Category Archives: adoption vocabulary

Retro CPO: Cheryl Said – Fringe Benefits

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 2008, and describes a letter she received from a waiting family.

One of the most wonderful “fringe benefits” of what I do is meeting the amazing people who would like to provide a home for a baby, whose birth mom is making an adoption plan.
Several years ago, I received the following note from a family. I did a big “office clean” recently and found it again, and just had to share it with you. It sums up how we see open adoption at CPO. If you are the person who wrote it, please let me know and I will give you credit.
“We are excited about adoption–and the unique way it will fulfill our desire to become parents. Open adoption appeals to us, because we love the truth. It seems to us that God shows up when we are honest about life, and when we look to Him to fill in the gaps. The fact is that real life on this ol’ earth isn’t perfect–far from it. There are successes, failures, miracles, tragedies, joys, and disappointments. Taken all together, this is life–and Jesus is here all the time.
Adoption doesn’t mean pretending that we had a baby. Adoption means building a family. And being grateful that our of a birth mom’s personal crisis–an unplanned pregnancy–and our personal crisis–infertility–we all can see God do something wonderful. We want the birth mom to be part of our lives, and for our child to grow to know what an amazing decision she has made on his or her behalf.”
CPO is not about finding babies for family. We are about finding families for babies. We are only open to families who see adoption as a ministry, not just to the baby, but to the birth family as well. Day after day, I receive calls from families who are only seeking to work with a ministry like CPO. God has called them to be a part of the truth that open adoption provides. They don’t see their child or children as possessions,  but as precious gifts that He has loaned to them. That is what all children are, whether we give birth to them or adopt them. What an honor it is that He trusts us with his “Little Ones!”

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Adopted: Experiencing Heaven on Earth

Adoption

This article was written by a CPO adoptive mom and an awesome volunteer, Denise Dietz. She is such a beautiful part of the ever-growing CPO family. Enjoy.

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Just last night my daughter, Nathalie, crawled into bed and snuggled herself real close to a very special Nanny Diane. As I lay in the other room pondering the significance of what was happening a flood of memories came to mind, making this moment all the more precious. You see…it was about 4 ½ years ago when Nanny’s son and his girlfriend made an adoption plan for their daughter. We were chosen to be her parents and began building a relationship with them. As the day of her arrival approached and a birth plan communicated, we welcomed all the family that desired to be part of this special day. It was the day of Nathalie’s birth that we first met Nanny. This precious baby melted all of our hearts in such a way that barriers suddenly diminished. It was the first layer of trust on this journey of open adoption, where they realized we were not there to get a baby; but cared deeply for them and their needs. We too came to trust the outcome… if Nathalie left the hospital with us or without us, we could trust they would do the right thing. With rooms side-by-side we shared special feeding times, changing diapers, etc. But it was always Nanny Diane that trimmed her nails. After 3 days of intense bonding, leaving the hospital was by far the hardest thing we all had to do. With our hearts ripped in two we immediately began texting updates to see how everyone was doing in the transition and expanded our trust with assurance that this relationship was far from over.

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As the months turned into years we’ve grown to love and trust one another in even greater ways. Nanny’s house was a favorite place to play when mommy needed to run errands and I was ever so thankful to have “family” in town. I believe the idea of open adoption also took on a new meaning as Nanny realized she would always know and be known by this precious grandchild. The tables of adopting began to turn and soon I realized she has chosen us as her own, too! The day I had to share the news about us leaving town was incredibly hard. I didn’t want this change to disconnect our relationship in any way. Soon after we arrived in Lubbock, news came from Nanny that she was planning a visit. This week the visit is a reality and I have felt completely undone. The roots of this family tree have sunk way down deep. As I lay in the other room thinking about Nathalie snuggled up to her Nanny I prayed, “Lord, please give them supernatural impartations that affirm and establish both of them in the greatness of Your plans and ways.” This is a life our natural understanding cannot reason. The simple truth is, love never fails!!! One bite at a time my heart, our hearts, are richly nourished by this unbelievable taste of heaven on earth.
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If this story scratches your heart in anyway, I encourage you to lean in a little closer. Start a conversation, say a prayer or support a family going through adoption. Please know open adoption can have varying degrees of “openness.” It really follows the unique design of the individuals. Nathalie is our third child of open adoption. Each adoption has a special on-going relationship of its own. The blessing of birth family adds depth and meaning, leaving the redemptive imprint of God’s unfathomable ways.


CPO’s 3rd Annual Superhero Run: All the details you’ll need!

It’s almost time for our Superhero Run! This is a fantastic way to have a great time while supporting CPO, a very worthy cause!
You can run, cheer, or volunteer! Whatever you choose, be sure to dress up in your vest Superhero costume!
See below for all the details you’ll need to join in the fun.

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Q: When is the race?
A: This year’s race is on October 17th. Because of all of the nasty cold weather we had last year, we have gone ahead and moved the race up a month. That just means you need to go get registered ASAP so you don’t miss out on any of the fun!
Q: How early should participants arrive?
A: The 5K race starts at 8:30 AM so participants should try and be there about 7:45 or 8 that morning. Runners for the 1K, which starts at 9:30, should shoot for about 9. This should allow time for you to get parked and over with us and maybe even shop some of tables we have before you run!
Q: Is it okay to walk instead of run?
A: Walking is most certainly allowed! We just want to see all your super faces out with us. All we ask is that when we line up for the race that you hang to the back of the group. This allows the runners that are seeking a serious time to move to the front and set the new personal best at the Superhero Run! Similarly, we do allow strollers, but please single width only, and we ask you to also stick to the back at the starting line to allow those runners to pass.
Q: What kind of volunteers are needed?
A: Our volunteers are definitely the staple that holds this run together. We could never have had such a successful race last year without them. That being said, we are so blessed to have Melinda Hunley as our volunteer coordinator. She does an incredible job working with our volunteers and making sure they’re in a spot that keeps everything moving smoothly.  If you would rather volunteer than run this year, her email address is melhun79@cox.net and she would love to find you a spot!
Q: What will the t-shirt design look like this year?
A: We are very excited that the long sleeve runner shirt will be back! Our Superhero Run logo will still be on the front and all of our wonderful sponsors will once again be loud and proud on the back!
Q: How can readers help get the word out?
A: Yes! Please help us spread the word. The way the website is laid out makes it so easy for you to create your team. Be it a company, church, or family… make a team and recruit like crazy! We have prizes for the biggest! We also have flyers that you can pick up and distribute in your office, church, gym, etc. In the last few year surveys reported that our biggest source of advertising was word of mouth. You are our biggest asset! You can contact me at kboatman38@yahoo.com to get flyers for distribution.
Q: Where do we register and what is the deadline?
A: Registration is open at http://thesuperherorun2015.eventbrite.com! From there you can register as an individual or as a team and get all ready to go! Be sure you get registered ASAP to get your t-shirt ordered. There is no deadline, we will be accepting registrations right up to race day, but the only way you’re guaranteed a shirt is if you’re registered by October 10th.
Q: Are there prizes?
A: We will have our wonderful runner medals again this year and well as those prizes again for the best costumes and the biggest teams. We have so much fun with those fantastic masks, tutus, and of course the occasional cape! We will also be doing giveaways and prizes on our Facebook page leading up the event so be sure to go “like” the Superhero Run event page right here!
Q: Is there anything else you want us to know about the run?
A: I just want to thank you all for such an incredible race last year. I have the opportunity to plan this event with a great committee that is working very hard for you all. I’d like to thank Melinda Hunley again for coordinating some incredible volunteers, I’m thrilled to announce that Becky Martin is back with us this year and I cannot say think you enough for all of her help recruiting both sponsors and runners. Also a huge shout out to my wonderful momma, Angie Boatman, for joining our team at the last minute last year and taking over as the very best Registration Coordinator I could imagine. I’m truly blessed to work with such an amazing committee. Please join us on race day to show your love, support, and encouragement to the incredible mommas that CPO has touched!

Adoption Vocabulary: Why We Don’t Celebrate “Gotcha Day”

Today’s article comes to us from Rhonda Fisher. Rhonda adopted Milly through CPO in October 2013, and has since become very involved in volunteering with us. She currently serves as the Ministry Director, which means she does lots of stuff, including editing and coordinating the blog posts you read each week.

Years ago when my husband and I first started considering adoption, we hadn’t yet determined if we would choose international, domestic, or DHS adoption. At that point, most of what I knew about adoption was from the international world. I was enamored with the idea of the “Gotcha Day” celebration. In international adoption and in DHS adoptions, this is the day when the child (often anywhere from 6 months old to teenaged) is first united with their forever family. I think it is absolutely wonderful for these families to annually celebrate the first day they laid eyes on their beloved children.

But for most families at CPO, that just isn’t the way it is. We are usually THERE at the birth, either in the delivery room or just outside in the hallway. In some instances (known as “drop ins”) we may not even know about the baby until he or she is being born, but then we rush right to the hospital and begin loving our child when they are just hours or days old.

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the day Milly’s adoption was finalized. It was fun to think back to that exciting day when Milly legally became ours: visiting the judge’s chambers, having her last name match ours, celebrating with friends and family afterwards, and perhaps best of all: saying goodbye to legal fees. (Fellow adoptive families: you get it.)

But really, that day last year was just another day. Milly had already been “ours” for almost 9 months. There wasn’t anything a gavel or stamped document changed about how much we loved her, the way we appreciated her birth mother’s choice for her, or whether Milly felt like we were truly her family.5D7A0628

In our case, I was in the delivery room and I watched Milly enter this world. Her daddy came in a few minutes later and met her when she was still getting cleaned up. Her birthday IS our Gotcha Day. In our adoption story, there are three days we will always remember: the day we met her birth mom and she asked us to raise Milly, the day Milly was born, and the day our adoption was finalized. All of those days will always remind us of special times in our story, but we really only plan to celebrate her birthday.

Of course, this is just for our specific situation. Even some CPO families have genuine “Gotcha Days” because they received their child months or even years after birth. And that brings me to my other point: adoption vocabulary.

Gotcha Day is one of many words and phrases in the adoption vocabulary. It is important to understand the meaning and implications of some of the adoption-oriented words and phrases you may use regularly. I recently came across the infographic below and thought it would be very helpful for people who want to be careful about how they speak about adoption.

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This is not at all a comprehensive list, but we think it is a good start.

Lastly, I just want to thank all of the people in my life that have been willing to learn about adoption (specifically: OPEN, domestic adoption) and change their perspective about what that means in our interactions with Milly and her birth family. It can be hard to change the way you think and speak about things, but with the right motivation (redeemed birth families and adorable babies!!!), it is definitely worth it.


Birth Mothers Day is Here!

Have you guys heard about our upcoming Birth Mother’s Day celebration? We’ve only mentioned it 5,000 times or so. (Wink!) In case you somehow missed it before, it’s this Saturday! More details on the invitation below.

If you know a CPO birth mother, please encourage her to attend! She can RSVP to rhonda@cpotulsa.org, or you can do it for her if she likes.

Thanks for helping us spread the word. It looks like it will be a wonderful day for our wonderful birth mothers! (It’s kind of totally a big deal!)

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Birth Mother’s Day at CPO

Below is another beautiful article written by a CPO birth mother, Angela McLaughlin. It is meant to be informative about our upcoming Birth Mother’s Day celebration at CPO, but it is also insightful, as she shares her thoughts about the important day.

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I’m going to be frank. I kind of dread Mother’s Day. That shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, but in case it does, I’ll tell you why. We’re talking about a holiday that celebrates the joys of motherhood. For a birth mom, it can feel like a public reminder of the pain caused by placing her child for adoption. Those feelings are also conflicting, as many birth moms are very close to the adoptive parents, and your feelings can feel like a distraction from their joy.
These reasons, and the overwhelming love that she feels for birth moms, are why Cheryl Bauman, Executive Director and founder of CPO, decided to start celebrating Birth Mother’s Day. As she says, “Birth Mother’s Day is my favorite celebration! It is a time set aside to honor the women who have made Adoption Plans for their Birth Children. It is a time to acknowledge the courage that it took for Birth Mothers to make these loving plans. Historically, Mother’s Day has been one of the hardest days for Birth Mothers. At church, when the pastor would ask for all of the Mothers to stand up, they weren’t sure if they should stand up or stay seated. I am so grateful to a group of Birth Moms in the Pacific Northwest who decided to honor Birth Moms by having a day that is just for them. Birth Mothers are our heroes!”
For some, this is a day when they can celebrate their motherhood, even without parenting. It’s a unique opportunity to be recognized as a birth mom for your part in bringing life and love into the world. As birth mom Amanda told me, “The meaning of the day is so special, because it’s the day I’m celebrated for my part in [my birth daughter] Milly’s life. I’m a mother to my 6 year old son, Shaun, and we celebrate Mother’s Day, and I can tell you that this is very different.”
For some who are struggling with the grief of placement, this day is an opportunity to reflect on the joys of their adoption plan, especially their birth children. My first Birth Mother’s Day is an especially fond memory. I was asked to speak at the celebration, and I chose to read the following selection from poet e.e. cummings:

i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling)
—————————————-i fear
no fate(for you are my fate,my sweet)i want
no world(for beautiful you are my world,my true)
and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant
and whatever a sun will always sing is you

This poem reflected the way that I, and so many birth families, feel after placement. As birth mom Dakota explained to me, “It’s hard to deal with a lot of the emotions that come from being separated from my baby. I don’t even really call him my baby because I feel like he’s [adoptive mom] Summer’s now.”
There’s a space where your child was, and it’s a constant struggle to fill that space with love. Speaking and sharing fellowship with other birth moms is a way to do just that.
And this year’s Birth Mother’s Day is going to be more celebratory than ever! After realizing that things sometimes felt a little too “heavy,” CPO has changed things up a little! As event coordinator Rhonda Fisher told me, “Previously, Birth Mother’s Day was a very somber ceremony. There were speakers including adopted kids, birth mothers, and adoptive families. There was worship music and a candle lighting ceremony. There were many tears. It was a day to remember the birth mothers and it was very respectful of them. But we heard from quite a few that they would like something a little more upbeat. So this year things will be radically different.”
This year’s event will feature “Steaks and Cakes,” with adoptive dads manning the grills. There will also be a special birth mom pampering area, with mini-manicures and pedicures, facials, and massages. And, the best part (in my opinion) are the mini-photography sessions. It’s difficult to look at all the adorable family photos of your adoptive family sometimes. It’s another, albeit tiny, reminder. But thanks to CPO, birth moms will have an opportunity to take photos with their adoptive families or birth children, or both! It’s an opportunity to take home a fabulous memento, as well as relax and be pampered.
Below you’ll find the birth mother version of the invitation for the celebration. We urge all CPO birth mothers and CPO adoptive families to keep an eye on their mailbox as their personal invitations should arrive any day now.

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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 our founder, Cheryl Bauman, in the Spring of 2005.

I always look forward to the CPO Adoptive Family Support Group meetings, which are held each month. This group is made up of families that have already adopted children through CPO, or are waiting to adopt. The room that we use at Christian Chapel is always completely full of happy adults, adorable toddlers, and precious newborn babies. The couples are always anxious for the first meeting that is held after their little one is born. This child is the answer to their prayers, and they know that no one will be more excited than other parents who have experienced the pain of infertility, and the fulfillment of their petitions to God. I really cannot, adequately, describe the love that is in that room. As we go around the room, each family speaks tenderly of their little one’s birth mom. They speak about how much they love her and what a hero she is. They talk about the time they have spent with her, the phone calls, and the letters. There are always a few families who tell of their concern over not hearing from their birth mom. They ask the others to remember her in their prayers. The outpouring of love always warms my heart, and I leave refreshed and energized. I believe that these families are examples of open adoption at its very best.

Instead of seeking to avoid a relationship with their child’s birth family, these adoptive families in CPO choose to maintain contact and develop an ongoing relationship. They see the birth family as part of their extended family. I am so grateful that adoption has changed so much in the last 20 years. Always and ever, we must remember that these little ones have two families: their birth families and their parents who raise them to be all that God created them to be. Praise God that these children will grow up knowing about their birth families and these incredibly courageous young women who not only gave them life, but a life with a wonderful family in a two-parent home. I believe that God blesses those things that are done in the light.

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It has been ten years since Cheryl wrote the above note in her newsletter, but the Adoptive Family Support Group still meets. Even if you haven’t attended in years, please feel welcome to join us on the 3rd Thursday night each month. Those that are still in the infancy of their open adoptions would love to hear the wisdom that comes from those who have been doing this for 10 (or even 20) years!


Chosen: A Guest Post

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It was the interview of a lifetime. As a waiting family who had chosen to adopt, our lifebook was shown to birth parents who were choosing to place their child with a family.   After taking a look, they wanted to get to know us more. The next step was an interview where we would meet face-to-face. The intersection of our choices packed this moment with intensity. For us it was the tension of laying aside our deep longing for what we wanted in pursuit of what was best for everyone, including the unborn child at the center of our attention. Knowing the birth parents were the ones who would ultimately choose, we had to rest our faith in God’s hands and trust the outcome to be His absolute best. They came prepared with a long list of questions, 32 to be exact. It was obvious their need to choose well was a high priority and they were not taking the decision lightly. We met at a restaurant, gathered at a round table with an assistant from CPO to help the conversation along as needed. As we all pushed past our emotions, we began to have the most delightful conversation and exchange of values. The list of 32 questions never made it to the table. Leaving the interview was harder than coming. But, we left with an exchange of phone numbers and within 24 hours a call came from the birth parents announcing we were chosen for the job. The job of a lifetime, to be the parents of this child they loved enough to make this incredibly hard choice. The words of acceptance left us speechless. What could we say? Being chosen in this way took our breath away.   We had mutually chosen them; to embrace them on this journey toward new life, dreaming the rewards of such a hard choice would reap opportunities they never dreamed possible. We were committed to loving, cherishing and supporting them as much as we would the child they entrusted to us.

Here’s a picture of that choice as a reality. She is loved; by them, us and now you:chosen

The reality of being chosen bears an appreciation beyond words. So often, we grapple with how to give appropriate thanks for such an extraordinary gift. It mirrors God’s love for us, making my heart melt into the greatness of His ways all the more.

Before the foundation of the world my friends; You, I, We, They….were chosen:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. – Ephesians 1:3-6

Please Consider:

As we process each of our children’s lives in light of their adoption, the focus remains on the fundamental truth; they were chosen. It’s the framework of their identity and it’s an absolute truth. As I see newsfeeds buzzing with sentiment about orphans to create awareness about adoption my heart is cut like a knife. This is not at all the story for those who bravely made the choice to make an adoption plan or the identity of my children. An orphan in its true definition is a child whose parents are dead. Using the term orphans greatly narrows the message of adoption to a very small demographic and isolates others. The majority of adoptions are the result of powerful choices being made by caring people who want the best for a child. So I’m asking you to consider using chosen to promote adoption. It describes an unfailing love broadly applied and assures us all that we are part of an unending story. Just imagine if our adoption awareness Sundays exploded with the message, Choosing You. It is my hope you will ponder this, share it with others and be an active part of an adoption story.

 

 

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Denise and her husband of 22 years, Tony, reside on an Urban Farm in Tulsa.  Through the indescribable gift of adoption, they have 3 children:  Mycheal (19), Levi (7) and Nathalie (3).  Denise and Tony served as missionaries to the military in Heidelberg, Germany and continue serving stateside at Sanctuary Church. Denise is an Assistant Director with Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, helping women in crisis and mentoring families through the adoption journey. She’s a passionate year-round gardener. You will often find her hands in the dirt and her mind blooming with ideas!