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Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #73 – Naseem – A Birth Mother’s Adoption Journey

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:

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 the Building Arizona families adoption agency, The Donna K. Evans foundation, and creator of you before me campaign. I have a bachelor’s degree in family studies and human development and a master’s degree in education, emphasizing 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 :

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. Today we have an extraordinary episode of birth Mother matters in adoption; Naseem reached out to us; she’s a listener to the podcast. She wanted to let us know that she appreciates what we’re doing and getting information out about adoption. So we thought it would be nice to share her story on birth mother matters in adoption.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So, Ron got some questions for her. So why don’t you go ahead and get started?

Ron Reigns :

Let us get your story; your name is Naseem, and thanks to you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. Tell us about your adoption journey.

Naseem:

So I was in a relationship for six years and on again, off again, relationship. I was; I told him I was not on the birth control pill anymore, right? So he knew there was this chance of pregnancy, but we didn’t think it would happen because I never had a pregnancy scare even. I got pregnant on August 5th; I found out I was pregnant on August 5th, 2018, just five days before my birthday; it was going to be my 35th birthday. And so anyway, our daughter was born early. She was born at 28 weeks because I had pre-eclampsia, and she was in NICU for four and a half months. And during this time, I realized my birth father was not providing like you’re supposed to, and I was very concerned because kids need stuff. They needed a lot of stuff, and he wasn’t buying anything. And I was stressed because I felt like I was already a single mom.

Naseem:

I went to the NICU every day for four and a half months to see my daughter as she grew and everything. And, and then two, I’m trying to make this as short as possible. So what happened, in the end, is I started thinking about adoption, possibly when I was pregnant with them; her name’s Caroline. And I didn’t want to do that. Every time I thought about it, I would cry because I always wanted to be a mom. And so this was not ideal for me, and I knew it. I knew in my heart that I wanted to raise my daughter. I wanted her to have the stability of having a father and a fully invested mother, not just part, and to have what she needed, and I didn’t feel like that was happening.

Naseem:

So anyway, I brought her from the NICU to my house, and I live at my parent’s rental property for free because I make it a little on disability. I have rheumatoid arthritis, I have autism, and I know that, realistically, I could not raise a child by myself. Well, we were talking about getting married. We were engaged full time on and off, and suddenly, whenever our home from NICU, he said he couldn’t be with me because this is a long story. But basically, CPS got involved because I wanted to get a crib for free. Since I knew he wouldn’t pay for anything. So they started investigating, and I spoke about his anger, some concerns I had, plus anger. 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.

Naseem:

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. And there I was, he was talking about breaking up. Oh, and then I found out I was pregnant again. Two weeks after I bought her from the NICU, I found I was pregnant again. And I’m just; 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 with very little help. After all, I’m not expecting other people to do my job or his job; that’s not fair. And it wasn’t fair to her not to have a father who wanted to be there fully.

Naseem:

So next thing I noticed, he started coming over with his then-girlfriend, who I did not like; I did not trust her. My motherly intuition told me she was not ideal. And I told him from the beginning, when I was pregnant with Caroline, that I did not want her involved in Caroline’s life. Suddenly, he moved in with her; by the way, he moved into an apartment at first close to my house to be close to Caroline and me. Well, then he realized he couldn’t well; according to him, he couldn’t afford it. And that he wanted to pay child support. Supposedly this is what he told me, so he moved in with her about 30 minutes from my house. So he moved from 10 minutes to about 30 – 35 minutes away. Next thing I know, she’s coming over, even though I don’t want her to; I’m alone with Caroline all the time.

Naseem:

And it was just a disaster, and I was stressed to the max, plus I was pregnant again. So I first thought about giving the new baby up for adoption, another girl. And I had a feeling it was another girl before it was confirmed. And then I thought it over, and I was like, is that fair to them to be a part to only see each other, maybe once a year is that fair to my daughters and for Caroline to be in the struggle between her father and me, because he didn’t want to pay child support. He started fighting me in court. The next thing I knew, I was going to and from the court, and whenever I was in court, I couldn’t be with my daughter couldn’t be with me. So I don’t have somebody to watch her. And it was just so stressful.

Naseem:

And I didn’t think it was fair to her. I didn’t think I was fair. Seeing was happening unwinding right before me, and if I were selfish, I would have kept her. And I would have probably tried to keep the other girl as well; her name is Riley. They named her Riley. I named her Janet after my deceased grandmother on my mom’s side. So yeah, it was just a struggle; I was with her 24/7 by myself, pregnant, getting more prominent as the months proceeded, and I, I couldn’t do it. I tried the best I could, and I mean, as I said, I would have been able to do it if I had to; a mother will do whatever; it’s fantastic when motherhood does to you; it changes your whole brain. It changes you; I’m like a completely different person than two years ago.

Naseem:

It’s just that I can’t even explain it. So, that’s all I over. And I was like, okay, adoption for both girls. But I had to get him on board because he had rights to Caroline. Now that was the hard part. Can you decide he wants to raise her? He wanted to get primary custody of her and raise her with that woman. That was speaking of that became his girlfriend who was in the picture before all this, as his friend. And yeah, it just was a huge disaster. But I sat down and talked to him. I said, do you think that this woman that’s been using you all these years? It’s a long story, but she’s used him for different things. I said, do you think she will help your raise, Caroline? I said, in the end, it’s our responsibility to take care of her, not your girlfriends, not your sisters.

Naseem:

It’s our responsibility, and if we’re able to do that for some reason, the authorities will come to us and say, well, what’s going on here? Why aren’t you taking care of her? Like you’re supposed to cause, that’s what happens when CPS gets involved. Now, CPS had finished their investigation on us. They figured we were good. So, that was not a concern of mine. What was the concern was could I keep Caroline away from her sister? If my ex fought me for primary custody of Caroline and me, I’ve always wanted a sister. I have two brothers, I’m a middle child, but I don’t have a sister. And I always wanted a sister. They were going to be one year and one month apart, finding that having her early, she was due February 18th. I had her on February 11th, and I scheduled a c-section. So the adoptive parents could be there.

Naseem:

And so her mother, her adoptive mother, was there with me when I gave birth. Well, [inaudible 00:09:47], but the C-section was done. She was right there beside me. And she was able to see her and hold her, so we were taking turns, holding her, taking pictures, but it was, it was just a whole different, this whole situation where I finally got him involved. So he was their part of the time; the adoptive father and the birth father were also there. So I tried to make sure everybody was involved, and I wanted the girls always to know that I was not going anywhere. I did not abandon them. I love them with all my heart. I think about them 24/7. They’re in Connecticut; I’m in Texas. It’s, really, really hard to be a birth mother. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do. The hardest thing. And I, I cry constantly. I miss them constantly. It’s no joke.

Ron Reigns :

Now, You had some issues with your adoption journey. Am I correct? You weren’t as happy with it as you thought you would be

Naseem:
Yes. Yes.

Ron Reigns :
What was that all about?

Naseem:

Now the thing you have to accept when you become, when you go from being a mother, you have the baby with you to be a birth mother, is it’s not entirely in your control anymore. They have parental rights; you have no control over how often you talk to them or anything along those lines.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Do you have a post-adoption communication agreement?

Naseem:

Yes, I do.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay.

Naseem:

But it was not mentioned to me before like it was mentioned that it existed, but the terms of the contract were not mentioned to me until, during the adoption, we were sending their signing away our rights, then she handed me the contract.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Well, what about, instead of I’m just, and I’m, and I’m trying, the reason I’m asking this is that I’m thinking for moms that are listening to you, what maybe they can do so they don’t have the same feelings and aren’t going through what you’re going through right now. If you had said, Hey, could we open this up a little more? Could, could we have more communication? Do you feel that would have jeopardized the adoptive family’s desire to adopt your babies?

Speaker 5:

Possibly, because I’ve noticed that I reached out to them through email and gave them my phone number, and they haven’t contacted me through my phone. Devin emailed me; they’ve only emailed me. They haven’t called me; they have not texted me. So, that was another concern. I found them, and I fell in love with them. To be honest with you, they’re great people, they’re unique, and I was like, these people are the only people I truly feel like can raise my daughters the way I want them to be raised. Like I would raise them if they were with me. So I was put in a terrible position, I feel like, because it wasn’t apparent none of that information was given to me except that I would see them about once a year. That’s it. But about communication, the updates, the pictures.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

With our agency, we use a portal called child connect, where you can; a birth mother can log on and send a message through it. And then the adopted family can log on, Skype through it, and you can, you can like send pictures and all kinds of stuff. So it’s, it’s a way that you can not disclose personal information, but yet you can always log on and see if they left anything or send a picture or whatever, and that way it can also help the agency track to make sure that everyone is fulfilling their end of the agreement. Do you have anything like that?

Naseem:

No, we don’t. We have email, that’s it, yeah. My whole idea is why I’m here talking to you. I’m trying to reach out to other people, other birth moms or people who are considering adoption is, to have a clear plan, to have a good idea of what to expect because if you don’t, you’re dealing with the hormones, you’re dealing with your longing to be with your babies, you have that sense of, I want them, I want them with me they need to be with me, and you’re fighting that constantly and it hurts, it hurts to deal with that.
Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Okay. So, let’s go back just a little bit, and Ron, you can jump in. I’m not trying to monopolize this.

Ron Reigns :

No, you’re good.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay. So let, let’s step overstep. Do you regret your adoption choice? Let’s not talk about the, you know, not seeing the babies as often as you want to, but your natural choice to place them for adoption. Is that a regret?

Naseem:

Sometimes

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

What changed to make you believe that it was a choice that you wish you
Hadn’t made it?

Naseem:

What’s changed is okay; there’s a difference between thinking about something and being in that moment. When you think about something, it may hurt a little bit thinking about losing your children, not well, not necessarily losing them, but not having the ability to raise them—that thought kind of hurts. But when you’re actually in the moment you’re signing those papers, and you’re watching somebody walk away with your children, then it’s reality. And that’s what hurts the most; the reality is that they’re now miles away from me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay. So what was the primary number one reason you chose that adoption?

Naseem:

For my daughters, I wanted them to be together. I wanted them to have stability. There’s no stability in my life. There’s none. And no, unfortunately, no, I don’t have a job.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay. So if the circumstances that you chose adoption haven’t changed.

Naseem:

No

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And you, it sounds like you still made the right choice for your girls. It’s just you that needs the aftercare help, and it sounds like you wanted a different type of adoption,

Naseem:

Yes.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Then, you signed up for

Speaker 5:

Exactly. And adoption is a beautiful thing. That’s one thing I want to put out there too. It’s a beautiful thing because these people that couldn’t have kids of their own now have kids. They have beautiful kids, beautiful, healthy kids. And now I have, in addition to my family, because the adoptive parents and I are like a bit of family now, we can contact each other as often as we can and everything. This is not their fault. This is nothing wrong with adoption. This is the way it was. Well, the way it worked out.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So in situations like this, what I strongly encourage, is two things, I would first reach out to the agency that you worked with, and I would ask to speak to the worker, if you know, she’s still there at the agency, if not then her supervisor and explain that you want more communication with the adoptive family. I would write a letter, not necessarily an email. Still, I would write a letter explaining your motive because sometimes adoptive families get very nervous when a birth mother says, okay, this is the communication I want. And then she comes back and wants more, and they’re afraid of, oh no. Is she going to try to contest the adoption? Is she going to try to climb through a window like that, all these fears going through their head? So if you break it out and say, my motive is this.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I’m struggling with a lack of communication. When I began my adoption journey, I had hoped for a more open adoption, and it looked like this to me. And then explain what you, what you were thinking and say, is there any possible way that you would consider us opening up the adoption communication more and, you know, reaching a compromise with me on what this would look like going forward. And I would also state in that email, but you know, you’re not looking to take their place, you’re not looking to disrupt their life, you’re not looking to take over their parenting role, you want to be more involved. I would ask your agency to represent you on your behalf so that they can go back and talk with them.

Naseem:

The adoptive parents were so understanding. They were so sweet. They stayed with me for a while even after I’d signed my forms; they sat down and with the girls, let me hold Riley, let me see Caroline and hold her, and know that there were there, there were fully fine. They were okay with staying there as long as they needed to. And I stopped talking to the caseworker because I just got so angry and couldn’t help. I feel it’s just these feelings I didn’t ever expect.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And, and, and I get that. You’re not wanting to speak with a caseworker and maybe just go to her supervisor, but they have an obligation to you to see you through this. In other words, just because you, you signed the consent documentation and placed your babies for adoption, that doesn’t mean that it’s, that they have, they have a moral obligation to say, okay, if you’re struggling with this, here we can help provide counseling. We can reach out to the family and see if we can open this up more. Because your last child was born in February, this is new and raw. And so you’re still in the actual grieving stage, and that’s not to discount anything that’s going on at all. But I think you have a situation that may be workable there.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

In other words, I think you may still be able to obtain what your goal is. That’s where I’m trying to help, but I think you’re going to be more successful if the adoption agency is the one to reach out and ask for that. But you are still early on in the, you know, in placing the babies that you, you even haven’t settled into a groove with the adoptive family yet, meaning you guys, when, when two people first get married, they have to learn, I call it like the marriage dance, they have to learn how each other works and to when you say something to kind of know what the response is going to be. You and the adoptive family are probably still trying to figure each other out in that aspect. Are you going to be one of those birth mothers that adoptive parents are afraid will try and take over, or are you going to be overwhelming?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Are you going to bombard them? Or are you just going to be the birth mom that will just soak up everything they send, and you’re not going to be any sort of an inconvenience or anything else? So there’s trying to figure everything out. But I think that if you want more communication, I’m not so sure that you can’t get it. I think that there is a middle ground that maybe you can find peace in that you can look back because you placed your children for a specific reason that reason is still in place; I mean, your circumstances haven’t changed.

Naseem:

And can I say something to all birth moms or at least anybody considering adoption? Adoption is a beautiful thing when it’s done correctly? It’s beautiful because you have an addiction to your family actually, and that’s the most fantastic thing is you go from feeling alone with a baby where you’re not sure you can give the baby what the baby needs, and then you find this couple, who’s longs to have a baby so much all they would do they would give anything, anything in the world, to have a baby. You give them the thing they’ve wanted for so long, and you have this connection, this beautiful connection, so I don’t ever want to say anything wrong about the option. If it’s done correctly, it is beautiful, but you have to make sure you’re ready; you have to brace yourself for what’s to come because the hormones will take control is going to hurt so bad to be apart from your child, because all you want is to be close to breastfeeding, to nurture that child, to wake up to that, child’s crying and, and put that baby back to sleep and all that.

Naseem:

That’s natural to have that. And that motherhood is also a wonderful thing in that sense, to have those feelings for another human being that is a part of you, and that’s so dependent. Still, at the same time, it’s always better to give your child what they need; even if you’re not able to give it specifically, somebody else out there is able and willing to do it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah, I agree with you.

Ron Reigns :

You’re right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Ron, did you have something to add?

Ron Reigns :

I just want to reinforce what she’s saying, adoption is a beautiful thing. And ideally, what we want is an experience that’s mutually beneficial to all three sides of the adoption triad, the birth mother, the adoptive child, and the adoptive parents. So our hearts are with you. Okay, Naseem.

Naseem:

Thank you. And I do want to keep reaching out to people, by the way. And I want people to know they’re not alone. They’ll never be alone.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And let’s do this. Let’s check back in with you in a couple of weeks and see how you’re doing.

Naseem:

Okay sounds great.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

All right. Thank you so much for joining us.

Naseem:

Thank you. You guys are fantastic. Thank you for putting it out there for people about adopting the good with the bad, because in the end, you have to take everything.

Ron Reigns :
Thank you so much, Naseem, for reaching out to us and sharing the story of your adoption journey with us. Suppose you’re listening and dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and want more information about adoption building. In that case, Arizona families is a local Arizona adoption agency and are available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112. That’s 6 2 3 6 9 5 41 12. We can make an immediate appointment with you to get started on creating an Arizona adoption plan or give you more information. You can also find out more information about building Arizona families on their website at AZ pregnancyhelp.com. We now have a website for this podcast at birth mother matters podcast.com. Thanks, go out to grapes for allowing us to use their song I don’t know as our theme song. And we also want to thank you for joining us at birth. Mother matters in adoption were written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me. Rate and review this podcast wherever you’re listening to us. We appreciate it. And tune in next time to birth mother matters in adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry, and I’m Ron Reigns.

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