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

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

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

Speaker 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:
Why using an agency for adoption is important. Sometimes adoptive families want to take adoption into their own hands, rather than using an agency. This can be challenging and carry its own risks or liabilities. So, I thought we would take time and make this podcast and talk about independent adoptions and the pros and cons of using an adoption agency versus an independent adoption.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Regardless, adoption attorneys are necessary in all adoptions to ensure that the legal requirements are met, but in an independent adoption, an adoption attorney may be the only professional a family actually works with. So, an adoption agency is essentially an all-inclusive one-stop shop, while independent adoptions require adoptive parents to outsource, if you will, the services they need from different and multiple adoption professionals. Now, in my opinion, families may attempt to do independent adoptions for the following reasons. One, they may believe that they may save money. They will have their own control rather than handing it over to an agency. They will attempt to establish a more direct communication maybe. And I’m not sure if some other reasons that families themselves may come forward and say, but I’m sure there are many more reasons as well.

Ron Reigns:
Now, when you talk about how they want to have control and not hand that over to an agency, but also aren’t they kind of losing a lot of the experience of the… because I’m guessing that somebody that’s doing their own independent adoption has maybe done one or two before this?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, normally that’s not…

Ron Reigns:
This is usually first time thing and then they go with an agency the next time?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t know about the next time, but if they go with an independent adoption, sometimes they’ll pull an agency in at the very end, because it does get complicated.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The other thing is, is that you’re losing your source of support, right? You’re losing your source of community.

Ron Reigns:
Your case managers, that work-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. You don’t have somebody to call at three in the morning when you’re worried about what the birth mother said and wondering if that’s a red flag. You really are taking this into your own hands. And sometimes it’s, you’re not saving the money that you think you’re going to save because when you’re doing, let’s say marketing, and some States it’s not legal to use the word marketing and adoption in the same breath, but-

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When you are doing outsourcing defined a birth mother, that can be expensive, if you’re pouring money into just for one, whereas agencies can cast bigger nets.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And if an adoptive family is trying to find a birth mother, independent of an agency, they have to use all of their own networking and advertising venues. They may spend more money on advertising than they would if it was part of their adoption fees.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The other thing is, is that adoption agencies would typically work with a larger number of pregnant women and can match families and birth mothers according to their preferences. Because if you’re casting a net and you’re looking for one birth mother, you don’t know what her preferences are necessarily going to be, and so if you’ve taken time, energy, finances, and poured it into this one mom to try to see if it’s a good match for you, you don’t really have the background. Nobody’s done an intake on her. You don’t know, initially, her history and so that’s something that’s a big deal. The other thing is, as an agency, we’re always monitoring and evaluating birth mother’s commitment levels to the program. We evaluate her for what we call red flags to make sure that she’s still committed to her adoption plan to make sure that this is still the avenue that all of the indicators are pointing to, that she’s looking for a successful adoptive placement herself. She wants to place her baby for adoption. Well, if you’re not trained in the school, per se, of adoption, you may not know what you’re looking for.

Ron Reigns:
You may not notice the red flags. What are some of the red flags that you guys look for?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Some of the flags that we see are when you have, maybe a birth mother that is very… She comes into the agency and she’s just focused solely on finances. She just wants to talk about money. She won’t talk about the adoptive family. She’s not interested in looking at profiles, she’s avoiding that. She just really wants to talk about the funds, what can she get?

Ron Reigns:
How much can I get for food this week and how much, yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And not really focused on, okay, so I want to talk about aftercare and what that’s going to look like and my involvement with the family. Another red flag, maybe if you have a birth mother that avoids… That initially has said that she would do an open adoption, but then avoids the adoptive family completely and starts avoiding you, the caseworker. And so when you see somebody pulling away. When you see somebody who says, “Yes, I will go to this doctor’s appointment and I will do this and this,” and you start seeing commitment by commitment, not…

Ron Reigns:
Falling by the wayside right, not, “Oh, I missed that appointment. Oh, but I missed that too”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
“That I can’t do today.” Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Another thing is, is that we use an independent counselor. This is a person who specializes in adoption counseling. And if you have the birth mother telling the agency one thing, and then she goes to an independent counselor and tells the counselor something completely different and it doesn’t match up.

Ron Reigns:
Right. Those notes are compared, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right and the birth mother knows that, she signs a release. You know what I mean? It’s not-

Ron Reigns:
Certainly, yeah, it’s not under the table it’s-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, no.

Ron Reigns:
It’s all above board.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We just want to make sure that everybody, that we’re all seeing the same goal in mind. Another red flag would be if she comes in and does an intake and the information that she gives you is changing as time goes on. So maybe she comes in and she has two birth fathers, and then she discloses the next month, “Well, there’s actually a couple more.” Or maybe she says, “I have no contact with the birth father” and he’s actually living with her. You know what I mean, those are the kinds of red flags that we’re looking for.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The services offered by an adoption agency may not be comparable to what you can offer as an independent adoption seeker, like group counseling or aftercare programs or access to specialists in adoption, like counselors, continuity of care for future adoptions. We as an agency, develop a relationship with the birth mother, independent of her relationship with the adoptive family, because we are assisting her emotionally with her adoption plan. We are there to hold her hand and take her to doctor’s appointments and answer her questions about adoption and provide reassurance and be that source of support.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The adoptive family, in having a relationship with their birth mother during her adoption journey and her pregnancy, is to be forming a connection, a familiar connection that they’re going to have for the rest of their lives. When you are independent, you really can’t play both roles. And so that, I think doesn’t give… the birth mother doesn’t get all the services that she could get otherwise.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The other thing is, and my biggest concern about independent adoptions is always the risk of a contested adoption. So really the only way an adoption can be overturned, I would say most cases, is if you can prove coercion.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so that is the number one thing that you do not want in an adoption, which is why, as an agency, we monitor all communication between the adoptive family and the birth mother, because then there can never be any accusations of coercion on behalf of the adoptive family. When you don’t have somebody who is with you and your birth mother, as an adoptive family, you don’t have an independent worker there, then who’s to say that you’re not going to be accused of saying this or offering this or pressuring this way.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so it really can open you up to liability. And I always explain to adoptive families, as the agency director, my goal and my responsibility is to safeguard their adoption. I am to make it as bulletproof as possible. In taking that very seriously, when you’re working independently as an adoptive family with a birth mother, you don’t have that layer of protection. And so that’s what an agency can offer rather than a family trying to do this on their own. So, I think that those are just some things to think about for families that are looking at why they would work with an agency, rather than trying to-

Ron Reigns:
Do this on their own.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Pioneer this on their own, yeah.

Nikita:
My name is Nikita. I’m a birth mother. I chose Building Arizona Families because I was kind of lost at the beginning. Didn’t know what I wanted to do. I ran into this over the internet, came in, I read about it some more. And then I met the people and I was just like, okay, this is something that I can consider. I didn’t want to do an abortion because it would be bad, so I chose to get my baby to someone who I know will love her and give her the best guidance. The family we chose was great. So, it was just a blessing out of the sky. It just came and I went with it and I feel fine now. I didn’t want to just place her, my child, with anybody. I came a little late. So, it was like, everything happened so fast. But when I say that it happened fast, the people who I was working with, my case managers and stuff like that, they helped me get through it as fast as it came.

Nikita:
So when I picked a family and I read the book, it was just like the first time we seen the book, we was like, yeah we’re going to go with them. But then we read through it and it was like, okay, they can have my baby. We can bless them with a baby. And they just so loving and caring, everybody was just so nice to me. And I just was like, this is where it’s at. I found family in this little group thing, Building Arizona, I had nobody and they came through, they was there every step of the way, seriously. So, it was great for me. Nice experience, hard experience. But I got through it. I pray a lot and I know that by me picking this family, it wasn’t just somebody that was thrown at us.

Nikita:
So it was like, it took a while to… we going to give this baby to a family that we don’t even know. But once I sat down and I met with the adoptive mother and adoptive father, I felt confident in what I was doing. So, the way I dealt with the coping and knowing that I’m giving my baby up, it was just like, can you provide for this baby right now? No, you can’t provide for this baby right now. Can you support this baby right now? No, you cannot. So, I cope better with just knowing that I had somebody else right there and the family was even with me too, everything was fine. We even got a connection with the family so that’s how I coped. And I’m coping right now after giving my baby up. I’m coping, I’m doing good. I thought I would be a cry baby but it’s like, once you figuring your heart out, your baby is safe. Nobody’s harming your baby. Your baby’s not dead. You know your baby is still out there, so you’re fine. Long as you know, she ain’t hurt, you going to be okay. It’s fine.

Nikita:
The best thing about adoption, open adoption, is you still get to communicate. It may not be every day, but as long as the family is willing to send pictures every six months or every three months to six months or a 90-minute visitation through the Skype and just knowing that you have that kind of connection, it makes you feel better because it’s not like you just gave your baby up and you don’t want nothing to do with it. There’s still a way you can be a part of that baby’s life not having to be right there to raise them, but you’re still being a part of that baby’s life and the family we chose, they just like, “Sure, we’ll send pictures.” I mean, I got pictures two days after I had my baby and I was feeling good, like “Oh, they are really nice. They not going to trade on me.”

Nikita:
I thought like, when you in a process of giving your baby up for adoption, you like, “Is these people going to stick with what they said? Are they going to send pictures? Are they going to let us talk when we get older?” And you got to be smart about what family you choosing because some families could do that, but this one is great. And that’s what also brings me closer. They have send a picture or one of my case managers will be like, “Oh, did you get this, Nikita?” And it’d be a picture of her. So, it’s great. They’re family, they still look out for you even when you have your child and you did what you had to do as far as with the adoption. They still be right there like, “Are you okay? You need counseling?” Anything, they’re still there to help you. And that’s why I love BAF. I really do. I found family in you all.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the Executive Director, President and Co-Founder of Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation and creator of the You Before Me Campaign. I have a bachelor’s degree in Family Studies and Human Development and a Master’s Degree in Education with an emphasis in school counseling. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother, raised in a closed adoption and reunited with my birth mother in 2007. I have worked in the adoption field for over 15 years.

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

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So this is a fun one Ron. This is fun.

Ron Reigns:
Finally.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Go figure, right?

Ron Reigns:
We always have fun.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So as an adoption professional in the adoption community, we always try to be politically correct. We always try to say the right things. We don’t want to offend anybody. And when we’re working with adoptive families, sometimes we want to say things, but we don’t, so we hold it back. Today when I’m holding it back. We are going to go there.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, I can’t wait.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Our goal is always successful adoption placements. We want all three sides of the triad to be safe, happy, healthy, enjoy their adoption journey. Adoption can be a very emotional topic and opinions can vary from person to person. I do think that people’s opinions can vary based upon their background and experience and whether they have adopted, were adopted, placed for adoption, have a friend or a family member that fell into one of these three categories and then the outcome of their experience, because I think we are shaped by our experiences and influenced by others.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So a single experience can throw shade. Isn’t that kind of a good little lingo? Can throw shade.

Ron Reigns:
You sound like a teenager.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I do, towards another’s experience, whether it be negative or positive. Unfortunately, this can shape perceptions and create stereotypes. So, I really want to break out of the mold and I want to discuss those things that we sometimes have a hard time saying. I will say that experienced adoption workers, I don’t know whether they’ve just had it sometimes or whether they’re braver, bolder, are more likely to say some of these things than newer caseworkers. Maybe they have just seen it so much-

Ron Reigns:
Kind of walk on eggshells to some degree.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Not only walking on eggshells, but they want to please more. They want everybody to have a good taste in their mouth. Whereas social workers that have been in the adoption world for decades are more seasoned and their skin’s a little jaded or their skin’s a little tougher. So here it is. The good, the bad, the ugly, no holds barred, nothing off limits and no secrets.

Ron Reigns:
Love it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right, let’s do this. First one. We want the adoption to be as successful as you do.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We are working behind the scenes, 24/7 to make sure that we’re doing everything we can to make the adoption occur. We are crossing our fingers and holding our breath right alongside you. There are moments where we can’t breathe either. And yes, we’re holding back tears too. So, when your adoption isn’t going as you want it to, and you’re at the hospital and you’ve been asked to leave the hospital or something catastrophic happens, and your worker steps aside, she’s having as hard a time as you are. No, she’s not as emotionally vested or as financially vested, but she’s doing adoptions because it’s what she believes in and what she loves. And it’s still difficult on her too. Number two. Sometimes adoptive families can come across entitled. That is a real turnoff for social workers in the adoption field. We do believe the baby is the birth mother’s child until she signs the adoption consents.

Ron Reigns:
72 hours after the birth, or at least 72 hours.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In the state of Arizona.

Ron Reigns:
Right in Arizona, you’re right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. And sometimes without realizing it, I hope, adoptive families will talk about the baby as if he or she is already theirs. And when that happens, they come across as being demanding and disrespectful to the birth mother. And we get very defensive because we want the birth mother respected just as we want the adoptive family respected.

Ron Reigns:
Now, do you think more so yourself because of your relationship with your birth mother? No?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No. I think any time you see somebody who is disrespecting somebody else, whether it’s an adoption situation or whether it’s at the grocery store or whether it’s between your youngest two children, I think you get a feeling that everybody wants equity and justice and fairness.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. And you want to stand up for the underdog or the person being disrespected or belittled or, okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Where my mother would come into play, my biological mother, is as a practice, I don’t want anybody to be disrespectful to a birth mother in general, but I wouldn’t want anybody to be disrespectful to an adoptive family either.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right. So, we are just as protective of the adoptive family as we are the birth mother. So, when the birth mother has concerns or questions about her adoptive family, we make sure we discuss everything, positive and reassuring, we want you to be successful. We want you to know that we do have your back and we would never do or say anything to jeopardize your adoption. Once a family is matched, in our mind, that is the sacred bond. We want to preserve that at all costs. And so, we are working 24/7. At our agency, we actually staff every birth mother every week as a team and go through each case just to make sure that everybody from the case manager down to our front office receptionist, knows what’s going on, can be prepared, can be supportive. When people come into our office, our receptionist has been trained to greet them by their first name. And we want that comfort level. All right.

Ron Reigns:
And you want everybody on the same page as you say.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We do. We do, because if you have a birth mother that’s really struggling and she’s had a very hard time and maybe she’s not bonding with her adoptive family as much as you would like her to, and she would like her too. You don’t want her walking in and have the receptionist go, “Hey, I didn’t get anything from your adoptive family this week for you, sorry.” And so-

Ron Reigns:
Being very nonchalant, I got you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. We want her to be understanding and choose her words wisely. We do understand how important it is for a birth mother to go to her prenatal appointments. And yes, we are really trying to make them happen. Unfortunately, we are not always successful in getting them to their appointments. And we know that this is a huge stressor, but know that we are doing our best. Birth mothers attending medical appointments, some birth mothers are very good about it, and other birth mothers are not. And some of the reasons are it’s hard and it makes it real. Some of them really shy away from ultrasounds because it’s hard for them to see the baby knowing that they’re placing the baby for adoption. Other reasons are they fear judgment from the doctor’s office. So, there’s lots of reasons why birth moms don’t want to go. Maybe they’re not as invested in their pregnancy because they’re not planning on keeping their baby.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so there are reasons why, so we do the best that we can. And we do know that this is a really big stressor for adoptive families. When we deliver bad news, like a birth mother has changed her mind, she’s miscarried, or the baby has passed away, we dread delivering that news in a way that is indescribable. The entire staff is always supportive to the caseworker that has to break the news. Sometimes there’ll be two of us on the phone because the case worker can’t find the strength to deliver the news herself. I am on the phone some of the times that we have a situation that is so heartbreaking that the caseworker is concerned that she’s not going to be able to complete the sentence because-

Ron Reigns:
She’ll breakdown.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… nobody wants to be the bearer of bad tidings. Nobody does. And there have been situations that when in a hospital that I’ve had to walk up to a family and deliver bad news. And I remember thinking this is very similar to how a doctor must feel after he gets out of surgery and has to walk up and deliver bad news-

Ron Reigns:
And give the bad news to the family.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. You just, you don’t want to be that person. You don’t want to be in their mind what they associate that bad news with. And that’s really hard.

Ron Reigns:
I have a strange story from when John was a little boy. He was probably three and we were at Easter with my family and he was getting really sick and he’d been sick for a couple of days and we decided we’re taking him to the hospital. We did. And the doctor said, “It looks like it’s probably just a flu that he’s going to get over, but we’re concerned about spinal meningitis.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh wow, I would have fallen to the ground.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. So, he was recommending that we do the spinal tap to see, just to make sure. And at that point, well, for a couple of reasons, I mean, if John had moved during this procedure, I had to literally hold him as well as a nurse, and my wife at the time, had to hold him still while this procedure’s being done on him. And so, for so many reasons, this was one of the toughest things I’ve ever done. And obviously it’s also very painful for him and we’re holding him down, well, we do this and everything obviously has come out fine. And he’s 26 years old now. So, I don’t think it was spinal meningitis, but the next time that doctor had come around the curtain to where John could see him, John looked at him with tears in his eyes and I’m getting a little choked up now-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh, I can imagine.

Ron Reigns:
And he looked at that doctor and he said, “No, no, no.” And it was just, it broke my heart because he associated that doctor with that pain and so kind of the same.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Nobody wants to be associated with that level of pain because nobody is a social worker or a doctor because they want to hurt somebody else.

Ron Reigns:
Of course not. They want to do it because they want to help.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They want to help. And so, when we are giving that news, we’re dying inside. And as a parent, I’ve had lots of children and I still do have lots of children. And I will tell you that watching them go through something painful is the worst thing in the world. And you as a parent would rather take it a thousand times worse than watch them go through it once. And so, I get it. I know exactly-

Ron Reigns:
But yeah, when you brought that up about being associated with that, that came into my mind. I hadn’t thought about that in years.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For sure. And how old was he?

Ron Reigns:
About three I think.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Oh so he was a little guy.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. Very little.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Wow. Yeah. It’s rare. But when a baby has been placed with an adoptive family and the birth mother does not sign the adoption consents and has to be returned to the birth mother, nobody wants to take the baby back, in terms of the adoption agency staff. It is to the point where we’re not drawing straws because we keep the case worker on the case that has a relationship.

Ron Reigns:
Yes, she’s already developed that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But I often go out in most cases and we have a team right now, so where I don’t have to. Again, it’s really rare. I mean, it’s so uncommon, but we do have a support system right now to where we have one worker that will stay with the adoptive family and then one worker that will take the baby and leave because in dragging that out, it’s ripping apart everybody. And one of the last ones that I did was, still in my mind, I remember. I went out with a case worker and she stayed with the adoptive family and the adoptive dad wanted to walk the baby out the car that I was leaving in. And he had the baby stuff and he was holding the car seat and he was walking out with me and my heart is breaking. I don’t even want to look at him because I feel so guilty, even though this was nothing that I could have prevented or controlled. And very tall gentlemen, I mean probably six, two, big guy. I think he was a firefighter or something like that. Really, really big guy.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And he brought the car seat out and asked me if he could hold the baby one more time. And so, I took the baby out of the car seat and handed him the baby, and he fell to his knees, holding the baby sobbing. And then he found some inner strength and he stood back up and handed me the baby back. So, I’m putting the baby in the car seat. And I realized that he has brought with him an additional bag of stuff that he had bought for the baby. And it wasn’t like, I want to take these babies things and get them out of the house. It was, these are the baby’s things that go with the baby. We bought these for this child. And then he wanted to go over each and everything. And I’m watching this brave strong man-

Ron Reigns:
Who can fight fires or whatever it is that he did, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And he is forcing himself as he didn’t need to, to talk through his tears and go over everything, when the baby had last eaten, when the diaper was changed. And I remember thinking that I don’t ever want to be in this position again. I don’t ever want to take a child away from another person. And I will tell you that when they got a placement, I think it was six to nine months later, and it was successful.

Ron Reigns:
I was going to ask about that because God, I needed a happy ending to this because I’m-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, it was.

Ron Reigns:
… breaking over here. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And it was one of those things that when I drove away, because of course, after he went over all the things he leaned over and kissed the baby goodbye, and I am driving away and I’m shaking and I’m looking through the rear-view mirror and he’s just standing there, watching the car drive away. And I remember thinking, “I’m the worst person in the world,” and it wasn’t anything I could have controlled, but I was the one taking the baby away-

Ron Reigns:
That was associated with that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And yeah, that was really hard. So, this is gratefully, not common. And…

Ron Reigns:
And you have said before, and this is kind of for the listeners that you will end up with the baby you’re meant to have. And so-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I’ve never had somebody tell me different, never.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, because I’m over here about to start sobbing for this poor guy that I’ve never even met.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, yeah. But I will say that I’ve never had somebody come back at the end and tell me that. Now in the heat of the moment-

Ron Reigns:
Oh, I’m sure.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
… when they’re putting the baby in the car and they’re kissing the baby goodbye, like I said-

Ron Reigns:
Have you ever had anybody kind of lash out at you? I mean, not necessarily physically, but in anger or in despair, just kind of lose it in your direction basically?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Later, not in the heat of the moment, In that moment, it’s just pure grief. It’s just grief. I mean, raw grief. You know how when somebody does something and you had no part of it, you still feel guilty sometimes?

Ron Reigns:
Oh, absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It was one of those situations where you feel so guilty, but yet it wasn’t that anything could have been done differently. But when you’re walking out of Walmart and there’s a kid getting arrested for shoplifting, I’m looking through my purse, thinking, “I hope nothing fell in.” It’s not one of those things where I would never shoplift, but what if something fell in my cart? You know what I mean? Or my purse, because it was open as I’m walking through the store. And so, I’m panicking thinking, “Did I do something too?” And so, it’s one of those moments that you just, you learn how to sleep at night when you have days like that.

Ron Reigns:
And again, thank God, there’s very few of them for you, so, that’s good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes. Another thing that we want to tell adoptive families is we love to celebrate with you. When you send a picture of a baby at Christmas or just an update to the office, we all gather around and ooh and ah and how beautiful the baby is and what amazing job you’re doing. What good parents you are. We love to see those pictures. We love it. And we hope you’ll adopt again. We really want you to be kind and respectful to the hospital staff. We work with these people a lot. When an adoptive family is demanding or rude to a hospital staff member, it puts us in a really awkward position because we work with these people day in and day out. And we want it to be-

Ron Reigns:
And even though it’s beyond your control what somebody else does and their attitudes and how they treat other people, they’re still associated with you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They are. And-

Ron Reigns:
It reflects badly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We want to show you that we’re supportive of you, but at the same time, we have to be supportive of them too. We kind of feel like the man in the middle, and that’s hard. When those situations go bad, we usually deliver brownies the next day, because brownies fix everything.

Ron Reigns:
That’s a fact scientifically proven.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And lastly, when you go home with your baby, we’re cheering you every minute of the way. We’re doing everything we can to expedite you getting home and we want you to begin your new and beautiful life.

Sharelle:
Hi, my name is Sharelle. I’m doing my adoption journey. It was kind of like a last-minute thing to consider because I just, in my mind, me and my husband was going through some issues, separation issues. We have three other children, still in denial, “Oh, well I’m pregnant again.” But I was in my first trimester and I knew in my heart, I didn’t want to abort my baby. So, I was looking for other options and one of my friends mentioned, “Why don’t you Google and look for adoption agencies?” So, I did, and it had a general one that was in California and then I kept going down the list and then I found BAF. And then I called just right away. I think it was like three or something in the afternoon. And look, I called and he was like, “Oh, you could come right now, we close at 4:30, but you can come right now.”

Sharelle:
And it was just perfect. So, we hurried up and drove to the office of BAF and then I met one of the agents here for the first time and she confide in me. I went through the process, just let me know,” Hey, it’s a good choice, you’re making a good choice obtaining all the expenses and benefits of a good family.” And let me know that, “Hey, I get to pick the family.” So, we was able to go down the line. I think we had three families to pick and me and my husband, he just said, “You know what? This one kind of mirror the type of lifestyle we are,” because we are family-oriented. We like to travel and stay physically active and they look like they was doing all of that.

Sharelle:
And I read a little bit of their story and we went ahead and picked them. And I would say from this day that I am happy with the decision I made, that we picked this family. I’m going to say, it’s a open adoption. I call them the extended family. They got to meet my other three kids. They know who they are. They communicate with us, send us pictures, even little videos here, and even let me know like, “Hey, if you’re going to talk, don’t be afraid to send a message to me or reach out to me.” So, I love that because it does feel like they are an extended part of our family. We’re not just giving our child here. We’ll see pictures here and there. They really are part of the family.

Sharelle:
We got a win-win situation and we put our child up there knowing that he will be taken care of and then we got blessed with… We got a part of the family too as well. So, I’m very happy with the decision I made and I’m glad that at the time, whatever emotional decision that was for my husband, that I didn’t… I agreed and say, “Hey, let’s just let… ..” That decision was not an option for me, even though we did have three other children, we was in a situation that could go left or right. I was trusting God, like, “No, I’m not going to give this child. Either we’re going to find a family for him or are we’re just going to toughen it out.” And I was grateful because at BAF, they had counseling and let me know, “Hey, it’s okay. Decision happens in life.”

Sharelle:
They relaxed me. Because women, especially in that situation, our emotions and hormones are here. You get anxious and worried like, “Oh, what if?” And it’s helped me to relax. And I think about the what ifs, but look at the positive. Even cite positive affirmation, like, “Hey, you’re a good mother. You have three other ones, you’re doing a good thing.” And I loved that and the right people don’t say it, but counseling is good about it. Some people get the wrong option about it so it was a mediator. But actually, it really is, it’s more than just being a mediator in a situation. It helping you emotionally and mentally, stay stable. And I’m grateful for BF for that.

Sharelle:
But it was there to emotionally support me and even I was a little upset at my husband at the time, grateful that he did come and was there to support me during my time for us, to give birth to our son. And I’m grateful for that. I think I made a very good decision with that. So, I love BAF for that. They have been there to support me in many ways, not just emotionally, to help make decisions with housing or finances, they support you in all ways to make you feel that you’re genuinely, you’re important. I’m important and I’m not just a mother out there giving up a child. So, I’m happy for that.

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 GRAPESS for letting us use their song, I Dunno, as our theme song. Join us next time for Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m Ron Reigns and we’ll see you then.



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

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

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

Speaker 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:
We’ve talked before about why adoption can be perceived as difficult for birth mothers.

Ron Reigns:
Certainly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But let’s talk about fears. Fears are different than just thinking something is difficult. Fears are maybe what keeps you up at night or makes you worry, and-

Ron Reigns:
Things that bring you anxiety.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Again, keep you up at night. Maybe give you tummy troubles maybe? Just those things that you really just don’t sit well with. So, let’s go over what I feel are the 10 most common fears that a birth mother may have when she’s actually making her adoption plan. One of the goals of our adoption agency is to provide emotional support to really show the birth mom that we care about her. We try to keep it very much like a family community feeling, and we work very hard to be there for them.

Ron Reigns:
And reduce that fear and anxiety.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Hopefully this podcast can help those out there that are working in adoption plan and are still struggling. So, that’s the goal of this podcast

Ron Reigns:
Or maybe somebody out there who’s listening and considering an adoption plan.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right, so the first one, birth mothers, a lot of them worry that people will think they’re a terrible person, a bad mom, and they’ll never look at them the same. I’m here to say that a birth mother is an amazing person. My mother was an amazing person, and I never once thought of as a terrible person, a bad mom. I thought that she was amazing and selfless and brave and strong. It is my hope and dream that is the way other birth moms are looked at as well.

Ron Reigns:
We talked to a bunch of birth mothers and I watched you interviewing them, and I noticed one thing that I believe we talked to like 13 of them, and almost to a lady, or almost to a person because we did interview some men too, but they all said gave up my baby. Every time I heard it, I got kind of a chill, but of course, they’re talking, I’m not going to interrupt them and correct them on this, but I think it’s incumbent upon us as a society and us as a podcast-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Outside influence, it is.

Ron Reigns:
…to change that vocabulary to placing my baby because there was only one, literally only one, who said on multiple occasions, I’m placing my baby, and the rest said, giving up, giving away things like this, and it kind of broke my heart a little because I want them to be educated on what they’re doing. That this is a selfless act, a beautiful thing. They’re not giving up or giving in or anything like that. They’re doing something wonderful.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I agree. As an agency director, I will say that after today’s interviews, I absolutely am going to work with our staff on teaching-

Ron Reigns:
Without being correcting or scolding…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Because you believe what you say.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If you can teach somebody to say something different about themselves, they will follow suit. They will think that.

Ron Reigns:
They’ll perceive it differently.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So if they are saying, I’m giving away my baby. I’m giving away my baby. That’s what they’re thinking in their head.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They didn’t give away their baby. They placed their baby lovingly. There’s a big difference.

Ron Reigns:
Huge.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so, I think that’s a really good point. Another fear that birth mothers have is what if no one wants my baby?

Ron Reigns:
I don’t mean to laugh, but the fact is there are so many families out there-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So many families-

Ron Reigns:
…just wanting a baby, any baby. No matter what your past is, nobody’s going to turn your baby down.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, they’re not, and people that are not familiar with adoptions and what’s going on, I tell them, there are organizations like there’s an adoption agency called Reece’s Rainbow. They specialize in babies with down syndrome. They have a waiting list a mile long, and to me that just gives me chills. That is just beautiful.

Ron Reigns:
I got that feeling and, in my face, and in my heart-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, you smiled. As soon as I said that you broke into a big smile, and that gives me reassurance that there are good people out there.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There are people that are adopting for the right reasons.

Ron Reigns:
They want all these babies.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. And so, I think that, again, that’s something that you celebrate. The fact that people are lined up around the corner hoping and praying that they can adopt a baby that has been designated to have special needs, and we get families like that as well. We get families that may have a deaf child at home, and they will call our agency and say, they specifically are looking for a child with a hearing impairment because they feel that they have the skills and the knowledge and the resources to help that child. That’s what birth moms need to understand. Somebody is always going to want your baby.

Ron Reigns:
Now, I have a question about that. When they specifically request a child that has a hearing impairment, you obviously won’t know about that until the child’s born?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
That’s got to create a complete-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s a very hard request. Yeah, that’s a really hard request to meet. Yeah, if somebody really has their heart set on something that would be discovered after birth, I would actually maybe recommend they go into like an older child bracket, and look for a child with a hearing impairment that has already been diagnosed and maybe not a newborn.

Ron Reigns:
That makes sense.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, another one is what if the adoptive parents don’t follow through on our open adoption plan? So, depending on the state that the adoption is finalized in, will determine whether or not that state has the laws that make post-adoption communication agreements legally binding. If your adoption is finalized in one of those states, then you would actually have legal grounds to make sure that agreement is legally enforced. She could go back to court, ask for a mediation, and basically forced them to follow through.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What I have found in my experience is in the majority, the vast majority of cases, regardless of whether or not the adoptive family is residing, and has finalized in a state that has those laws, families want to do right by their birth mother. The families that pray will tell me that they pray every night for their birth mother with her child. The families they fall as in love with the birth mother as they do with the child, and they want to honor her.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, it is very rare that we will have a birth mother that’ll say, hey, I haven’t gotten pictures or letters, and we as an agency always jump up and jump in. We will call it out a family, and stand behind them. Again, I haven’t seen issues in this. I get the concern, but you would have reassurance not only from a state law perspective potentially, but from an agency perspective. So, this is something that I don’t think should be such a concern.

Ron Reigns:
Now, I know that the post-adoption communication agreements have kind of a stipulation that the adoptive parents can discontinue that if they feel that it’s in the best interest of the child, is that correct?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. So, where I have seen that come into play is that let’s say they have visits. Let’s say in the post-adoption communication agreement, they have visits with the child every six months.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, the birth parents, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The birth parents are showing up at those visits and they’re drunk or they’re high, or they’re doing things that would endanger the child. At that point, the parents can state that visits are no longer appropriate. The birth mother can attempt to fight that, or they can look to reevaluate that maybe a year or two years, if she was to get clean. Another concern that birth mothers have is what if I changed my mind, this is a really big one. Adoption is a very emotional thing. It’s not like going to the store and picking out a puppy. We’re talking about human beings. We’re talking about life.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think that, yes, birth mothers changed their mind. Not everybody who goes in with an adoption plan can execute it. If a birth mother goes in and has every intent on placing a baby for adoption, and after the baby’s born, she decides this isn’t something she can proceed with. That happens.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
At that point, we need to celebrate that she shows a apparent. If she goes in and knowingly deceives and willfully does not plan on placing her baby for adoption that is when there’s a huge problem.

Ron Reigns:
Why would they do that?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Maybe they’re desperate and looking for money. Maybe they have found a way to subsidize their living.

Ron Reigns:
Because what an adoption agency provides is not money to go spend willy nilly, it’s all pregnancy related. However, it’s still a check for them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, and the intent is to help with their living expenses during their pregnancy and then the recovery period afterwards. So, it’s hard. That’s a really hard one, but again, I want to reassure birth mothers that when you’re making an adoption plan, if your heart is in the adoption plan, and that is what you’re planning on doing, now, if you’re not sure you want to do an adoption plan, don’t start until you do. Find out information, educate yourself-

Ron Reigns:
Get counseling. Talk to people. People who have placed their children for adoption as well as people who work in the field. There’s so many people to talk to.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But to actually create an option plan and match with a family-

Ron Reigns:
When they’re not sure-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
…and accept living expense funds. Yeah, that’s not a good idea. What will I tell people when they ask about my pregnancy is another concern. I think it’s absolutely your choice to choose what you say and how much you say. Your pregnancy isn’t any different whether or not you’re doing an adoption. You’re still pregnant. You’re still becoming a mom. I think that you only open up to your level of comfort. I know that when I had my first child, strangers would come up and put their hands on my stomach. I always thought that was a little different.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
One, it made me nervous because as a mom, if somebody started reaching for my stomach, I instantly would put my arms down-

Ron Reigns:
Defensive.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, because I didn’t want them to like punch my stomach. You know what I mean?

Ron Reigns:
Not that anybody was going to, but it’s a defensive mechanism as a mother carrying a child-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, to protect your baby. And so, that always made me uncomfortable. I will never forget when I had my daughter, my first daughter, you know those front packs that you carry your baby in? So, she was a newborn and I had her in one, and I was walking in the parking lot to the store, I think I was going into a Babies R US, and somebody came up and pulled the part where it was covering the back of her neck and her head to see her, so they like pulled it back to see her, and I remember just stiffening up and pulling away just instinctually. I think that sometimes people overstep. I don’t think they’re trying to be malicious or intentionally awkward, but-

Ron Reigns:
It is weird. Now, tell me something. Now, when that would happen because obviously it’s never happened to me, was that mostly women that did?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, actually it was a gentlemen.

Ron Reigns:
In that particular case. How about in general, when people would touch your belly when you’re pregnant?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, I would say it was-

Ron Reigns:
50/50?

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

Ron Reigns:
Because personally as-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think almost more men than women.

Ron Reigns:
Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I always attributed it to they don’t know what it feels like. They don’t know, because when-

Ron Reigns:
I wouldn’t have done that to my sister. Especially, not without asking.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay.

Ron Reigns:
Like if she offered-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If I had a sister I would’ve-

Ron Reigns:
…if she said, oh, he’s kicking or whatever, and said, put your hand on your belly, okay. I’d feel awkward about it, but I’d still do it. But in general, I can’t imagine touching anybody’s, any part of their body, especially a woman that I didn’t know. Oh my goodness.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What about when your ex-wife was pregnant?

Ron Reigns:
That was my wife at the time-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay, so you would touch her stomach, and then-

Ron Reigns:
I would touch hers. My wife-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And your baby.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, that’s different.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay.

Ron Reigns:
Somebody I don’t know, or even somebody I know, but not intimately in any way whatsoever that is the weirdest thing to me. I just don’t understand it. I’m a little blown away by this.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, and again, I get it. My adopted mom would not touch my stomach when I was pregnant.

Ron Reigns:
See, and I would think it would be more of a female thing to do almost like a maternal instinct to oh, the baby, you know what I mean?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
So, I would almost understand it. Maybe it’s still weird to the birth Mother.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Yeah, I don’t know, but I think that sometimes people take liberties for people they don’t know. Again, they reach out. It does kind of stop you when you’re pregnant and you’re carrying a baby, and people ask very personal questions and they ask and they touch you in a way that you wouldn’t touch somebody who wasn’t pregnant. You would never walk up to some stranger-

Ron Reigns:
And just touch their belly.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Ever, right?

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I mean-

Ron Reigns:
Ever.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, nor would you walk up to a stranger and look in the pouch of their sweat shirt, or yeah.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, I was always really… I know it’s funny. It’s crazy.

Ron Reigns:
I’m blown away by the whole thing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, I’ve also had people when I, and I don’t see it as much anymore, but remember, when my girls were younger, 15 years ago maybe, or 20 years ago when you take the car seat and you would put it on top of the stroller and it would latch in, not stroller, the grocery cart and it would latch it.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t think they do anymore because now when I’m babysitting, you just put them right in the-

Ron Reigns:
In the cart.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Anyway, you put it on top of that car. Okay.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I always, because I can be a little bit of a germaphobe, confession time, I will take a swaddling blanket and cover the top of it, so obviously they can get fresh air, but I cover them, so people who are sneezing, or-

Ron Reigns:
You don’t wrap it around their head.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, but I always kind of cover the baby.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Obviously the baby can still breathe. I’m not smothering the baby, but just people are sneezing and germs-

Ron Reigns:
You’re in a public place.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They’re new babies, yeah. I’ve had people come and pull the blanket off to look at the baby, and I just think that’s really intrusive.

Ron Reigns:
A little forward to me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
I don’t know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I would never do that.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, sorry again about the tangent, but-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, I would never do that. I would never walk up to somebody, and look at their baby.

Ron Reigns:
Any of that. Any of that seems way too forward for me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Now, walking up to pet a dog that’s not yours.

Ron Reigns:
I wouldn’t do that either, but I wouldn’t feel as awkward if somebody came up and pet my dog. Although, I think it’s a stupid thing to do. You don’t know if the dog bites-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Is that any different from somebody coming up and taking the leash off your hand?

Ron Reigns:
Taking the leash off your hand?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, like in other words, with somebody come and taking the blanket off the baby-

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Is that like me coming in and you’re walking your dog, and I come and take your leash.

Ron Reigns:
Just unclip the leash. Yeah, people are strange.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, so I think that when people ask you about your pregnancy, I think you just do it to your comfort level.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t think you need to tell people, well, I’m doing an adoption. It goes back to the other podcast when I was talking about, when do you disclose that you’re adopted?

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Do you have to wear a t-shirt every Thursday that just notifies the public?

Ron Reigns:
Hey, everybody-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m adopted. It’s adopted day. It’s one those things where, an analogy to that would be, the last time, a long time ago, a long time ago, before I watched Blackfish, I went to Sea World, and at the Shamu show, they will often say, if you’re a veteran, will you please stand up, so that everyone can acknowledge you. Well, my dad stands up.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And so, in my head, I remember thinking, wow, what if they say, if your adopted stand up.

Ron Reigns:
If you’re an adoptee, or an adopted child-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Please stand up, and I just, it’s that kind of thing like-

Ron Reigns:
If you’re colorblind stand up.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, if you’re colorblind, when the red light goes to green-

Ron Reigns:
Everybody stay seated.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, yeah, I still think about that, and I still think at what point did I have the duty or obligation to disclose?

Ron Reigns:
I think, again, it’s got to be something where you’re at that comfort level.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But do you owe an explanation?

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay.

Ron Reigns:
I don’t think you do. I don’t see why you would. If somebody like 20 years down the line of your friendship said, I can’t believe, you never told me you were adopted, and was offended-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That happened. That happened.

Ron Reigns:
Well, then that sounds like their problem, not yours. Had you hid it from them or try to deceive them-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, I didn’t try to deceive, but I think going back to that-

Ron Reigns:
Because we did talk a little-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I don’t think I was forthright. I think there were times where I may have been more elusive and not really forthcoming.

Ron Reigns:
Right, kind of like you said-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Wish washy-

Ron Reigns:
…when somebody would say, does your family have a history of this? And you would say no.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
At the time, what was I supposed to say? I don’t know?

Ron Reigns:
Because you didn’t know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I didn’t know.

Ron Reigns:
I could see somebody saying, I don’t know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, or-

Ron Reigns:
There’s a ton of stuff I don’t know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, and it’s just one of those things where you just don’t know. Again, I can relate it to you being color blind. Do you have to tell somebody?

Ron Reigns:
I go back to, no, I guess I don’t really have to.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What is the normal response when you tell somebody?

Ron Reigns:
It’s usually curiosity. Probably the same with you and your adoption. It’s a lot of, oh, well what does this look like? That’s hard to explain because I’ve never seen colors, so I don’t know what you see. For anybody who’s out there curious listening, the best explanation I could give for my colorblindness is that it’s like, you may not have ever heard of this before an old, black and white TV, because I believe that’s essentially black, white, and kind of shades of gray. I don’t see any real colors in there. Occasionally, I can tell something is red, but only sometimes not always. Usually, I can’t. And so, that’s kind of how I will explain it when somebody does ask

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, that’s like asking an adopted child what it feels like to be adopted.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, what does it feel like to be adopted? I don’t know the same as, I guess, you feel like not being adopted. You’re still a human being.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
I don’t know. It’s very interesting. I like the discussions about this because it really makes me think because I never really thought of adopted people as being different, or-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
But even the term adopted people, you can flip it and say the not adopted people.

Ron Reigns:
Non-adopted, yeah. You’re absolutely right. I just thought they’re people.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We are people.

Ron Reigns:
Are you really? You actually have a soul and everything?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, absolutely. I even sleep at night and dream-

Ron Reigns:
No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, I think that is really important. I think that it is, and I’m still in my head going back and forth thinking-

Ron Reigns:
What do I owe anybody else on this topic?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
If anything?

Ron Reigns:
I don’t think you do, personally.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, and then you go into, well, do let somebody touch your stomach? I don’t think you need to-

Ron Reigns:
I don’t think so either. If it was me-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Is it worth offending them?

Ron Reigns:
If it’s somebody you don’t know, sure. You’re not comfortable. I’m not comfortable with people being in my space. Like I know people I’ve worked through the years who are like huggers. I’m not. I would give you a handshake. I’m okay with that, and maybe a side hug with a family member like a brother or brother-in-law or something like that. I’m just not a hugger. I don’t like people being in that space. So, I would feel very awkward. Somebody’s just touching me on any body part.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, somebody came up and started putting their hands on her stomach you would-

Ron Reigns:
I’d be pretty standoffish. I’d back up. I wouldn’t be offensive to them, but I just kind of let them know that I felt awkward about the situation.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
When you had your son out in public and he was a newborn or you a young baby, did people ever come in and invade your space?

Ron Reigns:
To some degree. I never felt like it was out of line to where they were like getting under the blanket like you said. I think it was more, oh, he’s really cute, and looking at him. Maybe pinching a cheek, probably not even that, but nothing that I felt like, oh God they’re violating my son’s space or my space or anything like that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, what I find really interesting too is when people ask questions about somebody being pregnant, they always ask are you having a boy or a girl? I always think, why do you care? I’ve never understood that.

Ron Reigns:
Maybe it’s along the lines of, boy, the weather’s nice lately. Just something to say. Kind of like I see you’re pregnant-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I need to know if you’re having a boy or a girl.

Ron Reigns:
I don’t think they need to know that. I think they’re just trying to converse with you about it, and empathize with you maybe? I’m guessing. I’m speculating.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Empathize? Oh, you’re having a boy, I’m sorry. What do you mean by that?

Ron Reigns:
Boy, I’m so disappointed it’s going to be a girl with this stranger that I’ve never seen before in my life and likely, never will again.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
People are weird in weird ways. Everybody’s got their different weird ways, I guess.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, so I guess the takeaway from this part of the conversation is maybe ask before you touch?

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Just like with a dog ask before you touch.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, does this dog bark?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Does this tummy bite?

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, do you mind if I touch this tummy, and I kind of do, so don’t.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right, so another fear is will the OB GYN office judge me? I don’t believe so.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Not.

Ron Reigns:
Oh not? Absolutely no-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
OB GYN nurses are very familiar with adoption. We get a lot of referrals from OB GYN offices, and in most cases, they view adoption as an amazing choice. Another one is how I knew if I choose the right adoptive family? I am a very firm believer, no offense, in women intuition.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, I’m not offended.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So, I can’t speak for a man because I haven’t been in your head, but I think that women’s intuition is very strong. It is like the force for Star Wars fans.

Ron Reigns:
Right, you know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You know.

Ron Reigns:
You just know, and if you don’t think it’s right, it probably isn’t.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, always.

Ron Reigns:
They have the wrong family for you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
They say, when you’re walking through a parking lot at night and the back of your neck, the hair starts to stand up, listen to that. I would say same thing with choosing an adoptive family. Every birth mother has told me when I looked through the profiles, I knew. It’s just something that just clicks. They just knew. I would say you should find some type of peace, and if you’re not sure then make a phone call with a family before you choose them officially. Have some kind of communication with them, but really go with your intuition.

Ron Reigns:
Okay, go with your gut.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Always go with your intuition. Another one is if the birth mother has used drugs during her pregnancy, will they adopt a family still want her baby?

Ron Reigns:
I think that was already answered before.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right, absolutely, but you want to make sure that you disclose everything you’re using to the agency.

Ron Reigns:
Definitely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
This way they can make sure that they match you with a family that is open to ready to accept a substance exposed baby, and is prepared and ready for any medical issues that may arise. What if the father of the baby changes his mind and wants the baby? So, this is one that I get asked quite a bit from birth mothers, and again, it’s going to depend on your state laws.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
In the state of Arizona, if he has been served with an adoption notice and has not filed within the 30 day timeframe then his time has passed without any paternity actions, and he may no longer have the ability to interfere with the adoption. At that point, it is just the birth mother’s choice. If he’s giving you a hard time about the adoption, and this is your plan, and this is what you’re doing then maybe you don’t have them around you during the time that you have to sign the paperwork, and maybe let him know that this is your decision, and you’re sorry that he doesn’t agree with your decision, but he had his time to contest his decision, and that time has passed.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
10, the last one is will I be alone after the baby is placed for adoption? That is your choice. This shouldn’t be a fear. This is a choice. You can choose not to be alone. With our agency, we have an aftercare program.

Ron Reigns:
The Donna K. Evans Foundation.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
The Donna K. Foundation, absolutely. We have group counseling classes, we have sessions that you can come in and talk with other birth moms, activities for you to engage in. You can focus on you and work on achieving your dreams. You can get out there. The birth mother adoption community is huge. You just need to find your tribe.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I think that you can choose to sit alone and be sad and wallow, or you can choose to get up and move and find ways to not be alone. So, I would say that fear is within your control. I would say my best advice on this is have faith not fear. You’re welcome to call and text us whenever you’re ready. If you’re thinking about placing your unborn baby for adoption, the number to call us is (623) 695-4112, or you can email us at info at building arizonafamilies.com.

Ron Reigns:
We have a pregnancy crisis hotline available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112, or you can call our toll free number +1 800-340-9665. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get you to a safe place, provide food and clothing, and started on creating an Arizona adoption plan, or give you more information.

Ron Reigns:
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 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:
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 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:
This podcast, I think, it’s important that we really look at adoption and abortion in the news and the media. We’re starting off 2020 and it’ll be interesting to see from where we start to where we are at the end of the year.

Ron Reigns:
Okay. That’s a good idea.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
As we go through the year, I think we will get to see a lot happening. This is going to be an incredible year. We’ve got the election and we’ve got all of the upcoming abortion hearings and the laws that are being filed, that people are filing with the court regarding the changes they’re requesting. So, it’s going to be really interesting.

Ron Reigns:
There is a lot in the news.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
There’s a lot. Agreed. So locally, Paul Peterson has some news.

Ron Reigns:
On January 8th, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors officially accepted Paul Peterson’s resignation and began the process of filling the vacant County assessor position. Listeners may remember Peterson as the elected official in Arizona who was charged in three States with allegedly smuggling pregnant women from the Marshall Islands in order to give up their babies for adoption. He’s accused of arranging for 28 of the Marshalese women to fly into Arizona, live in a house he owned and have a doctor deliver the children. This was paid through the state’s healthcare system.

Ron Reigns:
He’s charged in Arizona with filing fraudulent claims to the tune of $800000. In Utah and Arkansas, he’s being charged with human smuggling. He’s been accused of participating in 70 illegal adoption cases. He’s alleged to have taken women’s passports. The exploited women received little or no prenatal upon their arrival in the United States. He’s pleaded not guilty in Arizona and Arkansas and has yet to enter a plea in Utah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What do you think of that?

Ron Reigns:
Personally, I’m glad he finally resigned because he was being very defiant of the whole thing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I am too.

Ron Reigns:
I think it’s time for him to own up to what he has done.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Agreed. Agreed. Again, we, as a podcast, are not accusing him. Obviously, he has not been found guilty at this point. The accusations that have been made sound as if they’re being substantiated and-

Ron Reigns:
And by his associate. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That’s really concerning. The fact that he resigned, I agree with you. He needs to move out of that position. I don’t know whether or not he’s been paid this whole time for being in that position or if he’s taken a leave of absence or what have you, but I don’t think that we need somebody who is currently incarcerated for this crime pending trial, holding-

Ron Reigns:
Representing us in our government no matter what the position is. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Agreed. I think too, that the fact that he has not entered a plea yet in Utah and is entered to not guilty, why would he be withholding on the third is what I’d like to know?

Ron Reigns:
Yeah. I don’t know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Maybe they don’t have as much evidence or maybe they don’t have as… Maybe it’s a little bit of a different circumstance because it’s a different state law. I don’t know, but yet, some of what he’s done as federal. He’s broken some federal laws, not just state laws. The more I read about things that have been said supposedly by him, my heart just breaks for these women and my heart breaks for the adoption community because-

Ron Reigns:
It is a black eye.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It is. Hands down, it is.

Ron Reigns:
Nobody I’ve ever dealt with in the adoption field, as far as I know, has done things this way the way he has and it hurts because you think of these people who were actually trying to do it for the right reasons and to help these birth mothers and to help the adoptive families and everybody in the triad and the children. To me, it seems that he was out for personal gain and secondary, was the mothers and the children and the adoptive families.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right. Because this was such an earthquake in the adoption community, now we’re dealing with the aftershocks. We’re dealing with the ripple effect.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, the people who had nothing to do with any of it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, the innocent. Again, I hope that they actually come to a resolution quickly and this isn’t drawn out over the next 10 years and we can see and learn from what he did to make sure that it doesn’t ever happen in the adoption community again. So hopefully, there’ll be something positive that can come out of this.

Ron Reigns:
Absolutely. New York’s governor, Andrew Cuomo announced that more than 3600 adopted new Yorkers have filed to receive their certified birth certificates online within the first 48 hours of a new law going into effect. Cuomo said, “Adoptees have every right to the same birth records as everyone else and the new law enacted is making that a reality for the first time.” The law says that adoptees 18 and older in New York state outside of New York City may request a copy of their birth certificate. This will also allow direct descendants of an adoptee to request the adoptee’s birth certificate if the adopted person is deceased.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So I think this is revolutionary and I commend New York for taking this and passing this law.

Ron Reigns:
I’ll be honest, I’m a little surprised.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I am too because New York has some laws that I’m not fully in agreement with.

Ron Reigns:
They seem very friendly towards abortion and not so much towards adoption. Isn’t that correct?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
It could be interpreted as such. Yes.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
That being the case, this is a huge step because as an adoptee, I have found my birth mother, I have obtained my original birth certificate, but for all of those adoptees that haven’t, what an incredible gift? Truly an incredible gift. What an incredible gift for the generations behind them that are not going to have access? With all the genetic testing, the 23andMe and ancestry.com, that is just opening up this new world for adoptees like myself to find out for once, I can honestly say I know what my nationality is.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For so many years, for dozens of years, I couldn’t do that. To have that and then for these individuals to have that opportunity of knowing their biological parents’ names is just… I hope that every state follows this protocol. I really do. I hope that every state follows it.

Ron Reigns:
I agree.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So I know this isn’t adoption related really or abortion related, but I just have to say kudos to California.

Ron Reigns:
I know why.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Diapers are now tax-free.

Ron Reigns:
Super good news.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So next time you go to California and you have a child in diapers, stock up.

Ron Reigns:
Or even if you don’t, bring them back to Arizona.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Might need them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. Stock up and that is just incredible. Now, you did bring up something before we started this podcast. I have to say, I don’t know if adult diapers are included or not.

Ron Reigns:
Well, I would think they are, I think that’s a great story for me because I’m getting up to that age.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, but why would they discriminate? Why do you have to be a baby to have tax-free diapers?

Ron Reigns:
In March, the Supreme Court’s going to rule on the constitutionality of Louisiana’s abortion law requiring abortion physicians to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the clinic where they’re providing the abortions. The filing goes further than just arguing for the support of the constitutionality of the Louisiana law. It also implies that the confusion about abortion is directly linked to confusing laws for which abortion was deemed constitutional, 1973’s Roe V. Wade and Planned Parenthood V. Casey in 1992. On March 4th, Louisiana will argue that abortion businesses shouldn’t be presumed to have, “third-party standing,” before the United States Supreme Court. Opponents are saying that it would limit the state of 4.5 million people to just one abortion provider.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So in doing some research and reading about this, this is the landmark case that they’re saying may be the domino in overturning Roe V. Wade. This may start-

Ron Reigns:
Start that ball rolling.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I, as an adoption professional, actually found this very confusing. When I was reading this, I read it over and over again and I thought, “Why am I not understanding what they’re trying to achieve?”

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So from what I understand, they are stating that doctors who perform abortions have to have privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of the facility.

Ron Reigns:
Admitting privileges?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Right.

Ron Reigns:
So that means they can take a mother, the mother who’s having the abortion into the hospital?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
No, what they’re stating is that if the mother is having health complications from the abortion, that they can then admit her to the hospital and treat her there.

Ron Reigns:
I see.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So if she had a perforated uterus or something that was related to the abortion, that she would then be able to receive adequate medical care from a hospital underneath that physician. For the common lay person, I think this would be very confusing as to why this is related to Roe V. Wade.

Ron Reigns:
Right, because that’s where I’m at right now.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay. So, when we go back as to what makes this filing particularly interesting is not just the sheer volume of congressional signatories, almost 40% of the state and house combined, it’s also the fact that it goes further than just arguing support for the constitutionality of the Louisiana law to suggest that the widespread confusion regarding abortion law ties directly to the confusing basic premises under which abortion was found constitutional. So basically, this law that they’re trying to push through is putting up barriers for abortion.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
By enforcing this law, it will drastically reduce-

Ron Reigns:
The number of doctors?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yes, the number of abortion providers.

Ron Reigns:
Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So it’s a roundabout way to eliminate the number of abortions performed. It will make it harder for people who want to get an abortion in Louisiana to get one and it will put up an extra fence basically.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Again, I think that hopefully, as this goes into court and as we see it on the news, I’m hoping that it will be broken down so people can understand the direct effect that it will have because it is very confusing to understand.

Ron Reigns:
Very confusing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We have to start with the disclaimer that we are not accountants, that we are sheerly explaining more about tax benefits and how they relate to adoption. The information that we were talking about was taken right off of the IRS website.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So there is a tax credit for adoption, for qualified adoption expenses paid to adopt an eligible child and an exclusion from income for employer provided adoption assistance. The credit is non-refundable, which means it’s limited to one’s tax liability for the year, but any credit and excess of your tax liability may be carried for up to five years. The maximum dollar amount for 2019 is $14080 per child.

Ron Reigns:
Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So I think it’s important for our adoptive families to understand that they may qualify for assistance, and hopefully, this will help the previous podcast where-

Ron Reigns:
We discussed some of the costs and the things to offset the costs of adopting a child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah, and what makes adoption difficult? So, this is one of those things.

Ron Reigns:
For both credit and exclusion, qualified adoption expenses defined in section 23 D1 of the code include: reasonable and necessary adoption fees, court costs and attorney fees, traveling expenses, including amount spent for meals and lodging while away from home, and other expenses that are directly related to and for the principal purpose of the legal adoption of an eligible child. An expense may be a qualified adoption expense, even if the expense is paid before the eligible child has been identified. For example, perspective adoptive parents who pay for a home study at the outset of an adoption effort may treat the fees as a qualified adoption expense. An eligible child is an individual who is under the age of 18 or is physically or mentally incapable of self-care. Qualified adoption expenses don’t include expenses that a taxpayer pays to adopt the child of the taxpayer’s spouse. Qualified adoption expenses include expenses paid by a registered domestic partner who lives in a state that allows us same-sex second parent or a co-parent to adopt his or her partner’s child as long as those expenses otherwise, qualify for the credit.

Nicole:
My name is Nicole. I chose adoption after I struggled with… Because I called you guys like way back in May and I finally called him back in like August because back in May, I was like, “Well, that’s a good idea, but maybe I can keep the child.” As time went by, I couldn’t get jobs, so I decided to put the child up for adoption because I can’t afford a kid. I wanted the adoptive parents to be alive like me, but different than me in terms of stability because I am far from it. I wanted them to have their life put together and I wanted them to kind of be like me, all quirky and energetic. I had five families to choose from. A couple of them didn’t work out because of my heritage. So the family I chose only had one kid and they looked active and he looked clean. They looked like they were in with their family, so I chose them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Tell me about your relationship with the adoptive family. Where did it start? Where is it now?

Nicole:
I had first met the adoptive parents when I was super, super out of it at the hospital after my C-section. I don’t remember what I said to them. Literally I don’t, but apparently, I was playing musical cups because I kept taking the cups and moving around the table at the hospital. But I’m in contact with the adoptive mom every day through email through Child Connect. So, every week, I get pictures, but all I really wanted was to know how the child was doing and get pictures every now and then. I get 10 or 15 pictures every week. I am very happy with my adoptive choice. Adoption was pretty much the best idea for the child if you don’t have your life put together like me.

Nicole:
I moved out here from the East Coast because I lost everything in the flood from Hurricane Florence. I literally moved down here with the clothes on my back. Ever since, I’ve been rebuilding it little by little. The pregnancy came as a surprise and I never even went to the doctor until I was eight months pregnant. If you know or foresee that you can’t take care of a child, you need to do adoption. For me, I knew before I moved out here that it was going to take at least a year and a half for me to get everything back in place. But when I found out I was pregnant, I was like, “There’s a monkey wrench in everything.”

Nicole:
So I’m just now starting the process of rebuilding. So now, I’ve got a year and a half long fight to rebuild everything. I am very happy with my adoption choice. I couldn’t have picked a better family because of how alike the adoptive mom and I are and how stable they are with their life. Their oldest child loves the baby. I get pictures of both of them all the time. So, my favorite thing about Building Arizona Families is Kelly and Kristie. They’ve made this whole process pretty much easy for me to go through. So, whenever I had a problem, I just texted them and they would reply. That has to be my favorite thing.

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

Ron:
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 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:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scary. 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:
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:
This is the beginning of our two-part series. We are going to do a two-part series on what makes adoption difficult from two different vantage points. We’re going to look at the vantage point of the birth mother and the vantage point of the adoptive family.

Ron:
And so this episode, we’ll be talking about the birth mother’s vantage point.

Kelly:
Yes, we are going to be talking about the birth mother. From the birth mother’s vantage point, what is it that may or may not make adoption difficult? I think that adoption can be perceived by others as challenging or difficult. There are a lot of stigmas around adoption, a lot of misconceptions, a lot of misnomers, a lot of myths themselves. And I really want to use this opportunity to clarify some of those and dispel them and really dig down deep as to why the perception exists.

Ron:
For instance, if I were a birth mother, which to clarify, I’m not … I’m just asking for a friend … but if I were a birth mother-

Kelly:
We actually get those calls quite a bit.

Ron:
Do you?

Kelly:
We do. Yeah.

Ron:
I’m sure you do. If I was to call in an agency, does that mean I’m completely committed to the adoption?

Kelly:
No, you have the right to call an adoption agency and just find out more information about adoption. Just because you pick up that phone and you’re looking into adoption just means that you’re doing your research. I think it would be negligent on anybody’s part to make such a big decision in their life without doing research.

Ron:
Right, so you wouldn’t expect that just a phone call-

Kelly:
A phone call does not commit you to anything.

Ron:
Certainly.

Kelly:
You have every right to call an agency and find more information to see if that agency specifically is a good match for you. And you can go from there. Just because you call the first agency doesn’t mean you have to go with that agency. Again, you’re looking for a good match. You’re looking for an agency that meets what you’re looking for, if you want an in-state agency that you can work with face-to-face, if you want an agency where when you call a person picks up the phone rather than an automated service that says, “Press one for this and two for this.”

Ron:
And leave a message. Right. Right. Okay. What kind of fees would a birth mother have to pay in this circumstance?

Kelly:
When you’re a birth mother and you’re placing a baby for adoption, there are no fees. Everything is provided to you and paid for by the adoptive family. All of our adoption services are free to pregnant women considering adoption. Again, these fees are paid by the adoptive family. A lot of times birth mothers will come into our program and be concerned about what this is going to cost them. Not only does it not cost them anything, but we can actually help them with their living expenses.

Ron:
Okay. What if she has other children?

Kelly:
That’s a big one. That’s a question that we get quite often. You absolutely can choose to place the baby that you’re pregnant with for adoption and it has no bearing or weight on the other children in your home, meaning that just because you place this one baby for adoption does not mean that you are considering placing the other children for adoption.

Ron:
Right. Okay.

Kelly:
Sometimes a woman will come into our agency and she’ll bring her other children with her while we’re doing paperwork. And I’ve had women say, “I’m not placing these for adoption. These are my children.” And we just reassure them that, “Of course they are.” It doesn’t mean that because you’re doing an adoption now, all of your children are going up for adoption.

Ron:
Yeah. It’s not a group thing.

Kelly:
No. It’s not a one for all or all for one. No.

Ron:
Okay. Who picks the adoptive family?

Kelly:
Another really good question. The adoptive family is always chosen by the birth mother.

Ron:
And as an agency, you give them many options according to what they want in an adoptive family, correct?

Kelly:
Yes. What happens is a birth mother will go through and give us a list of preferences of what she’s looking for in an adoptive family. That could be anything from she wants a two-parent family with a stay-at-home mom. She may want a family that has a dog or she may want a family that is very open to lots of communication. And the adoptive families do the same thing. They fill out a preference sheet. Then what we do is we have a match coordinator that goes through and pulls the birth mother’s preferences and the adoptive family’s preferences and then we present profiles to a birth mother.

Ron:
That kind of match up.

Kelly:
Correct. In our agency, we normally present between three and five to a birth mother. We find that if we present more than that, it can become overwhelming. We’ll start with three to five. And then if for some reason, none of the families in the three to five profiles that we have chosen are what she’s looking for, then we-

Ron:
Go through another three to five.

Kelly:
Absolutely.

Ron:
Okay. That makes sense. Now, do they do background checks on all adoptive families?

Kelly:
Good question. Absolutely, 100%. All adoptive families registered with our agency have completed an adoption home study. In the adoption home study, they have undergone fingerprints, which include all the background checks, the child protective service clearances. They have to prove their financial status. They have to be emotionally, physically stable as well. They also have to provide references and have had a social group go to their home on two separate occasions to make sure that the home is safe and meets the state requirements that they’re living in for being an adoptive home.

Ron:
Those requirements, the background checks, they vary from state to state, but there’s always-

Kelly:
They don’t vary from state to state. The home study requirements actually vary from state to state. In some states, like in the state of Arizona, you have to be home study certified. What that means is that we take it an extra step. Not only does a social group go out to the home, gather all of the information, the family has to go through all of the background checks and provide all of the documentation, but then the adoption agency writes the adoption home study and then submits it to the court system. The judge actually reviews and signs off and issues in accreditation. Only a few states actually take the adoption home study to this level. Now, families that are adopting through us out of state have to meet their state requirements.

Ron:
Okay, so not Arizona’s.

Kelly:
No, not Arizona’s. That doesn’t mean that their state’s requirements are going to be any less stringent than ours. They just may differ. They may or may not have to go through the court system, but there is a common denominator, if you will, for adoption home studies. The home studies do have to be cleared by the Interstate Compact Placement Agreement, and so they have to meet a minimum criterion. But across the board, social workers are trained in adoption home studies. We know what we’re looking for. And a good question that I get on that is, “Do you ever turn families away?” And the answer is yes.

Ron:
What kind of reasons would you turn a family away for?

Kelly:
We have turned families away for reasons such as they were dishonest in their home study. They may or may not have disclosed a criminal background that would be of concern. Another reason is if they were falsifying, like I said, information, if they had a history with previous incidents that we weren’t comfortable with. In the state of Arizona, if you have a pool, you have to have a fence. And if they choose to not have a fence … We’ve had that before. We’ve had a family that didn’t want to put-

Ron:
Really?

Kelly:
No, they didn’t want it to ruin the view of their pool, and so we would not work with them.

Ron:
Okay. Well, that makes sense. Now, when will the birth mother sign the final paperwork?

Kelly:
The birth mother actually signs paperwork throughout the adoption process from the time she comes in until after the baby’s born, but she doesn’t sign the adoption consents, which are … That’s the big one. That’s the one where the birth mother signs the final document stating that she is officially placing the child for adoption. Those are done at 72 hours after the baby’s born. Now, if that’s in the middle of the night, could it go a little further? Sure. Never before 72 hours.

Kelly:
And another interesting fact is that if she is under the influence of pain medication or there are some issues, if she’s in the hospital ICU or she can’t sign for some reason, you can go longer than the 72 hours, but never before.

Ron:
Okay. Now, do other states have that same 72-hour time period?

Kelly:
No, they don’t. It varies from state to state and that is actually a state law, not a federal law.

Ron:
Okay.

Kelly:
And they vary widely, which is why some families choose to adopt out of Arizona because we do have really friendly adoption laws.

Ron:
Okay. What do you do if a birth mother has already placed another child for adoption previously?

Kelly:
With our agency, and again, I want to clarify that the answers that we’re giving today are specialized for our adoption agency and within the state of Arizona. Now, that doesn’t mean that another adoption agency may be able to give these same answers. But again, I can’t speak generally for other adoption agencies or other states.

Ron:
You can’t answer for them.

Kelly:
If another woman has placed a baby for adoption, especially with us, we always ask if she is interested in placing with the same family that she placed with previously. Not all birth mothers say yes, but we always give the option first. We very much like to keep siblings together if at all possible.

Ron:
Okay. That makes a lot of sense.

Kelly:
Yes.

Ron:
Does the birth mother, is she allowed to choose the type of adoption it’s going to be, for instance, open, semi-open, closed?

Kelly:
Of course. That’s absolutely her right. One of the things that we do as well is we really want to empower the birth mother and make her feel good about her choice, because if you are working with a birth mother who has an adoption plan and she feels confident in her choice and in her decision, the chances of the adoption being successful are greater because if somebody is uncomfortable with their choice and they’re not feeling comfortable with where this is going and they don’t feel like they’re in control, the chances of the adoption going through are not as high. And so in order to have a successful adoption and have a happy birth mother and an happy adoptive family, by empowering the birth mother and letting her choose what she is comfortable with, we have found to have great success.

Ron:
Okay. And you recommend a little more open generally?

Kelly:
We do. There are certain circumstances where open may or may not work. I know there are times where if there is a case where there has been rape or maybe the birth father has some issues that are of concern, then to safeguard the child, I’ve had a birth mother before request the adoption to be closed so that there’s no chance of any contact. And we will always, always honor that. Yes, we love open adoptions. We always encourage them when appropriate.

Ron:
Right. When there is an open or semi-open adoption and say the birth mother falls off track for a little bit, you don’t know where she is or whatever, how do you handle a situation like that? Do you keep that-

Kelly:
Great question.

Ron:
… post-adoption communication agreement?

Kelly:
Great question. Yes. What happens is we use a program called Child Connect. And through Child Connect, the adoptive family submits letters and pictures into this internet portal service. The birth mother can log on from a cell phone, a computer, pretty much from any media site, and she can log on and see pictures of the baby and read the letters and communicate via this program. If a birth mother decides to ghost for a while and she just needs a break and doesn’t want to think about the adoption after she’s had the baby and in two years or three years, she resurfaces, all she has to do is log back in. The family is still responsible according to their post-adoption communication agreement for keeping up those letters and pictures, so she will just find years worth of letters and pictures.

Ron:
It will just be inundated…

Kelly:
Yeah, absolutely.

Ron:
Here’s your child’s growth so far, right? Yeah.

Kelly:
It’s amazing. And, and prior to that, before we used Child Connect, we would get the letters and pictures sent to the agency. We would just keep them in a file.

Ron:
Wow.

Kelly:
And if she resurfaced, then that would be for her to have.

Ron:
Wow. Child Connect must be just amazing because I can’t imagine how overwhelmed you guys must have been with pictures and letters and things like that.

Kelly:
It became a lot. Yes.

Ron:
I bet. I bet.

Kelly:
Yes. It became a lot.

Ron:
What about the birth father? Now, can he be involved in the adoption and to what extent?

Kelly:
Yes, he can. In order for a birth father to be able to receive his own login, his own post-adoption communication agreement, meaning the family is equally as responsible for providing him with letters and pictures and updates as the birth mother, then he would need to sign adoption consent just like the birth mother.

Kelly:
He would have to take it a step further. Let’s say he’s served; his time runs out during the pregnancy and at that point he doesn’t have…. Right. He hasn’t established paternity and so he cannot basically hinder the adoption at that point. He can decide, “I too want to sign consents,” and when the birth mother signs consents, he then signs as well. And he can absolutely have his own login independent of whether or not he’s with the birth mother and have his own adoption plan.

Ron:
Wow. That’s great, actually. Is there financial assistance available for birth mothers?

Kelly:
Absolutely. As long as they qualify for assistance, we go off of the state regulations. Yes, we go off of the state regulations. We can help birth mothers with housing, food, medical bills, a cell phone, clothing, transportation to and from pregnancy-related appointments. And what is really neat is this is not difficult in terms of getting the process going. Emotionally, it can be difficult and it can be hard and it can be a while before you can find peace in your decision because it’s a big choice, but the adoption process doesn’t have to be hard and the support that you can receive from an agency can really help with these things.

Ron:
Right. And that’s pretty much anything that’s related to the pregnancy itself.

Kelly:
Yes.

Ron:
Okay.

Kelly:
Yes.

Ron:
All right. I think that’s all the questions I have as a birth mother.

Kelly:
All right. Well, I would say if you or any of our listeners have any more questions, don’t worry, we’ve got lots more answers. You’re welcome to call and text us whenever you’re ready if you’re thinking about placing your unborn baby for adoption. The number to call us is 623-695-4112, or you can email us at info@buildingarizonafamilies.com.

Christina:
I’m Christina. I’m 32 years old, and I first came to Building Arizona Families for an adoption. It’s hard to go through the adoption, but I felt more content and I felt at peace when I came to the office and I seen the picture of Kelly’s birth mom.

Christina:
The adoption agency helped me out tremendously. Going through what I was going through, living here and there, bouncing back and forth, wasn’t really stable and knowing that I love children so much that it was hard at first, but Building Arizona Families, they helped me out tremendously. My case manager, Gloria, she’s amazing, and then Kelly, and most of the other females that are working at Building Arizona Families. Seeing you guys, it brings a smile to my face and a little bit more hope and stuff because going through this process, it has put me up and down in my lows and talking it over, it kind of sets in and makes you a little bit more at ease and at home.

Christina:
I was blessed to come into contact with Building Arizona Families so that way I could give my baby a better life than what I could give him right now, because I’m not saying that I’m not capable of it, but I am, but I’m just more … rather see him accomplish more things that I could not give him right now. He can get a better education, and helping out another family is amazing too.

Christina:
And it’s hard for certain women that don’t always have that hope to go and find a place or to look out or have the extra resources and knowing that someone else probably has gone through with what they’ve gone through. I’ve been there with the drugs or whatnot. I went, got help and then here I am pregnant, but I’m still drug-free, but it’s a battle. It’s up and down and it’s a rocky road. And I just know what it’s like, but it’s a process. And you just got to have the strength and the heart to just keep pushing forward.

Christina:
I was raped with this pregnancy, and I’m not saying that I would not keep him. I would, but being on the streets, bouncing from this motel to that motel and not having a stable place to live out there on Mesa on the east side, it was hard. And not having the family support thing there for me, because at the time I was going through a CPS case with my youngest, I didn’t want to jeopardize my child being placed with my aunt, so I stayed out on the street or met friends and tried to make sure that I didn’t get taken advantage of, which I did.

Christina:
I thought that I had some pretty good friends there for me, but didn’t because in the end, they still just gave me the foot out the door until I made the initiative. I read more about Building Arizona Families, and that’s when I felt more at peace and home, and walking through the door and having the secretary at the door and she greets us when we walk in. It’s really amazing.

Christina:
Going through with what I went through and coming here for that first visit with Amanda and signing my paperwork, that’s when I told Amanda and she worked me into it because I was kind of nervous and she knew it and she felt it and I was like, “I’m sorry, I just don’t know what to do,” and she’s like, “No, don’t apologize. It’s all good,” but it helped me out a lot too, because it’s not that it’s forcing. You guys are just right there to help us and guide us into a good, positive way to make us feel more at home and secure because the ones like me being out there on the streets, I mean, walking through the door at Building Arizona Families, it’s hard because we always get judgmental looks from everybody else, but you guys don’t. It’s welcoming and more of a home feeling.

Christina:
My aunt went back and forth with me and she pretty much said some hurtful things. But when she found out that I was going through the adoption agency, she’s like, “I know I said some of the meanest and cruelest things to you.” She goes, “But it’s a noble thing what you’re doing.” And she goes, “It’s very hard and I know it, but I’ll still be here in the end.” My son will be gone with his family, which is my adoptive parents that I picked and I’m amazed and I’m glad and I’m thankful. He’ll be perfectly fine and my dad and my step-mom can’t do nothing about it, thank God.

Kelly:
You’re welcome to call and text us whenever you’re ready if you’re thinking about placing your unborn baby for adoption. The number to call us is 623-695-4112 or you can email us at info@buildingarizonafamilies.com.

Ron:
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.

Ron:
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 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.