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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!


Don’t take our word for it!

 

We recently sent a survey out to our clients with this question.

“Do you feel like CPO has served you well? If not, please tell us how we could do a better job.”

We didn’t get a single negative response!  Here is what some of our clients had to say:

  • CPO most definitely served me well!
  • I have loved CPO! I wish there was one here in OKC!
  • We love CPO so much!
  • Y’all are amazing. I always tell people open adoption was the most grown up decision I have ever made 😂 y’all have been such a huge blessing to me!
  • Yes! Parenting my son would not be the same without the support I’ve received from the parenting group.
  • I love CPO they have been a blessing to me through good and bad times! I will forever be grateful for this group!
  • Yes, 100%. I look forward to coming every week & have found a connection with quite a few of girls.

Are you pregnant?  Do you need help?  You are not alone.  CPO is here to help you!  You can call or text 24/7 to our hot line 918-296-3377.

 


What makes CPO different than other adoption agencies 1,2,3,and 4 

What makes CPO different than other adoption agencies 1,2,3,and 4

First, we are not in the business of adoption!  We are a licensed adoption agency, but we are primarily a crisis pregnancy ministry.  We help women who want to parent also.  That means we have no incentive to pressure an expecting mother to choose adoption.  We will help her even if she decides to parent.  Adoption is just a service we provide.

Secondly, we do only open open open adoptions.  That means much more than providing pictures.  We believe that it is in the best interest of the child for there to be a relationship between their adoptive family and their biological family.  That can include attending birthday parties, get togethers, and CPO events together.  In most of our adoptions, the birth family and adoptive family become one extended family.  Besides a child can never have too many grandmas!

Third and maybe the most important, we offer free counseling for life!  We are here for our clients!   Our greatest gift is to provide you free counseling!  Making an adoption plan is not an easy decision.  A birthmother chooses adoption when she loves her child so much she is willing to live separately from them.  We will walk alongside her through the process by providing counseling, support group, mentoring and much more.

Fourth, since we are not in the business of adoptions, our fees for adoptive families are incredibly low.  This means we have many families who want to adopt through CPO.  Thus, we can be picky!  We require our families to be nonsmokers, married at least 3 years, active in their Christian church and agree to have one parent stay home until the child is school age.  They are also required to attend a 2 ½ day workshop and do an extensive home study.  We want only the very best families for our clients!

CPO is a safe and loving place to find help in a crisis pregnancy!  Call or text us at 918-296-3377.


CPO Parenting Group Spotlight

“K” recently shared her story:
CPO parenting group has helped me in so many ways. I’ve been apart of the group since around March of this year. I found CPO through the suicide prevention hotline after battling a very very dark time of serve anxiety & PPD. I had no idea where to turn & knew I needed help. I got into the doctor & went to CPO group that very next day. I was nervous, but from the moment I walked in the door I was felt welcomed. Before I even arrived to group I felt loved and heard on the phone with the receptionist. So much so that I was in tears by the end of the phone call. My second baby was just 6 months old & my first was a little over 18 months. We were all welcomed with open arms and even during new struggles they have had my back. They became an instant family to me from day one and I couldn’t imagine going through things without them now!
Do you have a friend or family member that might need extra support right now? Let them know about support group @cpotulsa !

We’re So Thankful

Today we all take a minute to pause and think about all that we’re thankful for. At CPO, we’re thankful for the courageous birth moms who make adoption plans, the loving families that are created through adoption, and all of the people who have helped CPO over the years.

Here are just a sampling of the beautiful children and families that CPO has seen over the years.

Have a blessed Thanksgiving today!


Joy Will Come

Today’s post is written by Lindsay Pepin Ophus, a CPO birth mother. You can order her book, Joy Will Come: Exchanging Shame for Redemption at scarletpepin.com, Amazon.com, and other fine retailers.

”You’re pregnant” were the words that would forever change my life. I sat there in a small Planned Parenthood exam room in complete shock. I couldn’t hear the lady listing my medical “options” because all I could think about was the fact that my future was over. My Christian parents were going to kill me, I would not get to go to college, and my life would never be the same from a stupid high school decision of having sex.

After the storm of telling my parents I was pregnant, my mom called a friend who was involved with CPO. I attended my first counseling session and first support group just two short weeks after telling my parents. I sat in that circle dazed and confused on how this could be my life, but what I heard in that group was nothing short of hope. CPO was the place where I realized that my life was not over. I also learned more about open adoption, a concept that at the time was so new to me. I felt supported, loved, and accepted at CPO. I can honestly say that Crisis Pregnancy Outreach saved my life.

As my belly was growing with a beautiful baby girl, my heart was slowly breaking into a million pieces, as my head knew the best option for my little girl was adoption. Just when I thought walking through a teen pregnancy was the hardest thing I would ever do, I discovered that it would be much harder to leave the hospital without a baby. The baby that I gave up my childhood for, my public perception, and more importantly, I realized the baby that I already loved so much would never call me mom.

On August 11th, 2012, after a painful night physically and emotionally, Kinley Joy made her entrance into the world. “The sorrow many last for a night, but (Kinley) Joy will come in the morning.” Psalm 30:5. That morning was extremely joyful because I had never been so in love. The next day, Kinley Joy went home with her new family, Her new family just so happened to be my Uncle Jeff and Aunt Bethany. Kinley instantly gained a sister who was only 360 days older.

The year that followed Kinley’s birth was the most difficult year of my life. The pain and loss of a child is unbearable but open adoption tells a different story. On my darkest days, I could leave my college dorm room and go see her and CPO never once stopped supporting me emotionally. Most importantly, Jesus never left my side. When the grief was all consuming, God was consistently  there to wrap me in His arms. He was the only One who truly understood my pain because, after all, He had to give up His baby, too.

God has used my testimony in more ways than I could have ever imagined. I now have a smart, kind, and giddy almost 7-year-old daughter who knows her story and loves her life!

I’ve had the opportunity to share the healing that God can bring at many speaking events. God has since led me to write a book with my mother, Scarlet, and my aunt, Bethany. In our book, Joy Will Come, we tell a story about unexpected pregnancy, adoption, and God’s redemptive love from 3 different points of view. CPO is now using our book for their birth mothers’ and adoptive parents’ reading.


What is an Adoption Home Study?

Today’s post is written by one of CPO’s favorite home study providers, Julie Likens. This is great information for prospective adoptive families, but it’s also good for birth families to know who thoroughly our adoptive families are “vetted.” Julie’s contact info is included below in case you are interested in using her services. 

Having spent years doing adoption home studies for several agencies, attorneys, and many families, I have met a lot of couples that are confused about what an Adoption Home Study is! When embarking on the road of adoption, many couples are just told they have to do it—whatever “it” is. So, what is it? Will someone come in with white gloves on to make sure my house is clean enough? Will the paperwork ever end? What should we expect?

When I have explain an adoption home study to clients, my favorite way to explain it is to say it is a report where we put the couple’s life on paper to give the judge and the courts a peek inside what the family is like. Yes, there is a house assessment where we walk through the house to make sure everything is safe for a child (usually no white gloves required, though!). Yes, there is a mound of paperwork that can feel overwhelming at times. As a home study provider, my whole goal of going into a home is to be the eyes and ears of the courts. I want to make sure the home is safe for a child and one where the adoption is anticipated to be successful. I desire to have open and honest conversations with the couple and family, where I can accurately describe the family on paper. A great thing to remember is that the home study provider is on your side and wants to see you be successful in your adoption journey if at all possible!

Every home study provider may do things a little differently, but each provider will go through several steps with the family. First, there will be a LOT of paperwork! But it can be accomplished! Second, there will be at least two visits with the family for interviews. At least one of these visits will take place in the home, where the home study provider can do a house assessment to ensure safety of the home. (Note: If you have any weapons, make sure you have a way to lock them and ammunition up separately- super common concern!) The provider will collect the paperwork, conduct the house assessment, interview everyone in the home, and eventually write a report that is typically at least 8 pages long that will go to the attorney, agency, courts, and judge. Once the home study is approved, the family has passed this legal requirement to have a child placed in their home!

Julie Likins, LCSW
Licensed Clinical Social Worker
Adoption Home Study Provider
julie.n.likins@gmail.com
918.270.4100


Birth Father Appreciation

This last weekend we celebrated Father’s Day. My husband became a father through the gift of adoption. Here at CPO we love and honor birth moms, as you know. We don’t hear as much about birth dads because they’re often not around after an adoption takes place. That is not the case for our family.

My son’s birth dad, C, was already a dad when Sammy came along. He was struggling in life at that time, and knew he could not support another child.   With a lot of pain and reluctance, he agreed to the adoption. He was there at Sammy’s birth. He cried and hugged us and then eventually walked away. We saw him twice more when Sammy was barely a year old. He has since moved to another state to be closer to family and we have not seen him in seven years. Sammy does not remember him but we show him pictures and talk about him often.  My husband has been faithful to send him Father’s Day greetings each year and to keep him filled in on how Sammy is doing. Sammy turned eight at the end of May and, much to our surprise, his birth father openly acknowledged him via social media. In his own words: “8 years ago today I made one of the hardest decisions of my life and gave away something that most couldn’t understand or wouldn’t understand. How or why I could give my only son up for adoption? He isn’t a secret he’s just my hidden pain. That being said, it was the best choice for his life that I could have ever made. Damon, Christina, and little Miss Abigail; you are God’s perfect match for him. From my distant world I watch him digitally grow and smile from the joy that you have given him. He has a beautiful future ahead of him because of you three. Thank you for making the decisions of my past feel so right when everything inside of me felt so wrong.”

Our second born, Abigail, also has a birth dad. He and his wife met and interviewed us two days before Abigail was born. They were a lot of fun and we sat around joking and laughing about things that we had in common. He was there every minute during the hospital stay, even when things got rough. Abigail and his wife (Abigail’s birth mom) nearly died the first day. That’s a story for another time! We’ve had to work harder on building a relationship with them because we didn’t know them at all before Abigail was born. But “build a relationship,” we have done and we see them a number of times during the year. It’s not common, but I am glad that both of our kids know who their birth dads are and can have a relationship with them. Having extra people in your life who love you is never a bad thing!

Christina

(Mom to Sammy and Abigail and wife to Damon)