Category Archives: birth

Volunteers Matter: Claire Theriot

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 learn about Claire Theriot, the Director of Volunteers and of course, a volunteer herself!
Q: In what ways do you volunteer at CPO?
A: I am the Director of Volunteers, helping new volunteers get plugged in and find the best place they can utilize their gifts and talents within Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. I also work around 5-7 office shifts a month.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: I have been volunteering since August 2014. I started out as an intern while working on my bachelor’s degree in Social Work at NSU. I am still currently “interning”, but am so blessed to have found a position within CPO that gives me an ample amount of hours, but also the opportunity to interact with all of the amazing volunteers!
Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: I first heard about CPO a couple of years ago, or so. I attend Church on the Move and during a women’s bible study, we all got together for a service project. The service project ended up being to help remodel the transitional home at Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. I remember sitting in COTM’s auditorium on a July Sunday morning, watching the video about CPO and couldn’t hold back the tears or ignore the tugging on my heart. I knew somehow, someway, I was going to be a part of this organization.
Q: Why did you choose to volunteer at CPO versus other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: Ever since that first exposure, CPO had always been on my heart. Being a single mom, in college, and working, I haven’t ever found time for extra activities. Once I started my senior semester, and found out that we were required to do an internship in order to graduate, I immediately called CPO, almost a year after hearing about them! They weren’t on the list of approved agencies, but I chatted with my professor and got the okay to begin my internship at CPO. I was SO THRILLED!
Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: CPO has such a special place in my heart. Almost five years ago, I found myself in a crisis pregnancy. 19, pregnant, not married… I remember thinking how my life was over. It wasn’t until I found Jesus and learned how God was going to turn all my sin, all my hurt, all my pain into something good and beautiful. I was back in college, landed a dream job, and was doing everything I could to provide the best life for my son, Ryder, and I. I have so much love and so much passion for these girls. I want them all to know that they are loved. They have purpose. They can continue on with life and become the greatest of the great at whatever God has planned for them. They just have to trust him.
CPO does this SO. WELL.
Everyone affiliated with CPO loves these girls and children so much, and want them all to know their worth! The fact that they have a 24/7 hotline? WOW! CPO truly thinks about every detail and makes this agency the best it can be for the clients.
Q: What have you learned about yourself since you began volunteering?
A: Since volunteering at CPO, I have learned a lot about humility and flexibility. Jesus said to love. For me to truly show my love, I needed to jump right in. Get my hands dirty. Use my gifts, rather than just staying in the comfort of my quiet space praying. I serve Him by serving others. I found out just how much I can benefit from a little flexibility. I am a very type A, black and white type of person, and at CPO you never know what might come up. God has shown me that it is okay to be a little unprepared and a little flustered, and even confused, because He has it all taken care of.  CPO has shown me that it’s okay when things don’t go my way… because they are going HIS way.
Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: I have seen God’s hand in so many areas of this ministry. I am blown away daily with the fact that this entire agency is ran by volunteers. This world has beautiful, beautiful people with the kindest of hearts who keep this remarkable agency running. Hearing testimonies, seeing birth mothers in person whose lives have been completely transformed, seeing adoptive couples hold their new baby for the first time can’t be explained any other way than our almighty God’s hand at work. Even down to the fact of my DoV position. I was very behind in hours, and was wondering if CPO might not have been the best choice for the type of internship I was required to have. I knew how much I loved it, and I knew in my heart this was where I belonged. I prayed about it, and it wasn’t but a week or two later that I was asked if I would be interested in the position. It ended up that I was actually OVER my hours this past semester.
Q: What would you say to anyone who may be considering becoming involved with CPO
A: Contact me! 😉 But really, if you feel God placing this agency on your heart, you will not regret any time spent here. Not every situation is perfect, but at the end of the day, thinking about all the lives that have been transformed within this agency makes everything worth it. Also, it’s good for you!! Volunteering provides physical and mental rewards. It helps to reduce stress: I’ve learned that when you focus on someone other than yourself, it interrupts usual tension-producing patterns. Volunteering also makes you healthier! Moods and emotions, like optimism, joy, and control over one’s fate, strengthen the immune system. Optimism and joy definitely go hand in hand with CPO!

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He Has a Plan: Inside a CPO Open Adoption, Part Two

This is the second in a series of articles featuring an inside look at one of CPO’s recent adoption success stories. Here’s a link to Part One. Many thanks to Alaina Butler of Inspired Life Photos for the fine photography and conducting the interviews. Also, thanks to the Borg family and their new daughter’s birth mom, Kelly, for being willing to share their story with the world.

Alaina: Tell us a bit about being in the hospital with an open adoption.
Borg Family: From the adoptive father’s perspective, it was a little awkward at first. After walking with Kelly for 7 months, it was awkward at the delivery. I was torn between protecting the heart of my wife and protecting the heart of the woman that is sacrificing her desire and blessing us with a child. Luckily, Sheri and I both prayed at length and had the desire to ensure that Kelly was as blessed and supported as possible. In our mind there was little doubt that Kelly would proceed with the adoption (and we had given it to God anyway). I will never forget the sound of Kelly holding and talking to Harper for the first time and watching a mother take her heart out of her chest and give it to this child that just came from her womb as a gift that cannot be described. Harper will forever have a piece of Kelly’s heart and spirit inside of her.
The rest of the hospital stay was exhausting, exhilarating, heavy, fun, loving, and sorrowful at different times. Harper stayed with us most of the time but would go into Kelly’s room anytime that Kelly wanted her. There were times where Kelly & I (Sheri) would sit on the hospital bed with Harper between us and just weep. They were tears of sorrow and tears of joy. It really isn’t something that can be explained. It’s something that only God could weave together so beautifully. There was always this heavy cloud of anticipation regarding the uncertainty of how the final day would be and what the rest of the process would hold. There were a lot of tears shed both happy and broken but the overall process was good. We were happy to take home our new daughter and broken for Kelly.

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Alaina: Introduce us to little Harper Elizabeth!
Borg Family: Harper Elizabeth was born on June 4, 2014. She weighed in at 7lbs, 5oz and was 19 ¾ inches long. Harper was a blessing from the start. She was very easy during the hospital time and was the glue that held Kelly and us together. We passed her back and forth between the rooms when family would come and when Kelly needed to breaks. Put simply…she was the perfect gift that only God could produce. She has such a big personality. Her smile is contagious and every time I see it, I am reminded of God’s promises to our family.

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Alaina: Any tips for an adopting family going to the hospital for the birth?
Borg Family: Do not enter with any expectations. Go into it with the heart of Jesus focused on serving and making the birth mom feel loved. She is the one making the sacrifice and being broken through the process. Find ways to swallow your pride or anything else that shows up and put her needs before your own. The simple acts of kindness shown to the birth mom during this process can be the difference between a healed heart and broken heart with great consequences. This is a time for the birth mom, birth family, to bond with the baby. Politely let your family and friends know that you would prefer not to have visitors at the hospital, and they can visit when you get home. We called our parents and a few close friends as we were leaving the hospital and they met us at home to meet Harper. That seemed to work out well. It also allowed us to get a bit of rest right as we arrived at home. I would also add that the hospital stay should definitely be discussed prior to the delivery date. Kelly and I (Sheri) talked about who would hold the baby first, who was going to cut the cord, where she would sleep, etc. Some things changed during the stay and we just went with it. We really learned to trust God with everything during the stay. I know it can probably be scary if birth mom wants the baby in her room a lot of the time but we had complete peace with it and never once worried. We also used that time to rest ourselves.

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Be sure to check back next to see the final installment in the incredible journey with Kelly and the Borgs!


Volunteers Matter: Sarah Coffin

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 learn about Sarah Coffin, one of our awesome volunteers!
Q: In what ways do you volunteer at CPO?
A: I began volunteering at CPO as a mentor for birth moms, began working as a birth doula and have since become one of Cheryl’s assistants helping facilitate adoptions.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: Since 2009.
Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: Marlita Camacho, one if the other birth doulas, invited me to attend and I fell in love with the girls and the ministry.
Q: Why did you choose to volunteer at CPO versus other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: I have always had a passion for empowering women and found an ideal ministry that empowers women in the midst of crisis to find their voice and receive the support they need regardless of parenting or making an adoption plan. This ministry goes beyond providing abortion alternatives and walks beside women in their greatest need, loves them and gives them the strength and support to take control of their lives.
Q: What have you learned about yourself since you began volunteering?
A: I have learned that God is a god full of grace. His heart yearns for these women to be loved and shown His grace on earth. We are all desperate for His grace.
Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: His hand is evident every time a woman in crisis smiles, receives a compassionate hug, and is proud of her decisions.
Q: What would you say to anyone who may be considering becoming involved with CPO?
A: This is a wonderful ministry that brings you straight into the direct line of hope for so many people. You become an asset of God working in these precious women’s lives and an option beyond abortion when there seems to be no other way.

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A big thanks to Sarah Coffin for being a dedicated volunteer at CPO!


CPO’s Doulas: An Amazing Gift

Written by Tim and Amie Vetscher, this is the fourth and final piece in a series of articles about CPO’s recent Waiting Families Workshop. Click here for the first installment, here for the second installment, and here for the third installment.
During the recent Waiting Families Workshop, adoptive couples learned about the important roles doulas serve in the adoption process.  If you’re not familiar with doulas, they are people who assist and coach women during their pregnancy, during labor, as well as after the birth.
You may also not know that Crisis Pregnancy Outreach is the only agency in Tulsa that ensures every woman has a doula, whether they’re parenting their own baby or making an adoption plan.
Doulas aren’t just a convenience, their presence has been shown to dramatically help the birth mom and her new baby.  For example, doula-assisted labors are, on average, 25% shorter.
Women who hire doulas typically require fewer drugs to assist them through labor.  In fact, the presence of a doula drops the odds of a woman requiring an epidural by more than 50 percent.  A recent University of Minnesota study found that hiring a doula can also reduce a woman’s risk of having a c-section by nearly 60 percent.
“If you have some kind of fear, it can actually physically hold you back, so we can help moms work through those fears in the moment,” certified doula Erin Stertz-Follett told KSTP-TV in Minneapolis.
The doulas for CPO are Jenni Anthamatten, Marlita Camacho, and Sarah Coffin. Together, they serve all the women of CPO who except out offer of doula services. They all have different personalities and styles, which means that our pregnant women have a true choice in who will be assisting them in the delivery room.

Jenni Anthamatten

 

Marlita Camacho

Sarah Coffin

From the standpoint of an adoptive couple, doulas also provide several key benefits.  Doulas assist the adoptive couple by letting them know specific ways they can help their birth mom.  Doulas also arrange and coordinate the presence of the adoptive couple at the birth of their adoptive son or daughter, making it less stressful on the birth mom.
In other words, everybody at CPO benefits from having a doula present at birth.

The CPO Doulas

A huge thanks to Alaina Butler of Inspired Life Photos for getting our busy and beautiful doulas in one place and taking these gorgeous photos of them!


A Story of Mentorship

This article was originally published in August 2013, by Rhonda Fisher.

Andrea has been volunteering with CPO for several years now. She began working in the office, and eventually spent some time as the office manager. But her latest position is the one that has lasted the longest: mentor and friend to a birth mom, A*. Andrea has been a part of the mentoring program since April of 2011. A is her first “mentee”, and they were happy to share their story with us. By the time they met, A was only 4 weeks away from her due date, and had already decided to make an adoption plan. The two of them had to work quickly to build a strong relationship before the birth of little Sammy. Even though A lived more than an hour away, they spent a lot of time getting to know one another. A was determined to come to Tulsa every Tuesday for Birthmother Support Group, so they made the best of those days together. They had many coffee shop dates, and they spent much of A’s long drive on the phone, just chatting. Andrea was sure to visit A in the hospital during the time after Sammy’s birth. She wanted to provide plenty of support for her during that potentially difficult time. It’s been more than two years now, and now their relationship can definitely be categorized as a strong friendship, with mutual benefits for both parties.

With the help of CPO, Andrea, and her own desire to improve her life A has made wonderful strides since finding CPO. Andrea says of A, “She’s really grown into her adulthood. She’s moved to Tulsa, got a job, is so successful. She’s a mover and shaker in our community in terms of creating unity among people. It hasn’t always been great for her, and she’s reached out to me during those times. I just maintain the same attitude… ‘I’m just here, I don’t know what to say exactly to fix the problem,’ but I just point her back to Christ. She’s an exceptional person. I think Samuel’s entrance into the world was a life shifter for her. She stepped out alone and made some difficult changes. I couldn’t be more proud of her.”

A is grateful for CPO, our mentoring program, and even more grateful for Andrea herself. She says, “Andrea and the mentor program are so important because it provides you with someone who is in your corner. Andrea is someone I can go to with anything, and she’s only got my best interest at heart. She doesn’t pretend to have all of the answers, and through the adoption process, we were able to figure things out together. I think the mentor program provides role models that you form friendships with. I look up to Andrea immensely and I’m so lucky to call her a friend.”

Andrea has truly enjoyed her time in the mentoring program, and she encourages others to join in the fun as well. When asked how she has benefitted from volunteering in the mentorship program, Andrea didn’t hesitate. She knew right away how to answer. “I don’t come from the perspective of mentorship like I’ve got it all together and she doesn’t. It’s more like, ‘I’m just a few steps ahead of you in this. I’ve made my share of mistakes and I’m going to be real about that, and I’m here for you to just see my life. To see what it looks like just a few steps ahead of where you are.’ So, from that perspective, I think I have gotten so much from her. Just knowing her has made my life better. It’s made my life richer. I’ve never seen courage like she has, ever. I’ve seen a lot of courageous things in my life, but there’s something about the choice she made when she placed Samuel, and watching her walk that out. And now, as she pursues health and wholeness in her own life, I’m just inspired by her. She’s one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given in my life.”

To those considering mentorship with CPO, Andrea says, “Don’t think, ‘I can’t do that because I don’t have it all together.’ Just look at it as, ‘This is a chance for me to just walk with someone, to just walk beside them.’ Not like you have to tell them all the right things, or know exactly what to say. ‘Let’s just walk together. We’ll see what we can learn from each other.'”


*The names of the women CPO helps are always redacted for privacy purposes.


Doulas: Yet Another Way We Minister to Our Girls

This article was originally published in May 2013, by Rhonda Fisher.

S.* is a CPO girl who recently gave birth and placed her daughter for adoption. Even though she had already had 2 children previously, she listened to the advice of others and chose to have a doula during her most recent birth experience. She is very glad she did! She describes her experience with Marlita, one of the doulas provided by CPO, “It was way better than a husband or boyfriend could ever be, hahaha. She got me everything I needed, she walked around with me… she was there with me for like, EIGHT hours! She held my hand, she stayed in the room the whole time. She was just… a good support, the WHOLE time. Even afterward, she made sure I was okay. Basically, she was awesome.”

Marlita has been a volunteer with CPO for ten years, a professional doula for eleven. She also serves as an assistant director of adoption.

When asked to explain the job of a doula, Marlita says: “Doulas provide physical support (massage, ice chips, restroom breaks), emotional support (answering questions, assuring the laboring mother that all is well) and informational support (explaining those ever-present monitor alarms, translating medical jargon).”

CPO has four doulas, three of which actively attend support groups to allow the girls to get to know them. It is good that there are several options because that gives the girls the ability to choose based on several factors, most importantly which personality will put them most at ease in the delivery room. They are available to assist both girls planning for adoption and those intending to parent. Once a girl chooses a doula, they get together at least once to make a plan for the ideal birth, to discuss what to expect at the hospital (especially in adoption situations, where so much is different), and they are encouraged to attend a childbirth class (another of Marlita’s duties). Best of all, the doula becomes available to the girl 24/7. Doulas are on call for middle-of-the-night questions and concerns, and willing to go to any doctor appointments if needed.

S finished her interview with some words that could probably be echoed by all CPO girls who have chosen to embrace the presence of a doula. “Everybody should have a doula. Everybody.”

This is a description of just one of hundreds of doula-attended CPO birthing experiences. It is further proof that CPO is doing everything they can to assist girls, in every way possible. What a wonderful place to volunteer! (Tell your friends.)


*The names of the women CPO helps are always redacted for privacy purposes.