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Parenting an Adopted Child, Part 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 will not be able to take care of that kid. And that’s not fair.

Speaker 4:

And I know my daughter would be well taken care of with them.

Speaker 5:

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

Speaker 6:

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

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

My name is Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am 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 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 can combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Speaker 7:

Today on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, part two of our series on raising and parenting a child adopted at birth.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So there are dozens and dozens of formalized parenting styles, but we narrowed it down to four common ones that we can go more in-depth into.

Ron Reigns:

7All right, so let’s start with authoritarian parenting. It could be described as a strict approach to parenting. Parents can set high expectations and form rules without offering kids much support and asking for their input. A lot of rules can characterize this parenting style. There may be an extensive list of rules a child may be expected to follow, and it takes a child’s should be seen and not heard approach. It also uses harsh consequences when rules are broken.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So authoritarian parenting is really, I think, best described for those of you that aren’t familiar with it. It’s kind of like that militaryesque parenting that you set a boundary and don’t cross it.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Here are the rules. Here’s the restriction. And it’s very, very, very-

Ron Reigns:

Regimented.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes. And there is little to no deviation.

Ron Reigns:

Right. As a young father, I think this is what I wanted to be. I wanted to set out the rules and stick to them. You do not deviate. Now was I that way? No, I wasn’t.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

What would make somebody want to be an authoritarian parent?

Ron Reigns:

Maybe because it sounds like it’s going to be more accessible, suppose I set up these restrictions and make sure everybody sticks to them. In that case, it’s easier than if I have none of that and everything’s chaos. In your mind, you think, okay, that should be easier. But in reality, that doesn’t work that way. Life isn’t that way. Life is full of chaos. So you can’t regiment every aspect.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Yeah. I would say I think authoritarian parenting takes a lot, a lot of work. I think it is. It’s often very scrutinized, and are there good aspects of it? Sure.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

There are aspects that I don’t subscribe to, but there are some excellent traits that come out of them. And yes, there is; some kids thrive with that rigid structure. But as a parent, you have to have a lot of consistency and diligence. You have to have a lot of self-control and energy in your mind. Let’s go through this kind briefly and then go back and examine them.

Ron Reigns:

Okay. So next up is attachment parenting. It could be described as methods aimed at promoting the attachment of the parent and infant by maximum parental empathy and responsiveness and by continuous bodily closeness and touch. This parenting style may also nurture the belief that infants come pre-programmed with the need to be nurtured and stay physically close to their parents for the first few years of life, which would allow a focus on nurturing connection that parents can develop with their children.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s the one that I identify with the most.

Ron Reigns:

Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I was the co-sleeper with my kids, and I was the somewhat granola mom still nursing her babies until they were two and a half. I was that always had them close to me, just they say that this nurturing, keeping them close to you increases the bond between the mother and the child. And you’re able to know your child. I knew when my children were hungry before they knew they were hungry. And it’s true. It’s like a rhythmic system that you get into. And so that’s the one that I have always identified more with.

Ron Reigns:

Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I always slept better when my child was next to me.

Ron Reigns:

Really?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Absolutely. And well, yes, because if they weren’t, I was getting up and having to go in their room, three or four times a night and check, make sure they’re still breathing, and just make sure everything is still okay. And-

Ron Reigns:

So what was the cut-off age, like 14?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

18, Ron.

Ron Reigns:

Oh, okay. Right. You’ll finally let them sleep in their room when they’re ready to leave the house.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I would say it changed with some of the kids. My oldest was in my room until she was probably two and a half. And then, at two and a half, I was. She was my first child. I want to be open because I’m sure other parents can relate. I was always nervous about her being in the other room. So then I would go and bring her in and just like put her like on a little bed on the floor, in our room, just in case something happened in the middle of the night; I wanted to make sure I could get to her because I knew that if there were a fire in the middle of the night, I wouldn’t leave the house without her. And that way, if she were there, I’d know that I could grab her, and we could go.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And then, with my second child, she was in our room until she was one. And then, my ex-husband at the time wanted her to go to her room.

Ron Reigns:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

But then when she turned, one is when I got pregnant with my third child, and she was in our room until she was six.

Ron Reigns:

Wow.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And then Aiden, my youngest, will still, some nights, comes to on the couch, in our bedroom if he’s allowed to.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So, I just think that it’s something that I did not do with my adoptive parents. That wasn’t something that they believed in, sleeping with kids in the room. And it’s something that I found very soothing for my child and me, mainly because I was breastfeeding for so long. So, that just made it more accessible. Now, did your son sleep in your room?

Ron Reigns:

It was kind of a point of contention when he was very, not very young. Obviously, as an infant, he was sleeping kind of in a crib in our room, but-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

You never had a co-sleeper. Didn’t you have the co-sleeper?

Ron Reigns:

The co-sleeper, like in the bed.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah.

Ron Reigns:

No.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

The co-sleeper, it’s like, it attaches to the bed. So it’s the same level as a mattress, but it’s like a raised playpen.

Ron Reigns:

So it’s like a sidecar on a motorcycle.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah.

Ron Reigns:

For your bed, for your child. No, we did not have that. No. But then, when he got older and was able to get out of the crib, he slept with us in our bed. And like I said, that was a point of contention. It was kind of like, wait a minute. This is our bed. The child has The child. My son has a room of his own. Now it’s close enough. It’s not like down the hall and across. We didn’t have to go over a bridge and take a helicopter to his room. It was right there next to our room. So I didn’t understand why my ex-wife was like, no, he’s got to sleep in here again tonight. No, he needs to star. See-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And as a mother, I was exactly like that. I was exactly like that, and the funny-

Ron Reigns:

I wanted him to start becoming independent as a child.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

But again, as a mom, I can relate with her because I was very much the same, and yes, more mornings than not, you wake up, and you and your child and your spouse are now in the letter H.

Ron Reigns:

Right. Yep. I know precisely; that’s where our dogs are right now; in the mornings, it’s like, what?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So you have now formed the capital H, yeah. So yes, I very much can relate to and understand. And I think that it’s neither right nor wrong. It’s just what your preference is. And I was one of those moms that always wore my babies. I always had the front packs, and I would always, as I said, have them as close to me as possible. And it was just, again, when you are nursing a baby, it is easier when they’re right there. But it was just a comfort zone for both of us. And it is usually, in my opinion, this spouse that is like, I think they can go to bed. And then the mom is like, Ooh.

Ron Reigns:

Not quite yet. Right. And I think that’s part of what we had talked about earlier where it helps to have if you are a couple, it helps to have each other, not only on the same page, on some aspects, but also to complement each other and-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:
Balance each other out.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah. Balancing, that’s precisely it, balancing. And I think that helps to have one that’s a little more strict and let’s follow these rules, but the other one going, Nah, let’s bend this rule and she can sleep in the bed with us one more night or, and have that balance. And I think it’s essential.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. And just look the other way when that one more night becomes 30 because that’s often what would happen.

Ron Reigns:

30 weeks.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Absolutely. Absolutely. My brother has three, and my doctor brother has three young kiddos, and they are five, two, and almost one, and they have all of them in the bed.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And they’re trying to get five year old out of bed. And so it’s not working out so well from what I understand.

Ron Reigns:

How come I got to get kicked out? They get to stay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Because, as a mama, you want all your babies with you. And of course your husband too, but you want all your babies, which brings peace and comfort to everybody. So that’s the side as a mom, I see. But I can see the other side too, where the husband’s like, well, I’m here.

Ron Reigns:

Well, and it’s not even that, it’s not just I’m here. I want to have time with my wife or… It’s also okay; our job is to raise these children and learn to live, think, and become independent. And this is a step in that direction. And so you do need both sides. It would help if you had the nurturing, but you also need that raising and saying, okay, these are the guidelines, and this is how you will become an adult yourself. So I think that’s where I was at. I wasn’t like to get them out of here so I could spend time with my wife. It was okay; my son needed to become a man someday. And this is a step in that direction.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. And then, an attachment-mind mother would say, yes, but not at one-year-old.

Ron Reigns:

Come on. He’s three and a half weeks. It’s time. Why doesn’t he have a job?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Eagles push him out of the nest about this time. We’re good.

Ron Reigns:

Right. They turn out pretty good, right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

He will fly, or he won’t.

Ron Reigns:

So permissive parenting may also be described as a nurturing parenting style. Still, it may tend to be a little more relaxed and inconsistent in the rules and discipline department. This style has been characterized by a parent wanting to be their child’s buddy or friend, not as an authority figure. This style can be very loving but may also fail to provide guidelines and rules.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It can be seen as having a nurturing style but also that relaxed; there can be inconsistency in wanting to be your child’s buddy and friend rather than their parent. This can be a very loving relationship, but often the hard part is that you are not viewed as a parent. Oh, my mom won’t care if we’re two hours late, she’s cool, and that’s where trouble can happen. And so I think that, like authoritarian parenting, there are all good and bad aspects of that as well. And I can say that sometimes I can probably be more relaxed in the rules than my spouse. Whereas the likes, the more, like you were saying, more strict and structured, I was much more like that with my oldest daughter. And she wore me out. So now I’m a lot more relaxed than I was with the first one because they always say you make mistakes with the first child. But she got a good car. So it all makes up.

Ron Reigns:

The trade-off, right. And finally, authoritative parenting could be described as setting the expectation level high and providing the resources for the child to succeed. This parenting style is encumbered by resources, love, support, and guidance. Authoritative parenting can be exhibited by listening to their child and love and warmth, alongside limits and fair discipline.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And then authoritative parenting is probably where most of us would love to be. It is where you set the bar, giving your child all the resources to get to that bar. And you’re supportive; you are loving, supportive, guiding. You are listening and working along beside them. And that is a goal.

Ron Reigns:

Right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s a goal.

Ron Reigns:

And here’s So when we started this and I talked about authoritarian parenting. I thought before I was a parent, or as my wife was pregnant and we were heading in that direction, that’s where I wanted to be. But now, looking back, I hope that I was more of an authoritative parent than that. And I do; I think it’s a mix of all four of them that you ideally want to be.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Sure. Oh, absolutely. I agree. You’re the attachment type of parent until you decide you’re done nursing, and then you’re no longer. Like I’m here, sweetheart, it’s more, go to your room. No, I’m just kidding.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

No. It’s yes. And I can tell with your personality, I would, yeah. I don’t see you as a strict militaryesque parent. I see you much more as an authoritative parent, maybe where you are-

Ron Reigns:

I hope so.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Are you helping your son with his homework, encouraging him to do the extra credit, and helping him when he gets stuck.

Ron Reigns:

And one of the weekends that I had him years ago, he came to our house, and I had to redo the ditches and put the boulders in the ditches in the front yard. And so both of us were out there doing that, and I was like telling him, okay, this is what we call hard work, son. And this is something you’re going to have to learn. And I would rather have you learn it with me. And we had a great time. We joked around, we had fun, but we got the job done, and he will still look back at that time and go, dad, I’m glad we did that with the rocks. First of all, it was hard work. And I learned to appreciate the value of that. But also every time I come over here and not now because we’ve changed it again. But every time I come over here and see that I think we did that, I was always proud of that. And I was proud that he understood that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And what would you give to go back to that moment?

Ron Reigns:

If I could handle it back, I would do it every weekend now just because it was fun working with him. But we have other things we can work on that aren’t so backbreaking.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. But those are the memories, and that’s a great example of authoritative parenting. That’s a great example. And I think just explaining it like that set the bar high because I love seeing my husband and son working together.

Ron Reigns:

Right. And I see it all the time, too, with Adam and the kids, and he is a great parent. So it’s neat watching him interact with the kids like that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah, it is. It is. And I do; I love it. When I walk out front, and you know, all three of them have their shirt off and are working hard and sweating; it just makes me smile. And then now Aiden’s at the age where he can jump in and help, and he’ll pull his shirt off and run around. And it’s cute because-

Ron Reigns:

All these different generations of young men. Yeah. That’s awesome.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. Another example I think of authoritative parenting is, and I’ll use Adam as an example again, when our youngest, Aiden, who’s almost nine, will be nine this week. He’s been in basketball for a few years. And my husband is one of those that like to coach from the sidelines. And he is very vested in athletics. I mean, very, very vested and on his initiative decided, I got to get off the bench and be the co-coach so that I’m not coaching from the sidelines. And I can show Aiden for the hard work that he puts in; I’m going to put it on the right beside him. And so I thought that that was incredible and-

Ron Reigns:

That’s amazing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah, you got to come to one of his games whenever this-

Ron Reigns:

Whenever COVID 19 kind of dissipates and there are games again.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah.

Ron Reigns:

Right. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. Yeah. They got to come to one of his games. They’re fun to watch and great because they’re 45 minutes, so you’re not there for hours, so it’s even better.

Ron Reigns:

And they keep you awake. It’s not a recital where you’re like, when’s my kid going to play his flute so I can get out of here?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right? The five minutes that your child plays versus the hour and a half that you have to cycle through and put in the brochure-

Ron Reigns:

Yeah. The basketball keeps you awake.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Leave. When your child is done. Yes. Yeah. And the only way you can escape that little caveat is if you have a young baby, oh, I’m sorry, my baby’s going to cry. I got to go. Without that, you’re out of luck.

Ron Reigns:

Right?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So there are many similarities between parenting a biological child and parenting an adopted child. So parenting love should always be unconditional. Always, always and forever.

Ron Reigns:

No matter what the-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Your child is, you should love your child the same amount when they’re at their worst as you love them when they’re at their best.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I am choosing your core values. What is important to you that you want, no matter what is instilled in your child. Those values include a sense of family, right versus wrong, respect, self-discipline, honesty, generosity, and empathy. Consistency, whether it’s an adopted child or a biological child, stays consistent. And this is something that I will admit that I struggle with because I look at my kids’ very diverse personalities. And so, in some instances, I will be on a consistent string; I’m consistent.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I’ve got this, and then I can see things from another angle. So then I start to justify, oh, well, you know what? She might be doing better if I change this. Or maybe I just don’t have the energy today to reinforce that.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And so that’s where I can struggle as a parent. And I will tell you that I am not known for consistency. And that is something I am, parenting-wise, working on because I am very much going with the flow. Today it works; the next day we tried, it didn’t work. Let’s try something else.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And my husband’s still on the rat maze of, oh no, no, no, we’re going this direction. And I’m like, oh no, now we’re over here. So that can confuse the opposite spouse and not a positive. As a family, we were going through, with eight of us, you can imagine water bottles were everywhere because kids would grab one and they wouldn’t write their names on it. Even though we printed out stickers, we tried the whole gamut; we printed out stickers. So that, that way somebody wouldn’t drink after somebody else, because I have some germophobes as kids, myself included.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And if they thought somebody else drank out of it, they wouldn’t touch it again.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah. We’re just throwing this away.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. And so we would go through water bottles like they were going out. We couldn’t keep them stocked Costco-

Ron Reigns:

Pallets.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Pallets of them. Yeah.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And so I said, okay, no more. We’re wasting water bottles. We’re not doing this. We’re going to go to glass water bottles with the insulation around them.

Ron Reigns:

Oh right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It’s like the And I thought, okay, so I’ll get everybody their own. And I will, in Sharpie, write their name on it.

Ron Reigns:

Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That lasted about two days. And then I found they had pulled the insulation thing off, thrown it over there. The jar was on its side, and they were then. They couldn’t find it.

Ron Reigns:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So that didn’t-

Ron Reigns:

I can’t have any water. I don’t know where mine is.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. Exactly. And so that didn’t-

Ron Reigns:

What am I going to do? I’m going to die of thirst.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yep. So, we’re still buying water bottles because when people come over, friends come over. So then we find they’re sneaking water bottles, but how can you say something? Your child’s sneaking a water bottle-

Ron Reigns:

Right, it’s not a beer, for crying out loud.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

water bottle?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So you can’t go there. So then we went to the cups. So then we went to the cups, the red light tumbler throwaway cups. And again, we pulled the stickers back out that didn’t work. So our latest venture is we, a month ago, purchased water, like a water dispenser where they bring the big jugs every two weeks. And we put it in the kitchen, and I put little mini, almost like dixie cups, next to it for when you just want a little bit.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And throw. And then I told the kids they could use tumblers.

Ron Reigns:

Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Well, because we are on lockdown, I’m sitting in my daughter’s room, and there are six water bottles that I can see just being in here. So that’s not working.

Ron Reigns:

It’s not working.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So we will get this figured out.

Ron Reigns:

And here’s one thing I want for the podcast. I want to follow the excellent water scandal of 2020 and see where this goes. And if you ever get a solution, I’m dying to know now. We don’t have that issue. It’s Lisa and me alone in the house now. My son has a hydro flask thing that he carries with him everywhere. That’s all he uses. And we have the purified water osmosis so he can fill it up. Everything’s good when he is up here, which has been too long since the COVID-19, but we have that problem squared away. There’s only one kid. There are only two adults.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And Ron, we’ve tried the hydro flasks in addition to the jar ones. We’ve tried that.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah. You’ve tried everything, but you’ve got 8,000 kids in the house at any time. Well, not anymore, but now it’s down to seven kids at a time or six?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right.

Ron Reigns:

But I’m dying to know if you ever come up with a viable solution that handles this. Oh, you found more bottles, it looks like, look at that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Hang on. I got more.

Ron Reigns:

And at home, you guys can’t see this, but Kelly’s got an armful, practically a pallet from Costco full of water bottle bottles. Are they all empty?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Most of them, yes.

Ron Reigns:

Oh, okay. Good. At least they’re empty, and that’s in one daughter’s bedroom.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

10, 10,

Ron Reigns:

Yeah. Ten and even ten bottles.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

All right. So another thing is practicing what you preach; modeling what you’re telling your children is always prioritizing and triaging issues. So, when I have When one kid’s in crisis with something at school, in other words, if our 11-year-old comes home crying because somebody was saying mean things to her at school and picking on her. So I’m sitting down with her and trying to work it out and figure out a solution so that we can go at it at an angle that doesn’t make her look like she’s telling on somebody, but yet she can try to kill her with kindness and working out, that’s going on. And then I may have another one that has missed two assignments in her class and her teacher’s texting me. And so I’m just triaging, you know what I mean?

Ron Reigns:

Putting out fires all over the place.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. And so you just got to start with the most significant fire and work your way down. And then at 9:30, 10 o’clock, when all of the little birds have been put in there, you can shut the drawer and go to bed.

Ron Reigns:

Yep. If you’re lucky.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So depending on factors and variables, your belief in parenting styles and parenting a biological child compared to parenting an adopted child is not a whole lot different. It’s again; we’re talking about a baby you have raised since birth and brought home from the hospital. I want to remind you that the focus is what you add to the parenting rather than what you would take away. So when you bring a newborn baby home, and you’ve adopted it, it’s recommended not to pass the baby around because you want to bond with that baby. So initially, ensure you’re not having a sip and see right away where people come over and want to hold a baby and give you presents. Wait a couple of months for that bond, with the baby first. Remember the nature versus nurture debate. As a child grows up, the child may have different likes than you do, different characteristics, and different talents.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And as an adoptive parent, it’s your job and role to help them develop those. If your dream was, I’ve always been a dancer, and I want my child to be a dancer, and your child has two left feet, maybe switch.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Change your dream a little bit.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And that’s something to think about. Don’t necessarily alter your parenting style or change it because your child was, in quotes, adopted. Alter, or change your parenting style, because it would be a better match for your child. If you have a very withdrawn child, a timid child, or a very meek and introverted child, an authoritarian parenting style will not be a good mix or match for parenting that particular child.

Ron Reigns:

Absolutely. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Let the word adopted go; focus on the child rather than on the adopted. Also, be mindful of not falling into well; if he were my biological child, I would, because then again, you’re inserting that separation. Teach what a family is from the beginning, focusing on things like love, dedication, cohesion, and commitment rather than biology.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

When I was reunited with my birth mother, she kept talking about the bloodline and the blood, and you’re my blood, and you’re this, and you’re that. And that wasn’t something I heard growing up because I was in an adopted home, but it’s just as important to instill what a family is. When you marry your wife or husband, you’re not blood-related, yet you’re still a family. So, that’s an excellent way to explain it to the child.

Ron Reigns:

Right. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Normalizing adoption in your household is significant. Especially if you have both biological and adopted children under the same roof, in other words, if you have one child with blonde hair and one with red hair, try to use the same philosophy with talking about being biological adopted. You’re not going to only put sunscreen on the redheaded child versus the blonde child or take extra precautions with the adopted child that you wouldn’t a biological child or vice versa; keep it the same. Stop talking about how lucky you, your biological child, or your adopted child are because you wouldn’t do that if you had a biological child. So if you’re adopted, You’re lucky because you have an adopted child. Still, you’re not lucky because you have a biological child. You’re lucky because you’re a parent. So maybe focus on how blessed you are at being a parent rather than whether you are adopted or biological.

Ron Reigns:

Right. Again, take that out of the equation.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Correct. Be mindful of what you say or do. If you have adopted a black baby and are white parents, don’t buy the baby a white doll. Buy a black doll or vice versa. If you are black parents that adopted a white baby, buy the white baby, don’t buy the baby doll. Be considerate and mindful; if your black baby wants the white baby, then buy the white baby.

Ron Reigns:

Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It’s not-

Ron Reigns:

Or vice versa. Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Correct, and so it’s not just being mindful of the differences, but not.
You are necessarily pointing them out. Just be one step ahead; like a chess game, always be ahead of them. Teach your child how to celebrate differences and similarities. If your adopted child says, why don’t I have the same hands as you? And this is a common one I hear all the time from families. Maybe respond that, although you don’t have the same hands, you both love Chinese food, or you both love to draw, or maybe talk about all the things that are the same on the inside. You both have the same heart, and you have a lot of the same things going on in your brain, and you have those things are the same, rather than what you can see. So, parenting an adopted child doesn’t need to be viewed as tricky, touchy, or complicated.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It should be viewed as adding extra layers to cement that solid parent-child relationship. I think the most critical aspect of parenting an adopted child, in my opinion, is to ensure unconditional love, unconditional acceptance, unconditional forgiveness, permanence, and stability. And they want that forever. They want to know that you’re going to be there through the thick and thin, and any child wants that, especially an adopted child, because they already didn’t have that. And so they want to make sure that you’re always going to be there. And so when you’re parenting, a parent from that approach, and I think that way you can ensure that your child feels safe and loved. And that, as a parent, is always our goal.

Ron Reigns:

According to Oprah Winfrey, biology is the least of what makes someone a mother or a father, for that matter. I added that part. Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. If you’re listening and dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and want more information about adoption, Building Arizona families as a local Arizona adoption agency and available 24/7 by phone or text at (623) 695-4112. That’s 6 2 3 6 9 5 4 1 1 2. We can make an immediate appointment with you to start creating an Arizona adoption plan or just get you more information. You can also find more information about building Arizona families on their website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thanks also to Grapes for allowing us to use their song, I Don’t Know, as our theme song. Birth Mother Matters and 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, @birthmothermatterspodcast.com. Tune in next time on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m Ron Reigns.

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