyond measure.

In 2002, we moved to Denver and spent three years separated, in body but not in spirit, from CPO. In 2005, we moved to Owasso and got more involved than ever.

I love CPO.  I love watching God work miracles in the lives of birth moms and adoptive families… not to mention the awesome baby stories.

I love CPO because it gives women the help they need to choose life in a society that promotes death.

I love CPO because without it, I wouldn’t have my babies.

I love CPO and I feel privileged to serve.

My husband, Steven, works for Level3 in Tulsa. Our blessings are Madeline (16), Aaron (15), Elaina (13), Jewel (11), Isaac (9), Nate (7), and Zachary (16 months). We are a trans.racial family and I have a passion for racial reconciliation. I love to encourage anyone who has questions about transracial adoption.

The whole Jacobson crew!


Retro CPO: Cheryl Said

Each month we will feature a “retro” CPO article, one that is pulled from our archives of quarterly newsletters. Whenever possible we will provide details regarding the author and date of publication. 
This month’s Retro CPO article was written by Cheryl Bauman, our founder and executive director. It was written in fall of 2009, and explains her feelings about open adoption.

As most of you know, I have hd a heart for adoption all of my life. My sister was adopted, so I always knew about adoption. But in those years, it was shrouded in secrecy. My mom never spoke of it in a normal tone of voice. She whispered the word.

When I founded CPO 26 years ago and we became a licensed adoption agency, my vision was for none of the children to grow up having to fantasize about their birth mothers. I have such a passion for open adoption.

Surprisingly enough, none of my children are adopted, and none of my grandchildren were, until—a wonderful day in January, when my daughter, Natalie, and I flew to Hawaii to meet three-year-old Ziona!! The story is long and miraculous, and ended in my 15th grandchild being adopted through CPO!! She is beautiful and precious and such a wonderful addition to our family.

God has blessed our family so richly and I am so very grateful.

1O9A0605(Here’s little Ziona, speaking and singing at the CPO Celebrate Life Gala in 2015.)


Nathan’s Story

Needing inspiration? Watch the video from this year’s gala. It is so good!


Birth Mother’s Day at CPO

This year’s Birth Mother’s Day celebration at CPO was on April 30. It was a wonderful event!

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For those that don’t remember, Birth Mother’s Day is an event planned to honor the women who have made adoption plans for their birth children through Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. It is a day set aside to acknowledge the courage and sacrifice it took for them to make a loving adoption plan for their birth child.

As birth mothers arrived, they were greeted with a smile by some of our volunteers.IMG_0790

They received gorgeous custom-made tote bags filled with fun make-up, accessories, and coupons to a local salon. The tote design was hand-drawn by one of our very own CPO birth mothers, Angela McLaughlin, and printed by a CPO adoptive mother, Carrie Jones.

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Birth mothers were also encouraged to sign up for door prizes. Among the prizes were designer bags, robes, bath supplies, gift certificates, and more. Wow!IMG_0789

After being greeted, birth mothers were treated to a delicious meal. Dedicated volunteers Tracie Roesslein and Jeff Bauman (along with a crew of others) served fresh smoked BBQ meats, salad, baked potatoes, and mini bundt cakes for dessert. Of course, there were hot dogs on hand for the many kiddos in attendance, too. The food was absolutely perfect. Yum!IMG_0936

After the meal was devoured, the “pampering and photos” portion of the day began. The CPO Day Spa officially opened.IMG_0788

There were sign up sheets for nails, massage, and make up. We had 5 professional pamperers who graciously volunteered their time, supplies, and skills to make our birth mothers feel special. IMG_0791The lobby outside of the “spa” was full of birth mothers, adoptive families, and volunteers all chatting as the girls happily waited for their turn to be pampered. Some adoptive families chose this time to give Birth Mother’s Day gifts to the women they love.IMG_0934

Meanwhile, a nursery was provided for children under 4 years, and a volunteer-supervised bounce house was available to entertain kids of all ages.

We also had 3 professional photographers volunteer their services: Melissa Barnes, Melinda Hunley, and Ashley Ledbetter. IMG_0792They each had their own style, and birth mothers were able to choose what kind of photos they wanted: indoor or outdoor, lots of props or simpler, etc. They were also able to choose who would be in the photos with them: just their birth child, all of their children (those they placed for adoption and those they parent), or the entire adoptive family. This variety made for some beautiful photos the birth mothers (and adoptive families!) will cherish for years to come.

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In all, it was a wonderful day, and we couldn’t have done it without an amazing set of about 30 volunteers. We hope the birth mothers from CPO felt as special as we all know they are!


Retro CPO: A Sweet Child

Each month we will feature a “retro” CPO article, one that is pulled from our archives of quarterly newsletters. Whenever possible we will provide details regarding the author and date of publication.
This month’s Retro CPO article is a lovely poem written by Jamie Fuqua, a CPO birth mother. It was written in fall of 2008.

A sweet child–
all alone.
You come to him with a smile.
You take the time to clean his knee.
And when he cries, you wipe his tears,
and he smiles.

A mom–
all alone, and so scared.
She doesn’t know what to do.
her tears are welling in her eyes.
She fears she won’t go through.
The woman she meets is as sweet as can be.
But, is anyone good enough for her baby?

Five years later, I watch you at the park.
You are the most beautiful child I have ever seen.
I turn around and realize,
I made the right choice.
You deserve the best,
and that is what you have.

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Easter 2016 Party Pics

This year’s CPO Easter party was last Saturday. It was awesome, as usual! Here are some great pics of all the fun we had!

They are also posted here: Easter Party 2016. Check back to that page in a few days as we plan to upload more and more as they come in from our fantastic volunteer photographer, Ashley Ledbetter.

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