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.