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Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #64 – Adoption Match Coordinator, Part 2 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 1:
Do what’s best for your kid and 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.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
And I know that my daughter will be well taken care of with them.

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

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

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’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 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. Who’s an adoption attorney, I can combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Ron Reigns:
Thanks for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. Today, part two of our two-part interview with Robyn, the intake coordinator for Building Arizona Families. You may remember her from last week, she’s the married, proud mother of four children. One of whom was recently adopted at birth. She studied business management and education at the University of Kentucky. She has experience teaching children in primary and secondary education. Robyn started working with Building Arizona Families five years ago after completing an adoption with BAF.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You have always wanted to tell families that are beginning the adoption process but really isn’t socially appropriate politically correct? In other words, what is the one thing that you’ve always wanted to say over and over again, but logistically you really can’t, but now you can. What’s the one thing you would say?

Robyn:
Oh, that’s a tough one.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Would it be, “Redo your book,” or “focus more on the pictures,” or…

Robyn:
Oh, there have been many times where I’ve wanted to say redo your book. But I think that as far as that, I would say get help when putting your adoption book together because they need to realize that this is… to word it straight out: this is how you sell yourself and sell your family to a birth mom. That this is your way of saying, “Hey, this is us.” And just be so careful how you do that, both in what you want them to see and how they’re going to get to know you. So definitely be aware of that profile book.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
What is one common thing that you think adoptive families coming into the process do incorrectly, and maybe it hinders them from being chosen, or it kind of turns off some of the staff members and working with them, what are some of those things?

Robyn:
I think that they definitely need to become educated. Educated in the actual process and realize… Many of them think that this is going to be an easy road, and it’s not. And I think that they need to realize that when they make that connection with their birth mother, they need to accept her. That I think. That was a big part of my adoption that our birth mother wanted to be accepted, and she just wanted support. And I think that if you can make that connection and do so by keeping an open mind, it will make things better in the end.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Is there a part of your job that’s your favorite?

Robyn:
Seeing the pictures sent to me, either in the hospital when the baby is born or seeing the finalization pictures. It’s the end result. And of course, I have some families that I work with more than others. And it just knows that I was just a part of getting them to where they are on that day where birth mom signs consents. Or on that day when they’re having their finalization in court. It’s amazing. It’s such a fantastic feeling.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
All right, what’s your least favorite part?

Robyn:
Failed adoptions, disruptions, and granted, I’m not the one usually that has to make that call, but they do. The families when they stay in the program, and they come back around, it’s hard-working with them again, knowing the heartbreak that they’ve been through.

Ron Reigns:
Have you ever felt like they blame you?

Robyn:
Yes.

Ron Reigns:
For matching them with…

Robyn:
Yes, I do.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Good question.

Robyn:
I do. And you know, I mean, I know that. And I tell them all, “I wish we had the crystal ball. I wish we could see the end result,” but obviously we don’t. But yes, I have felt that way before. And it’s hard.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Robyn:
It’s hard thinking about what they’ve gone through… Because it’s not only financial, it’s emotional as well. So it’s so tough when they come back around. But again, when you do get them to the end and, especially if it’s a hospital baby born situation and they’re on a whim, they’re out there. Within 12, 24 hours, they’re holding a baby, and they know that, okay, we’re going to get there. This is the way that it was supposed to be. That’s the end reward.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
So you are obviously from Kentucky.

Robyn:
I am.

Ron Reigns:
It’s not as thick as I thought it was going to be. You warned me. And I’m like, “It’s not that bad.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
We love your accent.

Robyn:
Aw, thank you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Adoptive families. As you know, we do a lot of adoptions from Kentucky, and I have to say, even having traveled to Kentucky multiple times, adoptive families from Kentucky are drawn to you. They want to speak with you. Is this the good old girls club, or why is this?

Robyn:
I don’t know. They say Southern hospitality, maybe.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Ah.

Robyn:
And maybe that’s just what I was born and raised with. And I love working with families from all across the United States, but when I get to make that call that they’re in Kentucky, I always share with them, “I was born and raised,” where you’re from. And I want to share with them that it makes it very pleasant to work with them as well, just because it reminds me of a little bit of home.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah.

Ron Reigns:
Yeah, it’s nice. We’ve definitely made some excellent connections in Kentucky, so…

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For sure. So looking back, what is the most memorable story you have played a part in?

Robyn:
I have to say that it was matching; well, we did an adoption with a family that was from Kentucky. I happened to be at one of our seminars with them, and you and Adam were there as well. And I started to talk to this guy, and it turned out that he was at the wedding of my brother’s best friend. So we definitely had mutual connections, and at least six months later, their birth mother came back into the program. So they come back into our program, and I absolutely still keep in touch with them to this day.

Ron Reigns:
Oh, cool.

Robyn:
It was just crazy how the connections that we had. And I still keep in touch with them. She is a teacher at a school that I used to do long-term substitute teaching for. It was just such proof that it’s a small world that we live in.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
For sure. Do you have any funny stories?

Robyn:
I got a call one day, and when the lady left her name, I was like, “I know this last name. This is crazy.” So it turns out that her brother coached my daughter in all-star cheerleading from the time she was four until 18. And she now has adopted two times with us. And all of that came about just by me recognizing her last name. And when I returned her call, I thought, “Okay, I have to ask because your last name is so uncommon. Are you related to,” I said his name, and she said, “How did you know that?” Because I’m from Kentucky, and he coached my daughter in cheer. And she said, “Oh, no way.” So now she has come through the program and adopted, and then, in turn, her birth mom came back, and they have adopted again. And they actually have full siblings.

Robyn:
She’s actually adopted, and those are full siblings. And I do still keep in touch with them, too, just because there was always a part of our family. So every time I’m in Kentucky and see their family, I see those kids.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Aw.

Robyn:
I mean, I look at them, and I’m like, “Oh my goodness, this is just it.” I really got to be a part of building their family. And I know we have such a history with that family. That goes way, way back to, like I said, with him, coaching my daughter in cheer. Her entire family, her brother that I knew, yet her other sister, her mom, and her dad all send me messages at Christmas. When I see them, they hug me. They’re like, “You have no idea what you did for Heather and her family.”

Robyn:
I just feel like I was such a small part. And they’re like, “No.” You’ve not just changed. You know, her mom said to me, and this was just this past Christmas. She said, “You’ve not just changed Heather and her husband’s life, you’ve changed all of our lives by helping us with these beautiful girls, by helping us come into connection and having beautiful girls as a part of our family.” So when somebody comes back and says something like that to you, it’s the ultimate reward. It really is.

Ron Reigns:
It’s better than getting paid millions of dollars or whatever. I’m just kidding. It’s not.

Robyn:
No, I’m not even kidding you. I don’t know; there’s a place in my heart. Because I look at my son, I know how I feel, and I know how bad I wanted to be a parent again. And when you get these families that come to you, you know that that’s what they want, and they tell you their stories. You’re like, “I can help you. But you’re going to have to trust me, and you’re going to have to trust the process, but I can help you.” And when you see the end result, it’s impressive.

Ron Reigns:
It really is. I see how Kelly and Building Arizona Families, my wife and you, and everybody. You’ve affected people’s lives in such a positive way in every aspect of the adoption triad. So I just think it’s incredible what you guys do. So you’re doing great.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
You really are.

Robyn:
Thank you. Thank you. It’s a joy. And, everybody stands when you find your passion, and you can incorporate that into your job.

Ron Reigns:
Mm-hmm (affirmative)

Robyn:
I’m just convinced that it was what I was supposed to do all along. And it took me going through the process to really have that focused on me. Voiced to me that this is what I need to be doing. And I even told our caseworker at the time, which I connected with Becky, but Becky wasn’t our caseworker. I told her at the time, “I need to do this. I need to learn more, and I need to be a part of this.” And I still… I’m five and a half years in, and I still learn something every day, every day. If it’s nothing, but at staff meetings, we learn from our education or from a particular situation. There’s still just… it’s ongoing. There’s always something that you can learn. That you can, in turn, turn around and help someone.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Robyn, thank you so much for all you do. And for agreeing to do this podcast.

Robyn:
Oh, thank you. You’re very welcome.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
I’m thinking maybe we’ll have you back on in the future, and maybe you can give your insight into profile books and helping adoptive families create books.

Ron Reigns:
There you go.

Robyn:
Absolutely. I would love to offer 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 start 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 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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