Arizona Pregnancy Help

Birth Mother Matters in Adoption Episode #95 – Failed Matches, Disruptions & More – Part 2 of 2

requirements to adopt a child

 

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 3:

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:

And I know that 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 in school counseling.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I was adopted at the age of 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 who is an adoption attorney, and I’m able to combine these two great passions and share them on this podcast.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

We’re going to be talking about the requirements to adopt a child,  including failed adoption matches and adoption disruptions. So, regarding the financial aspect, because that is where a lot of families feel like they can regain some control over the loss, the financial aspect. They can’t change the birth mom’s mind. They can’t make her follow through on her adoption plan, but financially they can keep themselves from taking such a loss. And so that’s where they try to regain some control to maybe make them feel like they’re not at a total loss of control.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

We don’t deviate from the requirements to adopt a child listed in our contract. The law firm that we use has repeatedly instructed us to make sure that we stay in sync with it. Because if you do something for one family, then you open yourself up to doing that for other families, and then that negates the purpose of a contractual debrief.

Ron Reigns:

Right. It is in essence opening Pandora’s box for all kinds of problems.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And explaining to the family, as I said it before, what goes into the financial aspects and requirements to adopt a child, even when a birth mother changes her mind. It still is hard for them to grasp and process. So, oftentimes they will talk with their adoptive parents’ manager. And, when they don’t receive the resolution that they’re trying to, they will reach out to me or Adam Scarry, who’s the Director of Operations. Let’s hear from him.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

Okay. Adam, thank you for joining us.

Adam Scarry:

Thanks for having me.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

I was talking right before you joined us about how when adoptive families who have to adhere to the requirements to adopt a child, end up having a failed match or they have an adoption disruption that they first speak with their adoptive parent’s case manager. They talk about how upset they are, and about how financially is the one thing that they feel is in the realm of control, that they actually have some type of control over.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

They can’t control the mom, not placing the baby. They can’t control her changing her mind. But, in trying to gather some control back in their mindset, they will often target the financial aspects. When they don’t get the answer they want from the adoptive parent case manager, it escalates to you or me. Oftentimes you will take the lead on, on speaking with those families.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

What does that look like and how do you help them find peace in a very unpeaceful situation?

Adam Scarry:

I think just to go back for a minute. I think it’s important to note when considering the requirements to adopt a child, if adoption is anything it’s a sacred trust from the time we meet with her at the time of intake, to the dozen or so legal documents that she signed at the time of intake, to her signing a letter of intent stating that she’s completely committed to the process and stating as much in an affidavit of accuracy, affirming that she is giving us 100% accurate truthful information.

Adam Scarry:

In addition to the dozen documents that she signs that day and subsequently that outline the legal ramifications of providing false or misleading information. Adoption is a sacred trust. We trust the client is going to be honest that she came to us with good intentions. We trust the family’s going to honor their end of the legal agreement and the requirements to adopt a child. And they are trusting us to do everything we can to move the process forward with a positive outcome. With that being said, in the process of adoption or bringing adoption, just the possibility of an adoption you’re dealing with the two most emotionally charged topics. And that’s people’s children are potential children and their resources, their hard-earned money. And so unfortunately when you’re talking to a family at a disruption, you’re talking about two emotionally charged subjects that you’re bringing together simultaneously in a negative context, unfortunately. And I think there are some things that adopting families forget, not intentionally, just they forget just as a result of the process.

 

Adam Scarry:

And one of them is it’s going to be a bitter pill to swallow, no matter how you slice it when you try to accept a zero return on your investment. It was Daniel Kahneman who coined the phrase loss aversion. And so the whole idea of loss aversion is that according to his findings, losses loom larger than gains. If I find a $100, it produces a certain level of excitement. If I lose an actual $100 of my money, it produces twice the negative impact, twice the emotional turmoil. And I just think these families don’t realize that when you don’t go into the process fully grasping the requirements to adopt a child and saying this is, they’re setting the stage for the possibility, but not the probability. We are creating a forum by which an adoption can take place, but there is no likelihood there’s no hedging your bets or rolling the dice, or asking what are your success ratings.

Adam Scarry:

Ultimately, it comes down to one of two things. Either the client is going to do it, or she’s not going to do it. Either she was being truthful and honest, or she was being deceptive. And I think there’s other factors that weigh in when you’re talking with a family and the requirements to adopt a child. I think one of them is they forget that this is a shared risk. The agency is very much emotionally invested, financially invested, physically invested, and mentally invested in the process. And it is a tremendous toll on our case managers, our case aids, and the staff at large when a disruption occurs.

Adam Scarry:

I’ve been on the phone with an employee and had them completely and totally break down sobbing the most genuine grievous tears that were wrought by the situation at large, just the trauma of the circumstances. It’s very hard to talk to an adopting family who is dealing with loss aversion and trying to get them to process the seismic loss, whether it’s emotional, financial, spiritual, or all of the above. But they have to, at some point, understand the agency is also a business and that’s very hard for them to grasp.

Adam Scarry:

Sometimes they will make the statement to me. Well, you have my money. Well, in all actuality, our overhead has your money, the landlord has your money, the utility company has your money, the vehicle payments that we pay to transport clients has your money. I am not sitting on some cash cow of your resources over here with a casual laissez-faire, nonchalance about the disruption. We have an overhead and we pay we’re non-profit, but we still have our expenses that are definitely mitigating factors along with the idea of unilateral consideration. Oftentimes family will… I get this email often. I understand that we signed a contract regarding the requirements to adopt a child and we get that however, or, but, or with that being said, and what they’re asking for me to do is show partiality toward their circumstance. And oftentimes some people have a situation where they used money from an inheritance to fund an adoption.

Adam Scarry:

For some of them, it was beans and rice for a decade. Either way, I am not in a position to favor one person’s disruption over another and say, well, because you make a good case or you are more emotional or you seem more attached to the process, we can give you 10,000 back or five, just some indiscriminate amount. Really what they’re trying to do is they’re trying to minimize their loss on their investment. And that is by far, the hardest thing. I hate when a family will call me so close to the disruption and want to talk money because money is not really the issue. The issue is their mental wellness. The issue is how they’re going to process grief and keep their marriage together. How they’re going to process a grief that comes in tidal waves, a first wave of feeling like a tsunami, smashing the shoreline. Just grief that they have no real coping skills for calculating the monetary loss. In real dollars and cents.

Adam Scarry:

And sometimes I have to mentally withdraw myself from that process and say, if you do IVF, which the average on a national level is between 12 and 20,000 a cycle for in vitro fertilization, and you go through a couple of cycles and it doesn’t take, or you miscarry, you do not get the Liberty to walk back into the doctor’s office and begin to grill his staff or tell him it didn’t take. So because the outcome wasn’t desirable, I want my money back. And that’s the hardest about the requirements to adopt a child, is you are funding an agency investment in an individual who you only know what that individual disclosed and we will address red flags as they come up, but we do not hunt for them. You run a tremendous risk when you insinuate that an honest person who’s being dishonest, or pry and you meddle, and then you are responsible for everything that you could have found had you continued to hunt the internet.

Adam Scarry:

We don’t do that. We’ve had too many successful placements to do that. But it’s a complicated process. There’s no two ways about it. Oftentimes they will go from grief to full-blown anger based on my inability to manipulate the terms of their contract. And they’re very upset and unfortunately, that’s why we do have contracts lining out the requirements to adopt a child, prior to really jumping into the process and matching them with the mom. We have to have a contractual agreement that at no juncture states, that we are going to guarantee an outcome. It’s impossible. You’re dealing with human free will. There’s just no way to override a human’s free will. I can’t make somebody place. I can’t coerce them. We have too much integrity as an agency to do that. We can’t try to manipulate them or their will, because really what you’re doing is just jeopardizing the outcome of the adoption down the road when you do that when you leverage the short term versus the long term.

Kelly Rourke-Scarry:

And it’s not legal.

Adam Scarry:

Integrity is the threshold, not really what’s legal, or illegal. We had a county assessor who spent a decade drawing girls in from the Marshall Islands under what he believed were legal technicalities. His real crime was a lack of integrity because you don’t need the bar to be set here when really integrity will take you above the bar. We do things differently. We will speak with moms from the time Kelly talks to them on the phone and sets their intake. We will speak with them from the first week or two. Kelly will call and introduce herself, or they will face to face prior to COVID and she’ll do the best she can to vet the situation without making the mom feel those grueling processes.

Adam Scarry:

And then we manage them intensively, but we don’t parent them. There are people who would like us to, but there’s an issue of adaptability when you start to make them think that if they give you the answers you want, then you satiate your curiosity, the specific answers that you’ll go away. Oftentimes just as you let them work through the process, red flags come out and we address them and we’ve had to drop girls from the program prior to the match. And at that point we’ve suffered a hundred percent risk. Our original investment is also zero.

Ron Reigns:

Well-spoken Adam. I love having you on the show because you just always put these things together and they make sense. So thank you very much. I appreciate it.

Adam Scarry:

If I could just close with an interesting testimony that I’ve shared numerous times with adopting families and it’s true the 40th time I repeated it as it is the first time. When I was at the NCFA conference two years ago in Washington, D.C., I met a woman there who worked for an agency, and oftentimes you have time as chit chat. And so she was telling me about, she’d asked me about our requirements to adopt a child and disruption rates and I thought she was an adoptive parent at the time, wanting to inquire about adopting again. And she said, yeah, I know all too well. She said we had four disruptions in a row back-to-back back-to-back thankfully they were not with our agency. But, I asked her, how did you process that you put all that energy and all those resources into adoption and had very little to show for it?

Adam Scarry:

And she said, well, I guess it depends on how you look at it. She said the way I looked at it was somewhat different. She said I did not look at it as I had very little to show for it. She said, if you could imagine in a generation where abortion is legal in almost every state up to the third trimester, she said, I look at it as I was probably the one who saved those children from abortion. I spared them. They’re alive. I gave them the right to life because I funded that mom who was homeless. I gave her a place. That baby lived in a hotel room and not under the elements of a park bench because of me. That baby had better food because of me, and that baby got to go see a doctor because of me. I actually gave that child the right to life.

Adam Scarry:

In heaven I’m sure, she said, they’ll be some of the first kids I meet are those because I made a difference. She said, I may not be able to raise them, but I saved them in a way. And I thought, what a masterful, brilliant take on a disruption? What an incredibly humbling experience it was for me to meet somebody who had already sorted it out. I can go through another disruption because ultimately to me, all it means is I may not get to raise that child long-term, but I got to intercept that child at its most vulnerable stage. And I thought, man if people could look at it like that, there is something profound. And I remember the first time I shared that story. I shared that story with an adopting family who had already had their second disruption. They were broken, they were devastated.

Adam Scarry:

And they handled it like absolute troopers. They were a brilliant couple. And then I remember it was a couple of weeks before Christmas. They called me back and said, I remember she shouted on the phone to me. We are parents. And I said, what is this so-and-so? And she said, yes. She said we forgot that we put our profile in with another agency in Florida that had a safe haven baby. And they got a little boy named Henry who is absolutely custom tailor and fit for their family. He’s an absolutely priceless addition. And I look back through the photos. It’s been nine months now since the photos of a little Henry. And I thought there is a divine Providence that makes sure that you end up with the child that you were supposed to have. There really is.

Adam Scarry:

And this woman actually adopted first. She adopted twins on her fifth attempt. This woman at the NCFA said, my fifth attempt was a set of twins. And one was a biochemist and one was a geologist, brilliant minds. And one of them worked for NASA. And I thought, how do you script this? You’re taking the rawest of emotion combined with the most sensitive subjects and you throw it into a tumbler and you hope that there’s enough friction to rub the rough edges off as opposed to causing those elements to slam together and crack. And it’s a journey, man. I never, in my wildest dreams stop that I would be at the highest of highs and the lowest of lows in the same one-hour span with one telephone call in between. To go from the depths of despondency to the absolute echelon of emotional satiation and excitement with one phone call.

Adam Scarry:

I got that phone call. I do a step aside. I was a mess in the bathroom. It’s a powerful process, man. This is real life and real resources and it’s really raw. And it’s a lot harder than people think it is. They say, as a social worker, you have to have three elements that I believe are true. And I believe it’s true when you’re dealing with any aspect of humanity, you have to have the heart of a child, the mind of a scholar, and the height of a rhino. And it’s true.

Ron Reigns:

Man, what a story. It’s funny because you talked about how their careers, obviously they’re smart people, but beyond that, they have a certain wisdom that doesn’t come from book smarts and from college and learning, it’s a knowledge of self that just is incredible. So, wow. Thank you for sharing that.

Adam Scarry:

Thanks for having me. Glad to be on.

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 the requirements to adopt a child, Building Arizona Families as a local Arizona adoption agency 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 get started on creating an Arizona adoption plan, or just get you more information about the requirements to adopt a child. 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 Dunno, 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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