Ron Reigns:
Welcome, and thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters and Adoption with Kelly Rourke-Scarry and me, Ron Reigns, where we delve into the issues of adoption from every angle of the adoption triad.

Speaker 2:
I’m not ready, and it wouldn’t be fair. It’s selfish of me to keep a baby that I can’t take care of.

Speaker 3:
This is my first child. All I could think about was needing to save my son. And maybe this’ll be an opportunity for you to change your life, get off the street, and turn your life around and help somebody else in the process.

Kelly R.:
I’m Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the co-founder of Building Arizona Families, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and the developer of the You Before Me campaign.

Kelly R.:
I have been in the adoption field for 15 years. I have both personal and professional experience in adoption. I was adopted myself, and I also have been a social worker my entire career. I have a bachelor’s degree in family studies and human development, and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in school counseling.

Kelly R.:
Donna K. Evans is my biological mother. We lost her at 59. She went into the hospital with what we thought was a really bad cold, and it turned out to be a lung infection and pneumonia, and she never made it out. My husband and I flew over when she was already in a coma. And I remember walking into the hospital, it was at Mount Carmel West. And we did all the things that I thought a daughter should do. I was the only girl of my mother’s. She has two boys and then me. And so my husband and I are painting her toenails, and I’m brushing her hair, and everything that you think that you should do, and-

Ron Reigns:
Real quick, just a quick aside, I know Adam, and he takes a lot of pride in his machismo.

Kelly R.:
Yeah, he was painting toenails.

Ron Reigns:
And he was painting her… Okay, I just have that picture in my head-

Kelly R.:
he was. He was painting toenails.

Ron Reigns:
… to lord over him at some point.

Kelly R.:
Yes, absolutely. He was absolutely painting-

Ron Reigns:
Good for him.

Kelly R.:
He took it from me and he absolutely said, “I’m doing some too.” It was amazing. We decorated her room with balloons, and I went out and I purchased a ton of pictures, of photos, that I covered one of the cabinets in, because I wanted everybody to know how much she mattered. And I thought this would personalize her, because the shifts were changing. I knew that she was on Medicaid, and I didn’t want her looked at differently. I didn’t want people to think that she didn’t matter, because she did.

Kelly R.:
I did everything I could to brighten up the room and make it cheery, and be super nice to the nurses and bring them drinks, just so they would give just a little extra attention. And when we were there, I kept thinking, “She’s so young, how can this be happening?” We didn’t plan on this happening. At 59, you don’t think this is going to occur.

Kelly R.:
And, actually, it was Adam, my husband, that grabbed her hand and said that, “This isn’t the end. Your life isn’t done. We’re not going to let it end here.” What was so incredible about that was the fact that she was from West Virginia. She had been looked down on when some of the family had found out that she had placed a baby for adoption. So in her eulogy, I was able to write it and talk about the hundreds and hundreds of women that, had she not placed me for adoption, I wouldn’t have been able to help.

Kelly R.:
All of the babies and all of the women that I have participated in helping with their adoption was because of her. And so it was there that the idea of Donna K. Evans Foundation was born, so that we could make everybody else’s life just a little bit better, and they wouldn’t have to go through life like she did, because she didn’t have the aftercare services.

Kelly R.:
So, as a birth mother, she wasn’t given that step up. And that’s what the Donna K. Evans Foundation does. It gives people a step up.

Ron Reigns:
That is amazing. And to make her name something that I’m sure she never in life thought that her name would mean to people, that is… It actually chokes me up a little bit.

Kelly R.:
It does me too. And what I have to say is so incredible. And I want to talk more about the Donna K. Evans Foundation. And how people can help is… I was at the National Adoption Conference in June, and we had a table. It’s a display table. It’s where all the adoption professionals go, and there’s tables and conferences. And somebody came up and said, “Oh, yeah, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, what do you know about that?”

Ron Reigns:
A little bit, actually.

Kelly R.:
And I thought, “That’s my mom’s name.” It was just so, almost, an out-of-body experience. It was just surreal.

Ron Reigns:
Right, just… Uh-huh (affirmative).

Kelly R.:
And I keep thinking up in heaven and my mom’s going, “I got me a foundation,” because she would say, “I don’t ever…” Her quote was, “Don’t ever brag, say I’m blessed.” So I would just say, “I’m blessed. I have a foundation,” because she said, “You don’t ever brag. You just say I’m blessed.”

Kelly R.:
But the foundation was in honor of her. And the goal is to help women rebuild their lives, because adoption is such a selfless sacrifice that they deserve something, rather than just to be cast back to where they started. And a lot of women are really vested in changing their lives because they are going to have a continued relationship with their baby. And they want their baby to see them succeed. And they want their baby to see like, “Hey, my birth mom did graduate high school. My birth mom did become a nurse,” or, “She was able to go to beauty school.”

Kelly R.:
It’s like a goal that they have is like, “Okay, well now that I’ve made this amazing choice, and my child’s going to have an amazing life, now I can focus on myself, and I can rebuild, so they can be proud of me too.” And that’s the goal of the foundation.

Kelly R.:
And so we have helped women with everything from group counseling to housing, emergency housing vouchers through hotels, through emergency food bags. We do classes and workshops. We have people who have been at the very bottom and gone to the very top, and their success stories. And we’ve had Wells Fargo come in and do financial classes for them. We have people that volunteer and come in and will do resume classes. We have computer stations at the facility, where you can practice GED study guides.

Kelly R.:
You can apply for jobs, work on your resume. You can log into Child Connect and do the communication between the adoptive family and yourself after the baby’s born and get pictures. We have lots of areas that can help just globally support the mom. What’s neat is watching the women that come into the program really use the program and get better.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, get the benefits out of it.

Kelly R.:
And some women actually, after they have the baby, they’re not ready, and that’s okay too.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly R.:
They go off in a forget about the adoption for a while and take a break. And the program is always there. And so-

Ron Reigns:
So they can come back-

Kelly R.:
Anytime.

Ron Reigns:
If it’s been five years-

Kelly R.:
Ten years-

Ron Reigns:
… or two weeks.

Kelly R.:
Anytime. And there’s no limit.

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Kelly R.:
So it’s not that you have to work the program and you’re done. It’s that we’re going to help you as long as you want the help, because you made the sacrifice.

Ron Reigns:
And as long as you’re taking advantage of it.

Kelly R.:
Right, absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
That’s great. Oh, that’s awesome.

Kelly R.:
Yeah, you’ve got to work the steps and do the program, and we’re here to help you. And it’s been amazing to know, for the adoptive families, to know that their birth mother is being cared for, because I can’t tell you how many years prior to this program that adoptive parents would say, “Well, what’s going to happen to my child’s birth mom? I don’t want to think of her out on the street walking at night.”

Ron Reigns:
Right, they actually care-

Kelly R.:
Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
… not just about, obviously, the child, which they do, but where the child came from and-

Kelly R.:
Absolutely, because they know that they’re going to get that question one day of-

Ron Reigns:
Where’s the birth mom?

Kelly R.:
“Where’s my mom?”

Ron Reigns:
Oh, yeah.

Kelly R.:
“What happened? What is she like? What does she do?” And I knew three things when I was growing up until I found my mom. I knew that my mom was 16. I knew that she came from a large family, and her favorite class in school was PE.

Ron Reigns:
And that’s it.

Kelly R.:
Those are just… That’s all I knew.

Ron Reigns:
That was your connection to your mother-

Kelly R.:
Until I was 34.

Ron Reigns:
until you were 34.

Kelly R.:
Yep, that was it. And what was really funny is I don’t think my mother liked PE. I don’t. After meeting her, I’m not sure. I think somebody mixed [crosstalk 00:08:52] I don’t know.

Ron Reigns:
They accidentally switched.

Kelly R.:
The first two were good but I’m not so sure. She wasn’t the athletic type. I have a funny story on that, and this is a tangent, but this is funny, is she had a lot of back problems. The knock them out, drag them out procedure didn’t do her any favors. And as she got older in life, the lower back problems became worse. And at one point… Now, she’s very stubborn. She’s from West Virginia, so she’s got the full accent. They sent her to physical therapy, because they thought, “If we can loosen her back up a little bit, maybe it won’t cause her so much pain.”

Kelly R.:
So she walks into the physical therapy room. They want to put her on the treadmill and the bike, and she sees the hot tub out of the corner of her eye. And so they said, “We’re going to do this.” And she says, “I want to do that,” and she’s pointing at the hot tub. And they said, “Well-

Ron Reigns:
“You’ve got to do this first.”

Kelly R.:
“You have to do first.” Yeah, and she said, “Nope,” and she walked right over to the hot tub and got in the hot tub. And she didn’t do any [crosstalk 00:09:51] of the other. She thought just sitting in a hot tub next to the little-

Ron Reigns:
… was physical therapy.

Kelly R.:
Yeah, absolutely. And that was what she was going to do. She said, “No.” She said, “You can do that. I’m not doing that.” So I’m not so sure that PE was-

Ron Reigns:
… high on her list of favorite classes, right?

Kelly R.:
I don’t think so.

Ron Reigns:
They probably did some square dancing back then.

Kelly R.:
Maybe. Yeah, who knows, right? Absolutely, who knows? But I think that the program, the foundation, the whole aspect of it is really to help women. I believe in the analogy of don’t just give somebody fish, give them the fishing pole, teach them how to fish.

Ron Reigns:
Exactly.

Kelly R.:
And that’s why I always say, “We give you a hand up, not a handout.” I used angels in the logo because they were my mom’s favorite thing. They were angels. And so that’s where the phrase that we use comes from is, help her find her wings so she can fly, because my mom didn’t get to fly. And so-

Ron Reigns:
Well, she is now.

Kelly R.:
She is now. And now she is an angel and she is up there being blessed for having a foundation. So, yeah, so people can absolutely help with the foundation. They can… There’s a lot of volunteer opportunities. They can also donate. Obviously, we’re always accepting monetary donations. You can go right to our website. There’s a PayPal link. This is 100% nonprofit. We don’t charge the women anything. It’s all donations, Building Arizona Families funds the majority of it. We are in the process of trying to look at grants and other funding opportunities, but we really need help from everyone to help fund this program, because we’re a community, and we need to come together and do this as a team.

Ron Reigns:
There’s many ways you can volunteer to help us, including community engagement, outreach, donation help, holiday help, fundraising, peer support and mentoring, help from home, and professional consultant help.

Ron Reigns:
Call Maura Salaya at 480-392-0146, or email her at M-A-U-R-A@dkefoundation.com. We also have other ways you can support women after they place their baby for adoption through the DKE program, including monetary donations, nonperishable food, including grocery gift cards, fast food cards, GED study guides, one day bus passes, and prepaid cell phone minutes, as well as car seats. And, as always, you can find out more about the Donna K. Evans Foundation at www.dkefoundation.com.

Ron Reigns:
Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters and Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by Ron Reigns. We also want to thank Building Arizona Families, the Donna Kay Evans Foundation, and the You Before Me campaign. A special thanks goes out to Grapes for letting us use their song, I Don’t Know as our theme song.

Ron Reigns:
If you’re pregnant and considering adoption, we are a licensed, full-service nonprofit Arizona adoption agency. We believe in adoption aftercare services, and have a program onsite to provide continued support through the Donna Kay Evans Foundation. You can contact us 24 hours a day at 623-695-4112, or our toll-free number 1-800-340-9665. Check out our blogs and website at www.azpregnancyhelp.com.

Ron Reigns:
Make sure to tune in next time. We’ll be talking about the differences between open and closed adoptions. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I’m Ron Reigns. We’ll see you then.

Ron Reigns:
Welcome, and thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption with Kelly Rourke-Scarry, and me, Ron Reigns, where we delve into the issues of adoption from every angle of the adoption triad.

Maria:
I’m not ready, and it wouldn’t be fair. It’s selfish of me to keep a baby that I can’t take care of. This is my first child. All I could think about was needing to save my son. And maybe this will be an opportunity for you to change your life, get off the street, and turn your life around, and help somebody else in the process.

Kelly RS:
I’m Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the Co-Founder of Building Arizona Families, the Donna K. Evans foundation, and the developer of the You Before Me campaign. I have been in the adoption field for 15 years. I have both personal, and professional experience in adoption. I was adopted myself, and I also have been a social worker my entire career. I have a bachelor’s degree in family studies and human development, and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis in school counseling. So, many choices in adoption.

Ron Reigns:
For instance?

Kelly RS:
Well, one of the most important, if not the most important, I would say would be what type of adoption you choose. So, there’s open, semi-open, and closed.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly RS:
And they’re very loose words with terminology. In other words, people will assign different values to the words. What is an open? What is a semi-open? Some people will think an open is actually only letters and pictures, where open can be letters, and pictures, and visits. Semi-open can be letters and pictures. So, it just depends on how you define-

Ron Reigns:
It’s very interchangeable, except for obviously closed. Closed is closed.

Kelly RS:
Right. Well, even that’s … No. Not even.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly RS:
No.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly RS:
So, a closed adoption can still be considered a closed adoption and parentheticals if you have contact up until the baby is born with the adoptive family, and then say goodbye at the hospital, and don’t continue contact. Got it. So, again, it’s how you define closed.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly RS:
Some women come into the program, and they don’t ever want to meet the adoptive family, they don’t ever want to see the adoptive family, and they want to totally close adoption. That is rare. That’s very rare.

Ron Reigns:
Right. And oftentimes Building Arizona Families will actually pick the adoptive parents.

Kelly RS:
It’s happened.

Ron Reigns:
Whereas oftentimes, the birth mother will say, “I want this family.”

Kelly RS:
Correct. Yes. It’s rare to have a completely closed adoption, and it’s not something that unless there is a really good reason, I encourage birth mothers to really consider a semi-open or an open because you can always work backwards. So, if you choose to have contact, and after the baby’s born and placed, you decide, “This is too difficult. I can’t do this right now.”

Kelly RS:
Then what happens is your pictures, and letters will just stack up, and then when you’re ready, you have the opportunity to have them. If you choose closed, and you don’t create an agreement afterwards, which is called a post-adoption communication agreement, then you don’t have the option of going back, and getting pictures, and letters. So, I always tell people, “Keep as many doors open as you can, so that you have the ability to walk through them later.” Because if you solely focus on what you feel in the moment, you’re not looking to-

Ron Reigns:
You might have something that you’ll regret later that you think, “You know what? I wasn’t in the spot at that time in my life to communicate with these parents, and with my child,” but later on you can. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense.

Kelly RS:
Absolutely. So, you can always do less, but you can’t do more in that sense. So, that’s why I think keeping as many doors open gives you that opportunity, even if you’re not ready, and we use a program called child connect, which is an online portal that the adoptive family will upload letters and pictures, and the birth mother can actually use the Donna K. Evans Foundations computers or they can use their cell phone, and log on, and see pictures of the baby, and letters, and they can communicate through the portal.

Kelly RS:
This service, they also send them hard copies of pictures, and after the first year they send them a book. Yeah, it’s really nice.

Ron Reigns:
Wow. That is very nice.

Kelly RS:
Yes. Looking at open and closed adoption, I think it really depends on what is right for the birth mother and the birth father at the time. There are reasons that women will choose close adoption if they feel that the child may be in danger with-

Ron Reigns:
The birth father or-

Kelly RS:
… the birth father or somebody in the family, they will make sure that the adoption is closed, so that they feel their child is safer.

Ron Reigns:
So, there are reasonable reasons to have a closed adoption.

Kelly RS:
Yeah. I’ve also seen women choose closed adoptions in rape cases or situations like that, where they really don’t want to move on in life with a constant reminder of what had happened, and yet they still made the right choice. Another situation I remember where somebody chose a closed adoption was a 14 year old. We had a 14 year old birth mom, and she was so young, and her and her mom thought it would be best to let her just go on being a child after she had the baby.

Kelly RS:
And so, that was a choice that they made together, and we honored that.

Ron Reigns:
So, again, there’s no wrong choices when it comes to how you want to conduct your adoption?

Kelly RS:
No, because some agencies feel that they will only do open adoption, and it is their right to make that choice, and I don’t believe that it’s anybody’s right other than the person carrying the baby to make that choice.

Ron Reigns:
Right. And, it’s something that-

Kelly RS:
It’s personal.

Ron Reigns:
… you will discuss with the birth mothers.

Kelly RS:
Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, cool.

Kelly RS:
The other thing is, is that when a birth mother chooses an adoptive family, and she gets to meet them or talk to them on the phone or Skype, I’ve seen a lot of birth mothers say, “Well, maybe just letters and pictures.” And then when they meet the family, they really them. So, they’re like, “Oh, okay. Well, you know what? Maybe visits wouldn’t be so bad.” And they grow closer and closer through the pregnancy, and sometimes the adoptive family will come out for a visit if they’re out of state or they’ll attend a doctor’s appointment.

Kelly RS:
What’s so cool about that is they get to be a part of the pregnancy, and the birth mom loves it because she’s not alone. Her being around the adoptive mom is a chance for her to see what this adopted mom’s going to be with her baby. It’s really neat. Another thing about open adoption, that I think is really amazing, is in the hospital, when an adoptive mom walks over and picks up the baby out of the bassinet, and holds the baby, you will often see a birth mom just looking at the adoptive mom.

Kelly RS:
Sometimes adoptive moms have come to me and said, “Why is she looking at me? Am I doing something wrong?” And I said, “No. You’re bringing her peace because she wants to see.” It’s kind of trying on shoes. She wants to see how it fits, how it looks, how it feels. So, that’s why it’s so important for an adoptive mom to hold the baby in front of the birth mom because when a birth mom is having a hard day after she places the baby for adoption, and she wakes up at 3:00 in the morning, and the monsters are in her head are going crazy, she can remember that image of her baby being consoled by the adoptive mom, and the baby was okay.

Kelly RS:
That brings so much peace. The beauty of open adoption is constant reassurance. They made the right choice, they did the right thing. And if you have a closed adoption, you really don’t get that option cause you don’t get that picture window whereas an open adoption allows that very thing. It’s like a picture window. You get to see, you can have a special role in the child’s life, and what’s so neat about society today is with technology and Southwest, tickets aren’t as expensive as they used to be even if you have an adoptive family that lives out of state, you can still arrange visits. You can still arrange to have that connection, and it’s just incredible.

Kelly RS:
What we can do today, we couldn’t do this 50 years ago.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Absolutely. And it’s expanding the birth mother’s family. She now has this new extended family including her child, and that’s awesome.

Kelly RS:
Absolutely. It is, and that’s so important that you said that because that is often a question I get from adoptive parents is, “Are we co-parenting?” And I explain, “No, not at all. But this is part of your family. You are forever bonded to not just the baby, but the baby’s birth mother, and the birth father if he’s involved. That is a connection that you will have.”

Kelly RS:
When I found my birth mother, my adoptive mother did something really cool, and we’ll see if I can get through this and not tear up. She mailed her one of my baby’s shoes because she said, “I can’t give them both, but I’m going to give you one.” I thought that was really generous and really sweet, and that way they could each have one of my first shoes, which I thought was-

Ron Reigns:
That is touching, and you’ve made it all the way through.

Kelly RS:
I did. I got through it. I got through it. But I thought that that was really neat, and that was obviously I had a close adoption. My birth mother didn’t get letters or pictures or anything. So, what I tell our clients is if you’re on the fence about what type of adoption you want to do, whether it be open or closed or semi-open, try to keep the doors open, but also meet the adoptive family and see how it goes. Like Skype, talk to them.

Ron Reigns:
Who knows?

Kelly RS:
Yeah. You never know. And when when birth mothers are choosing an adoptive family, it’s really interesting. I have had birth mothers choose, and this’ll be a whole nother podcast that we’ll go into about choosing families, and what that looks like, and what it feels like. It’s so interesting to watch because usually a birth mother will choose a family if she has three or four profiles based on connection. There’s some type of connection. Yeah. So, they may be wearing a sports team, tee shirts.

Ron Reigns:
She orders a jersey or whatever. Right. Gotcha.

Kelly RS:
Shout out to Adam. Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
That was for you, Adam.

Kelly RS:
Yeah because I’m a Saints fan.

Ron Reigns:
Oh. They got into a little trouble at home, huh?

Kelly RS:
Oh, hey. That was great last year. We won. We won. We won. Yeah. With regards to choosing a family, I’ve seen them choose … A lot of times, it’s really interesting. I will see a birth mother choose a family that they think looks them.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, okay. So, kind of a physical similarity?

Kelly RS:
Yes. Yeah, and that’s really neat in my opinion. I have also seen them choose a family because they like their dog. Maybe they’re a dog person, and they see, “Oh, they have a dog.” Sometimes it goes outside of the appearance, and it can be this adoptive mom is going to be a stay at home mom, and that’s really important to the birth mom because she didn’t have a stay at home mom. So, maybe that’s why they choose this one.

Kelly RS:
So, when when they make that connection, and they choose that family, then it can help with what type of contact you want after the baby is born. I always encourage contact prior because after you have the baby, even though you have an adoption plan, it is difficult to hand your child this perfect newborn to somebody that you don’t know at all.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. A complete stranger for all intents and purposes, even though you know of them, you’ve never met, you’ve never talked.

Kelly RS:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly RS:
And so, I really encourage, “Hey, at least get to know them a little bit. At least spend a little bit of time with them, so that you will be that much more comfortable.”

Ron Reigns:
You’ll be okay with this decision.

Kelly RS:
Yes, absolutely. And you’ll find peace. I always use the phrase with my kids and with workers, “I never to move forward until I find peace.” And then I never second guess anything. When they meet the adoptive family, and they can find that peace, then they can move forward, and they can not worry or be concerned or second guess themselves. And so, I think that is something that is important.

Kelly RS:
Another question I get about open adoptions is, “Well, how long do I get letters, and pictures, and visits? What does that look like?” The adoption standard is letters and pictures three to four times a year for 18 years, and then if you do visits, in Arizona, we only schedule visits. It’s usually one to three a year for the first three years. What happens after three years? Because up until three years is how long visits are normally scheduled because the child becomes knowledgeable, and can ask questions, and at that point at three, if visits continue, it’s really between the adoptive family and the birth mom.

Kelly RS:
It’s really what’s working. Is it working? Is the child acclimating well? Is this in the best interest of the child? A lot of times, what happens is you have a visit scheduled for one to three times a year for the first three years, and what we see is it’s a lot more than that because the family and the birth mom have just bonded.

Ron Reigns:
Just clicked. Right.

Kelly RS:
And it’s so beautiful to see that. When I mentioned that we had Santa come, and Santa watching the birth mother, and the adoptive mother, and the baby, and the three of them sitting on his lap was just incredible, priceless. It oftentimes forms into that. Sometimes what happens is it’s too difficult on the birth mother. The adoptive family is ready and willing, but sometimes the birth mother just needs to take a step back, and she gets to a place in her life that she’s not ready to resume the visits, and she’ll let you know when she is.

Kelly RS:
And sometimes, that’s hard for adoptive families because they want to make sure she’s okay, and they want to know she’s doing well.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Well, as you had mentioned, they want to be able to tell the child as they grow up, “This is what your mother’s doing, and this is where she’s at.”

Kelly RS:
Yeah, absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
They do want that child to know.

Kelly RS:
They do. They do. And there’s a lot of support for the adoptive family, and there always has been compared to now, I mean, with birth mothers. So, birth mothers are now beginning to get support, and because we hadn’t had support in so long, it’s a new thing.

Ron Reigns:
Kind of of feeling it out a little bit.

Kelly RS:
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Like, “Okay, this works. This sometimes works.”

Kelly RS:
Right. And with the Donna K. Evans Foundation, we were one of the first agencies across the country to do that, and that was why two years ago we went to the National Adoption Conference, and spoke about it, and tried … My goal is to raise the standard level of care because I think that women deserve that support. Now, that that’s coming into play, I think that we will see birth mothers stay around longer, and we will see them be more interactive in the future.

Kelly RS:
But before when they didn’t have that support, it was like ripping off the bandaid every time. Now, that’s not the case because they can have that support afterwards. We do a lot of our visits at our office because we have a room in our office that we’ve kind of developed to look a living room, so it’s not so sterile, and that way it can be more like a homey environment.

Ron Reigns:
Very personal.

Kelly RS:
Yeah. And then we have another room as similar as well in the Donald K. Evans Foundation where there’s a lot of toys. So, if the family has other kids, everybody’s not just staring. They’re able to interact with the toys.

Ron Reigns:
Are we done with this yet, mom?

Kelly RS:
Yeah. Absolutely, right?

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly RS:
Yeah. And there’s of course, the TV.

Ron Reigns:
And then do they have highlights magazines? Because you got to have highlights-

Kelly RS:
No. We don’t have highlights magazines.

Ron Reigns:
Well, you need to get on that.

Kelly RS:
No, we don’t. One thing I do want to say though, in terms of open and closed adoption, and the book I’m about to mention actually doesn’t talk about either, but one thing for families who have either a closed adoption or an open adoption that doesn’t go the way that they had wanted it to go, and the birth mother is not as involved as they would want them to be. My favorite all time children’s book for adoption is titled, Tell Me Again About The Night I Was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis. Best adoption book for kids ever.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly RS:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly RS:
Best adoption book ever. And that book, I think, will bring a lot of peace.

Maria:
Well, my name is Maria. I am 34, and I placed my son up for adoption. The reason for my placement was because I wasn’t financially stable, and I have a home of my own. I was actually homeless, and I think that it was the best thing for my son, which turned out to be an amazing thing to do because I still see him until this day. He has an amazing family that I love so much, that loves me dearly, and I really appreciate them for all that they’ve done.

Maria:
Then I ended up getting pregnant again with my daughter. I chose a family that had biological kids of their own, which was my first placement, and then my second placement was my daughter, which I chose a family that couldn’t have any kids, and she is actually being pretty good herself, and I’m just happy with the decision that I made because I’m still financially not stable. But I know that my kids are fine, and well taken care of, and I do get pictures and letters every six months, and I think that it will be the best thing for you guys to do it that you decided to do, and Building Arizona Families is a great company to work with because they’re awesome.

Ron Reigns:
Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters And Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry, and edited by Ron Reigns. We also want to thank Building Arizona Families, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and the You Before Me campaign. A special thanks goes out to Grapes for letting us use their song, I Dunno, as our theme song.

Ron Reigns:
If you’re pregnant and considering adoption, we are a licensed, full service, nonprofit Arizona adoption agency. We believe in adoption after care services, and have a program on site to provide continued support through the Donna K. Evans foundation. You can contact us 24 hours a day at 623-695-4112 or our toll free number 1-800-340-9665. Check out our blogs and website at www.AZPregnancyHelp.Com, and make sure to join us next time on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I’m Ron Reigns, we’ll see you then.

A birth mother’s adoption journey is unique to her – but having helped thousands of birth mothers with adoption, we have identified some common thoughts and feelings. Addressing these common thoughts and feelings may help you know that you are not alone in what you are experiencing. It also may help society better understand the beauty of adoption and become more supportive and sensitive to courageous birthmothers. When a birth mother is placing a baby for adoption in Arizona, she deserves ample support and assistance to help her along her adoption journey because she is making a very selfless decision. 

Birth Mothers Common Fears When Placing a Baby for Adoption in Arizona

Below are 10 of the most common fears a birth mother may experience when she is planning on placing a baby for adoption in Arizona:  

1. People will think I am a terrible person, a bad mom, and they will never look at me the same.

You are a selfless, courageous person for choosing life and the gift of adoption. It is important for others as well as yourself to see how truly incredible the choice is that you are making. It is the gift of life – the most precious gift a mother can give a child.

2. What if no one wants my baby?

There is always a family waiting. There are most likely many families who would love to adopt your baby. Many times, birth mothers worry that their baby will not be adopted due to race, in-utero substance use, multiple potential birth fathers, religion, etc. Believe us, these factors will not prevent your baby from finding an incredible and beautiful adoptive family!

3. What if the adoptive parents don’t follow through on our open adoption plan?

Depending on what state the adoptive family is finalizing the adoption in, Post Adoption Communication Agreements are legally binding. If necessary, you would have legal grounds to enforce your open adoption agreement. This rarely happens, and many times, the adoptive family and the birth mother have a closer relationship and more communication than agreed upon.

4. What if I change my mind?

Placing Baby for Adoption in Arizona

This happens, and as long as you make an adoption plan with absolute intent of placing your baby for adoption, there is nothing to worry about. There is only a concern when you are knowingly deceiving an adoption agency and adoptive family.

5. What will I tell people when they ask about my pregnancy?

It is your choice to choose what and how much you say. Your pregnancy isn’t any different from any one else’s, whether or not you are doing an adoption. Open up with others to the level of your comfort.

6. Will the OBGYN Office judge me?

Absolutely not! OBGYN Offices are very familiar with adoption and usually view it as a fantastic option!

7. How will I know if I choose the “right” adoptive family?

Your agency will ask you what type of family you are interested in and what your “ideal” preferences are. They will then show you adoptive families that meet your preferred criteria. Often, birth mothers tell me that they instantly knew when they saw the adoptive family they chose; it was a gut instinct.

8. What if I have used drugs during my pregnancy – will the adoptive family still want my baby?

Yes. It is important to disclose all substance use to your adoption agency when placing a baby for adoption in Arizona. We want to make sure that you are matched with an adoptive family that is open to a substance-exposed baby and is prepared for any medical issues that may arise.

9. What if the father of my baby changes his mind and wants the baby?

Placing Baby for Adoption in Arizona

It depends on the state – in Arizona if he has been served with an adoption notice and has not responded within 30 days and his time has passed without any paternity actions, then he may no longer have any say about halting the adoption.  

10. I will be alone after the baby is placed for adoption.

You can choose not to be alone. With our agency (Building Arizona Families / AZ Pregnancy Help), we have an aftercare program at the same facility as the adoption agency. There are group counseling sessions, classes, and other activities for you to engage with other birth mothers. Additionally, you can focus on you and work on achieving your dreams and we will support you!

Building Arizona Families Supports and Encourages our Birth Mothers During Adoption Journey 

Choosing adoption means choosing an option with support, aftercare, and access to financial resources. Adoption is a beautiful choice and one that is becoming increasingly popular. If you are pregnant and considering placing a baby for adoption in Arizona, we are a licensed, full-service, non-profit Arizona adoption agency. We believe in adoption aftercare services and have a program on-site to provide continued support through the Donna K. Evans Foundation. You can contact us 24/7 at (623) 695-4112. You are not alone, and we want to help, learn more HERE! Thank you for considering adoption. You are making a courageous, selfless choice!

Are you a birthmother in Arizona with a crisis pregnancy? Read these blogs to help you go through this unplanned pregnancy. Arizona Pregnancy Help will provide free support for women struggling with crisis pregnancies. We are here to help and understand.