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 dedicated volunteer, Ashley Ledbetter.
Q: How do you volunteer with CPO?
A: After hours phone calls, interviewing parenting moms and writing their stories for the blog, photography for CPO events like the Easter party and Birth Mother’s Day.
Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: Since the beginning of this year.
Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: We have friends who have adopted through CPO and my friend mentors a CPO birth mom. We also found CPO on the internet when trying to choose an adoption agency. After we pursued DHS adoptions, God told us we needed to use CPO.
Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with CPO vs. other organizations? What is it about CPO that drew you to us?
A: Well, because we have to for our adoption to be finalized! But it worked out because I actually wanted to volunteer last year but I had just delivered Siren and we were still settling into Tulsa. I ended up putting it on the back burner and then we became a waiting family so it was time to volunteer!
Q: What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: The opportunity to serve a baby AND birth mother. The opportunity to have an open adoption and try to experience that reality. Initially we thought of adoption as a “win,” because the baby is being rescued from a home that can’t take care of it, and because we gain a child into our family. Later we started seeing it more as a “loss,” because the baby has this deep innate need for their biological parents and the solution for the brokenness coming from that separation should be reunification. The solution should be an equipped mom and dad, a healthy household, a clean, safe, loving environment… so without that adoption felt like a “loss” for everyone. Ultimately, we are now seeing open adoption as “adoption.” Not a win or loss, just the receiving of an entire family unit (however big or small in each case) into our family unit. Through open adoptions we can experience the win and joy of receiving a child into our home, we can redefine reunification by encouraging and nurturing healthy relationships between our adopted child and their birthfamily while also developing a new union between ourselves and our adopted child’s birth family. And since CPO is a Christian ministry, we can do all of this with Jesus at the forefront of our plans, relationships and actions, without which, all of these hopes would ultimately be unattainable. Because God is at work in this organization, we are eager to be at work in it too.
Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: I think because God has put it there, but also because I can relate. I grew up in a non-Christian home and I have made most of the mistakes I have heard some of the birth moms mention in their own lives. I can relate to broken relationships, sometimes wreckless behavior etc. Also, I love babies and children (nannied for 5 years before having Siren), so both beneficiaries of CPO’s focus are people that are close to my heart.
Q: What have you learned about yourself since volunteering?
A: I put way too much pressure on myself- because I was glued to my phone all day on Valentine’s Day worried I might miss a call! Maybe also that is hard to motivate myself sometimes to serve, until I am serving, and then its easy and fun and I can’t wait to do more. So I guess I have learned that my heart really does WANT to serve, and it’s important to carve away everyday obstacles and distractions to really protect that time to give to others and to give to the Lord. Because I need to serve more than I need to wash the dishes… but I forget that’s true when the sink is full of last night’s pots and pans.
Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work through CPO?
A: Oh gosh, I have seen one of my closest friends raise a baby boy they adopted through CPO, that could be enough right there. I think any time I hear a story, of adoption or parenting, it’s pretty evident that God has planned these families with intense attention to detail and personality and circumstance and timing. Even when we didn’t have a baby yet I kept hanging on the day in October that I KNEW God wanted us to use CPO. I was crying and telling Chase we have to drop DHS and use Crisis Pregnancy Outreach instead and he was like “I know.” Those days are God’s hand at work.
Q: What would you say to anyone considering becoming involved in CPO?
A: There are so many different ways to help. You can be involved a whole lot or you can do something very small once a month or once every few months. It’s worth it. Just check it out and find a place where you fit. I came in willing to do anything, even though one of the only things I was secretly hoping to get to do was photography. I didn’t think there would be a need for photos because there is such a need for phone answering and office type work, and I found out on one of my first days that CPO was actually in need of some photographers for BMD! Praise the Lord! So, even if you think there might not be a place for you, God probably has a place for you. And if He DOES have a place for you, it’s probably a place you would love to be in. So check it out.