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IS IT TOO LATE? I AM ON THE FENCE

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 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 the 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, an adoption attorney, and I can combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Women will come into an agency, often a first-time phone call, asking a couple of questions. And some of the main questions we get are, “I’m on the fence about making an adoption plan. When is it too late to place my baby for adoption? What is the timeline?” I will have women that call up and say, “I’m in my last trimester; have I waited too long?” I’ve had women call me after they’ve delivered. After taking the baby home, I’ve had women decide, “You know what? I can’t do this.” And that is the hardest one because when you take the baby home, at that point, family and friends know that you’ve had the baby, you’ve taken the baby home, and you’re going to parent, and nobody wants to be perceived or even feel like a failure.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Like they couldn’t do something. So, the goal of this podcast is to reassure everybody who’s listening that there’s no timeline. Now, with the Safe Haven laws, with a newborn that is just born, yes, you can take a baby and anonymously place a baby in a Safe Haven location without any repercussions. With adoption, there are also zero repercussions. I always tell clients coming into the program that it will always be easier on them. The sooner that you make the adoption choice because the way you can start receiving more services and more support. You can decide whether and when to inform your family and friends of your choice so that you do not have to explain it retroactively. I think, Ron, I don’t know about you, but I have always had this, the way that I, when I have a callous decision, what I do is, I will think about it, I will educate myself on the pros and cons.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Sometimes I make lists like, this is why I should do this, or this is why I shouldn’t do this. And then I make a decision. And then, when I make a decision, I will sit with it for a bit and see in my head how I have already proceeded with that decision and how that feels. Lastly, once I find peace in that, I move in that direction. When you backtrack, after you solidly made a choice in your mind, you backtrack. I think at that point, then that’s where a lot of people get confused. So they make a choice. They gather all their education on that choice and sit with their choice. And then when they move forward, there’s no need to look back, because come what may, good or bad, that is your decision.

Ron Reigns:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Having worked in the social work field since I had just turned 20, I have had to make a lot of really, really hard life-changing decisions on behalf of the people I work with, our clients. Because of that, I have had the opportunity to grasp how to make a decision and keep going. And sometimes that decision is, really, really hard. And sometimes, it’s not the decision I want to make, but it’s the decision I know is best. That’s not to say that I don’t ever make a decision and then panic or change my mind. Sure. It happens to all of us, but 95% of the time, when you take the time to think about something and work it out in your head, and you’ve done your research, and you’ve thought about what is best, there’s no need to beat yourself up over the choice. It’s moving forward and finding peace. How do you wrestle? What do you do when you’re wrestling with a hard choice?

Ron Reigns:

I wish I could say the same. I wish I could say that I weigh out the pros and cons the way I should and sit with it and make that decision with hopeful wisdom, and with everything available to you at that particular time, you’ve made the best choice you could in that circumstance. I maybe don’t do as much sitting with it. I try to get both sides of whatever the problem is and try and weigh all the consequences but I think I make the decision itself probably more quickly than I should, and I do see myself afterward, kind of not regretting it but second guessing myself. So I think that is a common thing. And that’s a good idea to weigh all the factors and sit with them. Sitting with it is hard because it’s almost like, okay, I’ve weighed the factors, I’m going right in. I’m going to make my choice. And I like the idea of, hey, I’m going to sleep on this and really mull it over in my brain and come back with the best choice, hopefully.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

One thing too, I think that people, whether it’s making an adoption choice, when they’re struggling with a tough decision, some things to consider, are- there are two big mistakes I see people making. The first one is they will reach out to friends, colleagues, and family members, but they present the facts and the information in such a way that they’re eliciting the response they’re looking for.

Ron Reigns:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

It’s like calling somebody and saying, you know what, I have a low grade at temperature, and I’ve been coughing a lot, and my sister’s brother’s mother was exposed to COVID, and do you think I have it? And so, rather than giving all the facts, I was never in contact with my sister’s mother’s brother’s friend. I have had a low-grade fever that is not a low-grade fever. Do you know what I mean? When you are looking for a specific answer from somebody to justify or rationalize, you will often give information that will skirt them to the answer you’re looking for.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And also, you will most likely pick people you know will give you the answer you’re looking for if you’re aware of what you’re doing.

Ron Reigns:

Right. You’re not going to be apt to pick somebody to talk to who might confront you and ask you some questions. You want that confirmation bias that we’ve talked about before.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Exactly, exactly. And another thing that people do when making a tough decision that I would like people to be aware of this so that they can be better informed and make decisions on a solid platform is when you are researching something or you are looking for information to help you make a decision, don’t just look at the information that is going to substantiate where you want to go. Look at both sides. Look at the pros and cons. You and I have talked about both of us being very pro-life. And yet we also examine the stances, belief systems, and grounds of those pro-choice to understand where they’re coming from and why they feel the way they feel will only help us be more decisive in our stance.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So if you’re making a tough decision, like, let’s say, I’m going to ultimately use something unrelated to adoption, let’s say you are going to buy a new car. You are trying to decide between a Ford or a Nissan, and you want the Nissan, but it’s more expensive, but that’s the car you want, but you don’t know whether or not you should allocate that much money towards the Nissan. So you’re talking to everybody who owns a Nissan rather than anybody who owns a Ford. You are looking at all of the safety ratings of the Nissan, and you’re looking for everything that will bring you justification in your mind to the Nissan, rather than genuinely weighing out the two options and seeing which is the best. And like I said, that’s a far-off example, but you get where I’m coming from.

Ron Reigns:

No, but it makes sense. I changed the cars around, but I was thinking about it when I was a kid; we all wanted a Trans Am because Burt Reynolds had a Trans Am, and had I been able to buy a car then, I probably would’ve done that. I would’ve been like, Hey, it was in Smokey and the Bandit. That was pretty cool. It was on this movie, okay, it’s a cool-looking car, but this Ford Escort over here gets excellent gas mileage. I’m not going to think about that. I’m going to put that over here on the other side. I’m not going to think about the safety like you say; if this car has airbags and the Trans Am, not so much. So it makes a lot of sense, and people always do that. That’s a great analogy.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I think that when somebody comes to us, and they’re having an unplanned pregnancy or a crisis pregnancy, they’re not; they weren’t planning on parenting. They love their baby. They want to parent. I don’t know many birth mothers who have come into our program and haven’t wanted to parent. They do. They’re not often in a place financially, mentally, or physically where they can, but it’s not that they don’t want to parent. So the struggle is, is that I want to parent. I want to be a mom. I want to keep my baby. I’m conflicted. I know I’m not ready. I know I’m not in a place where I can give my baby the life I want. So some of the suggestions that I have, and I recommend to birth moms, is, first of all, don’t make a snap decision because you involve an adoptive family. You involve yourself and your child like this is a big decision, and take some time to think about it.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Talk with your family and friends, and educate yourself on the options of parenting and adoption. Take some time to think about it, especially if you’re early in your pregnancy. If you take a pregnancy test and it comes up positive, that doesn’t mean you need to call an adoption agency the next day. You have some time. Talking with an adoption agency and getting more information doesn’t mean you have proceeded with an adoption plan. It’s just purely education. But learn more about the process. What does this look like? What kind of communication can I have? What kind of relationship will I get to have with my child long-term? Also, talk with a counselor specializing in adoption and see- they are trained to help you hone in on why parenting isn’t an option or is it an option for you.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

If it is, maybe there are resources they can direct you to, but they really get both sides of the decision. And then again, once you’ve made up your mind, let the decision sit with you for a little while. For somebody, that may be a day; it may be a week. It may be the weekend. It may be a month. It’s how fast you can process and accept. But I don’t think you should enter into an adoption plan until you’re going through the stages of grief until you’ve reached the acceptance stage. That doesn’t mean you won’t recycle through them, or there won’t be other stages that you revisit, but it does mean that you have found peace in your decision. And adoption choice is a hard choice. It’s a beautiful choice. It’s amazing. It’s made by the bravest women, in my opinion. That’s not the decision that every woman dreams of; becoming pregnant and making an adoption plan is not; since you’re a little child, you’re not dreaming of placing a baby for adoption.

Ron Reigns:

Going back to the timeframe that you talked about, to make these decisions where it could be an hour, it could be a day, a week, or a month. And if it is a month, don’t beat yourself up over that, either. Because when you think about it, as you said before, this doesn’t just affect you and your near future; it affects you and your long-distance future, the child, an adoptive family, and your significant other. There are so many people around you that this decision will sit with you for the rest of their lives and yours. So, if it takes you a month, then so be it; just let that process take its time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And that’s why I think it’s so important to start early so that you have, as long as you need, like a month. It isn’t realistic if you’re in the hospital and delivered a month because that changes things. That doesn’t mean you can’t do an adoption, but you will have the pressure; it will be stronger. And if you start earlier and have that opportunity, you will have that time to resonate with your decision. So, if adoption is the right choice for you and you have come to that conclusion, sitting with it and just seeing how that feels, waking up in the morning, knowing, okay, I’ve made an adoption plan, even though you haven’t acted it out, meaning you haven’t with an agency and signed the paperwork.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I think that that’s a much better and safer choice for everybody involved. And I think it’s essential.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Women coming to us at all stages of their pregnancy is fine. As I said, we work with women who have already had the baby. We work with women early in their pregnancy if that’s the case. The women that come to us early in their pregnancy often are women that have had placed a child before. And so they know the process. They know that this is the route they’re going to go. And so they come to us on the earlier side because they know that they need the support, want the support, and know that this is the best option for them.

Ron Reigns:

Lisa dealt with a set of birth parents. It was a lady and her husband, they had had a baby, and actually, they had twins, now that I think about it. It’s been a while, so I’m trying to remember all the details. They had twins, and they had decided that they would give it one month of trying to raise the twins and see if they could do it. And I think they might have been a little more successful had it been just one child. But they did; they felt overwhelmed, and one month after the children’s birth, they contacted Lisa and got going on an adoption plan. And the babies went to a family that could deal with that at that time, but they gave it that month to see, hey, okay, we’re going to try and see, but they were honest with themselves. And I thought that was kind of beautiful. I

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I think it is beautiful because they will forever be able to look back and say, we did everything we could and tried, and it didn’t work, but we know for sure that we made the right choice. I agree; I think that’s beautiful. And I think that’s an excellent example of how important it is to find peace in your decision. And yeah, great story. Great story. Whether a woman chooses adoption or whether she chooses to parent, I think education and decision-making and taking time and education are all keys. We all want to do our best, not only by ourselves but for our children and others around us. I think humankind is one of my favorite words because I think humans are in nature. And I think we sometimes underplay and don’t give credence to the fact that people want to do what’s right. And they do want to do what’s best. And sometimes you need to give people time.

Ron Reigns:

Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption. Suppose you’re listening to and 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 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 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 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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