Category Archives: transitional home

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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Volunteers Matter: Thom and Christine Crowe

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 Thom and Christine Crowe, one of our adoptive families who have become very involved.

Q: How do you volunteer with CPO?
A: Christine and I [Thom] love CPO and have looked for any way to volunteer. I help with social media and we both volunteer with the girls at the CPO Transition House and Christine did a brief stint as the house mom and I helped quite a bit with the recent gala fundraiser.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: We started volunteering with CPO in March of 2015.

Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: Kinda funny story, Christine was cleaning out her old emails a few weeks ago and came across an email thread between the two of us about adopting and we talked quite a bit about CPO back in 2006. We weren’t ready yet but, unbeknownst to either of us, the seed had been planted in our brains. Fast forward to 2014, we decided we were ready to begin the adoption process and a family we knew had adopted through CPO recommended that we fill out our application. We applied and were accepted as a waiting family. As we learned more and more about the organization, we fell in love. The mission was something we could get behind and we jumped in with both feet and haven’t looked back!

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with CPO vs. other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: My mom had me when she was a teenager and my sister had our nephew when she was 18, just out of high school. One thing I learned from this was that when a girl has an expected pregnancy, she needs love and support. There are other agencies that do that, but something about CPO just stuck with us. Once we learned it was a 100% volunteer agency and no one was paid so that all the money raised goes straight to the girls, I was sold.

Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: Having a family is really important to both Christine and me and adoption has always been something on my heart. As we’ve been able to work with and get to know the girls in the transition house, we’ve grown to care for them. They’re special girls and they are why we do what we do. We started out volunteering because we were supposed to, but now the birth moms are our passion.

Q: What have you learned about yourself since volunteering?
A: I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned is that I’m a huge pushover!  I’m not the best at saying no which is why I think we’re a great fit to befriend the girls and do fun stuff with them.  I should probably work on that before I have a teenager at home, but there’s plenty of time for that.

Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: For me, probably the best gift we could have asked for came in the form of our birth mom and we know God was involved with how we met her. On a Friday night back in August, Christine and I had plans to go out.  A message was placed on the CPO Volunteer Facebook group about a girl who needed a ride from a dance back to the Transition House. Neither of us could shake the need to go, so we canceled our plans and got ready to go pick her up. We were waiting to meet a birth mom who was living in the house and wanted to interview us so we made sure it wasn’t her or any sort of conflict of interest for us to go, which it wasn’t but I’m a bit paranoid and a rule follower. We picked up who would be our birth mom and hit it off with her. She and Christine clicked really well and when we dropped her off, Christine, who is not a terribly emotional girl, started crying. Some connection was made. We were supposed to meet with the other birth mom and got the call while waiting for her at a restaurant that she picked another family. While there, we ran into Cheryl Bauman who had wonderful words of encouragement for us. The next day we got a call that the girl we had driven wanted to meet us. We went to dinner and she picked us as her adoptive parents. Since then spent time with her, we have been able to get to know her and now love her so much. She’s an invaluable part of our lives and our family now. We know God put it on our hearts to meet her that night and we’re so thankful we answered.

Q: What would you say to anyone considering becoming involved in CPO?
A: In whatever capacity you can, do it. If you can volunteer, there are unimaginable ways to make an impact. If you want to adopt and have a heart for the birth moms, this is the place to do it. CPO gives them and you the resources you need for a successful open adoption. If you don’t have time but have financial resources, give. CPO is a good steward of the gifts they are given. Just get involved. If you’re not sure or have questions, reach out and come see what CPO is doing. You’ll be sold hook, line, and sinker just like we are!

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Volunteers Matter: Jackie Potter

Crisis Pregnancy Outreach has been 100% run by volunteers since its inception more than 30 years ago. No one has ever received a salary, which enables CPO to make an even bigger difference in the lives of Tulsa area women. We know that volunteers matter, and to honor them we periodically interview and highlight one of our volunteers. This week we hear from another long-time volunteer, Jackie Potter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Jackie Potter


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


How YOU Can Help

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Newsletters
Provide assistance preparing newsletters for mailing.

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

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

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

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

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The CPO Gala: A Night of Huge Importance

Written by Angela McLaughlin

When a woman comes to Crisis Pregnancy Outreach, a tremendous weight can be lifted from her shoulders. She will receive love, understanding, compassion and assistance throughout her entire journey. This assistance comes in many forms. It may be something as simple as clothing to wear during her pregnancy, or something as large as a safe environment to live in during and after choosing to make an adoption plan for her child. Some women need help to keep the lights on at their homes; some women simply need the comfort of a shoulder to cry on. Whatever the needs of the women who come through CPO’s doors are, they will be met. I write from experience, as someone who has been truly touched and changed by the help I received from this organization.

Like many non-profits, CPO holds an annual fundraiser, which allows them to continue their amazing ministry. It’s an inspiring evening, filled with stories from birth mothers, adoptive families and their children, volunteers, and women who are parenting their children. It’s a chance for the many lives that have been transformed by CPO to come together and celebrate this amazing, life affirming organization.

Unlike many other organizations, no one at CPO receives a salary. Volunteers who care deeply about the mission and the families they serve are the driving force behind all the amazing things that CPO accomplishes. And the same goes for the Gala. As Stephanie Johnson (a member of the gala planning committee) told me, “The secret to putting the gala together is volunteers! There is a committee each year that works for months on every little detail. Other volunteers help by picking up donations, working at basket wrap day, setting up the day of the event, working the event and even cleaning up afterward. If it weren’t for our CPO volunteers and the team at Hampton Creative, the Gala would not be possible.”

One of my the most extraordinary and inspiring moments of the Gala each year is the video testimonial. Volunteers work to put together a video, capturing the resilience and strength of the women who have been healed, helped, and loved through their crisis pregnancy. The video is always a show stopper, bringing tears and laughter, and reminding everyone in attendance of the tremendous impact of their help, whether the donation comes in the form of time or money. Stephanie describes it as “the moment we at CPO can share what our ministry is all about and why it is so amazing!”

The response is equally amazing. In 2013, CPO raised $80,000, enough to pay off the Transitional Home, ensuring that women who choose to make adoption plans for their children are able to rest and begin the next chapter of their lives in a safe and loving environment, something some of them have never experienced before. In 2014, CPO raised $100,000, enabling the organization to purchase a van, allowing them to provide reliable transportation to counseling, group meetings, and doctors appointments. This allows the mission of CPO to be delivered in an even more efficient manner, ensuring that no woman has to miss an opportunity for help and healing due to transportation issues.

As a birth mom whose life was changed dramatically by making an adoption plan for my beloved Samuel, I hope to lend my voice to this event for years to come. While the most valuable services provided by CPO are indeed free, it’s difficult to focus on healing when you’re unsure of your living situations, burdened by medical issues, or unable to attend much needed counseling because you don’t have transportation. The CPO Gala is a wonderful and beatific event, with a silent auction, delicious food and fabulous decor. But it’s more than that. It’s a request, a request for the ability to continue to provide birth moms, adoptive families and the children they love with the support that they need and deserve. It’s a party, definitely, but it’s also a vital fundraiser for a cause that truly transforms lives. And what could be more important?

Want to get involved? There are still opportunities to help with this year’s gala. We will have a silent auction prep session (wrapping up the baskets and items) on February 19th from 10-2 at the CPO office. Childcare and lunch are provided.
Help is also needed the day of the gala setting up for the night, working the event and cleaning up. If you would like to help please email stephanie@cpotulsa.org.

Want to attend? All the info you need is included on the invitation below. Here’s the link to purchase tickets: cpotulsa.org/rsvp.

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Transitioning to a Changed Life

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

One of the ways CPO is able to help girls in need is through the transitional home. This is a safe haven for girls (pregnant or otherwise) who need time to “get back on their feet”. While there, girls can go to school, learn how to drive and get a license, get a job, and focus on finding an apartment of their own. They are able to stay for months at a time. Over the years, many lives have been changed while staying in the transitional home. In her 17 months as the current “house mom”, Kris has affected the lives of at least 15 girls. As a volunteer, she says that being the house mom has “given me many blessings, including a family of my own, and blessed me with the desire of my heart to be a mom…and given me many opportunities to share the love of Christ with the girls.” She says some of the very helpful things volunteers can do are provide transportation; help girls prepare resumes and various applications for jobs, school, or housing online; work around the house, like gardening or cooking; and even spend time with the girls, like a walk or a bike ride.

All help is appreciated, and even the smallest efforts can change lives. One touched life comes to us in the story of R*, who moved out of the transition house almost a year ago, after staying there for about 6 months. She says, “It was really good. A lot of [the advice and guidance] sank in a while later, but Kris just taught me a lot of life lessons. She’s my mom… my 5th or 6th or 7th mom. I have so many moms from CPO. She has influenced me a lot with just getting my life together now, even after I moved out of the transitional house. I had been running from myself and from God and she kind of, you know, helped me confront a lot of issues I had. House meetings often had a lot of tears.” She says that she really appreciated the volunteers that were able to provide transportation for her, adding, “It’s really important, and such a relief to have that reassurance from one of the volunteers.” She wants me to report that she now has her own stable apartment, she depends on herself, she has a job, and pays all her own bills. She attends church as often as possible and appreciates the therapy sessions provided by CPO. She is happy to add that of 600 people at her job she is already ranked as the 2nd most successful agent. More than anything else, R seems to be proud of her independence. “Every little thing that happened while I was at the transitional house has affected my life in so many different ways it’s hard to talk about it all in a short amount of time. Hearing how volunteers decided to help our just out of the goodness of her heart is so touching. It means so much.”

F* also has a success story from her time at the transitional house. She was there for about 3 months, and also mentioned how much she appreciated the transportation that was provided. But for F, it was more than just a ride to an appointment. “It was nice to have somebody to talk to, someone who cares.” She says Kris encouraged her daily that she could have a better life than she was previously living, and now “I have an apartment with my son and no one is yelling at me or throwing things at me, and there is just a big difference.” She also appreciates her newfound independence. “God definitely put me there for that time in my life, and CPO is just… awesome.”

Delores is a former house mom, and Kris says she is still a wonderful mentor to her. Among her many gems of advice: “My heart is still with the home, even though I’m not there. We should all continue to pray for them and even though we may not always see the change at first or if some of [the girls] leave quicker than we’d like, we must remember that God has a hand in the life of each girl that crosses that path and that a seed has been planted no matter what we see. As we continue to pray and hold them up, they will become what God intends for them to become.” Well said, Delores. Well said.

 


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