Category Archives: self-improvement

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Living with a Merry Heart: An Advent Message

Written by Jackie Potter, a CPO adoptive mom of many years, this message is a gift to you during this advent season. Merry Christmas!

Let’s all take a moment to imagine this. You are a simple teenage girl living with your parents in a small town, when an angel appears to you and says, (Luke 1:30-32) “…”Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give him the throne of David his father.” Wow, that’s a lot of expectation! But Mary didn’t hesitate; she answered, (Luke 1:38) “Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word…” And from that moment, her time of expectant waiting began. As we all know, Advent is a time of expectant waiting, waiting on the birth of Christ. Each Sunday, as we light the advent candle, we bring bright light and joy into the darkness of our lives. During this season, we are searching for hope, faith, joy and peace and we are preparing our hearts and souls for God’s promises to be fulfilled.
We all have times of anticipation and expectant waiting in our life. Because of how life is, we want an immediate response, an immediate reaction. But in God’s timing, that’s not always the case, because His timing is perfect. And that doesn’t always match up with our earthly desires. My husband Chad and I have struggled for 12 years to have a family. We’ve lost 2 babies to late-term miscarriages. We’ve lost 3 babies to failed adoptions and we’ve lost 1 baby at 5 months old, to SIDS. Our cross we carry here on earth is building our family, and we have painfully and expectantly waited.
Mary’s period of expectant waiting included the typical back pain and achy feet, as her body changed, and grew with her pregnancy. Yet she also felt Jesus moving and kicking inside of her. As the end of Mary’s pregnancy grew closer, she and Joseph slowly found their way to Bethlehem. It’s so hard to imagine what that journey must have been like…the fear, and anticipation, the pure exhaustion. In the bible, Luke tells us that Mary “was great with child” (Luke2:5) and I can imagine, ready to simply lie down. Yet, as the couple finally arrived in Bethlehem, the inn was full. I’m sure, in that moment, they both wanted to give up. I can imagine the frustration and concern that Joseph must have felt for his pregnant wife. Yet, they continued on and found a stable to rest in for the night, and painfully and expectantly waited.
As Chad and I worked through the hardship of each pregnancy loss, or loss of child, we clung to God. We trusted Him. In 1Peter 1:6 it says, “Be truly glad, there is wonderful joy ahead.” We knew there was great joy ahead. God had placed on our hearts the desire to have a family, the desire to be parents and the desire to adopt, we just needed to always have hope that He would fulfill that desire and bring great joy! Over the last 12 years, in between the losses, God blessed us with 4 beautiful children, ranging in age from 11to 2. Looking back, we wouldn’t change a thing. We’re afraid if we told our old selves of the tragedy that lies ahead, that we might not take the next step. We’re afraid of what we wouldn’t have, if we warned our old selves about the troubles ahead. If you heard that was your plan, would you go forward? It’s hard to say. But what if we could tell our old selves of God’s beautiful redemption in the end, that he’d give us 4 beautiful children, forever ours? Now that would be something that would push us through!
And I think of Mary in the same sense, as she lied in pain in the stable, giving birth to Jesus. In the middle of it all, her humble and courageous self always trusted God. She knew He would never leave her. In Hebrews 13:5 God says, “Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.” And when Jesus was born and let out his first newborn cry…what a holy night! The joy she must have felt as she wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and held him close to her heart. However, if she knew the persecution, the hurt and hatred that her son, Jesus, would endure, would she still say yes to the Angel Gabriel? She suffered tremendously when her only son died an excruciatingly painful death upon the cross, to save all of us from our sins. Knowing that He would die in such a horrendous way, would she take the next step, would she go forward? I believe, without a doubt, she would…she, too, knew that great joy lie ahead.
A couple months after losing our 5-month-old son Cohen, to SIDS, I had posted on Facebook about how amazing it was, that a night of belly laughing with my older children could help heal my broken heart. And a dear friend of mine, Cheryl Bauman, sent me this scripture. It’s from the book of Proverbs, chapter 17:22 and it says, “A merry heart is the health of the body…”. So, tonight, I pray that you too, will find your joy, your stillness and live with a merry heart this advent season.
In closing, living with a merry heart, and choosing joy daily, has such a positive effect on our souls and the souls of those around us, including our children and spouses. So what makes our hearts merry? In Jeremiah 15:16 it says “When I found your words, I devoured them; your words were my joy, the happiness of my heart, because I bear your name, Lord, God of hosts.” So for me this Advent, in order to live with a merry heart, I will sit in a quiet, still place, reflect on the promise the advent candle represents, trust Him to strengthen me to always take the next step, and fully take in His word, because, THAT is where grace and joy are found.


Meet MarShondria

After months of searching, CPO has found a new house mom. What a blessing she will be to the pregnant women who stay in our Transitional House. Many thanks to volunteers Angela McLaughlin for her interview and to Serena Lowe for photography.

We all know the situation: a woman finds out she is having a child and immediately, the HGTV host sets in, decorating and preparing for the arrival. Overnight, nurseries are made and all the things are childproofed. But for some women, this option is not reality. Women who choose adoption for their children are often experiencing a time of crisis in their lives, and will need support and love to not only make it through their pregnancy and the adoption process, but to turn their lives into something they’re proud of. Until a short time ago there was no realistic option for these women. That’s where CPO comes in with their Transitional Home. A safe haven for women, a beautiful home where they can laugh, cry and grow until they are ready to move on.
The CPO Transitional Home is one of the most incredible gifts the organization gives to it’s most vulnerable birth moms. Before the transitional home, CPO founder Cheryl Bauman says that women would often call at any hour, needing a safe place to stay while they created their adoption plan. Phone calls would be made, and volunteers would open their homes to the birth mother in need. And while many women were helped in this way, the process was unsustainable.
Through lots of volunteer hours and lots of generous donations, CPO was able to come up with a long term solution to this problem. Not only is the Transitional Home a safe place for women to stay for the duration of their pregnancy and for 6-9 months after, but there is constant support. The “house mom” is on site almost always, providing a listening ear, guidance and structure to the women, as they reclaim their independence and set forward on the new path their lives have taken.
MarShondria Adams is the current CPO house mom. From Sioux Falls, South Dakota, MarShondria is the oldest of five children, so she knows a thing or two about living in a full house. After having experiences with adoption in her family and personal life, she says “God drew CPO and I to each other!” Her passion is living a missional life with others, which she is certainly doing in her new role.
When asked about what she thought the greatest challenges of being a house mom were, her answer was all about change. “I think a big challenge will be introducing a new lifestyle because we are all resistant to change. CPO would like to help these ladies establish a healthy foundation to better their future but it will have to be a partnership. We cannot drag or force this upon them, so they will have to be willing to work at this change. It will be difficult for them to consistently make healthy decisions day in and day out, but we are committed to helping them through this transition.” Part of the contract when staying at the transitional home is meant to help a birth mom work through some of these changes, with reliable transportation to and from counseling, doctors appointments and support groups. Because most of these women are coming from a place of personal crisis, the relief of not having to worry about getting transportation is immeasurable.
MarShondria also has a plan to model accountability, balance and boundaries for the women at the house, saying “You can’t give out what you don’t have and it is important for me to model this. I hope to model this balance through establishing boundaries, accountability, and my personal relationship with Christ.” Because the house mom is a constant presence in the lives of the women at the house, she is able to provide support simply with her presence. Role models and mentors are a key component of CPO’s mission, and the house mom is able to provide both in a stable and safe environment.
Finally, MarShondria also has her hopes for the future, “It is my hope that the women will develop skills that will help them have a healthy lifestyle when they leave the transitional house. CPO and I would like for this to be a safe place where women learn to flourish in their relationship with Christ and others through boundaries and accountability.” Because CPO’s ultimate goal is for the women to transition into the world with a renewed sense of purpose, faith and independence, MarShondria recognizes that while there may be hills and valleys, the work she and the rest of the women do in the transitional house is truly setting the stage for a healthy and meaningful future.

Parenting Success Story: Alex

Many women who come to CPO during their crisis pregnancies choose to parent their child. We are happy to support them in their efforts with counseling, mentors, parenting classes, and more. From time to time we would like to highlight one of our parenting success stories. This is the third installment in our series, again written by Ashley Ledbetter.

“What am I going to do?”
For Alex, it was the first question of many.  It led her on a journey towards a beautiful and rewarding decision: to parent her son and daughter.
Alex discovered she was pregnant at age 18.  She was living on her own, having graduated high school ahead of schedule. The news was difficult.  “What am I going to do?”  Being an extremely smart girl, she began exploring her options.  She reached out to MEND; they were helpful. Although Alex was initially open to an abortion, MEND offers a video that reveals the abortion process.  After viewing the video, she quickly ruled out abortion as an option.
Moving forward with her decision to protect the tiny baby inside her, Alex started surveying other resources around her.  Since CPO has resources for parenting AND open adoptions, adoption was the next option she chose to explore. Soon, Alex had decided to attend two support groups- one group for parenting mothers and one for those who have chosen to make adoption plans.  When the adoption support group didn’t resonate, she paid close attention to the girls in the parenting group.  She began to observe a simple, yet monumental, truth:  “It is possible!” These girls chose to parent, even though they hadn’t planned on becoming pregnant, and they were doing it.  They were even doing it well.  She started to think “I can do this.”  Her choice to parent was made.
With a plan starting to fall into place, Alex was then able to address issues related to the remainder of her pregnancy and delivery.  This phase of her journey became as critical to her experience as every other part, since it was during this final stretch of pregnancy that she was challenged and cared for by CPO volunteers.  The medical volunteers, Dr. Ross, and one of CPO’s doulas, Marlita, were an incredibly strong support for Alex.  She was prayed for at every prenatal appointment and had some difficult but honest conversations with Dr. Ross.  Through that time, Alex realized how much she was experiencing depression and self neglect.  She had grown up enduring heartbreak and difficulties within her immediate family that had affected her more deeply than she had previously been able to identify.  While she had been aware of these struggles, they were unresolved and painful.  Alex began to see the underlying condition of her heart.  She began to reconsider her deep-rooted approach to life: “just get through it”.  She started to understand that God had more for her than that, maybe even joy and freedom.
Even after all of these victories and blessings on her way to becoming a mother, Alex’s highest praise goes to Marlita.  After all, the delivery of a baby is one of the most personal and valuable moments a woman will experience. Having a skilled and compassionate doula can really create a bond that will endure forever!  Alex remembers, “Marlita was the only person I wanted in the delivery room with me.”
In the end, Alex had rejected abortion, chosen to parent, begun to experience the healing of her own heart, and delivered a baby.  So, one question remained: “What is the best way to do this?”  CPO’s parenting support group offered her plenty of answers.  Through the community of parenting girls, Alex was able to learn the details of government housing as well as general strategies for single moms.  She found community within the parenting mothers, who even handed down clothes and other child related items to each other.
She journeyed from “What am I going to do?” all the way to “It is possible!” For her and her two children, it was a journey worth taking.  image
6 years later, Alex is the beautiful mother of two children, Treten (age 5) and Georgia (age 4). Currently, she serves tables at Chuy’s while attending school for accounting.


Happy Independence Day!

As you prepare to celebrate the independence of our great nation with friends and family, please also remember one of CPO’s perpetual goals: to guide women to become independent and productive members of society. Many women enjoy a different kind of independence thanks to years of support from our donors, volunteers, and leaders. Say a prayer for them all today.

20 May 1999 --- Independence Day parade --- Image by © Ariel Skelley/CORBIS

Retro CPO: Refreshed, Restored, and Renewed

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 is an encouraging piece written by Janey Waters, one of CPO’s longtime therapists. It was written in fall of 2008.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” -Matthew 5:3

Some seasons are just exceptionally difficult. I’m sure that you, as I, are much more familiar with this times than you’d like to be.

In my professional work as a therapist, I have noticed that the nature of these stressful times varies. Some seasons may be overwhelming because of the sheer volume of clients; others, because of the severity of my clients’ mental illnesses; still others, because of the emergence of my own issues which can be triggered by any number of reasons.

At these times, the Lord seems ‘ever ready’ to invite me closer so that He can burn out those impurities – experiences which feel better than spending eternity in a firey pit but worse than ten simultaneous root canals.

The worst seasons for me are the hopeless ones; those in which I see little or no willingness on my clients’ part to mature spiritually or emotionally. The more difficult clients especially seem to take delight in blocking His Presence, thereby rendering counseling an impotent tool. I am in just such a season as this and it has taken its toll.

One night last week, I was feeling especially sad, discouraged, disillusioned, and heavily burdened. I felt overwhelmed and grossly inadequate as a therapist. I questioned whether or not I was making any difference at all in my clients’ lives. I felt that I was a disappointment to the Lord. Distraught, I sat on the edge of my bed with my feet on the floor, shoulders slumped. With my hands placed on my legs, palms up, I began to quote Scripture with an almost untraceable amount of enthusiasm. I quietly uttered, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come” aloud several times in a tone that would have made Eeyore quite covetous. Having little more than the tiniest mustard seed of faith, and expecting nothing from God in return, I repeated these very words which were placed on my heart and in my mind at that moment.

sitting in stillness and hearing nothing but my unenthusiastic whispers, I dropped my head back, face heavenward, and listened. It was at this specific moment that my Heavenly Father, knowing the breadth of my emptiness and despair, moved mightily, yet gently. I felt a cascading waterfall flowing from the top of my head to the bottoms of my feet. This internal visceral experience was so strong I thought it was nearly audible. The Lord washed clean my soiled soul which had been violated by a sin-filled world. I allowed and welcomed Him to refresh, restore, and renew my soul as only He can do.

During this experience, my mind was bombarded with many Scriptures, but the one which stood out above all was from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount – the Beatitudes. I had presented myself before my Creator, poor in spirit , mourning the loss of innocence and energy, longing to be comforted, thirsting and hungering, and seeking mercy with a desire to be made pure in heart after having been contaminated. I had been persecuted, insulted, lied to, yet i knew that my clients’ childhoods, riveted with pain, were displayed in an attempt to rid themselves of this vile anguish. I just happened to be the nearest, convenient target. I got slimed, and God saw my heart.

In Matthew 5:12, Jesus instructs us to rejoice and be glad for this, for your reward in Heaven will be great. I believe in my Lord’s promise for eternity, and I also believe that He heard my silent cry and ministered to me, without my having to wait. The King(dom) broke through the bars of my imprisonment, landed in my darkened room, and freely offered me the freeing gift of His healing Presence. The prince of this world is still lurking about, but we -the Christ followers- have the Most High, Who is always on duty. He is on a constant and continual protective watch – ever patrolling his saints.

On that particular night last week, I actually felt blessed to have been spiritually bankrupt because  His Presence was manifested. It is our Father’s continual delight to offer Himself to us, both now AND at the end times. You don’t have to wait.

Ask. Knock. And the door will be opened.


Retro CPO: Meet Becky Martin

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 Becky Martin, one of Cheryl’s assistants at the time. It was written in fall of 2008, and is her personal testimony.

It is my great pleasure to serve as an assistant director of CPO under the amazing leadership of Cheryl Bauman and alongside several other Godly women.
I came to know my Savior Jesus Christ on November 1, 1970, and from that day forward, my ambition was to serve Jesus as a missionary. I attended schools in Tulsa and Broken Arrow, where I graduated in 1980.
When I was a child, while traveling down I-40, I passed Oklahoma Baptist University. I could see the steeple from the highway and when my parents told me that was OBU, I said, “That is where I’m going to college.” My parents did not go to college and this worried my mother, because we didn’t have a lot of money. She mentioned this to our pastor’s wife at the time. She told my mother that God would provide a way. He did!
As some of you will remember, the early 80s were not a good time in our economy, but I remember, vividly, one semester when I went in to pay. My dad had told me to just write the check and he would put the money in my account. I had some scholarships and grants so I thought the bill would be close to $1,000. When it came my turn to pay, the clerk tallied it up and said, “You owe eighteen fifty.” I said, “$1850.00?” He said, “No, $18.50.” I was so excited! I went immediately to call my dad, who acted like it was no big deal. He knew God was in control.
I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Elementary Education. I majored in Elementary Education so I would have a trade to take with me to the mission field.
It was very difficult to find a job in Oklahoma, so I got my first gob at a private Christian school in Florida. While I was working that year, my relationship with God grew and I learned a great deal. I was also communicating with an orphanage in Mexico about coming there to work.
Unfortunately, as it seems to happen sometimes when you are on the brink of your destiny, I made some bad decisions and became pregnant. I did not believe in abortion and I didn’t know anything about open adoption, so my plan was to come back to Oklahoma, live with my mom and brother, and raise my son on my own. Zach was born January 9, 1986, and was very healthy.
I was so worried that God was mad at me for messing up all His plans for my life, that I ran from Him for a while. In May of 1987, I won a car! I felt that He was saying He was going to take care of me and He was still my Father.
It was an extremely difficult time, raising Zach on my own with no child support. I did have a good job and a new car, but Zach didn’t have an earthly father. I met my husband when Zach was 2 years old, and we married two and a half years later. Phillip and I have now been married close to 18 years. It wasn’t always easy having a child who was close to 5 years old at the beginning of the marriage, but again, God helps us become a family. Phillip and I were blessed with a baby girl, Sarah, on June 19, 1991.
When we became members of Christian Chapel, Cheryl came to speak one day about the needs of CPO. As she was speaking, Phillip turned and looked at me as if to say, “Now you can do what you’ve always wanted to do, be a missionary.” Even though I thought my mission field was working with children, which I did do while teaching for 14 years, maybe God’s plan were different. Or maybe, as romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for the good of those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” I have enjoyed working with the girls and women who have come through the program. I have learned so much from them and I have been able to share my story with them, in hopes that my struggle would encourage them to seek God’s will for their situation.
For me, 2007 was a very eventful year working with CPO. I saw so many miracles. Many times, we all wondered why things were happening the way they were, but God’s plans were always better than ours. He did some mighty things in people’s lives, from saving several babies from abortions to saving the lives of some preemies and sick children. I call 2007 “the miracle year.”
I praise Him and thank Him all the time for allowing me to serve Him as a missionary with CPO. I am also grateful to Cheryl for this opportunity and to all the couple with whom I have had the pleasure of working. My faith has grown through watching your adoption stories unfold. My goal now is to keep working with CPO and not let anything stop me. God bless you all.

A recent photo of Becky, still an active CPO volunteer.

A recent photo of Becky, still an active CPO volunteer.

Volunteers Matter: Jackie Potter

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 another long-time volunteer, Jackie Potter.

Q: How do you volunteer with CPO?
A: Currently, I am the Gala Sponsor Chair for our annual Celebrate Life Gala.  I’m responsible for securing table sponsors for the event, as well as a lot of behind the scenes gala work.  In the past Chad and I were mentors for the transition house, and I have also coordinated host families for birth moms, and out of town families.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: I began volunteering with CPO in January of 2005, so 11 years ago!

Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A:My husband, Chad and I had experienced an interrupted adoption through another agency, and went to see Teri Burnett for some guidance.  She introduced us to CPO, at that time.  However, I’ve known of CPO since about 4th grade, when Cheryl’s daughter Natalie and I would carpool and go to Tracie’s house for after school snacks!  🙂

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with CPO vs. other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: CPO just fell in my lap, after talking with Teri Burnett.  We first came here because of our desire to adopt, and then it quickly turned into more than that.  You see the work being done and how much more work needs to happen and you can’t help but want to be a part of that ministry.  The one thing that keeps me volunteering at CPO is the constant need.  There are so many hurting women and children in our community and I want to be part of their healing, and that’s what CPO does.

Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: CPO is so close to my heart because it stands for LIFE.  Plain and simple.  CPO respects the lives of the birthmoms coming for help, knowing they are worthy of goodness in their lives.  They respect the lives of the babies, finding them their perfect forever family.  And CPO respects the lives of the adoptive parents; knowing that God placed the desire to adopt on their hearts.  And in such a seamless way, CPO unites all of these lives together.

Q: What have you learned about yourself since volunteering?
A: Through volunteering at CPO, I’ve learned that it’s ok to step outside my comfort zone.  Because when I do that, God stretches me, and continues to form me into the person He created me to be.

Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: God’s hand is in constant work at CPO.  From the financial donations that keep our organization running, to the volunteers in the nursery so that we can meet without interruption, to the birthmoms that turn their lives around, to the adoptive families that have received answers to prayer…God is in constant work with those involved with CPO.  He orchestrates it all so beautifully!!

Q: What would you say to anyone considering becoming involved in CPO?
A: If you’re interested in volunteering with CPO, I say go for it, please come help!  The more we have doing His work, the more women and children we can help.  We can’t do this alone.  But, I would also say, be prepared for your life to change.  God’s doing big things here!

Jackie Potter

Loving People: The Most Meaningful Work in the World

Valentine’s Day

Today’s post, written by Denise Dietz, is just in time for Valentine’s Day. If there is ever a time to focus on Loving People, this would be it. 

VDay 2

Have you ever felt an itch in your heart to do something meaningful? Making a difference seems to be somewhere in the hierarchy of basic human needs. Amidst the ho-hum of my everyday life, I’ve stumbled upon a very satisfying component to living life more fully. I say stumbled, because what initially brought me to the opportunity was an obligation to fulfill volunteer services hours for our adoption with Crisis Pregnancy Outreach (CPO).   Those initial steps lead me down the road of happiness. My service hours involved answering phones, giving rides to appointments, most often with people living in neighborhoods I would otherwise avoid or taking a meal/food to someone in need. These steps lead into bigger steps where I began helping women in crisis develop plans to work through difficult circumstances in their life. I quickly learned to assemble teams of support for them and identify resources that would empower their decision. Something happened as I stepped away from my posh life and into this circle. A richness grew in my heart. The challenges faced, victories won and pure messiness drew me to love, cherish and admire them. By being there they validated my existence in ways I’d never considered worthy of being. Each year as I facilitated a Christmas Giving Opportunity for others to join the mission of brightening spirits during Christmas, I heard countless reports of this phenomena in action. As miraculous provisions flood the lives of those in need, the givers/those serving are experiencing an even greater joy in being a part of what’s happening; thereby, making their Christmas the most meaningful. It’s richness, packed with the substance of pure love!!!

Love. The power that motivates us to reach beyond limitations, step into dark places and cross great human divides. Love in action radically puts change in motion. Its impact is felt on every dimension; those giving it, those receiving it and those standing by. It’s charging like an atom, positively bringing life to everyone attached.

It’s no wonder that in all the profound truths God entrusted to us in the Bible He puts exceptional emphasis on one being greater than all others. When asked by the Pharisees which is the greatest commandment in the law of Moses:

“Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” – Matthew 22:37-40

Remember that itch I mentioned at the beginning? I suspect it is from God to move us closer to an abundant life. May what was intended to be a Valentine’s Day post… become a morsel of life you can devour each and every day. Your sweet spot will be satisfied continually. Much love to you beloved friends!!!

Please Consider: CPO has always operated as an all-volunteer organization. There are diverse opportunities to serve based on your skills and time.   If you’ve felt a nudge in your heart, please consider investing in CPO. I promise the commitment will respect the delicate balance of your family. There are so many miraculous reports of people’s lives being transformed through their serving. It reaches far beyond the accomplishment of a job and takes on a beautifully redemptive quality. Our Volunteer Coordinator will introduce you to where to start. Her name is Claire Theriot. You can reach her at  

Volunteers Matter: Rhonda Fisher

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 another dedicated volunteer, Rhonda Fisher.

Q: How do you volunteer with CPO?
A: I currently spend lots of time working behind the scenes at CPO. I keep the website up-to-date, I coordinate and edit the blog, and I work with our marketing team on various projects. I mentor adoptive families as they go through the adoption process from application to finalization. I often go to volunteer fairs to recruit new volunteers or to outreach events to offer help to women in need. I also lead the monthly meeting of our Adoptive Family Support Group. My official title is the Ministry Director, and I do lots of stuff.

Q: How long have you been volunteering with us?
A: Since about June of 2012, so that would be 3.5 years.

Q: How did you find out about CPO?
A: My husband Jarad and I had been considering adoption for quite some time. We weren’t quite ready yet, and we weren’t sure if God wanted us to adopt internationally, through DHS, or through a domestic agency. We heard about CPO through a friend from the school where I was teaching. It was a beautiful ministry and right here in Tulsa. We knew we had found His plan for us.

Q: Why did you choose to volunteer with CPO vs. other organizations? What is it about crisis pregnancies that drew you to us?
A: CPO requires that adoptive families complete a specific number of hours as part of their adoption process. So that’s why I started. But I’m WAAAAAAAY past that number of hours, and my daughter’s adoption has long been finalized. But now I’m in love with this place and I can’t stop. I love the adoptive families. I love the volunteers. I love the babies. And most of all I love the women and girls that God brings to us.

Q: Why is our cause so close to your heart?
A: I love that CPO supports women through their pregnancies but also for the REST OF THEIR LIVES. You really don’t find that with many other agencies. But here at CPO, we’re not just an agency. We’re a ministry. We offer lifelong support groups and licensed counseling to these ladies, and I am so proud of that fact.

Q: What have you learned about yourself since volunteering?
A: I actually LIKE to volunteer! I mean, I really like it. I currently stay home with my daughter, Milly. While I wouldn’t change that for the world, I miss teaching and the special joy it brought to my life. But volunteering at CPO (and a few other local ministries) brings a similar joy. It is just so good to get outside of your own world and spend time helping others. It’s just plain good for my soul.

Q: How have you seen God’s hand at work in the ministry of CPO?
A: Oh my goodness. Where to begin? I have met dozens upon dozens of women helped by CPO. Many of them had no where else to turn, had never felt the love of Christ, and were merely surviving day to day before they came to CPO. Now, I see them all the time, thriving, smiling, and spreading Christ’s love to others. One of my favorite things to see around CPO is when a woman who has previously been helped by CPO decides she wants to volunteer here too. What a joy to see those who were previously helped reach out to help others, too!

Q: What would you say to anyone considering becoming involved in CPO?
A: Get with it! Don’t wait. We always need more volunteers and it’s never too soon to start being the literal hands and feet of Christ. You won’t regret it!


Retro CPO: Cheryl Said

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 Cheryl Bauman, our founder and executive director. It was written in winter of 2007, but is still a very powerful message, even today.

As a very young girl in Chandon, Nebraska, the highlight of my week was listening to a radio program called “Unshackled.” It took place on Rush Street in Chicago, and centered on the lives of men and women who were addicted to alcohol and how they had been “set free” by the power of the saving grace of Jesus Christ. I just could not get enough of those amazing stories.
Last night, one of CPO’s therapists, Jane Waters, spoke to our girls on the topic of forgiveness. Actually, she had prepared for an entirely different topic, but God told her she had not finished the session she had begun on forgiveness, four weeks earlier. As Janey began to minister to the girls, we saw individual girls forgive:

  • a man who had raped her, and family members who gave her no support
  • the girls at school who abandoned her when she became pregnant
  • fathers who had never been there for their daughters, physically or emotionally, and who continue to disappoint and hurt them
  • a mother who allowed many boyfriends to beat her children, resulting in their subsequent permanent removal from her and their home
  • men who had abused them physically, sexually, and mentally
  • family members who sided with the perpetrators, not the victims
  • brothers who had molested them
  • THEMSELVES, for the decisions they had made to choose multiple sexual partners, abuse drugs and alcohol, and repeatedly choose men who abuse them

Never in my life have I witnessed so much pain and agony- and so much healing, peace, and joy as these girls forgave the above-mentioned people. It was like watching an onion be peeled, layer after layer.
Does this mean that these girls should forget all of this and be in the presence of these people? Absolutely NOT.
As Janey reminded all of us, forgiveness is NOT:

  • forgetting
  • condoning
  • absolution
  • a form of self-sacrifice
  • an indication that you trust the person now
  • dependence upon the other person

She also reminded us that forgiveness IS:

  • an act of the will, not of the heart
  • a by-product of an ongoing healing process
  • accepting that our desire to punish the other person will only hurt us
  • to be developed into a lifestyle
  • required of a Christian

I only wish that each on of you could have been there to see the transformation in these girls.cpo-16