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Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #63 – Adoption Match Coordinator Interview, Part 1 of 2

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 adoption issues from every angle of the adoption triad.

Speaker 2:

Do what’s best for your kid and yourself because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re 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 Family’s Adoption Agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and the You Before Me campaign creator. I have a bachelor’s degree in family studies and human development and a master’s degree in education with an emphasis on school counseling. I was adopted at 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, an adoption attorney, and I can combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters and Adoption; today is part one of our two-part interviews with the intake coordinator for Building Arizona Families. Robin is a married and proud mother of four children, who was recently adopted at birth. She studied business management and education at the University of Kentucky. She has experience teaching in primary and secondary schools and prior office management proficiency; Robin has been with Building Arizona Families since she came to work after completing an adoption with Beth over five years ago.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Why don’t you first talk about how you found us and came to us and how you are, where you are now?

Robyn:

Well, I lived, I mean, I was living in Arizona, but had not found Building Arizona Families until a friend of mine that lives back in Kentucky said, ”Hey! I found this adoption agency; you need to check them out; they’re right; they have to be close to you.” So I started looking into things, and I contacted Becky Merryman, who I work with now. And that was pretty much it once I got in contact with Becky and started the process; that’s all I needed to do. It was amazing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Did you adopt?

Robyn:

Five and a half years ago and

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Do you have biological children as well?

Robyn:

I do; I have three biological children.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And you adopted five years ago. And then how soon after that did you come to work for us?

Robyn:

Exactly two months.

Ron Reigns:

After the adoption is finalized?

Robyn:

After, no, not even after that we did not finalize yet. It was two months old when I started working for Building Arizona Families.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Wow!

Robyn:

I know.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So why did you want to work for Building Arizona Families?

Robyn:

I can honestly say when I went through the adoption, the entire journey, I found my passion and I went to school for so many different things. I started in accounting, then I went into real estate, and then I went into education. I found my passion just in helping people. And I’m sure that it’s because of what I went through. We tried to have Jeff, and I tried to have biological children. I couldn’t, so I have three older children and started all over by going through fertility. You know, we used fertility drugs, we used IVF, unsuccessful, and I met with a lady at church and started talking about the adoption process and looking into it from there. But I never imagined how much it would change my life after going through the entire process and learning. I still learn something all the time in the journey, but to be able to share my experiences and to be just a small part of building other families, the way that I was able to build my family is fantastic. It’s just so rewarding.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So how would you describe your position with Building Arizona Families?

Robyn:

As far as match coordinating, I honestly don’t think I would want to do anything other than what I do. I feel like I get to talk to adoptive parents, explain the process with them, help them through it, and let them know it’s not just a smooth road. It’s not. It’s never just going to be a straight shot. There’s going to be a, they’re going to throw you curveballs, and you’re going to have to learn how to, sometimes even tiptoe through the process. So I like to share my experience; I like to explain to them what to expect and that sometimes you have to expect the unexpected. I think that being able to connect adoptive parents with birth mothers is what I’m supposed to be doing; in a way, my background is in teaching, so in a way, I am still teaching. Still, it’s just a different aspect of it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I agree. So can you describe what a match coordinator does?

Robyn:

So I get the preference forms from adoptive parents that’ll. I match up what they are looking for in a birth mom, and I take the preferences of what a birth mom is looking for in an adoptive family and connect. I connect with the adoptive families, show them the birth mother intakes, and let them know you’re exactly what she is looking for; I go from there.

Ron Reigns:

So do you choose, for instance, the home studies that the birth mothers see when they’re first given like three or five options?

Robyn:

Sometimes I do, now there are occasions where I’m not able to do that if a birth mother, depending on what her intake looks like, as far as substance abuse matching up with adoptive parent’s preferences, I’m able to do that sometimes I’m not.

Ron Reigns:

Okay.

Robyn:

I do tell adoptive parents a lot. You’re going to get intakes from me that may not precisely match your preferences, but please keep an open mind and read over the intake; it cannot hurt for them just to read it. You never know what is going to catch your eye, and we’ve had so many matches on; wow, she was so right, I looked over this intake, and you know what, it wasn’t one that we would typically look at, maybe they had something in common, whether it be a favorite sports team or favorite writing or reading or something in that intake just caught their eye.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Do you think that your own adoption experience with your son gives you an advantage in working with these families?

Ron Reigns:

I do because many of the families that I talk to and I can remember being this way, going through the process, they’re scared. You have to look at it as a leap of faith, and you have to look at it as trust in the process, and it’s tough to at first go into it to trust. If I can even offer that little bit of advice as to, Hey, wait a minute, this is what happened in our situation, so you need to sit back and wait. And as hard as it is, sitting back and waiting, it’s what you have to do and keep your faith.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

What do you think are the most important recommendations you have for adoptive families who want to get matched as soon as possible? Like what would you tell them?

Robyn:

I would tell them, do not to Google anything talk to a professional. I talked to pediatricians about substance abuse in birth mothers, and I also talked to my OB doctor. I wanted to hear firsthand what do you see about pediatricians? What do you see in these children that could be substance-exposed? And what do I need to know moving forward? So don’t Google anything because you never know who writes those articles. You need to sit down and talk to the professionals. And I think the best advice given to me that I pass along to people is to begin the process with the end in mind and know that it, it’s going to be, could be a bumpy ride, but you’ll get there. And I’m a true believer that everybody, everything that anybody goes through, through adoption, when they get to the end of the journey, they’re going to know, okay, this was the way that it was supposed to be.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

What are some common, most common misconceptions that adoptive families have when they come into the program?

Robyn:

Okay. I think a lot of times when they come in, and there’s substance exposure, they’re going to expect us to drug test. It’s a challenge to get families to understand that we’re not there to drug test them; we’re there to help them and help the baby. Sometimes it is a challenge to get adoptive families to understand; okay, this is why we don’t. If her doctor does a drug [inaudible 00:10:06], yes, we’re going to get those results, but that’s not what we are there to do.

Robyn:

So I think that is probably a challenge to get them to understand; it’s a challenge to understand funds and how funds are distributed. And in the process, I think you have to. I have to look at it as they need the most education they can get on this process. So, even if it’s not all by myself or my co-workers explaining the process to them, it’s giving them articles to read or other people. I think that it’s incredible how you can get other people that have gone through the same process to talk to; that helps as well.

Ron Reigns:

Thanks for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption; next week, join us for part two of our interview with the intake coordinator for Building Arizona Families. We’ll be talking to Robin about the best and worst parts of the job, as well as her ties to Kentucky. That’s next time on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. 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 start 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 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, like 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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