Category Archives: birth mother

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


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.”


Birth Mother’s Day: Act Now to Permanently Honor Your Child’s Birth Mom

Birth Mother’s Day is a pretty big deal around CPO. It’s a time for us to celebrate birth moms for their courageous decision to make an adoption plan. At CPO, we celebrate this special day by inviting birth moms and their adoptive families to CPO for a day of pampering, professional portraits, gifts, and a delicious meal served to them by adoptive dads. This year’s Birth Mother’s Day is on May 6th at CPO.

And this year, CPO has the perfect gift for the birth mom in your life. We are working on a beautiful area right outside of the CPO office entrance. It will be a monument to birth moms and you can add a brick with your birth mom’s name or a custom message. Plus, we have a donor who has offered to hire a landscape architect to create a beautiful area around the monument! Keep reading to the bottom to see the exciting mock up of the future monument.

Some bricks are already currently in place.  You can see pictures below of the bricks with a couple of the Jacobson kids having fun around them.

Here are the renderings for what it will look like when it’s done.

 

This will be a permanent structure. If you want a message of appreciation for your birth mom, sponsor a brick now! To get your brick, make a $200 donation online. 100% of your donation goes to CPO and we’ll get your brick ordered and set. The bricks may not be installed by Birth Mother’s Day, so if you’d like one, please email Kelly Jacobson at jacobsonjam@sbcglobal.net and she’ll get a certificate for you to give as a gift to a birth mom.


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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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!


Meet MarShondria

After months of searching, CPO has found a new house mom. What a blessing she will be to the pregnant women who stay in our Transitional House. Many thanks to volunteers Angela McLaughlin for her interview and to Serena Lowe for photography.

We all know the situation: a woman finds out she is having a child and immediately, the HGTV host sets in, decorating and preparing for the arrival. Overnight, nurseries are made and all the things are childproofed. But for some women, this option is not reality. Women who choose adoption for their children are often experiencing a time of crisis in their lives, and will need support and love to not only make it through their pregnancy and the adoption process, but to turn their lives into something they’re proud of. Until a short time ago there was no realistic option for these women. That’s where CPO comes in with their Transitional Home. A safe haven for women, a beautiful home where they can laugh, cry and grow until they are ready to move on.
The CPO Transitional Home is one of the most incredible gifts the organization gives to it’s most vulnerable birth moms. Before the transitional home, CPO founder Cheryl Bauman says that women would often call at any hour, needing a safe place to stay while they created their adoption plan. Phone calls would be made, and volunteers would open their homes to the birth mother in need. And while many women were helped in this way, the process was unsustainable.
Through lots of volunteer hours and lots of generous donations, CPO was able to come up with a long term solution to this problem. Not only is the Transitional Home a safe place for women to stay for the duration of their pregnancy and for 6-9 months after, but there is constant support. The “house mom” is on site almost always, providing a listening ear, guidance and structure to the women, as they reclaim their independence and set forward on the new path their lives have taken.
MarShondria Adams is the current CPO house mom. From Sioux Falls, South Dakota, MarShondria is the oldest of five children, so she knows a thing or two about living in a full house. After having experiences with adoption in her family and personal life, she says “God drew CPO and I to each other!” Her passion is living a missional life with others, which she is certainly doing in her new role.
When asked about what she thought the greatest challenges of being a house mom were, her answer was all about change. “I think a big challenge will be introducing a new lifestyle because we are all resistant to change. CPO would like to help these ladies establish a healthy foundation to better their future but it will have to be a partnership. We cannot drag or force this upon them, so they will have to be willing to work at this change. It will be difficult for them to consistently make healthy decisions day in and day out, but we are committed to helping them through this transition.” Part of the contract when staying at the transitional home is meant to help a birth mom work through some of these changes, with reliable transportation to and from counseling, doctors appointments and support groups. Because most of these women are coming from a place of personal crisis, the relief of not having to worry about getting transportation is immeasurable.
MarShondria also has a plan to model accountability, balance and boundaries for the women at the house, saying “You can’t give out what you don’t have and it is important for me to model this. I hope to model this balance through establishing boundaries, accountability, and my personal relationship with Christ.” Because the house mom is a constant presence in the lives of the women at the house, she is able to provide support simply with her presence. Role models and mentors are a key component of CPO’s mission, and the house mom is able to provide both in a stable and safe environment.
Finally, MarShondria also has her hopes for the future, “It is my hope that the women will develop skills that will help them have a healthy lifestyle when they leave the transitional house. CPO and I would like for this to be a safe place where women learn to flourish in their relationship with Christ and others through boundaries and accountability.” Because CPO’s ultimate goal is for the women to transition into the world with a renewed sense of purpose, faith and independence, MarShondria recognizes that while there may be hills and valleys, the work she and the rest of the women do in the transitional house is truly setting the stage for a healthy and meaningful future.
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