Category Archives: birth fathers

Retro CPO: Meet Paige Tooman

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 Paige Tooman, one of Cheryl’s assistants at the time. It was written in fall of 2009, and is her personal testimony. 

I am so honored to be part of such an incredible ministry! I love serving alongside Godly women who have been doing this for so many years and I continue to learn more and more each day! Being an Assistant Director never crossed my mind as we began our journey with CPO.

My husband Brent and I were baptized together in 2002, and we were on the amazing road of Christianity together. We had just found out that we were pregnant, after one round of Clomid, a fertility drug. We were so thankful that God had blessed us and couldn’t wait for our newest family member. Our 34 week check up went great, but then I began to get very sick. I tried to play it off as part of being pregnant, but after a week of sleepless nights, I called the doctor. I was admitted to the hospital and they determined that my liver had shut down and my kidneys were next. This was part of the HELLP Syndrome, something I had developed during pregnancy. Needless to say, we were rushed to the OR for an emergency C-section and Hank was born! He was a strong baby and he and I were both in the hospital for about 10 days. After arriving home, I basically was on “lock down”, as I didn’t want my preemie to get any kinds of sickness at all! He is now a strong, healthy six year old, no one would ever even know about his early arrival if I didn’t tell them.

We decided we wanted to add to our family, but we were told that I could get HELLP again. We had heard about CPO through several different friends and we decided to give Cheryl a call.That is when it all starts happening. We received a call several months into the process about a baby that was being born in three hours. THREE HOURS?? This was out baby, Barrett, or as we call him, Bear. His birth parents rode to the hospital on a motorcycle, in the rain, so we knew they were a spirited pair! We started to get to know them in the hospital and then we lost touch with them after the hospital stay. We were so sad about not having the open adoption that we had thought about so often. We wanted to minister to a girl and help her find God and get her life on His path. Fortunately, God had His plan in place and Bear now has a baby brother that was adopted by the Hiseys and we have an incredible Christian family to share our lives with!

After all of the love and time that Cheryl and Kelly showed us, I decided that I wanted to give back to CPO and I got involved with the fundraising banquet. I loved sharing CPO’s vision with others and trying to get funds for our “all-volunteer” agency! When I became an Assistant, I knew that this was my calling. I am the type of person that needs to be involved. I also knew that if I was going to be volunteering and away from my kids at times, this would be perfect because when I am volunteering for CPO, I am multiplying His kingdom. I can truly see God each day as I look into the faces of the birth mothers, the babies, and the families. My you all find your place in CPO, as I did. It is truly a blessing!

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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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Volunteers Matter: Jackie Potter

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 another long-time volunteer, Jackie Potter.

Q: How do you volunteer with CPO?
A: Currently, I am the Gala Sponsor Chair for our annual Celebrate Life Gala.  I’m responsible for securing table sponsors for the event, as well as a lot of behind the scenes gala work.  In the past Chad and I were mentors for the transition house, and I have also coordinated host families for birth moms, and out of town families.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: I began volunteering with CPO in January of 2005, so 11 years ago!

Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A:My husband, Chad and I had experienced an interrupted adoption through another agency, and went to see Teri Burnett for some guidance.  She introduced us to CPO, at that time.  However, I’ve known of CPO since about 4th grade, when Cheryl’s daughter Natalie and I would carpool and go to Tracie’s house for after school snacks!  🙂

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with CPO vs. other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: CPO just fell in my lap, after talking with Teri Burnett.  We first came here because of our desire to adopt, and then it quickly turned into more than that.  You see the work being done and how much more work needs to happen and you can’t help but want to be a part of that ministry.  The one thing that keeps me volunteering at CPO is the constant need.  There are so many hurting women and children in our community and I want to be part of their healing, and that’s what CPO does.

Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: CPO is so close to my heart because it stands for LIFE.  Plain and simple.  CPO respects the lives of the birthmoms coming for help, knowing they are worthy of goodness in their lives.  They respect the lives of the babies, finding them their perfect forever family.  And CPO respects the lives of the adoptive parents; knowing that God placed the desire to adopt on their hearts.  And in such a seamless way, CPO unites all of these lives together.

Q: What have you learned about yourself since volunteering?
A: Through volunteering at CPO, I’ve learned that it’s ok to step outside my comfort zone.  Because when I do that, God stretches me, and continues to form me into the person He created me to be.

Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: God’s hand is in constant work at CPO.  From the financial donations that keep our organization running, to the volunteers in the nursery so that we can meet without interruption, to the birthmoms that turn their lives around, to the adoptive families that have received answers to prayer…God is in constant work with those involved with CPO.  He orchestrates it all so beautifully!!

Q: What would you say to anyone considering becoming involved in CPO?
A: If you’re interested in volunteering with CPO, I say go for it, please come help!  The more we have doing His work, the more women and children we can help.  We can’t do this alone.  But, I would also say, be prepared for your life to change.  God’s doing big things here!

Jackie Potter


CPO’s Annual Easter EGGstravaganza

Mark your calendars! Our annual Easter party is right around the corner. This party is for everyone and anyone who loves CPO: parenting moms and dads, birth mothers and birth fathers, adoptive families, volunteers, and donors. And most of all: KIDS!!

All the exciting details can be found in the flyer below!2016 Easter Party

If that isn’t exciting enough, check out some of the photo highlights from previous Easter parties!
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More EGGstravaganza photos can be found at Easter Party 2015 and Easter Party 2014. Enjoy!


Loving People: The Most Meaningful Work in the World

Valentine’s Day

Today’s post, written by Denise Dietz, is just in time for Valentine’s Day. If there is ever a time to focus on Loving People, this would be it. 

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Have you ever felt an itch in your heart to do something meaningful? Making a difference seems to be somewhere in the hierarchy of basic human needs. Amidst the ho-hum of my everyday life, I’ve stumbled upon a very satisfying component to living life more fully. I say stumbled, because what initially brought me to the opportunity was an obligation to fulfill volunteer services hours for our adoption with Crisis Pregnancy Outreach (CPO).   Those initial steps lead me down the road of happiness. My service hours involved answering phones, giving rides to appointments, most often with people living in neighborhoods I would otherwise avoid or taking a meal/food to someone in need. These steps lead into bigger steps where I began helping women in crisis develop plans to work through difficult circumstances in their life. I quickly learned to assemble teams of support for them and identify resources that would empower their decision. Something happened as I stepped away from my posh life and into this circle. A richness grew in my heart. The challenges faced, victories won and pure messiness drew me to love, cherish and admire them. By being there they validated my existence in ways I’d never considered worthy of being. Each year as I facilitated a Christmas Giving Opportunity for others to join the mission of brightening spirits during Christmas, I heard countless reports of this phenomena in action. As miraculous provisions flood the lives of those in need, the givers/those serving are experiencing an even greater joy in being a part of what’s happening; thereby, making their Christmas the most meaningful. It’s richness, packed with the substance of pure love!!!

Love. The power that motivates us to reach beyond limitations, step into dark places and cross great human divides. Love in action radically puts change in motion. Its impact is felt on every dimension; those giving it, those receiving it and those standing by. It’s charging like an atom, positively bringing life to everyone attached.

It’s no wonder that in all the profound truths God entrusted to us in the Bible He puts exceptional emphasis on one being greater than all others. When asked by the Pharisees which is the greatest commandment in the law of Moses:

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40

Remember that itch I mentioned at the beginning? I suspect it is from God to move us closer to an abundant life. May what was intended to be a Valentine’s Day post… become a morsel of life you can devour each and every day. Your sweet spot will be satisfied continually. Much love to you beloved friends!!!

Please Consider: CPO has always operated as an all-volunteer organization. There are diverse opportunities to serve based on your skills and time.   If you’ve felt a nudge in your heart, please consider investing in CPO. I promise the commitment will respect the delicate balance of your family. There are so many miraculous reports of people’s lives being transformed through their serving. It reaches far beyond the accomplishment of a job and takes on a beautifully redemptive quality. Our Volunteer Coordinator will introduce you to where to start. Her name is Claire Theriot. You can reach her at claire@cpotulsa.org  


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 Families Celebrate Christmas

No two families look the same, and that is true here at CPO.  We see the miraculous way that God makes families and this holiday CPO families are sharing a little glimpse into their lives.

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The Jacobson Family

Family Christmas Photo

The McCune Family

Dakota Wilkin & Family

Family Christmas

The Poverud Family

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The Poverud Family

Fisher Family christmas

Jarad, Rhonda & Milly with birth mom Amanda.

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Summer Ratzlaff with birth mom Dakota and Eric Dunn, and Dakota’s mom Rhonda Wilkin, Blake’s “Mimi”

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The Wicar Boys

Family Christmas

The Justice Family

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The James Family

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The Potter Family

Taylor Family Christmas

The Taylor Family


How YOU Can Help

As the new year draws nigh, some of you may be resolving to volunteer more. If so, keep CPO in mind!
Remember, CPO has ALWAYS been 100% run by volunteers. No one has ever received a salary. That means we need fantastic people like YOU to keep us going!
We always need more volunteers, so consider joining us and be sure to share this with any friends or family members you think might like to join the fun, too!
Below is a list of ways you can help out around CPO. Contact Claire, our Volunteer Director, to ask questions or sign up. Her email is claire@cpotulsa.org. Can’t wait to see you around!

Office
Our office is open Monday-Friday from 10-4. We have shifts in 2-hour increments (10-12, 12-2, 2-4) and we need you to answer the phones and greet any girls who may come in for a pregnancy test or a chat.

Transportation
Drive girls to doctor’s appointments, counseling, support group, church, attorney appointments, or any other CPO-approved event.

Grace Girls Mentor
Be a mentor to a girl in CPO’s Mentoring Program.

Blog Writer/Contributor
Help create content for our weekly blog posts.

Shower Refreshments
Provide a baked item or vegetable tray, etc. for personal or baby shower for the girls.

Item Pickup
Pick up baby equipment, maternity and baby clothes donated to CPO.

Newsletters
Provide assistance preparing newsletters for mailing.

Gala Fundraiser
Help obtain live and silent auction items, solicit corporate sponsorships, host event, serve behind the scenes before, during, and after the event.

Event Support
CPO hosts several events throughout the year including an Easter Egg Hunt, Birth Mother’s Day Celebration and Christmas Party. We can always use extra hands to make these events a success.

Host Family
Find out more about becoming a host family to adoptive couples from out of town or opening your home to pregnant girls.

 Other Talents?
Do you have a skill or service you would like to volunteer? Email claire@cpotulsa.org with your ideas!

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Get Your Shop On!

We are very excited to announce that CPO’s online store is officially OPEN!

We have lots of awesome stuff. There’s apparel (shirts, onesies, hats) for all ages, coffee mugs, tote bags, and more.

Lots of us already have our CPO gear! Don’t be left out!

And best of all, a portion of every sale goes to support CPO!

The link is always in the top menu on our website, or you can click here to shop now.

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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.