Category Archives: general info

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.


2019 Celebrate Life Gala Recap

On Saturday, March 30, nearly 275 guests attended Crisis Pregnancy Outreach’s 15th annual Celebrate Life Gala at Tulsa’s iconic Mayo Hotel. The theme word for this year was Chrysalis, meaning a protecting covering; a sheltered state, or stage of being, or growth.  This theme fits perfectly with CPO’s mission to help women find wholeness in a secure environment.

The guests at the gala believe strongly in CPO’s mission and are committed to helping better the lives of women and children in crisis.  Guests were provided the opportunity to give in a variety of ways. With over 100 silent auction items, 38 intricately designed desserts for the dessert bar, 13 exciting live auction packages, a Getaway Giveaway raffle, a Best of the Best raffle and a scholarship fund, there was a way for all to donate.  All of this love for CPO and the people it serves, helped raise over $190,000… the largest amount ever raised!

Also available this year was a fun photo booth with props, as well as professional photography, by Lilliana Ross.  Guests also dined on a delicious sit down dinner, while enjoying the evening’s program.  

We hope you’ll join us next year and be a part of this beautiful night. Save the Date for the Celebrate Life Gala, on Saturday, March 28, 2020 at the Mayo Hotel.


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

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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Retro CPO: Exciting News

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 in winter of 2009 and details the moment CPO was given our existing office space in Christian Chapel.

Something exciting is happening at Christian Chapel!

We are embarking on a $2,000,000 building program that will include offices and a meeting space just for CPO! We will be able to do pregnancy testing and perform ultrasounds on the young women God sends our way. Can’t you just see the sign out on Memorial that offers free pregnancy testing?! The location of Christian Chapel is strategic. We are surrounded by young women in nearby high schools, neighborhoods and those GOING TO THE MALL! I believe that God will multiply the number of girls we see tenfold.

On November 9, we had our Commitment Service at Christian Chapel and we held it outside in the area where the addition will be. I am sure that I am not the only “spatially challenged”  person around, but I felt like the staff had outlined each room, with spray paint, on the grass, just for me! I stood and prayed in the “rooms” where we will minister LIFE to thousands of young women, and felt such excitement over the future of CPO. Hooray, God!!

“The their’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life. ” -John 10:10

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Call or Text: 24/7

We’re pretty sure everyone knows that CPO’s phones are answered 24 hours a day thanks to our dedicated hotline volunteers. But did you know that CPO has a 24/7 texting hotline, too? It’s been active for about 9 months now.

Our Ministry Director, Rhonda Fisher, currently responds to all the texts received on this line. When asked why we decided to branch out into the texting world, Rhonda replied, “I felt like this was an important step for us to take. Many people (especially high school and college age) prefer texting over voice calls. I certainly don’t want a girl to refrain from getting our services because she didn’t feel comfortable dialing a number. If she prefers to text, so be it. We are happy to help her that way!”

Since CPO started the service in October 2015, she has corresponded with over 50 different women. Fisher says, “We occasionally get text messages from potential adoptive families and volunteers or people who are confused about the services we offer. But the majority of the texts are from women who are interested in our services (mostly pregnancy tests and ultrasounds) and want more information. When they send a text it goes to my phone via a special app and I can reply to them from our established CPO phone number. Depending on what they want, I can encourage them to make an appointment for an ultrasound, come to support group, or if they are interested in choosing adoption, I put them in contact with Stephanie, our Adoption Director.”

Fisher feels the text line could be useful if a woman wants to “talk” about her pregnancy but doesn’t want her parents, roommate, boyfriend, or others to know what’s going on. Sometimes she’s just not ready to share the news with everyone yet, and texting allows her to feel safe while communicating. 6497720753_fbaea0598e_b


Celebrate Life Gala 2016

Celebrate Life Gala 2016

It’s that time of the year and we are excited to announce our 12th Annual Celebrate Life Gala! This one night event is right around the corner and preparations are in full swing! We hope you can join us for this wonderful night of celebration. Below we have listed all the details you need for this event as well as how to sponsor a table. Even if you are just wanting to attend on an individual ticket, we hope to see you there!

Who: YOU, and other CPO supporters
What: Celebrate Life Gala
Where: Mayo Hotel, Downtown Tulsa
When: Friday, April 1st at 6pm
Why: Delicious meal. Lovely location. Live auction. Silent auction. Multiple fun donation opportunities. Join us to support Crisis Pregnancy Outreach!

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Adopted: Experiencing Heaven on Earth

Adoption

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

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

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