Category Archives: Tuesday night support groups

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

This is the final installment in a series of articles featuring an inside look at one of CPO’s recent adoption success stories. Be sure to read Part One and Part Two if you missed them in earlier weeks. 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 open adoption, post birth.
Borg Family: Post birth adoption was very easy for us. There were several times that Kelly would come visit and get her dose of this amazing little person. We continued to make every effort to allow Kelly and her family to be involved in our lives as this is the healthiest thing for all involved. Not to mention Kelly’s extended family are incredible and adopted us as much as we adopted them.
Our adoption is far into the open side of open adoption. We completely trust Kelly and her family with Harper. They take great care of her when they see her and also include our biological son as if the adoption is both ways. This is a relationship that will allow us to walk life with them. There have also been a couple times that Kelly has been able to watch Harper without us being there which is such a blessing. I cannot explain how great it is to know that Harper has so much love on both sides.

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Alaina: How is little Harper doing? Can you tell us some of how you have all adjusted to having a new little one in the house?
Borg Family: Where to start…Harper is amazing. She has been an incredible blessing and an easy baby. There is a sense of completeness when our whole family is together. Trusting in God has a great reward and we are blessed enough to get to enjoy it every day.
The adjustment phase was pretty easy with the exception of our biological son. After having been the only child for 6 years and going through one failed adoption, Mason was pretty apprehensive. He would not touch, talk to, or allow her in his room. It is not surprising though that Harper was able to win him over as she does everyone. Mason makes it a point to run in and be one of the first people she sees. It is something that he looks forward to and we enjoy watching as she will smile back at him and fill his heart.
Since she has been able to interact and coo, she has been nothing less than what our family looks forward to every morning and every evening before bed. She lights up and smiles whenever she sees us and has a way of making us feel the love that was once given to her from the heart of her birth mom. There is this light in her eyes that can only be explained as being from a touch that only God could have done.

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Alaina: Overall, can you sum up your experience with CPO and adoption? How did it compare with your expectations?
Borg Family: I think that an organization like CPO is a rare hidden treasure and I’ve never heard of another ministry like it. It is 100% volunteer ran and the founder, nor anyone else, has ever taken a salary. To me this proves it is truly about the people. Each and every director, assistant, and volunteer has a heart for the women and children that come through the doors. CPO far exceeded any expectations we had, not that we necessarily had any specific expectations. The support that adoptive families give each other is priceless. When you are in a season of sorrow, you are still able to rejoice with a family that has just welcomed a new family member. When you are joyful, you can weep with a family that has just experienced a failed adoption or that is going through trials with birth families. The amount of support offered by CPO is truly unheard of.  Because of the information that CPO provides, we have been able to educate so many people on open adoption and the benefits it has opposed to closed adoption.

Alaina: Can you give us an example of something God did during this process?
Borg Family: I was truly able to put 100% of my trust in God with the interview process, creating life books, home studies, mounds of paperwork, meeting potential birth mothers, finances, etc. There really isn’t any other way to go through an adoption without trusting in Him. We had a few fundraisers to help with adoption expenses but never received enough to cover all of the fees we’d incur. I didn’t stress about where the money was going to come from because from the beginning God told us He would provide. When it came time to pay the agency fees, all the money we had received through fundraising had already been used to cover other adoption related expenses. We never expected that David would receive a bonus because he had only been at his new job less than one year. However, he did. It was more than enough to cover our agency fees. Another time, David was approached to do some side work for an old employer and that helped cover some of the legal bills we received.  If God says He will provide and make a way, He will. It’s as simple as that.

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That’s it for our story about Kelly and the Borg family. Please remember to keep them all in your prayers as they continue to navigate this lifelong journey. And… if  you’ve been inspired by CPO’s part in God’s amazing plan, you can help CPO by donating here. Thanks for your support!


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

This is the first in a series of articles featuring an inside look at one of CPO’s recent adoption success stories. 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: There are a lot of adoption agencies, why did you choose CPO?
Borg Family: We prayed a lot about adoption and where to go. We knew that we were not led to DHS as we did not want to upset the birth order with our biological son and we are not cut out for fostering. After researching (based on what little we know about where we wanted to go with adoption) we found CPO online and noticed the reasonable fees. While it is not about money, it does catch your eye when fees are noticeably lower (thanks to the wonderful hearts that give of their lives and donate their precious time to CPO). Once we started to research CPO and what we came to understand as open adoption it started to grow on us. Open adoption was a foreign concept to us and we were not sure about it at first. With an open mind and open heart, God started to reveal to us the power of open adoption and the restoration that He performs through such things. Once we saw His hand in this, we were committed to CPO.

Alaina: What was the process of adoption like for you?
Borg Family: We started the journey around January of 2013. After God led us to CPO (and sprinkled many divine connections to CPO into our lives) we started the process of paperwork and created our Life Book (a book that portrays who our family is). There were many stressful hours and worrying if we are doing everything right but in the end God had a plan. The plan was not as straight forward as we originally wanted but then again His ways are not our ways.
CPO has a wonderful process in which the birth mom gets to choose the family that is blessed with her child. This is based on looking at Life Books and to our great relief we were finally chosen to be interviewed a few months after submitting all of our info. Before we walked into the interview at the restaurant, we prayed that God would use us in this situation even if it was not to be parents. The interview felt good and we hit it off with the birth mom…yes, it is kind of like going on an awkward blind date which has the potential to completely alter your future. After leaving we had a great feeling and just knew we were going to be chosen. I cannot explain the feeling of being picked to be trusted with caring for a life that is not a product of ourselves. It is an odd mixture of awe, gratefulness, humility, and worry. There was also this odd feeling of God telling us that we were to be a part of the birth mom’s life but not in the expected capacity. It was not long (a few weeks) before we were told that the birth mom was going to parent (due to circumstances outside of everyone’s control). This carried with it an odd feeling of renewed trust in God and devastation at the same time. There was also an amazing story of restoration through this process that we were blessed to be a part of and well…the start of another restoration process that had been formed long before we were ever conceived.
After a lot of healing and time, we received another phone call that we were going to be interviewed again. This time there was more of a reserved excitement. It is hard to fully trust when it has hurt before. When we met the birth mom and birth grandma we were met with…hugs. That is a great way to ease tension and we were instantly relieved (if only a little). As we talked with them the work God had been doing behind the scenes became instantly clear. You see…God works in ways we do not see or understand and this was no different. We found out that the birth grandma had known my (David’s) parents from a church bible study which is an amazing story of its own. I (David) had been asked in the past by my dad to pray for a girl named Kelly that was struggling through some addictions. There are no words to describe the feeling you get in your heart when you realize that God’s plan is coming to fruition right before your eyes. The birth mom and grandma actually recognized David’s parents in the Life Book and through some friends found out more about us. After the interview, we waited for the phone call saying we were picked. While we saw all of the divine connections, there was still a reservation from previous hurts. Once the phone call came saying we were chosen, it started the next phase in the amazing story that God was weaving.

Alaina: What did open adoption look like while Kelly was expecting?
Borg Family: In the beginning Kelly & I (Sheri) would meet for every doctors appointment. Kelly was only 8 weeks pregnant when she chose our family. There were some awkward feelings and moments that required faith to just allow the process to unfold. We would get to know more about each other’s family, friends, and beliefs. As always, God orchestrates some amazing divine connections. We would sometimes meet for dinner or go shopping. The further along Kelly’s pregnancy went, the more we tried to spend time together. We would meet for lunch and have pedicures, or she would just come over and hang out on the couch. The bond that was forming is hard to describe but it was solid. We were able to meet Kelly’s family and she ours. Kelly and her oldest son would come over to our home for dinner and her son would play with our 6 year old. It was really amazing to see how God was connecting two families.2014.05.12-142014.05.12-3

Alaina: Do you have any advice you would like to pass on to an adopting family starting the process of open adoption?
Borg Family: This is a process that is God’s timing for sure. It is very easy to get wrapped up in worry and wonder (all of which are playgrounds of the enemy). There will be times that feel great and other times that make a person wonder if they are missing something or did something wrong. It will be filled with second guesses and questions. You must trust in God’s plan and allow it all to unfold.

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Be sure to check back often to see what happened next 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!


At CPO

At CPO, women feel safe.
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At CPO, children play freely.
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At CPO, volunteers are dedicated.
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At CPO, women learn to trust.
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At CPO, we are together.
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At CPO, we celebrate accomplishments.
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At CPO, we mourn losses.
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At CPO, we live.
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At CPO, we thrive.
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At CPO, lives are changed.
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Extravagant Love

Written by Amie Vetscher

Steven and Kelly Jacobson’s family was unlike most other families that seek to adopt a baby through CPO. When the couple decided to adopt, they already had a household that would certainly be considered plentiful, if not exhausting, by today’s standards—three kids, ages five, four and two years old.

Yet, God’s plan was to bless this couple abundantly more than they could have imagined by guiding their hearts to give and receive love in an extravagant way. “I never, in my wildest dreams, pictured my current life as it is now 20 years ago,” Kelly rejoices. “I would never have imagined I would have seven kiddos, four of which were adopted!”

The call to begin the adoption journey beckoned Kelly persistently. She recalls, “I kept having a reoccurring dream.  I would dream that there were children outside my home in the front yard.  They were sweet kiddos and they really wanted to come inside the house.  But no matter how I tried, I couldn’t open the front door or windows.  It was an unreasonable and silly dream.  After all I had three babies already but I would have this dream most nights.”

When Kelly shared her yearning to adopt with Steven, he had concerns. What if they didn’t bond with an adopted child the same way they had with their biological children? He suggested they become foster parents, which they did. Steven bonded strongly and quickly to the foster baby; although the baby ended up being adopted by relatives, the experience convinced Steven that the bond between a father and his biological kids and adopted kids was exactly the same.

Biological or adopted, a father loves his children equally.

Biological or adopted, a father loves his children equally.

With that confirmation, Steven and Kelly put their life book in to CPO. They were willing to try an open adoption and adopt a baby of color, for which sixteen years ago, there was a great need. They were chosen three weeks later.

Some of the Jacobson kids with Zac's birthmom.

Some of the Jacobson kids with Zac’s birthmom.

Today when the couple sees their family all together they overflow with joy and satisfaction. “Who would have thought they are all ours?  The blonde toe heads with blue eyes, the ones with brown skin and curly hair and the one in between!”

The whole Jacobson crew!

The whole Jacobson crew!

CPO is an important family ministry to the Jacobsons. Through CPO, Kelly helps other couples become parents and supports birth mothers during their pregnancy and in the years after her baby’s birth by leading support group meetings. Even her teenage daughter attends the birth mother support group meetings with her. “She is more of an encouragement to the birth moms than I could ever be,” Kelly states. The Jacobsons are indebted to Patti Schatzmann, who introduced the couple to CPO, and to Cheryl Bauman, who handily facilitated adoptions without the help of any assistants at the time the Jacobsons adopted. The Jacobsons became lifelong friends with Dean & Jeanette Hudgeons whom they met when both couples adopted babies two weeks apart. “I’m not sure I could survive without their friendship and support!” Kelly exclaims. “CPO is like family to us!”

If you are an adoptive family with CPO and would like Amie to tell your story, please contact rhonda@cpotulsa.org for more information.


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.