Category Archives: CPO siblings

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CPO Makes Families BIG!

Families come in many shapes and sizes. For this, I am grateful. Twenty years ago when I started thinking about having my own family, I never knew how big and beautiful it would become.

I became pregnant with Hank in 2002. He was born in March of 2003. He was 5 weeks early and we were both pretty sick. I had never heard of the HELLP syndrome, but I had it and the only way to fix it is to have the baby. Therefore, I had a preemie. (Hank was soon thriving and is now a healthy, happy 16 year old.)

In 2007, we decided we wanted to add to our family, but knew that pregnancy could be risky. So, we found CPO. That summer, we got a “drop in”. His name is Barrett. His birth parents weren’t in a place to parent, so I woke up one day a mother of one child and by 10 that morning, I had two boys!!

A year later, those same two birth parents had another baby boy. Eli was lovingly placed with the Hisey family. We wondered how we would navigate these waters, but both of our families knew that we wanted the boys to have a relationship since they were biological brothers. It was fun to watch these two boys. We made it a point to get them together at least a couple of times a year. We knew then that Eli and Barrett would have an incredible bond that we wanted to nurture and support. We also agreed that our other children should be considered family as well. We didn’t want to leave anyone out.

A few years later, the same two birth parents had another baby. It was a boy, Dax, and he was placed with the Hisey family too. So Barrett had another brother. We were thrilled. Again, we would get these boys together and talk about the way their eyes crinkled up and shined when they smiled or how that had the same “duck tail” on the back of their hair. I loved having this for Barrett. And for Hank.

A few years later, Abigail was born. Same birth parents. We couldn’t believe that we had a sister. She was placed with the Domer’s and we were all immediately smitten. When she was a baby, we would say she looked like Barrett with a bow in her hair!!

Today, we live in Tulsa, the Hiseys are in Enid and the Domers are in Broken Arrow. I would love to say that we see each other all of the time, but you know how life is. School, sports, church, families, etc make schedules complicated. But, I will tell you that my heart holds not only Hank and Barrett, but also the Hisey and Domer children.

Barrett loves having his younger siblings. In our house, he is the baby. But, with his biological siblings, he’s the big brother.

When Barrett was “graduating” from elementary school, all of the 5th graders were interviewed for a supplement for the year book. Some of the questions included favorite color, nickname, etc. But, I was speechless when I saw his answer to the question about siblings. He said, “ I’ve got two biological brothers, a biological sister, 2 step sisters and a brother. “ There is so much I love about this. 1. His biological family is always in his heart. 2. Hank is just that, his brother. 3. He is proud of his diverse family. It may not be like his friends, but it’s his and he’s happy.

At the end of the day, I have a really big, beautiful family. We pray for each other, celebrate each other and love each other. We know that our children have something really special that we want to honor. We are so grateful that these birth parents chose life and chose us. It’s all a great big blessing from God that gave us a wonderful, big family.

Retro CPO: Meet Paige Tooman

Each month we will feature a “retro” CPO article, one that is pulled from our archives of quarterly newsletters. Whenever possible we will provide details regarding the author and date of publication. 
This month’s Retro CPO article was written by Paige Tooman, one of Cheryl’s assistants at the time. It was written in fall of 2009, and is her personal testimony. 

I am so honored to be part of such an incredible ministry! I love serving alongside Godly women who have been doing this for so many years and I continue to learn more and more each day! Being an Assistant Director never crossed my mind as we began our journey with CPO.

My husband Brent and I were baptized together in 2002, and we were on the amazing road of Christianity together. We had just found out that we were pregnant, after one round of Clomid, a fertility drug. We were so thankful that God had blessed us and couldn’t wait for our newest family member. Our 34 week check up went great, but then I began to get very sick. I tried to play it off as part of being pregnant, but after a week of sleepless nights, I called the doctor. I was admitted to the hospital and they determined that my liver had shut down and my kidneys were next. This was part of the HELLP Syndrome, something I had developed during pregnancy. Needless to say, we were rushed to the OR for an emergency C-section and Hank was born! He was a strong baby and he and I were both in the hospital for about 10 days. After arriving home, I basically was on “lock down”, as I didn’t want my preemie to get any kinds of sickness at all! He is now a strong, healthy six year old, no one would ever even know about his early arrival if I didn’t tell them.

We decided we wanted to add to our family, but we were told that I could get HELLP again. We had heard about CPO through several different friends and we decided to give Cheryl a call.That is when it all starts happening. We received a call several months into the process about a baby that was being born in three hours. THREE HOURS?? This was out baby, Barrett, or as we call him, Bear. His birth parents rode to the hospital on a motorcycle, in the rain, so we knew they were a spirited pair! We started to get to know them in the hospital and then we lost touch with them after the hospital stay. We were so sad about not having the open adoption that we had thought about so often. We wanted to minister to a girl and help her find God and get her life on His path. Fortunately, God had His plan in place and Bear now has a baby brother that was adopted by the Hiseys and we have an incredible Christian family to share our lives with!

After all of the love and time that Cheryl and Kelly showed us, I decided that I wanted to give back to CPO and I got involved with the fundraising banquet. I loved sharing CPO’s vision with others and trying to get funds for our “all-volunteer” agency! When I became an Assistant, I knew that this was my calling. I am the type of person that needs to be involved. I also knew that if I was going to be volunteering and away from my kids at times, this would be perfect because when I am volunteering for CPO, I am multiplying His kingdom. I can truly see God each day as I look into the faces of the birth mothers, the babies, and the families. My you all find your place in CPO, as I did. It is truly a blessing!


Nathan’s Story

Needing inspiration? Watch the video from this year’s gala. It is so good!

Birth Mother’s Day at CPO

This year’s Birth Mother’s Day celebration at CPO was on April 30. It was a wonderful event!

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For those that don’t remember, Birth Mother’s Day is an event planned to honor the women who have made adoption plans for their birth children through Crisis Pregnancy Outreach. It is a day set aside to acknowledge the courage and sacrifice it took for them to make a loving adoption plan for their birth child.

As birth mothers arrived, they were greeted with a smile by some of our volunteers.IMG_0790

They received gorgeous custom-made tote bags filled with fun make-up, accessories, and coupons to a local salon. The tote design was hand-drawn by one of our very own CPO birth mothers, Angela McLaughlin, and printed by a CPO adoptive mother, Carrie Jones.


Birth mothers were also encouraged to sign up for door prizes. Among the prizes were designer bags, robes, bath supplies, gift certificates, and more. Wow!IMG_0789

After being greeted, birth mothers were treated to a delicious meal. Dedicated volunteers Tracie Roesslein and Jeff Bauman (along with a crew of others) served fresh smoked BBQ meats, salad, baked potatoes, and mini bundt cakes for dessert. Of course, there were hot dogs on hand for the many kiddos in attendance, too. The food was absolutely perfect. Yum!IMG_0936

After the meal was devoured, the “pampering and photos” portion of the day began. The CPO Day Spa officially opened.IMG_0788

There were sign up sheets for nails, massage, and make up. We had 5 professional pamperers who graciously volunteered their time, supplies, and skills to make our birth mothers feel special. IMG_0791The lobby outside of the “spa” was full of birth mothers, adoptive families, and volunteers all chatting as the girls happily waited for their turn to be pampered. Some adoptive families chose this time to give Birth Mother’s Day gifts to the women they love.IMG_0934

Meanwhile, a nursery was provided for children under 4 years, and a volunteer-supervised bounce house was available to entertain kids of all ages.

We also had 3 professional photographers volunteer their services: Melissa Barnes, Melinda Hunley, and Ashley Ledbetter. IMG_0792They each had their own style, and birth mothers were able to choose what kind of photos they wanted: indoor or outdoor, lots of props or simpler, etc. They were also able to choose who would be in the photos with them: just their birth child, all of their children (those they placed for adoption and those they parent), or the entire adoptive family. This variety made for some beautiful photos the birth mothers (and adoptive families!) will cherish for years to come.

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In all, it was a wonderful day, and we couldn’t have done it without an amazing set of about 30 volunteers. We hope the birth mothers from CPO felt as special as we all know they are!

Easter 2016 Party Pics

This year’s CPO Easter party was last Saturday. It was awesome, as usual! Here are some great pics of all the fun we had!

They are also posted here: Easter Party 2016. Check back to that page in a few days as we plan to upload more and more as they come in from our fantastic volunteer photographer, Ashley Ledbetter.

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CPO’s Annual Easter EGGstravaganza

Mark your calendars! Our annual Easter party is right around the corner. This party is for everyone and anyone who loves CPO: parenting moms and dads, birth mothers and birth fathers, adoptive families, volunteers, and donors. And most of all: KIDS!!

All the exciting details can be found in the flyer below!2016 Easter Party

If that isn’t exciting enough, check out some of the photo highlights from previous Easter parties!
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More EGGstravaganza photos can be found at Easter Party 2015 and Easter Party 2014. Enjoy!

CPO Families Celebrate Christmas

No two families look the same, and that is true here at CPO.  We see the miraculous way that God makes families and this holiday CPO families are sharing a little glimpse into their lives.

Christmas Pic

The Jacobson Family

Family Christmas Photo

The McCune Family

Dakota Wilkin & Family

Family Christmas

The Poverud Family


The Poverud Family

Fisher Family christmas

Jarad, Rhonda & Milly with birth mom Amanda.


Summer Ratzlaff with birth mom Dakota and Eric Dunn, and Dakota’s mom Rhonda Wilkin, Blake’s “Mimi”


The Wicar Boys

Family Christmas

The Justice Family

Christmas card pic 2015

The James Family


The Potter Family

Taylor Family Christmas

The Taylor Family

When One Became Two

Today we hear again from one of our wonderful CPO birth moms, Angela McLaughlin. She shares her vulnerability with us regarding what it was like to know that the adoptive family for her son Sammy was looking to adopt again.

As I get older, I naturally have more stories to tell. And because my mind often works at warp speed, on it’s own agenda, I think a lot about these stories. I find myself telling the same stories over and over. You know, the ones your friends interrupt you to say that they’ve already heard it. These are the stories that we’re proud of. These are the stories where we did something good or brave or funny. But what about the stories that we don’t tell? The ones that make us uncomfortable, or lead us to learn things about ourselves that we aren’t proud of?

As you may have guessed, if you read my posts for this blog (here, here, and here), I’m extremely proud of my open adoption. I’m constantly amazed by this little family of love. I’m even more amazed since the Domers decided to adopt again. Abigail is now 15 months old and she’s truly incredible. She’s feisty, sweet, and cute. Man, is she cute. I’m enamored with her, so much so that I’ve heard from Samuel on several occasions “But you came over here to play with me!”image1

But it wasn’t so easy in the beginning. CPO has been asking me to write a post on this subject for awhile, and I’ve always hesitated. I couldn’t really figure out why. It seems pretty straightforward: Write about your feelings regarding the Domers adopting for a second time. But the post just wouldn’t write itself. I struggled with it, and after some careful thinking, I’ve figured it out. It’s not a story that starts with me being brave, or funny, or even particularly good. It’s a story that starts with jealousy and insecurity and doubt. And as I’ve realized, it’s a story that touches on some things that are pretty tough to think about. But, I’m ready to tell it. I hope it’s important, I hope it may help other people and I hope it will finally get CPO to stop asking me to write it. (I’m definitely kidding). So, here it is. The story of my reaction to Samuel getting a little sister.

It started with one of those questions that you never in a million years think you’ll hear. The parents of your child asking you how you would feel about them becoming parents again. I don’t remember exactly what I said, although Christina could probably tell you, she’s terrific at remembering things like that. But if I had to guess, I’d bet I said something along the lines of “Oh, I think that’s great!” And then the concerns set in. Concerns that were rooted in jealousy, insecurity and a narrow view of love. All the things I aimed to end in open adoption, and there they were, coming back to haunt me.

My first concern was about the birth parents of the new baby. What if they weren’t stable? What if they were rude to Christina and Damon? What if they were needy or demanding? I worried that I wouldn’t get along with them. I worried that there might be tension between the Domers and the new birth parents. Which would mean stress. Which would affect Samuel. And me! I admit it now, I was jealous. I had some of the same fears for myself that I had for Samuel. Admitting this brings me to the heart of the issue.

I’m a highly sensitive, emotionally high maintenance person. I can be incredibly anxious, and change and the unknown can have a crippling effect on me. It’s been an incredible blessing my whole life, and an immense struggle. And wouldn’t you know, I see Samuel struggling with the same issues. This is where I began to have serious concerns, even more serious than the ones I mentioned previously. I made an adoption plan for Samuel because I want him to have the best life possible, because I want him to always know that he is loved and have every opportunity in the world to be happy. And in my mind, especially in the first few days of her birth, I felt like Abigail might threaten this.

That’s right. I’m not proud of it. But I felt like Abigail might be a threat to Samuel’s happiness. Here’s the thing: Abigail was born under extremely dangerous circumstances and she spent the first month or so in the NICU, fighting for her life. There were some serious questions at times. Would she make it? And if she did, what would her condition be? And then Samuel broke my heart. One of the first nights after Abigail was born, I went to pick Samuel up and take him home. Christina and Damon asked me to step in, along with Damon’s sister, to help him understand and cope with what was going on. As it got later in the evening, he began to get more and more agitated, until finally he burst into tears, saying “I want my mommy and daddy.” I was helpless, and all I could do was cry with him.

A little biography- I have a younger sibling who struggles with mental disability. I love him dearly, but there were many times in my childhood and even now as an adult that I feel exactly the way that Samuel felt that evening. When you’re a highly sensitive person you require people to treat you a little more delicately than others. When you don’t get that treatment, which can be time consuming, it can be crushing. A sibling with a disability takes a lot of time. It can be extremely difficult to deal with, and I was terrified that Samuel would not get what I thought he needed. I was not only mourning my past, but I was afraid I would be mourning his future as well.

It’s more clear to me now that I was being selfish. And that despite the evidence I had in front of me, that I was not placing my faith in the love that built Samuel’s world. I may start to sound like a broken record, but LOVE builds open adoptions. Love builds all families. I loved Abigail from the moment I met her. I’m incredibly thankful for her, because she’s already taught me so much. She taught me to be brave, not to give too much thought to the odds against you, and to let my doubts go. She’s taught Samuel patience, self control and sharing. And while he’s still my number one, in some ways I’m able to be closer to Abigail. I’m not grieving over the loss of a child, so I’m less inhibited with her. I’m able to give her affection in a way that doesn’t cause me pain, something I’ve only been able to do in the last couple of years with Samuel. I’m so thankful for that.


That’s my story of the Domers adopting again. It’s not always a pretty one, and there are definitely some moments that I’m not proud of. Open adoption is like that. Making one family out of two or three or four isn’t always easy; we all have different stories we want our lives to tell. At the end of the day though, maybe it’s best we take a step back and let the story tell itself. Because while we don’t always get the ending we want, if we can keep love in the forefront, it’s gonna be a good one.

Siblings at CPO, Part Three

It has been said that siblings are your first best friends, but what about in open adoption? We present a series of three posts to tell just a few of the sibling stories that we have heard here at CPO and hopefully give you a sense of how it can look both for the adoption family and for the birth family. Remember that every single story is completely individual, and we wouldn’t have that any other way.
Below is part three of three stories written by one of our fabulous volunteers, Alaina Butler.  If you haven’t already, be sure to read parts one and two, also.

Milly became a part of the Fisher family in October 2013, through adoption. Her biological half-brother, Shaun, lives with Amanda (his mother, and Milly’s birth mother). Shaun is 6 and Milly is almost 2 and they both love to see each other so much. They even enjoy Skyping between visits.


Adoptive mom, Rhonda shares the story of her daughter Milly.

“As long as Jarad and I knew we were going to adopt (years and years), we always assumed that we would just adopt one kid and call it good. Obviously God may have other plans, but for now, we have just Milly and that’s the way it will stay. This is in part because of financial reasons, in part because of the size of our house, and in part because, man… parenting is hard! (I’m joking, but only sort of.) Being an only child has some obvious perks: more parental attention, nobody borrowing and ruining your favorite dress, fewer noogies, etc. We believed that with fewer children, we’d be more able to provide a quality education for Milly. But when Jarad’s father became ill and subsequently passed away, we realized how nice it was to have the emotional support of his siblings.
“Because of open adoption at CPO, Milly is actually going to have it all. She will (most likely) be our only child, and will benefit from the opportunities that provides. But, she will also have a brother: Shaun. Sure, he lives a few towns over, but there is no doubt they have an emotional attachment that is already evident. Shaun loves Milly so much, and Milly looks at Shaun with a special light in her eyes, just like any little sister looks at her big brother.
“When Amanda and Jarad and I are all gone from this world, Shaun and Milly will still have each other. They can laugh about all the silly things they did when they were growing up. They can talk about the similarities they both inherited from Amanda. And they can gather their families together around the holidays. That’s what siblings are for, and that’s what they have in each other… thanks to open adoption.”

ImageBirth mom, Amanda has this to say about Milly’s adoption and relationship with her brother, Shaun.

“Shaun has three other siblings on his biological father’s side. The oldest, a sister, is much older. She’s married with her own baby, and living out of state, so we call her, but don’t see her, and he wasn’t raised around her. We are not in contact with the younger two and their mother. Our relationship with Milly, Rhonda, and Jarad is Shaun’s “normal”. He sees that other kids his age have siblings, and at first, was confused as to why the new baby siblings lived with them. I love, love, love that Shaun gets to experience being my only child, yet still have a little sister, too.”


And what does brother Shaun think of Milly and her adoption? “It makes me so happy.” he told us. Well Shaun, it makes us happy too. image2

Siblings at CPO, Part Two

It has been said that siblings are your first best friends, but what about in open adoption? We present a series of three posts to tell just a few of the sibling stories that we have heard here at CPO and hopefully give you a sense of how it can look both for the adoption family and for the birth family. Remember that every single story is completely individual, and we wouldn’t have that any other way.
Below is part two of three stories gathered by one of our fabulous volunteers, Alaina Butler. Come back soon to see part three.

Our Family Designed by God, Andy and Sarah Justice

The adoption decision for our family required a great deal of faith and obedience in God’s plan for our lives. Through this step of obedience and trust in a sovereign God He has blessed us beyond our wildest dreams. You will never regret trusting God with the details of your life.

God led us to CPO and the whole idea of open adoption.

Joel, Hannah, and Elizabeth were born just two weeks before we found out that we were pregnant, then seven months later we delivered healthy twins. Our triplets were very young when their siblings were born, so they have not really known life without Abigail and Andrew. They are all best buddies and are lost when the others are not up from a nap or are away from the house. When we were chosen by the birth parents to place their child (what they then thought was just one!) with us we told them of our desire to have a large family so they would not be surprised or disappointed if there were siblings later on, and they were happy at the prospect. Before the birth mom delivered the triplets they would tease us that we would probably get pregnant with twins after the triplets were born…and that we did, just a little sooner than anyone could have imagined. (By the way, this was not supposed to be able to happen medically, but with God all things are possible.) The birth parents were very happy to visit us in the hospital when the twins were born.

With two sets of multiples and everyone so close to the same age, the family dynamics can get a bit intense, but we have set out to promote an atmosphere of love and camaraderie between the siblings. They are very free with hugs and kisses for each other, when one gets hurt, or someone needs to say “I’m sorry,” or when going to bed. These past two years have been an extreme amount of work, but they have been filled with the greatest joys of our lives. We would not trade it for anything in the world.

Thank you CPO for being there for our birth parents and for families like us!


And thank you Sarah, for sharing your wonderful story with us. Remember to check back soon for more CPO sibling stories!