Category Archives: Retro CPO

Volunteers Matter: Rhonda Fisher

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 dedicated volunteer, Rhonda Fisher.

Q: How do you volunteer with CPO?
A: I currently spend lots of time working behind the scenes at CPO. I keep the website up-to-date, I coordinate and edit the blog, and I work with our marketing team on various projects. I mentor adoptive families as they go through the adoption process from application to finalization. I often go to volunteer fairs to recruit new volunteers or to outreach events to offer help to women in need. I also lead the monthly meeting of our Adoptive Family Support Group. My official title is the Ministry Director, and I do lots of stuff.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: Since about June of 2012, so that would be 3.5 years.

Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: My husband Jarad and I had been considering adoption for quite some time. We weren’t quite ready yet, and we weren’t sure if God wanted us to adopt internationally, through DHS, or through a domestic agency. We heard about CPO through a friend from the school where I was teaching. It was a beautiful ministry and right here in Tulsa. We knew we had found His plan for us.

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 requires that adoptive families complete a specific number of hours as part of their adoption process. So that’s why I started. But I’m WAAAAAAAY past that number of hours, and my daughter’s adoption has long been finalized. But now I’m in love with this place and I can’t stop. I love the adoptive families. I love the volunteers. I love the babies. And most of all I love the women and girls that God brings to us.

Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: I love that CPO supports women through their pregnancies but also for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. You really don’t find that with many other agencies. But here at CPO, we’re not just an agency. We’re a ministry. We offer lifelong support groups and licensed counseling to these ladies, and I am so proud of that fact.

Q: What have you learned about yourself since volunteering?
A: I actually LIKE to volunteer! I mean, I really like it. I currently stay home with my daughter, Milly. While I wouldn’t change that for the world, I miss teaching and the special joy it brought to my life. But volunteering at CPO (and a few other local ministries) brings a similar joy. It is just so good to get outside of your own world and spend time helping others. It’s just plain good for my soul.

Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: Oh my goodness. Where to begin? I have met dozens upon dozens of women helped by CPO. Many of them had no where else to turn, had never felt the love of Christ, and were merely surviving day to day before they came to CPO. Now, I see them all the time, thriving, smiling, and spreading Christ’s love to others. One of my favorite things to see around CPO is when a woman who has previously been helped by CPO decides she wants to volunteer here too. What a joy to see those who were previously helped reach out to help others, too!

Q: What would you say to anyone considering becoming involved in CPO?
A: Get with it! Don’t wait. We always need more volunteers and it’s never too soon to start being the literal hands and feet of Christ. You won’t regret it!

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Retro CPO: “This Day Could Be My Last”

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 Teresa, a beautiful birth mother. It was written in spring of 2008.

I look inside myself, desperate to see-
on a mission to discover the “brand new” me.

Am I so different than I was before,
when crack was my god and his servant a whore.

In my memories, I can see the streets.
I feel the loneliness, despair, and defeat.

My body was always exhausted.
I was forever on the move,
money to make,
things to take,
not a second to lose.

The trick was to stay in motion,
not to let thoughts enter my head.
There was a baby growing inside of me.
ALIVE,
when I was so dead.

Did I know I was hurting the baby?
I had to be aware.
The problem was deep inside of me.
I didn’t have the ability to care.

I moved without direction,
no concern for my path.
Why plan for the next day,
when today could be my last.

……….

The following is the “rest of the story”, as told by Cheryl Bauman in 2008.

At that point, Teresa called out to God and asked Him to send someone into her room at Hillcrest, someone that she could trust. Within seconds, He sent a wonderful nurse into her room, and within an hour, I was at the hospital with life books and a promise that CPO would not only find the perfect family for her baby boy, but that we would provide her with all she needed to turn her life around.
Today, Teresa has an excellent job, is growing emotionally and spiritually, and trusts the Lord with her life. She has an awesome relationship with her son’s adoptive parents, and has a renewed relationship with two of her daughters, who live in another state. She has 10 months of being clean and sober, and lives in our transitional home. Gone are the days of being in prison, using drugs to numb the pain of an excruciatingly horrid childhood, and making money however she could. Today, Teresa has begun to believe us when we tell her how precious she is to God, and to us. When I look at her, everything CPO has done to minister to girls and women in crisis pregnancies in the last 25 years seems totally “worth it.” God is so incredibly faithful.

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“I pray that God, the source of hope, will fill you completely with joy and peace because you trust in Him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 NLT


Retro CPO: Cheryl Said

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 Cheryl Bauman, our founder and executive director. It was written in winter of 2007, but is still a very powerful message, even today.

As a very young girl in Chandon, Nebraska, the highlight of my week was listening to a radio program called “Unshackled.” It took place on Rush Street in Chicago, and centered on the lives of men and women who were addicted to alcohol and how they had been “set free” by the power of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I just could not get enough of those amazing stories.
Last night, one of CPO’s therapists, Jane Waters, spoke to our girls on the topic of forgiveness. Actually, she had prepared for an entirely different topic, but God told her she had not finished the session she had begun on forgiveness, four weeks earlier. As Janey began to minister to the girls, we saw individual girls forgive:

  • a man who had raped her, and family members who gave her no support
  • the girls at school who abandoned her when she became pregnant
  • fathers who had never been there for their daughters, physically or emotionally, and who continue to disappoint and hurt them
  • a mother who allowed many boyfriends to beat her children, resulting in their subsequent permanent removal from her and their home
  • men who had abused them physically, sexually, and mentally
  • family members who sided with the perpetrators, not the victims
  • brothers who had molested them
  • THEMSELVES, for the decisions they had made to choose multiple sexual partners, abuse drugs and alcohol, and repeatedly choose men who abuse them

Never in my life have I witnessed so much pain and agony- and so much healing, peace, and joy as these girls forgave the above-mentioned people. It was like watching an onion be peeled, layer after layer.
Does this mean that these girls should forget all of this and be in the presence of these people? Absolutely NOT.
As Janey reminded all of us, forgiveness is NOT:

  • forgetting
  • condoning
  • absolution
  • a form of self-sacrifice
  • an indication that you trust the person now
  • dependence upon the other person

She also reminded us that forgiveness IS:

  • an act of the will, not of the heart
  • a by-product of an ongoing healing process
  • accepting that our desire to punish the other person will only hurt us
  • to be developed into a lifestyle
  • required of a Christian

I only wish that each on of you could have been there to see the transformation in these girls.cpo-16


Retro CPO: His Joy Comes with the Morning

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 a letter written to a grieving family at Cheryl’s request. This particular family had recently experienced a stillbirth of the child they had hoped to adopt, something that unfortunately happens on occasion. This letter also can be of comfort to families who have experienced the heartache of an interrupted adoption. It was written in spring of 2007.

Dear Mr. and Mrs. H.,

Last night I had a dream about a baby who died right after birth. In the dream, my wife, Lynn, and I were in the hospital, holding the baby, but the baby couldn’t survive and died.

As I thought about why I was having this dream, I recalled the experience we had about 10 years ago in Hillcrest Hospital, holding a baby girl who was born prematurely- a girl we were planning to adopt. The girl died shortly after birth, as Lynn was holding her. It was a heart tearing time for us, and it took time to overcome the grief of the experience. Lynn still has ongoing contact with the birth mother and grandmother. They consider Lynn one of their closest confidants, and they call her to invite her to birthday parties and such. Our pain was quelled through time and prayer.

But the greatest blessing that came out of this experience is that some months later Cheryl was alerted to a baby that had just been born, and the mother told the hospital staff she wanted to place the baby for adoption. The hospital called Cheryl, and because of our recent experience, Cheryl thought of us. We got a call the day the baby was born, asking if we wanted to adopt. Although the baby we lost was a girl, and this new baby was a boy, we had a sense that we should proceed and adopt the boy.

We have two birth children, and three adopted children. Of all our five children, this boy who came from out of nowhere has the most pleasant disposition. He is always optimistic, friendly, singing to himself, and simply fun to be with. His teachers and others are always commenting to us what a remarkable child he is. He became a Christian at an early age, and he loves the Lord. He is simply a joy to have as a child, and we consider him (as we do all our children) a gift from God. We will celebrate his 9th birthday this Sunday.

I share these things with you, not knowing you, because I believe God allowed me to have that dream last night to bring all this to memory. And then I saw Cheryl’s email below with the news of your tragedy. We don’t know how God will work in your circumstances, but I am convinced of one thing – He will work in your circumstances. And, in His way, He will eventually turn this sorrow into joy. Please be encouraged – He will bring comfort as only He can. And you never know ho He will use this in your life and your birth mom’s life. We will be in prayer for you and the birth mom.

In Him,
Bruce Cluttercpo-14


Retro CPO: A Poem for My 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 a poetic tribute to a specific birth mother, written by one of our CPO adoptees, Kristen, in winter of 2006.

My mom has always told me
That you loved me from the start.
You’ve always thought about me
Even though we had to part.

I called you “birthday mommy,”
I knew you gave me birth.
I thought that I was lucky,
I had two mothers on this earth.

I’m glad you chose my family,
I love my mom and dad.
I know the choice was hard for you,
And sometimes you felt sad.

So I want to say “thank you,”
Though I know it caused you strife.
I’m very, very grateful
That you chose to give me life!

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Retro CPO: Thank You

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 a letter to Cheryl Bauman, written by a birth grandmother, in Fall of 2006.

Dear Cheryl,

I love being a grandma! I can have such a horrid day and feel emotionally drained, but when I see my grandbaby, I am recharged and totally zoned out in grandma land. It feels so good to be around Zachary. I love that little boy sooooo much that I just want to gobble up those cheeks forever. He is such a joy in my life, and a joy and blessing to my daughter and the adoptive family.

The adoptive family, Dennis and Melissa, allow us to be a part of little Zachary’s life. His birth mother, Michelle, watches him through the day once a week during the summer. During school periods, the adoptive family creates times that we can spend with this amazing little boy. They have never said “no” to us seeing him, and it is so very apparent to us that little Zachary belongs to them. They love him, play with him, and nurture him just as if he were their own biological son.

Since I’m at work while Michelle is watching Zachary during the summer days, I have her video him listening to me talk over the speaker phone to him. I don’t want him to forget my voice. He might not get to see me much during the summer because I’m so busy, but at least when I do see him, he can match my voice up with my face and give his grandma a big smile.

When I am at Dennis and Melissa’s house with my daughter, I see my grandson’s sweet little face light up with joy with his mom and/or dad come home. Little Zachary has a  big brother, Mason, who adores his little brother.

It’s been almost nine months since Zachary was born. Going backwards in time to my daughter’s decision about keeping the baby or making an adoption plan was a difficult time period. She fought her own desires and emotions to keep her child and put this sweet, little, innocent baby ahead of herself. She was then faced with answering and sorting through difficult questions of what was best for her child. In the end, she decided her child needed to have the benefits of a two-parent, Christ-centered family in his everyday life who are financially stable, drug and alcohol free, and emotionally ready to love someone else’s baby. Once my daughter made her decision, there was no turning back. No matter how emotionally difficult her decision had been, she stayed focused on the baby’s needs and not her own selfish thoughts or feelings. She was truly amazing.

I’m very proud of my daughter. She mad a wise and difficult decision that I could not do when I became pregnant with my first child at age 17. I, too, was unmarried. I raised my son the best I could, but because I had not been raised with the nurture, love, and the right kind of attention that all children need, I really did not have a clue how to provide that for my own son. Unfortunately for my son, he was raised by a very immature, emotionally unstable mother–me. The real story here is about the unborn child. He is the one who cannot make decisions about his life, and is at the mercy of his birth mother. If I could do it all over again, and I knew that I could be a part of my son’s life while he was growing up, I so would place him with a loving, Christ-centered family that I could hand pick myself… just like Michelle did.

Had Zachary been raised by his birth mother, his life would be so different. HIs birth father is very troubled. He is mentally ill and self medicates with street drugs. He also has anger problems, is controlling, and gets in trouble with the law.

My daughter has moved on with her life and does not have any contact with the baby’s birth father. She has decided that although she still has deep feelings for this troubled young man, she is not going to let anything jeopardize her happiness or her visitation with her son. She is now dating a Christina young mad who treats her like the center of the universe. She very much feels like a mother for Zachary. She is very protective and close to him, just like a mother should be. Michelle is a senior this year and plans to go to college next year and become a dentist. All of the promises made by the birth father are gone and have  faded long ago, but it has been for the best, because now Zachary is free from having to live in turmoil with a father who isn’t stable and makes all of the wrong decisions, and a mother who is trying to finish school, go to college, and work at the same time, so that her future may be secure on her own some day. My daughter’s life is back on track, and she feels great about her son and her future. I see a happy ending to this story, grandma included.

What I never thought possible in a million years came true for my pregnant, unwed, teenaged daughter, Michelle. She had a baby boy and placed him with a lovely Christian couple to raise as their own, and made the decision to only date young men who had a plan for their lives. These are two huge blessings that I hand on to each day and thank God for!

Thank you, Cheryl, for allowing God to lead you in your mission with CPO. This is an awesome organization. I cannot begin to say thank you enough for all of the help through Michelle’s pregnancy, labor, the emotions, the FREE counseling, and everyone’s thoughts and prayers.

Signed,
Grandma

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Retro CPO: From the Heart

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 an email sent to Cheryl from a birth mother, R, in the fall of 2005.

Cheryl,
Wow! I am online, and searching under links for crisis pregnancy, because the number I had for you didn’t work, and look where it gets me! Your email address! This is so awesome! I know you remember me. It’s been so long since I have heard your voice or seen your face, but you know that I think about you and CPO and all the help you’ve given me in the past, almost every single day.
In fact, I wouldn’t be here today if not for your organization and the simple acts you perform for young, single pregnant women with nowhere to turn. I talked to Lynn about 2 years ago now, and told her about how I was doing. At that time, I was working, attending church, and doing everything I could for my two children, M and C. And then all of a sudden, I took a turn for the worse. I got back with my ex, and became pregnant again.
Seems horrible, doesn’t it, that I could get back with such a monster and attempt to ruin my kids’ (and mine!) already fragile lives and bring another being into the world? But things got better (after I ended the relationship, which had begun again in September 2003) after I kicked him out of our apartment in November 2003.
I wasn’t alone in this pregnancy, Cheryl. I met wonderful people while working at Lowe’s Home Improvement, while I was still pregnant with my youngest son, B. One of those people is Shawna, my best friend in the whole world, my sister in Christ, my reason for renewing my faith in our Lord Jesus. She has no children, and the only reason we became friends was her strong faith in God and her willingness to help people. Shawna and her husband, Larry, have been such inspirations to me.
I only wish that I could highlight other girls’ lives with hope, like Crisis Pregnancy Outreach did for me. You have helped me, even when you knew that I wasn’t on the right path, even when you knew I was putting myself, a man, and his and my needs before God and before my children, who came first in my life.
Your organization gave me so much strength, when I thought I wouldn’t make it, when I had no courage, even when I was miles and miles away from you, in a whole different state, to still be determined, to still attempt to walk the path of righteousness, to hope when no hope seemed real and available to me, for my life and my children’s lives, and now look! I have three beautiful children, a wonderful and safe place to live, marvelous friends and family with whom I share my support, and my loving God who forgives me at every turn and whim. God is good, all the time!

Love in Christ,
R

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Retro CPO: From My Heart to Hers

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 an adoptive mother, Shonni Hassoldt, in the summer of 2005.

As I walked into the hospital room where I knew she lay, I felt so unsure, nervous, and hesitant. In one of the most wonderful times of my life, how should I respond to the one who just gave birth to our little boy and had made the painful and courageous decision to give that precious child to another to raise?

For years, Steve and I had hoped to be chosen by a birth mother to parent her baby. Yes, we have six children, yet deep inside we knew that God had more for us. With excitement and a determined trust in God’s best, we waited. Finally, on December 1, 2004, we received the exciting news that a birth mother had chosen our family for her baby, which was due any week!

I felt so blessed, but even more than that, I felt very honored to be chosen by this woman I had never met. I wanted to somehow communicate what was in my heart: not just gratitude, but a deep feeling of God bringing our hearts together in a uniquely special way, through the wonder of adoption.

Now, two weeks later, on the threshold of her hospital door, I trembled with the excitement of seeing our baby and our birth mother. With a quick prayer that I would say and do the right things to comfort her and help her feel at ease, I walked in with our 11-year-old daughter, who had come with me.

There she was. I walked right up to her and hugged her. She was so beautiful and so gracious. Before my eyes was a stranger, yes. However, she was just a woman, like me, only in a different situation. How I admired and wondered at her strength! She had the courage to make an adoption plan for her baby, choosing lovingly to endure her own pain. We spent time talking and getting to know one another. She smiled and talked and put ME at ease. I was so anxious to see the baby, but it was almost an hour before they brought him in. Finally, there he was, and I hesitated again. What was my role in this situation? I wanted to rejoice over our new baby, and I wanted SO MUCH not to forget this precious lady who had just given birth to him and loved him deeply. God in His GREAT LOVE helped us find our places in a little hospital room. What were those places? Two women openly adoring the miracle of this tiny little baby and sharing the deeply intimate love of two mothers.

Now, our little boy is six months old, and like all children, he is a blessing and a gift from the Lord. We all enjoy him so much. I love sharing with our birth mother what our little boy is doing, what he looks like, and how everything is going. She will always be a part of us. She gave us the most precious gift one could give, and she will always hold a piece of my heart. And, in my heart, there will always be a place that belongs only to her. Our baby is a blessing, but the true miracle took place in a little hospital room, when God brought two mothers together, and a baby found home.

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Retro CPO: Cheryl Said!

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 our founder, Cheryl Bauman, in the Spring of 2005.

I always look forward to the CPO Adoptive Family Support Group meetings, which are held each month. This group is made up of families that have already adopted children through CPO, or are waiting to adopt. The room that we use at Christian Chapel is always completely full of happy adults, adorable toddlers, and precious newborn babies. The couples are always anxious for the first meeting that is held after their little one is born. This child is the answer to their prayers, and they know that no one will be more excited than other parents who have experienced the pain of infertility, and the fulfillment of their petitions to God. I really cannot, adequately, describe the love that is in that room. As we go around the room, each family speaks tenderly of their little one’s birth mom. They speak about how much they love her and what a hero she is. They talk about the time they have spent with her, the phone calls, and the letters. There are always a few families who tell of their concern over not hearing from their birth mom. They ask the others to remember her in their prayers. The outpouring of love always warms my heart, and I leave refreshed and energized. I believe that these families are examples of open adoption at its very best.

Instead of seeking to avoid a relationship with their child’s birth family, these adoptive families in CPO choose to maintain contact and develop an ongoing relationship. They see the birth family as part of their extended family. I am so grateful that adoption has changed so much in the last 20 years. Always and ever, we must remember that these little ones have two families: their birth families and their parents who raise them to be all that God created them to be. Praise God that these children will grow up knowing about their birth families and these incredibly courageous young women who not only gave them life, but a life with a wonderful family in a two-parent home. I believe that God blesses those things that are done in the light.

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It has been ten years since Cheryl wrote the above note in her newsletter, but the Adoptive Family Support Group still meets. Even if you haven’t attended in years, please feel welcome to join us on the 3rd Thursday night each month. Those that are still in the infancy of their open adoptions would love to hear the wisdom that comes from those who have been doing this for 10 (or even 20) years!


Retro CPO: My Story

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 an anonymous birth mother in the Spring of 2005.

I am parenting two girls, who are 8 and 11 years old. I made adoption plans for two girls, who are now 19 months and 7 months. I recently went back to school to become a Dental Assistant. I know that if I had not made adoption plans for the two younger girls, I would not have gone to school.

In December 2002 I discovered I was pregnant. I could not believe the home pregnancy test, so I went to a crisis pregnancy center for another test. I didn’t know what to do, besides cry and be mad! I knew that I was not capable of raising another child on my own. The nurse gave me a list of adoption agencies, told me that CPO did open adoptions, and that I would be able to choose a family. I was so worried about the fact that both the birth father and I are Native Americans. I knew the baby must be placed with a family of the same tribe. [Editor’s Note: Some parts of the law have changed since then, but placing NA babies is still quite regulated.] I was afraid that would make it hard to find a family, but it was not a problem.

I put off calling Cheryl for several days. I felt so ashamed that I did not feel capable of parenting this baby, despite the face that I was taking care of my older girls. When I met with Cheryl, she assured me that I was making the loving choice for all of us, and I felt a lot better.

I met the adoptive family and felt good about placing my baby with them. When I went into labor, I called them, and they arrived in time for her to be born. At first, I felt hurt knowing that I would not be parenting M. I didn’t want to leave the hospital. My biggest concern was that I wanted her to know that I love her. I did not want her to grow up hating me.

Shortly after giving birth, I became pregnant again. I called Cheryl, and began meeting families. I knew instantly that the third family I met was perfect, even though they did not have as much “Indian blood” as I had hoped! The adoptive mother and I talked a lot and she seemed so real. I felt comfortable with the whole family.

While I was in my early stage of pregnancy, I decided to go back to school. It was a real struggle, and I had several obstacles in my way. I honestly believe that if I had not had Cheryl and Mary (the adoptive mom) encouraging me and believing in me, I would not have finished.

Making an adoption plan for my babies was the hardest decision I have ever made, but it was the best decision. I know they are very much loved and are being well taken care of. Placing these two children means I can now be the mom I need to be for my older children. And I am so happy that I can see them, and be an important person in their lives.

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