Category Archives: adoption

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.


Birth Mother’s Day

Did you know that there is a special day set aside to celebrate birth mothers and their incredible sacrifices? Birth mothers are crucial in every adoption story, and deserve a day of celebration.

Around the world, Birth Mother’s Day is celebrated the Saturday before Mother’s Day. This year, that will fall on May 11th. On that day, adoptive families everywhere will take time out of their day to remember, acknowledge, and celebrate their children’s birth mothers.

At Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, we have an annual celebration of Birth Mother’s Day the week before, so this year our celebration will be on May 4. The adoptive families will join their birth mothers and have a delicious meal in honor of the women we love so dearly. Then, birth mothers will be treated to a day of pampering including massages, manicures, and makeovers. To top it all off, we have several professional photographers who will have areas set up and take portraits in whatever configuration the birth mother desires.

It is a very important day, and we here at CPO hope you will take the time to honor your birth mother every year. Make plans to see her, give her a call. Send flowers, have your child draw her a picture from the heart. Let her know how much you love her and appreciate her gift to your family.


Why Our Family Chose CPO

Today’s blog is written by Kelsey Grant, a waiting adoptive mother.

In the early spring of 2017, our family was knee-deep (more like in-over-our-heads!) in adoption research. Matt and I had always hoped that adoption would be part of our family’s story, and the circumstances were finally right for us to take the first steps. Our spreadsheets were bulging with information aboutvarious agencies, requirements, pricing structures, etc. Then, per a recommendation from a friend, I submitted an email inquiry to the CPO website requesting more details about their adoption services. I predicted that it was long shot – the page indicated that CPO was only accepting applications from Native American families living in Oklahoma. Since neither of us have Native American heritage, and we had recently relocated to St. Louis for Matt’s job, we already had two strikes against us. However, much to my pleasant surprise, I got a very friendly response from Kate a few days later. (Little did we know that Kate would go on to mentor our family throughout our entire adoption journey! I love how God uses these unexpected and divine introductions.) In the end, we decided that CPO was the agency toward which The Lord was leading us; and we were so grateful when it was determined that they could accept our application afterall. Now, nearly two years later, we are increasingly confident that CPO is the place for us, and we’d love to share why!

1. Adoptee & Birth Family Focused

First and foremost, CPO serves families in practical and thoughtful ways. Many agencies provide similar services like counseling, but CPO goes above and beyond in the care they give, especially to mothers. During pregnancy, an expectant mom (whether she plans to make an adoption plan or parent her child) can receive transportation to her medical appointments, maternity clothes, and childbirth classes. If the mother would like a coach during delivery, a doula will be there to act as her advocate and cheerleader. After the baby arrives, critical things like weekly support groups, legal counsel, and even a transitional house are also available. Did I mention these wonderful services are all completely free of charge?! CPO is truly a ministry, living out the love of Jesus on a daily basis to meet needs in situations where people are most vulnerable.

2. Openness!

In adoption language “openness” refers to the level of contact between all members of the adoption – birth families, adoptees, and adoptive families. Openness is a wide spectrum that can fluctuate over time. It can range from exchanging periodic photos or letters, to celebrating special occasions together, and even family trips where everyone is invited! Matt and I agree with the research that says openness is the best possible avenuefor addressing both the pain and the joy that adoption encompasses. CPO has always been at the forefront of birth mother directed openness, and we deeply appreciate the heart of reciprocal trust that they encourage. Other agencies seemed to want us to “tick boxes” for what we were looking for in a child and his or her life circumstances. It was so refreshing to learn that at CPO, the birth mom is in total control of whom she wants to consider as potential parents for her child. Though we haven’t yet met the woman who will choose us, one of our greatest prayers is that she would know how much we honor her because of the respect she will first receive from CPO. CPO believes inproviding families for babies, and not babies for families, whichshows exactly where their priorities lie.

3. The Dollars Make Sense

Perhaps the most daunting piece of the adoption puzzle is figuring out the financial hurdles. As we researched our options, Matt and I struggled with the numbers. We didn’t think we could even afford the home study to get started, let alone the thousands of dollars that were often required to officially “sign up” with a particular agency. Once again, the generosity of CPO as an organization and the selflessness of its members came to the forefront as we learned that every single person who “works” there is actually a volunteer. This translates to lower overhead costs, allowing CPO to keep its adoption fees at roughly half (and sometimes a third) of the cost of other agencies we were considering. What a relief! Not only can we trust the motivations of each volunteer, but we also didn’t have to resort to incurring debt to make this dream a reality. For a pair of overly-analytical people who prefer to plan ahead and account for contingencies, this decision was a no brainer. We have still relied heavily on our loved ones and on God’s miraculous provision to help us chart a path forward, but the mountain we faced was significantly smaller than it could have otherwise been.

One of the most beautiful things about adoption is how God uses ordinary people who have been brought together by extraordinary circumstances to display His beautiful love and grace. Though our family’s story is still waiting to be written in many ways, we are already thankful for the chapter CPO hasbegun. From whatever perspective you are exploring adoption,our wish would be that CPO helps you find the answers you need, just as it has for us.

Kelsey, Matt, & Brooks

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.”


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.


Volunteers Matter: Marlita Camacho

Crisis Pregnancy Outreach has been 100% run by volunteers since its inception more than 30 years ago. No one has ever received a salary, which enables CPO to make an even bigger difference in the lives of Tulsa area women. We know that volunteers matter, and to honor them we periodically interview and highlight one of our volunteers. This week we hear from an extremely dedicated volunteer, Marlita Camacho.

Q: How do you volunteer with CPO?
A: I am a doula (professional labor support) and I assist Cheryl with birthmoms.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: I have been a doula with CPO for 14 years, and an assistant for about 3 years.

Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: I’m embarrassed to say it was for selfish reasons, but I was looking for ways to further my doula training by attending births.

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with CPO vs. other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: The neat thing is I started attending births, but quickly realized what an amazing ministry opportunity it was. I get to walk through a really emotional time with these girls, laugh with them, cry with them. I get to be with them when they may not have a good support system.

Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: I’m passionate about birth, but I’m also passionate about being the hands and feet of Jesus. If these girls feel the love of Jesus through me, then I’m doing my part.

Q: What have you learned about yourself since volunteering?
A: I’ve learned that there’s always a way to make time. Your schedule may be busy, but if an opportunity comes up to minister to a woman in crisis, there’s always a way.

Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: Wow. That’s a deep question. I think I’ve got the best volunteer opportunity at CPO, because I get to witness miracles. The miracle of life. The gift of a birth mother choosing life for her child, whether she plans on parenting or she is making an adoption plan. I get the privilege of witnessing families being made through open adoption.

Q: What would you say to anyone considering becoming involved in CPO?
A: Do it! Make time to make a difference in someone’s life. Make yourself available to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Choose to love on someone who may never have felt His love.
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Retro CPO: Letter from a Birth Mother

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 actually a letter to Cheryl, written by a birth mother in winter of 2009.

Dear Cheryl,

I just wanted to let you know that I am soooo thankful for you and CPO. Samantha’s adoptive mom, Teri, encouraged me to share this with you.
I am a member of this one website for moms, and a group I just recently joined is for birth mothers. It is horrible! So far, all these women are so filled with pain and remorse. I can hardly stand to be on there for very long.
I have always known that CPO was different from the rest, but it has just recently sunk in just how different it is. I don’t think any of these women have any support other than this website. It’s almost like they were abandoned after they made their adoption plans. They are left alone to deal with this life-altering choice. Many are now hollow, and feel robbed. It’s just beyond words.
I just can’t help but feel that if they had the support like CPO offers they would be able to heal. it has opened my eyes a lot and given me a whole new appreciation for CPO. I am seriously thinking of un-joining that group. I really joined hoping I could help someone see that there is life after adoption, and that you an heal. However, to them, if you are not bitter, empty, and full of remorse, you’re in denial.
I am so thankful that you care so much about us girls.

With love,
Nancy

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Happy Thanksgiving from CPO

At CPO, we’re thankful for women who choose life, volunteers who love on the women and their children, donors who give so we can serve the women and their children, and Christ, who set the example for us all.

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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!