We have some very exciting news! You can now tune in to hear Kelly Rourke-Scarry, President and CEO of Building Arizona Families and Ron Reigns talk all things adoption on our new radio broadcast!  In our first podcast, they introduced some of the initial feelings birth mothers have about adoption and how Kelly is committed to staying connected with all birth mothers at Building Arizona Families, an Arizona baby adoption center.  Read what Kelly and Ron spoke about in the first podcast below:

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.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

I’m Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I am the co-founder of Building Arizona Families, an Arizona baby adoption center. As well as the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and the developer of the Before Me campaign. I have been in the adoption field for 15 years. I have both personal and professional experience in adoption. I was adopted myself and I also have been a social worker my entire career. 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

Ron Reigns:

And today we’re actually just going to be explaining what the podcast is and what you can expect in the future from us.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

Just to clarify a few things, when we talk about birth mothers, we are going to refer to birth mothers as pregnant women who are looking to place their babies for adoption. I have been doing adoptions for 15 years and I, myself was adopted, so I am starting this podcast with Ron because I thought it would be important to get the information out to everybody. We can clear up some myths. We can provide some information that you may not know and we can help people through the adoption process. Whether you’re a birth mom, or an adoptive parent, or you’re an adoptee, you’re going to be able to relate because we’re all in this together. I am part of the triad, being an adoptee, and I think it’s important to understand where everybody’s coming from.

Ron Reigns:

What is the adoption triad?

Kelly Rourke-S.:

An adoption triad is three corners, basically, like a triangle. Triad triangle. The birth mother, the adoptive family, and the adoptee (adopted child).

Kelly Rourke-S.:

The goal of the podcast is to really dissect adoption and talk to adoption professionals, talk to people who have adopted, talk to people who are adopted, and lastly, talk to people that are looking to place their baby for adoption, or maybe they already have, and understand from their point of view what it’s really like, what to expect, what really happens, and how society responds.

Ron Reigns:

And how there really shouldn’t be shame in adoption where it may feel like if you’re a birth mother and you’re thinking about placing your child for adoption, this is something that you should be proud of.

Kelly’s Personal Adoption Story Helps Others Learn and Grow in Their Adoption Journey

Kelly Rourke-S.:

Absolutely. When I started our Arizona baby adoption center, I had at the time not found my birth mother. I have always known that I was adopted and so I just thought, you know, it was amazing working with these brave women who were making this brave choice of placing their baby for adoption because they were living a life that they didn’t want to bring a baby into. You know, later on, in future podcasts, we can talk about the face of a birth mom, what birth moms are really like, and what they want you to know.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

I found my birth mother in 2007 and when I found her, it put a whole new perspective on adoption for me. I’d already been the executive director of an adoption agency. I had never seen it from an outside perspective. So I had the personal experience of being adopted. When I was adopted, it was all closed adoptions, meaning there was no contact with a birth mother and the child after the baby was born.

Ron Reigns:

Now that’s changed drastically.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

Drastically. There are still some closed adoptions, but the majority of adoptions are open or semi-open, and again, in future podcasts, we’re going to really explore that, and from my personal and professional experience, my take, as well as others, take on it.

Ron Reigns:

Very good.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

In this podcast, my main goal is to really educate. I think stereotypes, stigmas, and myths are built out of people not knowing the truth. If we can educate society, then we can start supporting those that need to be supported. That is why we are doing it.

Ron Reigns:

Absolutely. Well, see, you’re teaching me about adoptions and I’m teaching you about podcasts.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

You know, I think that as we go through this journey, just like an adoption journey, we’re going to learn and grow, and again, our goal is to make sure that we give those a voice that doesn’t have one, and that’s really what I want people to take away. We want to talk about what adoption is really like, what has changed over the last 50 years. I will say that when my mother had just turned 16 when she had me, she didn’t find out that she was pregnant until three weeks before I was born, so she says, and when she went in to have me, they knocked her out, it was the knock them out, drag them out. So she did not ever get to see me. Hold me.

Ron Reigns:

That’s another thing that’s changed drastically. Wow.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

Absolutely. That is no longer the case whatsoever. We very much encourage open adoption. We obviously allow birth mothers in our agency at least to make that choice for themselves. But holding your baby, being able to see your baby, being able to stay connected with your baby is really important for everybody. It’s important for the birth mother. It’s important for the baby and I believe it’s important for the adoptive family.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

With regards to the adoption process, there are so many steps and phases you go through in the adoption process than breaking it down and making each dissection a podcast, I think we’ll be able to put the puzzle all back together, and again, women that are considering placing their baby for adoption will have a better understanding of what it looks like in the long run.

Kelly is Committed to All Birth Mothers at Building Arizona Families, an Arizona Adoption Center

Ron Reigns:

And I want to let people know that if they do have questions or we don’t get something across that you want to know more about, you can contact us at (623)-695-4112 or you can call the toll free number, which is 1-800-340-9665.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

And what’s interesting about the birth mother line is we’ve been an agency that’s been open for 15 years. We’re also Hague accredited, so we hold a higher accreditation than 90% of other agencies. We can do international adoptions as well as domestic newborn adoptions, that we are discussing today.

Ron Reigns:

Absolutely.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

When you find out you’re pregnant. When you first look at the pregnancy test and you see the two lines or positive sign, at that point, you’re going to feel a rush of emotions. You’re going to feel everything from being terrified, to being excited, to being nervous, to being maybe embarrassed.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

These emotions are going to flood you and they are going to cycle. At one moment you’re going to be excited, and the next moment you’re going to be nervous, and looking at an unplanned pregnancy, or maybe a pregnancy that was planned that is no longer going to work with your lifestyle, at that point you have choices to make. Adoption is a choice that benefits everybody. It is a choice that women can make that is the most selfless choice.

Ron Reigns:

You said it benefits everybody, but especially the child.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

It benefits everybody and we’ll explain that. It benefits the birth mother because, for the rest of her life, she’s going to know that she did the right thing. She’s going to be able to live with herself and think, “Once I had this baby, I’m forever a mother. Whether or not I parent this baby 24 hours a day, I’m still a mom.” That’s what I tell our birth mothers over and over again.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

You’re still a mother. This isn’t going to take that away from you, and the way our program is developed, not only is it an amazing thing for the baby who’s going to have the life that you’ve always wanted your baby to have. This is your opportunity to change your own life by going through our program. We also have our aftercare program, after a mom places their baby for adoption, they can go into the Donna K. Evans Program. We’re going to talk more about that later, but it is a way that a mom can rebuild her own life so she can feel as good about herself as she feels about her baby’s life.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

And I will tell you in speaking with hundreds and hundreds of adoptive families, the blessing of a baby they were allowed to adopt and raise as their own is the greatest gift that can be given. When you see a positive pregnancy test and you start to have all of the different emotions, one thing that I express to moms, because after 15 years, admittedly I still answer the birth mother line 24 hours a day…

Ron Reigns:

Do you really?

Kelly Rourke-S.:

… unless the answering service gets to it first. If I happen to be in the restroom or on another phone call, then the answering service does it and then they contact me anyway. So, yes, it’s me.

Ron Reigns:

Yeah, and you’ll get back to that person.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

I will. Yeah, absolutely.

Ron Reigns:

Very good.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

When I get those phone calls, and I did that intentionally, I wanted to be the first point of contact because I can relate to the birth mothers as they’re calling in. I have experience with my own birth mother, and I can relate in the aspect that I’ve talked with so many women, like I said hundreds and hundreds and hundreds over the years, and reassuring them that everything they’re feeling is normal. The fear, the guilt, the condemnation, the shame, the concern of what other people are going to think of them, that’s all really normal.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

As an adoption agency, it’s our role to walk this walk with them, and that’s what I’ve always wanted to do. I’ve always wanted to say, “I haven’t walked in your shoes, but I’ve walked next to you.” I’ve used this analogy over and over again. When I meet with women after they do their initial intake and after the phone call they come into the office and I meet them personally because I want them to see that I am the product of adoption, and-

Ron Reigns:

And you turned out okay.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

I did. That’s what my husband says anyway.

Ron Reigns:

Reasonably, right?

Kelly Rourke-S.:

Most of the time. When I meet with them, I let them know that when you see a title, that can be really intimidating but erase the title. We’re just two people talking. I’m not the title on me, and so I really want to make that clear when I’m meeting with all the women that you can call me. I’m a real person. I have a real cell phone number. You can reach me 24/7.

Ron Reigns:

And you want to help them…

Kelly Rourke-S.:

I do.

Ron Reigns:

… with their issues and problems and sharing their joys too.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

I do, I do. It’s a roller coaster and I’ve been on it many times with many women. So when women are looking at the adoption choice and they say, “How can I do this?” You know, some women have other children at home. Some women are married and have grown children, and so I see every aspect, every walk of life, every age, every situation, and what I tell them is a mother will do the best thing for her child. It is an instinct. It is nature’s instinct, and if you picture yourself on a canoe, and you’re a mother and you’re holding your baby and there is a hole in the canoe and water’s coming in and the canoe is starting to sink, and a lifeboat comes up, natural instinct is a mother will hand her baby to somebody on the lifeboat, and that’s what adoption is.

Ron Reigns:

That’s very nice. Thank you. That was a good image to put in our heads.

An Amazing Birth Mother Shares Her Adoption Experience at Our Arizona Adoption Center

Kelly Rourke-S.:

Another thing that I also like to talk about is as a society, we need to understand that adoption, although it’s an amazing gift and it’s beautiful, and every emotion that every person has, we’ll go through this during this time. Even as an adoption caseworker, we express emotions right along with the adoptive family and right along with the birth mother. Support for the birth mother during her pregnancy and afterward regarding her adoption choice is understanding that she’s going to be dealing with regret, fear, guilt, and those are just the beginning.

Kelly Rourke-S.:

What people don’t always understand is the day that a mother has a child and hands her baby to their new adoptive parents is the best day of their life but it is the worst day of hers because she has made the ultimate sacrifice, and that is why we provide counseling throughout the pregnancy. We provide support, everything from financial support to emotional support to living support, so there’s all types of support, so we work with our moms in order to get them ready for this really big moment, and I think what’s so special about our agency is the aftercare program because not only are we able to guide them through their pregnancy journey with the end goal being adoption, we’re able to really talk to them. I think a change in perspective is paramount and the ability to look past your fears, and see adoption as a celebration of hope and promise, and it’s a way that a baby can have two mothers.

Maria:

Well, my name’s Maria. I am 34 and I placed my son up for adoption. The reason for my placement was because I wasn’t financially stable. I didn’t have a home of my own. I was actually homeless and I think that it was the best thing for my son, which turned out to be an amazing thing to do because I still see him to this day. He has an amazing family that I love so much, that loves me dearly and I really appreciate them for all that they’ve done. Then I ended up getting pregnant again with my daughter. I chose a family that had biological kids of their own, which was my first placement, and then my second placement with my daughter, which I chose a family that couldn’t have any kids, and she is actually doing pretty good herself and I’m just happy with the decision that I made because I’m still financially not stable, but I know that my kids are fine and well taken care of, and I do get pictures and letters like every six months.

Maria:

I think that it’ll be the best thing for you guys to do if that’s what you’ve decided to do and Building Arizona Families is a great company to work with because they’re awesome.

Ron Reigns:

Thank you for joining us on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption, written and produced by Kelly Rourke-Scarry and edited by Ron Reigns. We also want to thank Building Arizona Families, the Donna K. Evans Foundation, and the You Before Me campaign. A special thanks goes out to Grapes for letting us use their song, I Don’t Know as our theme song.

If you’re pregnant and considering adoption, we are a licensed, full-service, nonprofit Arizona baby adoption center, Building Arizona Families. Visit our website. We believe in adoption aftercare services and have a program on-site to provide continued support through the Donna K. Evans Foundation. You can contact us 24 hours a day at (623)-695-4112 or our toll-free number, 1-800-340-9665. Check out our blogs and website at www.Azpregnancyhelp.com, and make sure to join us next time. We’ll be talking about taking the first step in making an adoption plan on Birth Mother Matters in Adoption for Kelly Rourke-Scarry. I’m Ron Reigns. We’ll see you then.

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