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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself, because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely going to be able to take care of that kid, and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:
I know that my daughter will be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:
Don’t have an abortion. Give this child a chance.

Speaker 5:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m the executive director, president and co-founder of Building Arizona Families adoption agency, the Donna Kay Evans Foundation, and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption, and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the co-host of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I worked for my wife who’s an adoption attorney, and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We’ve been talking about hospitals lately, and now we’re going to talk from the adoptive parents side.

Ron Reigns:
Finally.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We talked a little bit about it before-

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… when we talked about that feeling when you get handed your baby, and how excited you are, and all those emotions that are going to hit you. So, when you get to the hospital and you get the lay of the land, you’ve got your case manager there supporting you emotionally. She’s right there with you, that moment. This is before baby’s born. You get to figure out where you’re going to be, whether you’re going to be in delivery room. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to go over the hospital plan that the birth mother has created, so you know what she wants. She wants you in labor and delivery, be there for her. If it’s awkward for you, get over it. Just be there.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. The sacrifice she’s making, you can be a little uncomfortable too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, and it’s okay. You can close your eyes if you need to.

Ron Reigns:
Pick a spot on the wall.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, and just know that this is a moment that is being shared with you that is beautiful.

Ron Reigns:
And you know what? You’re going to look back on this and go, “Thank God I was there. Thank God I went in.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You can look your child in the face and say, “I was there the moment you were born.” Coming from somebody who has been lucky enough to have four of those moments, I will say there’s nothing like it.

Ron Reigns:
I agree. I’ve only done it once, and while I’m never going to do it again at this age, but yeah, you never forget. I remember every minute of it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s a beautiful, beautiful time. So, when you are headed to the hospital as an adoptive family, we always recommend that you have a car seat ready. You don’t want to show up at the hospital to meet birth mom with a baby bag and a car seat. Like I’m coming to get the baby even before she’s even had the baby. That would be a little bit much. Like, here I am, and-

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Maybe leave that stuff in the car for the time being.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, unless you’re in Arizona, and then maybe leave it at the hotel until it’s time to take the baby home. But a lot of times, birth moms will show up with their … with an outfit that they want the baby to go home in, and sometimes adoptive parents have one too. We just say, you know what, let’s honor the birth mom, and let’s let her put the baby in the outfit and-

Ron Reigns:
You know what? Get in the parking lot and change the baby if you have to.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. The other thing too, that’s important to note is when, in the hospital plan, there most likely a section for how she wants discharge to go. Sometimes the birth mothers would like to leave with the baby, and sometimes the baby will leave before them. It really depends on if there are medical issues and baby needs to stay at the hospital, or if everybody’s good to go. Again, it depends on if the baby has been exposed to substance abuse during the birth mother’s pregnancy, if baby’s premature. So, if everything’s good to go and they can leave at the same time, that’s always ideal. That’s what the majority of birth moms would like to do, is they’d like to leave at the same time.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s obviously a very emotional time for everybody. We’ve talked about in the past adoptive families are crying right along with birth mom, and normally-

Ron Reigns:
And case managers, and everybody else.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Case managers are crying too, yeah.

Ron Reigns:
Nurses, everybody.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely. Yeah, everybody is crying. It’s one of those moments that when you’re in it, you’re in it and it’s beautiful. It’s beautiful leaving. So, when your baby is born and you have insurance … Obviously we’re not an insurance provider, so that’s a disclaimer. You need to check with your individual insurance policy. But with most insurance companies, for medical insurance, you’re responsible for the baby from the time the baby is born. You do have 30 days to put the baby on your policy, but the hospital will be asking you for your insurance information for the baby. So, make sure that you have that ready. The coverage for an adopted child is the same as if it was a biological child.

Ron Reigns:
Right, that makes sense.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So that’s important to know. The other piece of information that is important to note is that there are many companies that do give a period of time where you can take like a leave of absence under family medical law. They will allow that, and they will pay you to spend time with the baby after the baby’s born. That’s something to check with your employer. Also, one thing that you want to remember when you’re there and you’re adopting, your agency should help as well. It’s just making sure that you do get all the baby’s medical records, because there’ll be a shot record along with, if there were any medical complications, you want to get those so that you can take the baby to a pediatrician afterwards for a follow-up. Normally, that’s done within the 24 to 72 hours after the baby is discharged depending on the situation and how baby is doing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Also, remember when you’re in the hospital, that you want to see exactly what formula the baby is on so you can continue with the same formula. Sometimes hospitals have a preference of which one they use. Sometimes babies will go on a sensitive formula if they have been exposed to drugs prenatally. That is a common one that’s used for those types of babies.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Make sure that you do have an outfit for the baby when it’s time for discharge, just in case the birth mother did not bring one, and a blanket, and then a newborn car seat as well. Car seats do expire, so make sure you check the car seat expiration date, which is crazy because back in the day, I don’t remember car seats expiring.

Ron Reigns:
No, I don’t either. It might be from the car seat, big car seat.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Well, no it makes sense, because if you think about it, after seven years, the belts start to deteriorate and they’re not as strong.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely, especially if you live in a climate like Arizona’s with the sun beating down on them. No, I-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It makes perfect sense. They say it’s like a motorcycle helmet too, to where if you get an accident, you throw it away, and you-

Ron Reigns:
Oh, okay, because it’s already been compromised.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Much the same as a car seat, which….

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So that makes perfect sense, and if you-

Ron Reigns:
It does.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The insulation on the car seat is almost like styrofoam-ish. So the styrofoam-ish material that’s on the inside will start to deteriorate and disintegrate.

Ron Reigns:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So that does make sense, and plus, it’s fun to buy a new car seat.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, it’s fun to buy new stuff for babies in general.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, baby stuff is fun.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The other thing too, that I have to say is I love the green pacifiers that they give to newborns in the hospital. But some hospitals are doing away with pacifiers, binkies. I like binky, the word binky better, but they’re doing away with them because they’re encouraging breastfeeding. When there’s an adoption situation, that’s really not recommended in the majority of cases because it’s harder. It’s a bonding activity, and so that makes it harder for everybody. But yes, those binkies are amazing.

Ron Reigns:
So what’s so cool about the green binkies?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What’s so cool. Well, they’re not cute. I mean, they’re not. Now they have the cute fun words on them like the screamer stopper. They have the little beards or the lips on the outside of the binky.

Ron Reigns:
Right., it’s like a little goatee.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
That is funny.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, that is funny.

Ron Reigns:
They’ve come a long way.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They have. There was one that was called the shutter upper. I thought that was funny.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Silence or mute. So that’s funny, but they’re, I don’t know, they work.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, they do work, absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They work. Was your son a binky baby?

Ron Reigns:
He was. I don’t even remember for how long, but yes, he was.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My adopted brother was really a binky baby, and he turned into a binky young man. When he was six, he stopped and he used to use two at a time.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. He loved binkies.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
And it worked for him.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It did. It worked for him. Everybody has what they … Kids suck their thumbs until they’re 11, 12.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, I sucked my thumb for a long time. I remember that, but I know it was a fight for my mom to get me to sleep.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Did she put the old nail polish on that had that bitter taste?

Ron Reigns:
She put something on and it didn’t work. I’d just get it off of there. But I obviously grew out of it last year, and so I’m very proud.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Did you have to have braces?

Ron Reigns:
No, never had braces.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay, so you defied the odds because they say if you suck your thumb for a really long time, you increase your chances.

Ron Reigns:
Gives you buck teeth or whatever. I know that’s what they told me when I was a kid.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, but now your teeth are straight.

Ron Reigns:
Straight-ish. They’re in my mouth and that’s a good place for them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So enjoy and look forward to your time at the hospital. This is a time you will forever treasure.

Ron Reigns:
Tell Me Again About the Night I Was Born by Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell. Tell me again about the night I was born. Tell me how you and daddy were curled up like spoons, and daddy was snoring. Tell me again how the phone rang in the middle of the night, and they told you I was born. Tell me how you screamed. Tell me again how you called granny and grandpa right away, but they didn’t hear the phone because they sleep like logs. Tell me again how you got on an airplane with my baby bag and flew to get me, and how there was no movie-

Speaker 7:
What?

Ron Reigns:
… only peanuts.

Speaker 7:
Okay, I like peanuts.

Ron Reigns:
Tell me again how you couldn’t grow a baby in your tummy. So, another woman who was too young to take care of me was growing me, and she would be my birth mother, and you would adopt me and be my parents. Tell me again how you held hands all the way to the hospital, and when you got there, you both got very quiet and felt very small. Tell me again about the first time you saw me through the nursery window, and how you couldn’t believe something so small could make you smile so big. Tell me again how tiny and perfect I was. Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms and you called me your baby sweet. Tell me again how you cried happy tears.

Ron Reigns:
Tell me again how you carried me like a China doll all the way home, and how you glared at anyone who sneezed. Tell me again about my first bottle and how I liked it so much. Tell me again about my first diaper change and how I didn’t like it at all. Tell me again about the first night you were my daddy, and you told me about baseball being the perfect game like your daddy told you.

Speaker 8:
This wall is crushed.

Ron Reigns:
Tell me again about the first night you were my mommy and you sang the lullaby your mommy saying to you. Tell me again about our first night as a family. Mommy, daddy, tell me again about the night I was born.

Maria:
My name’s Maria. I am 34, and I placed my son up for adoption. The reason for my placement was because I wasn’t financially stable. I didn’t 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 to 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. Then my second placement was my daughter, which I chose a family that couldn’t have any kids. She is actually doing 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. I do get pictures and letters every six months. I think that it would be the best thing for you guys to do it if that’s what you’ve decided to do. Building Arizona Families is a great company to work with because they’re awesome.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at 623 695-4112, or you can call our toll-free number 1800 340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food, and clothing and start on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhealth.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast, rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts. As always, thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song, I Don’t know, as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I’m Ron Reigns, and 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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid, and for yourself. Because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:
And I know that my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:
Don’t have an abortion, give this child a chance.

Speaker 5:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m the executive director, president, and co-founder of Building Arizona Families adoption agency, the Donna Kay Evans foundation, and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption, and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the co-host of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife, who’s an adoption attorney, and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Birth mothers, preparing for labor and delivery. When you are working with an adoption agency and you’re pregnant and you have created an adoption plan, when you’re about 32 to 34 weeks, it’s time to start talking with your adoption specialist about how you would like your hospital experience to go. For some women that’s a hard conversation because again, it’s like when you’re choosing an adoptive family, things become more real.

Ron Reigns:
It’s concrete, again, Okay?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is, it’s one of those milestones as you’re walking through your adoption plan.

Ron Reigns:
Up til that point, you can’t even really picture going, Oh, I will be in the hospital having a child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
But then when you start talking about it-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, and you create a plan. And so you’ve got your adoptive family that you’ve chosen. Now you’re creating a plan. And in that plan, you specify how you want everything to go.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And the reason for it is, it’s almost like a letter to the hospital.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
To say, hey, when I go to the hospital, I want either the adoptive family, my caseworker, or this person, or my friend in the delivery room. I want baby handed to me, or I don’t want to see baby at all, depending on what the preferences are.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I want so-and-so to cut the cord. Everybody has their own vision of what it will look like. Some women, if have had children before, don’t want to initially see the baby.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I think it’s always good at some point to see the baby to say goodbye. It’s hard, but then you do have finality in that aspect.

Ron Reigns:
Right. And you’ll always have that memory of, okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. And my biological mother did not have an opportunity to have that moment.

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that haunted her.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so I always recommend that you, at least at some point during your hospital stay, at least take some time with the baby.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If you’re worried about struggling with bonding and attachment, maybe do incremental visits with the baby, maybe 15, 20 minutes, every couple hours. And that way-

Ron Reigns:
And then taper it off.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. And not have these extended periods. Cause those extended periods are where it starts to get really hard. So, when you are creating a hospital plan, again, this is something that you write out. It’s sent over to the hospital, so everybody understands exactly what your wishes are. Sometimes adoptive moms are in the delivery room. Sometimes adoptive dads are in there, and they stand up at the head behind your shoulder.

Ron Reigns:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
A lot of times the caseworkers are in there helping them coach through labor and delivery, and really just showing support for the birth mother in her most vulnerable time.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
During labor and delivery, and then when it’s time to say goodbye to the baby in the hospital. And a lot of times that’s not even the goodbye because these are open adoptions. And so there’s another visit before-

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The family leaves the state-

Ron Reigns:
And then phone calls and videos.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And then phone calls, and Skypes, and visits, and it’s just like a see you later.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But when you create a hospital plan, it also gives the adoptive family a really clear picture of what you want.

Ron Reigns:
So they know what’s expected of them as well.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
From the birth mother.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because most hospitals, if there is occupancy, at least in the state of Arizona, if they have the occupancy to where it’s okay, will allow the adoptive family to have a nesting room.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So the babies can go back and forth between the birth mom’s room and the adoptive parents nesting room, which is really kind of neat. Cause everybody gets to bond that way.

Ron Reigns:
That’s very neat.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The questions that you’re going to be filling out in a hospital plan are, who do you want to be with you during labor?

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And these are not set in stone. So if you go into labor and your best friend came in from out of town and you decide, oh, this is who I want. Then absolutely you can change that.

Ron Reigns:
Right. It’s more of a guideline than-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely a guideline.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that’s a really good way to phrase it. It shouldn’t be a hospital plan. It should be a hospital guideline. Think about if you want pictures taken.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And when? When the baby is born, who would you like the baby handed directly to? And would you like to continue to see your baby? Now I have had moms that say, “I want the baby taken out of there immediately. I don’t want any contact. It’s too hard for me. This is what I want. I don’t care what you say. I want to not see the baby.”

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If that’s the case, then we’ll even request after she has the baby, for the baby to go to the surgical floor.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean not the baby, I’m sorry. The birth mother to go to the surgical floor if that’s available, and that way she doesn’t have to hear babies crying and things like that.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Cause that would definitely be hard.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That is hard. That is hard. Yeah. Especially if she wants no contact. Also, if you’re planning on naming the baby, if you and the adoptive family are going to name the baby together, or if you’re going to name the baby, and then they’re going to change the name. If that’s what you agree to.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
However that goes. Also, who’s to visit you in the hospital.

Ron Reigns:
As an adoption provider.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ron Reigns:
You’ve been part of thousands of adoptions over the years. Hundreds?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Hundreds.

Ron Reigns:
Hundreds? Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Maybe a thousand.

Ron Reigns:
So what percentage actually make one of these hospital plans?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
95.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, so most.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ron Reigns:
And do they normally stick pretty closely to it?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I would say 80% of it.

Ron Reigns:
Sticks. Okay?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Ron Reigns:
And have you heard any really outlandish? Because I think of riders from rock stars, and they have to have green M&Ms in the room, and whatever else. Does anybody come up with something that you’ve been shocked by? Like, oh my God, I’ve never been asked that before.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I would say probably the things that I would look at and be not surprised, but kind of, okay. The aversion to hospital food, just fast food only.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So we’ve got our case workers running to and from-

Ron Reigns:
Burger King or whatever.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Jack in the Box, right. Yeah, I don’t know.

Ron Reigns:
Nothing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Everybody’s pretty even keel.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. Pretty standard.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And the hospital is a really emotional situation for everybody.

Ron Reigns:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean, there’s joy, there’s tears, it’s the happiest day of somebody’s life, and it’s the saddest day of another’s.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so it is, it’s this mix and this myriad of emotions that are up and down and this rollercoaster.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it’s basically like the pinnacle of the adoption. I mean, that’s the moment that everyone is waiting for. That’s the grand finale.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so when you’re creating the hospital plan, and you’re preparing yourself, just be open and have an open heart and think long-term. So, if you’re deciding, do I want the adoptive father in the delivery room? Well, short term, would you be uncomfortable with that? Well, yeah, maybe, but if he were standing up at your shoulder, would he really see that much?

Ron Reigns:
Right. He’s not going to get the full-on view.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But, in the long run, is that a moment that you would cherish later on? That he was part of that experience. So just breaking out the long-term and the short term thinking of what is the best thing for you, for the baby, and for the adoptive family.

Ron Reigns:
That makes complete sense, right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. So I would say with an open heart, think about those kind of things. One thing that a lot of birth moms also find a lot of peace in, is seeing the adoptive family with the baby. Because they can get a visual of what it will look like.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And when they see their baby being fed or comforted by the adoptive family, it will bring peace. Yes, there will be some jealousy and it will be hard.

Ron Reigns:
Right. But they can also-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Ultimately.

Ron Reigns:
Again, concretely see that this is something that they’re helping to facilitate for a family and for their child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I have to say, I am getting chills as I’m saying this, there’s so many times that a birth mother will have the proudest look on her face as she’s watching them with the baby, knowing that she did the most beautiful thing in the world. It’s really neat to watch. So, the goal of the hospital plan is to gather an understanding of what the wishes of the birth mother are.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So that they can be accommodated by the hospital, the agency, and the adoptive family. And that’s really a big deal. So again, it’s not only, so everybody knows it kind of gives a birth mother a preview of what this is going to look like. And it lets her think about, I think anytime you’re going to walk into something and you know that it’s going to be hard, mentally preparing yourself is always a really good thing to do.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And kind of envisioning, okay, this is how this is going to look. This is how I picture this going, and kind of walking yourself through it a few times before you actually jump into the cold pool. It’s easier.

Ron Reigns:
Right, kind of a practice run.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Sure. It’s like sticking your feet in the water.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And testing it out.

Ron Reigns:
And not to mention, I mean, we’ve talked many times about how the reality never is quite what your perception of it is, but at least it gives you some idea of what you’re heading into when you go into the hospital.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. So, I think when you are at that moment, when you’re sitting down with your caseworker.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you are starting to create your hospital plan. I think the best thing that you can do is ask your caseworker what other people have done in the past, what she or he has seen, what works really well. Different hospitals have different rules and regulations, and how they do things, and how they handle adoptions. And gather all the information, and then make an educated choice, and know that regardless of whether you choose, who’s going to be in the delivery room, and who’s not going to be, and how many minutes you want to hold the baby afterwards. You’re going to make the right choices, and having faith in yourself, and believing in what you’re doing is the most important thing in the end.

Speaker 7:
What I liked about building Arizona families, is they didn’t try to push me in one direction or another. I explained why I was interested in it, and asked a lot of questions, and they were open and honest, answered my questions very well. For me, they were the easiest to work with. And it just seemed like I had the best conversation. I was the most relaxed with them. Be open and honest with what’s important to you, and how you feel, and what you’re looking for, and expect that same respect back to you. You’ve got to find an agency and people that are willing to address your own concerns and questions, and make you feel comfortable because it’s a tough process to enter in, and you need to be able to feel like you can be yourself. The agency is very supportive, and they are really there to help you with each step of the way. They just provide a lot of guidance when you need it most. And they’re very honest and transparent with the process.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at (623)-695-4112. Or you can call our toll free number 1-800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan, or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhealth.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry, and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts. And as always thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song I Don’t Know as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry I’m Ron Reigns, and 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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself, because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:
And I know that my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:
Don’t have an abortion, give this child a chance.

Speaker 5:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m the executive director, president and co-founder of Building Arizona Families adoption agency, the Donna K. Evans foundation and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the cohost of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife who’s an adoption attorney, and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Let’s talk about adoption positive language.

Ron Reigns:
Adoption positive language.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
… As opposed to adoption negative language.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
We always want to be positive. The glass is always half-full. And when you’re talking about adoption, when you’re talking to somebody who is a part of the adoption triad, when you’re broaching the adoption subject as a whole, using adoption positive language does a couple of things. One, it inspires other people around you to pick up and use the same language, which then changes the culture of adoption. It starts to change the outlook and perspective and stereotypes, and that’s the goal.

Ron Reigns:
Before this podcast, you and I were talking candidly off the mic, and-

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
We never do that Ron.

Ron Reigns:
No, never. And basically, I’d said that it’s hard to let go of things in language, in particular that you’ve heard all your life. I can’t think of an example other than the one in adoption, which is, she gave up her baby for adoption.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
I can think of another one. The politically correct terms that have changed over special needs.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, certainly.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Or racist-

Ron Reigns:
There are certain things that-

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Racist special needs.

Ron Reigns:
Yes.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Everything that when it changes, you want to make sure that you don’t offend anybody, that you don’t hurt anybody’s feelings. And so, you always try to make sure that you used the most correct, most friendly usage of the word.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Respectful. However, even those, like some of those words, it was easy to drop because it’s like, wow you know that’s wrong. But the one phrase in particular that was hard to drop because it’s like, no, it’s not correct first of all, the give up a baby for adoption, that was hard to change-

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
That’s the most common mistake that I hear people making.

Ron Reigns:
But you’re right. I mean, those other words we can let go of those. And this is another phrase that we should let go of.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Correct, because nobody is giving up anything.

Ron Reigns:
Right. If anything, they’re given an opportunity.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Correct, the reverse. And when a baby is placed for adoption, that offers a very different connotation than if a woman gives up a baby for adoption, because she’s not giving anything, she’s still a mother. She’s not parenting, but she’s still a mother.

Ron Reigns:
She’ll always be your mother.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Correct. By nature of giving birth, she will forever be a mother. And by making the beautiful choice of adoption, she will solidify her status and role as a mother. And so I think that that’s a really good analogy of giving up a baby because nobody gives up a baby. But yet, that is what has been said for so many decades.

Ron Reigns:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
And to even today, I have women that come in that are pregnant and wanting to make an adoption plan, and they’re using that terminology and we still correct them

Ron Reigns:
Because that’s what they have heard.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Correct. And with that, giving up a baby, it carries a very negative connotation. And when their friends and family may not be on board with their adoption plan, if they’re using the terminology, “I’m giving up a baby”, or, “You’re going to give up my grandson”, that’s very different conjecture than “I’m placing a baby for adoption. I’m placing my baby with this adoptive family.” Very different.

Ron Reigns:
And especially nowadays where the adoptions are more open than they ever have been in the past, you’re not giving up that baby-

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
That’s correct.

Ron Reigns:
… You’re still a part of that baby’s life for at least 18 years-

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
That’s correct.

Ron Reigns:
… Probably the rest of your life.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
And so when we look at these terms that we’re going to go walk through, I think it’s really important to understand that the goal is not only for people in the adoption community and members of the triad to use these terms, but society as a whole. Words are contagious. If you start using this terminology, it’ll catch on. And again, our goal is to change society’s view to a more positive approach and educate them on adoption. It’s funny. Teenagers come up with these catchphrases. And I mean, they spread like wildfire and some of them, I used to think I was cool and hip with my teenagers. Now, I’m-

Ron Reigns:
You’ve just given up.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
I’ve given up.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, me too.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
I can’t stay in the cool realm because I can’t keep up with it. I mean, some of the terms are just… What was the latest one that my daughter was saying? “Oh, that’s sweet. Oh that’s sour”, or something. Or was it, “It’s sweet and…” What was the other one? Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
Salty?

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Salty, I’ve heard, but I don’t really-

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Is it sweet?

Ron Reigns:
It’s obviously the opposite of sweet.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Something like that.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Yeah. I guess we’re getting old Ron.

Ron Reigns:
Salty.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
All right. So, the term in parentheticals, birth mother has not always been a part of the language around adoption. Its use became common in the 50s and 60s with the author and mother who was Pearl S. Buck and formalized by Marietta Spencer, who was a social worker at the Children’s Home Society of Minnesota in 1979. So, that’s a relatively new term, birth mother. Now, some agencies say that she’s not technically a birth mother until she has had the baby and place the baby for adoption, and she’s really an expectant mother. And I think in my humble opinion, that either one is just fine to use. I think a birth mother is fine. I think expectant mothers fine.

Ron Reigns:
Expectant mother is fine as well.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
I think in the adoption community, birth mother is way more commonly used than expectant mother, but I’ve heard both. And I don’t think either of them are offensive or confusing.

Ron Reigns:
Right. I wouldn’t see why they would be.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
So, positive adoption language is what is arguably the preferred language of adoption agencies and adopted families.

Ron Reigns:
And it’s just language that’s respectful to all involved.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Right, because words just don’t convey just facts, they also evoke feelings. And when we’re using a word to discuss a particular race, those can evoke a lot of feelings and people can become very passionate. I think as a society, we should be as passionate about adoption and adoption language than we should-

Ron Reigns:
You’re absolutely right.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
… Any other entity or aspect or a group of people.

Ron Reigns:
It’s part of the person’s identity.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Correct. So, adoption language would be important again to educate others, also to protect the dignity of the child and the family involved. And that is where you were using the phrase, give the child up for adoption.

Ron Reigns:
Or given away.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
That would be hard for that child to hear.

Ron Reigns:
Can you imagine?

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
That would be very hurtful. And as an adoptee, that would be really hard. And that would also unintentionally shame the child. Like what did they do wrong to be given away?

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Why did they have to give me away? What-

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
What’s wrong with me? And so, by using adoption positive language, we cannot put those thoughts or feelings onto somebody else. And I think that’s important. I think that’s really important.

Ron Reigns:
Now, how about real parents?

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Another one that’s really offensive.

Ron Reigns:
It can be, if you think about it from the other side, like the person that’s receiving that, especially somebody like me, who wasn’t adopted. If somebody asks you about your quote unquote real parents, you got to realize that’s hurtful.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Because what makes a parent?

Ron Reigns:
Right. Is it the fact of giving birth or the fact of raising a child, or how about both?

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
I was going to say both. I would agree that it’s both. And I think that when you do say, “Real mother, real father, real family”, that really negates-

Ron Reigns:
What both sides are doing.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
What both sides are doing. I wouldn’t even say it’s just one side. I would say it’s both. And I think constantly saying, “This is my adoptive parent or my…”, rather than just saying, “This is my adopted mom”, rather than just saying, “Mom”.

Ron Reigns:
“This is mom.”

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Now I will say that adoptees when they’re discussing both of their moms to somebody else will use, “This is my adoptive mom. This is my biological mom”, when they’re… Because otherwise it can get confusing.

Ron Reigns:
You need to differentiate who you’re talking with.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
But on a regular day-to-day basis, I think putting that in front of that word, whether it’s adoptive or biological, is almost like it’s not an entirety.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. It definitely depends on the context of the conversation, but you’re absolutely right. For all intents and purposes, it’s mom and mom and dad and dad. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
And using terms when a birth mother decides not to place her child for adoption saying, “She’s going to parent her child”, is the correct and most appropriate way to say it. Not that she kept her baby, she decided to parent her baby.

Ron Reigns:
Again, it’s just respectful.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
It is respectful and honorable. Avoiding terms like abandoned, surrendered, released, relinquished, gave up for, or put up for adoption are really almost derogatory in nature. And again, it is shaming the child and the birth parents by using those terms. And that’s not at all what adoption is about. Adoption is about the beauty of selflessness. When there are questions, maybe if you’re in the grocery store, I’ve talked about it before, where people will come up and just start saying things, and-

Ron Reigns:
And usually without thinking.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
I hope they’re not thinking, right. If those were set after a lot of forethought, then I’d be even more concerned.

Ron Reigns:
Just horrible people.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Right. Who were his real parents? And that is implying that you’re not really a parent, which is not the case.

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Or aren’t you wonderful to adopt this child? Well, this child wasn’t a charity case and you’re not… This child is a blessing to you as much as you are a blessing to this child.

Ron Reigns:
And actually I think I’m pretty wonderful with or without the adoption.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
You are Ron. You are. How could his real mother giveaway an adorable baby? I think it would be intrusive and offensive to the degree of walking up to somebody you don’t know and saying, “Why are you wearing that ugly shirt?” And you’re like-

Ron Reigns:
Even more so, because it’s not just about your clothing, it’s about-

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Your child.

Ron Reigns:
… Who you are and your child? Certainly.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Right. So, I think that we really need to watch what we say when we say it, and to whom we say it. Questions that seem innocent, like “Why was she given up for adoption?” Or, “It’s just like having one of your own, isn’t it?”, are actually really hurtful. And as an adoptee, I will tell you, these are hurtful. And there are things that linger in your mind afterwards and make you think, and your mind goes places that your mind wouldn’t have gone necessarily had those statements not have been made-

Ron Reigns:
Had that person not said that thing.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
I see comments made even more often when the child was obviously adopted. So, if you have-

Ron Reigns:
A different race.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
Right. And what I hope people take away from this particular podcast is this: think before you talk, and that’s me speaking in tongues because I am notorious for not always thinking before I talk.

Ron Reigns:
We all make mistakes.

Kelly Rourke Scarry:
We do. But strive to aim higher and remember the consequences of words, and that words do leave lasting impressions. And when you are conscientious of what you’re doing, and you’re thinking about adoption, and you’re talking about adoption, use adoption positive language so that we can make this language contagious.

Ron Reigns:
This weekend, I saw a beautiful day in the neighborhood and it really brought my mind back to when Kelly and I recorded this episode of Birth Mother Matters In Adoption. While the film really had nothing to do with adoption per se, it did have a lot to do with kindness and how we treat each other. Fred Rogers, or as many of us know him Mr. Rogers, seems to have lived his life truly caring about others, especially children and their feelings. Although I’m a huge believer in free speech and the ability to say essentially anything we want to, I also believe that comes with a tremendous responsibility to ourselves and others. Just because you can say something doesn’t mean that you should, and it takes great strength and maturity to be able to control your tongue.

Ron Reigns:
As we talked about in this podcast, it’s not necessarily that people are being malicious when they say hurtful things to others, mostly I would say that they just lack the understanding of how these words can affect somebody who is in a different situation than we are. I want to challenge all of our listeners to take a little time before we say something and try to think about how that would make us feel if we were in their shoes. I think it would do all of us as individuals and society as a whole, a lot of good to treat each other with a little more kindness, like Mr. Rogers treated people.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112, or you can call our toll free number 1-800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters In Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast, rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts and as always, thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song, I Don’t Know as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scary. I’m Ron Reigns and 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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself because, if you can’t take care of yourself you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:
And I know that my daughter will be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:
Don’t have an abortion, give this child a chance.

Speaker 5:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the executive director, president and co-founder of Building Arizona Families adoption agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother. Raised in a closed adoption and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m, Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the co-host of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife who’s an adoption attorney and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When adoptive families come to the hospital and it’s that time, that pinnacle in every adoption journey for the adoptive family-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… when they arrive at the hospital and their birth mother is going into labor or maybe she’s already had the baby, and you get to hold that precious baby for the first time. So many emotions flood your head. And this I’m not speaking of personally, I’m speaking professionally because I have witnessed it time and time again.

Ron Reigns:
Thousands of times, certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. And it is the most beautiful sight I’ve ever seen. I will say that I have seen a wide range of emotions.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There is so much joy and happiness, but sometimes there is fear as well. Sometimes there is almost some confusion because everything has come to a head. And so, when you have this dream and this fantasy of being a mother and you’ve dreamed about it your entire life, and maybe you’ve struggled with fertility or you have found out that you just cannot have children. And you make the adoption decision and you start with your home study, and you find your agency, and then you’re chosen by a birth mother. And then you have walked her pregnancy with her.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you’ve now reached the pinnacle, you’re at the top of Mount Everest.

Ron Reigns:
This is the culmination of everything, certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Of everything.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That moment… I don’t think anybody can totally prepare themselves for. Let me give you an analogy.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When you were in high school did you go to prom?

Ron Reigns:
I did.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay. When you were younger… Now, for guys it’s different than girls.

Ron Reigns:
It is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But you always hear about prom.

Ron Reigns:
How romantic it is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh, how amazing it is.

Ron Reigns:
How it’s this beautiful thing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s going to be the night of your life.

Ron Reigns:
And it never lives up to the expectation.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Ever, ever, ever, ever. And it’s not that seeing your newborn won’t live up to the expectation, but it’s not always what you anticipate.

Ron Reigns:
Right, you have a vision in your head and nothing is going to be exactly like that vision. I mean, it’s still beautiful and it’s still wonderful.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s going to be an amazing beautiful experience.

Ron Reigns:
Right. But it’s like, oh, I thought you’d be standing over there and this would be here and the clouds would open up somehow in the hospital.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I didn’t know… Right, absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I didn’t know the baby was going to cry the first time I held the baby.

Ron Reigns:
But why would it cry?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, I gotcha.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s also fear if the birth mother has not signed her final adoption consents.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you also may be very stressed. Maybe you don’t have a lot of experience being around newborns. Maybe you thought all your maternal instincts would kick in and you would just-

Ron Reigns:
Be supermom or superdad.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… be supermom. Right.

Ron Reigns:
And that’s not what’s happening. Or you don’t know if that’s what… You don’t even know, you’re scared.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. It’s almost as if time freezes for a couple moments.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You have a blur of these mixed emotions. I’ve had families tell me everything from they were sad because as they were looking at this beautiful baby, it’s not biologically theirs-

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… and they have a moment of grief. I’ve had families tell me that they never thought that they would be scared of a newborn. The responsibility was immediately overwhelming. I’ve had families tell me that they became almost depressed for a couple moments because their entire life just changed. Life as they knew it was now over.

Ron Reigns:
Right, this is now a new segment.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s no going back.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so, these emotions, people don’t talk about. Everybody talks about their beautiful moment. “They handed me the baby, we bonded instantly. I knew she was supposed to be mine the minute I saw her-“

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
“… and this is this glorious moment.” And that’s what we want it to be and we do everything as an adoption agency and as adoption professionals to try to make it that moment.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And preparing adoptive families for what this really is, and taking all of the Hollywood out of it and all of the Hallmark movies, and explaining that you may have to work at bonding with your newborn. You may have to work at finding your own pattern as a mother, as a father. You may have to learn and ask questions, and admit that you don’t know everything.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that you’re not bonding instantly. One of the reasons that adoption agencies do post-placement reports after the baby’s born is not to judge, it’s to help. It’s to provide resources. It’s to talk to you and say, hey, if you need counseling or maybe try kangarooing more with the baby and those kinds of things. So skin-on-skin contact is-

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… kangarooing.

Ron Reigns:
I didn’t know what that was.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s where you put the baby on your chest-

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… skin-to-skin-

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… so that it helps form a bond between you and the baby.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So there’s lots of things that adoption professionals can do to kind of help ease you into that-

Ron Reigns:
That transition.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… transition.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Now, when you had your biological son-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… your very first child, did you bond instantly?

Ron Reigns:
Probably not bond. Obviously I thought, wow, this is a beautiful baby. But I think I was. I felt that whole overwhelmed feeling of, am I up to this task? Can I do this? For so long you see adults as a kid and you think, they’ve got it all together. They know what they’re talking about. Then when you become an adult and you start talking to your peers who are also adults, you realize, no, they’re all idiots to some degree or another. They’re not the people that have everything together. Nobody has everything together. But I was terrified. I thought, how can I raise a son, I’m a child myself? And well, somehow I got lucky and he raised himself or something.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, you did a great job. But, as a biological mother-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… I will tell you that when you give birth and you have the baby, and they place the baby in your arms, nature does have a way. And this is medically proven that hormones increase to make you instantly protect the young.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you have this instinct. That doesn’t mean that you’re going to know how to change a diaper immediately or anything like that.

Ron Reigns:
Right, you need to learn still. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. But as a father, that’s why I was asking because, the child didn’t come out of you and you-

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… and you didn’t have those hormones.

Ron Reigns:
And there wasn’t that hormone rush.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Correct.

Ron Reigns:
No, it was difficult and I would say for quit a period I felt like, am I doing anything right? Am I changing a diaper right or am I holding him right, am I supporting his neck the way I should and all those things? And I thought, what if somebody… I mean, I always through my whole life, have looked at things like, somebody is going to see this and realize I’m faking it. You know what I mean?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I know exactly what you mean. I know exactly what you mean.

Ron Reigns:
So yeah, I was not a confident father, especially in the beginning.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Was it the newborn phase that made you nervous?

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, probably because now there’s a life that’s somewhat dependent on me-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
100% dependent on you.

Ron Reigns:
I mean, I had a wife at the time, so I’ll say 50%. But, it was scary. Yeah. I don’t know how he survived, but he did. So, cool.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
He survived because you did a good job.

Ron Reigns:
Well, at the beginning, I’m telling you, I was scared and iffy like any new parent probably is. But I thought I was the only one that didn’t know what the hell they were doing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, you were just like everybody else. I will tell you a story of a family we had as an agency. There was a mother that had delivered and the family couldn’t get out in time before the baby was discharged. So, I had the baby with me when the adoptive family came to the state of Arizona-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… to come and pick up their child. And when they came, they arrived in the middle of the night and were just so excited to see their baby that we couldn’t ask them to wait. I mean, they were just over the moon.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And they had done all of the classes and learned how to change diapers, how to feed and burp and hold, and put a baby in a car seat, and all those things. And the hospital also teaches you those things-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… even as an adoptive parent when you’re there. They do a quick baby care class and we always recommend they take them prior as well.

Ron Reigns:
Now is this a new thing?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You don’t remember the baby care class?

Ron Reigns:
I don’t remember a baby care class whatsoever.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Well, it’s not a class in a traditional sense. They come in and they just go over things with you, a nurse.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, maybe. Okay, just kind of okay, this-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And sometimes they have you watch a video.

Ron Reigns:
No, I did not watch a video.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. Go ahead. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, no, you’re fine. And again, this is not the formal class, this is a real brief. But, so we hand the baby over and the adoptive mother is just over the moon. I had let her know I had just finished feeding the baby, so if she wanted to go ahead and burp the baby. That’s the transition that we were at.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And her eyes just went blank and she had this deer in a headlights look. She’s like, “I don’t know how to burp a baby.” And I said, “Yeah, of course you do, you took the class.” And she just had this fear like I don’t. So, I took the baby from her and I showed her how to burp the baby and then I let her finish. And she did just fine.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And then I had to help them change the baby. Because again, it was that moment of when you walk into the test and you just go blank.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I knew that everything would come right back. And-

Ron Reigns:
Once she started-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
… getting hands-on with it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Once she started believing in herself-

Ron Reigns:
That too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… and trusting that she knew what to do.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And to know that she was going to do just fine. She did, I check on them first thing in the morning and then throughout the next couple of days.

Ron Reigns:
She was fine.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
She was doing great.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Baby was doing great. And it’s just, you have to believe in yourself. This is something that people can do.

Ron Reigns:
And people have done for millions of years. That’s another thing that you just kind of brought back to me. Okay, so say you got these classes, which are just kind of little instructional, here’s how you burp a baby, blah, blah, blah. But not only that, but you get say your mother-in-law saying, okay, you need to do this. And then your mother saying, okay, and you also need to… And you’re inundated with all of this information. And that was another fear of mine, I’m never going to remember half of this much less all of it and I’m going to do something and break this thing. And so, that was another part of it is, so much information coming from so many different-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So information overload?

Ron Reigns:
… directions. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think that’s a really good point, because I do think that especially when you’re a first-time parent you are inundated with information-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… because everybody wants to help.

Ron Reigns:
Right

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But then when you’re around that person you want to show them that you’re taking their advice-

Ron Reigns:
So you’re doing what they said-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… even though it’s contradictory to what somebody else said and-

Ron Reigns:
Heaven forbid the two are in the same room at the same time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. And that can be… And people can be a little judgmental.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean, I was always a binky fan. People call them pacifiers, we always called them binkies.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And some people are very anti binkies. Some people are very anti thumb sucking and it’s one of those things that you just kind of have to go with what you believe in.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I nursed three of my kids, well, two of my kids until they were two and a half.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And then one of my children until she was 15 months. And then not as long on the first one. And so, you have to do what’s right for you.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, I’m a huge proponent of parent your child as you feel is best for you and your child. And I will tell you, when I delivered my fourth, my son, my fourth child I was nursing him and at that point I had it down. When the lactation specialist came in, the nurses came in and they learned that it was my fourth child, they didn’t even say anything. They just spun around-

Ron Reigns:
Have a nice day.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… and headed right out.

Ron Reigns:
It was nice meeting you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. It wasn’t even checking the box.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And they didn’t even ask. I mean, they didn’t. Had I had questions, which I didn’t, I would have felt really dumb at that point because-

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… they’d already expected me to know so much. And I think that is what adoptive parents need to make sure that they don’t feel is, that people assume they know something.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And they’re not dumb or nothing’s wrong with them asking. Nobody’s going to judge them or think they shouldn’t be parents. It’s okay.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Every child’s different. My last child was a boy where I’d had three biological girls prior. And so-

Ron Reigns:
So there’s a lot of differences just I that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There was. Yes. A lot of differences. Especially in diaper changing.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean, that was completely different.

Ron Reigns:
Because you got circumcision going on-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All that kind of stuff.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And they pee really differently and you learn that real quick.

Ron Reigns:
That’s for sure.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And he got me once, so I learned real quick.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it was very different.

Ron Reigns:
Only once, that’s impressive. Good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. So, as you’re going through your time at the hospital and those first moments with the baby that lead on to more time with the baby and then discharge, and you find yourself grieving, grieving for the loss of your old life. Grieving for the fact that this wasn’t you who biologically had the baby.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This wasn’t you who carried the baby in your stomach and you never felt the baby kick inside of you. Those are normal grief reactions. It’s okay to feel those. But accept it as grief and one of the ways to get through grief is to acknowledge that you’re grieving, even if it’s to your spouse, to somebody that you trust and want to talk to or a counselor, and just process that.

Ron Reigns:
Sometimes it helps just to get it out even if-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It does.

Ron Reigns:
… there’s no advice coming after it. It’s just, okay, I had to release that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. And it’s okay to reassure yourself that the baby’s doing fine as you’re learning how to communicate with your newborn and whether that’s the way you’re holding your child or feeding your child, looking in your child’s eyes.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s what your child needs and that’s bonding. And that’s forming an attachment with your child. If you are struggling with those things, that’s where you need to reach out for help. You want to make sure that your child’s, not only are the basic needs being met, but that you are starting to form a connection.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If you’re not, that’s where professionals can help you. That doesn’t mean that you weren’t meant to be this child’s mother-

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… or that-

Ron Reigns:
Or you’re doing something wrong.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. It’s just it’s something that’s happening that you need some help getting through-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… and this too shall pass. Just accepting that this baby is 100% relying on you is a huge responsibility.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I remember when I purchased two gerbils for my daughter and we’re walking out of the pet store. And these are gerbils. I mean, these are rodents that 100 years ago people would kill if they crawled into their house.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And we’re walking out, and we’re holding this little like wonton box with these two gerbils in it. I remember thinking, this is a lot of responsibility. And I’m telling her-

Ron Reigns:
It is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m telling my daughter, who at the time is 13. I’m like, “Don’t forget to feed these. These are living creatures, 100% dependent on you. And remember the water bottle. And you’re going to have to change the cage.” And I’m thinking, we got to keep these little guys alive. And she’s beaming and she’s jumping up and down next to me, and is so excited about these gerbils. And I’m thinking, wow.

Ron Reigns:
This is an awesome-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Responsibility.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, all kinds of thinking.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so, I think adding a child into your family is beautiful, but it’s also overwhelming. And I think not to acknowledge the depth and the grandiose amount of feelings and the thoughts that are going through your head would be crazy to not… Especially-

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… this has been built up for so long.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely. Not just-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Like a wedding day or a prom. I mean, this is huge.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This is life changing.

Ron Reigns:
This isn’t just even the adoption journey in a lot of cases, this is since they were a little girl or a little boy they wanted to have a child and be a mother or father.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. This changes your status as a person.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, everything. Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You’re no longer just a friend, a daughter, a sister, now you’re a mother.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that is a beautiful title that comes with a lot of responsibility.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I often get asked, “What is the difference between bonding and attachment?” How would you describe the difference?

Ron Reigns:
So I see bonding as more of an intimate thing than just attachment. Attachment is just a mother and child or father and child, in my case, where it’s kind of a necessity-based thing. Whereas a bond is more an emotional love, kind of deeper meaning between two people.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. So you heard the term, I like to practice attachment parenting.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Attachment parenting is often spoken about and it’s a parenting philosophy that proposes methods which to aim to promote the attachment of a parent and infant, not only by maximal parental empathy and responsiveness, but also by continuous body closeness and touch. A lot of ways that this is achieved is you see people wearing their babies.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I love those. I love the slings and the baby front carriers.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I would clean the house with my baby in a front back or in a sling.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so, just keeping your baby close to you is one of the ways that you can just promote attachment and bonding. And I really recommend using some of those techniques.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, looking into this and seeing what works for you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. Especially if you find yourself struggling a little bit because, again, keeping the baby close to you will help fire up those instincts-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… and fire up that maternal drive. And that’s what needs to happen to help kind of overcome some of those struggles that you might be having.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24, seven by phone or text at 623-695-4112 or you can call our toll-free number 1-800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. Written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast, rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts. And as always, thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song, I dunno, as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I’m Ron Reigns, and 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.

Speaker 1:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself. Because if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 2:
And I know that my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 3:
Don’t have an abortion. Give this child a chance.

Speaker 4:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I am the executive director, president and co-founder of Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the cohost of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife who’s an adoption attorney and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Diving into understanding the adopted child.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, let’s understand you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Let’s understand from a professional and a personal, which I always think gives unbiased perspective, because if you can have both sides of the story that will say the truth lies somewhere in between.

Ron Reigns:
Right, there’s three sides to every story, yours, mine, and the truth.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In looking at the adopted child, we can also offer suggestions for families who have adopted, especially if you’re blending a family. When we look at the term blended families, a lot of times we think mixing his kids with her kids.

Ron Reigns:
The Brady Bunch.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Whereas it also means blending a family, bringing in an adopted child when there’s already biological children, or bringing in adopted children with other adopted children.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Those are also considered and classified as blended families. In the best manner of understanding an adopted child, from their perspective, they want everybody, all the children in the household to be treated equally. Being referred to as this child, because this child was adopted or these are the bio kids, these are the adopted kids. Nobody wants a division of camps. Everyone wants to be looked at as one, as a unity.

Ron Reigns:
As part of the whole.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. Differences would be, Jimmy is five, Asher’s 10.

Ron Reigns:
This is my 10-year-old. This is my five-year-old.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This is my boy and this is my girl.

Ron Reigns:
This ugly child. Yeah. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely. Got it. Absolutely. Being the oldest, I was the oldest in my family and when you’re the oldest, you were always told you have to be …

Ron Reigns:
The example.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The example you have to. Yes. That unfortunately also means that you are the trial and error child, which parenting tactics work-

Ron Reigns:
You’re the experiment okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And which ones don’t. Yes. My oldest daughter says to me quite frequently. Wow, mom, you were so different with me. You weren’t like that with me. Yeah, and I was like yeah, I’m sorry. You were the trial and error child. You are the one who I learned how to be a mom. Now I’m just practicing what I learned and they have you to be grateful for. And she just loves-

Ron Reigns:
You paved the way for them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
She did. She did an amazing job and I am so proud of her. The other thing that parents need to be very cognizant of is which children they treat better. Don’t treat the biological children better than the adopted children, but then also don’t give the adopted children leeway or extra chances when you wouldn’t, the birth children. We’re looking for equality across the board.

Ron Reigns:
You don’t treat all your children the same, but you treat them equally.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
In one way or another.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
You see what I’m saying.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Perfect. Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, I do. And because each child has their own needs and their own strengths and weaknesses, and you have to know each child in order to tune in, but you still have to do it so that it’s presented fairly. It’s not …

Ron Reigns:
Exactly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In other words, I have a child that was not wanting or willing to drive until she was almost 17 and a half. I have another child that at 16 I was fine with her driving because they have differences in personalities and strengths and weaknesses and it just depends on each and every child. It wasn’t that one couldn’t drive, it’s that it was a better idea to have one wait. As an adopted child, understanding that adoption may be difficult to speak about and sometimes children will say no. When you say, would you like to talk about this? They will say no because it hurts and it’s hard to go there, but that doesn’t really mean no, I don’t want to talk about it. It means no is easier to say than to cross that bridge. Try again.

Ron Reigns:
Maybe try a different tech. You go at a different angle and say, well do you know any friends…okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And really if you’re tuned into that child, you’re going to know where and how is the best way to approach them. And you’ll be able to tell by their posture, not just their words, what they really want to say. Also, sometimes adopted children don’t want to talk about adoption in front of other people. We’ve talked before about they don’t want to feel different. They don’t want to be singled out. Nobody wants to be looked at differently. Always make sure that you tell your child they’re adopted. We’ve talked about this before as well in previous podcasts, don’t wait. There’s nothing that is going to magically appear to make it easier to tell them there’s no perfect moment. There won’t ever be, you have to create your own perfect moment

Ron Reigns:
And it makes it so much better and easier on the child. The younger they are, once they start understanding things, saying this is where you come from and this is how you got to us.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And this is part of your story.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that’s something to celebrate. Accept as a parent that your adopted child may have different preferences or talents and celebrate those. If you have biological children and all of your biological children are musicians and your adopted child is really into arts and crafts, I would not by any means keep encouraging the violin, the piano, the trumpet. Breakout the paint brushes and the pastel paints and get started.

Ron Reigns:
Let them thrive.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Let them thrive.

Ron Reigns:
Very good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Encourage them. Understand that separation and death can be a real trigger for adopted children. This is really important when you have a newborn adoption. There are some studies that have recommended that you not pass the baby around other people until you bond yourself with the baby because the baby wants to feel secure. I was told by my adoptive mom when I was brought home from the hospital that I cried incessantly, that I cried and I cried and I cried and she said that when a stranger would come into the house, I was inconsolable. That probably, had something to do with …

Ron Reigns:
The separation.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The separation because they say that, newborns can grieve and they can have anxiety and fear. I think that once you bond with the baby at that point it’s okay to pass the baby around. But when you’re got a new baby and you’re so proud of, you want to show friends and family, it’s much better to just hold the baby yourself and let them see the baby. But rather than passing the baby from someone’s arms to someone’s arms and them not having had that moment with you yet. I think that’s a better idea to really just-

Ron Reigns:
Show that bond before. Yeah, that makes sense.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely. Adopted children want to feel like they have you forever. They want permanency and stability and they want to know that you’re never going to go anywhere. And that applies for even newborn adoptions. Because they understand what adoption is, they understand that it was a choice that was made. And even though it’s a beautiful choice, it’s still a loss. And it’s a loss for them and it’s a loss for the birth mother. What adoptive parents can do is provide continual reassurement throughout that child’s life. When that child comes and says, mommy and daddy, I want to live with you forever and they’re four or five years old, it’s okay to say …

Ron Reigns:
Don’t discouraged that necessarily there are only four or five.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adopted children may have abandonment issues even if they were adopted at birth. That can stem from just understanding that they were placed for adoption even in the most loving way explaining to a child, your birth mother chose adoption for you.

Ron Reigns:
Because she loved you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because she loved you. There is still, like we just stated, a source of grief and loss and questions from a child as to why. Why was I placed for adoption? And that is another avenue where open adoption is so important because not only can they hear it from the adoptive parents, but they can hear it from the birth parents as well. And that can be a real source of comfort for an adopted child. Adopted children’s behaviors should not always be attributed to being adopted. If you have a child that throws temper tantrums.

Ron Reigns:
It’s not necessarily because they’re adopted.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
It may be, but chances are it’s because they’re a child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. And they have a different temperament than maybe one of your other children. If you have two biological children and an adopted child and your adopted child throws bigger temper tantrums than your biological children, they could just have a different temperament or personality. Out of my four biological children, they all have different temperaments and personalities. And the one that threw the biggest temper tantrums was not the first or the last. It was just …

Ron Reigns:
A lock of the draw.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Or the unlock of the draw.

Ron Reigns:
I guess.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Know your adopted child’s triggers. By understanding and tuning into their triggers, you can help them develop coping skills to address when those triggers are pulled and you can also help them learn how to avoid the triggers. Let’s say any presence of death or abandonment is a real source of trigger, then I wouldn’t recommend you sitting down as a family and watching Lassie.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And those kinds of things.

Ron Reigns:
Or Old Yeller or whatever.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. And so maybe again, tuning into those things when they wouldn’t have been something that you would have just automatically thought of. Will really help your child, again, mature and develop coping skills because-

Ron Reigns:
And this is good for not just adopted children, but biological. You want to know what your children, what affects them and how.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
By tuning into your child and learning their triggers, regardless of whether they’re adopted or not, and helping them find coping skills and ways to avoid triggers or landmines in some cases. Everybody’s going to be more successful. Your child is going to feel more self-confident and you’re going to have a much more pleasant family outing if you are out somewhere and you’re watching something and a trigger happens and then the child starts having a really tough time and is melting down and yeah, you can go from a real happy outing as a family to looking like this sense which …

Ron Reigns:
Everybody electric shocking each other.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
I got you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Research on adopted children shows us that adopted children do as well or better than non-adopted children according to a 1994 study by the search Institute, which is in Minneapolis based public policy research organization providing leadership knowledge and resources to promote healthy children, youth and communities. This study concluded that teens who were adopted at birth are more likely to live with two parents in a middle-class family than children born into intact families.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I thought that was fascinating.

Ron Reigns:
It is Fascinating. Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adopted children’s score higher than their middle-class counterparts on indicators of school performance, social competency and optimism and volunteerism. Again, I think this is amazing. I think in my opinion so far as we’re reading this study and in trying to interpret it, my opinion would be that when you have to work harder to become a mom or a dad, maybe your investing more into the children because I think all children are capable of this. It’s like if you, this is a terrible analogy because it’s about buying car. If you buy a car and you have worked for four years to pour every dollar and you’ve given up nights and weekends of your social life to buy this car. You’re going to take really good care of that car and you’re going to; you’re going to pour yourself into keeping it clean and getting the oil changed and making sure that it’s in the garage if it’s going to hail. Where you know if you adopt. I think it’s just what we’re pouring into adopted children that are giving us the positives in this study. That’s my opinion.

Ron Reigns:
I actually was reading these statistics beforehand and I thought the same thing. I thought because they’re so invested in the child because of the process they’ve gone through. It’s not just for instance on an unplanned pregnancy that’s like, okay, you’re now a mother or a father. It’s okay, I’m pursuing this diligently. I’m going to put everything into raising the child after I get the child. I agree with you 100%.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Another example would be if you climb to the top of Mount Everest, it’s going to look a lot different than if you got there by helicopter.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, that makes absolute sense.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right. The study also goes on to say that adopted adolescents generally are less depressed than children of single parents and less involved in alcohol abuse, vandalism, group fighting, police trouble, weapon use and theft. Adopted adolescent score higher than children of single parents on self-esteem, confidence in their own judgment, self-directedness and a positive view of others and feelings of security within their families. On health measures adopted children and children of intact families share similarly high scores and both groups score significantly higher than children raised by single parents. That’s not to diss single parents. I actually have a very soft spot. I was a single mom with my oldest daughter and I know what it’s like to be a single mom and …

Ron Reigns:
And I have to say job well done by the way.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Thank you.

Ron Reigns:
There you go.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
7% of children adopted in infancy, repeat a grade while 12% of children living with both biological parents repeat a grade. Compared with the general population children placed with adoptive couples are better off economically.

Ron Reigns:
Hearing all these stats and how, like you say, they score a higher or at least the same or higher in general than children in more traditional style homes or whatever you want to call them. Actually, makes me very happy for what we’re doing here with the podcast. What Building Arizona Families does, what my wife does as an adoption attorney and it really does, it makes me feel good. Wow, we’re moving in the right direction for society.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We are. Data indicates that adopted children have a strong feeling of security with their family, enjoy a quality of home environment, superior to other groups. Have superior access to health care and education opportunities. From my perspective, this was one aspect of my adoption story that I share with a lot of our birth parents. I was able to go to college; I was able to go on to get my master’s degree. That wasn’t an opportunity afforded to my biological brothers and that was something I experienced first-hand, which I think was amazing. Adopted children do better in educational attainment and attend college in greater percentages and the general population. They experience lower rates of crime and drug abuse and have a healthy sense of self-esteem, optimism and social competency.

Ron Reigns:
And I think your evidence of all of these.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh, Thank you.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The other thing that I think would really bring comfort to birth mothers, is to know that all of these positive and results are coming from the choice that they made. And they know after reading this and hearing this, that what they’re doing is really a good thing.

Ron Reigns:
For the child. It’s not abandoning the child as they may think. I’m not giving up my child. I’m giving my child an opportunity to thrive more than I could.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adopted children experience more social success and happiness. If you thought adopted children were more likely to be damaged, that’s incorrect. The vast majority of measures look at social success and happiness and adopted children rate highly compared to other children. That’s great.

Ron Reigns:
It is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adopted children are less likely to be delinquent, less likely to live in poverty when compared to children living in single parent homes. In fact, they’re more likely to finish high school, have a better job, and go on to enjoy a stable marriage. This is just reinforcement that adoption is amazing and it’s a beautiful choice. And those that are involved and have an adoption story, regardless of what angle of the triad you’re a part of, something to be proud of.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at 623 695-4112 or you can call our toll free number 1 800-340-9665 we can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhelp.com thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts and as always, thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song I Don’t Know as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scary. I’m Ron Reigns and 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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself. Because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid, and that’s not fair.

Speaker 4:
And I know that my daughter will be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 5:
Don’t have an abortion. Give this child a chance.

Speaker 6:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I am the executive director, president and co-founder of Building Arizona Families adoption agency, the Donna Kay Evans Foundation, and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption, and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999, I was the cohost of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife who’s an adoption attorney, and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There are so many reasons why people adopt.

Ron Reigns:
Such as?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
95% of people who adopt, do so, according to statistics, because of issues with fertility.

Ron Reigns:
So, that is the vast majority of-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, that is the vast majority. So, people will say, then who has infertility? Studies show us that one in eight couples, or 12% of married women, have trouble getting pregnant or sustaining a pregnancy, according to the CDC. Approximately one third of infertility is attributed to the female partner, one third to the male, and one third is caused by a combination of problems in both, or is unexplained. Approximately 44% of women with infertility have sought medical assistance. Of those who seek medical intervention, approximately 65% give birth.

Ron Reigns:
That’s impressive, actually.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That is impressive, I agree with you. I think that those are good odds. However, what do you have to do to achieve those odds? Other reasons that people adopt are to protect their health, maybe they have a medical issues like heart conditions or epilepsy, and a doctor may suggest that pregnancy may not be a good idea for you having that particular medical disorder.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Maybe you love caring for children, and you just want to provide a good life for a child, and it’s just in your heart. Some people adopt because they believe in balancing population growth. Others to avoid passing down genetic disorders or diseases, if it runs in their family. Some women have had difficulties in previous pregnancies, and so to avoid pregnancy complications, they choose adoption. Some are maybe a single mom or a single dad, and they want to start a family. If you’re in a same sex relationship and you want to become parents, that’s another reason that people adopt. Sometimes people want to help pregnant women who are wanting to choose adoption to pursue their own life goals, and they adopt because of that. They may know somebody who is placing their child for adoption and decide that adoption is the right choice for them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So there’s lots of different reasons. Another one is sometimes, and as an agency we don’t allow gender preferences, but sometimes people will choose adoption because they do want a particular, certain sex. So, either want a male or a female child. And we don’t allow gender preferences.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, so, the way you have it set up, is you get what you get?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, we don’t allow gender preferences with Building Arizona Families. We used to, and what we’ve found is that ultrasounds are not 100% accurate.

Ron Reigns:
Right, so there’s bound to be disappointments in that as well.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
As well. Plus, when we have women come into our adoption program, half of the women, ultrasounds show us, are having a girl, and half are having a boy. And the program was getting bottle-necked, because most people who adopt prefer a girl. And so, it was bottle-necking our program. And then the other third don’t know what they’re having when they come in, and so, again, it wasn’t working. Also, with gender preferences, when you are biologically having a baby, you don’t get to choose the gender. And it’s just not something that we felt comfortable going forward with as an agency.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There are lots of reasons to adopt. I know that when people come into our program and they are struggling with fertility issues, they will come in and say they have tried this road to becoming parents, and it didn’t work out, and so they are now choosing adoption. And adoption should never be looked at as a last resort to becoming a parent. The adoption process has more potential for success than infertility treatments, because there’s so many options within adoption. And medically, if there is a medical issue that is preventing you from being able to become pregnant or sustain a pregnancy, that’s something that is not a hindrance when you’re doing an adoption.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So people adopt for various reasons, but when you are struggling with a fertility issue, it’s important to resolve those issues before you go on to adopt, so that you don’t carry any resentment, or bitterness, or anger, or sadness, or guilt-

Ron Reigns:
To the child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Not even just to the child, even to the birth mother, or the adoption process. Because, if your goal at the end of the day, and at the end of your journey, is to become a mom, then rather than focusing on the path it takes to get you to the end of the rainbow, if you will, I think it’s more important to focus on the end result, rather than which road you take to get there. It’s important when you are trying to become a parent, to remember the little things, and be present in the moment. And whatever journey you’re on, it’s your journey. It’s what is going to be part of your life story. And if you are so focused on the fact that you were not able to biologically have a child, even with fertility treatments, and that’s really upsetting and hard, then give yourself time to grieve that.

Ron Reigns:
Or you won’t appreciate the other part of this, the adoption aspect of this journey. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adoption is also a beautiful choice. And it may not have been the road that you thought you were going to take, and it may not have been your dream, but when one door closes, another one can open. And you have to believe in that, and you have to believe that there is a reason and a purpose for what you’re doing.

Ron Reigns:
I think in speaking with hundreds and hundreds of adoptive families, before, during, and after their adoption journey, what I’ve learned from them, is that they were put in a place in their life that they didn’t expect to be in. Growing up, their dreams may or may not have included adoption. And if they hadn’t, and they got married, and they realized that becoming pregnant, carrying a child, was not a possibility, then adoption is a door that opened. Rather than focusing on the closed doors, focusing on the open doors is a way of looking at the glass as half full.

Ron Reigns:
When you change your mindset and you look at adoption as a gift and an opportunity, you can be in the moment and you can see the forest for the trees, and the forest, you can see both. And I think that’s one thing that as a society we’re missing. And as adoption education and awareness becomes more prevalent, and a bigger part of what we teach in schools and in society, and we look at differently, and as celebrities come forward and share their adoption stories and make it more common, we’re not so sensitized to adoption and it becomes more normal, it becomes a more natural way of life.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, you’re shining a light on this beautiful situation, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. I think the more we do that, and the more we celebrate adoption, and the more we look at it as another way to build a family, I think that more reasons why people adopt will surface. I think it won’t just be a default choice for parents who can’t have a child the way that they originally had planned on having a child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
One thing that I think is important to note, is when you have chosen adoption, choosing adoption for the right reasons is paramount. If you feel called by your church or by some other avenue, and you’re doing it because you feel like you’re supposed to, that’s not a reason to adopt.

Ron Reigns:
Right. You should do it because that’s the journey you want to and need to be on.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. We’re talking about the life of a human being in a child, that doesn’t get to make the same choice as you. And that being said, it’s important to do adoption for the right reasons. That is one of the reasons during the home study, we’ve talked about this before, I know, in previous podcasts, we have to do individual interviews, with both the husband and the wife, to make sure that everybody is on the same page, and that nobody is feeling pressured into adopting by somebody else in the family. It’s really interesting too, when you’re doing a home study, and you’re talking with people about why they’re wanting to adopt, and about their feelings on children and parenting, you hear some very interesting comments made by a spouse about another spouse, and it comes across instantly, if there is any hesitation or two people not being on the same page, where they want their life story to go.

Ron Reigns:
Now, how often, as you do these types of interviews with the potential adopting parents, do you say, “No, we won’t support you in this, we’re not going to help you.” Does that happen?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It does. It’s rare. It’s really rare. Most of the time when they get to the home study, at that point, they’re solidified and they’re both on the same page. It does happen, but it’s not common at all. What we see is really common, is everyone’s pretty nervous. And usually you’re just trying to keep the wife calmed down and the husband from running out the door. You know what I mean? It’s more, everybody’s just got their nerves, and fight or flight. He’s flying out the door, and she’s just sitting there a bundle of nerves, because they don’t want to say the wrong thing and portray something that they’re not. And that’s not why-

Ron Reigns:
And I think we’ve all been in a situation where we feel that way.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And my whole life and my whole future family is-

Ron Reigns:
Hinged on this-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right on this moment-

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, on this little linchpin.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so I want to make sure I say the right things. And that’s not what home study providers and social workers are looking for.

Ron Reigns:
Right, they’re not sitting there inspecting you and looking for a chink in the armor.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s no white glove, where we’re dusting the top of your entertainment center. And there’s no box that we’re looking to check, as soon as you say something, we’re going to check the box and get up and walk out. It’s-

Ron Reigns:
“Thank you. It’s been nice. Have a nice day.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
“You’ll get my report in a week.” Yeah, no, it’s nothing like that. It’s really to just make sure that you meet the criteria to adopt. And one thing that birth mothers can rest assured in, is that when pre-adoptive families come in and they’re doing their home study, they are opening up their lives to be looked at by another entity, to prove how badly they want to be parents. And I will have birth mothers that come to me and say, “Have they been fingerprinted?” And absolutely, they’ve been fingerprinted, they’ve been background checked.

Ron Reigns:
They have been vetted.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Completely, completely. And that’s really important for birth parents to know, because they want to make sure that their child is going into a home, they can’t themselves provide. And that’s an important aspect.

Desiree:
My name is Desiree. I am 26 years old. When I first found out I was pregnant, it was unbelievable. I had just had my son last year, Alonzo, and it was a rough pregnancy as it was. And I came here first, and my first instinct was adoption, and two weeks later I removed myself from the program, because I was convinced by others to keep my unborn child. And then, reality started sinking in even more. I started getting more sick, and the father of the baby decided not to be a part, and I was absolutely left alone. I left the adoption agency for about two, three weeks, and then I called them back to keep going forward with this adoption. This is not a joke. You come and you meet these people that are willing to, not only help you in your time where you’re at your lowest, but they’re there to help you better the life for your child. You are a blessing to these adoptive parents, more than you will ever know.

Desiree:
In reality, you are giving your child to these people who, they have open arms and open hearts for your kid. In the end, this whole experience is going to change you, but they have people who are going to help you through this, so you are not alone.

Ron Reigns:
Tell me Again About the Night I was Born, by Jamie Lee Curtis and illustrated by Laura Cornell.

Ron Reigns:
“Tell me again about the night I was born. Tell me how you and daddy were curled up like spoons and Daddy was snoring. Tell me again how the phone ring in the middle of the night and they told you I was born. Tell me how you screamed. Tell me again how you called Granny and Grandpa right away, but they didn’t hear the phone because they sleep like logs. Tell me again how you got on an airplane with my baby bag and flew to get me, and how there was no movie-

Speaker 8:
What?

Ron Reigns:
Only peanuts.

Speaker 8:
Okay, I like peanuts.

Ron Reigns:
Tell me again how you couldn’t grow a baby in your tummy, so another woman, who was too young to take care of me, was growing me, and she would be my birth mother and you would adopt me and be my parents.

Ron Reigns:
Tell me again how you held hands all the way to the hospital, and when you got there you both got very quiet and felt very small. Tell me again about the first time you saw me through the nursery window, and how you couldn’t believe something so small could make you smile so big. Tell me again how tiny and perfect I was. Tell me again about the first time you held me in your arms and you called me your baby sweet. Tell me again how you cried happy tears. Tell me again how you carried me like a China doll all the way home, and how you glared at anyone who sneezed.

Ron Reigns:
Tell me again about my first bottle, and how I liked it so much. Tell me again about my first diaper change, and how I didn’t like it at all. Tell me again about the first night you were my daddy, and you told me about baseball being the perfect game, like your daddy told you. Tell me again about the first night you were my mommy, and you sang the lullaby your mommy sang to you. Tell me again about our first night as a family. Mommy, Daddy, tell me again about the night I was born.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24 seven by phone or text at (623) 695-4112 or you can call our toll free number, 1800-340-9665, we can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona Adoption plan, or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters and Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry, and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast, rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts, and as always, thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song I Dunno as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I’m Ron Reigns, and 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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid, and for yourself, because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Robin:
I know that my daughter will be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:
Don’t have an abortion. Give this child a chance.

Speaker 2:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the executive director, president and co-founder of Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency, the Donna Kay Evans Foundation, and creator of the You Before Me Campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the cohost of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife who’s an adoption attorney and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When a birth mother is choosing an adoptive family, this is a big part of a birth mother’s adoption journey herself. This is a big moment. It does a couple things. It makes her adoption decision real for her, because as she’s moving forward, this is a milestone in her adoption journey. She’s looking at books that contain pictures of real adoptive families who are being presented to her to potentially parent her unborn baby. This can create-

Ron Reigns:
That choice-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Is permanent.

Ron Reigns:
… is when it becomes concrete, and when it’s like wow, this is-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This is real.

Ron Reigns:
I’ve made a decision.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This can create a myriad of emotions. Sometimes when I’m working with a birth mother and she’s choosing an adoptive family, she’s looking through profiles and she’s crying. New social workers will come to me and say, “Is that a concern or red flag?” It’s not at all in my opinion, in most cases. I won’t say across the board. But a lot of times when you’re looking at the face of the woman that is able to parent your child when you are not, it’s very hard to accept and to look into the face of possibly the mother of the baby that you’re carrying, would stir emotions I think, in just about anybody.

Ron Reigns:
You would start judging yourself and thinking, “I’m not good enough.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You’re questioning. It’s hard.

Ron Reigns:
It’s hard to look at yourself like that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Of course it is. Sometimes we’ll have birth mothers that want to postpone or delay looking at profiles because it really makes everything real, while other birth mothers find peace after they pick a family because they know the outcome. They know what the end is going to look like of their adoption journey.

Ron Reigns:
This is the family that my baby is going to be a part of.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Once they have that peace, they can get to know the adoptive family and they know they’re making a beautiful choice, and they get this reassurance. It really helps them emotionally and mentally center themselves in their adoption plan. Also, I have seen it make a birth mother rethink what type of adoption she wanted. If you had a mom that was really hesitant about doing a semi-open or open adoption, and she was leaning towards a closed adoption, after she sees the adoptive families and they don’t appear threatening and they don’t appear judgmental and they seem really nice and they have a really nice home and family, extended family members, she may think, “Oh, I would do an open adoption with his family. This is way better than what I was thinking this would be.”

Ron Reigns:
These are people I’d like to talk to while I watch my child progress in life.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think that open adoption in the majority of cases is definitely a better choice all the way around. I love it when that happens. I have seen birth mother choose an adoptive a family for the type of adoption preference the adoptive family wants, where they live, if they have other children, if they have any pets, if they’re going to be a stay at home mom or if the child’s going to go into daycare, what type of religion they are, their lifestyle, whether they’re educated, if they travel a lot, if they have certain hobbies, their reason for adopting. A lot of birth mothers are very interested in learning the reason that adoptive families want to adopt. That is a question we get quite frequently.

Ron Reigns:
So is that good to share, for instance, in the book? Like, this is why-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
If it is due to infertility or-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It can just be a simple statement like that. It doesn’t have to be a detailed medical diagnosis. It can be that biologically we’re unable to-

Ron Reigns:
The female isn’t able to-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You don’t have to go that detailed.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You could say … But no. I mean-

Ron Reigns:
We’re just not able.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You could just say that biologically, we are unable to conceive and carry a child and adoption is a beautiful choice for us. When birth mothers first look at adoption profiles, they usually look at all of the covers first. We normally present three to five, is approximate. We don’t like to do more than that because it becomes overwhelming for the birth mother.

Ron Reigns:
That makes sense.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Some birth mothers will pick up the first book. A lot of times that’s the book they choose. Not always, but a lot of times. If we lay them out, they’ll look at them and then grab one. Some of them will literally study every word, while others just race through them.

Ron Reigns:
Right, and just skim it sort of.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. And again, some cry. When you have a birth mother and a birth father and they’re both looking at the books together, the birth mothers read and focus on the pictures and are very interested in every design on the page, whereas the birth fathers, oftentimes I see them just kind of glancing over and looking at the pictures and they’re not as interested in the books. They’re great in person and meeting with them, but in the books, they don’t seem as interested as the birth mothers, for the majority.

Ron Reigns:
Right. That’s interesting.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All the birth mothers love to keep the book because what they do is, they study the book and they familiarize themself with the book and they almost memorize it. It’s their way of bonding with the adoptive family before they get to know them. So, when adoptive families are creating a profile book, I usually tell them books are always better than PDFs. Rather than sending us a PDF for us to print out, go ahead and have the book made. Usually-

Ron Reigns:
Make it a little more professional looking.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It does. It’s care that you’re putting into it.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Okay, that again makes sense.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Send us at least three. Choose your very best pictures. If you don’t have children, don’t fill your book with lots of children, because it’s very confusing. If you have nieces and nephews, maybe have a dedicated page that says nieces and nephews, because as they’re going through the book, if you’re holding babies and kids in every picture, they think that you have other children and they may not stop and read that you don’t.

Ron Reigns:
You want to make it very clear, like at the heading of the page, okay, these are my nieces and nephews-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct, rather than just putting it in little parentheticals at the bottom. Keep your books simple, classy, and spend time on your book. When you have a chance to be presented to a birth mother who’s looking to choose a family for her unborn baby, you don’t want to have spent 10 minutes on Snapfish or Mixbooks and just thrown a picture on every page with a couple of words. You really want to take time and make it look pretty, because it shows.

Ron Reigns:
This is your first impression for the birth mothers.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This is your first impression. Make sure you include a picture of your house. Obviously, make sure that your house number is not in the picture.

Ron Reigns:
Good advice, because I wouldn’t have thought of that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You want to include a picture of your pets, if you’ve been on vacation, a picture of your extended family … you know, your parents, your grandparents, anybody who’s involved in your life and who will be a part of this baby’s life. It’s really good to have a page about each parent. Oftentimes on the front will be a picture of just the husband and wife, and then you may want to open the book with a short letter to the birth mother and then close with another short note. When I say short, I would say maybe a small paragraph or two.

Ron Reigns:
Three sentences or so.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You want to keep two to three sentences per page. You don’t want to have so much, because it becomes overwhelming. The biggest and most important aspect, honestly, are the pictures. This is something that I always tell adoptive families, when we go to other states and have seminars, is when you go through your pictures, I would often recommend getting opinions from family and friends. Are these good pictures? What is your opinion on these? Send them to your adoption agency. Let them tell you.

Ron Reigns:
Would you recommend having pictures taken professionally?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, so have a photographer come over to your house-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, not for all of your pictures, but maybe for your cover photo and then a couple interwoven into your book. I know that we can do amazing things with our cell phone cameras and I’m not disputing that. Go ahead and get some professional pictures done.

Ron Reigns:
But again, you also want to see real life, so-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You do. You do.

Ron Reigns:
You want to see the dog running in the yard.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Get more than one opinion on your pictures. I can’t-

Ron Reigns:
And maybe not a family member necessarily, because-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Somebody that’ll be honest.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. You want a little honesty.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You do. Again, you’re going to see your pictures through your own lenses, not through somebody else’s, and it’s really important to get a perspective. There are times where we will review books for our adoptive families coming in and give suggestions.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. Now, generally speaking, how many pages would one of these books be?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I would say about eight.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. So, you don’t want to novel.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
Again, two to three sentences per page. Have people check your-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Maybe a paragraph in the front and on the back.

Ron Reigns:
Right, yeah. I like it. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. You want it to be simple, yet you don’t want to have five pictures on a page either … maybe two or three with little captions underneath. If you had a pet page and you had maybe two dogs, maybe have a picture of each dog and then a picture of the dogs together and have their names. I mean, you want to keep it simple because it’s a lot to take in. When you’re looking at all of these different books, you want yours to stand out.

Ron Reigns:
This is Sparky. Sparky loves to chase a ball. And that’s about it, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Per picture, and then … okay. I like it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You want to keep it very simple, but yet very classy. And really talk about you, what matters to you. If you have a favorite sports team, wear the jersey. If you have a scrap booking passion, not only will it show in your book, but have a page of what you like to do, who you are. This is your time to, I don’t want to say sell yourself, but you really want to open-

Ron Reigns:
Present who you truly are.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Open your heart, open your front door, and show what your family is made of.

Ron Reigns:
And again, what the child’s life will be like if you choose this family.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think the most important takeaway from these podcasts regarding adoptive families and when birth mothers are choosing and why people adopt … I think the most important thing is time, effort, energy and care, pouring it into yourself, pouring it into your book, pouring it into your passion of adoption and really creating and paving a way to walk through your adoption journey.

Maria:
Well, my name’s Maria. I am 34 and I placed my son up for adoption. The reason for my placement was because I wasn’t financially stable. I didn’t have a home of my own. I was actually homeless. 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 till 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. Then I ended up getting pregnant again with my daughter.

Maria:
I chose a family that had biological kids of their own, which was my first placement, and then my second placement with my daughter, which I chose a family that couldn’t have any kids, and she is actually doing pretty good herself. 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, like every six months. I think that that’ll be the best thing for you guys to do if that’s what you’ve decided to do, and Building Arizona Families is a great company to work with because they’re awesome.

Robin:
My name is Robin, and I placed my daughter almost three years ago. Placing my daughter for adoption was one of the hardest but best decisions I’ve made in my life. I wanted to have her, but I knew it wasn’t in my best interest at the time. I’m native American. Placing our kids for adoption isn’t something we do. I chose to place my baby outside of the tribe because I wanted her to have a better life. As much as you want to think that we have our little reservations and we’re in our own little world, it’s a struggle of its own that I don’t wish on kids to have to grow up in. I see pictures of her and she has everything at our fingertips that I wish I could have given her. I did give it to her in a way, because I gave her to her new family.

Robin:
There’s open conversations there still, and I don’t feel like I’m missing anything. I’m filled in with them. I see her milestones and I can get a grasp of how she is with people, the way they talk about her. They talk about her like she is this great being. You know she is, because that’s their gift, and it’s amazing to see that they accepted their gifts so proudly. I’m thankful for Building Arizona Families. I don’t know where I’d be without them. Three years later they’re still in my life.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at 623-695-4112, or you can call our toll-free number, 1-800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast, rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts, and as always, thanks to grapes for letting us use their song, Ida know as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I’m Ron Reigns and 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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself. Because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:
And I know that my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:
Don’t have an abortion. Give this child a chance.

Speaker 5:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the Executive Director, President and co-founder of Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency, the Donna Kay Evans Foundation, and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the cohost of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife, who’s an adoption attorney and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
November is officially national adoption month for over two decades, National Adoption Month has been promoted and celebrated every November in communities across the country.

Ron Reigns:
That’s fantastic.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is fantastic. Here’s some fun facts about national adoption month. The awareness color for adoption is white.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
National adoption day is observed annually on the Saturday before Thanksgiving. This is really exciting. To date, the dreams of 75,000 children in foster care have come true as part of the national adoption day events. The first national adoption day was held in 2000 by a coalition of national partners, which included Children’s Action Network, the Alliance for Children’s Rights, Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Freddie Mac foundation.

Ron Reigns:
By the way, you may not know this. Is that Dave Thomas from Wendy’s?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. It is Dave Thomas from Wendy’s. It is. He was adopted.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, I’m proud to know that now.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The National Adoption Day sponsors cooperates with states, foster care agencies, child advocates, law firms and courts to complete the adoptions of children in foster care and actually it’s not just children in foster care.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We also have newborn domestic adoptions finalized on that day as well here at Maricopa County. They’re saying across the United States, a foster child usually has to wait four years to be adopted, but more than 20,000 children age out of the foster care system at age 18 every year without a forever family or a permanent home. Really sad.

Ron Reigns:
That’s a hard, hard statistic.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. The aim of National Adoption Day is to provide forever families to as many children as possible. We here at Building Arizona Families have a Forever Families program and we help Arizona families adopt out of other States foster care systems. So National Adoption Month is especially near and dear to our heart.

Ron Reigns:
Very good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Since the 70s we have looked at ways to promote adoption and the need for adoptive families. National Adoption Month was originated and targets adoptive families for foster children. That doesn’t mean that it’s solely for foster children.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It means that that was the origination behind it.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But everybody who is a member of the triad can celebrate it.

Ron Reigns:
It’s now become all encompassing, even though it wasn’t originally focused on foster children. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So in 1976 if we want to look at some of the history of National Adoption Day, Massachusetts governor Michael Dukakis announced an adoption week to promote awareness for the adoptive families for children in foster care.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In 1984 Ronald Reagan proclaimed the first National Adoption Week. In 1995 President Clinton expanded the awareness week to the entire month of November. So thank you-

Ron Reigns:
President Clinton.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Thank you, President Clinton. Yeah. In 1998 President Clinton directed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to develop a plan to expand the use of the internet as a tool to find homes for children waiting to be adopted from foster care. So again, thank you President Clinton. In 2008 President Bush provides an explanation of national adoption month in Spanish.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So again, we’re just continuing to expand, expand, educate, and increase awareness.

Ron Reigns:
And that’s also what we’re trying to do with this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. The National Adoption Month is an event, again, to encourage people to learn about adoption, recognize people who have been impacted by adoption, and organize positive adoption related events.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There are so many ways you can get involved, and you and your family can learn and participate. In Maricopa County there is a huge celebration down, on National Adoption Day, at the court. It’s down at the Maricopa County juvenile court and there are booths set up outside of the courthouse, I know we have a table down there and we talk to families as they go in and out. Children come in that are being adopted. They’re dressed in their Sunday best. They’re just adorable. You’ll see tons of photographers there. It’s a beautiful event. It’s one of those that just being there gives you this sense of you’re really doing the right thing.

Ron Reigns:
You’re making a choice that’s going to positively impact the society.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There are so many ways you and your family can participate in this exciting month.

Ron Reigns:
Whether you’re a member of the adoption triad or not. You know, you can learn about the adoption triad by participating.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because chances are if you’re not a member of the adoption triad, you may have a family member who is, or a friend, or you may have a spouse that is in the adoption world. You may have some connection. I would say if we all look at our network around us, there is more than likely somebody that has adoption in their life story.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Whatever aspect it’s from, whether adopting parents or the child or a birth mother.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Very good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If you are an adoptive family and you want to have some ideas of some fun things that you can do with your child, you can set a time where you retell the adoption story to them and you can also create a memory book that tells your child’s story.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Much like Jamie Lee Curtis’ book.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, “Tell Me Again about the Night I Was Born”. You can spread awareness through social media by including the hashtag National Adoption Month in your posts. You’re again participating in education and increasing awareness and remember the color is white.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You can have a family movie month watching adoption, positive related movies. And Ron, I know you have a really cool list of some movies that families can watch together that are adoption positive.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely. And actually, not all of these, most of these I have not seen, and it’s also divided into movies for children as well as movies for adult. For children, there’s movies like Angels in the Outfield, Anne of Green Gables, Annie, of course, both versions, whichever the new one or the old one from back in the eighties, early eighties maybe? Cinderella with Brandi and Whitney Houston. Despicable Me, 1 and 2, Free Willy, Finding Dory. I mean just tons of movies. Lilo and Stitch. I could go on and on and on with that. Now as far as movies for adults, most of these, I don’t know, so you may have to help me out if I don’t know them.

Ron Reigns:
A movie called Admission. Antwan Fisher. I remember that one.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The blind side.

Ron Reigns:
The blind side is a really good one.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s a really good one.

Ron Reigns:
My wife loves that movie. Cider House Rules, Cinema Paradiso, Citizen Kane, I don’t remember where the adoption came in in that one.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t either.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. Greystoke. That’s one about Tarzan. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That was an excellent movie.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. I am Sam.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Another excellent movie.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. Another one I haven’t seen. Les Miserables.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Excellent.

Ron Reigns:
Loggerheads, Lovely and Amazing. I mean this list goes on and on. We should post it on our website.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Sure. Yep, we will. We’ll post it on our website for sure.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that way all of our listeners can go there and check out some amazing adoption movies. There are so many on this list that you would have one possibly for every day for the rest of the month.

Ron Reigns:
That’s right. There’s even the Star Wars trilogy in here.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And Superman you said.

Ron Reigns:
And Superman.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Don’t forget that Superman was adopted.

Ron Reigns:
I never do anymore.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Another thing that you can do to participate in the National Adoption Month is you can donate time or money to a local organization that supports adoption. You can read adoption related books with your child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You can celebrate your child’s heritage if it’s different than yours, like attending fairs, supporting your child’s heritage. I know they have lots of different community fairs this time of year. There’s one from El Salvador I just saw that’s coming up in Phoenix.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’ve been to a Greek festival. I know that there is different, like I said, different cultural fairs. Those are fun to go to. You can prepare a meal from your child’s country. We’ve got a lot of great Ethiopian restaurants here in the Valley that are fantastic.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If you have a child that you’ve adopted from another country, you can research your child’s culture with them. Maybe you adopted domestically and your child is part Native American and maybe this is the month you learn more about the tribe.

Ron Reigns:
Interesting. These are all great ideas.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You can also join local events that encourage community participation, and participate in events that celebrate National Adoption awareness. Again, in Maricopa County there are tables and booths that are set up on National Adoption day and I know they’re always looking for volunteers.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Lastly, you can volunteer for a local adoption agency wherever you’re listening. I can tell you volunteering for a local adoption agency is something that is always a need and it doesn’t just have to be in the month of November. It can be all year long.

Ron Reigns:
Now, okay. So, you’re the co-founder of an adoption agency Building Arizona Families here in Phoenix, Arizona. What would volunteering for Building Arizona Families look like? What would they do? How would they help?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We have volunteer opportunities that include dropping off food boxes during the holidays at local businesses and organizations picking them up, helping us create food boxes for our clients.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It can be helping us distribute literature to doctor’s offices and other organizations that are looking for more information on adoption.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Again, it’s helping us increase adoption awareness as well as providing adoption education. And so, donations are a huge issue for local adoption agencies because we have clients that are really in need of clothing and food and other resources, so there’s lots of ways that volunteers can jump in and really help. Regardless of how you celebrate National Adoption month, remember it doesn’t just have to be the month of November that you celebrate adoption. I know we here at Birth Mother Matters podcast, at the Donna K. Evan’s Foundation, at the You Before Me campaign, and Building Arizona Families, celebrate adoption 365 days a year.

Ron Reigns:
Now you brought up the Donna K. Evans Foundation and the You Before Me campaign. Can people also participate in volunteering for them as well in this month or all year long as a matter of fact.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All year long. And we will put more information up on the website so that you can go and check out the opportunities that await you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I know that as a nonprofit organization, we’re always looking for volunteers and we’re always looking for people that have a heart for adoption.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And if you do have a heart for adoption, and it’s not in your heart to actually adopt, that doesn’t mean that you can’t participate in adoption.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There are lots of other ways to help and you can still be a part of the beautiful process. As we continue through the month of November, happy National Adoption Month to all of the adoption triad members and to all of the people who value adoption as we do.

Ron Reigns:
And remember that National Adoption Day is Saturday the 23rd so it is the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So Ron, I think we should end with both of us reading one of our favorite adoption quotes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So this is by unknown, “Adopting one child won’t change the world, but for that child, the world will change”.

Ron Reigns:
“Born not from our flesh but born in our hearts. You are longed and loved from the start”. Happy National Adoption Day.

Sarah:
My name is Sarah, I’m 37 weeks pregnant, and I chose adoption because it was the best opportunity for me to be involved in my child’s life and get back on my feet and with life circumstances that’s what I needed to do.

Sarah:
I chose Building Arizona Families because they’re the one program that has an aftercare program. That’s really important, especially when you’re going through something that’s so emotional and life changing that impacts your whole life and your child’s life.

Sarah:
If you’re considering adoption, weigh the pros and cons of not just what you want to do but what you’re realistically able to do. You have to be logical about it all. We all want certain things but a big part of having a child is giving that up and realizing what is needed. And that to me, how I had to make the decision.

Sarah:
Yes, I would love to do a lot of different things in my life and with this child and whatnot, but I need to be realistic and not set myself up for failure. I need to set myself up for success and this child for success.

Cody:
My name is Cody and I chose Building Arizona Families for adoption. I had had a lot of friends that had gone through, they had a lot of good experiences with them and adoption was something that I was considering at the time.

Cody:
I placed my baby up for adoption in December of 2017. She’s with a really good family. They live out of state, but I still contact them on a day to day basis if I want to. I have contact with my child, so I get pictures and updates on my Instagram and stuff, which just really makes the experience a lot easier to cope with and stuff.

Cody:
My case manager is awesome. She works really, really hard with us and she made it a lot easier to want to stay and to deal with it, you know what I mean? I wasn’t at a very good spot in my life at the time.

Cody:
I’ve got two other children that are with my parents and it just seemed like the most fair chance I could have given that baby.

Cody:
The advice that it gives somebody in my kind of situation would be not to be selfish about it. You can’t think about yourself and how you’re going to feel. You have to think about how the baby’s going to feel. I mean, if you’re sitting there in life and you wouldn’t have your baby right next to where you’re at in the room that you’re at that very second, then why not give it a better chance and the chance that you had.

Cody:
I wanted her to be able to experience everything in life. Grow up and have a family there all the time. A mom and a dad, and supportive, and have siblings and everything else like that. I wanted her to have every opportunity that I never had and a million more.

Cody:
What I liked best about Building Arizona Families was the people that came with the company. My case manager was great. I was accepted because they understood the situation that I was in. Nobody was judging me for what I had done or what caused me to get to that point in life. They could relate to everything and it made everything a lot easier to deal with.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112, or you can call our toll-free number +1 800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at AZpregnancyhealth.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters and Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts, and as always thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song, I Dunno as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m Ron Reigns and 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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself. Because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:
I know that my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 5:
Don’t have an abortion. Give this child a chance.

Speaker 6:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the executive director, president, and co-founder of Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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 Rourke-Scarry:
I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m Ron Reigns, I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the cohost of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife who’s an adoption attorney, and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Today we’re going to be talking about what happens when an adoption match fails.

Ron Reigns:
Oh. Tragic.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. It is. It’s hard on everybody. It’s hard on the adoptive family, it’s hard on the agency, it’s hard on the caseworkers that had connections with both the adoptive family and the birth mother, it’s hard on the birth mother case manager. Because if this was a situation where it was known that the birth mother is not going to be able to care for the child, or the state’s going to get involved, the long-term outcome for the child, it’s a global sadness. It’s a global feeling of defeat.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I’m going to say another Maya Angelou quote because we all know now that I love her, and this is a really good lesson to live by when you’re talking about something that is not lighthearted and fun. When she says, “I’ve learned that whenever I decide something with an open heart, I usually make the right decision.” I practice this every day in my life.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, I always have to find peace in a decision.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And once I find peace, then I move forward and I don’t look back. And so when you have a match that has failed and you make the decision, “Yes, I do want to proceed with adoption. This was hard and this really hurt, but-“

Ron Reigns:
“And I could face this again.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct, but this is still my passion and this is still the journey that I want to travel on. Then you proceed.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We talked before also about the five stages of grief and when an adoption match does fail on behalf of the adoptive family. It’s really important to understand that these five stages of grief; denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, are applicable in more than just death.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What’s very confusing amongst adoptive families who experience a failure of an adoption match, and again, an adoption match is a match. It is when an adoptive family and a birth mother and mutually agree upon a relationship as to where she is going to place a baby with them. This is often formalized with an adoption agency or an attorney. Paperwork is initially signed, not the final consents, but basically stating, “We are moving forward in the direction of an adoption placement.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When you do have a match that fails, it is very similar to a death for an adoptive family. It’s a death of a dream. It’s the death of all of the hopes and everything that you’ve poured yourself into.

Ron Reigns:
For some time, absolutely, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. And it is a loss, financially, it’s a loss emotionally, for some I’ve heard it can be a loss spiritually. It can be a loss in every aspect of everything that you’ve ever experienced, and it’s hard for people who support you on the outside who haven’t experienced this loss, because they don’t understand the right words to say. They don’t understand how to jump in and help. They don’t understand how… this was a child that you never saw. This was a child that you never held in your hands. This was a child that you had never set your eyes on, and your grief is that of losing a child. Where I’ve walked adoptive families through a failed match and it is devastating.

Ron Reigns:
It is like a death in almost every aspect, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely. And at the same time, when you are in the throes of your worst moments, whether it’s when you first hear those words from your adoption caseworker or when you share it with the other children in your home, or when you have that moment when you sit down and it hits you like a tidal wave, you have to know that this was not what you wanted to happen, but it is part of your adoption journey.

Ron Reigns:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you have to have the belief that, at the end of your adoption journey, you are going to hold the child in your arms that you’re meant to hold. I have said this countless times to families and at the end of an adoption journey, I’ve never had a family come back to me and say, “You’re wrong.” They’ve always come back and said, “It was hard to believe what you were saying was right-“

Ron Reigns:
Especially at that time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
“But looking back, I am holding the child that I was meant to have and I had to go through that valley of despair and literally, the shadows of death just to rise again”. It is so hard at that moment to conceptualize what it’s really going to be like when you are handed your baby, and the papers are signed, and you can exhale and call that child your son or daughter, but you have to have faith in the adoption process that it will happen. Just patience and time.

Ron Reigns:
This too shall pass.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It will, and it’s really hard when you’re in the throes of it. There is an unknown author that had a really great statement on grief saying, “Grief never ends, but it changes. It is a passage nor a place to stay. Grief is not a sign of weakness nor lack of faith. It is the price of love.” I think that’s perfect, and very applicable to what this whole podcast is about because you have to have faith, whether that is in religion or whatever you believe in.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You have to have faith in what you’re doing and what you believe in, in order to get through those moments that are the hardest. Because if you can get through those moments, you’re going to experience the moments that you’ve been waiting for.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Now on top of faith, what else do you, as an adoption provider, what do you recommend?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I really recommend… some families say, “We had prepared ourselves for something like this happening and we absolutely want to jump right back in, and be presented to the next birth mother and we’re good, we’re solid, we’re fine.”

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And for some families, that is their way of coping.

Ron Reigns:
They’re able to do that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And they’re able to. Other families, it hits them, like we said before, like a tidal wave. And they really need to go to counseling, and they need to find healing through a support group, through talking to other families that-

Ron Reigns:
Have dealt with this.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Have experienced the same, they need to reevaluate, “Is adoption the right choice for us? Is this really the journey that we’re supposed to be on?”

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When I used to be a school counselor, and I would get the call from the mom in the morning and she would say, “Hey, would you mind checking in on my child today? Her hamster died last night and she’s really upset, and I want to know if I should go out and buy a new hamster today, after school with her.” And my response was always, “What does your child wants to do?”

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because for some-

Ron Reigns:
The child is ready to go and get that new hamster and others are like, “You know what, I need to get through this process.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
And it’s….

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely. It just depends on the temperament and personality of that child. I think that some people find healing in nurturing and caring for another hamster right away, and some families may find healing knowing that although they’re no longer on the adoption path that they were on before, they’re on a different path.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And they find solace and faith in that. And so, it really depends on where you are in your adoption journey and what you’ve done to prepare yourself.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Now, for the families who are going through this, what would you say the percentage is for families who decide, “You know what, this isn’t working out. This is not for me. I’m going to end my adoption journey.” As opposed to the ones who say, “Let’s continue on.” No matter what the time-frame is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I would say, I think less than 10% after one adoption, one failed adoption match, say, “I’m done, I’m out.” I think that those that truly say, “We had a one and done chance.” I think it’s more for financial reasons than it would be for emotional or any other reason.

Ron Reigns:
Right. It’s just we can’t financially bear this again or…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. You know, I really think that it’s important to hear from a family that has experienced the highs and lows of adoption, and has moved forward after having a failed adoption match. And so we have a family that is going to join us. Let’s hear from them.

Zach:
My name is Zach, I’m from Kentucky, been married to my wife now for 15 years. We started dating when we were in high school, high school sweethearts, and been together and we had a great life together, there was just something missing. My wife’s a teacher, she loves children, working with them, coach’s youth sports, loved working with children too. And we didn’t have children and weren’t able to have children naturally. We had taken a spring break trip to Washington, D.C. in 2013, and on the way home we just got to talking and, you know, we’re saying that we would love to have kids and thought that we should give adoption a shot. So we came home and we started the process of filling out the paperwork, finding a local agency, doing the home visits, et cetera. We got everything finalized right before the first of the year, 2014.

Zach:
Agency sent our profile out, about three weeks later we were chosen by a local family. Baby was going to be due right around the 1st of April, Ashley and I were ecstatic, could not wait. Getting everything prepared, and then two weeks before birth the family decided they were going to parent the child on their own, and we experienced the disruption, which was a tough on both of us. Something that our agency and worker had talked to us about, tried to prepare us for, but ultimately until it happened to us, we really weren’t prepared for everything that came with it.

Zach:
So we took a little time off, sat back and decided if we wanted to continue on, knowing the possibility that that could happen again, and then we decided we were going to keep our profile open. I guess it was about August of 2014, we got a call from an attorney out of Wool, an adoption attorney. And there was a young lady that was at the hospital getting ready to give birth, and they had contacted our agency and asking if they had any open profiles for her to view, and they sent ours to. She said that she liked us, but she went ahead and chose a different family.

Zach:
The adoption attorney looked at our profile and she thought it was very strong. So, she contacted us personally, and we came up to her office right about mid-September and… she was an interstate adoption attorney, and she told us that she had contacts with, I think, 11 different states that had different agencies. So, we sat down that day and we filled out paperwork for the different agencies, and submitted our profiles once again. Then a couple weeks later we got connected with Building Arizona and got chosen by a birth mother.

Zach:
I guess we probably had our first session with our birth mother around October, we hit it off with her instantly. I’m a carpenter and in our profile book, I have some pictures of me doing work, and she said that was one thing that really drew her to us as a couple. We have a little dog and he was featured in there as well. She said she liked that, so we were matched up with her.

Zach:
We were with her probably five or six times, up until our son was going to be born in March. So we made us a reservation to come out to Arizona, we were going to get there three days early and as soon as we get off the airplane, our phone starts buzzing and they tell us to come over to the hospital, she’s getting ready to have our son.

Zach:
So we got a rental car, and couldn’t figure out how to start it at first. Got in there and drove right over to the hospital, and we got there early enough to where we met with our caseworker and our birth mother. We were able to go down and have lunch with her in the cafeteria, and get to know her a little bit, personally. And then we took us up to the floor, and we got a nesting room right down the hall from her, stayed there overnight and our son was born that morning, in Phoenix. Stayed out there 17 days with our son and then brought him home.

Zach:
That was in March of ’15. We’re raising him and then, I believe it was the St. Patrick’s Day of 2015 we got a call from Arizona, and I thought it was someone checking up, making sure everything was going all right with this. And it was asking us if we would be interested in adopted a sibling, and we took a little time to think about it, not a lot. And then we call her back and said yes.

Zach:
So we went through the process again, had us a beautiful daughter, Vivian, she was born out there in December of ’16, and we’ve had a very happy family since then. It’s been everything that my wife and I had hoped and imagined and even more. So, that’s kind of our story.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Beautiful.

Ron Reigns:
It is. And you’ve got that extra blessing on top. That’s amazing. And I know that was tough going through, but what a story. Thank you for sharing

Zach:
As far as the hard times, I mean, I think in the end, looking back on that… it’s funny we were kind of talking about this the other day, I think what happened to us happened for a reason and it has worked out just perfectly for us. And Kelly knows this, and I tell everybody when I speak at the seminars they have locally here in Kentucky, I tell everybody all the time that adoption is a roller coaster. I mean, it could go from a super, super high to a super low, but then you always come back up at the end, and then there’s no feeling like it. And I’ve got a friend that is going through a foster to adopt program here locally in Kentucky, and they just got the okay to begin the court proceedings for the TPR. And that’s what I told him. Every time I got off that roller coaster ride, I want to get right back and line and ride it again. Because once it ends, there’s nothing like it. So.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Is that your way of saying that you’re about to get on the adoption journey again?

Zach:
Well, you know… we talk about it all the time. Right now, I don’t know, between the two and the four-year-old, if we’re ready to take another one on right now.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Gotcha.

Zach:
But that’s what we say, it’s never closed for us. Jason’s a little athlete, he plays all the sports. So, he keeps us busy, and then Vivian, she’s getting into swimming and she’s at the age she can start doing all this stuff. So, we’re pretty much on the go every day, right now. I can just imagine having a third one in the mix and I don’t think that’s something we can take on at this point. I’m not saying it’s over with.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Gotcha. As a family that has gone through a failed adoption match, what is the best advice that you would give another family who’s experiencing that?

Zach:
Just be prepared for it. They stressed to us that it’s almost like losing a child, and to some degree that was for us. We went ahead and we had a baby shower, we had the nursery all ready to go, so of course we had stocked up, and we probably left the door closed on that room for three to six weeks and never went in there. But you know, like I said, that is the low end of it. Now when we got that call from Building Arizona Families, and we had been chosen again, we forgot all about that.

Zach:
Yeah, but that would be my advice. It’s going to hurt for a little while, but if you want something bad enough in life, just keep going at it, and going at it, and doing whatever you need to, and you can get there. Just through hard work, say prayers, however you want to go about it. But just stay with the program. Don’t let a disruption get you completely all the way out of it, there is plenty of time to sit and mourn a little over it, but don’t let it beat you down. There’s plenty of kids out there that maybe they’re looking for the right situation, and your family will be become that for them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That is really, really good advice, and especially from somebody who’s been through it. Is there any other adoption advice or recommendations or anything else that you have that you want to share?

Zach:
Oh, it’s just a wonderful experience for us. And I don’t want to just, like I said, paint this picture of, it’s all rainbows and butterflies, because it’s not, but I keep stressing that once you… you go through the court proceedings, and you start off filling out the profile, getting chosen, then if you’re fortunate enough to be at the hospital for the birth, that’s an experience that… it was just amazing. And then, we had the ICWA hearing, and then we get the notice that, everything’s done with that, stop and get on the airplane and… we love Phoenix, but we were out of there within three hours.

Zach:
After that, then we come back home, and we do the finalization in Kentucky, and on that day, it’s amazing that your family is whole at that time. And we celebrate our Gotcha Day with both of our kids every year, and I just want to… anybody that’s listening to this too, before we started the adoption process, my wife and I didn’t know a lot about it. We didn’t have anybody to talk to as far as… even just with dealing with the emotions of the disruption, or the highs and the lows of getting chosen and the possibility of a birth mother, or family, rethinking their decision. If you could find somebody or a group through a church, or a local organization to have a common bond with, I think that is very helpful when going through the process. Especially for the first time.

Zach:
I try to stress when I come to the seminars, to the people there and give them my phone number, that any question they have as far as that goes, or they even just want to talk or anything, I’m open to speak with anybody on it. So, you know, as far as that of my skill sets, that’s what I would have.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. Now, you said that no matter how much they tried to prepare you before the disruption, that you still didn’t feel prepared and then you say that people should be prepared for this. What would you suggest for, say, Building Arizona Families or us on this podcast or anybody? What could have helped prepare you for this a little more than you were?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
More like a bridge; like what could we do differently? What could we improve? That’s a great question, Ron.

Zach:
Honestly, when it happened with us, there wasn’t much communication between our local agency and us. It was kind of, it happened, they called us and let us know, but there was not really a… “Come in to the office, we can to speak about this, we can show you other profiles.” There wasn’t a lot of support from our local agency. That’s what I would suggest. When it does happen, and I’m sure you all do this, maybe you don’t, but reach out to them and say, “Hey, would you like to come in? Just sit down and talk to somebody about it?” That’s something that we didn’t have on end.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. And I know your disruption was with a different agency. Yeah. With our families that are local, we do provide a counseling session with one of our adoption counselors, and we do do that as well. It’s harder with our out-of-state families, because we don’t have the ability for them just to walk right in.

Ron Reigns:
And I want to commend you as well, Zach, because you speaking about this, and apparently you go and talk in front of people who are interested in adoptions, I think you’re doing something amazing in helping to prepare them for this very rough situation. We all go through rough spots in life, but it does help to be prepared, and I think you’re doing that. You’re doing your part. So good job.

Zach:
Yeah. This is something I’m very passionate about.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, obviously.

Zach:
My whole life I’ve always wanted to be a father. Building Arizona gave me that opportunity to live my dream. And when I go to the seminars or even… not even there, when I, Like I said, I’ve got a friend that’s going through the process, and I know the way that I felt once we had a child, and I just want everybody that’s there to feel the same thing that we did, our family did.

Zach:
And I know there’s people that… we went to the very first one and then they come back now and they have a child. And that’s that’s amazing too. I mean I feel just as happy for them as I do for us. There was a good friend that we had met through these seminars. She had a little more trying story than we did. We had got her in touch with Kelly and Adam, and she’s got a beautiful daughter now, and every time we come to it, our kids play together and that’s… It’s just something I’m very passionate about. I love kids, and I just feel like there’s plenty of loving families out here that will help a kid out, or vice versa, the kid can complete a family that’s missing something too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So I guess with that, adoption does provide the rainbows and butterflies. It’s just at the end.

Zach:
Yes, yes. But it’s like I said, it’s not all that. And if it is for people out there, then enjoy that ride, because I haven’t met anybody yet that it’s been completely like that, but if it is, you got lucky with that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Thank you, again, so much. Like I said, it was great to hear from you. We always appreciate your support and…

Ron Reigns:
Hug that family for us.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. Give them a hug for us.

Zach:
I will, and thank you all for doing the podcast. Like I said, if this was something when we were going through it, you would’ve handed me the card or you know, send it in correspondence. I would have been listening the whole time throughout our process to it as well. And I encourage anybody that is listening to this, that hasn’t listened to the previous episodes, to go back and listen to those as well, because there’s a lot of information. Not just from my side of it, but seeing the side of the birth mother, the child, all aspects of it, not only yours. So, thank you all once again too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right. Thank you Zach, thank you so much.

Ron Reigns:
Thanks, Zach.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112, or you can call our toll-free number 1-800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan, or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry, and edited by me, Ron Reigns.

Ron Reigns:
If you enjoy this podcast, rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts. And as always, thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song I Don’t Know as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m Ron Reigns and 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.

Speaker 2:
Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself. Because if you didn’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 6:
And I know that my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 7:
Don’t have an abortion. Give this child a chance.

Speaker 8:
All I could think about was needing to save my son.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the executive director, president, and co-founder of Building Arizona Families adoption agency, the Donna K. Evans foundation, and creator of the You Before Me campaign. 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. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m Ron Reigns. I’ve worked in radio since 1999. I was the cohost of two successful morning shows in Prescott, Arizona. Now I work for my wife who’s an adoption attorney and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Birth mothers need support and the ability to grieve after placing a child for adoption.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This is why adoption after her services are paramount. As a nonprofit Arizona adoption agency, we developed, funded and supported the Donna Kay Evans foundation and many instances a birth mother is parenting other children in the home when she is pregnant and placing that baby for adoption. What is often unresearched, undiscussed, unexamined is the effects of a birth mother placing her baby for adoption on the other children currently in the home.

Ron Reigns:
Right, that makes sense.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And sometimes this can happen and the birth mother can go on and have children later on in life. Sometimes this can happen where at, like I said at the time, there’s no other children in the home, but she goes on to have other children. Does it affect those children? Does her inability to receive adoption aftercare services affect not only her but her children? So without counseling and the support system, a birth mother may not have the ability to continue to parent in a manner she wants to and her grief may or may not affect her daily living.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So aftercare services are designed to be wraparound services, to help her process grief that she may have and provide the support that she may need. Through the Donna Kay Evans Foundation, we as Building Arizona Families have developed this foundation to make sure that we are leaving no stone unturned.

Ron Reigns:
Uh-huh (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That we are crossing all the T’s, dotting all the I’s. Sometimes if a birth mother doesn’t have support and the ability to grieve, she may attempt to fill the loss by jumping into another relationship and getting pregnant again. That isn’t the answer or the solution, especially when she wasn’t able to parent the baby that she just placed for adoption.

Ron Reigns:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think guilt and shame are two of the emotions that are very pronounced for a birth mother after placement of a baby for adoption. Once the baby is born, the decision to place the baby for adoption brings about significant feelings of guilt about concerns regarding is she rejecting the child, is she doing something wrong? Should this be kept a secret? And again, aftercare programs can teach, educate, inform birth mothers and birth parents after the baby is placed for adoption, even though they may have received the same information during the course of their pregnancy and preparation for the adoptive placement, hearing it again, they’re going to hear it with new ears because the event has occurred.

Ron Reigns:
Right. This is-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Preparing-

Ron Reigns:
You’re at a different point in your life.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
And so it sounds different to you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s like when you’re a senior in high school and you’re getting ready for graduation and you’re told after you graduate, it’s going to feel like this, this, and this. You know I had, when I was a school counselor, I had kids that would tell me, oh, I’m just going to sit back and see what happens. I’m not going to apply to school. I’m just going to, I’m going to see what comes my way.

Ron Reigns:
I know 50 year old’s that are like that, but okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And will I tell, I would tell the 50 year old the same thing I have told the 17 and 18 year old’s, nothing’s going to come your way. You’re going to have to get up and go look for it.

Ron Reigns:
There you go.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s no colleges that are going to come knocking at your door. There’s no employers that are going to come ringing your doorbell.

Ron Reigns:
You know we heard about you through the grapevine. I know you didn’t put in an application, but… Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But your time on social media has been so significant.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That your dedication really speaks for your character.

Ron Reigns:
Yep. So, that’s not likely to happen. I mean it’s not impossible, but not likely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s probably as likely as waiting for the Hogwarts letter when he turned 12 or 13.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, other birth parents may feel guilt and shame if they decided to keep the adoption a secret. So again, there’s a lot of aspects and entities that can come into play when a birth mother places a baby for adoption and doesn’t have an outlet to express the feelings and emotions she’s experiencing.

Ron Reigns:
Because she’s already hidden everything from everybody from nine months.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If that’s the path she chose, yes. Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. So you say that the effects of going through the adoption process, effect of the children, the other children in the house, if there are any as well-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It can, sure.

Ron Reigns:
Now, does the Donna Kay Evans Foundation have programs to help counsel them or help them get through some of that?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely. So, we, we can provide referrals out to community resources. We also have an adoption counselor that will be happy to do a session with the children to help them understand what’s going on. And I think that that’s really valuable because again, education is key and the biggest component. It also can give them an outlet.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In this podcast, we’re going to hear from my biological brother who was born approximately 18 months after I was born. My-

Ron Reigns:
Like you said, that quick-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Turnaround.

Ron Reigns:
…fill the void turnaround, right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. Is exactly what happened. My mother was in 10th grade and had me in January and dropped out shortly after I was born and left the state and met my brother’s father and hooked up with him and had him on her 18th birthday.

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So it was a pretty quick turnaround.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. So, let’s hear from him. What we’re talking about in this episode is aftercare services for women who placed a baby for adoption. And it is my belief that mom would have had a very different life had she received services like counseling and everything else rather than nothing and basically keeping it a secret.

Speaker 4:
Yeah. Well see he’s also got to understand, at that time, we was living in the back hills of literally West Virginia. So, the only kind of services that kind of, sort of, maybe was there it was called the mental health clinic. To me that’s like besides going into town to the actual hospital the only other place was it was like a doctor’s place set up in a trailer. If you can picture that, how construction sites had trailers where they had like their desk and stuff that they looked over the blueprints and stuff with this growing up in Chattaroy, West Virginia, this is what we had for medical provision.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Gotcha. Right. And I think that if the attorney that she was working with, if he had provided her some type… If there was no aftercare services back then, if she had received services, if they had been available, I think that she would not have grieved and not had struggled with depression and anxiety. Like she told me that she was struggling from for so long because she never was able to resolve those issues. So can you-

Speaker 4:
She struggled with it because she died.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Speaker 4:
I feel….

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And I, I agree. Can you talk about when you first found out that I existed, from her and-

Speaker 4:
But see, I didn’t find out from her. I found out when I was probably, I said I was maybe nine, ten years old.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Just tell the story.

Speaker 4:
I can tell you exactly where I was. My grandma, my dad’s mother, she always liked to run my mom in the ground anyways, just talk about her. And can’t exactly remember the exact words, what brought her up to say this, but I was standing right in front of the doorway of the trailer and she was to the right where the kitchen area was. And she just said, you’re lucky your mom, your momma kept you and didn’t give you up like she did your sister.

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Speaker 4:
And I was, it wasn’t like I was an infant at that time I, I knew what she just said. Even though I was a hillbilly child growing up in West Virginia, I still understood. You literally just told me that I had an older sister basically. And I just, well it, it’s hard to explain. Because I was so young, I still remembered an empty void kind of that I just didn’t have no explanation on why I was there, why did I feel like that? I guess something internally can nag at me. When my grandmother said that it was like lights going off, ding dong, ding dong. That was it.

Speaker 4:
I had a sister up there that I didn’t know I had that somehow, we shared a kind of bond without even knowing about it. Because it felt empty and when I found that out it didn’t completely fill it, I didn’t get that emptiness filled until I hugged my sister at the airport and we saw my mother. That’s when it actually… Wow, completeness. So, I knew from a very young age that my sister was out there. I just didn’t know who she was or where she was.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When your grandmother told you that, did you go back to mom and ask her anything?

Speaker 4:
Yes. I asked mom and mom told me that you, that I already knew how my grandma was, that she was crazy and that that wasn’t true. And I just go, mom was saying that, so I didn’t look at her in a different way. She didn’t want me to look at her like, wow, you really gave up my sister. Kind of, you know what I’m saying? She wanted me to look at her as the super woman she was. Because I tell you my mom, mom would do some stuff man. And I saw some things that children should never see, but I was there for her. Hold your head up off the floor when she just got knocked out. Yeah. My mom was the first person I ever see getting knocked out.

Ron Reigns:
How old were you when your mom finally did admit to you what had happened or talked to you about it?

Speaker 4:
I don’t think I ever had that conversation-

Ron Reigns:
Really.

Speaker 4:
… with her.

Ron Reigns:
So it just happened.

Speaker 4:
Yeah. Yeah, it just boom, Kelly was here.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Now you told me that you used to go to the library and try to find me or something.

Speaker 4:
The hospital records say this person gave birth to a child and stuff and I could never just find anything that, with my mom’s name.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Got you.

Speaker 4:
But I was also, I’ve never been computer or technology friendly either.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, me neither.

Speaker 4:
The stuff that I looked at was on that clear paper, like plastic and you put it and it makes it bigger. What are those? Micrographs?

Ron Reigns:
Microfiche. Yep, fiche.

Speaker 4:
Yeah, microfiche.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Looking back at the situation as it happened, how do you think, knowing, if you had known about me growing up and you had known that there was an adoption… I mean mom was only 16 when I was born and they did what they felt was best. How do you think it would have affected you if you would have known? Do you think it would have been better having had all of the information all along? Do you think it would have been harder? What do you think, because times were different back then.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Speaker 4:
Yes, they really was. I mean, that’s a good question. I feel that if, I’m kind of glad that it happened the way it did because at least I had some kind of understanding on how I was feeling to where, if nothing would ever been said, my grandma wouldn’t ever said anything I would’ve never known what, why that was. I would always had questions or something that I didn’t even know if I wouldn’t know what the answer was. Does that make sense?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. So, let’s ask the age-old question. How has adoption impacted your life, positively and negatively?

Speaker 4:
That’s a tough question. That’s the toughest one yet.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m sorry.

Speaker 4:
Honestly, because I feel against it because it’s not fully it just in some way because I was robbed a lot of years from you. But on the other hand, it was… I’m kind of glad that you didn’t have to, live the way I did. Yeah. So, because it was rough. When you can remember looking in the cabinets, the refrigerator, seeing nothing but one can of Lima beans and we still hungry. We fight. Mom make us that then didn’t like it but was forced to eat it by my stepdad so we wouldn’t waste food.

Speaker 4:
And I wouldn’t want that for you. I wouldn’t want that for anybody. So, there’s, like you said, there’re positive things about adoption for me and there’s negative things because I felt like I wish I still could have you but not have you go through what I went through. But then again, if mom was never made to give you up for adoption, would we, our paths had been differently. I probably wouldn’t have been here, be here. Michael, might’ve been here, but not me because I was so close after, I mean, I don’t know…

Ron Reigns:
I know this is tough on you and I just want to say I really appreciate you, your honesty and your candor. It’s, it’s obviously not easy, but thank you so much for sharing with us.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What would you say to kind of close this, what would you say to a woman who is placing her baby for adoption because she’s just in a place that she cannot parent and she does have other children. What advice would you give her? Would you tell her to talk about the child to the other children? Would you say to wait until they’re older? What would you say as somebody who’s been through this?

Speaker 4:
I think they should be honest because secrets always come out and sometimes, they come out at the worst time. So, honesty honestly is the key. Just the honest. Yes, you got a brother or sister out there. I had you guys, I was barely taking care of you guys or whatever the case may be and just let them know that there is someone else out there. I guess had to put them in a better place than what we was. I was already punishing you guys or you single whatever the case, and I just couldn’t see to do that to another child. It’s honesty.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I agree with you. I think that’s perfect advice. All right. Thank you so much.

Speaker 4:
Bye.

Ron Reigns:
One thing that kind of caught my eye or my ear, I guess I should say, as we were talking to your brother, is that not only are aftercare services so vital now in it could have changed your and his life so much to have that available back then. But also, how much more these days open and semi-open adoptions are and there’s so much more prevalent than they were back in the sixties and seventies and eighties and I think that would have changed his life immensely to have been able to talk to you on the phone. I think we’re going in a positive direction in adoption and I think that’s vital.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think that is too, and I think from his perspective, adoption is not something that an immature mind could have looked at as positively when he was younger. But because he is mature and he is able to look back at the situation as it was and he is able to see the positives of adoption now it is a dichotomous answer. It is. He is able to see both sides. And I, I’m just so proud of him that he has gotten to that place and can recognize that it is what it is. And, and yes, there are things that could have been done differently. And honesty is key. And yeah, I think that was amazing.

Ron Reigns:
He’s absolutely right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s a quote from Margaret McDonald Lawrence who says, “Neither society nor the adopter who holds a child in her arms wants to confront the agony of the mother from whose arms that same child was taken.” That quote alone is why we as society need to turn towards adoption after care services rather than away and turning a blind eye to the woman that is the trunk of adoption is negligence on every level. And my adoption story is the poster child of why aftercare services are so necessary.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I was placed for adoption in 1973 my mother was 16 years old. She made that selfless decision to choose adoption for me. I was adopted by a wonderful adoptive family and because I was placed for adoption, I was able to go to school. I was able to go to and I was able to get my master’s degree. My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m the director and co-founder of Building Arizona Families and the Donna K. Evans Foundation, which we nicknamed SWAP, supporting women after placement. After I co-founded the agency, I actually looked for my mother and I found her in 2007. My mother struggled with her adoption choice. In her struggle had she had health assistance and counseling, she might’ve had a much better experience and she might have not struggled with depression or anxiety or guilt and so we developed the Donna K. Evans Foundation.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The Donna K. Evans Foundation is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization that helps women after they have placed a child for adoption. We want to give women the services and the support that women like my mother did not receive. Our goal is to let women know that women matter, that they made the right choice when they chose adoption. And what we’ve learned as we’ve done adoptions for over 14 years is birth mothers need help and we want to be the ones to help them. We know about the selfless choice that they made and we support them and we support their choice. When a woman comes into our agency, we are able to give them an emergency food box immediately. A woman can come into our office and receive a food box even if she is not pregnant. Our food pantry is funded through private donations, both financially and through food donations.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We have a clothing closet right here at our facility. We have maternity clothing for the women who are in our adoption program and are looking for clothing the minute they walk through our door. And we have in all sizes, these are all donated clothing. We have clothing that is appropriate for job interviews, that is appropriate for regaining their self-esteem. We do have GED materials onsite for women who are interested in obtaining their GED. We also have computers that you can use for practice testing to help obtain your GED as well. We also have domestic violence services. We can help with restraining orders. We can also help with emergency housing through hotel vouchers. We’re looking for monetary donations so you can help support this fantastic program. It’s going to help hundreds of women after they have placed a child for adoption. We want to give them a hand up, not a handout.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Donations could include anything from clothing to nonperishable food to GED study guides to temporary bus passes. We need you to help us help them. Be part of the solution. Make a difference in all of these women’s lives. The adoption community is a large community and you’re part of it. You are part of the solution. We chose angel wings for our logo because angels were important to my mother. Angel wings are symbolic of being able to fly. The goal of the Donna K. Evans Foundation is to help women find their wings so they can fly. Please contact us through the Donna K. Evans Foundation on our website at the dkefoundation.com

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112 or you can call our toll free number +1 800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can check out our blogs on our website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me, Ron Reigns. If you enjoy this podcast, rate and review us wherever you listen to podcasts. And as always, thanks to Grapes for letting us use their song, I don’t know, as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m Ron Reigns and we’ll see you then.