Category Archives: Waiting Families Workshop

Volunteers Matter: Kelly Jacobson

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 a volunteer who has been extremely dedicated to CPO for years and years: Kelly Jacobson.

Q: In what ways do you volunteer at CPO?
A: Right now I am only planning the Waiting Families Workshop but I have done just about everything at least once in the past.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: Since 1996 with a three year break when we lived in Colorado.
Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: Through a friend of a friend, Patti Schatzmann.
Q: Why did you choose to volunteer at CPO versus other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: When I was 19, I had an abortion. I struggled for many years to heal from it. Volunteering for a crisis pregnancy ministry helped me heal. So when we moved to Tulsa, I was on the look out for a place to volunteer.
Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: I can’t help but wonder that if I had been able to get help from a place like CPO when I was 19, I may have chosen life for my baby. I want all girls to feel like they can choose life if they want to.
Q: What have you learned about yourself since you began volunteering?
A: That God can use me in ways I never imagined! That his plans are so much better than my own.
Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: Too many ways to count, really. In my own family, I have four adopted babies that I wouldn’t have without CPO. I have seen couples become families and birth mothers’ lives turned around. I have seen women choose life for their babies when they found out that they wouldn’t have to do it alone. I have seen God provide funds we needed in the nick of time. I have seen God provide space for us so that we didn’t have to office out of Cheryl’s car. I have seen lives saved by CPO providing women a place to live when they were truly pregnant and homeless. I could go on and on.
Q: What would you say to anyone who may be considering becoming involved with CPO?
A: Serving CPO is a privilege. Sometimes it is like God is filming a movie and He asks me if I want to be in it. It is incredible to watch it unfold before your eyes. My life has been incredibly enriched by serving here. Sometimes it is hard. Sometimes it is very sad. But it is always worth it!101_0279 (2)


CPO’s Doulas: An Amazing Gift

Written by Tim and Amie Vetscher, this is the fourth and final piece in a series of articles about CPO’s recent Waiting Families Workshop. Click here for the first installment, here for the second installment, and here for the third installment.
During the recent Waiting Families Workshop, adoptive couples learned about the important roles doulas serve in the adoption process.  If you’re not familiar with doulas, they are people who assist and coach women during their pregnancy, during labor, as well as after the birth.
You may also not know that Crisis Pregnancy Outreach is the only agency in Tulsa that ensures every woman has a doula, whether they’re parenting their own baby or making an adoption plan.
Doulas aren’t just a convenience, their presence has been shown to dramatically help the birth mom and her new baby.  For example, doula-assisted labors are, on average, 25% shorter.
Women who hire doulas typically require fewer drugs to assist them through labor.  In fact, the presence of a doula drops the odds of a woman requiring an epidural by more than 50 percent.  A recent University of Minnesota study found that hiring a doula can also reduce a woman’s risk of having a c-section by nearly 60 percent.
“If you have some kind of fear, it can actually physically hold you back, so we can help moms work through those fears in the moment,” certified doula Erin Stertz-Follett told KSTP-TV in Minneapolis.
The doulas for CPO are Jenni Anthamatten, Marlita Camacho, and Sarah Coffin. Together, they serve all the women of CPO who except out offer of doula services. They all have different personalities and styles, which means that our pregnant women have a true choice in who will be assisting them in the delivery room.

Jenni Anthamatten

 

Marlita Camacho

Sarah Coffin

From the standpoint of an adoptive couple, doulas also provide several key benefits.  Doulas assist the adoptive couple by letting them know specific ways they can help their birth mom.  Doulas also arrange and coordinate the presence of the adoptive couple at the birth of their adoptive son or daughter, making it less stressful on the birth mom.
In other words, everybody at CPO benefits from having a doula present at birth.

The CPO Doulas

A huge thanks to Alaina Butler of Inspired Life Photos for getting our busy and beautiful doulas in one place and taking these gorgeous photos of them!


Three Good Reasons: A Birth Mom’s Story of Healing

Written by Amie Vetscher, this is the third in a series of articles about CPO’s recent Waiting Families Workshop. Click here for the first installment, here for the second installment, and here for the fourth installment.

Amanda didn’t want to be a drug addict. She didn’t like the kind of person she was when she was using. “You wouldn’t want to be around me when I was on drugs,” Amanda divulged to a group of adoptive families about her journey as a CPO birth mom. She knew this to be true because even those closest to her were unable to tolerate Amanda’s behaviors. Her addiction created danger and pain that drove a wedge between herself and others. I and the other families listening to Amanda’s story learned that even a year after emerging from the dark valley of addiction, Amanda was homeless, alone, and—pregnant.

Amanda didn’t turn to CPO for assistance with her pregnancy right away; she thought about all the options, including the choice that would have terminated her pregnancy and denied her of the incredible healing and bonding which came about when she sought help from CPO. “I was accepted and loved since the moment I walked into CPO,” Amanda explained. “I didn’t know what was going to happen to me each day, but I knew if I picked up the phone and called someone at CPO, someone would talk to me until the phone died.”

Surrounded by unconditional love and consistent support, Amanda began to make choices for herself and her baby. She accepted encouragement that led her to receive many of CPO’s generous services, and she made an adoption plan for her unborn baby girl. Pivotally, she allowed Rhonda and Jarad, the couple with whom she chose to place her baby, into her life. They both, but especially Rhonda, shared in her struggles, her recovery; they understood her choices, her intentions. “She’s like the sister I never had,” Amanda shared about Rhonda. Amanda sees Milly (age 9 months) regularly. The vitality and goodness of Rhonda and Amanda’s bond is evident. There is a mutual admiration and respect that is so profound. As a waiting mother hearing Amanda’s incredible journey for the first time, I am filled with appreciation for the courage and transparency Amanda sustained in order to tell her story. Our hearts were moved by this witness to the strength of God’s hand to forge these crucial bonds and Amanda’s strong resolve to continue to make positive changes in her life.

Precious Milly is reason enough, Amanda explains. “They (Rhonda and Jarad) are two more reasons why I should never do drugs again. I want them in my life.”

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Image used with permission.


Liquid Gold: Nursing and Nourishing the Adopted Baby Through Breast Milk

Written by Amie Vetscher, this is the second in a series of articles about CPO’s recent Waiting Families Workshop. Click here for the first installment, here for the third installment, and here for the fourth installment.

When it comes to cooking up the best nutrition for the adopted infant, CPO adoptive moms Melissa Sprangle and Madison Vining are culinary extraordinaires. For adoptive parents, getting their hands on this liquid gold, human breastmilk that is, takes quite a bit more resourcefulness and creativity. But where there is a mother’s great love for her precious little one, there is also great determination. To these moms, there is a vast difference between feeding and nourishing; babies who grow and the ones who thrive. Human milk is that difference. From inducing lactation and supplementing milk from the breast with a Lact-Aid system, Melissa shared helpful advice with waiting moms at the Waiting Family Workshop last month.  Madison, who also presented at WFW, is an expert at navigating social media platforms, such as “Eats on Feets” or “Human Milk 4 Human Babies,” which connect women who are pumping extra milk with babies in need. At the WFW, Madison shared her story and spoke of the relationships she has built with these women whose generous spirit makes it possible for another infant in their community to get a great nutritional start in life.

According to Milkshare, an informational resource that helps parents learn about milk donation when mother nature is uncooperative, artificial formula may be better than it used to be, but it doesn’t quite measure up to what a mother’s body makes. A live substance containing live white blood cells and packed with whey-based proteins, immunity boosters, omega 3 fatty acids, and digestive enzymes, human milk helps a baby’s growth and development in so many ways. (To read more about the health benefits of breast milk see http://milkshare.birthingforlife.com/healthbenefits or http://kellymom.com/. It comes as little surprise, then, that Dr. James Ross, who passionately provides prenatal care to many CPO birthmoms through their pregnancy, plainly says, “breast is best.”

So what options are there for the sub-lactating mother or the mother who didn’t give birth to her baby? There is always the option of using donated breast milk, which can be bottle-fed or used with the Lact-Aid system. The Lact-Aid bag can be hung from the nursing mother’s neck using a strap. Then, a thin tube carries the milk from the bag to the baby’s mouth along with the nipple. There are also prescription and homeopathic solutions to help induce lactation for moms who plan to breastfeed without giving birth. Visit asklenore.info to learn more about lactation induction protocols; there are regular induction protocols (suitable for mothers with a long lead time) as well as accelerated protocols. There are several prescription drugs that have been used to increase milk supply: Metoclopramide (Reglan), Domperidone (Motilium), and sulpiride (Eglonyl, Dolmatil, Sulpitil, Sulparex, Equemote). Fenugreek and Mother’s Milk tea are herbs that can help. You should consult with your doctor about all of these options. Breast-feeding your baby, with self-produced or donated milk, is a rewarding experience that will be the gift of a lifetime.

Readers who want to reach out to Melissa or Madison for advice should contact CPO and request their information. They are available to answer questions and provide assistance to adoptive or waiting moms who want to started with breastfeeding or locating donor milk in their community.

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Not Just “Waiting” Families: CPO’s WFW Informs and Inspires Future Adoptive Parents

Written by Amie Vetscher, this is the first in a series of articles about CPO’s recent Waiting Families Workshop. Click here for the second installment, here for the third installment, and here for the fourth installment.

Last month, CPO conducted its 24th workshop for waiting families. Ten families participated in the three-day workshop that covered the ins and outs of open adoption through Crisis Pregnancy Outreach’s ministry to pregnant women and new mothers in need. Thanks to CPO’s amazing volunteers who organized speakers, developed eighteen informative segments, and coordinated donated meals. Waiting Family Workshop participants heard from CPO Executive Director, Cheryl Bauman; Jane Waters, LMFT and author of Arms Wide Open: An Insight to Open Adoption; adoption attorney, Stacy Acord; Gwen Elliot, CPA; Dr. Barbara Sorrels from the Institute of Childhood Education; and Dr. James Ross of Saint Francis Hospital South.

Through a series of powerful segments covered by CPO birthmoms, adoptive families and growing or grown adopted children; waiting families gained insight and sensitivity into the miracles, joy, pain, and healing that only God could orchestrate within the adoption triad and beyond. Those familiar with open adoption recognize the “adoption triad” as the dynamic relationship between the birthmother, adoptive family, and adopted child. The presenters and their stories redefined “the triad” to include significant, life-altering bonds that can also be formed among birth grandparents, adoptive grandparents and great-grandparents, other biological children or adopted children, as well as the offspring of adopted children. “These speakers were courageous and transparent in their testimonies,” one participant commented. “I felt my heart open more with each perspective. I feel it has prepared me to love our future birthmom more generously and be a more compassionate person. In due course,” she added, “I’ll be a better parent because of this workshop.”

Attendance at the Waiting Family Workshop, offered twice a year, is a requirement for adoptive families within a year of their CPO adoption. But to most families, it meant more than just fulfilling a requirement. “I can’t imagine going through with the adoption before attending this workshop,” a participant remarked. “I’m much better prepared than before.”

Return each week to the CPO blog, as our writers will share various segments covered during the Waiting Family Workshop with our readers. Stay tuned to read, “Liquid Gold: Nursing and Nourishing the Adopted Baby through Breast Milk,” and “Three Good Reasons: A Birth Mom’s Story of Healing,” and “CPO’s Doulas: An Amazing Gift.”

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