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 3:
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:
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’m the Executive Director, President, and Co-Founder of Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency, The Donna K. Evans Foundation, and Creator of the #YouBeforeMeCampaign. 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 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.

Ron Reigns:
Here’s part two of our revealing conversation between Kelly Rourke-Scarry and myself about her reunification with her birth mother. We’ll pick it up right where we left off last time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I still didn’t really know what I was getting into. I mean, she loved telling her the story of my birth and that was really important to her. She very clearly remembers going into what must’ve been the operating room, because there were panels on the ceiling, and she remembers the nurses being very nice to her. And then she remembers waking up in the bed in pain and them trying to help her afterwards.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Then she remembers her sister that knew that she was in the hospital, had come to the hospital, and her dragging her out of bed and taking her over to weigh her because they wanted to see how much she’d lost after having me. And she said that she had to walk past the nursery and she-

Ron Reigns:
Things a 16-year-old would do.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I know, right? She said that when she walked past the nursery, she purposely looked the other way because she said that she knew she wasn’t supposed to see me and she didn’t want to break the rules. Which I found kind of ironic because she got there in the first place by breaking all the rules but, okay.

Ron Reigns:
But this rule she didn’t want to?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. She was sticking by this rule. She remembers a social worker coming in and talking with her about the adoption. She said, looking back, she felt pressured. And she said there was another woman in the room and she really believed that the other woman in the room was my adoptive mother.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My adoptive mother says, “Of course not. That was a closed adoption. That wasn’t me.”

Ron Reigns:
But that’s what she had in her head, “Okay. This is the woman who’s taking the child.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
To the day she died.

Ron Reigns:
Wow. Oh, even after you met? And I’m sure you’ve told her, “No, that wasn’t…”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. She didn’t believe it. She was very much a believer of conspiracy theories and things like that. And she really had some anger towards her own mother because she felt pressured into the adoption situation. She remembers-

Ron Reigns:
Do you think she regretted it though?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh, absolutely. Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Even when she saw the life that you would eventually live?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because of her own loss.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In her words. So, she was very proud of the person that I became, but she felt very much like-

Ron Reigns:
Like something was stolen from her.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
She was robbed. Yeah. And I do think that my biological grandmother made the right choice. And I think that had she received services and aftercare; she would have seen that it was the right decision. And would have helped her.

Ron Reigns:
Right. And had it been an open adoption or even semi-open. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. But that wasn’t the case. And so, as I’m learning all of this and I’m preparing to fly out, which I found her on a Friday and I flew out with one of my best friends on a Wednesday. I left my ex-husband and kids at home because I didn’t know what I was getting into, and I thought it would be better the first time if I just…

Ron Reigns:
Less moving parts. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so I took Kim who we have interviewed before…

Ron Reigns:
And if you haven’t heard that, go back and listen to that podcast. It’s very fun. Kim, she was delightful. She was fun.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, she is. She’s a riot. So, I remember her pulling out the video camera and we’re in the airport and she’s like, “I’m documenting this.” And I thought, “Are you kidding me? I don’t want to be on camera.” And she goes, “You’re going to regret it if we don’t.”

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Thank God she did.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so she did. Yeah. So, she’s interviewing me beforehand. And I remember her asking me, “What is the one thing you hope to achieve on this visit?” And I remember I said, “I hope I find me.” With that, we got on the airplane, and the gentleman sitting next to us was asking questions.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And then he asked me, he said, “Does your adoptive family know that you’re flying out to meet her?” And I said “No.” And he said, “Why not?” And I said, “Because I wasn’t ready.” They knew that I had looked for her. They knew that I found her. I wasn’t ready to process whatever emotions that they were going to have about it.

Ron Reigns:
Do you think there’s a possibility that it was also in the back of your mind, maybe, saying, “What if this doesn’t work out? What if this isn’t what I thought it was?”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, I felt guilty. Like I was cheating on somebody.

Ron Reigns:
Did you? Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yeah. I felt really guilty. I felt like I was cheating on them. Like I was robbing them of…

Ron Reigns:
How well did they get to know each other? Your adoptive parents and your birth mother?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Pretty much not at all.

Ron Reigns:
Did they meet?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
They never met?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. My adoptive mother and my birth mother spoke on the phone one, maybe two times briefly. And my dad, never. No. Because my biological mother had felt so robbed, she had a hard time-

Ron Reigns:
Dealing with them?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Not dealing with them. And it wasn’t that, it was accepting that there was another couple that got to raise me, and she was not able to.

Ron Reigns:
She was robbed and they got the blessing for it. And in a way, they were the robbers.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
From her perspective, which wasn’t the case at all.

Ron Reigns:
No, no. Of course not.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But from her perspective, that’s exactly what it was. And she really struggled with-

Ron Reigns:
She resented them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, she was very jealous of them, and more, not really my adoptive dad, for some reason, she did not have any issues. It was because he didn’t take her place. Whereas my adoptive mom did.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so it wasn’t anything personal. It was more, I think it was just raw jealousy. I think it was. And the other issue and the reason that I never facilitated the two of them meeting is they came from very different worlds and very different cultures. And I’m not sure it would have gone well.

Ron Reigns:
Do you regret that at all?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. No, I don’t. I think sometimes in certain situations, the unknown is better than the known. And that’s a rare to say that, but in this situation, no.

Ron Reigns:
Usually, obviously, you’re a big proponent of educate, shine a light, but in this case-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In this case, no. I think it would have resulted in hurt feelings and more confusion. And I didn’t want anybody’s feelings to get hurt. That was something that I was always, even as a child, very conscientious of, I didn’t want to hurt anybody’s feelings. I was very protective of my adopted family in that first visit.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I remember that first night after we got off the airplane and went to her house, I remember some of her family members came over and they were asking me, “What’s your adoptive family’s name?” And I wouldn’t tell them.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, because again, I was protective of them and I didn’t know what they were going to do. I didn’t know these people, even though I was biologically related to them, I didn’t know if they’re going to call them up and-

Ron Reigns:
Stalk them, or heaven forbid, come and hurt them, or anything.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Accuse them of something. Right. I didn’t know anything. And so, I just said-

Ron Reigns:
And in essence, it would be like giving a stranger your family’s information, because it was.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And so I wasn’t ready to do that. I remember, I was really in that frozen state pretty much, I would say the first 48 hours. I was really just polarized because it was nothing that I could have foreseen, there was nothing. When I got off the airplane, she had a rose for every birthday she missed. I mean, she did things beautifully.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And she was so worried that I wouldn’t think she was beautiful or that I wouldn’t bond with her. People asked me right away, “Well, did you call her mom?” Well, I did. That was what she wanted. And I felt that after 34 years of life without her, she deserved it.

Ron Reigns:
She deserved that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. That was from the onset. I got a lot of flack from a lot of people on that.

Ron Reigns:
Did you have similar fears, like, “She won’t look at me like a daughter,” before you met her, obviously? Or even before you talked to her?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, because I didn’t know what to expect, so I didn’t have any fears around that.

Ron Reigns:
So you had no pre..? Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Mm-mm (negative). No, I didn’t know whether this was going to be a one-time visit, or whether this was going to be an ongoing relationship.

Ron Reigns:
For the rest of their life. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. I mean, no doubt, throughout her life with me in the last 10 years, there were highs and lows. I’m not going to say that it was a beautiful relationship the whole 10 years.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean, there was a period of time where we didn’t speak for a little while because, I mean, it became a real relationship with highs and lows, and good days and bad days. And the other question that I get often is, “Was it like a mother/daughter relationship?” And in some aspects, yes, and in some aspects, no.

Ron Reigns:
Because she didn’t raise you as a child, or even know you as a child. So, it’s hard to replace that. So, a lot of it would be just like a friendship.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I had a mother growing up. So, it wasn’t like I was looking for a mom. There were-

Ron Reigns:
But you said she would scold you?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh yeah, absolutely. Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
So in a lot of ways it was a mother/daughter.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh, a 100%. Yes, she absolutely would. And in front of anybody.

Ron Reigns:
Nope, she didn’t care.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. She was who she was. And our relationship was very much, I would say it was real. We had to learn each other’s boundaries. In other words, she grew up in a different area and parented differently than my adoptive parents did. And I remember telling her, “You may speak to my brothers like that, but you’re not going to speak to me like that.” So, we had to cross hurdles, and really set limits, and it was-

Ron Reigns:
And figure out this relationship.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. And at first when I got there, she wanted to look at my fingers and my toes, just like you would a newborn baby, and she wanted to do all those things. And I’m an exceedingly private person as we talked about. So, I’m ready to crawl underneath the couch.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I remember sitting next to my brother and my friend Kim was there. I remember her sitting on the couch, and she’s mouthing to me, “Do you want to switch seats?” And I’m like, “No. I’m good.” And it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be next to her. It’s just that, for her, she was just coming right at me and I wasn’t used to that. So, I was taking a step back, going, “Okay.”

Ron Reigns:
I need a little boundary.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. I am sure that she, looking back, and I kind of wish I would’ve been like this for her, I’m sure that her vision and dream was for me to get off the airplane and run into her arms. Yeah. I got off the airplane and probably hid behind Kim as we were walking up. I was just scared.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I remember, she was very emotional and I thought I really should be emotional, but I wasn’t. I went flat. I just smiled. I had a frozen smile. When you look at pictures, I just have this frozen smile on my face.

Ron Reigns:
Did it look fake?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It did because I didn’t know what to do. I always worry. Am I going to show the wrong emotion at the wrong time? Is this what I’m supposed to be doing? And I remember thinking, “Okay.” So, she was crying and my brother was pretty emotional, and I think Kim was crying, and I remember just-

Ron Reigns:
Smiling? Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Smiling. And then she was hugging me and I remember her pulling away, and then she got this really strange look on her face. And I remember thinking “What?” I look around and I said, “What’s wrong?” And she goes, “You’re short.” And I looked back at her, and I’m like, “Well, you’re short too.” I mean, I don’t know what she expected.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that’s just her humor. I mean, she tries to be funny. So, it was just an experience that, in looking back and being as open and honest, it went from me being excited and nervous, to feeling guilty about my adoptive parents, to having to process everything at night when Kim and I would go back to the hotel room because it was so overwhelming.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And then we stayed for a few days. And then I remember when we left, I almost went into this depression. I questioned everything, everything from who I was, what I believed in, what my role in life was, was I a good daughter? Was I a good wife? Was I a good mother? Was I a good friend? You know how when you spin somebody around and then all of a sudden, they can’t walk in a straight line?

Ron Reigns:
Disoriented and dizzy.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s exactly how I felt, for a long time. I would say, probably at least a couple months where I couldn’t walk straight. At one point, I thought, “Okay, I’m going to pick up and move to Ohio.” And I remember looking at houses online thinking I’ve missed too much. And I felt so much guilt because had I found my mother sooner, maybe I could’ve changed the course of her life. In doing so then I would have changed the course for my brothers.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But there was so much to process, like I said, that I would just sit there and think and think, and I would go through moments of panic. And a week after I got back, I remember calling my brother and saying, “I’m really not doing that well. Is there any way I could fly you out here for a week?” Because I just needed some connection.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And he was like, “Yeah. Okay.” So, he actually, to his credit, jumped on the next airplane and came out and stayed for a week. And that really helped because I had him tell me story after story. We had Little House on the Prairie TV marathons.

Ron Reigns:
Marathons, yeah, you talked about that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it really felt normal with him. I remember at one point he wanted the remote and I was teasing him and I pulled it away, and he shoved me a little bit, and I shoved him back, and I thought, “We’re really trying to figure out what this is.”

Ron Reigns:
This whole brother/sister dynamic?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Because he’d not had a sister. And so, it was interesting. And I remember before he left, and this was clarence that we’ve also interviewed, I remember when I drove him to the airport and I was walking him to the gate, he was hysterical, absolutely hysterical. And I was at that point too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I was crying, but he was really upset, because again, it was like we had come together and we’re trying to figure this out, and then we were apart again. And I still wasn’t doing well after he left, so then I had my mom come out. That was amazing. She came out two times and that was amazing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
She’s one of those people that doesn’t really like to leave her house that much. So, she came out and loved the kids and the kids loved her, and she was a great grandma, and she was great. She was fun. She was playful. And that was where I remember she was standing downstairs because we had a two story, and she said, “I’m so proud of you.” And I said, “For what?” And she goes, “For what you’ve built.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And she’s looking around, she would always have these moments of this really sentimental, which I don’t always do real well with, I kind of want to escape, and then she would start laughing and she’d go into a joke. So, she would do that, and then she’d crack a joke. And I remember when she left and I took her to the airport, and with her, you really had to walk her as close to the gate as possible and make sure she got on the right plane, because she could wind up in China, otherwise.

Ron Reigns:
I’m the same. Lisa has to do the same thing with me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When I watched her walk away, I remember thinking, “This is wrong. I can’t. She can’t leave. She can’t leave.” And it was almost like a child wanting to yell for their mom to come back. It was the weirdest sensation ever.

Ron Reigns:
Almost panic. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. It was almost a full-blown panic. That was awful as well. And then I stop and I go back and I think about all of the things that you read about, and they say you can recognize your mother’s voice before you’re born. And I’ve seen that, I’ve seen evidence of that because I’ve seen babies in the NICU that won’t move and a birth mother will come in and say something and the baby will move.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so I’ve seen it, but I didn’t know the lasting effect of it. Which is why, again, I think open adoptions are so important. There was two times that it really brought things to light. I had asked her one time, I said, “Did you sing a lot when you were pregnant with me?” And she said, “All the time,” and she broke into a song, and granted, she wasn’t really a singer. That wasn’t her strength.

Ron Reigns:
That wasn’t her thing? Right. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I must’ve been tired because I was on the phone talking with her, and remember I’m an adult at this point, I fell asleep, like sound asleep.

Ron Reigns:
Was it soothing, you mean? Or just her voice?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t know. Must have been. I don’t know. It was the weirdest sensation. I remember I was laying on the bed talking with her, and I went to sleep.

Ron Reigns:
Next thing you know, wake up?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. There was another situation. So, she lived in a home that was very small with her mother and her siblings. And when she was an adult, she moved back. So, she actually lived down the street from where she lived where she was pregnant with me. And it was a really small house, I got to see it when I found her.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When I was maybe nine or 10, we were living in Missouri, and we went to Lake of the Ozarks. You ever been there?

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay. So, we stayed in, they’re little, I want to say a cabin, but I don’t even know if that’s the right word. It’s like a little shack, if you will. And my parents, yes, they’re good parents, no, they didn’t leave us unattended, but they had to run up to the store or something, and I was in the little shack for 10 minutes by myself.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I remember to this day, this deja vu feeling where it was like I’d been there before. It was the weirdest sensation I’ve ever felt. It was so comforting and peaceful. And it was like I’d been there. Well, what’s kind of odd is when I had found the house that she was pregnant with me in, it looked very similar.

Ron Reigns:
It was very similar? Oh, wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And so I don’t know, because you can’t see, so I don’t know if it was just, I don’t know. It was just one of those things. And so I think all of these things, the accumulation of my experiences really just point to me that open adoption is vital, with regards to reunification to do it when you’re ready. It would have been better for my mother if I did it sooner, but personally I wouldn’t have been-

Ron Reigns:
You weren’t in that place. You weren’t ready.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I wasn’t ready. I wouldn’t have been able to be the person that I was. I wouldn’t have had the financial means to drop and fly out. I wouldn’t have been able to spend the kind of time with her and be away from my children at the ages they were at that time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I wasn’t at a place in my life that mentally, emotionally I could have been that support structure for her. Because once I found out how she was struggling, I was sending her books, which she didn’t read. I mean, she’d read the first page or two and then she wouldn’t keep reading them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I wouldn’t be able to hold her hand and walk her through some of the hard stuff. When I did finally find her, I was able to do that. So, it was the best thing I’ve ever done. I don’t have regrets other than I would’ve liked to spend more time with her. But I would really encourage people who are going on the reunification journey to expect the unexpected. Things that are simple and small to somebody else may be huge to you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For example, I had no idea that my adoptive parents were sending a Christmas card to the adoption attorney that did my case, my whole life. I had no clue. When I had started looking for my mother, I went to them and asked for his name and they gave it to me. Ironically, he flew out the next week.

Ron Reigns:
Right. It just happened to be, not because of that. Right. Well, you gave a smirk, so.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. I mean, in addition, I said, “Well, can I see my adoption records?” And he said, “Oh no, I don’t have them anymore.” And I said, “Well, where are they?” And he said, “Incinerated, when I stopped my practice.”

Ron Reigns:
He burned all the paperwork.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And so that was why I had to petition the court. So little things like that. So, my mom and dad never really thought it was a big deal to tell me that they had been in contact with the adoption attorney the whole time. Whereas to me, that was monumental, because had I learned of that years and years and years before the records may have been available.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it wasn’t a deliberate withholding. It wasn’t anything like that. It was probably just, they didn’t think much of it. Whereas I was running around with three pieces of information, and two of which were correct. So, I think that when you do something as huge as reunification, prepare for counseling, I think that will really help. I will say that for the 10 years I had with my mother, I did try to get her into counseling. She wouldn’t go, but I did try. And I think that that would help anybody.

Ron Reigns:
I know that this is very difficult for you to open up like this and share because you are a private person and I do want to thank you. It’s so neat hearing a story from a different perspective from somebody who’s lived the life of an adopted child. I want to thank you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You’re welcome.

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.

Ron Reigns:
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.

Ron Reigns:
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 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 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:
So love and loss and adoption reunification. This I’m purely speaking from a personal perspective. I will be interjecting some professional opinions as well, if I can distance myself from it enough.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Not only because you’re the product of an adoption, but also that that’s what you do for a living.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s what I do for a living.

Ron Reigns:
You Provide and you talk to people on a one-on-one basis.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, I do.

Ron Reigns:
Good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’ve shared my adoption story so many times.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And my intent and purpose is always to educate others about adoption, to normalize the abnormal and to desensitize the stigma of what adoption used to be and what people’s preconceived notions of adoption have been. Because the more we can normalize what adoption really is and take away the stigmas and the stereotypes and the preconceived notions, the more apt people are to choose adoption over abortion. And those members of the triad will hopefully be looked at as they should be, family members. Believe it or not. I am an incredibly private person. I have started to become more and more public and in a public setting, I’m fine. I absolutely have no issues with public speaking. I enjoy teaching and educating people on adoption.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I never envisioned myself being this public persona.

Ron Reigns:
It just kind of developed through the career?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It has, it has.

Ron Reigns:
And through the podcast now.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It has. And I’m beyond grateful to answer questions and to share my story and open the door to the adoption world, as well as into my own adoption backyard, per se. I think sometimes it’s much easier for me to stay on the surface level when talking about adoption rather than digging deep, because nobody wants to dig deep into their own issues because that’s where it’s messy.

Ron Reigns:
I know that personally as well. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So in thinking about this podcast, I thought, you know, I often ask other people who we’ve talked to when we interview to go deep. And is that really fair of me to ask of somebody else where I have not been willing to do myself?

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The answers is no, that’s not fair.

Ron Reigns:
I’ve gotten to know you so much more, I mean, I knew you before the podcast ever started, but I feel like you do, you go deep with this podcast and you talk about personal issues that aren’t easy all the time. And you’ve discussed with me things about your brother, your mother, what some of these hard things were for you and I appreciate it because it is, it’s education for people listening.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. And that’s obviously my goal. I don’t think that my adoption story is any more special than the next person’s. I just have a platform in which to share it.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And that is all I’m trying to do. So today I’m going to go where I have not gone before.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I am going to talk about thoughts and feelings and emotions that I went through during my adoption reunification and the hopes that other people who are contemplating it, this is the right time in their life to go through an adoption reunion or whether or not this is the right action for them to take.

Ron Reigns:
That path.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Will listen to me and my story and it will help shed light and bring clarity to theirs. So that’s my goal.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because I’ve been a social worker and a counselor, my whole professional career, I have trained myself in highly emotional situations to do what I call going flat. I can go into a super professional mode and take emotion out of it. So, when I’m in a very emotional situation professionally, or at work, I’m able to maintain composure. I’m able to make decisions that are not emotionally based.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m able to just focus on what needs to be handled at the time and not let my emotions take over decision-making and let my emotions take over myself, because I know that I have to be the one to hold everything together.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And when you are a director and you have social workers, they can be in a position that they can emotionally be there for the client, and they can ride that rollercoaster.

Ron Reigns:
But you have to be the head of the household.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When the director I have to be the one that’s holding up the village basically. And so, I have always referred that as going flat. I can just go flat and get through it.

Ron Reigns:
So, going flat, would that be the equivalent of compartmentalizing?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. And it also is taking emotion out of it.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Just being able to not really go there emotionally, whatsoever, and just look at it for face value, like, okay, this is the decision made-

Ron Reigns:
Look at the facts.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
-look at the facts, make a decision, move on.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I will say that that can sometimes be a detriment in the sense that when I’m looking at my own adoption issues and I’m in certain situations, I can do the same thing. And maybe even subconsciously not realize I’m doing it, but I can just go emotionless, just flat, frozen.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because I’ve trained myself, because when I was a school counselor and I would have to make child abuse reports, I had to train myself to not take that home. I had to train myself to be able to sleep at night and not let it get the best of me because that’s very hard to do.

Ron Reigns:
On a daily basis, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s very hard to not worry about something all day everyday

Ron Reigns:
This child…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so I would go in my mind and I would be able to, like you said, compartmentalize it and move on. And it’s in some aspects in those situations, it’s almost like a tunnel vision, like there’s a goal in mind, you do that and you keep going. What I am trying to do in this podcast is state, “Okay. We know we’ve talked about adoption reunification. We’ve talked about the impact that it has on the adoptee, but there are…” And I refer to these as… I have my own language, if you haven’t picked up on it, “monsters in your head.”

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Three o’clock in the morning when your thoughts are racing, your mind is going a mile a minute and you can’t sleep and you can’t get something out of your head. Then those are the things that people often don’t talk about. I think that so much comes with adoption reunification that we really need to re-visit this topic today and really talk about what it looks like and what types of emotions they adoptee really goes through. I wouldn’t change my experience for anything in the world.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My biggest regret is that I didn’t have enough time with my mother before she passed away because she did die at 59. And so, I only had those precious 10 years, but I don’t know that emotionally I would have been ready prior to the age of 34. I don’t know that I was at a place in my life that I could have understood where she was mentally and what had gone on in her life and been able to still be a wife, a mother, an employee, a friend, and a daughter to everybody else. And at the same time, be for her what she needed, because at that point, once I had found her and I’m going to back up a little bit, once I had found her, I realized that I had to put her wants and needs before mine very much like a mother would with a child.

Ron Reigns:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I had to do that with her because she had experienced a traumatic event with my adoption and had not received any aftercare, which is another point of why we do aftercare services.

Ron Reigns:
For the Donna K. Evans foundation named after her.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
After her.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. So, she had experienced this traumatic event and because of that, she was unable to really process the aftermath of what happened and went on to make life choices that were hard for her and hard for my biological brothers and family members. And so, I think it’s important to really, in my opinion, allow myself to say, “Hey, it’s okay that you had the 10 years and I should be grateful for the 10 years.” Part of me says, “No, no, no, I want more. I want more.”

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But knowing that I had to reach a level of maturity and I had to have enough, growing in the adoption world and in my career to be able to understand and comprehend and be the person and the daughter that she needed me to be.

Ron Reigns:
At that time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
At that time.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When I met my mother in 2007, I had spent about six months prior to actually finding her. It took me about six months from the time I started to look for her to the time that I hugged her for the first time. It started off with a court. I had to file a motion with the court asking to open up my file.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I remember when I received the motion back from the court, I remember opening it up and I on my own went flat.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It wasn’t jumping up and down. It was like an almost an autobody experience because I thought now, I’ve done it. Like…

Ron Reigns:
I’ve opened this can of worms.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Pandora’s box.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I just opened it. And I jumped in because now that I have this information, I can’t go backwards. I can’t unhave it. And when I go forward, what is this going to look like? How is this going to impact me? How is it going to impact my children? How is it going to impact my adoptive parents? How is it going to impact my friends? What are people going to do?

Ron Reigns:
This is going to change my whole world. And everybody’s-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
-around me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Everything I knew is now different because I’ve done it. I’ve gone forward and I can’t undo it because at that point you can’t. Once, as an adoptee, I couldn’t anyway, I couldn’t just stop the world from spinning and say, “Okay, well now I’m not moving forward.” I remember calling the court because they had not given me my birth certificate yet. They had given me the non-identifying information and things like that. I had to submit another paper because I wasn’t an attorney and I was doing this on my own. And I remember her telling me that I think I was like one of seven out of 20 to 25 that had applied that month where my mother had gone when I was 21, she thought it was 21. Actually, it could have been as early as 18 and filled out a form that said, “I’ve never stopped looking for you. You have two brothers.” And she wrote a note on it with her phone number. It was really endearing.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Excuse me. It was really endearing. It was startling too. Because when I… and I had said, I wasn’t going to hold anything back, when I read it, it was my first insight into what may or may not have happened.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So she dropped out of school in the 10th grade and her handwriting reflected that.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so when I saw that, I remember thinking, okay, now I have terrible handwriting. I mean, I… my handwriting is horrific and it’s not that hers was horrific, it’s not, it’s not that I would expect from somebody who’s an adult.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so it was-

Ron Reigns:
Almost childlike.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
-an interesting insight. Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And yet that paper is so precious to me. I have it to this day. It’s one of my most cherished things.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because it’s… Yeah. It just… It was an insight into it. So, then I filed the paper with the court to get the actual original birth certificate. And then that was mailed to me. It was a little bit of a shock that a birth father wasn’t listed, I was expecting one to be listed.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It was… That was kind of like a sucker punch I think, because I thought, Hmm. Okay. And again, another insight as to… Okay, I wasn’t expecting that. At this point, as I’ve talked before, my fairy tale images are now slowly fading and yeah.

Ron Reigns:
A little at a time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The Castle’s just like sand. So, I remember when I read the birth certificate and I saw it and I realized she didn’t even name me. And that was another surprise. And I understand if I go into the social worker aspect and I go into the professional realm, she never saw me. So, she probably didn’t even know that she could name me. I’m sure nobody went in and discussed it with her.

Ron Reigns:
And do you think that on her part… obviously you can’t get into her head.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, but I can speculate on why she didn’t name me.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Do you think that maybe she didn’t name you because then it really personalizes it and again makes it-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Possibly.

Ron Reigns:
-more real? So, she could distance herself from it a little bit, maybe, I’m just… I’m asking.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think yes and no. I know that she had said… and we talked about this before that if I’d been born on Christmas, she would have named me Jesus.

Ron Reigns:
That’s right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So I’m not…

Ron Reigns:
Are you thankful that you didn’t go through life with the name Jesus.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because-

Ron Reigns:
I would be too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
-I’m not sure that that is a female name.

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And for other reasons as well.

Ron Reigns:
There’s many reasons.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. There’s many reasons and, yes. So, I’m grateful. I was taken back though that she didn’t name me. So, on my birth certificate, it’s listed as baby girl Evans.

Ron Reigns:
Did it kind of hurt?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. Because again…

Ron Reigns:
You had already made a fantasy.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I did. And when adopted children from overseas come over here, one of the things that we really educate adoptive parents about is, sometimes that’s all they’ve got left. They don’t have their country anymore and they don’t have the things that mattered to them. They don’t have their biological family members, but they still have their name. And so I didn’t have a name. And so, yeah, that was a little bit of a shock.

Ron Reigns:
Is that something that’s changed more and more also with the open adoptions, do you think more birth mothers, name, their children?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’d say the majority of birth mothers name, their children.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And…

Ron Reigns:
And back then they didn’t by and large. Or did they?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t think so. Actually, you know what, I don’t have an answer for that.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think it’s more common now to name them, but I don’t believe it was as common back then.

Ron Reigns:
Now how… with the children who are named, they do take that with them, obviously it’s on their birth certificate.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s on their… So, yes. So, the way that works is it’s on their original birth certificate, what their birth mother names them. And then when the adoption is finalized, a new birth certificate is issued.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And at that point, the adoptive family can legally change the child’s name or not.

Ron Reigns:
To what they want it to be?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. What I see happen a lot is… especially if there’s an open adoption and there’s a closeness between the adoptive mom and the birth mom is sometimes if it’s not a name that the adoptive mom really wanted or maybe there was a reason, a family name she wanted or something like that, they’ll often make it a middle name or something like that.

Ron Reigns:
So they’ll kind of keep part of it a little piece.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. So…

Ron Reigns:
And that would have been nice for you to have had that little piece-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
-growing up and becoming an adult.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, it would have, it would’ve been nice to know what she would have done with it. So, I get the information, I get the birth certificate. I now have her name, I look at her date of birth and I realize… I knew she was 16 when she had me. I didn’t realize that she just turned 16 within a few months.

Ron Reigns:
So she was 15 when you were conceived?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The majority of her pregnancy, yeah. And the vast majority of her pregnancy. And it was one of those almost paralyzing moments, I call them, where you just kind of freeze, and after I freaked out a little bit, then I started… I called a private investigator and then we had some false leads and I actually found her sister-in-law and had a co-worker of mine call because I couldn’t call. It was one of those things. I couldn’t make that one call. So, she called and it was like the stars aligned. And that sister-in-law was one of the people that didn’t know about me. So, she asked a couple of questions to kind of make sure that we were legitimate as well. And then they exchanged numbers and then the co-worker was very kind and came over to the house because I didn’t want to do it by myself. And so, she came over and she made the call with me, again, I couldn’t dial it. I couldn’t… I didn’t even know what to say. So, we had…

Ron Reigns:
Did she do any of the talking or was it you most?

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

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. So, what we did is, we had, and I still have this as well. We had a notebook, so she gets her on the phone and she’s writing notes as she’s talking to her initially at first and then she covers up the phone and she leans over and she says, “I think she’s black.”

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so…

Ron Reigns:
Obviously you’re thinking-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Did we get the right person?

Ron Reigns:
-we’ve got the wrong person.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. I’m thinking, did we get the right person? And I’m literally looking at my skin and I’m thinking, “Is it possible?” I don’t know.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so now my heart went from 150 beats a minute, now I’m over 200 because I’m thinking, “Oh my gosh, what is this?”

Ron Reigns:
Right? And this was just because of her accent and the way she was talking.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And she was probably really nervous too.

Ron Reigns:
Sure.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so, this co-worker actually has two adopted black children. So, this wasn’t a derogatory thing at all.

Ron Reigns:
Right, no, no, no, no.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This was just a comment and it was alarming. And then she hands me the phone and I hear her voice and I can barely understand her-

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
-because her accent was very thick. And so, there was a lot of, “What, what, what, can you say that again, please?” The first thing she said is, “You want to know why I done it, right?” And I said, “Done what?” I wasn’t… I was so nervous that I didn’t really understand what she’d done. I wasn’t putting two and two together.

Ron Reigns:
She obviously meant why she had placed you for adoption.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I remember telling her, no, I understand why you were 16.

Ron Reigns:
16 years old.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And she asked if I was mad at her. And I remember thinking, no, I had a great childhood. I have great adoptive parents.

Ron Reigns:
Were there ever moments throughout your life, especially as a child that you did have anger about that?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Towards her? No.

Ron Reigns:
Or just about the situation?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. There were moments that I wanted more information.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative) Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There were moments that…

Ron Reigns:
It was more curiosity?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It was more curiosity.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It… and I wouldn’t have had anger because I wouldn’t have known what to be angry about.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because I didn’t know what was on the other side. Does that make sense? So…

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. But I also think of in my life, there were many times that I had anger and didn’t have a reason for it. I didn’t have any way to justify it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I was angry that she didn’t show up when I was 16 and gave me a car.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But no.

Ron Reigns:
You’ve handled it very well. It’s impressive.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Well, the anger wasn’t…

Ron Reigns:
It’s hard to say what I would have been like in that situation, I don’t know. I think…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Well, again, it’s hard to be angry about something that you don’t know about.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So it wasn’t…

Ron Reigns:
And then more you learned, obviously-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I know she made a beautiful choice.

Ron Reigns:
-how could you be angry? She was 16 years old-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
-and she made a beautiful choice.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And I knew that her mother had a lot of children and it does… looking back, I can say that I did wonder what the classic things that adopted kids worried about. Was there something wrong with me? Was there a reason that she didn’t want me, is there… Was there something about me that made her choose adoption?

Ron Reigns:
And again, obviously it wasn’t because she’d never even seen you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. But up until that moment, I didn’t know that.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I didn’t know that she hadn’t seen me. I didn’t know that she had not had that time to say goodbye.

Ron Reigns:
You knew that you were adopted from birth. You didn’t have any question throughout your life. “Oh, was I two when this happened?”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, I knew…

Ron Reigns:
So you knew all of that?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t remember being told. So, like I said, I must’ve been very young and I’ve always known it’s been from birth.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. I just have questions.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely ask away because our listeners probably have the same questions you do.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So I remember from that point on we talked for probably another 30 minutes and then my co-worker went home with her kids and my kids were running around and at this point I’m probably hiding in the closet with the telephone, because I mean, we must’ve talked until the middle of the night and then non-stop the next couple of days.

Ron Reigns:
Oh Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I remember she emailed me a picture of her and it was… she had an a above ground pool. You know, those pools that you can fill up. They’re like…

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t know about-

Ron Reigns:
4 feet high.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
-6 feet…

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Got a little ladder on the side.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Actually, yeah, 6 feet high. And so, she… It was her in one of those.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I was thinking, “Man, she’s brave sending me one of her in a bathing suit.” Like that was… I mean, she was in the water. So, you only saw… And I remember looking at it thinking,… Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
I can see that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. She looked enough like me… That I was like, I mean, it wasn’t a spitting image, but there were definitely similarities. I remember thinking, okay, like I still didn’t really know what I was getting into. I didn’t… I mean, she loved telling her… the story of my birth and that was really important to her.

Ron Reigns:
And this is where we’ll pick it up next time on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption with this revealing conversation between Kelly Rourke-Scarry and myself about her reunification with her birth mother. 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 one, (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 enjoyed 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 3:
Do what’s best for your kids 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 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’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 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:
So many times I hear from family members, friends, clients, strangers, or really anybody that catches wind that I work in the adoption field. They seem to be really curious as to what it’s really like to work in the adoption world. And my favorite go-to answer is, “It’s the best and worst job you’ll ever have,” which pretty much sums it up. There’s a lot of highs and a lot of lows.

Ron Reigns:
I think it does. Yeah. Again, we’re talking about that roller coaster and you’re riding it on a daily basis for years now.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. Correct. 15, actually.

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Over 15. With working in the adoption world, you really do bond with your clients.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You are with your clients at the pinnacle of emotional times. Putting a baby in an adoptive family’s arms for the first time…

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s no words. When you are holding a birth mother’s hand as she’s delivering her child and you know that this is going to be really difficult for her, you’re there for her. It’s one of those moments that you’ll never forget the way that she looks at you and that trust that develops between the two of you. I think that a lot of times the women, the birth mothers, when they come to, they look at caseworkers. Initially, you hear the term caseworker and a lot of them relate that to either a parole officer or a child protective service officer.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Or definitely an authority figure anyway.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Not somebody you’re going to get to know on a personal basis.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. And so, once they open up a little bit and they see that we’re really there just to support them and help them with their adoption plan, they relax a little bit and we start to learn about each other. And again, in order for a woman to feel comfortable placing a baby in an agency, she’s got to really trust the people that she’s working with, not just the adoptive family. When you’re building a relationship on both sides, there is attachment, that’s what relationship is, you start to attach to the other person. And I have seen cases where a birth mother has a harder time saying goodbye to the caseworker or the adoptive mom even than the baby.

Ron Reigns:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And vice versa.

Ron Reigns:
Because they’ve actually gotten to know them in a weird way, the baby is somebody they’re just meeting?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Sure. Even though they’ve carried the baby, the whole time they have prepared themselves mentally, physically, emotionally, that this child is going to go to this family where they’re not thinking, “Okay. So once the baby is placed with the adoptive family, this caseworker, she’s not going to be in my life on a regular basis,” which is why we brought in the aftercare program so that they don’t have to go and get pregnant again just to come back and have that support system. Because sometimes you’re all they’ve got. That’s a lot of responsibility on a caseworker because you don’t want to let somebody down. But at the same time, you can only be a case worker to so many people.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So that there’s an art of transition that we’ll talk about in the future in a different podcast. But this job for a birth mother case manager is the best. When you watch a birth mother supported by a birth mother. To me, that’s a huge deal.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because then you can see that somebody got her back and she’s not alone in this world going through an adoption plan. You want every client to have a support structure. That’s usually the first question I ask is, “Who’s your support person? Who’s got you?” When I see a birth father… again, I love that because that means together they’re making this beautiful choice for their child.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When you watch an adoptive mother be handed the baby by the birth mother, that’s another one of my favorite things. I love to watch their face because the majority of the time, I would say that’s probably their proudest moment.

Ron Reigns:
And it should be.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It should be. Absolutely. When you watch a birth mother find her wings after the adoption and discontinue the negative life cycle that she may have been living in, you watch her get her GED, or get a job, and get her own apartment. We have pictures of women holding up their keys and smiling as they’re moving in, those memories will be forever etched in my brain.

Ron Reigns:
Now, as far as, being the director of this agency, and I’m sure you see that, what’s the ratio of say women who get of that negative cycle as opposed to those who continue that?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s not as high as I would like.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, of course not. I would imagine it’s actually kind of low.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Probably 20%.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We’re hoping that will go up.

Ron Reigns:
I’m surprised it’s that high.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I don’t even know that it’s that high because a lot of them we lose some touch with because some of them just disappear. I would say the ones that enter into the program would be 20%, but not all of them enter into the program, they choose not to at that time.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So the ones that enter into the program and work the program, I mean, I’ve seen girls get long-term housing. I’ve seen them enroll in beauty college, we’ve had a couple that have gone to beauty college.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’ve seen them go up north and get jobs at some of the resorts over by the Grand Canyon.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, that’s neat.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so I’ve seen those success stories.

Ron Reigns:
What’s your favorite?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Those are what we strive for. Oh, my favorite. My favorite would be one that was incarcerated. She had the baby then she went in and did her time and she came out and she got her life together, she stayed clean, she got her Peer Support Specialist certification, and she got a job and housing and chose a relationship that wasn’t negative.

Ron Reigns:
Abusive or…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
She has since had another child and is parenting that child and is maintaining the lifestyle that we would wish for her.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That is my favorite.

Ron Reigns:
Is there a biggest heartbreak story?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s too many.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I would say some of the hardest would be probably those that wind up making a bad choice and incarcerated afterwards, or when birth mothers make poor choices and don’t survive those choices. And those are really hard. Those are hard on us as a staff completely.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The other thing is you don’t, as a caseworker, ever want to see anybody struggle, it’s really hard to watch somebody struggle, and when a birth mother is placing a baby for adoption and she’s really, really struggling, it’s not that, as an agency, we want her to place the baby, but we want her to be good with her decision. And when you watch her and she’s just really having a hard time, it’s heartbreaking. It’s really heartbreaking. When a mom changes her mind and we have to go tell the adoptive family…

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… that’s really tough because it’s like watching their whole world collapse and that’s not something that you’d wish for anybody. As an adoption worker, when you develop a relationship, or so you believe, with a client and she’s been lying to you and scams you, that’s hard because you do put a lot of blood, sweat, and tears into your work, and to know that it’s all for nothing…

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… that hurts. That hurts. Some of the hard stuff is why sometimes social workers realize that this isn’t the field for them because with the high highs come, the low lows, and those can be hard. I can also say that in working in adoptions, you are working all through the night. Sometimes babies are born 24-7, 365 days a year.

Ron Reigns:
Right. I learned that when my wife and I were dating. We couldn’t go on a date and have her not receive phone calls throughout.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
And have to deal with tragedies and emergencies and…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh, it’s true. I’ve never, in the last 15 and a half years, I’ve never made it through a movie once.

Ron Reigns:
Without a phone call coming in.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. I will always have to sit near the edge. I will never sit in the middle of a row because I don’t want to be disruptive to everybody else.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so I will jump down.

Ron Reigns:
And you can’t turn the phone off.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
Not as an adoption agency, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. No because there’s people go into labor and there’s crises and everything else.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So when you’re working with birth parents, it’s really neat to watch them succeed. It’s really important when you see a birth mother and a birth father and they’re not on the same page about the adoption plan. It’s really important to make sure that you help the birth mother find a support structure, whether that’s in the form of a counselor or a family member, somebody that can help her through.

Ron Reigns:
That will be on the same page.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That will be on the same page with her.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And working with adoptive parents, it’s a whole different ball game. But again, you’re going to have very high highs and very low lows.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s a huge compliment to the caseworker and to the agency when an adoptive family chooses the agency for a second adoption. That’s a huge compliment.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Also, when they recommend another family to you, again. Even when the adoptive family recognizes how much you’ve invested blood, sweat, and tears into their adoption to make sure it’s as protected and safeguarded and successful as it can be. And they just say, “Hey, thank you. Like you really have gone that extra mile.”

Ron Reigns:
Right. To be appreciated for what you do…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
… and the heart you’re putting into it. I understand that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That just goes so far.

Ron Reigns:
I think we all love that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh, for sure. For sure. When an adoptive family defers to you and trusts your judgment, that’s a really big thing to me because it says like, “Hey, I get it. I’m going to trust you and…”

Ron Reigns:
I recognize that you’ve done this before, you know what you’re doing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This is your first rodeo.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. When the adoptive parents don’t take your advice and jeopardize your adoption, that’s the worst. And I’ve seen that. I had a situation one time where we had a birth mother and she, I may have told this story before, she was a hundred percent on the adoption train and the adoptive mother was so anxious and paranoid that she wasn’t in a place, she started harassing her. She found out where she lived, which that’s not supposed to happen…

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… and was knocking on her door and going to the laundry room and questioning her, and the birth mother cut ties with her and chose another family and placed. And that was really sad because we couldn’t work with the adoptive family again because if they wouldn’t listen to us, I can’t have them harassing somebody.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When you watch an adoptive family’s world collapse when an adoption doesn’t go through, it’s heartbreaking. When the adoptive family blames you for something out of your control, that’s really hard too.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Like what?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Well, let’s say a mom changes her mind and doesn’t place for adoption and her mother has stepped in and the adoptive a family will come back maybe and say, “Well, didn’t you find out about her mom?” And it’s not that we didn’t find out about her mom, she may have told us her mom and her don’t speak, or she may have told us her mom had CPS removal of her children.” So, there’s reasons behind…

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. It’s not that you’re not doing your due diligence.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. But when it’s questioning us, that’s hurtful because we do go so far above and beyond to safeguard everybody’s adoption.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We do everything we can to make sure everything is bulletproof. When somebody starts questioning you on that, it’s like questioning your integrity, and that hurts because we do work so hard to preserve everything.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When an adoptive family feels a sense of entitlement, that’s hard for me because I look at these women as if I would look at my own birth mother. They need to be treated with respect and they need to be given that glory that they’re due for what they’re doing. These are real women, pregnant with real babies, and making an incredibly difficult decision. Sometimes women don’t know how they’re going to feel when the baby’s born. We want to believe that they’re going to want to continue with their adoption plan, but that’s not always the case.

Ron Reigns:
Right. I mean, when you’re dealing with something as…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Humans and human emotion.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, exactly, exactly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
These relationships are very intense when an adoptive family is not emotionally ready to do an adoption. They may have had failed infertility, they may have had a really bad experience trying to get pregnant on their own, and they look at adoption as a default option. They come in and they’re bitter and they’re jaded.

Ron Reigns:
They’re not in the right place yet.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They’re not in the right place yet. And even if they’ve been approved by another state’s entity to be Home Study certified, they’re coming into the program and having to let them know, “Hey, it doesn’t seem like you’re ready. Maybe you should go get some counseling and then come back and we’ll see because it’s not fair, you’re going to rob yourself and you’re going to rob the birth mother of this beautiful relationship that the two of you are going to have during her pregnancy and you’re going to miss out on being a part of your adoption journey if you’re bitter and jaded and distancing yourself from it.”

Ron Reigns:
Right. As you’ve always said in the past, for this journey you need to be present, you need to be in the moment every single moment.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
As hard as it is, you need to be in the moment.

Ron Reigns:
You can’t be thinking about your regrets, your hardships, you need to be with the adoption process.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You need to be in the moment.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s true. Sometimes there are legal risk situations where an adoptive family, the birth father service may not have been completed, there may be a reason as to why it can’t be wrapped up as quickly as we would like it to, and there is a risk that the baby may have to be returned to the birth mother. In those situations, some families are very hesitant, which I understand, in taking the babies, but I always explain it the same way. You’re never going to want to look back and realize the time that you missed. So if you go into it with a mindset of, “We hope this works out for the best, but it may not,” you’re never going to look back and think, “Oh, I wish I would have at least had those two weeks or those three weeks.” Whereas if you don’t take the baby, you’ll never be able to get that back.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So I think that as adoption workers, and working in the adoption field, you see a lot of the same things over and over again, but there’s always something new, there’s always something to learn, there’s always something to share, there’s always something that each and every client will bring that you will learn more from. You haven’t seen it all, you haven’t heard at all, and you won’t ever because everything’s changing in the world.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. There’s always going to be a surprise around the corner.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s always a surprise and I’m a believer in that.

Ron Reigns:
Never ceased to be surprised by this industry. It’s blown me away time after time after time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Me too. And I can say that.

Ron Reigns:
In good and bad ways.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In good and bad ways. And that’s why I say that it will be the best job you’ve ever had and the worst job you’ve ever had.

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 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. 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 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:
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:
Birth father roles and their impact. Birth fathers can have a positive or negative impact on a birth mother’s adoption choice, her adoption plan, and her adoption journey. Regardless of whether or not the birth father is actually in a relationship with the birth mother, he can directly or indirectly influence her adoption plan.

Ron Reigns:
He should.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In some aspects.

Ron Reigns:
I see it as we all want to be men or we all want to be good, responsible.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You all want to be met.

Ron Reigns:
You all want to be men. I just think that it’s important for us to take responsibility for our choices.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
A hundred percent. I do, but we want you to be positive. Sometimes that’s not the case.

Ron Reigns:
That’s true. You’re right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I have seen situations where birth fathers come in and they’re doing the best they can and they’re trying, and they’re trying, and they’re trying. They’re trying to get their life together and get a job and be able to bring in the finances and turn their lives around so that they can be positive and have their family. It doesn’t always work that way.

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Sometimes acceptance is the hardest part. We have lots of women that come to us and the birth mother and the birth father, they’ve broken up. They’re not together anymore. Without his support, whether it be emotional, physical, financial, mental, that’s where a birth mother decides that adoption is the best choice for her and her unborn baby. The birth mother may have realized that her relationship is totally unstable and wants stability and longevity for her child. She wants a family that’s been married for years and years and years, rather than the on and off and on and off.

Ron Reigns:
Hopefully, will continue to be married for years and years and years.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Agreed.

Ron Reigns:
Ideally, that’s what you want.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely. On the other hand, I’ve also seen birth mother’s wish and desire for the birth father to learn about her adoption plan and swoop in on a horse, like a knight in shining armor and say, “No, no, no. We’re going to raise this baby. We’re going to ride off into the sunset until we hit our house with a white picket fence and the dog and the cat and the goldfish and the two kids, and we’re going to make this life and we’re going to be great.” Meanwhile, he is getting a bus token to go back to the shelter in downtown Phoenix, and she’s going to go wait in the food box line.

Ron Reigns:
Her dream is about as realistic as your dream as a kid, of having the castle.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And my royalty lineage.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Other times, birth mothers may continue to be in a relationship with their unborn baby’s birth father, and he’s not in support. They’re constantly arguing and fighting about the adoption. She knows it’s the right thing. He’s insisting that he is going to step up to the plate and be the parent and that he will get a job next week. Until then, he’s just going to live in the housing, provided by the adoption and eat the food provided by the adoption. Next week, he’s going to start looking for it.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. That’s when he’s going to buckle down and get serious.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Next week, but then when next week comes and nothing’s changed, he’s still arguing with her as to why she would want to place the baby for adoption when he is going to get his life together. This is where actions speak louder than words. I don’t question anybody’s desire to want to parent their child. Sometimes their ability is not equal to their desire. When for nine months, you’re not working and you’re using illegal substances and child protective service has an open case and they removed your other children, parenting probably isn’t the best option, unless there’s external factors that are going to help and assist you. This is where we can live in planet fantasy or planet reality.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Sometimes the birth mother will absolutely lock her knees and the birth father will state, “I’m not going to contest it, but I’m not happy that she’s doing this and that we accept.” When I’ve seen many, many birth mothers lock their knees and say, “No, I’m going to protect the baby. I don’t want my baby raised in a household with him.” She’ll point to the birth father. That’s so ironic to me that she would subject herself to that.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. It’s okay for her to continue living with him. There is a disconnect in there.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. I’m not one to question their relationship choice, but that speaks volumes.

Ron Reigns:
About her self-esteem.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Again, self-esteem is paramount for an adoption. She has to believe she’s strong enough to do it. It’s paramount for her to break her own life cycles. If she doesn’t have self-esteem, she’s not going to be able to rebuild afterwards and move on into the world that she wants to live in. She’s going to stay in planet fantasy. We’ve got to shift that paradigm over to planet reality. Sometimes the birth mother will come in and have multiple birth fathers and they may or may not know about each other. That’s always a little bit of a circus because I’ve seen situations where both birth fathers are adamant that the baby is going to be theirs. The birth mother just has a grin in the middle like, “I don’t really know whose it is.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Sometimes in the very best scenarios, a bird father is very supportive of the birth mother, regardless of whether or not they’re in a current relationship. He’ll come to all the adoption meetings, be at the doctor’s appointments, be at the hospital. He will assist in choosing the adoptive family and he will develop his own relationship with them.

Ron Reigns:
That’s good, because it helps him become a part of it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s amazing. Oh, that’s beautiful. We have a very special guest joining us today. Lisa Simpson is an amazing adoption attorney. She works with our agency and actually has her own firm as well. She is also the beautiful wife of Ron and we’re so excited to have her.

Lisa Simpson:
Thank you, Kelly. It’s a pleasure to be here today.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right. We have some questions that we’d like you to weigh in on about birth fathers.

Lisa Simpson:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Lisa, can you tell us from a legal perspective, how you handle multiple birth fathers?

Lisa Simpson:
Each one has to be addressed individually and you may end up serving some of them personally. You may end up publishing on some of them. It’s still service, but a service by publication. There may be legal fathers. It may be a whole variety and a mix, but they each have to be dealt with individually. Essentially you repeat the same process for each father. You go through the… There’s a questionnaire that the mom fills out pertaining to each father as to their current or last known whereabouts, where the conception took place, any information about them. You have to repeat the process each time for the amount of fathers that are named in the process. Then you again, have to try and locate them and get them served individually. For any mothers that don’t name all the fathers, the putative father registry does cover that. If there are any names that the mother, anybody that the mom forgot to name, then their rights are still dealt with. It’s dealt with in a different way, but even unnamed fathers are dealt with as well.

Ron Reigns:
They do DNA tests?

Lisa Simpson:
No, they don’t need to do DNA tests. The law doesn’t require it. The law only requires that they be notified of the adoption and a right to be heard, if they want to file a paternity action. Those rights aren’t really related to adoption law. Those rights are actually constitutional rights for any type of case. There’s two rights, basic rights that everybody has under the constitution. It’s the right to notice and the right to be heard, so because these fathers have not established paternity, we don’t know whether they’re the actual fathers or not. That’s the basic constitutional right that they are entitled to as the right to notice on the right to be heard.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In my experience, working with birth fathers, it’s always my favorite when you have a supportive birth father and he is right alongside the birth mother and helping choose the adoptive family and wants to sign adoption consents. What’s your experience?

Lisa Simpson:
It is a breath of fresh air when they are involved. Sadly to say, most of them aren’t. Sadly to say, most of them cannot be located. It does make the process more detailed, but when they are involved, it’s a nice thing for them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. It’s a really good source of support for the birth mothers. We’ve talked about birth fathers and their roles. Talk to me a little bit about, from your perspective, from a legal perspective, about legal fathers. What’s a legal father? I know the answer, but I want to hear it from an attorney so that our listeners can understand.

Lisa Simpson:
There are two types of legal fathers. There’s the one type of legal father where he is the biological father of the child. He’s also married to the birth mom. He’s her husband and he’s currently involved. That’s one type of legal father. There’s another type of legal father where he is not the biological parent. However, the law presumes him to be the legal father for a couple of different reasons. The law states that if the birth mother is married, if she’s married at the time of conception or at the time the child’s born, within that period, then the law presumes the husband as the biological parent, even though he isn’t the biological parent. They call him the legal parent. Another way of becoming a legal parent is if he gets put on the birth certificate. Now, the only way you can be put on the birth certificate is if the mom signs it acknowledgement of paternity and the person that she wants to add on the birth certificate, signs an acknowledgement of paternity as well.

Lisa Simpson:
Those have to be notarized. If they do, regardless of whether he’s the biological father or not, he becomes the legal father. Now, the problem with the legal fathers that we have run into is, even though they’re not the bio father, because they have the status of the legal father, they either have to sign a consent or their rights have to be terminated. Sometimes that can complicate the process. Then as you know, it can complicate the process even more if you have a situation where the Indian Child Welfare Act is involved.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The legal father aspect is really truly one more layer.

Lisa Simpson:
It is one more layer.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In my experience, I have seen married couples where there is a birth mother and legal father, and they are legally married and they have decided that they cannot parent one more child, maybe due to their age, their finances, their life circumstances. I’ve seen that. Have you seen that much in your practice?

Lisa Simpson:
I’ve seen it. It doesn’t happen all that often. The more common situation, sadly, is where there’s a biological father, but the mother is still married to someone else who’s not the biological father.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’ve seen that as well.

Lisa Simpson:
I know the mothers view it as a ridiculous law, but there’s nothing we can do about it because it is the law. That happens a lot.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. What would you say to birth fathers out there that are deciding whether or not to be a part of the adoption plan and to adoptive families who are dealing with the birth father situation? What’s your best advice?

Lisa Simpson:
Well, just like the birth mothers, if you can be involved in the process, it’s going to make it an easier situation. Just because it may be the right decision to do, doesn’t mean it’s an easy one. Engaging in the process, it helps you be a part of it. It will help with healing. even though you may not want to deal with the situation now, you know, down the road, you may have different feelings and regret that you didn’t be involved in it, especially if you are the biological parent, then it’s a nice to have a say in the matter. If you’re not involved, did you don’t have the same rights as a birth mom, as far as do you have a post-adoption communication agreement and same contact with the family and the child down the road. My advice is there’s no need to… I think a lot of birth fathers have fears.

Lisa Simpson:
I think they fear that somehow, they’re going to end up actually being involved or being out of the Hawk or paying child support for the child, instead of just the opposite. They don’t understand that, it’s a process where their parental rights are terminated and someone else is adopting that child. There’s nothing to fear about it, if you agree with the adoption. It’s just the opposite. I think some of them, if they have a criminal background, they fear that somehow that’s going to come out and there’s no need to fear any of that. It’s a confidential process. Again, it’s a process that is a, it can be as you know, a completely incredible, wonderful experience for everybody.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Thank you so much for joining us. I hope you will come back again soon.

Lisa Simpson:
Yes, I would love to. Thank you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For all of our listeners, thanks for staying with us and we’ll see you next time.

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 (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.

Ron Reigns:
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.

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’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 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:
So today we’re going to be talking about abortion and about the Title X “gag rule.” And I will openly and honestly say first reading this, I thought it said Title X. I think that’s funny. I’m going to share it to everybody, so if you see Title X-

Ron Reigns:
That means Title 10.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That means Title 10.

Ron Reigns:
Right. So, if you hear like on a radio show or on the news or whatever somebody say Title 10, that also means Title X if you read it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
First and foremost, Title X is not a gag rule. It is referred to by people who are proponents of the option of abortion as a gag rule. The Title X Program is a pool of federal funds dedicated to ensuring access to family planning and other preventative health services like birth control, screening for sexually transmitted infections, breast and cervical cancer screening, family planning counseling, and other reproductive health services.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In 2019, according to the Congressional Research Service over 286 million was designated for Title X use. That’s a lot of money.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That is a lot, lot of money. The amount of money, the 286.5 million, which is down from 317.5 million in 2010, these funds are not to be used for abortion services.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. I had a brother-in-law who was very heavily into drugs for a time, and he got a lot of money from my mother-in-law, and from me and my wife. And he always said, “I’m not using that money for drugs.” And he wasn’t, technically speaking. He was getting that money and paying for other things so that the money that he had at the time he could use on drugs. So essentially it was being used for drugs. And when you say, “Oh, well, they’re not putting this money towards abortions.” But they’re putting it towards other things so that they can fund abortions with their “other money.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Money laundering in some aspects?

Ron Reigns:
I think it is. I think it is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This is where I think that this podcast can help educate and shed light because this is a little confusing. When you’re reading through the data and you’re trying to understand, it is important to know what is factual and true versus what is not.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Clinics in the United States that provide family planning can apply for these Title X grants, which allow them to offer services to patients on a sliding income-based scale.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In 2017, 3.6 million people were financially assisted by Title X subsidies. That is a lot of people, receiving a lot of these grants. A total of four million Americans obtained services at clinics receiving Title X grants. This number is higher than the number who received subsidies because people with Medicaid and other forms of public and private insurance also visit Title X clinics. This funding source is geared to help for family planning services. I think any Joe the plumber, anybody on the street would state that an abortion would not fall under the category of family planning.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You almost laughed at that. The look on your face was like-

Ron Reigns:
Well, duh.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Totally appropriate. Yeah, absolutely. This rule that they’re talking about is not gagging anybody. I want to say that again. The rule that President Trump has enforced is that there is financial and physical separation between facilities or programs that provide any kind of health service using Title X funds and those that provide abortions. What they’re saying, and in a way to explain this, is if you are a physical therapist, and you have a doctorate degree, and you want x-rays on your leg. They don’t want you to have an x-ray facility at your location-

Ron Reigns:
On the premises.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. That you can just have your patients, so it’s like fishing in a koi pond, as we’ve used that term before. It’s like there’s a little pond with a lot of fish, so as your clients come in, “Oh, you need an x-ray. Let me go ahead and get funds from you here.”

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So in order to prevent that from happening, that is what this rule that President Trump has enforced is to do. The rule does state that providers are allowed to give abortion referrals in cases of medical emergencies. So, there is a caveat.

Ron Reigns:
Right. When it’s the mother’s health that is at risk, like physical health.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So the reason there’s this uproar over this rule is because it is forcing providers to either stop providing abortions, or stop receiving services, and stop receiving services.

Ron Reigns:
Funds, right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Funds. Right. I’m sorry, yeah. Let’s go back.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay, so if they receive Title X funds, they cannot provide or refer for abortions.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If they take, because it’s meant for family planning, and again, as we stated.

Ron Reigns:
It’s kind of the opposite of family planning.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. Unplanning.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
On August 19th, 2019, all Title X grantees were required to certify their good faith intent to comply with President Trump’s administrations, in parentheticals, gag rule which again, it’s not a gag rule. It’s not preventing them-

Ron Reigns:
It’s a nifty name for them to make it sound really bad.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. So, this good faith in intent basically has mandated that providers have to cease and desist with referrals to abortions or provide them on their facility that’s correct.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The new rule admits that both the Title X program and Congress agree that the information and discussion between any healthcare provider and patient is counseling, as long as it is non-directive. So, what they’re saying is, is that they want patients to have all the information, but they don’t want them to refer them. So in other words, does this mean that they can never say the word abortion? No, it doesn’t. It just means that they can’t say, “Okay, so you want to get an abortion. Let me go ahead and write up a script so you can get the medical pill and move on with your life and not think about this anymore.” And they cannot do that.

Ron Reigns:
They can’t encourage it, essentially.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That is correct. And they can’t recommend it.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So the questions that that derives is, is abortion actually family planning, if it is after the pregnancy has started? My inclination and answer would be no.

Ron Reigns:
Is no.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Do the restrictions placed on Title X and tend to define abortion not as family planning, but as pregnancy termination? Again, we’re playing Scrabble with words, we’re not-

Ron Reigns:
It’s semantics.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is Tomato, tomato. Let’s find a loophole so that we can still receive those funds and still-

Ron Reigns:
And still guide you toward-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Abortion.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The rule that President Trump enacted permits the patient to ask questions, and expects that those questions to be answered. And one thing that I really, really want to put out there is so that everybody understands that Title X only takes abortion out of the umbrella of family planning. It wasn’t family planning to begin with.

Ron Reigns:
No. But I think those who are “pro-life” or “pro-abortion”, I think they’re trying to incrementally?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Do you mean “pro-choice?”

Ron Reigns:
Yes, that’s what I mean.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So many pros.

Ron Reigns:
I know it. My head is swimming from some of this.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh no, no. Mine as well, mine as well.

Ron Reigns:
But some of those on the “pro-choice”, pro-abortion side are trying to incrementally change things to where it’s like, “Okay, we we’ll get a little bit here. We’ll get a little bit there.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If we call it something different, we can go in this store and if we use the word fetus and not baby, then we’ll kind of be able to navigate in those waters.

Ron Reigns:
And I’m sure, you remember back in maybe the ’90s, even back to the ’80s, when they would say that abortion should be safe, legal and rare.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, I do.

Ron Reigns:
That line isn’t being stated anymore.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Reigns:
Now it’s getting to where it’s abortion on demand.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. And I remember when I was in college, we used to have a lot of pro-life people with signs of babies that had been aborted, and they would hold up the signs and this was really common. And the pro-choice side was horrified and thought, “We don’t want to see those. You need to take those down. Those are offensive to look at.”

Ron Reigns:
Right. You can’t have your freedom of speech to show that because it’s in a public square.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
And people might choose against abortion.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Who knows?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because it’s, again, education. One big question that kind of arrives on the heels of all this is Planned Parenthood is the biggest entity for providing abortions. And since this rule, brought in by President Trump, Planned Parenthood has discontinued receiving the Title X funding.

Ron Reigns:
Voluntarily. Is that correct?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Voluntarily. That is correct. And so that’s huge. Planned Parenthood stated in their report, it served about 40% of patients, many of them African-American and Hispanic, and they absolutely withdrew because they want the right to continue to be able to provide abortions.

Ron Reigns:
Abortions onsite.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s correct.

Ron Reigns:
And direct people toward that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That is correct.

Ron Reigns:
It kind of shows where their heads are at. What their priorities are.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Unfortunately.

Ron Reigns:
It’s getting this money to help people who are lower income and the poor. It’s, “We’re here to provide abortions whenever and wherever we can.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s been a lot of debate. I know the movie Unplanned came out, and I know we both talked about that in a previous podcast as well.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m not endorsing anything that was said in the movie, or not, not endorsing it. I’m just saying that it really sheds a lot of light on what may be. I think is the safest way to say that. Planned Parenthood is stating that it will continue to participate in Medicaid, the federal health coverage program for low-income Americans. That is Planned Parenthood’s biggest source of government funding, which is about 400 million or more annually in recent years. Again, I’m kind of speechless on this because I think when the government is saying, “I want to protect the interests of those that don’t have a voice.” Meaning the babies, the unborn babies, and this enormous gigantic entity is stating that if they don’t have the right and the ability to continue to provide a service that is in direct contradiction from what our President is stating, that they will no longer receive these funds.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The white house released a statement back in May of 2018 for this proposal. And obviously it did go through. I think that as we go further into 2020, and as we see, there’s lots of changes in the abortion world right now. There’s lots of new laws that are being proposed and there’s pending hearings.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. It seems there’s been more activity in the last year or two than there had been in the previous 20 almost.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Agreed.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I think that we’re going to see that more and more. I think this is probably going to be a huge, debatable topic, more so than in the past. As the elections get closer and closer, I think that we are really going to go from the people who are kind of in the closet about where they stand on abortion to they’re going to come out and have a voice. I hear the statement over and over again. I’m really not pro-abortion. I just want the women who have been raped or victimized to be able to have an option to not have to carry the pregnancy.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Again, when we say that we are desensitizing ourselves to what we’re really talking about. I think it’s important to recognize and understand, again, we’re talking about babies.

Ron Reigns:
Human lives.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We’re not talking about even eagles’ eggs. So, we have the wherewithal, and the compassion, and the drive, and the stamina, and the resources, to protect these unborn eagles, but our own children we don’t? As a society, what does that say? As a nation? What are we doing to future generations? And I think that the more people become educated, and the more they really understand what Title X means and what it offers and what the goal of it is, President Trump’s rule is a good rule. In my opinion, it’s just enforcing the obvious.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Abortion is not family planning. The fact that our President had to go and line by line stipulate that.

Ron Reigns:
It’s heartbreaking that it got to that point.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, this is where we are. And so, being that this is where we are, I think my biggest hope and my biggest wish out of this podcast is that people will take what we’ve said here and start doing their own research and start educating themselves.

Ron Reigns:
And find out? Is this a gag rule?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Are they being stopped from saying things?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And educate those around you.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When somebody comes up and says, “Hey, I’m pro-choice, or I’m this, or I’m that.” Talk to them. Ask them why? Ask them have they ever talked with somebody who’s had an abortion? Have they ever had one themselves? Again, we don’t judge. At all. We want to prevent them from happening now. We can’t do anything about the past.

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But we can do something now. And that’s what our goal is. And always has been. Going from here I really hope that we can make a difference, and every person that becomes more educated is one more person less likely to have an abortion, and one more baby to have a 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 enjoyed 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 Raines:
Welcome and thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption with Kelly Rourke-Scarry and me, Ron Raines, 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 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’ve worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

Ron Raines:
And I’m Ron Raines. 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:
So today we’re going to be talking about abortion, breaking down abortion as a topic. I think it’s important that we look in our own backyard first. So, we are in the State of Arizona and why not start with Arizona?

Ron Raines:
Yeah, that’s what we’re most familiar with, the laws and such.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. We use it as a baseline. And obviously this aspect is just going to pertain to Arizona, but is applicable to other states as well in some areas. Obviously, every state is governed by their own laws in terms of the regulations that oversee abortion. So that being said, in Arizona, we allow abortions up to 24 weeks, which is the end of the second trimester of pregnancy.

Ron Raines:
24 weeks. Now you’ve talked about this before, but what does a baby in the 24th week in the womb look like? What are some of the characteristics of it? Because this just blows me away when you do this.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This blows me away too, because it is almost unimaginable. So, at 24 weeks with medical intervention, most babies can survive. So, if a baby is born at 24 weeks, obviously they will have to go into the neonatal intensive care unit and they will require medical assistance until they reach probably 28 to 32 minimum weeks before they could even come out of that high level of care and then transition maybe into a lower level of care.

Ron Raines:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So at that point we’re talking about life.

Ron Raines:
Oh, absolutely. I think before that point, we’re still talking about life.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We are. Well, as you and I both agree, conception is really when we believe it’s life.

Ron Raines:
Even the hardcore pro-choice people could not deny that this is a life at this point because it is viable.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Well, actually, they do.

Ron Raines:
Yeah, they still do.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They still do.

Ron Raines:
But I mean-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. So, at that point the baby-

Ron Raines:
They’re not being intellectually honest.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. At that point, the baby is able to smile. The baby is dreaming. They actually are dreaming as they sleep. They can determine this by the REM movements in the eyes. They are able to sense touch. They are able to feel pain. They can get the hiccups. You can feel the baby move. This is a fully formed baby.

Ron Raines:
About how big is it at that point? The size of a fist-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Bigger than the size of a fist.

Ron Raines:
Bigger than the size of a fist.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I would say probably between your middle finger and-

Ron Raines:
Maybe the middle of your forearm.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Raines:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For a woman. Yes. And again, the baby’s head is probably the size of a plum, maybe a little bit bigger.

Ron Raines:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean, we’re talking about a human being.

Ron Raines:
Without question.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There are laws that protect the eggs of an eagle that is considered a criminal offense. And yet we’re not protecting our own little ones.

Ron Raines:
And by the way, in case you missed this episode way back in the beginning when we first started, the word fetus translated means little one. And I think we should emphasize that because it sounds too clinical when you say fetus, but when you realize that it does mean little one it-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I agree. I agree.

Ron Raines:
It’s powerful.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think that when we use the term fetus, we distance ourselves from really what we’re talking about. We’re using more medical jargon-

Ron Raines:
Scientific terminology.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it desensitizes us to what we’re really discussing. When you’re talking about a baby and you’re looking at a newborn or you’re looking at a 10-month-old, I think that it’s important to remember that at one time, this baby was six weeks in utero, eight weeks. I mean, we all came from that size and at that age.

Ron Raines:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And as my husband had stated in a previous episode as well, how many doctors have we aborted? How many scientists that could have cured cancer? What have we done as a society to our future?

Ron Raines:
And we’ll never know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And we’ll never know what this has cost us. In looking further into the whole topic of abortion, I think… I’m speaking for both of us, Ron. When I say we understand it’s political, we understand that some of our listeners may or may not agree with our opinions or what we’re saying. But again, our goal is just to ask our listeners to open their hearts and their minds and understand that we are just trying to promote education and trying to help the public understand, because studies have shown us that a lot of people who are pro-abortion are not as educated as people that are against abortion. So, in other words, if you don’t have all the facts, how can you make a decision?

Ron Raines:
Certainly. Look at all sides of whatever the issue is, is always a good policy.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. And abortion is important to everybody because in some aspect or a lot of us know somebody who maybe has chosen adoption over abortion, or maybe they know somebody who’s had an abortion. I had a call today from a client that is coming in. And her words were literally, “I have already had one abortion and I can’t move past it. And I don’t want to do that again, no matter what. I can’t go through that. I can’t go through the aftermath or the guilt or how I feel about myself after doing that. And that’s why I’m choosing adoption this time because I can’t face myself in the mirror again.” I think that that’s really, really important because people are not realizing that this isn’t a one and done visit and then you go on to live your life.

Ron Raines:
Your quick fix.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No.

Ron Raines:
And everything is going to be peachy. And you know what, to some people, I think it is. And I don’t think they have that conscience about it, but-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think it catches up because in the women that I’ve spoken to, and I’ve spoken to women that have had multiple abortions, and at the time maybe they were using some type of drugs or maybe they had something in their life that was distracting them from what was really going on in their lives. But they described it almost as like a tidal wave when they look back and they realize, “Oh my gosh.”

Ron Raines:
It just floods in.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It does. It just floods in. “I didn’t know that I had this option of adoption. Nobody talks about it. I hadn’t heard of it. I didn’t know how to go about it. I didn’t know where to go.” And so, in talking about abortion, I’m hoping that we’re opening the doors on many levels. I hope that we can successfully provide accurate information in a manner that people will be receptive to hearing it. And I hope that we are able to really look at what’s going on in our backyard, in our country. Even aside from all of the political aspects of it, really what it boils down to is we’re talking about a baby.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
One of the questions that I get, not from clients that we work with, but from people who are just wanting to broach the abortion subject with me, and that is, “Isn’t it lucrative? Isn’t it financially lucrative for some entity?” The answer is yes.

Ron Raines:
You mean abortion?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Raines:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is financially lucrative. If you have now medicinal… Am I saying that correct?

Ron Raines:
It sounds right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. So, the abortion pill is in the State of Arizona, approximately $560.

Ron Raines:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Which in my mind is expensive.

Ron Raines:
I think so. Especially when you’re talking about those who would do that, that are in this situation that they would do that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Raines:
That’s a lot of money.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So the average and I pulled two different providers that are Arizona providers, up to 11 weeks and six days, the cost ranges from $560 to 620. At 15 weeks, the cost ranges from $740 to about $800, give or take. At 20 weeks, it ranges from $1,800 to $1,900. And then as we go up, it continues to increase and up until the 23 weeks and six day mark, it is-

Ron Raines:
The cutoff point in Arizona.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. It ranges from 2,400 to 2,500.

Ron Raines:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For me, this isn’t a money issue that I have a problem with. It is 100% what people are choosing. This goes down to when they say, when you make a decision, is it life or death? This is life or death.

Ron Raines:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s no in the middle. So, when you hear that phrase being tossed around, because you’ve got to have heard it when people say, “Oh, come on. That’s not life or death. Come on. We’re not talking about something about, well, do you want a red car or a black car.”

Ron Raines:
Right. It’s not a life-or-death decision. It’s easy, but this one is a life or death.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This is a life-or-death decision.

Ron Raines:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I can’t fathom how we can’t really provide significant education to women that are considering abortion. I know that there is some legislature where they have to come back two times before the procedure and they do some counseling and there has to be an ultrasound. There’s certain aspects where they’re starting to educate. But I think that if we were to mandate more education prior to a woman choosing abortion, I think that would drastically cut the rates of abortion as well.

Ron Raines:
And I think one of the bigger things that people need to be educated because I wasn’t educated about this, and you don’t hear this in the abortion debate as much as you would think you would, is the education of adoption and what an option that is. Again, when I was young and inexperienced, when my first wife, before we were married, she got pregnant, I thought the options essentially were abortion or have the baby and keep it and raise it. Of course, I had heard of adoption, but I never put those things together as a young man. I never thought, “Oh, I can adopt out a child.” That information needs to be so much more available to people, especially young and maybe not so wise and experienced people.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Less educated, yeah.

Ron Raines:
And I think when you see people on TV debating abortion, I would love so much more to hear adoption is a beautiful, beautiful option that you could take that road and maybe not suffer for it down the line, realizing what you’ve done.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The tidal wave.

Ron Raines:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And the other thing that adoption offers over abortion is the father’s right to be a part of it.

Ron Raines:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
With an abortion, you don’t need the father’s consent. As we talked about in previous podcasts, you never hear the words a father’s right to choose.

Ron Raines:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But yet if you’re choosing adoption, the father has to be notified and he has the right to contest and he has the right to try to parent.

Ron Raines:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
He’s not given those same rights in-

Ron Raines:
When it comes to abortion.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When it comes to abortion.

Ron Raines:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I think that negating the fact that it takes two people to make a baby. And it is as much his baby as it is her baby. Yes, she is the one who is carrying the child, but she couldn’t be carrying the child without his participation.

Ron Raines:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So I think that it’s not fair. Just seems like such a minimal word, but it’s not equitable. I don’t know that every man whose significant other has chosen abortion would have agreed with it. She wouldn’t even have to tell him that she was pregnant. She could just go and do it.

Ron Raines:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And he may never know.

Ron Raines:
Not to mention, I think that men in general are denigrated because a lot of the talking points are, “Oh, he made her carry this child to term. He didn’t have to carry the child.” So, they look at men as a negative thing instead of, “Wait, they’re a participant in this act, as well as the woman. They should be responsible as well as respected in these decisions.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
100% agree. If this gentleman is somebody that you are engaging in a sexual act with, and you have enough esteem for him to engage on that level, but you don’t have enough esteem for him to be able to make a decision regarding a child that the two of you created-

Ron Raines:
That is essentially half his genetically.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. Then that says a lot. I’m a big believer in personal accountability and responsibility. And I think that we need to hold both parties responsible. I do believe that abortion should not be on the table, but if it is, I do believe that both parties should have to be-

Ron Raines:
He should be notified as…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And in agreement. One thing… Oh, actually, I found a couple of facts that really just blew my mind. And I wanted to share these because I wanted your take, Ron, on what you think, how it affects you in your head. In other words, when you hear these facts about abortion, what are your first thoughts?

Ron Raines:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Abortion medication. So that is the abortion pill. They call it medication. Abortion pill is now going to be available at California’s college health centers under a new law. A study that was done in 2018, published in the Journal of Adolescent Health, estimated that 322 to 519 students at California’s public universities seek medical abortions each month.

Ron Raines:
Each month. Those numbers blow me away, first of all. And second of all, I feel like a very pro-abortion, not even pro-choice, like you said earlier, a pro-abortion narrative is being pushed, especially on the young kids who are in college. Yeah, that’s my opinion.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The fact that it’s so readily available breaks my heart.

Ron Raines:
Do those same schools, not even just allow but require information about adoption? No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. I mean, at this point, this to me, I equate this with, so we’ve taken it up a notch and now they can get it at the college health centers. In five, is it going to be like a gumball machine? Are you going to put some money in it and turn the little lever and then it’s going to shoot out and-

Ron Raines:
Right. Throw $500 in the thing and pill comes out.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean, is this where we are as a society?

Ron Raines:
It’s terrifying.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. Only 37 states require parental involvement in a miner’s decision to have an abortion. No words. As a parent, I’m so grateful that I live in a state, not that any of my children would have an abortion, because I’ve told them from very, very young that’s off the table.

Ron Raines:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But should they attempt to behind my back or do something awful like that-

Ron Raines:
Oh God.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m very grateful that in Arizona, they would have to have permission.

Ron Raines:
Well, again, they have to be 18 years old to vote, to smoke a cigarette, allegedly vape, whatever. They have to be 21 to drink, but at 14, 15, they can just in some states, not Arizona, they can just go in without a parent to say-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In 13 states. Yes. When the CDC is doing their data and they are an exceedingly credible source, a lot of us look to the CDC for numbers and education information. It is unfathomable to me that states are not required to submit abortion data to the CDC. The majority do, but they’re not required to do so. So, we don’t really have as a society and as a nation accurate abortion numbers.

Ron Raines:
Right. We almost have a lot of good numbers. And then after that a best guess.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Raines:
Because, it is not a requirement. Interesting.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct. Which I disagree with, especially because in the past, and in some areas, there is funding and federal funding. And I think that that needs to be accounted for. And I would really hope that that would change. The Planned Parenthood Annual Report covering the 2017, 2018 fiscal year was published last January. And the number of abortions performed by Planned Parenthood rose to 332,757 abortions, an increase of over 3%.

Ron Raines:
Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adoption referrals dropped by over 25% to 2,831. The abortion provider, being Planned Parenthood makes one adoption referral for every 117 abortions.

Ron Raines:
You’ve said this statistic before.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right

Ron Raines:
And I think it bears repeating often because they are not putting out the information that is available to people. Every 117 times they go, “Oh yeah, you could place this child in a loving home and let it essentially live.” Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. So that’s really hard for me to process because for a long, long, long time Planned Parenthood has always been looked to as a resource. And I think it’s important again, to understand that these big entities, these big corporations like Planned Parenthood have funding to be able to do this mass advertising where adoption agencies don’t have that same level of funding.

Ron Raines:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We do the best we can on getting information out, but we don’t have the resources that other entities have.

Ron Raines:
Of this national organization.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. For instance, the company MAC Makeup just endorsed Planned Parenthood this year and has made a huge donation. MAC Makeup is huge. That’s a huge, huge, huge corporation. And so, they’re assisting in the funding of Planned Parenthood. And so, within that funding that allows them to do advertising and marketing and so forth. And again, nonprofit agencies just can’t compete-

Ron Raines:
Of course not.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… with that level of marketing. We do the best we can to get the word out on what options are. But again, it really depends on who’s listening.

Ron Raines:
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 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 Raines. If you enjoyed 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 Raines, 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.

Father:
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.

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 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. After releasing the previous two episodes of the Birth Mother Matters In Adoption podcast, we’ve received many thanks for sharing this with the audience.

Ron Reigns:
We’ve also gotten a lot of requests to hear the interview Kelly did with these two brave and candid birth parents to present it in its entirety. Obviously, that would be longer than our normal episodes, but Kelly and I both thought it was a really good idea, so here is the full interview.

Father:
All these children that are just innocent. They had nothing to do with anything, and all I seen was money. I didn’t care about nothing and nobody until that moment of me realizing that it was me, that I was the problem with the neighborhood, and that I was the problem with everybody’s families and why all these kids were getting neglected, and why the women are pregnant, and the babies, they’re pretty much high.

Father:
And I was a source of it, and I just couldn’t do it no more. I knew that if I didn’t break the cycle somewhere along the line that I would be the source of making society so much worse. And it’s like, who am I to make the choices about everybody’s life? I’m nobody. And in my mind, it’s just wrong in so many ways.

Father:
Before, I didn’t care. It didn’t mean nothing to me. If this girl was high, getting high, while she was pregnant, doing heroin or smoking meth, I didn’t care as long as I got money. It meant nothing to me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you made a lot of money?

Father:
Oh yeah.

Mother:
And he used to make it a lot of money.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So what’s a lot of money? If you had to say-

Father:
$200,000 in a week.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Come again?

Mother:
$200,000 in a week.

Father:
They even did a newspaper article on my brother. This is the one who everything fell on was my older brother. They took everything from us. They took everything, and everything went off on him, and the newspaper article was about how we made $200,000 in a week. And all they did was just sit there and collect and do whatever I told them to.

Father:
You’d never really see their faces ever in the neighborhood. I was the one putting out there doing all the work. I was the one putting everybody on the neighborhood. It was all me. They knew it. A lot of people don’t know it, but it was all me. And it’s like, if it wasn’t for me, they would’ve still been nobody. They would’ve just had all this (beep) that they could do nothing with.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You can’t just stop or turn that off. How did you do it? Did you go to rehab?

Father:
I just stopped and turned it off all on my own.

Mother:
It was pretty much-

Father:
… I didn’t go nowhere.

Mother:
It was pretty much my daughter being taken and stuff that-

Father:
I didn’t go anywhere.

Mother:
… that changed a lot of his outlook on a lot of things, because for months, he tried to get me to go to UMOMs and everything like that, and I was just stuck in the streets pretty much. And even though I was taking care of my daughter, and she had everything she needed … she had all her clothes; she had food every night, everything like that; she had a place to sleep … I was just consumed with the streets too at the same time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In what way?

Father:
In every way. Literally, if she seen somebody that was selling drugs, and if she felt like that was the person that shined the most in the neighborhood, that’s who she liked to attract to. Even though she’s not realizing 95% of everybody that’s in the neighborhood that are doing good, they come to me, and they’re like, “Hey, I need your help.”

Father:
And it’d be me the ones that put these people on. And it’d be me the one that make them shine, and don’t nobody ever see it because that’s what I do. That’s what I do best. I get these little rundown drug dealers that nobody respects in the neighborhood. Nobody ever really messes with them too much. And I’ll go and I’ll take them under my wing. I’ll give them a bunch of dope, and nobody sees what I give them.

Father:
They know what I do for them, and they love me to death for it, but it’s like, I already did what I did, and I can’t take it back. They’re already who they are, but I used to literally take these guys and get them, mold them into what I want them to be, give them a bunch of drugs and send them off to the world.

Mother:
And he was just always off dealing with other girls and stuff like that that would-

Father:
I used to be a pimp.

Mother:
… that would go out and ho for him and stuff like that. And so I was pretty much running around the streets by myself. Even though we were together, I was running around the streets by myself and stuff like that, and so I’d stay from house to house, whether it was dope house or not, just trying to basically stay safe with my daughter, trying to keep her with a roof over her head so she wasn’t out in the cold, wasn’t out in the rain and stuff like that, even though it was a bad environment for her and stuff like that. And I know that, but it was just like, at the time, that’s all I had.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so you were still kind of interested in him, and you were a pimp at the time? See, the reason I’m asking you guys these questions is because I’m on the other side, so I’ve got to learn because I’m trying to help other people. And so if you don’t teach me, you’re not going to learn this in a book.

Father:
No, you can’t. It’s an impossibility.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I know.

Father:
I call it the art of manipulation through heroin, especially when girls are on heroin. And people think that these girls are hoeing for me, but really, they’re not. What I’m doing is I’m literally fronting them drugs here because I know they need it, and I’ll give them heroin upfront.

Father:
And I’ll just keep giving it to them and keep giving it to them. And when they run up a bill, I make them go get it by any means necessary. That means if they got to go and post an ad on the internet and have to sell the crack of their (beep) for this, that’s what they got to go do, and they go get my money from me, not because I’m really pimping them. It’s because they owe me money, and I’m a drug dealer, and they want more drugs from me-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So they’ll go do anything-

Father:
… so they’ll go do anything, whatever’s necessary, to give me my money.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So what would be the consequences? What if they said “I don’t have it”?

Father:
Then I would just cut them off, and they’d be sick, and nobody in the neighborhood would mess with them, and they’d always be sick.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Nobody would mess with them, meaning …

Mother:
Nobody would give them dope because he was the one supplying them, so if they didn’t want to pay him-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So you really did hold all the strings.

Father:
Yeah. So, it went like this: If she doesn’t give me my money, and she goes to try to mess with the next dealer, I’ll just say, “Hey man, look, check it out. She owes me money. Don’t give her nothing, and if you give her something, then I’m not going to give you nothing.” So, they look at it like this.

Father:
They would rather not give this girl nothing at all than not be able to get anything from me, because then if they’re not getting anything from me, then they’re not making any money, because I was a bully. I’d come with my AK, and I’d sit down inside their dope house and sell dope, sell dope to them, and then sell all my dope out of their house and let them see that there’s nothing they could do about it. It’s either they work for me, or they work for nobody, or they just don’t work at all.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you held this power because of the gun?

Father:
No. Well, yeah, because of that and because of the drugs and because of the people that were so infatuated with who I made myself that they backed me. So it’s like, either you’re going to do it anyway, or you’re going to have all these young guerillas that don’t want nothing but to earn stripes. They want to earn stripes. They want to earn clout.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
A reputation in the neighborhood.

Father:
They want to earn the position and reputation and everything in between. And these little youngsters know that if they do what I want them too, they’re going to live a good life. They’re going to have their own hoes.

Father:
They’re going to have their own dope house. They’re going to have their own gun, and they’re going to have money. They’re going to have a car. They’re going to have everything that goes with the life if they do what I ask them to, so it’s like-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What’s the average age?

Father:
Nothing under 18. I don’t play that (beep). These other guys that run around, and they bully these little young … I don’t do that (beep). I don’t give a damn-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
….kids.

Father:
… and a lot of times, even when they’re 18, I’ll get them, and I’ll give them an option. I ask them a question: Is this really what you want to be doing with your life? If they tell me no, I just give them some money, enough to where they’ll be okay, and send them on their way.

Father:
“Here, go do something different with your life, because this isn’t where you want to be at.” I mean, even though I am who I am and I’ve done a lot of things, I still had some type of conscience about the things that I was doing. And when they’re young … 18, 19, 20 … you could easily mold them into what you want them to be in every type of way, shape, form, and fashion. It’s almost like brainwashing an individual, and when they’re young like that, if they’re already too far gone, I’ll get them, and then yeah, wasn’t no problem. But if they’re not, then I try to send them on the right path.

Mother:
Like with me. When I was 15, and we first met each other over at his mom’s house and stuff like that, he asked me, he was like … because I used to sell crack when I was 15. I started selling crack when I was 14 before he got out of prison, and that was just basically to survive, to get food for me and my mom.

Mother:
My mom worked at Taco Bell and everything like that, but by the time she paid rent and everything like that, we didn’t have much. So, without her knowing, I would just go, and I started selling crack. And I was selling crack for a couple years, and then we met each other, and he was like, “Well, how do you feel about selling dope?”

Mother:
And at first, I told him, I was like, “I don’t mess with that,” because just everybody I knew lives were messed up from it. So he left it at that. A couple months later, I call him, and I asked him for some dope, for some G. And he was like, “You’re messing with that?”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay, back up. What is G?

Mother:
Meth.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t mean to be-

Father:
Crystal meth.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay, sorry.

Mother:
Yeah. And he was like, “You’re messing with that stuff now?” And my first reaction was, “No, I’m not. No, no.” I wasn’t going to tell him, “Yeah, I’m doing dope now.” And he’s like, “Yeah, I’ll be there in a minute.” Never showed up, and then next time I seen him, we were hanging out at his mom’s house.

Mother:
And I had a pipe and some dope in a bag and stuff. And I loaded a bowl, and I hit it, and I was like, “Want to smoke with me?” And he’s like, “Yeah, let me see that.” And he grabbed it, and he looked at, and he was like, “This ain’t how you load a bowl. Let me see your sack,” so I handed him the sack.

Mother:
He turned around and walked out the door with it, and I’m sitting here like, “Did he just rob me?” That’s how I felt at the time. “Did he just rob me?” And me at that time, I didn’t realize it, but now I realize it: He was just trying to get me to not smoke because when I first met him, what I told him was that I didn’t mess with that.

Father:
I was only out for seven months at the time. I got out middle of 2012, and then I got arrested in the beginning of 2013, so I wasn’t out that long when I first met her. When I got out, she was grown. With the second go around, when I got that second time, they tried to R.I.C.O. Act me in the end.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What does that mean?

Father:
They tried to give me natural life for criminal mob boss syndicate, for money laundering, for drug trafficking, for guns. So one of my brothers, he had 42 counts of misconduct involving weapons, four sales charges to an ATF agent, a bunch of drug charges. They tried to hit us with a bunch of money laundering charges-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
How did you only get four years?

Father:
Because we had the same prosecutor, and she was a new prosecutor, so when she went to file, she misfiled. She didn’t know what she was doing. She tried to hit the R.I.C.O. Act on us and didn’t know how to file it properly, and because she misfiled her R.I.C.O. Act, we walked.

Mother:
The first time I ever got arrested, I was with his brother that got charged with 42-gun charges. They raided the house that we were staying at, and I just so happened to be over there picking up my stuff. And I walked up, and I told him, I was like, “You’re about to get raided.” And he’s like, “No, I’m not. No, I’m not,” so he goes and gets in the shower.

Mother:
And I’m still up there, because there were a couple of people in the house. And I was just watching his back, basically, making sure they didn’t do anything. And one of the people, about a year prior to that, I told him, I was like, “This girl’s going to set you up. She’s going to set you up. I’m telling you right now, just the questions she was asking me, she’s not in it for you.”

Mother:
And sure enough, we got raided. The police knocked on the door. She got up and answered it and just opened the door for them, and then next thing I know, there’s 30 officers swarming the apartment. He’s on house arrest at the time with an ankle monitor for gun charges, and there’s three guns laying out. Two of them weren’t actual guns.

Mother:
One was just a Green Gas Uzi. The other one was a 45-pellet gun, but they were the ones that look real, so in any case, if they look real enough that you can commit a crime like robbing somebody, you get charged with real possession of weapons.

Father:
Well, what they are is they’re less lethal firearms. They’re actual, real guns that were converted into air-soft pistols is what a lot of people fail to realize. They just changed the top slide out to where the bullets can’t pop out of them, and if you were to take them apart, the bottom part slide and the trigger part, the actual firing pin mechanism that’s there, is flipped around the other way. So, all it does is just pop the BB out. You see what I’m saying? But-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So why use those?

Father:
They take old firearms that are probably-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Recycle them.

Father:
Yeah, and recycle them and turn them into air-soft pistols.

Mother:
And then you can easily make them back to a regular gun with no problem. Just takes a little bit of elbow grease, and it’s back into a regular pistol.

Father:
It takes a top slide, a recoil spring, and a firing pin, and that’s it, and you can convert it right back into a firearm like nothing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And then-

Father:
Oh, and the barrel. You got to change the barrel out.

Mother:
And so when they came in, they arrested him automatically. They pulled him out of the shower, put some shorts on him and put him in cuffs and put him in the car and took him to jail. And I’m the only one left.

Mother:
That’s how I knew the girl set us up is because they didn’t ask her no questions, not name, not, nothing. They just were like, “Okay, you’re free to go.” And so, I was the last one left in the apartment. They took him to jail.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Why not you?

Mother:
Well, they hadn’t taken me to jail yet. I was only 18. I had just turned 18, had no charges, never been arrested, in juvie, or anything like that. And they’re all like, “What are you doing here?” They’re looking at me like, “You don’t even belong in this scene,” basically, because I had never been in trouble. And I asked them for the wallet, which was his wallet. I claimed his wallet so that I could put his money on his books.

Mother:
And the girl that set us up had taken the wallet and his sack of dope and put it in a little bag together, so when they found the wallet, they found a quarter ounce of dope. And they were like, “Well, look it here. Whose is this?” And I looked at them. I said, “To be honest with you, I’m going to tell you right now, it’s not mine, but I don’t know whose it is.”

Mother:
And so they took me to jail and charged me with a quarter ounce of dope, possession of dangerous drugs. That was the first charge I ever caught, and that was in 2014. Up until 2017, in the middle of 2017, I was dealing with that charge.

Father:
Yeah. So, around the time when I came to the realization that I was messing up the neighborhood, she was pregnant. She had already given up this child up for adoption that she already didn’t want. And I was housing her at the time, and I ran into one of my baby’s mothers, and that’s when she tells us about the adoption agency, because she was still using drugs at the time.

Father:
And she was scared, but my baby’s mother was like, “Hey, it doesn’t matter if she’s doing drugs. They’ll protect her,” so we ended up meeting a lawyer, and then she gives the baby up for adoption-

Mother:
That was…

Father:
The adoption agency, but it was my baby’s mom who was like, “Hey, don’t worry about it,” because she was doing the same thing and was still getting high and still was messing with the adoption agency and stuff like that. And then a little bit later on, she gets pregnant, and our lives were just flipped upside down, going crazy and doing all kinds of wild stuff.

Father:
And I felt like giving the child up for adoption is probably one of the most beautiful things you could possibly do for yourself, for the child, for the family that can’t have children. And it breaks the cycle. Obviously, you can look at me and see that I’m not all there and that I used to be a gangbanger.

Father:
If you know me well enough, you’ll know that I used to be a boss drug dealer and everything in between. Anything that was having to do with the streets and doing wrong, I had my hands in it. Literally any and everything, I had my hands in it, and I would go all the way from-

Mother:
And his tattoos on him that say … Read right here. No, on the …

Father:
Oh yeah.

Mother:
From selling drugs.

Father:
But-

Mother:
He used to stand there like that all the time.

Father:
Yeah, because I don’t play that. It’s like you could have-

Mother:
Cash only.

Father:
You could have somebody that was a real good friend of yours, and you give them credit, and then they don’t pay you. And now you feel some type of way because he feels like he don’t have to pay you.

Father:
And now somebody that once used to be a good friend of yours is now your enemy because you done messed him up, or you sent somebody to kick in his door and go get your money from him, and now you guys are beefing over money. So, I just never gave credit to anybody to alleviate all the extra stuff that can come along with it. You know?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Mother:
So he used to stand there like this, cash only. When people would come to buy drugs from him, he’d just stand there with his arms crossed. Cash only.

Father:
I thought about being a youth counselor and getting these young kids that are in the neighborhood that think that they know what they’re doing, that think they know that they’re grown, and they think that they know what they want to do with their life, and I’ll show them something old that everybody else sees, and then I’ll show them something new, something that they don’t know how to do and never even been taught how to do, and then show them the direction that they should be going with their life. The one that I’ve been working on is this young kid.

Father:
He’s only 16 years old. He runs the streets. He gets high. And at first, I wouldn’t let nobody give him drugs around me. He wasn’t allowed to get high around me. I told him, “If you try to get high in the room with me, I’m going to beat you up. You’re going to have some respect for me.

Father:
If you feel like you want to smoke in a room where I’m at, just say, “Hey, check it out, OG. Is it all right if I smoke?” and I’ll step out the room, but you’re not going to smoke in the room with me. And he respected that, and he did it every time.

Mother:
At first, he didn’t.

Father:
He would go smoke in the bathroom.

Mother:
At first, he would look at him like … And I sat there, and I talked a little while. I was like, “Look, it’s just how he is. It’s the same way he was with me, and to be honest with you, when I was your age, I wish I would have listened. I wish I would’ve, but I didn’t.” I didn’t have it in my mind that it was bad for me, not until way later.

Father:
But he’s starting to get it here and there. I’ve been pushing him to go to Job Corps every day and pushing him to go to Job Corps every day, and even some of my-

Mother:
He wants to go back to school.

Father:
… my little homeboys and stuff like that, I make them threaten him like, “Hey, he has a curfew now. He’s not allowed to run around the streets. If any of my homeboys see him out on the streets, they’ll beat him up because he’s past curfew and make him go register in the school because if he don’t, he’s going to get beat up, and he’s afraid of it.

Father:
And he goes and does what he’s supposed to. Eight o’clock, he’s inside, because he’s not allowed to be outside past there. He was just a kid. He had no business being out here, and he’ll stay in until the sun comes up, and that’s when he can go out.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What if someone had done that with you?

Father:
I probably wouldn’t be this way, but I was raised different. My dad was a gangbanger. He’s from Southside 35th. I didn’t meet him until I was 10 years old because he tried to kill somebody.

Mother:
Over a poncho.

Father:
Slit this dude’s throat from ear to ear over a poncho.

Mother:
That he gave his mom. And she had taken it off at a party, and he picked it up and was wearing it, and so he thought that there was something going on between his mom and the dude and just walked up, took the poncho, and walked off.

Father:
See, what other people don’t know about me though is I’m a product of rape. My mother and my father split ways after this and then went a long time when he catches her at another party, and she’s all drunk, and he gets her, and he’s having sex with her and rapes her, stabs her in the back. She gots a cut on her back probably about a good five inches from him breaking a beer bottle and stabbing it into the back of her and twisting it and then running it up her back.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Why did he do that?

Father:
Because he was so hurt on the fact that she had left him. My dad’s 100% true blue. I’m surprised he’s not on a serial killer list, because that’s how bad he is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What’s true blue mean?

Father:
It’s as real as it gets.

Mother:
Somebody that likes blood.

Father:
No, he’s a murderer, stone-cold murderer. Don’t get no worse than that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Is he in prison now?

Father:
I don’t know. No, no. And then my mother, she was a prostitute. She was a crack head when I was growing up. I actually lived in this hotel called the Sandman, and my mother would trade me for drugs-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m familiar with that, actually.

Father:
I used to live in the Sandman Motel when I was a kid, and my mother would trade me for drugs to tricks and to homosexual men when I was just a kid. Five, six, and seven, those were the worst times in my life. Yeah.

Mother:
We’ll be sitting there playing around, and I’ll try to tickle him, and he just-

Father:
I don’t like being tickled. I don’t like-

Mother:
… automatically-

Father:
… being pulled down.

Mother:
… “Don’t.”

Father:
I don’t like none of that or any of that stuff. There’s a lot. I don’t like being hugged because of it. I’ve never been able to be affectionate towards another individual.

Father:
Public display of affection, I can’t do it now because of it. I can’t be affectionate towards another person in so many ways. It takes a really long time for me to even be affectionate towards anybody-

Mother:
For a long time-

Father:
I just really started being affectionate towards her just recently-

Mother:
And we’ve been together for three years.

Father:
… and I’ve been with her for three years. And she doesn’t understand it. It’s like, I lived a hard life.

Mother:
Sometimes he’ll just sit there, and he’ll be like this when I give him a hug, and I’m just like …

Father:
And then-

Mother:
But I don’t-

Father:
… when I got older-

Mother:
… care. I’ll still hug him. I’ll still embrace him because I love him.

Father:
When I got older, and my mother seen the type of person that I was and that I was always going to be, what she thought I was always going to be … And I was only 16, 17, 18, 19. She’d take me on these things.

Father:
She called them amazing adventures of a superhoe, and I would run the streets while my mom prostituted, and she would make me sell drugs. I’ve been in every alley on Van Buren from the freeway, the I-17, all the way down up into 24th Street and Van Buren, every single last alley.

Mother:
When he was 12, he went to go get dope for his mom one day, some crack for his mom, and got shot in the head.

Father:
I was 19.

Mother:
Oh, you were 19 at the time?

Father:
I was 19 years old. It was around the time when Mark Goodell was running around. And my mom was one of the very few people to ever escape him. He ripped a big patch of my mom’s hair out. She was missing a big patch of hair from him ripping her hair off of her head, but my mother escaped him.

Father:
He beat her up real bad, but she fights back, gets him up off of him … it was the same night … and she comes back with the money that he had handed to her. And I go. She makes me go get her dope. And as I’m walking, there was this one girl.

Father:
I don’t know why I would do it. Every time I would see her, I would either give her money, or I’d give her dope, try to help her out because she was out there hoeing, and she set me up. She set me up to get robbed by this guy. This guy jumps out the bushes, and he shoots me.

Father:
Because I didn’t want to give him what I had, he shot me in the head point blank with a nine-millimeter. Dropped me to the ground, but I was so high on sherm at the time, I still got back up. Even though I couldn’t see nothing and I couldn’t barely stand, he hits me, punches me in the face, and I still get back up. He just turned around and walked away.

Father:
But I had a hole. I had three hoodies and a beanie on. It was the wintertime. He knocked all three of my hoodies off, knocked my beanie off, knocked this big piece right here like this back all the way like this, and it came out the bottom part of my neck right here like this on the bottom part, blew this all back like this. And I had just pulled one of my hoodies and put it right here like this and got my beanie and put it on top of my head and walked home.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You didn’t go to the hospital?

Father:
I took the bus to the hospital by myself because nobody wanted to go with me. They had knew that I was shot in the head like that, and I didn’t realize that I was shot. My uncle kept trying to tell me, but it wasn’t registering in my head because I was high on sherm.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And what is that?

Father:
It’s PCP. So, because I’m high on PCP, nothing’s registering to me. He keeps telling me that, “You need to go to the hospital, dude. It looks like you’ve been shot. See, you got two holes. You need to go.” And I was like, “Well, somebody take me up there. Somebody take me up there.”

Father:
And I took the route 24 bus all the way to McDowell and got on the McDowell bus and went to the one that’s on 12th Street by myself, bleeding. And people are just looking at me because I’m covered in blood, and you could see that I had been shot, and everybody’s looking at me like, “How are you even still standing?” I get to the hospital, and when the doctor tells me that I had been shot, that’s when it registered.

Father:
And they just stitched me up and sent me on my way, gave me some Percocets. And they gave me a morphine drip for a little while, and they gave me three Percocets. I sat in the hospital for maybe 12 hours, and then they discharged me. I lived a really, really rough life, and the last thing I ever want for any of my kids is to live the life that I lived.

Father:
And I know that I can’t just go and just give my child to anybody and think that they’re going to live a good life. I can go somewhere like this and know for a fact that I can pick a family that’s going to do the right thing. And I know for a fact that my child’s going to live a good life.

Father:
I know they’re going to be loved. I know they’re going to be cared for. I know they’re going to be clothed. I know they’re going to be housed. I know they’re going to get educated. I know they’re probably going to go to college.

Mother:
My two kids that I gave up for adoption right now, one of them is in pageants, and the other one they want to put in pageants. The one I just had, they want to have her put in pageants, too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You guys are amazing.

Father:
Thank you. I think you guys are amazing. You sit there, and you work your whole life and make sure that these children have somewhere good to go and then make sure that the family that’s putting the child up is taken care of.

Father:
That’s a beautiful thing to me. I respect you guys in so many ways.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Thank you.

Father:
Thank you.

Mother:
Yeah, I was telling him when we got-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I was the one that talked to you on the phone.

Mother:
Yeah, when I first called.

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

Mother:
When I first got to the motel and stuff like that after they did the intake and all that, and they gave us the hotel bag and the food box and stuff like that, I was sitting here looking at him, and I was like, “Look at this.” The last adoption agency we went to, we sat in a motel for a week.

Mother:
I was hungry the whole time. They didn’t give me no money, no nothing to get nothing to eat, and I was just sitting there hungry. We ended up going to-

Father:
They was charging us $185 an hour just to order an Uber. He was an adoption lawyer who owned an adoption agency, and he would charge his lawyer fees to order an Uber-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because he’s non-profit.

Father:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We do this because we believe in it, and I was adopted. And my husband, he does the business side of it, and when my mom died three years ago, we started the Aftercare Foundation, so we help birth parents after you have the baby. And everything’s free, so we help with like job placement, resumes-

Father:
They didn’t do none of that. They wouldn’t even help me none, and it’s like, I have a-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:


Father:
… lot of kids, and I kept telling the man, it’s like, “You think that men don’t get postpartum? Well, we do.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, they do.

Father:
And they wouldn’t help me with anything.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, they do.

Father:
I couldn’t get them to do anything for me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh no. We’ll pay for counseling. We’ll pay for anything.

Mother:
And see, that’s the thing is I was sitting there, and I’m unpacking everything and just looking him. I looked over at him, and I was like, “Look at this. This is how they’re supposed to do it.” He didn’t do what he was supposed to do.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Mother:
I was like, “This is just crazy- “

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You have to do this for the right reasons.

Mother:
Yeah, you guys treated us so well. You guys gave us food so that we weren’t sitting there hungry, gave us dishes and everything like that.

Mother:
We didn’t have none of that stuff. When we were sitting at the motel over there when I was hungry, we literally had to walk next door to the other motel and steal food.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You are people. You’re not just-

Mother:
… just to eat.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… somebody to put in a hotel. Yeah, I get it.

Mother:
I’m sitting there looking at it. So far, I really like the way you guys do things-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And if there’s ever something you don’t, come talk to me, because like I said, I’m one of the founders and the director, so I will fix it. I don’t let anybody disrespect birth parents because like I said, my mom was one, and she wasn’t respected.

Father:
One of my uncles was adopted from when he was a baby. He was a preemie though, and my aunt Angie was the one who adopted him. But he was so small that you could hold him in the palm of your hand, and he wore doll clothes.

Father:
And then my aunt nursed him back to health, and he’s living today because of her. If it wasn’t for her, he would be dead, because his mother didn’t care. She was going to flush him down the toilet.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adoption is a beautiful thing.

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.

Ron Reigns:
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.

Ron Reigns:
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 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 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 rains. 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:
Okay, so for those of you that joined us for the last podcast, it was part one of the series of two episodes where I was speaking with a birth family that came into our adoption program. And in listening to them, they were so amazing and so brave and had such candor that I wanted to make sure that they were comfortable, which they said they were, in sharing their story to bring education and awareness to adoption and to the reasons why people choose adoption. I think there’s so much question out there as to how can a birth family do this? Why are they using-

Ron Reigns:
Why would you “give up your baby”?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And what the reason and rationale is behind it. And this birth father and this birth mother were able to take, in my opinion, all these unanswered questions and summarize it into their beautiful story. And in listening to this birth father, because he’s the primary talker in this, the birth mother does talk as well and she did an amazing job, but he talks primarily throughout the podcast. In listening to him, I feel that he will continue to be very relatable to other birth fathers and for other birth parents that are considering adoption. And so as we continue to listen to their story, I just continue to be amazed over and over again.

Ron Reigns:
And I do want to say that if you are listening to this episode, without listening to the first one, I highly recommend you stop it right here, go back and listen to our last podcast so that you get this full interview. It is powerful. And again, it is enlightening.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. So, let’s go.

Birth Father:
Yeah, so around the time when I came to the realization that I was messing up the neighborhood, she was pregnant and she had already given this child up for adoption that she already didn’t want, and I was housing her at the time and I ran into one of my baby’s mothers and that’s when she tells us about the adoption agency because she was still using drugs at the time. And she was scared, but my baby’s mother was like, Hey, it doesn’t matter if she’s doing drugs that protect her. So, we ended up meeting this lawyer who ended up… she gives a baby up for adoption.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That was-

Birth Father:
It was not the adoption agency, but it was my baby’s mom who was like, Hey, don’t worry about it, because she was doing the same thing and was still getting high and I still was listening to the adoption agency and stuff like that.

Birth Father:
And then a little bit later on, she gets pregnant. And like our lives were just like flipped upside down, going crazy and doing all kinds of wild stuff. And it’s just like I felt like giving a child up for adoption is probably like one of the most beautiful things you could possibly do for yourself, for the child, for the family that can’t have children. And it breaks the cycle of… Obviously you can look at me and see that I’m not all there. And then I used to be a gang banger. If you know me well enough, you’ll know that I used to be a boss drug dealer and everything in between. Anything that was having to do with streets and doing wrong, I had my hands in it. Like literally, any and everything, I had my hands in it and I would go all the way from-

Birth Mother:
On that step too, read right here.

Birth Father:
Oh, yeah.

Birth Mother:
From selling drugs. He used to stand there like that all the time.

Birth Father:
Yeah. Cause I don’t play that it’s like you could-

Birth Mother:
Cash only.

Birth Father:
…have somebody down that was like a real good friend of yours and you give them credit and then they don’t pay you. And now you feel some type of way because he feels like he don’t have to pay you. And now somebody that wants just be a good friend of yours is now your enemy because you done messed him up. Or you send somebody to kick in his door and go get your money from him, and now you guys are beefing over money. So, I just never give credit to anybody. It alleviates all the extra stuff that can come along with it, you know?

Birth Mother:
Yeah, he used to stand there like this, cash only. When people would come to buy drugs from him, he’d just stand there with his arms crossed. Cash only. Right here.

Birth Father:
I thought about being like a youth counselor and like getting these young kids that are in the neighborhood that think that they know what they’re doing, they think they know that they’re grown, and they think that they know what they want to do with their life and I’ll show them something. Let everybody else see it, and then I’ll show them something new, something that they don’t know how to do, and never even been taught how to do, and then show them the direction that they should be going with their life.

Birth Father:
Like the one that I’ve been working on is this young kid, nobody gives a tool. He’s 16 years old. He runs the streets. He gets high. And at first, I wouldn’t let nobody give him drugs around me. He wasn’t allowed to get high around me. I told him if he tried to get high in the room with me, I’m going to beat you up. You’re going to have some respect for me. If you feel like you want to smoke in the room where I’m at, just say, Hey, check it out, Jake. Is it all right if I smoke? And I’ll step out the room, but you’re not going to smoke in the room with me. And he respected that and he did it every time.

Birth Mother:
At first, he didn’t.

Birth Father:
He’d go smoke in the bathroom.

Birth Mother:
At first, he would look at him, and I sat there and I talked a little while. I was like, “Look, it’s just how he is. It’s the same way he was with me. And to be honest with you, when I was your age, I wish I would have listened. I wish I would’ve, but I didn’t. I didn’t have it in my mind that it was bad for me. Not until way later.

Birth Father:
But he’s starting to get it here and there. I’ve been pushing him to go to job Corps every day and pushing him to go to Job Corps every day. And even once in a while-

Birth Mother:
He wants to go back to school.

Birth Father:
… with the home boys and stuff like at, I make them threaten him like, Hey, he has a curfew now. He’s not allowed run around the streets. If any of my homeboys see him out on the streets, they’ll beat him up, because he’s past curfew and make him go register in the school. Because if you don’t, he’s going to get beat up and he’s afraid of it and he goes and does he’s supposed to.

Birth Father:
Eight o’clock he’s inside because he’s not allowed to be outside past there. You’re just a kid, you don’t do it speeding out of here and he’ll stay in until the sun comes up and that’s when you can go out.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What if somebody had done that with you?

Birth Father:
I probably wouldn’t be this way. I was raised different. My dad was a gang banger. He’s from South side 35th. I didn’t meet him until I was like 10 years old because he tried to kill somebody.

Birth Mother:
Over a poncho.

Birth Father:
Slit this dude’s throat from ear to ear over a poncho.

Birth Mother:
That he gave his mom and she had taken it off at a party and he picked it up and was wearing it, and so he thought that there was something going on between his mom and the dude, and just walked up, pfft, took the poncho and walked off.

Birth Father:
… know is like, I’m a product of rape. My mother and my father split ways after this. And then along the time when he catches her at another party and she’s all drunk and he gets her and he’s having sex with her and rapes her, stabbed her in the back. She’s got a cut on her backpack, probably about a good five inches from him breaking a beer bottle and stabbing it into the back of her and twisting it and then running it up her back.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Why did he do that?

Birth Father:
Because he was so hurt on the fact that she had left him. My Dad’s like 100% true blue. I’m surprised he’s not on a serial killer list because that’s how bad he is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What does true blue mean?

Birth Father:
Like it’s as real as it gets.

Birth Mother:
Somebody that likes blood.

Birth Father:
He’s like a murder, like a stone-cold murder. Don’t get no worse than that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Is he in prison now?

Birth Father:
I don’t know now. And then my mother, she was a prostitute. She was a crack head when I was growing up. I actually lived in this hotel called the Sand Man. And like my mother would trade me for crack.

Birth Mother:
I forgot about that, actually.

Birth Father:
I used to live in the Sand Man motel when I was a kid and my mother would trade me for drugs to tricks and to homosexual men when I was just a kid, five, six, and seven, those are the worst times in my life.

Birth Mother:
We’ll be sitting there playing around, I’ll try to tickle him, and he’s just automatically, like don’t.

Birth Father:
I don’t like being tickled, I don’t like being pulled on, I don’t like none of that or any of that stuff. There’s a lot. I don’t like being hugged because of it. Like I’ve never been able to be all like affectionate towards another individual. I can’t. Like public display of affection, I can’t do it now because of it. I can’t be affectionate towards another person. And in so many ways, it takes a really long time for me to even be affectionate towards anybody.

Birth Mother:
For a long time-

Birth Father:
… first started being affectionate towards her just recently and I’ve known her for three years.

Birth Mother:
And we’ve been together for three years.

Birth Father:
And she doesn’t understand it. It’s like I lived a hard life.

Birth Mother:
Sometimes he’ll just like sit there and he’ll be like this when I give him a hug and I’m just like… but don’t care-

Birth Father:
When I got older-

Birth Mother:
… I’ll still hug him. I’ll still embrace him because I love him.

Speaker 3:
When I got older, my mother seen like the type of person that I was and that I was always going to be what she thought I was always going to be. And she used to take me on these. I was only like 16, 17, 18, 19. She’d take me on these things she called them amazing adventures of a super ho, and I would run the streets while my mom prostituted, and she would make me sell drugs. I’ve been in every alley on Van Buren from the freeway, the I-17 all the way down, up until like 24th street and Van Buren, every single last alley.

Birth Mother:
And when he was 12, he went to go get dope for his mom one day, some crack for his mom and got shot in the head.

Birth Father:
I was 19.

Birth Mother:
Oh, you were 19 at the time?

Birth Father:
I was 19 years old, it was around the time when Mark Goodall was running around, and my mom, one of the very few people that ever escape him, he ripped a big patch of my mom’s hair out. She was like missing a big patch of hair from him ripping her hair off of her head, but my mother escaped him. He beat her up real bad, but she ends up, she fights back, gets him up off of him. It was the same night. And she comes back with the money that he had handed to her, and I go, she’s makes me go get her dope.

Birth Father:
And as I’m walking, there was this one girl, I don’t know why I would do it every time I would see her, I would either give her money or I’d give her dope, try to help her out because she was out there and she set me up. She set me up to get robbed by this guy. This guy jumps out the bushes and he shoots me because I didn’t want to give him what I had. He shot me in the head point blank with a nine-millimeter, dropped me to the ground. But I was so high on sherm at the time, I still got back up, even though I see nothing and I couldn’t barely stand, he hits me. He punches me in the face and I still get back up. He just turned around and walked away.

Birth Father:
I had a hole. Like I had three hoodies and a beanie on, it was the winter time. He’d knocked all three of my hoodies off, knocked my beanie off. Knocked this big piece, like right here, like this back all the way like this. And it came out the bottom part of my neck right here, like this on the bottom part. I do this all back like this. And I just had just like pulled my hoodie, one of my hoodies, and put it right here like this and got my beanie and put it on top of my head and walked home.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You didn’t go to the hospital?

Birth Father:
I took the bus to the hospital by myself because nobody wanted to go with me. They didn’t know that I was shot in the head like that, and I didn’t realize that I was shot. My uncle kept trying to tell me, but it wasn’t registering in my head because I was high on sherm.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What is that?

Birth Father:
It’s like PCP. So, because I’m high on PCP, nothing’s registering to me. He keeps telling me that you need to go to the hospital, dude, it looks like you’ve been shot. See, you got two holes, you need to go. And I was like, well, somebody take me up there. Somebody take me up there. And I took the route 24 bus, all the way to McDowell, and got on the McDowell bus and went to the one that’s on 12th street by myself, bleeding. And people were just looking at me because I’m covered in blood. And you could see that I had been shot and everybody’s looking at me like, how are you even still standing? I get to the hospital, and then that’s when the doctor tells me that I had been shot. That’s when it registered.

Birth Father:
And they just stitched me up and sent me on my way. Gave me some Percocets And they gave me a morphine drip for a little while and they gave me three Percocets. I sat in the hospital for like maybe like 12 hours, and then they discharged me. Like I lived a really, really rough life.

Birth Father:
The last thing that I ever want for any of my kids, is to live the life that I live. And I know that I can’t just go and just give my child to anybody and think that they’re going to live a good life. I can go somewhere like this and know for a fact that I could pick a family that’s going to do the right thing. And I know for a fact that my child’s going to live a good life. I know they’re going to be loved. I know they’re going to be cared for. I know they’re going to be clothed. I know they’re going to be housed. I know they’re going to get educated. I know they’re probably going to go to college.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Birth Mother:
My two kids that I gave up for adoption right now, one of them is in pageants and the other one they want to put in pageants. The one I just had, they want to have her put in pageants, too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You guys are amazing.

Birth Father:
Thank you. I think you guys are amazing. You sit there and you work your whole life and make sure that these children have somewhere good to go and then make sure that the family that’s putting the child up is taken care of. That’s a beautiful thing to me. I respect you guys in so many ways.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Thank you.

Birth Mother:
I was telling him when we got-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I was the one that talked to you on the phone.

Birth Mother:
Yeah. When I first called?

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

Birth Mother:
When I first got to the motel and stuff like that, after they did the intake and all that, and they gave us the hotel bag and the food box and stuff like that. I was sitting here looking at him and I was like, “Look at this.” The last adoption agency we went to, we sat in a motel for a week. I was hungry the whole time. They didn’t give me no money, no nothing to get nothing to eat, and I was just sitting there hungry. We ended up going to the-

Birth Father:
They ended up charging us $85 an hour just to order an Uber. He was an adoption lawyer who owned an adoption agency, and he would charge his lawyer fees to order an Uber.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It was for profit. We’re non-profit.

Birth Father:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean, we do this because we believe in it. I was adopted and my husband, he does the business side of it. And when my mom died three years ago, we started the After Care Foundation, so we help birth parents after you have the baby and everything’s free. So, we help with like job placement, resumes-

Birth Father:
They didn’t do none of that. They wouldn’t even help me now on this site, I have a lot of kids and I kept telling the man, I said, “You think you think that that men don’t get postpartum? Well, we do.”

Birth Mother:
Yes they do.

Birth Father:
And they wouldn’t help me with anything.

Birth Mother:
Yes they do.

Birth Father:
I couldn’t get them to do anything for me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Now, we’ll pay for counseling. We’ll pay for anything.

Birth Mother:
And see, that’s the thing is like I was sitting there and I’m unpacking everything and just looking and I’m like, I looked over at him and I was like, “Look at this. This is how they’re supposed to do it.” He didn’t do what he was supposed to do. I was like, “This is just crazy.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You have to give people the right examples.

Birth Mother:
Yeah, you guys treated us so well, like you guys gave us food so that we weren’t sitting there hungry. Gave us dishes and everything like that. Like, we didn’t have none of that stuff. When we were sitting at the motel over there, when I was hungry, we literally had to walk next door to the other motel and steal food.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You’re people, you’re not just somebody to put a hotel.

Birth Mother:
Just to eat.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, I get it.

Birth Mother:
I’m sitting there looking at it like, so far I really liked the way you guys do things.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And if there’s ever something you don’t, come talk to me. Because like I said, I’m one of the founders and the director. So, I will fix it. I don’t let anybody disrespect birth parents because like I said, my mom was one and she wasn’t respected.

Birth Father:
One of my uncles was adopted from when he was a baby. He was a preemie though, and he his mom, Angie, was the one who adopted him. But he was so small that you could hold him in the palm of your hand and he wore doll clothes and my aunt nursed him back to health. And he’s living today because of her. If it wasn’t for her, he would be dead, because his mother didn’t care. She was going to flush them down the toilet.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adoption’s a beautiful thing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Wow. That was incredible.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t even have words to say again. I’m speechless.

Ron Reigns:
I don’t either. It was amazing. That was a fantastic interview. And I actually have chills just thinking about it again and it’s amazing. So, thank you so much for sharing that with me and for our listeners as well.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh, absolutely. I think that there are certain moments in your professional career and/or lifetime that you hear something and as Oprah used to coin it, the aha moment.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And there were so many aha moments throughout this.

Ron Reigns:
And a couple of, oh my God, moments too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There were, many. And it was one of those things that as an adoption professional, I want everybody, whether they’re in the adoption community or whether they are the gentleman walking down the street, I want everyone to hear it because my hope is that it will not only increase adoption awareness indication, but it will also increase compassion and unity.

Ron Reigns:
Right. So, you don’t just look at somebody who is giving their child another chance as, Oh, they’re giving up their baby. You think, wait, these are real people with real issues and real lives. And they’re making a brave choice.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Again, I applaud them as I applaud every birth parent who makes the adoption choice. And I think, I coin that other phrase, it takes a village to raise a child. I think it takes the world to come together and really stop with the stereotypes and stop with the preconceived notions and perceptions. And I think we just need to understand that we come from all walks of life. And if we put the judgment down and pick the compassion up, we’re going to get a lot further.

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.

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 will be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 4:
Don’t have an abortion, give this child a chance. 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:
Adoption from a birth father’s perspective is not something that is commonly heard.

Ron Reigns:
Right. We don’t talk about it as much.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Correct.

Ron Reigns:
Much like all of these aspects, whether it’s abortion or adoption, the focus seems to be on the birth mother as opposed to the birth father. Right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. And one of our goals in the podcast has always been to really make sure that we understand everybody’s perspective. And it’s not just about the birth mother. The birth father is just as important.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When I was meeting with a birth father and a birth mother the other day, I was talking with them and listening to their story. And the birth father started talking about his history, and why he is such an adoption proponent, and why adoption is the path that he chose for the second time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And in listening to him, I actually stopped him midway into our conversation, because in my mind it was so revolutionary what he was saying. I don’t think that his thoughts are revolutionary. I think his ability to speak it, is. I think his openness and his candor is something that is not commonly expressed. When he was talking, it was so real and so raw. And I wanted to make sure that the world could hear what probably is the inner voice of so many other birth fathers.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And in listening to his story, I felt that for other birth fathers out there, aspects may be very relatable. And for those birth fathers out there with their birth mothers that are considering adoption, that listening to him may help them with their adoption decision.

Ron Reigns:
May give them strength.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When I’m talking with birth mothers, I will often say things like, “It’s much clearer for you to walk down this path, having listened to somebody else that has walked down this path before you. And you’re going to be able to identify with them, maybe not on everything but certain aspects.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so I asked this couple, if they would be willing to share their story. Obviously, they’re going to remain anonymous. But if they could share their story and what they’re saying so that we can bring more light, education, and awareness, to adoption from a birth father’s perspective. So here we go.

Speaker 5:
All these children that are just innocent, they had nothing to do with anything. And all I seen was money. I didn’t care about nothing or nobody until that moment. Me realizing that it was me, that I was the problem with the neighborhood, and that I was the problem with everybody’s families, and why all these kids are getting neglected, and why all these kids. the women are pregnant and they’re coming out and the babies are like drugged. They’re pretty much high. And I was a source of it and I just couldn’t do it no more.

Speaker 5:
I knew that if I didn’t break the cycle somewhere along the line, that I would be the source of making society so much worse. And it’s like, who am I to make the choices about everybody’s life? I’m nobody. And in my mind, it’s just wrong in so many ways. Before, I didn’t care, it didn’t mean nothing to me. If this girl was high, getting high, while she was pregnant, doing heroin or smoking meth, I didn’t care as long as I got money, it meant nothing to me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you made a lot of money.

Speaker 5:
Oh yeah.

Speaker 6:
And you used to make a lot of money.

Speaker 5:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, what’s a lot of money? Like what? Like if you had to say-

Speaker 5:
200,000 in a week.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Come again.

Speaker 5:
$200,000 in a week.

Speaker 4:
They even did a newspaper article on my brother. This is the one who everything fell on was my older brother. They took everything from us. They took everything and everything went off on him. And the newspaper article was about how we made $200,000 in a week. And all they did was just sit there and collect and do whatever I told them to.

Speaker 4:
You’ll never really see their faces ever in the neighborhood. I was the one putting out there doing all the work. I was the one putting everybody on in the neighborhood. It was all me. They knew it. A lot of people don’t know it, but it was all me. And it’s like, if it wasn’t for me, they would’ve still been nobody. They would’ve just had all this that they could do nothing with.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So how did you actually… You can’t just stop or turn that off. How did you do it? Did you go to rehab? Did you-

Speaker 4:
I just stopped and turned it off all on my own. I didn’t go no where.

Speaker 5:
It was pretty much my daughter being taken and stuff that-

Speaker 4:
I didn’t go anywhere.

Speaker 5:
That changed a lot of his outlook on a lot of things. Because for months he tried to get me to go to You Moms and everything like that. And I was just stuck in the streets, pretty much. And even though I was taking care of my daughter and she had everything she needed, she had all her clothes. She had food every night, everything like that. She had a place to sleep. I was just consumed with the streets, too, at the same time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In what way?

Speaker 4:
In every way. Literally, if she seen somebody that was selling drugs, and she felt like that was the person that was shining the most in the neighborhood, that’s who she liked to attract too. Even though she’s not realizing like 95% of everybody that’s in the neighborhood that are doing good, they come to me and they’re like, “Hey, I need your help.” And it’d be me, the ones that put these people on. And it’d be me, the one that make them shine and don’t nobody ever see it because that’s what I do. That’s what I do best.

Speaker 4:
I’ll get these little rundown drug dealers that nobody respects in the neighborhood, nobody ever really messes with them too much, and I’ll go and I’ll take them under my wing. I’ll give them a bunch of dope and nobody sees what I give them. They know what I do for them. And they love me to death for it. But it’s like, I already did what I did and I can’t take it back, so they’re already who they are. But I used to literally take these guys and like get them, mold them into what I want them to be, give them a bunch of drugs and send them off to the world.

Speaker 5:
And he was just always off dealing with other girls and stuff like that. That would go out and hoe for him-

Speaker 4:
I used to be a pimp.

Speaker 5:
And stuff like that. And so, I was pretty much running around the streets by myself, even though we were together, I was running around the streets by myself and stuff like that. And so, I’d stay from house to house, whether it was dope house or not, just trying to basically stay safe with my daughter. Trying to keep her with a roof over her head, so she wasn’t out in the cold, or wasn’t out in the rain and stuff like that.

Speaker 5:
Even though it was a bad environment for her and stuff like that, and I know that, but it was just like at the time, that’s all I had.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so you were still kind of interested in him, and you were at pimp at the time. See the reason I’m asking you guys these questions is because I’m on the other side. So I’ve got to learn because I’m trying to help other people. And so if you don’t teach me, you’re not going to learn this in a book.

Speaker 4:
No you can. It’s a possibility.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I know.

Speaker 4:
I call it the art of manipulation through heroin, especially when girls who are on heroin. And people think that these girls are like hoeing for me, really, they’re not. What I’m doing is I’m literally fronting them drugs here because I know they need it, and I’ll give them heroin upfront. And I’ll just keep giving it to them, keep giving it to them. And when they run up a bill, I make them go get it, by any means necessary.

Speaker 4:
That means if they got to go post that ad on the internet and have to sell the crack of their life for this, that’s what they got to go do. And they’d go get my money for me. Not because I’m really pimping them, it’s because they owe me money and I’m a drug dealer and they want more drugs from me.

Speaker 5:
So they’ll go do anything-

Speaker 4:
So they go and they’ll go do anything, whatever’s necessary, to give me my money.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What would be the consequences? Like what if they said, “I don’t have it,”?

Speaker 4:
Then I would just cut them off and they’d be sick. And nobody in the neighborhood would mess with them. They would always be sick.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Nobody would mess with them, meaning?

Speaker 5:
Nobody would give them dope because he was the one supplying them. So if they didn’t want to pay him-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So you really did hold all the strings.

Speaker 4:
Yeah. So, it going like this, if she doesn’t give me my money, and she goes to try to mess with the next dealer, I’ll just say, “Hey man, look, check it out. She owes me money. Don’t give her nothing. And if you give her something, then I’m not going to give you nothing.” So, they look at it like this. They would rather not give this girl nothing at all, than not be able to get anything from me. Because then if they’re not getting anything from me, then they’re not making any money.

Speaker 4:
Because I was a bully. I’d come with my AK, and I’ll sit down inside their dope house and sell dope. Sell dope to them and then sell all my dope out of their house and let them see that there’s nothing they could do about it. It’s either they work for me or they worked for nobody, or they just don’t work at all.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And you held this power because of the gun?

Speaker 4:
No, because… Well, yeah, because of that and because of the drugs and because of the other people that were so infatuated with who I made myself, that they backed me. So, it’s like either you’re going to do it anyway, or you’re going to have all these young gorillas that don’t want nothing but to earn stripes. They want to earn stripes. They want her in the clout.

Speaker 5:
Reputation.

Speaker 4:
They want to earn the position, that reputation and everything in between. And these little youngsters know that if they do what I want them to, they’re going to live a good life. They’re going to have their own hoes. They’re going to have their own dope house. They’re going to have their own gun. And they’re going to have money, they’re going to have a car. They’re going to have everything that goes with the life, if they do what I asked them to. So, it’s like-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What’s the average age?

Speaker 4:
Nothing under 18. I don’t play that. These other guys that run around and they bully these little young… I don’t do that. I don’t give a damn.

Speaker 5:
He has kids.

Speaker 4:
And a lot of times, even when they’re 18, I’ll get them and I give them an option. I ask them a question, “Is this really what you want to be doing with your life?” If they tell me no, I just give them some money, enough to where they’ll be okay. And send them on their way. “Here, go do something different with your life because this isn’t where you want to be at. I mean, even though I am who I am and that I’ve done a lot of things, I still had some type of conscious about the things that I was doing.

Speaker 4:
I didn’t like if they were too young, and when they’re young, 18, 19, 20, you could easily mold them into what you want them to be in every type of way, shape, form, or fashion. It’s almost like brainwashing an individual. And when they’re young like that, if they’re already too far gone, I’ll get them, and then yeah, with no problem. But if they’re not, then I try to send them on the right path.

Speaker 5:
Like with me. When I was 15 and we first met each other over at his mom’s house and stuff like that, he asked me, he was like… Because I used to sell crack when I was 15. I started selling crack when I was 14, before he got out of prison. And that was just basically to survive, to get food for me and my mom. My mom worked at Taco Bell and everything like that. But by the time she paid rent and everything like that, we didn’t have much.

Speaker 5:
So without her knowing I would just go and I started selling crack. And I was selling crack for a couple years. And then we met each other and he was like, “Well, how do you feel about selling dope?” And at first, I told him, I was like, “I don’t mess with that,” because just everybody I knew lives were messed up from it.

Speaker 5:
So he left it at that. A couple of months later, I call him and I asked him for some dope, for some G. And he was like…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay, back up. What is G? I don’t mean to be-

Speaker 4:
Crystal meth.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay.

Speaker 5:
Yeah. He was like, “You’re messing with that stuff now?” And my first reaction was like, “No, I’m not, no, no.” Like I wasn’t going to tell him, “Yeah, I’m doing dope now.” And he’s like, “Yeah, I’ll be there in a minute.” Never showed up. And then next time I seen him was we were hanging out at his mom’s house and I had a pipe and some dope in a bag and stuff. And I loaded a bowl and I hit it. And I was like, “Want to smoke with me?”

Speaker 5:
And he’s like, “Yeah, let me see that.” And he grabbed it and he looked at it, and he was like, “This ain’t how you load a bowl. Let me see your sack.” So I handed him the sack. He turned around and walked out the door with it. And I’m sitting here like, did he just rob me? That’s how I felt like at the time, did he just rob me? And me at that time, I didn’t realize it. But now I realize it, like he was just trying to get me to not smoke. Because when I first met him, what I told him, was that I didn’t mess with that.

Speaker 4:
I was only out for seven months at the time when… I got out in the middle of 2012, and then I got arrested in the beginning of 2013. So I wasn’t that long when I first met her. When I got out, she was grown. With the second go around, when I got out that second time, they tried to RICO act me again.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What does that mean?

Speaker 4:
They tried to give me a natural life for criminal mob boss syndicate, for money laundering, for drug trafficking, for guns. Some one of my brothers got caught with… He had 42 counts of misconduct involving weapons, four sales charges to an ATF agent, a bunch of drug charges. They tried to hit us with a bunch of money laundering charges.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
How’d you only get four years?

Speaker 4:
Because we had the same prosecutor and she was a new prosecutor. So, when she went to file, she misfiled, she didn’t know what she was doing. She tried to hit the RICO act on us and didn’t know how to file it properly. And because she misfiled her RICO act, we walked.

Speaker 5:
The first time I ever got arrested, I was with his brother that got charged with 42 gun charges. They raided the house that we were staying at. And I just so happened to be over there, picking up my stuff. And I walked up and I told him, “I was like, you’re about to get raided.” And he’s like, “No, I’m not, no, I’m not.”

Speaker 5:
So he goes and gets in the shower and I’m still up there. Because there were a couple people in the house and I was just like watching his back, basically, making sure they didn’t do anything. And one of the people, about a year prior to that, I told him, I was like, “This girl is going to set you up. She’s going to set you up. I’m telling you right now, just the question she was asking me, she’s not in it for you.” And sure enough. We got raided.

Speaker 5:
The police knocked on the door. She got up and answered it and just opened the door for them. And the next thing I know, there’s like 30 officers swarming the apartment. He’s on house arrest at the time with an ankle monitor for gun charges, and there’s three guns laying out. Two of them weren’t actual guns. One was just like a green gas oozy, the other one was a 45-pellet gun, but they were the ones that look real. So, in any case, if they look real enough that you can commit a crime like robbing somebody, you get charged with the real possession of weapons.

Speaker 4:
they’re less lethal firearms, they’re actual real guns that were converted into air soft pistols, is what a lot of people fail to realize. They just changed the top slide out to where the bullets can’t pump out of them. And like, if you were to take them apart, the bottom part slide and the trigger part, the actual firing pin mechanism that’s there, is flipped around the other way. So, all it does it just pop the BB out, you see what I’m saying?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So why use those?

Speaker 4:
They take old firearms that are probably-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Recycle them.

Speaker 4:
Yeah. And recycle them and turn them into air soft pistols.

Speaker 5:
And then you can easily make them back to a regular gun with no problem. Just takes a little bit of elbow grease. And…

Speaker 4:
I take a top slide, a recoil spring, and a firing pin, and that’s it. And you can convert it right back into a firearm with nothing.

Speaker 5:
And then-

Speaker 4:
Oh, and the barrel. You got to change the barrel out.

Speaker 5:
And so they came in, they arrested him automatically. They pulled him out of the shower, put some shorts on him and put him in cuffs and put him in the car and took him to jail. And I’m the only one left. Like that’s how I knew the girl who set us up is because they didn’t ask her no questions, not name….nothing. They just were like, Okay, you’re free to go.”

Speaker 5:
And so I was the last one left in the apartment. They took him to jail.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Why not you?

Speaker 5:
Well, they hadn’t taken me to jail yet. I was only 18. I had just turned 18. Had no charges, never been arrested in juvie or anything like that. And they’re all like, “Well, what are you doing here?” They’re looking at me like you don’t even belong in this scene, basically. Because I had never been in trouble. And I asked him for the wallet, which was his wallet. I claimed his wallet so that I could put his money on his books. And when the girl that set us up had taken the wallet and his sack of dope and put it in a little bag together.

Speaker 5:
So when they found the wallet, they found out the quarter ounce of dope. And they were like, “Well, look it here, who’s this?” And I looked at him. I said, “To be honest with you, I’m going to tell you right now, it’s not mine, but I don’t know who’s it is.” And so, they took me to jail and charged me with a quarter ounce of dope; possession of dangerous drugs. That was the first charge I ever caught. And ever since then, and that was in 2014, up until 2017, in the middle of 2017, I was dealing with that charge.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
After everything that we’ve heard for this first of two segments of this conversation that I had with these two birth parents, I’m almost speechless.

Ron Reigns:
I don’t even know what to say about it. It’s powerful.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It’s powerful, and it’s moving. And I want to state to all of our listeners, this was unrehearsed, un-coached. You will hear me a couple of times, ask a question for clarity.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But other than that, this is their story. And the bravery that they have in sharing it, I think goes without saying. And so, I’m excited to be able to share part two.

Ron Reigns:
So make sure you listen to the next episodes because we’ll be bringing that to you as well.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You don’t want to miss it.

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.

Ron Reigns:
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.

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. 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 cofounder 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:
Happy Christmas Eve.

Ron Reigns:
Merry Christmas, guys.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Merry Christmas.

Ron Reigns:
It’s the holidays.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is, and we could not let today go by without having a Christmas episode.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, definitely. It won’t be a long episode today because we’re on holiday too.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. But we wanted to make sure that we said Merry Christmas to all of our listeners and talked a little bit about adoption and Christmas. And for those of you that are celebrating, we want to celebrate with you. And for those of you that are having a difficult time with Christmas this year, we want to make sure we’re with you as well.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So in looking at Christmas, the first thing that comes to my mind anyway is Christmas trees.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Well, it’s definitely an image, that symbol of the holiday.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I love Christmas trees, first of all. I love real ones. Ours is fake, but I love real Christmas trees. I love the smell of them.

Ron Reigns:
The smell indeed. The mess, do you love that?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The dropping of the pine needles?

Ron Reigns:
Not as much?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. You know, we used to use tinsel when I was a kid on all of our Christmas trees, and that is like a static nightmare.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Now, I can see using tinsel and the icicle things on a real tree. But when you do it on a fake tree it is a nightmare, because you’re trying to put the thing away and get all this stupid stuff off it for next year. And you may not want to decorate it the same next year.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Exactly. So, once you have tinsel, you will forever have tinsel.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And when we talk about Christmas trees, I always tell myself, “Okay, this year I’m going to have the beautiful Macy’s-esque Christmas tree. And then every year I look at the handmade ornaments for my kids from the time they were one and two, and I can’t do it. I can’t have a Macy’s Christmas tree.

Ron Reigns:
Macy’s doesn’t have that on there, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, they don’t. They have the bows and the matching bulbs, and ours looks like we found every bulb from 1980 until now and just threw them on the tree and every child’s ornament that they’ve made. And it’s beautiful.

Ron Reigns:
It’s more beautiful in a weird way. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
While the other one seems aesthetically perfect …

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is.

Ron Reigns:
The one that’s actually made by the hands that you love is the one that’s more beautiful.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. And I have to share a quick, funny story that makes me look like a terrible mom, which we all have our what I call bad mommy moments.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And this is a bad mommy moment that I am confessing on air. When my oldest daughter, Michelle, was three, she made this ornament at preschool where it was like a circle on construction paper, and then what they did is they glued pretzels around to make a wreath and they interweaved ribbon through the pretzels.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It looked beautiful.

Ron Reigns:
Cool idea, right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Maybe three or four days before Christmas that year, we’d already hung the ornament on the tree and it was probably 6:30 in the morning, and my daughter came and said, “Mommy, I’m hungry for breakfast.” And I was so tired I couldn’t get out of bed. And I said, “Okay, just give me five more minutes.” And I played the five more minute game for probably a half an hour.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I was awake enough that I was watching her and making sure she was okay, but not really alert enough to notice that she was eating her ornament.

Ron Reigns:
She was hungry.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. And by the time I realized it, she’d nibbled on it, because there was ribbon so it wasn’t like she could just pull the pretzels off. It looks like a rat started eating around it.

Ron Reigns:
Nibbling around it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it is a reminder to me every year. I hang it on the tree, it’s a little bit like my albatross, just to remind myself to take that moment and …

Ron Reigns:
And take care of the kids.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Even when you’re tired and hard to get up.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They’re hungry. Because you don’t want them eating their ornaments.

Ron Reigns:
That’s beautiful. I love it. Good job.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right. So, Christmas trees are our focus in this podcast, and a Christmas tree is very representative of a triangle.

Ron Reigns:
Right. That’s the image, the long, tall triangle. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And so, as we look at the Christmas triangle, in my mind it reminds me of the triad. Triangle, triad.

Ron Reigns:
Right. So, the birth mother, the adoptive parents, and the adoptive child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Exactly.

Ron Reigns:
In whichever order you want to put them, it doesn’t matter.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, exactly. So I thought that when we discussed Christmas today, we would talk a little bit about the highs and lows of Christmas and the holiday season for the adoption triad.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, very good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So for the adoptee, I would say from personal experience Christmas was and is always a blast. It is always a time for me that is celebratory. It’s just full of excitement. I would recommend to families that have adopted children to make sure that if you adopt an older child or you do an international adoption, that you include the child immediately in the family traditions. And for those that are adopted at birth or just decide this is the time we’re going to start doing everything correctly, or we’re going to start making sure we check every box and dot every I …

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, this is the year.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, this is the year. Help your child create memorial keepsakes. Remember that all families are different. You don’t have to keep up with the Joneses. One thing that you can do that’s fun is to make your own family advent calendar. And behind each box you can put a different cultural item for each one, if you have adopted internationally.

Ron Reigns:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Another thing that would be fun to do is, if you’re doing a Christmas picture and you have different cultures in your home, is to have each of those children represent those cultures maybe through their clothing or something they’re holding.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Some kind of symbol of that heritage.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, that’s kind of fun. Another fun thing is to create personalized stockings. Let your child help make their own stocking. And I think that’s kind of fun.

Ron Reigns:
And it’s fun whether you’re adopted or not for the kids.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Getting to create something for yourself.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. And not only that, you can make ornaments that are non-edible.

Ron Reigns:
Not pretzel related, okay, fair enough.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Make sure that you prevent yourself from ever having a Macy’s Christmas tree.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Because nobody’s eating the macaroni ones, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, no. They’d be at the dentist on Christmas if they were doing that.

Ron Reigns:
Crunch, crunch.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Exactly. So for the birth parents out there, the first year may be the hardest, as the first of anything usually are.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
As a new birth mother, people may have told you this is going to be a hard time, be prepared to be sad. Don’t take that for what it’s worth. If you’re sad, you’re sad. And if you’re not, you’re not. You don’t have to make sure that you are feeling a certain way because that has been pushed on you. Find your own feelings. And if you do need help or you need things to help lift your spirit and you have an open adoption, reach out to your child. Make arrangements in advance to spend time with your child. Send a gift or card. I know we have at our agency lots of birth mothers that have placed previously that will come and bring gifts for us to send to their families.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Even if your child is too young to know that it’s Christmas and you want to make something for them that they can look back on as they get older and as they’re growing up, it would be fun to make them an ornament that they could have for each year of their life. And when they’re old enough to understand about adoption and the loving choice that you made; they can look back at the ornaments that you made every year. Another thing that might help is to ask the adoptive parents for a photo. Write a letter to the child, again, every year. They’re so young now, that doesn’t mean that the adoptive family can’t put them aside.

Ron Reigns:
And the kid can read it later.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What a gift.

Ron Reigns:
Say you’re 15, 16 years old and you go through that box and go, “Wow, my birth mom always loved me just as much as my adoptive mom.” Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because she does.

Ron Reigns:
Right, exactly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I can tell you that if I had an album to go back through where I could read it, that would mean the world to me.

Ron Reigns:
Sure.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That would be the best gift ever.

Ron Reigns:
So again, one of those many reasons why it’s so great that adoptions are becoming more and more open through the years. So yeah, I agree.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Agree. Another thing that birth parents can do is to keep a journal. Because next year and the year after that and the after that, studies show, and from the women that I’ve spoken with, it does get easier. And you learn how to appreciate and respect yourself even more. You also learn how to further find peace in your decision. Surrounding yourself with family members and friends is helpful because it keeps you distracted. Connecting with other birth mothers, reaching out to a counselor if you need to. Start a new project. I think volunteering and giving back always helps. When you’re really struggling with depression or you’re grieving, and you force yourself to get out of bed and to start living life again, volunteering and helping somebody else really, really makes a difference for both of you, the person you’re helping and yourself. The holidays are a time for giving. So volunteering, again, is really a good way of paying it forward.

Ron Reigns:
Right. And it just makes you feel like, “Wow, I’m doing something positive. I’m doing something good.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Just like with the adoption. It’s the same philosophy.

Ron Reigns:
Same mindset.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, you’re giving. And that is what a birth mother does, is she’s a giver.

Ron Reigns:
There you go.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Remind yourself about the reasons you placed, and really make sure that you take time to just celebrate you. Because you’re the reason that the adoptive family is having the Christmas that they’re having and you’re the reason that your child is going to have the amazing life that you want your child to have.

Ron Reigns:
And the opportunities that you may not be able to afford them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And for you adoptive parents out there, if you’re currently in the adoption process and you’re in the waiting process and you’re having a hard time because it’s the holidays and there’s lots of pictures of families and movies about families and Christmas time …

Ron Reigns:
And you feel like, “I’m just waiting for my family.” Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, “When is it going to happen? When is it my turn?” Try not to focus all of your energy during this time on adopting. Take an adoption time out vacation.

Ron Reigns:
You know what? Have a happy Christmas before the adoption finalizes.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Because the next Christmas is probably going to be really busy and very stressful. So, enjoy it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Enjoy it. Count the blessings that you have now. Focus on the positives that are going on in your life. And reach out. There’s so many support groups out there for other adoptive parents that are waiting and they’re probably struggling just like you. If you have adopted and you have an open adoption with your child’s birth parents, remember them and honor them during this season. Consider sending a handprint or a footprint of your child or creating an ornament for their Christmas tree.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Make sure you include them by sending them a holiday card. Maybe if you have a very open adoption, you’d be comfortable inviting them to participate.

Ron Reigns:
Enjoy Christmas with us, or the holidays. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Absolutely. Make sure you schedule a Skype or FaceTime. If they do send a gift for the child, make sure that you send a picture back to them of the child with the gift. Send a text on Christmas morning at minimum. Make sure that you record a holiday message for your birth parents. Encourage your child, if your child was able to write a letter, to share that with the birth family. Maybe send a copy of their Santa list.

Ron Reigns:
Very good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Before you mail it to Santa. Also, make sure that you are open with your child and you talk to them about the birth family and any traditions that they may have shared with you and what they do. And even take it a step further and incorporate those traditions into your own family traditions so that you can respect and honor the child’s birth parents. Or if you adopted internationally and they have customs in their country, maybe do that as well.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think sending the birth parents, if you’re able to, maybe a little miniature tree that you and the child decorated for them to have would just mean the world. And I think that this is a time to really show your appreciation and love …

Ron Reigns:
For what they did for you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because they’re the reason that your family is what it is today. So, I think these are just some things that you can do to help celebrate Christmas and the beautiful holiday that it is. And from us to you, we hope all of you have a safe holiday.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
An amazing holiday, you enjoy whatever perspective you are looking at adoption from. And we hope that you’ll stay with us in the upcoming episodes and through the new year.

Ron Reigns:
Very good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right, so Merry Christmas.

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, get 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