This week, we have a guest post from Jane Waters, one of the therapists who helps, prays, and works with the women who come through CPO’s doors. Her perspective is unique and shows just one more part of how CPO strives to share the love of Christ and be a light in the world.
Little did I realize what God had in store for me when I accepted Cheryl Bauman’s invitation to me, almost thirty years ago, to work with birth moms as a therapist. At that time, I had only a few years’ experience in the field before meeting her at Shadow Mountain Institute where I had worked and where she had facilitated a parent support group.
Over these past few decades, I have watched CPO grow exponentially into an organization which provides many services to women in crisis pregnancy situations, including medical, legal, individual counseling, support groups, mentors, housing, and assistants who walk with them, individually as they struggle with making their decision to parent or make an adoption plan.
As a therapist, I understood, decades ago, that I would be assisting my clients through the most difficult time of their lives, but I soon realized that their pregnancy was only one of their presenting challenges. Many came from abusive or neglectful childhoods, involving some form of addiction. Some grew up witnessing their fathers’ violence towards their mothers and, hence, have selected abusive boyfriends as the father of their babies. Others entered the agency having battled depression, panic attacks, bi-polar mood disorder, or a personality disorder that held them more hostage than they had the strength to battle. Most were feeling alone, confused, abandoned, and homeless, and hopeless.
I knew that I would be able to help them, but what I didn’t expect was that they were the ones who helped me to help them. My clients taught me to listen carefully, reading between the lines, and understanding that what they did not say was as important as what they did say. They taught me about the critical nature of trust and respect in therapy, and how important it was for their progress and healing.
Those coming from broken homes, hearts, and relationships need the basics of trust and unconditional love before they would tell me their deepest fears and wounds. They have changed me. They have taught me to slow down and take small steps through the depths of their grief in order to make progress. They have taught me how best to treat them clinically so that the end result would yield the highest probability of feeling good about themselves and about the decision they would make for their babies. The ability to hold their heads high in confidence, having wrestled with their choices, and feeling peace about the one that they chose, yields the best results for the women.
But, the unexpected gift that I have received from my work is how much I have grown in my faith and in my relationship with Jesus. I have had the honor of explaining to each woman that they are so extravagantly loved by their Heavenly Father that He sent His only Son to die for them so that they could be with Him for all eternity. What I received, in return and as a surprise, was the deepening understanding of just how much Jesus loved me, also.
Throughout these few decades, the Holy Spirit has taught me how to listen to His still, small voice. I have learned to pray, before and throughout each session, that I would hear His voice, that He would give me His wisdom and words of knowledge, and the ability to love them in a supernatural way. God has given me hundreds of poems for them as a way of touching their hearts and having their spiritual ears and eyes opened to understanding how much their Heavenly Father desires a personal and individual relationship with them. The Spirit has, also, “downloaded” to me songs for a few because He knew that they could experience His love through this avenue, and I had the privilege of witnessing their reactions upon receiving such precious words. One cannot go through this process without being transformed. I have been transformed and so have my clients.
Further, I have witnessed the love provided from support group facilitators, mentors, assistants, and other involved adults who have loved on these girls and surrounded them as critical role models showing the love of the Divine Father. This is an amazing team, with Jesus as the Head.
One of the most important things which the CPO team provides is quarterly workshops for the waiting couples, with multiple speakers from a variety of fields, to help them understand the birth mother’s journey and how open adoption can facilitate healing for all involved. The workshop gives them the big picture of how they can participate in ministering to these birth mothers.
As an additional tool, I have written and published five books which give families a greater understanding of open adoption. My writing began not from my own desires, wishes, and thoughts, but from God’s directive to me to write. This was an incredible leap of faith for me, but one where I have seen God’s faithfulness and healing through words.
Making a decision to do the Lord’s work makes for a life free from boredom for those who will seek, listen, and obey. The work ripples out like a stone thrown into a lake. I have seen miracles occur in seemingly impossible situations which have emboldened my faith and relationship with Jesus, for which I am forever thankful.