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Why do Birth Mothers’ Baby Adoption Experiences Vary?

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.  This podcast focuses why every newborn baby adoption experience differs for each birth mother.

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 Families Adoption Agency, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and the You Before Me campaign creator. I have a Bachelor’s degree in family studies in human development and a Master’s degree in education with an emphasis in 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’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Why do birth mother’s newborn baby adoption  experiences vary is a common question that I hear from birth mothers, primarily. They often come into the agency, and they may have a friend who placed their baby for adoption, and they’re starting their adoption journey. And they said you know what? My friend had a fantastic experience with your agency, and I’m experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, so that I will do the same thing. She may or may not have the same fantastic experience.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

She very well may not have a good experience at all. And it may or may not have anything to do with our agency. It may just be the factors that come into play during her newborn baby adoption journey. There are, what I consider, internal factors and external factors. There are things that you can control, and there are things that you cannot control. And although we try to provide as an agency the best experience for every birth mother that comes into our program, we only have so much control. There are only so many things that we can do to create a positive adoption journey because I think the journey is just as important as a result. Again, we’re a rush-rush community and like to do everything fast, and I think we need to slow and be present and mindful and enjoy the process.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

One of the questions that birth mothers ask is, how come so and so really felt good and positive about her newborn baby adoption, maybe after they’ve placed for adoption, and I’m struggling with my adoption choice. And, what I do is I kind of walk them through it. Factors that may influence how you perceive your adoption experience are because you can never really argue with somebody’s feelings because everyone’s entitled to their thoughts and feelings; perceptions are based upon your feelings. They are sometimes governed by them or guided by them.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

To have the most positive adoption experience that you can, you have to understand what the adoption process is. That’s something that, as an agency, we can help educate you on.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

You also have to have a reason for choosing adoption that you wholeheartedly believe in. If you’re choosing adoption because your best friend chose adoption and she went through this and had a good experience, and you’re choosing adoption because you want to have an experience, even though you really could parent, but you want to have the same experience she did, then you may not come out of it with the same level of joy or-

Ron Reigns:

Satisfaction.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Satisfaction. Thank you.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

If you have a good support structure that is adoption positive, that will influence your experience. If you don’t have one, that will also affect it, but more negatively because you will feel more alone when you’re not with your caseworker. Or, you’re not out doing something adoption-related with the adoptive family, or something like that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

If you, as a birth mother, want to make sure that you are utilizing all of the resources offered to you during your adoption journey, then I would say make sure that you’re seeing the adoption counselor as often as you feel you need to. You take time and develop a relationship with the adoptive family you choose for your newborn baby adoption. And most importantly, speak up. Be open and honest about what you want. What type of adoptive family. What are your expectations of your adoption caseworker? And after you place your baby for adoption, what type of post-adoption communication do you want.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Sometimes we’re conditioned not to want to hurt somebody’s feelings, so we’re afraid not to say what we want.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And when we’re presented with something, if it’s not what we want, we don’t want to act disrespectful or like we’re not appreciative. And so, we just kind of go with it. But, when you are creating a newborn baby adoption plan, it’s essential to speak up and say, this is really what I want. And that way, your agency can help you. It is essential that your ability and willingness to speak up if things are not going the way you want them to go.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Sometimes caseworkers and birth mothers don’t have personalities that match, and I see it. And so, what we do as an agency is, we will just move the birth mother to a different caseworker.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

No harm, no foul. There are no hard feelings.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And, not everybody is going to be cohesive with everybody else.

Ron Reigns:

It makes me think of when I was growing up, say I would have two friends, and I would get along with them just phenomenally. But, they were like oil and water. They just couldn’t see eye to eye on anything. And I’ve been on the other end of that, as well, to where it’s like, I don’t know how he likes that guy. That guy’s a jerk. Or whatever. But, sometimes personalities don’t mesh, and you’ve got to figure out who they mesh with. So, you move some pieces around and-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

A thousand percent.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And I would rather somebody speak up rather than struggle the rest of their pregnancy during this emotional time and not say anything.

Ron Reigns:

Right. With somebody, they don’t even seem to like, and yeah, you would rather have them go, can we find somebody else for me? Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes. And, I have worked with our staff, and they don’t take it hard. When they’re a new case manager, and it’s the first one, they’re a little bit like, what did I do wrong?

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

But I’ve had them say they didn’t want me as a caseworker. I mean, it happens. You’re not going to be everybody’s cup of tea, and that’s okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

You may feel that the adoptive family may want more or less communication before you have the baby. You want to make sure that, as I said, you’re expressing yourself. You’re saying no, no, no. I want to get to know them more. Or, I don’t feel like they’re connecting with me, and I want to connect with this adoptive family. And again, conveying those things will shape the type of experience that you have. And when you look back at it at the end, you’re going to see, okay, so I did this, and then everything got better once I switched over here. And once I reached out and said, hey, can you help me talk to the adoptive family? I want to get to know them more. I want them to open up and stop being afraid to talk to me. Then, that will enable you to have a better experience.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

If you’re struggling with your feelings and emotions regarding your newborn baby adoption choice, make sure you talk to your adoption caseworker. They’re trained in helping to guide you through this and help you with coping skills, reaching out to the adoption counselor, and getting you in to see her. Those are all things that are within your control. So, if you don’t have a support structure, find one. Find one; find somebody, a friend, or a family member who can be your adoption buddy outside of the adoption agency and outside of the adoptive family because you will need that person.

Ron Reigns:

I have a question. I want to go back just a step because you said something which triggered something in my brain. I’m just curious about all the birth mothers who are listening. They’re going through the process, realizing that the caseworker is not for them. Okay?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes.

Ron Reigns:

Who do they come to, because-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Me.

Ron Reigns:

it would be hard to go to that caseworker-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Me.

Ron Reigns:

And say, I don’t like you. Yeah, so they come right to the company’s owner, whether it’s Building Arizona Families or somebody else.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. I meet with them. I’ve met with them.

Ron Reigns:

What’s that?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. I’ve met with them.

Ron Reigns:

Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

They have met me. When I meet with them, I give them my card. I make sure that they have my number if I call them. And, if for some reason they don’t have it, they call the main office and ask to speak with me. And, I can make it, so it’s not a big deal, and I can switch them. But yeah, it’s all me. I would be the person.

Ron Reigns:

Okay. Now how about, what would you recommend for somebody with another agency? Just try and talk to the head?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I would say go to the supervisor. That’s okay.

Ron Reigns:

Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It would be awkward to go to the caseworker because they may feel like, oh, I’m going to get her in trouble, and I don’t want to get her in trouble.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

My caseworkers don’t get in trouble.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It is what it is. Sometime-

Ron Reigns:

They wouldn’t get their feelings hurt either, but I know it would be an awkward position. I just thought of any birth mothers out there who think I’m kind of in that situation. Who do I talk to? So, that’s kind of why I asked.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And that’s something that they should be able to help you with.

Ron Reigns:

Okay. Very good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

External factors outside an adoption agency or birth mother’s control may impact her adoption experience, such as unforeseen medical complications if she develops preeclampsia and has to go into the hospital sooner than she planned. If her water leaks and she is hospitalized for a month or two months, those can impact your experience.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

If a birth father decides to try to contest the newbrn baby adoption, again, that can negatively impact your experience. Or, if there’s a global pandemic that hinders your caseworker from attending doctor’s appointments or labor and delivery, that can also hinder your experience. And again, those are entirely out of an agency’s control.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Birth mothers are brave and selfless. But that doesn’t mean that adoption isn’t a hard choice for the bravest, the strongest. Your experience is going to be what you make it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And, I think that if you can take away one thing, remember that you can focus on the positives, or you can focus on the negatives. The glass is half full. If you focus on the positives, overall, you will be a happier person. You’re going to have a better outlook on life. You’re going to find the things that bring joy. If you have five good things that happen in one day, and then your trip, and you make a full out of yourself in front of everybody else, which I have a habit of doing, you can focus on that, or you can focus on all the other things that happened.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And, I have to say, last week, I was walking down our stairs, and I guess my feet just wholly came out from underneath me, and I fell right on my butt on our tile, in front of my husband and all the kids. And I sat there because I was in shock at first and didn’t know how to respond. So, I’m dumbfounded, thinking, how did that happen?

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And a couple of the kids start kind of snickering because they can see that I’m still-

Ron Reigns:

You’re okay. But, right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. And I have to say kudos to my husband. He comes right over, tells the kids that’s not funny at all, and helps me up. And he was like, that looks like it hurt. Can I get you something? And I thought, wow. Wow. He made a terrible experience sweet.

Ron Reigns:

Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That was nice. And I am so glad that I saw that handled that way because I probably would’ve laughed myself and then reached out my hand to help.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

But, once I saw they were okay. But, I think that that was handled with so much; it was gallant. It was nice because I looked ridiculous sitting on the ground. Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So, will every birth mother have that, in parentheses, hallmark experience? No, they won’t. But, I will say that we see a lot of repeat birth mothers in our agency. Birth mothers who find themselves experiencing an unplanned pregnancy again come back to us because our agency is like a family in a sense. And we are all there because of what we believe in. We believe in building families and helping women experiencing unplanned pregnancies who can’t parent their children. And we want them to leave our agency better than when they came in. And we are all dedicated to this mission of adoption. I’ve had people say to me, wow, you’re really into this. And it makes me laugh because, yeah, it’s my life.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It’s not just something I believe in and love, but I was born into it. I’m not a princess, but I was born into the adoption realm, and I think it’s the giving back that is so important.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Our caseworkers, a lot of them have personal experiences with adoption. They have adopted. We’ve had caseworkers who were birth mothers or had been adopted themselves in the past. And, I think it’s just a fantastic thing and a calling. And I know that your wife is our adoption attorney, and she very much believes in and loves what she does. And so, for you, it’s become a calling, I’m sure.

Ron Reigns:

Absolutely. I always looked up to it and respected it. When Lisa and I first started dating, she told me, oh, I’m studying to become a lawyer. And in the back of my mind, I’m thinking, oh great. And then she said, I’ve been working in the adoption field as an adoption attorney for this many years. And I’m like, oh great. It changed my perspective. And I’ve only grown to respect, love, and just be passionate about this field more and more through the years. So, yeah, I wasn’t born into it like you. I’m not prince adoption, but you are princess adoption. But no, it’s become a passion. I love it.

Ron Reigns:

Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters In Adoption. I hope you tune in next time. We’ll be talking to a special guest Naseem. She’s a birth mother and will be telling us about her adoption journey.

Naseem:

And I knew it. I knew that I wanted to raise my daughter, but I wanted her to have the stability of having a father and a fully invested mother, not just partially. To have what she needed, I didn’t feel like that was happening at this point.

Naseem:

Now, everything changes once you become a mom. It’s not about you anymore. It’s not. Or a parent in general, it’s not about you. It’s about the child. It’s about protecting the child, providing for the child, giving the child everything they need physically, emotionally, everything. And I wanted to give her; I would go starving before she did. Let’s just put it that way. I would go above and beyond, but it had to be both of us.

Naseem:

And there I was, he was talking about breaking up, and then I found I was pregnant again. Two weeks after I brought her from the NICU, I found I was pregnant again. This is right after he told me it’s not going to work out. And I was scared to death because that meant I would be alone with her 24/7. If I were selfish, I would’ve kept her.

Ron Reigns:

Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. Suppose you’re listening, dealing with an unplanned pregnancy, and want more information about adoption. In that case, Building Arizona Families is a local Arizona adoption agency and is available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112. That’s (623) 695-4112. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or just get you more information. You can also find out more information about Building Arizona Families on AZpregnancyhelp.com. Thanks also go out to Grapes for allowing us to use their song, I Don’t Know, as our theme song. Birth Mother Matters in Adoption was written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me. Please rate and review this podcast wherever you’re listening to us. We’d appreciate it. We also now have a website at birthmothermatterspodcast.com. Tune in next time on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. For Kelly Rourke-Scarry, I’m Ron Reigns.

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