Arizona Pregnancy Help

Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #93 – Expectations vs. Reality in Adoption

domestic infant adoption

 

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 the issues of adoption from every angle of the adoption triad.

Speaker 2:

Do what’s best for your kid and for yourself, because if you can’t take care of yourself, you’re definitely not going to be able to take care of that kid and that’s not fair.

Speaker 3:

I know that my daughter would be 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 in school counseling. I was adopted at the age of three days, born to a teen birth mother. Raised in a closed domestic infant 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. Who’s an adoption attorney, and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Speaker 5:

In domestic infant adoption when you are talking with both adoptive parents and birth parents, it’s very important to separate expectations from reality. My husband uses the example of planet reality versus planet fantasy, and we definitely want everybody to be living and breathing and believing on planet reality versus planet fantasy. Oftentimes when people have an adoption experience and they’re not as happy with their experience and their journey, it’s because they have come into adoption more on planet fantasy rather than planet reality. I think that if you can outline the realistic expectations and bring reality to the forefront on the beginning, then their expectations will be different and therefore they’ll have a happier outcome because perception is key.

Speaker 5:

Everything happens, in your life is all your perception and how you interpret it. Somebody who gets one gift at Christmas and it’s a gift they’ve always wanted and it’s all they’d ever dreamed of can be happier than the next guy who gets a Ferrari and 25 other gifts, it’s perception, it’s your expectations and if they’re matched and if they’re not. One of the roles working with a domestic infant adoption agency or an adoption attorney is to make sure that everybody is on planet reality and a way to ensure that this can happen is through education like these podcasts for example.

Ron Reigns:

Hopefully

Speaker 5:

Yes. I’m explaining the process in great detail, making sure that everybody understands information is often retained at a much higher level if it is conveyed through different methods. So not just hearing it or not just reading it, or maybe not just watching a video on it, but if you’re combining those methods of communication. That will help ensure that it’s being transmitted and received.

Ron Reigns:

Maybe talking to somebody who’s been through the exact same thing that you’re going through now, too, that helps a lot. I’m sure.

Speaker 5:

Hearing it from different parties, different people. When it’s the same voice telling you the same thing over and over again, you’re going to start tuning out and thinking about what you’re going to make for dinner. Do you have to stop at the store on the way home? you go onto autopilot. When you are learning something that you need to almost hyper-focus on so that you understand something, when you’re signing, a mortgage statement and, you’re buying a house or you are, building your family and you’re looking at a domestic infant adoption contract, it is so important to make sure that you understand what you’re reading.

Speaker 5:

You understand what the expectations are on behalf of the agency and on behalf of you, the adoptive family. What I have found in the last 16 years is going over the information multiple times during the adoption journey and providing reminders is very helpful in accomplishing that goal. Additionally, giving a reference guide is another layer to help ensure that they understand what to expect. Most people in general, don’t like surprises. I am one who cannot stand surprises. I don’t like being caught off guard of I’m too much of a control freak. I like to know where everything is. Do you like surprises?

Ron Reigns:

I guess if it’s a good surprise. Sure, but, the unexpected is always something that I have a fear of. Sure. I know what you’re saying.

Speaker 5:

You don’t want the Jack in the box to pop out, it’s not.

Ron Reigns:

If somebody said, hey, surprise you just won Publisher’s Clearing House. I wouldn’t mind that.

Speaker 5:

We also but, rather than showing up, with a camera in your face, at your door, it would be nice to get a heads up. Right? We are coming, you have won so that,

Ron Reigns:

You don’t show up in your underwear. Sure.

Speaker 5:

Exactly. That you look presentable in that video. This is so that you can avoid situations like, oh, I didn’t know that. Or I don’t remember being told. So this is the first I’m hearing about this. Why wasn’t this explained? It also will help combat selective listening. People who are just listening to hear what they want to hear. If you’re explaining something and they want you to substantiate what they want, they’re only going to hear that one piece and really going in on that one piece.

Speaker 5:

As an agency what I have found is providing a folder with handouts and sending emails throughout the adoption journey, as well as on the forefront, really diving into the contract and explaining the process. There’s a reason that most contracts that are legal and important have a little line at the bottom that you initial each page. It’s not just so that the page can’t be changed later on. It’s also because they want to make sure you’re actually reading every page and that you understand it. It may sound silly when somebody says, make sure you read a contract before you sign it, but it’s not silly, never, ever, ever, ever signed something that you haven’t read.

Ron Reigns:

How many times have all of us been on the internet and seen whatever it is, user agreement, this and that. It’s an avalanche of words that I don’t understand and just scroll all the way to the bottom all the time. Wow, we really should be reading those things.

Speaker 5:

Don’t do it. It’s interesting when you are buying a car, I purchased one six months ago, they put the contract in front of you and they’re like, okay, just go ahead and sign here. And that’s not, I’m that person that they probably hate where I want to go line by line and just make sure I understand everything.

Ron Reigns:

What exactly does this mean? Can you explain this to me? It doesn’t make sense or whatever. Lisa does the same thing when we buy a car or when, how’s mortgage things, all that stuff, Lisa reads, but she’s a lawyer she understands,

Speaker 5:

But everybody doesn’t have to be a lawyer to go through a contract with a fine-toothed comb. What doesn’t make sense, ask questions. Don’t be afraid of taking somebody’s time, because it’s important that you understand. I can’t tell you how many times that we will have gone over a contract. Family has read a contract and something will come up in the adoption during their adoption journey and they’ll say, oh, I didn’t know that. We’ll say, well, it’s on page three. We talked about this on this day and, it’s not striking a chord. It’s really important to have that information. Also, on our website, we have lots and lots of information as well. There’s multiple areas that the same information can be obtained. I think having that information readily available and easily accessible for both birth mothers and adoptive families is very, very important.

Speaker 5:

Making sure you get copies of all of your paperwork and again, reiterating all the important information like you said, from different people, whether it’s handouts, the website, whether they’re speaking with a previous family that had adopted, it’s really important to have all that so that you know, what everybody’s roles are, what the responsibilities are of the agency versus the adoptive family. When there’s a crisis who you contact, what number do you call? What’s the next step? What’s the schedule of events when it’s time to go to the hospital? What does that look like? Before COVID-19 families that would come in prior to the baby being born, the adoptive parent case managers used to take the parents to the hospital and they would do a tour. So they could explain this is where you’re going to be sitting. This is the type of room that you’ll be in.

Speaker 5:

Just so that it was a walkthrough. You know how, when you’re buying a home, you do a walkthrough prior to signing paperwork. This is like a walkthrough of the hospital. So that there’s again, no surprises and you know how it’s going to work out. The schedule of events can be overwhelming in a domestic infant adoption journey for an adoptive family. There’s, lots of terms that are not commonly used outside of the adoption world. Payment schedules are touchy subjects because everybody’s uncomfortable talking about them. When you’re talking about a TPR and a family may not know that means termination of parental rights, ICPC, what is an ICPC? They’re holding their new baby and you’re throwing terms at them and they’re looking at you like, oh my gosh, what is that? And it’s just the interstate compact placement agreements.

Speaker 5:

On the forefront, if they’ve received education and they understand all this, it’s just going to go so much smoother. But if they’re holding their new baby and they’re focusing on their baby and they’re half listening to what you’re saying, because their baby’s beautiful and they’re so excited, and this is the moment they’ve been waiting for, and you keep saying, well, now this needs to happen, we need to do this, you’re effectively taking away from that moment. It’s not going to have that same positive experience for them. This is to help ensure that.

Ron Reigns:

I think that for an agency, it’s great to be diligent about remembering that you need to reiterate these things for the adoptive family, for the birth mother, for everybody involved. Like you said, these are terms that we’re so used to that I get to a point where I’ll talk to somebody that’s not in the adoption world and say, I had to work on three ICPCs today. You forget, they don’t know what an ICPC is or, they don’t know, like you said, what a TPR is or a payment schedule, all these things that we kind of just get immune to. We’ve got to be diligent about remembering, not everybody deals with these every single day. Reiterate it to the people involved so they know. You’ve told me what an ICPC is. I forgot. Tell me again and be patient.

Speaker 5:

Absolutely. For birth parents, letting them know when they’re coming into the program and throughout the program and even after the baby’s born, what resources financial, every other type of resource is available to them, what aftercare services are available and what the Arizona adoption laws dictate as to us, as an agency, as to what we can and cannot provide. Also, having that clear line of communication between the adopted family and the agency and that clear line of communication between the birth mother and father and the agency is super important because the faster you can answer somebody’s question, the more readily you can most likely calm them down. If somebody has to wait to have a question answered, their anxiety builds and builds and builds and builds, and then you’re dealing with somebody who’s frustrated and upset and angry, and it has all these emotions going on rather than, oh, I get it.

Speaker 5:

You know what I mean? Keeping, somebody’s mind at ease is, really trying to answer their questions as quickly as you can. Lastly and most importantly, I think, with both parties, they need to understand what adoption really is. Placing your baby for domestic infant adoption is not the same as having somebody fostering your baby until you can get your life together. What is normal? You’re not going to be overnighting at the adoptive family’s house for Christmas. Those things are not normal in the adoption world, and that’s not something that we recommend or, put into place and laying those expectations out and explaining why and the rationale behind it is again, going to hopefully help alter the adoption experience to be a positive one, especially if maybe it’s not going as smoothly as you want it to. Explaining what a red flag is to an adoptive family and how, some red flags or, smaller flags and other flags and maybe bigger flags and why certain flags are not as concerning as other ones.

Speaker 5:

There’s different levels. Just letting everybody know, this is why you’re with a domestic infant adoption agency or an adoption attorney, because you’re with somebody who has experience. Who’s gone through this process many, many, many, many times. I’d love to say, I’ve seen everything, but every time I say that I see something new. When you’re working with an experienced entity, you can rest assured that in that you have a comfort zone, because they know how to navigate these waters. When you’re sailing in the ocean, you don’t really want to be out there with somebody who’s only gone on an expedition once or twice. You want to go with a seasoned captain who knows the waters. When the storms come, can continue through that storm as if there’s not a storm. I think it’s really important.

Speaker 5:

You want both the birth family and the adoptive family, in my opinion, to have not only a good, happy ending at the end of the pregnancy, but I want the journey to mean as much as the end result, because it’s important. This is part of your child’s story. This is part of their life story. What happens during the pregnancy and, during that time is going to set the tone for the adoptive family and the birth family and into how they interact in the future and what type of relationship they have. In what perceptions the adoptive family has of the birth family and vice versa. It’s a trust that has to be built up between them. Again, laying out expectations and living on planet reality is going to help boost those opinions. I think that’s really important, but I think you being in the adoption world would understand that sometimes, either side can come into domestic infant adoption experience with unrealistic expectations. I always say in adoption, anything goes, anything can happen.

Speaker 5:

It is going to be the best experience you’ve ever had, or it’s not going to be. We all want it to be the best experience. There’s not always a happy ending, but what you have to remember is that whether or not the adoption turns out the way that you want it to, it’s still your story and nothing’s going to take away from that.

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 international and domestic infant adoption click here , Building Arizona families is 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 get started on creating an Arizona adoption plan, or just get you more information. You can also find out more information about Building Arizona Families on their website at azpregnancyhelp.com. Thanks also go out 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 really 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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