Arizona Pregnancy Help

Why Women Choose Adoption Again

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Building Arizona Families Adoption Agency

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 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 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 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.

Ron Reigns:

According to the CDC, nearly one in five births to teen mothers, ages 15 to 19, is a repeat birth. About 183 repeat teen births occur each day in the United States. And only about one in five sexually active teen mothers use the most effective type of birth control even after giving birth. And according to the 2006 Guttmacher Institute report, Repeat Abortion in the United States, women having a second or higher order abortion are substantially different from women having a first abortion in only two critical ways. They are more than twice as likely to be age 30 or older. And even after controlling for age, they are almost twice as likely to have already had a child. Among all women having an abortion, six in 10 are mothers.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And speaking solely for our agency, Building Arizona Families, I often ask this question to adoptive families, “What are the chances that our child’s birth mother may get pregnant and choose adoption again?” I think the answer may surprise our listeners, very possibly. At Building Arizona Families adoption agency, we do everything we can to assist our birth mothers in leaving the adoption program in a better state than how they arrived. We help birth mothers obtain birth control, and we can assist them long-term through the Donna K. Evans program. Now, before we go into the Donna K. Evans program, I think it’s important to understand why women do wind up experiencing an unplanned crisis pregnancy again and why they would choose adoption again. So again, we’re speaking solely from our experience, what we see in Arizona, especially and solely what we see at Building Arizona Families.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Sometimes women go through the program, exit it, and then they return, are pregnant again, and want the same family. They would want to keep the two biological children together; sometimes, they want a new family. But the reasons that they come in are what and why we created the Aftercare Program was because we didn’t want them to have to go through the emotional and physical process of pregnancy and placing a child for adoption. That’s not an easy thing to go through. I would say we see as high as a 35% birth mother return rate. That being said, I believe that we are seeing such a high rate because we have become their sense of community. We become their refuge. We become their haven. Many of these women are out in a community and have nobody. They are homeless and on the street, and people are mistreating them, and they’re hungry, and they’re scared, and they’re alone.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And when they’re in an adoption program, they’re cared for, and they’re provided for, and they have that connection with the adoptive family and their adoption case worker. So that sense of community and family to them is something that everybody longs for, especially when you’re so deprived. When women come back into the program, they often look for that connection. Some don’t want birth control, and some had a good experience, and they want to experience that again. But we have found that the success of a second favorable placement, meaning that a placement went through, is 65%, maybe 70%. It’s not a hundred percent. So, just because a mom places the first time does not guarantee an adoptive family that she will place again. And that is something that a lot of adoptive families don’t realize.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I would say that the factors that we ended at are whether she’s playing placed with the same adoptive family. I have seen that the rates are higher if it’s the same family, and she’s more likely to place again. Her current circumstances, her participation and compliance with the adoptive program, so if she’s going to the appointments and following through, meeting her case worker, and doing what is her role and responsibility, that is positive if she develops a good relationship with the adoptive family and the adoption case manager. And, how she felt the outcome of the previous placement, really what? She will feel positive about this choice and follow through if it is positive. If she has a family that committed to sending pictures and letters, let’s say they didn’t follow through. Getting the pictures and letters became a battle, and she chose that family again; I would be concerned about how committed she was because she hadn’t been happy with the outcome.

Ron Reigns:

Right. And because she hadn’t seen that commitment from the family on her end, why should she feel committed to this adoption?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Absolutely. I agree with that. And I will say that for families that don’t follow through a hundred percent on their communication agreement, I see some moms come back a second time and choose a different family and say, “You know what? I don’t want that family again.”

Ron Reigns:

Right, “I still want to choose adoption.”

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah, “Because I would love to keep the siblings together.”

Ron Reigns:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yet it’s not our choice; it’s the birth mother’s choice. And I understand her reasoning and rationale, and it’s not even something that we even debate with her. It’s solely her choice. She has the option to choose what she wants to choose. But for families that go above and beyond, I have found that when Or if a birth mother comes back, they automatically want that family. Women don’t always go the second time around to the same agency. She may not have liked her experience with that previous agency.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I had one girl that came to us a second time at Building Arizona Families adoption agency but said she had called another agency because she was so embarrassed that she was pregnant and in the same predicament. And I reassured her, “There’s nothing to be embarrassed about. We’re all human; we’re here. We’re here to help you. Could you come to us? If you are pregnant again, we want to be here for you and are not judgmental. We’re not going to judge you or your reason for coming in.”

Ron Reigns:

And we’re proud of you for making this choice and being this strong again. I understand the embarrassment because there are things we get embarrassed about throughout our lives that aren’t even logical in many ways. It’s like, why would you be embarrassed about that? But when you’re the embarrassed person, logic doesn’t come into play all the time.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I couldn’t concur more. That was a perfect point. And the particular woman I’m talking about actually chose the same family, which I was thrilled about.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

But the other reason that a woman may not choose the same agency is she may want just a perfect start. Maybe she felt like she did her time with that agency, and she has that experience, and now she wants to try this, but I don’t see that as often. As I said, we have a high return rate for moms returning. I think that is a testament to what we’re doing at Building Arizona Families adoption agency because it is important to us to try to work with these moms and try to help them, give them some sense of pride and boost their self-esteem. Because again, that’s the main thing that I have drilled into our case workers self-esteem is the key to getting out of the basement, as we discussed before.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

When you are working with somebody that has very, very low self-esteem, that is the foundation of everything. Trust issues, their perception of how they internalize things, what their self-worth is, what they think that their potential is, and what they will allow themselves to be treated as or in a manner that somebody with higher self-esteem wouldn’t allow that same treatment. And so, it’s essential to help them break some of these negative life cycles they have gotten themselves into. The goal is, is by doing that, that they won’t wind up back on the street, wind up back on drugs, and making choices that lead them down this path to where they’re not able to parent, and they’re not able to bring in an income, all these negatives.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

So that’s why the Donna K. Evans Foundation is so important because it gives these women a platform, a location, and an opportunity to have a mailing address to get a job. It gives them classes and group counseling. It helps them locate and obtain long-term housing if they can. It helps them with emergency housing. There are so many avenues we can take to lift women because if we don’t, the society they are in will keep pushing them down.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

If we go back into the early days, pioneer times, I guess, even before then, women were, I don’t want to say, the rock of the home. But the men were the hunters and the gatherers, and the women were the nurturers and the ones to take care of the children and the ones to be Equal partners in the sense of, “I need me as much as I need you.” And when a woman is living on the streets, and she’s in that survival, “I’m alone mode,” she’s having to take on so much and can’t parent and do what she wants in her heart. I don’t even know if that’s a word, but do you understand what I’m saying?

Ron Reigns:

I do. I do. And I think it’s a beautiful thing you do because, as you say, they get support while they’re in the adoption phase. But in a way, that’s a boost. But then, to utilize the Donna K. Evans Foundation and the services you offer afterward, that’s almost like saying, “Okay, you’ve taken that first step. Let’s keep going in that direction.”

Ron Reigns:

I know it’s kind of cliche, the whole adage of, “Give a man a fish, he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he’ll eat for the rest of his life.” It’s kind of like that. You’re trying to set them up for success by giving them the means to Not just give them the money, for instance, but saying, “Okay, this is a direction, and we’re going to help you go that way. There’s a target out there.” And the rewarding part of it isn’t hitting the target. The rewarding part is going toward the target, and they’ll continue learning and improving. And once you hit the target, you may look at another target, and you go, “I want to achieve that now,” and you keep proceeding along those lines. I don’t know. What are you saying?

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

You’re a hundred percent right; it’s walking up the stairs.

Ron Reigns:

Right. I don’t know; I think Donna K. Evans Foundation is a beautiful thing and what you guys are doing to help these women head in the right direction and get the skills they need to proceed in life-

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah

Ron Reigns:

And get better.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yeah. No, I think that is an accurate word. And one thing that I think about as an adoption community before we started championing the post-placement aftercare services, these women are taken care of financially throughout their pregnancy. And I think in some aspects, it’s a false sense of security because if they come in early enough in the program, I mean, we’re talking months that their housing is paid for. They’re given a food allowance and clothing, and all the necessities are taken care of.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And I’ve seen women think, “Oh, I can do this.” And some of those women will even think, “Okay, well, maybe I can parent. I’m able to do this. I have a roof over my head and food.” And they’re not connecting the fact that this isn’t self-sustain. They are being wholly funded and provided for because of the adoption plan. That is why we can take a hands-off approach by implementing an Aftercare Program at Building Arizona Families adoption agency because the funding is only there for six to eight weeks after they deliver, but we can still guide them and help them become self-sufficient.

Ron Reigns:

It helps them with that transition from being supported to supporting themselves.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Yes. And we’ve started a new protocol with our agency, and this is a brand new, I want to say, layer that we’re adding on, where I have developed a binder system. And so what is happening in our aftercare worker Donna K. Evans case manager, is meeting with the birth moms before delivery. And together, they are developing a resource binder. And in that resource binder are the apartments she’s interested in looking at, like brochures, housing resources, and food banks. And so we’re developing this, this binder, that we will give her when it’s complete after she places for adoption so that she has almost a resource Bible if you will. She will be armed with everything she needs at that moment because we’re trying again to give her.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

As you said, we’re teaching her how to fish with a fishing pole. We don’t just want to give her the fish. And so that binder is representative of a fishing pole. That is our newest; I would say, layer. We’ve just started doing that. We’ve had a couple of girls begin their binder, and we’re moving through. As I said, it will be for all women in the program, but this connection is elegant. And one aspect I added at the very end was, Do you remember those plastic sheets with the baseball cards that you would put in?

Ron Reigns:

Yeah.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay. Well, you know how they fit business cards? Can you fit business cards in them?

Ron Reigns:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

We made sure that we put one at the end, the last page of each binder, because that way, as they’re meeting with people in apartments and going on interviews, they can start putting the cards in their binder. Because, again, some of these women have no idea how to become organized and keep a copy of their resume in their binder. Do you know what I mean? It’s just one of those layers to take everything you need, all your tools, and put them in a toolbox. That’s what the binder is, so that’s a neat thing. I’ll keep you posted on how it’s going, the birth mothers’ reception, and how they like it. But so far, it’s going over well.

Ron Reigns:

I would love for you to keep us posted on any new ideas that the Donna K. Evans Foundation or Building Arizona Families adoption agency is implementing to help these birth mothers. I think that’s amazing.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

For all of you listeners out there, know that we continue to support women, empower them, and help them achieve their goals because they are choosing this selfless adoption.

Ron Reigns:

I want to mention one more thing about the Donna K. Evans Foundation. We had mentioned it in a previous podcast because I was curious and asked you if you don’t only help birth mothers who have come to Building Arizona Families adoption agency. Birth mothers have adopted or placed their child for adoption with any agency, attorney, or whatever.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Whether it’s with an attorney or an adoption agency, in other words, it’s not for a DCS removal situation. But any mother that has chosen adoption and placed privately, as I said through any agency or attorney, we will help them. There are no restrictions. You do not have to work solely through Building Arizona. And we did that because we didn’t want to make any woman feel like our agency had to be the right fit for her to get back on her feet after. We want to congratulate her and encourage her to choose adoption.

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 (623) 695-4112. 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 at azpregnancyhelp.com.

Ron Reigns:

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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