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Covid 19, Adoption & Masks

Ron Reigns:

Welcome and thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption
with Kelly Rourke-Scarry and Ron Reigns, 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 3:

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 the 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 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, 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.

Ron Reigns:

The Arizona Republic reported Arizona sheriff, who was not to enforce stay-at-home orders, tested positive for COVID-19 ahead of a Trump meeting. On June 20th, Newsweek reported Arizona ICUs to have less than 300 beds available as coronavirus cases rise. USA Today reported that Major League Baseball is closing all spring training facilities in Arizona and Florida to curb coronavirus. As of the original airing of this episode on June 23rd, 2020, there are 58,179 positive cases of COVID-19 in Arizona. Today marked a new single-day high of 3,591 new coronavirus cases in the state. Forty-two additional deaths have also been reported, bringing Arizona a toll to 1,384 from the virus thus far.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

All right, So let’s go ahead and talk about updates on COVID-19 and adoption in Arizona. And we’re going to talk about this solely from a perspective of being in Arizona, what’s happening in Arizona, and what we are doing as Building Arizona Families adoption agency to take precautionary measures to keep everybody as safe as possible. So the laws in Arizona have now changed, and many cities, if not all; you can correct me if I’m wrong, Ron, require you to wear a mask in public.

Ron Reigns:

See, I had heard that initially and that all the cities in Arizona were statewide, but I looked into it some more, and it looks like different cities are handling it as they see fit. I don’t believe there’s anything, for instance, in Prescott Valley where you must wear a mask in public. Because I was curious, I was like, well, they said statewide, but now it looks like the mayors of the individual cities are saying, okay, this is our-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Governor Ducey has given the authority to mayors on this side, and I know where we live; it is mandatory. And I, for one, am thrilled. I think this is a great precautionary measure; as an agency, we will be giving out masks to our birth mothers. So when they do go out into the community, they are protected even more. We’ve always offered masks, but now we’re going to make sure that they have a good supply of them, so I think that’s important. One thing, though, that I have to say is a downside; I’m a colossal mask proponent. Right now, it’s 109 degrees down here in Phoenix. Wearing a mask is hot. Being pregnant and wearing a mask and being in Arizona is even hotter. I had three out of four children pregnant throughout the summer. I had one in June, one in July, and one in September, and it’s just miserable being pregnant in Arizona in the summer. So that being said, I cannot even fathom wearing a mask on top of that because it’s just that suffocating heat.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So hopefully, they can stay inside and have their feet up with a fan on them because [inaudible 00:04:36] I can’t even comprehend. But I think safety is obviously more important than comfort, so I’m grateful that masks have been mandatory. What’s your thought on it? Are you a mask proponent?

Ron Reigns:

Yes, I am. Anytime we go out. We did go to lunch yesterday, and we wore mask masks going into the restaurant, but how do you have lunch with a mask on, so we did have to take them off to eat?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Not really. You could have taken a bite, put the mask back on, and then take it off.

Ron Reigns:

It’s a whole process; it takes lunch three times as long, but the tables are distanced enough, and they’re saying they’re not as concerned about surfaces as they were in the beginning. So when somebody touches something, I mean, they’re still wiping everything down with bleach; that was one of our niece’s first comments when we went in there. She sat down, picked up the menu, and said, “It smells like bleach,” and I was like, “Well, that’s probably a good thing, just to be safe.” But yeah, I am a proponent of the masks.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

All right. So at Building Arizona Families, we are continuing to proceed as usual in terms of working with moms coming into our agency, and we are working with families as they’re coming into the agency, too; we are not restricting the adoption process on any level, we are changing how we case manage our birth mothers and how we case manage our families to make sure that again, we are taking all safety and health precautions. We have listed all of these precautions on Facebook and our websites, and so, in short, as I said, we are all wearing masks and social distancing, and our offices are still sanitized daily. We have a professional cleaning crew that comes in every day and sanitizes everything trying to keep, like I said, everything as clean as possible. We have posted on our windows that if they’re feeling sick, whatever, not to enter the office; we are also taking temperatures when people come into the office for staff and clients. If they have a temperature, they cannot enter the building.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

What we see in the hospital setting is the hospitals are letting us. They’re a bit looser in that they’re letting us come in and do paperwork; they’re not as restrictive as they were, which I think is incredible because right now, they’re saying that in Arizona, the ICU capacity is at 85%. So that being said, the fact that we’re able to get into the maternity unit at all is, I think, incredible, and I feel grateful that we can do that.

Ron Reigns:

Right. And thus far, we haven’t seen anything. Has anybody from the company contracted COVID-19, or has nobody yet?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

No.

Ron Reigns:

Nobody yet. Okay. And they’re being tested to some degree, and as you said, temperatures are being taken when they come in the building, as well as the birth mothers. Okay.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Right. The ones that have tested are the ones obviously that there was a concern about, but no, nobody has tested positive.

Ron Reigns:

And you’ve been tested yourself, correct?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I have been, yes. So the six feet of separation will be maintained by all the visitors; we are also encouraging everybody to continually wash their hands; again, if they’ve been exposed or have any symptoms, please do not come into the office; please stay safe. This limits how many people can go into labor and delivery with the birth mother. Right now, it’s usually one person. Depending on which hospital the baby’s delivered at, the adoptive family may or may not get to go in and be with the baby during the time the baby is in the hospital. It is a little bit better than it was a few months ago regarding the restrictions. Each hospital has its restrictions, but overall, it seems to be a little bit better for the families. I know that Arizona has now been labeled as a state that some other states are saying that if you come back from Arizona, you have to quarantine for so many days. That, to me, was a little surprising that now we are in the top three, I guess, in the nation.

Ron Reigns:

Right. One of the hotspots. I think it was Arizona, Florida, and Texas if I’m not mistaken. And-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

That’s correct. And unfortunately, our numbers are just not good. That being said, we are at our agency, and I can only speak for us, just doing everything we can to proceed as usual. We have birth mothers calling in frequently, wanting to come into the program, which we are still, like I said before, still able to do because so many things are shut down. There are many limitations and restrictions on hours and so forth; we are not restricting any of that. So again, we are open; we are working with families. And that was another question that I’ve been getting is, are people still coming into the program wanting to adopt? And the answer is yes, they are. We are not having a shortage of families; we are having families come into the program ready, willing, and wanting to adopt.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And some of the questions that I have been asked were, well, these are such uncertain times, but I think for those asking that question, when you’re trying to build a family, it’s hard for there ever to be a perfect time. What’s meant to be will be. And whether it’s COVID or some other crisis in your life, or hopefully not another pandemic, wartime, if you want to be a parent and adopt a child, COVID or no COVID pandemic, people are still going to proceed to build a family. I think that’s important to remember. I was adopted, I was born on Super Bowl Sunday, which was a massive deal for many people, and I was still adopted.

Ron Reigns:

Well, when I was born, I was born in December of 1969, so I’ve often thought about this with my mom; for instance, you know how people always say, oh, why would you want to bring a child into the world like this? And because of whatever it is at any given time. And I thought about this quite a bit because in the summer of 1969 when my mother would’ve been pregnant or was pregnant, I should say, was when the Manson family stuff was all happening. And it must have seemed like this is the end times and the same thing, why would you want to bring a child into that? But these things pass, and there are cycles, so I think people realize, hey, my family is essential, and this will pass as well.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

What did they expect your mother to do? Okay, I will not have the baby for another couple of months until things settle down.

Ron Reigns:

Right. I don’t know if anybody ever asked her that, but I tried to get into my mom’s mindset at that time. She must have panicked, thinking, what is the world coming to? And I’m pregnant with a child. So, yeah, I’ve never talked to her about this, but I’ve often thought about that.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I can understand that I will, I was supposed to be induced with my now 17-year-old on September 11th, and she was born in 2002. There was no way I would have a child with that birthday.

Ron Reigns:

Right.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

There was no way. So I told that I flat out refused, told the doctor, no,
This isn’t a medical emergency; we can wait two more days; I do not want to change that. And he thought that was the funniest thing because I flat-out refused. I wouldn’t have wanted that birthday, especially at that time.

Ron Reigns:

No, and I can see that because I’m sure people Like December 7th; for many years, people were like, oh, that is not the date I want to have my child and have their birthday be remembered as December 7th. That was the day that Pearl Harbor was attacked. So anyway, that was a tangent; sorry, I didn’t mean to go there, but what you were saying made me think of that, and adopting families are no different than somebody who’s having a child to raise on their own; you’re trying to build a family, and the circumstances in the world will change. They’ll get better; they’ll get worse.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

There are good times to have your baby and maybe not-so-ideal times; again, as I said, I was born on Super Bowl Sunday, so my adoptive parents are huge football fanatics, and so I’m sure that was a little bit like, of course, she was born on this day, it wasn’t.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah. You look at the good side.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. I wasn’t given a football name, so that’s a good thing. So it was, yes. But again, you just yeah. When you want to build a family and are ready to do so, it is essential not to let other factors influence your family and your life. And again, with your mom having you during that time, at that point, she was pregnant; I don’t know if you were a surprise or planned or what.

Ron Reigns:

A little bit of a surprise.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay. So, it wasn’t like she could sit there with her legs crossed for the next three months and say she’d wait it out.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah. I’m holding this in to see what happens.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. So everybody’s [crosstalk 00:14:26].

Ron Reigns:

Six years later, you know what? I think it’s about time to let him out now.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. So I think the most important things to remember, especially from this podcast, is that yes, in Arizona, we are experiencing the pandemic, we’re at an all-time high, we are now a hotspot, it is unprecedented for us, we’re scared, we are all doing the best we can do, we’re all taking every precaution that can be taken and collectively as a society. Especially in the adoption world, I think it’s vital that we stand together and get through this season, and as you said earlier, this, too, shall pass.

Ron Reigns:

Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters In Adoption; if you’re listening and you’re dealing with an unplanned pregnancy and want more information about adoption, 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 it 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 scary 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. Please tune in next time on Birth Mother Matters In Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry; I’m Ron Reigns.

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