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Birth Mother Matters in Adoption – Two Lives, One Choice – Part 1 of 3

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 will not be able to take care of that kid, and that’s not fair.

Speaker 2:

And I know 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 creator of the U 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:

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.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

All right, let’s do this two lives, one choice. So abortion is always relevant and commonly discussed topic in the adoption world. When someone’s experiencing an unplanned parent, we look at as a society the school of thought being three options, parenting, adoption, or abortion.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

From an adoption standpoint, we subscribe to either parenting or placing the child for adoption. An important aspect that I want to clear up right away is that Adoption Agencies generally do not judge or condemn anyone for making an abortion choice in the past. The goal is to educate, empower, and preserve your future lives. And that is one of the reasons I think you’re so brave in sharing your story because there are so many others that have a tough time and struggle with a decision that they made in the past, and rather than sweeping it underneath the bed and, shutting that skeleton in the closet. You have taken that skeleton out and put it outside your front door and said, this is me. This is a choice that I made in the past, and how I will do what I can so that other people don’t have to feel the feelings and emotions that I do. Right.

Ron Reigns:

And I’m by no means brave, or I don’t consider myself brave for doing that. I don’t go out on the street and talk to people about that.

Ron Reigns:

It was just this venue that brought that out. I may have brought it up to my wife twice before discussing it on the podcast. I doubt anybody in my family knew other than possibly my mom because I think I was young enough at that time that she had to help facilitate, and I’m sure that must have broken her heart, but she was supportive as a mother, and she did. But other than that, I rarely talk about that and have been so open, especially about how it impacted me and my feelings about it now. And my regrets and feelings of loss over the years, like thinking about the idea that I could have had another child, an older child than the one I have, that he would’ve had an older brother or sister to help him through his challenges in life.

Ron Reigns:

So many things that I don’t know; I do kind of push a lot of that under the rug, but it did come out in this podcast, and I hope that is the form. I hope it does help men and women in that situation; maybe this isn’t something I want to lay over my head for the rest of my life. I don’t think about it constantly, but it sure has impacted me. That’s a fact.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So you said something exciting that you’ve never said before, and I wonder if we can go back, and if you’re comfortable and if you’re not comfortable, obviously you don’t need to share this, but you said that you had spoken about it prior with your wife, maybe two times. What was that like? And what was your response? Do you mind sharing that?

Ron Reigns:

I don’t mind. I’m sure that it must have been in the context because my wife is an adoption attorney, and from time to time, we’ll talk about adoption, obviously, and now and then, we’ll talk about abortion.

Ron Reigns:

I’m sure that must have been the context when I had mentioned it to her. And then I did talk to her recently after the podcast about how, because that brought a lot out of me that I hadn’t thought about in a long time. And so we discussed it more in-depth that time than before. I don’t think she had much of a reaction as she didn’t condemn me for the choices I had made, wrong or right, in the past. She knew I was married, and she never condemned me about that choice, even if it was a wrong choice for the time, but she was understanding, and she listened, and there was a reaction one way or another; she wasn’t like, oh, I’m so glad you did that. Or I’m so ashamed of you. It was neither of those. I guess it was just that of understanding and trying to know more about me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s the reason I asked you that and wanted you to share whatever happened was because I would be willing to bet that lots and lots of men have done this in their past, and maybe they’re with a different partner now, and maybe they haven’t shared that part of their life with their partner. And so the fact that you had that opportunity and you did it, and you had a positive experience, it sounds like you got a lot of support from her, that hopefully, that would be the case if they decided to talk about it with their partner as well.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Is there any relief or anything that you feel differently now that you have in-depth talked about it with her and you have that support, and does that help at all?

Ron Reigns:

I think it’s beneficial. First of all, as I said, it’s not something I would dwell upon in the past. I never have. It’s always been in the back of my mind, and from time to time, I felt like John, my son, got the short end of the stick because he might have benefited a lot from somebody older, so there are things that I’ve thought about in the past. I kind of jumped subjects. I didn’t mean to do that, but as far as talking to Lisa, I think that was very important because it helps us to know each other. And I think communication is essential, supporting each other as spouses and understanding choices we’ve made that we’re not proud of or even ashamed of.

Ron Reigns:

And knowing that somebody loves you despite bad decisions is helpful for a strong relationship. And I think that’s good for anybody. Plus, it also helps to communicate and get some of that stuff out that you don’t talk about. I mean, when does that come with somebody other than in a venue like this, where you can unburden your soul a little bit and get that out of it for so many years that had just been lurking in the back of who I am? It’s been nice talking to you, Lisa, and subsequently talking to one of my brothers or sisters about it. And, just kind of, let that kind of cathartic cleansing, like get it out and not let it fester inside you. So, yeah. It’s important to talk to people about things like that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Can I ask you one more question?

Ron Reigns:

Sure.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Then, we can jump back on the railroad tracks. You said something else, but you’re saying things, and I’m thinking, okay. So my next question would be after listening to what you said, which was decisive. Was this the first time that your son knew about this when you were after the podcast? Was that, and was that the first time?

Ron Reigns:

I think it must be; being completely honest here, I did ask him to listen to that podcast in particular, and I should, because I need to be better at communicating with not only my wife but also with my son, but I need to have a discussion with him about that. That is so hard to even think about having a conversation with him. But I think it’s essential that I do that. And I need to, next time he comes up. I don’t know when that’ll be but have a sit-down discussion, just him and I, and how he feels and how that makes him. He came up yesterday, and he helped me build a shed, and actually, we had a pleasant conversation about his mother and I’s divorce and how it affected him.

Ron Reigns:

He’s never had a lot of hate towards me about that, but I think it hurt him. And it gave him feelings of anxiety and not wanting to be abandoned. He’s had abandonment issues over our divorce and my not being in the same house as he was growing up. I think I’ve tried to be supportive as a father, even from the outside. I’ve always tried to do that, but it hit me. It was like, wow, I didn’t want that for you. And I told him, I said, every generation, we want to do a little better than the one previously. And my father and mother had divorced, but I never saw my father after that very much, from time to time. But it wasn’t like he was a part of my life.

Ron Reigns:

He was an outlier, and I will also give as to him. So I never wanted John to feel that way. And I’m hoping now this next generation, and he’s very cautious of this and aware that he makes sure he marries the right person that he’s going to stay with and father children, or a child or whatever with, and not abandon them as I did to some degree in his mind. So, I think these conversations are essential, and the next time I see him, I want to get to the abortion that I facilitated or was part of, or I think it’s essential.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I agree with you. I think it is essential. And I think that as a parent, it is the hardest thing in the world to talk to your child about mistakes you feel you’ve made as a parent or even as an individual. The fear of condemnation, or they’re going to look at you different, or they’re going to judge you, or they’re going to perceive you in a different light, or it’s going to change your relationship possibly, or I think that is the scariest thing in the world. And I think it’s also the most important because you are talking with him and sharing one of the most painful things; I’m going to assume it’s one of the most painful things. Looking back with him shows how much you trust him and your relationship with him that nothing will change.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And that he will still look at you the same as he is looked at you all of these years and maybe even love you a little more for it. And so I think that that is hard, but again, it is brave. And I know that you say that you’re not brave. Still, you are because no parent wants to admit to something, especially to their child, that they’re fallible, that they’re human, that they’ve made mistakes, that we don’t want to be seen as any less perfect than we want our, we want our children to look at us with glory and admiration and think we’re superheroes. Still, we’re not, we’re people, and we make mistakes, and we have regrets. And so you have gone out a limb and extended your hand, and you’re reaching out to your son and telling him, Hey, this is what I did. And I wish to God it was different, and it’s not. And I think that’s amazing. And I think you should be so proud of yourself.

Ron Reigns:

I haven’t had that conversation with him yet. I kind of, in a way, took the coward way out of being brave by saying, Hey, listen to this podcast before I talk about it, but I didn’t talk to him about it yet. And you’re highlighting the fact that I need to, and you’re right, you’re right. And it is going to be tough, but I am going to do that the next time he comes up here, and I have a good couple of hours to sit down with him and talk to him about his feelings about it and my regrets and not wanting him to do the same thing or anything and to let him also know that I understand if he may make mistakes, whatever they are, I’ll always love him, but to hash that out person to person, instead of saying, Hey, look at this podcast and then never talk about it again.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I think having him listen to the podcast and then talk to you about it later is not bad. Because men are usually very guarded with their emotions. And if you had told him in person, you don’t know what his reaction would be. And I think that this way, he can react in his own private, however, wherever he is listening to it, without worrying about how his reaction will affect you or your feelings.

Ron Reigns:

Right. It allows him to process it and then speak to me about it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes. That makes sense. I do think that it will be an emotional conversation, I do, but yet I think that initial reaction, you won’t have that moment of, oh my gosh, what is the first reaction going to be that fear is, is he going to fall to the ground and just be devastated or is he going to be angry at me, or is he going to be understanding or, I mean, that, all those thoughts that go through your head. So actually, I think that this is very positive because it does give him time to process it. And it gives you time to prepare and be ready for all the questions if he has any; I do think one thing that you said that it would just be you and him, I think that is 100% vital, that it is just the two of you and that you have uninterrupted time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And that way, whether it’s five minutes or five hours, you have that time for the two of you to see; this could take your relationship to a whole new level in terms of a bond that it could create. Because if he decides that he is at a grieving point, for the loss of a possible sibling and your grieving, you two can grieve together. And if he decides that, it’s things happened, and it is what it is, and it’s okay. It’s not something he’s focused on. Then he knows that you’ve trusted him enough and followed up. So it’s a win-win.

Ron Reigns:

It’s going to be hard, but I will do it. I promise. And that’s so, I mean if he comes up and it’s just like, I just came up to drop something off. I’m not going to say here, come in my office, let’s talk. But if I know that I’ve got a certain amount of time, at least an hour or two to sit down and who knows, maybe it’ll be five minutes, and he’ll be like, okay, I’m good. I get everything, but at least, as you say, he knows; I trust him enough to have this conversation.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. And that’s what I’m saying. It could be five minutes. It could be, he could be like, yeah, all good dad. Yeah, I understand. And it would be, and then you, that fear of the unknown is gone. And I think that will feel incredible for you.

Ron Reigns:

I really, I hope it’s you incredible for him? I hope it’s something that helps him better himself as he grows.

Ron Reigns:

Well, this was supposed to be a two-part podcast culminating in discussing the new FX documentary, AKA Jane Rowe. But since I got to rambling a bit there, we decided to make it into a three-part series. We’d love to have you join us next time. Four-part two of two lives. One choice. Suppose you are listening and dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and want more information about the adoption Building. In that case, Arizona Families is a local Arizona Adoption Agency available twenty-four seven by phone or text at six two three six nine five four forty-one twelve 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 give you more information. You can also find more information about Building Arizona Families at AZpregnancyhelp.com.

Ron Reigns:

We also have a website for this podcast at birthmothermatterspodcast.com. Thanks. Go out to grapes for allowing us to use their song. I don’t know as our theme song, and as always, we thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by me. Please rate and review this podcast; wherever you’re listening to us, tune in next time to birth mother matters in adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am Ron Reigns.

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