Arizona Pregnancy Help

Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #51 – Why Using an Agency for Adoption is Important

Choosing adoption means choosing a courageous option with support, aftercare, and access to financial resources. It is vital to work with an adoption agency that works in the best interest of the child, birth parents, and adoptive parents. Adoption for pregnant mothers is a beautiful choice and one that is increasingly becoming a more popular choice.

If you are pregnant and are considering adoption, we are a licensed, full-service, non-profit Arizona adoption agency. We believe in adoption aftercare services and have a program on-site to provide continued support through the Donna K. Evans Foundation. You can contact us 24/7 at (623) 695-4112 with any questions you may have. You are not alone, and we want to help. Thank you for considering adoption for pregnant mothers, you are making an amazing choice!

Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #51 – Why Using an Agency for Adoption is Important

Visit us HERE to listen to Episode #51 of our podcast Birth Mother Matters. Read the transcript to our Podcast Episode #51 below-

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.

Adoption, Arizona Adoption

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.

Adoption, Arizona Adoption

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.

Adoption, Arizona Adoption

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.

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