Category Archives: Uncategorized

Letter from a grateful Birth Mother

Hello everyone, thank you for taking the time to read my personal story.   My name is Dorothy Smart and I am a CPO birth mother.  I came to Tulsa 4 months pregnant, broken, scared and had just graduated a 7 month stay at a rehabilitation center.  I needed help for myself and my unborn child.  CPO lovingly took me into their care.  I will forever be grateful.

I found CPO through an adoption agency in Tallahassee FL, who assisted me in placing my first child in an open adoption.   Within two weeks of hearing of CPO, I found myself flying into Tulsa, a place I knew nothing about.  I was met right away by Delores White, former housemother of the CPO transitional home, and a few other pregnant women.  Every one of them was so friendly to me and guided me all the way to my new home.  I successfully graduated from my CPO program in about 22 months.

My time spent in the CPO ministry was life altering.  So much good came out of my time there.  While under the care of CPO, I was cared for in so many ways.  Our transitional home was a beautiful showcase home so we did our best at all times to keep it very clean because at any given time we would have to house a pregnant woman in a crises situation.

I came to CPO hungry and lost, CPO filled me with constant love, structure, and discipline.   I was never in need of anything.  I received help with everything from clothing, food, toiletries, dental and medical care, professional counseling, and mentors. This was all given to me for free.  CPO assisted me with every legal aspect concerning the process of making my open adoption finalized.  This was no easy task because my baby was going to Florida, yet CPO handled it so smoothly.  Even throughout my 19-hour labor and delivery, CPO never left my side. Thank you to Delores White, my 2 doulas, and many CPO family members that stopped in to encourage me.  I was treated like a queen during my stay at the hospital.   CPO graciously housed my adopted family from Florida so they also could be with me every step of the way through my labor and delivery and thank you Kobi Redman for housing, feeding, and entertaining us for the two-week clearance time it took for my adoption to be processed.

I stayed at the transitional home for an additional 17months after I placed my baby.   During my time there, I learned how to focus on myself and learned how to live a positive life especially in a Godly manner.  I was transformed from the inside out.  I was able to work a couple of part-time jobs and attend Tulsa Community College for a semester and a 1/2.  When my time came to an end at CPO, now 11 years ago, I flew to my new and current home of Charlotte NC to live with my aunt for a few months.  I was under her strict and disciplined guidance.   I was able to find my first job within a month.  I kept that job for about 4 1/2 years.   I fell in love with my now husband within a few months of moving to Charlotte….  Things went fast, we had two sons back-to-back right away.  As soon as my boys entered kindergarten, I went back to school where I am currently working on my master’s degree.

In my adoption story, we have always made God our focal point when communicating with each other.   Within our adoption triad we have much love and respect for everyone involved.   We are honored by each other.  I haven’t seen them in 4 years but that’s OK.  I feel as if a reunion could happen soon.  I love my birth daughters.   They are so loving and forgiving with me.  I am so proud of them.  Thank you for letting me share my story of open adoption with you.  We are a community of unity and love.


How CPO led me to Law School

How CPO led me to Law School By Isaac Jacobson, CPO Adoptee

I took the crumpled note shoved in my pocket with my sweaty palm and squished it into the crevices of the dusty stones that formed the Western Wall—the last wall still erect from the Holy Temple built in the Biblical period—located in the Old City of Jerusalem, Israel. I was seventeen years old and a senior in high school on our graduation trip to the Holy Land where I stood before this site. Written on this paper I held was a prayer and a desperate wish that I would meet my biological mother for the very first time.

My birth mother is a Middle Eastern Muslim woman who gave birth to me outside of wedlock putting her in danger of an honor killing. Because of the life-and-death circumstances, my birth mother kept me a secret from the man in charge of restoring the family honor: her father. She fled from the Middle East to Oklahoma where I was born. She had a C-section to reduce signs of childbirth, placed me in the arms of my adoptive parents, and returned to her homeland. To this day, twenty-one years later, I have never met her.  My senior trip to Israel brought to the surface all of the emotions I have felt and experienced my entire life regarding my adoption. I have come to realize that the injustice that women in the Middle East face every waking moment was the primary reason I was separated from my birth family. I went to Israel seeking my birth mother or anyone I was related to. I was motivated with a desire stronger than anything I have ever wanted and with a burden that formed a hole in my heart for my biological family. I did not find her, nor did I find anyone related to me. However, what I did discover was ultimately greater. I discovered a fiery spirit to expose and mend the bleeding injustices not only in the Middle East but in the United States as well.

I returned from Israel with this passion and channeled it into my collegiate studies of International Relations at Oral Roberts University.  The calling to pursue a future in the legal field has become even more imminent
throughout the completion of my college tenure. While there are many fields suitable for mending injustices and progressing society, my passion calls for a profession far more than just “suitable”. I am more confident than ever that my desire for justice is now steering me to my next goal: law school. This is undeniably the route I must pursue in order to maximize my impact for underrepresented voices, like the voice of the Muslim woman who fled. I am certain that my ambition will direct me to a lifetime of goals to achieve and communities to assist. As I seek to begin this new endeavor, I envision the dusty stones that form the Western Wall. Like those steadfast stones of ancient commitment to a higher calling, I am determined to stand to this call.

(excerpts from Isaac’s application to law school.  He will start at The Oklahoma City University School of Law in August, 2021.  CPO is still saving lives!)


New Adoptee Support Group

We have some exciting news to announce!

Beginning in August we will offer an adoptee support group meeting!! We will meet the third Thursday of every month at the same time the adoptive family support group is meeting across the hall.

The last couple of years at the waiting family workshop we have had an adoptee panel and we realize that some of the struggles and joys that adoptees have experienced have been easier with support from others; including other adoptees.

Growing up adopted in the 80s and 90s I didn’t know anyone else adopted and looking back it’s something I longed for. To know someone like me. One of the great joys of open adoption is my kids not only see their birth families but also, through our involvement with CPO, have become friends with other adoptees. But as these adoptees hit 12, 13, 14+ (even in open adoptions!) we find them having some unique struggles that would be best addressed in a support group with other adoptees who have gone before them.
This group will be a safe place to ask questions of other adoptees, to express sadness and even anger associated with adoption. But mainly it will be a place to make friends with other adoptees.

We’d love to see you starting August 19th at 7pm. This support group is for any adoptee age 13 -113.

If you have questions please let us know.

Christina Domer
Assistant Director, adoptive mom and adoptee 💜


Cheryl Says for July 2021

I spent part of this weekend with a precious young woman who called me in 1985 from a northern state. She had heard about CPO from an acquaintance in Oklahoma and was in need of immediate help. She was young and pregnant and receiving no support from her family or friends. This young woman was very apologetic as she told me she would need a place to live, arrangements for medical care, a family to adopt her baby, and food, until she found a job. I assured her that we could provide all of that. She packed all of her belongings in her small car and left for Tulsa! Over the next few years, she lived with several wonderful families with whom she still has strong relationships. They poured unconditional love into her life. She made an Adoption Plan for her precious baby and made the decision to live in Tulsa. In a few years, she met the amazing young man who would become her husband. Now, after many years of marriage, they are the parents of 4 very successful adult children. When my dear friend drove off, I shed happy tears and, once again, felt so amazed that God trusts us to love on hurting young women, and pour into their lives.

In His Service,

Cheryl


CPO asks, “Why do you serve?”

We asked Rhonda Fisher, CPO assistant Director and Board Member, Why do you serve at CPO?

Pictured is Birth Mother Amanda, daughter Milly and Rhonda Fisher

I always knew I wanted to adopt someday, but I just didn’t know how/when/where. When I first heard about CPO, I have to be honest… I was glad it was local, that newborns were their most common adoption, and that it was very affordable. The whole “open adoption” thing was a foreign concept to me but I’m always up for a good adventure so that was fine.
Our first adoption experience at CPO was very difficult, and not just because it ended in an interruption. The personalities just weren’t meshing and I knew it would be hard but I remained resolved to have an open adoption relationship and trusted that God would equip me for the difficulties along the way.
After it was interrupted, we were eventually chosen by a different expectant mother and she was an absolute ray of sunshine. Our personalities definitely meshed! That made my willingness to have an open adoption for the rest of my life much easier, but more importantly, my mindset had changed. Throughout the course of our first adoption effort, I had begun to appreciate CPO’s ministry efforts. I had come to truly love the birth mothers I met at group, including the one that had chosen me, personality differences or not.
My first adoption at CPO was not of a baby… it was of a ministry mindset. I began to see CPO as a great way to serve not only the first mother of my eventual daughter, but also many, many other women, children, and families.
I serve on the board of directors, but I have a much more important job at CPO: mentoring prospective adoptive families. I know many families come to CPO for the same reasons I did: it’s close, it’s newborns, it’s cheap. My job is to guide them through the process. That means answering logistics questions, sure. But on a much deeper level, I’m hoping God will use me to have them adopt a ministry mindset too. I do this by being sure to prepare them for the inevitable difficulties, encouraging them to manage their expectations, reminding them of the birth mother’s needs, and convincing them to allow God to grow them throughout this time.
Mentoring families is my favorite job at CPO, and it’s because I know how extremely important they are in the adoption triad and I want to prepare them to fulfill their role to the best of their abilities. It’s the most rewarding volunteer job I’ve ever had, and I don’t plan to ever stop. It’s too good.

Sibling Love in Adoption

Sibling Love in Adoption by Ahnah Katsis

I have never felt any different growing up being adopted and having biological siblings. I am one of those people who is obsessed with my family and very close to all my siblings. My parents adopted 3 kids before having 2 biological children. I am the oldest and always felt the same amount of love from our parents, sometimes knowing that I am the favorite child.

There is a term in the adoption world and it is called “gotcha day”. It refers to the day that a child was adopted and a lot of families have little celebrations on that day. My family has never celebrated that day with any of us adopted kids and a lot of kids I know that were also adopted do not celebrate it. I feel as if it is almost more negative than positive. I do not need a day to celebrate when I was adopted. When my parents took me home from the hospital after I was born is the day that I believe I was adopted. I feel like if we did celebrate it, then it is just a constant reminder that I am a little different than their biological children. I feel like for any adopted child when they have biological siblings, all the kids are equal in their parents eyes and do not need to be celebrated extra because we are all loved the same. 

My relationship with not only my biological siblings, but all my siblings, is great! I think sometimes people might think its hard to be super close to their family when there are 8 kids, but I have always been. I would pick hanging out with my family over friends 9/10 times because I love being around them. There even is a huge age gap between me and my youngest brother. I am 23 and he is 7, yet I love hanging out with him and being with him because it brings me so much joy. Hanging out with any of my siblings does. My youngest sister is 14 and one of the biological siblings and she is one of the funniest people I have ever met and we get along just how any sisters would. We will always love each other and have the other’s back, but we sure can fight about the most petty things but still love each other the same. There are many similarities between me and my siblings. Just the way we act, talk, or sometimes look. People have told me that me and my youngest sister look alike which is crazy to me. Obviously every person is different but the way our parents raised us we act and talk the same. 

I would have to say that the reason I am so close to my siblings is because of the way our parents raised us. They did/are doing an amazing job. They never forced us to be close and act the same, but just in the way we have grown up we do. I think it is so important to be close to your siblings and I am so lucky that I am because I don’t know how I would live if I wasn’t. My family is the best thing that has ever happened to me and I wouldn’t want to change it for the world.


Humbled by your generosity!

$280,565!  Wowsers!  That is the amount of money our generous donors gave to CPO during the Christian Chapel matching challenge as of Jan.4th.  A big shout out to Christina Chapel for the $100k and so much thanks to ALL of our other donors!!  When we first discussed moving to a new location, we had no idea how many doors God was going to open!  But we have gone from an idea in February 2020 to a dream come true by December 2020.  I personally am so humbled and excited to see what God has planned for 2021.  We will be moving into the new building on Jan. 10th.  I hope everyone will come out and take a look around and I ask for many prayers for 2021.  Please pray that we will clearly see Gods will for 2021 and that every woman who needs us will find us.  We are ready to serve!


This blog post was written by a CPO adoptive father and we appreciate his perspective.

Starting a Family
We started discussing adoption before we got married.

Christina was adopted and she wanted adoption to be a part of our future family. I agreed. It sounded like an excellent plan to me, after we had a couple of “our own” kids.

Six months after getting married, we decided we were ready to try to have a baby. We were in it for the long haul. However, in my mind, the long haul meant it would take up to six months for Christina to get pregnant. After over two years and no pregnancy, we decided we needed to seek professional help to get pregnant. We looked into fertility treatments, but the cost and uncertainty was a drawback. We decided to start exploring adoption a little earlier than originally planned.

Thankfully we had some good friends at church who had explored adoption and had specifically looked into open adoption. They loaned us some literature and shared with us what they had learned. We had so many different lines of thought. Did we want to pursue fertility treatments that may not be successful? Did we want to look more into adoption and the cost involved? Was open adoption as scary as it seemed initially? My mind always seemed to go back to “what’s the worst that could happen with each scenario?”

Christina and I spent a lot of time discussing the options, praying, asking for advice, and being frustrated with our situation. It was hard to see God’s hand at work in our lives as our friends were getting pregnant around us. It sucks to be simultaneously excited and saddened by your closest friends’ great news.

Open adoption
Eventually Christina and I came to the decision to pursue adoption.

We looked at several agencies in the area and the adoption types they offered. We looked at international adoption, closed adoption, open adoption, foster-to-adopt, etc. I probably took into consideration the financial cost of each option more than Christina did. It probably isn’t the best criteria to focus on when adopting, but it is something that needs to be considered and discussed. We settled on open adoption through Crisis Pregnancy Outreach.

The idea of being chosen by a birth mother to be the parents to their child sounded very noble to me at the time. We were more than a little concerned that we would be chosen by a birth mom who would try to take advantage of us or change her mind. Or that a birth father would step in and refuse to let an adoption go through.

Nevertheless, during a major winter storm (that snowed us in at our apartment) we completed our application and sent it off. I remember it feeling like forever from that day until we met Angela, but it really was less than three months. We know families who have waited years. 

Angela
After one or two interviews with birth mothers who chose other families, Christina got a call about a birthmother who was interested in adoption and she would be at the birth mother support group that night. Christina went that night and was able to meet Angela.

A few days later we all met over a Mexican dinner for the “official” interview. At the end she let us know that she had chosen us to adopt her baby. She was approximately 8 months along so none of us had much time to figure out all of the details. Christina was able to attend some of the check-ups with Angela and go to support group with her. We also met with the birth father, Christopher, which was unexpected when we started the open adoption process. I had a stereotype in mind of what a birth father would be and that stereotype included not wanting to be involved in the process at all. That wasn’t the case. 

Becoming a parent
The day after Memorial Day we met Angela at the hospital early in the morning so the doctor could induce labor.

It ended up being an all day event, but that evening with Christina and me in the room Angela gave birth to Sammy. One of my biggest fears about adoption was that I wouldn’t feel the same bond or love with this child that a natural parent would feel with them. The first time I got to hold him and see that beautiful face those fears left. We held Sammy, we passed him to Angela to hold, we passed him to Christopher, Angela and Christopher’s friends who were there for support held him. We all marveled at this amazing person who was now in the world. 

At the hospital we weren’t exactly sure how to act. We wanted Angela to be able to see Sammy as much as she wanted, but we also didn’t want to force him on her if she needed some time. We erred a little too far on the side of not forcing him on her. Thankfully she had a CPO assistant there to advocate for her and who was able to ask us if she could spend some time with just Sammy. We dropped Sammy off with Angela and headed to the hospital cafe for some food.  It was our first date as parents!

Going home
After a couple of days, everyone was released from the hospital.

We all went out the door together and pulled two cars around to the entrance. Angela got in one car and Sammy was placed in a different car. As I drove away with Christina next to Sammy in the back seat, Christina started sobbing.

I hoped it was a cry of happy relief after an emotional few days, but the truth was she was crying for the separation that had just taken place. It was a separation that allowed us to add a wonderful new member to our family, but it was also a separation of a mother and her child. Although open adoption is a great option and it can be healing for all involved, it never can fully resolve the separation that took place. 

Angela was very patient and forgiving of us as we learned how to be parents and how to integrate birth parents into our family. We were able to get together several times and she got to see Sammy growing. After a couple of years, Christina and I felt the pull to grow our family again.

Stepping out in faith
Again we went the route of exploring fertility treatments.

Whereas the last time we explored fertility treatments we got the impression that it would be a bit of a challenge but not impossible, this time the door was slammed shut. I remember Christina rushing out to the car while I finished some paperwork at the front desk. When I joined her in the car there were a lot of angry tears.

Eventually we pulled ourselves together and went to pick Sammy up from the friends who were watching him and we took a trip to the zoo. We needed to take a break to mourn. It was difficult to do nothing when we wanted a baby as soon as possible, but it was necessary. It was part of God’s plan.

After about six months, we applied at CPO again to adopt. This time was quicker than the first. We barely had our application in when Christina got another phone call. She was at lunch with Angela (for her birthday!)  when she got the call to schedule a meeting with a birth mother and her husband. Technically it was considered a drop-in because the baby was due within a few days. We met the birth parents over dinner that night and two days later we were with them again at the hospital for the birth! Then things got scary…

Life and Death
Abigail was born by cesarean section. During her birth she inhaled a large amount of blood and meconium and struggled to breathe.

She had to be resuscitated and eventually she was intubated and put on a ventilator to help her breathe. Unknown to anyone, Abigail’s birth mom was bleeding internally while they were transferring Abigail to the Children’s Hospital at St. Francis. We were being informed by Abigail’s doctor the long list of issues that she was fighting against in her first hours. It sounded bleak.

She was on a ventilator and they had lowered her body temperature and placed her in a medical coma to help slow down any potential brain damage that might have occurred due to a lack of oxygen. We were told she would be that way for at least 3 days and then they would start to bring her temperature back up and see how she responded. Eventually we made our way to the room they had set up for us.  We were met by two CPO mothers who had personal experience with babies in the NICU. They prayed over us and told us it would be okay.

Hospital days
The next morning after visiting with Abigail and her doctor, we went back to the birth mother’s room only to find it empty.

After asking the nurses and having them confer on what they were allowed to tell us, we found out that she was in the ICU. When we tracked her location down she was also on a ventilator and unconscious. They had performed emergency surgery on her to stop the internal bleeding. It saved her life but a lot of damage had already been done. Thankfully her husband was there by her side. 

We all spent most of the next few days at the hospital. Thankfully we found friends to keep Sammy for us while we spent time with a sleeping Abigail. Personally it was a dark time for me. I thought about things that I didn’t think I was capable of considering. I was mad. Mad at God and mad at Abigail’s birth parents, even though they hadn’t done anything to deserve that anger. I thought through some of the possible long term physical and mental effects on Abigail and how we would live with those. I wondered what would happen if we walked away.

Tested faith
I didn’t have any revelation from God assuring me that things would work out OK, but I know that God is the one who kept me in that hospital room with Abigail.

Those first few days she didn’t cry, she didn’t move, she didn’t open her eyes, and she didn’t even breathe on her own. Somehow God still knitted our hearts to her. I’m grateful He kept us there those first few days because walking away from her would have been the biggest regret of my life. It makes me ashamed to even type those words and know that one day Abigail might read how close I got to giving up on her.

Eventually Abigail woke up and I realized I was already wrapped around her finger.  Her birthmother recovered fully and came to see her in the hospital. Finally, after four weeks in the NICU,  Abigail got to come home with us. 

2020
Although 2020 has been tough, it has also contained two of my very favorite moments.

This spring we were able to get together with Abigail’s biological brothers, sister, and birth parents. It was pretty special to get our big, adoptive family together. Over the summer, Sammy’s birth father Christopher, who lives in California, came back to visit.  He reached out to us and we planned a meet up. Sammy was able to spend time with his birth father and bio sister plus we all got to meet Christopher’s fiancée, Tara. 

Angela remains a constant figure in our children’s lives. She is there for all of us and pours love into our lives. She often takes the kids out for dinner or fun events. We love having her over for movie nights, etc.

Adoption is never easy but always worth it. There have been painful moments, and I’m sure there will be more. We trust that God will continue to carry us through as he has in the past.

 

BIG NEWS! WE ARE MOVING!

We are excited to announce that we will be moving into a new 5800 sq. ft. facility sometime in early 2021!  We are hoping that this new location will make it much easier for clients to find us and increase our visibility.  It also offers us a central location for all our programs and services.  The address is 10207A E. 61st St. in Tulsa.  The build out is underway.  It will include the following spaces: A reception area and check-in desk, a counseling room, an office, 2 bathrooms, a childcare room, a kitchenette “Hang Out” space,  2 large classrooms and a boutique.  We have plenty of room to add an ultra sound space in the future when we are ready to reopen our clinic.  It has many windows, great parking and even a bus stop right out front.  Look for more info to come!


Celebrating 5 years partnering with Life Church!

On Thursday, October 15th, 2020 we were blessed with an extra $5000 gift in celebration of our 5th year partnering with Life Church. Members of Life Church Midtown also presented an annual gift of $23,500. That makes a total of over $64,000 in gifts over the last 5 years! We are so grateful to have over 57 volunteers from Life Church serving in many different ways at CPO!

Thank you Life Church for helping us serve women and children in need in the Tulsa area through your gifts and wonderful volunteers!