There are a lot of people who believe that adoption has negative effects on children, but that’s entirely untrue. The government would not support adoption if we were negatively affecting our youth, and neither would we. We all want the… Read More
I am Dean Kirschner. Why "Libby's Corner?" This blog, actually, all of Adoption Makes Family, is a tribute to my mother who brought adoption to our family in 1956 when my older sister was adopted.
When my mother died in 1967, she left a legacy of love for children that transcended any biological connection. Having been only 8 years old at the time of her death, I do not recall hearing specific words about adoption from my mother. However, through the years, having many conversations with her friends and our family, I have learned so much about my mother's feelings toward children, toward adoption.
Personally, the experience of adoption has been in my life since my own birth. I'm the little brother of an older sister who was adopted at birth. Adoption was never a big deal in our family. We were all treated the same. Biologically conceived by our parents or adopted, there was never a sense for me that we were loved any differently.
I remember at my first home study meeting in preparation to adopt my first son. The social worker asked if I had any personal experience with adoption. My first reaction was a sense of connection. I lived with adoption all my life. I embrace adoption. Now, I am the father of two boys, both adopted.
Every day I realize how much I love my sons. I laugh with my sons. I play with my sons. I parent my sons. Some days there are frustrations. More days, there are fun and joyful times with my sons. Some days, I have had to be a disciplinarian. More days, I am the supporter, the advocate, the fixer, the helper, the confidant, the teacher, the guide, the safety net, the protector. To sum it up, I'm Dad.
My sons are adopted, yet we don't hold that term as a distinction of difference. We celebrate adoption as a means by which I became Dad and they became my children. When I introduce my sons, I introduce them as my sons. Introduce my sister as my sister. The stories of how we became a family are amazingly wonderful. We share our adoption stories proudly. The adoption stories speak to the excitement of becoming a sister, a brother, a son, a grandson, a cousin, a nephew.
I have spoken with my sister and my sons about their feelings about their birth parents and the adoption. No one has forgotten that they were adopted, because adoption is an open conversation in our family. However, there is no angst about adoption. We answer questions honestly and allow complete and open discussions about birth parents and their adoption story. There are no mysteries or secrets. There are stories of love, excitement and family.
As for how we get along as siblings, my sister and I have our disagreements. More often, we have our agreements. We have fought, loved, laughed, played. We are just normal siblings. I don't feel adoption plays into our relationship. We have had wonderful discussions about adoption and birth parents. However, when it comes down to just being brother and sister, we are just that. Brother and sister. My sister has actively reached out and chatted with birth mothers who have created an adoption plan with Adoption Makes Family.
My sons have the same type of relationship. They love like brothers. They fight like brothers. They protect each other and look out for each other. They are not biologically related. They are related through adoption. But, above all, they are brothers.
And so, I turn back to my mother, Libby. I learned from my mother the unconditional love for children. Starting in her own little corner of our family, she shaped me, my sister, my sons and our world. Hopefully, this blog, Libby's Corner, can do the same for you.
Adoption is a confusing process to many people, and the media generally doesn’t make it easier. There are many misconceptions/myths about adoption that are false but are, to many people, “common knowledge.” Unfortunately, this can cause some negative connotations with the term instead of the truth. The whole purpose of adoption is to provide all children with a loving family that can and will care for them and accept them into their family. Here are 5 adoption myths and the truths about them:
“Only married people can adopt.”
Adoption is meant to combine people with children and make them a complete family. To many people the term “complete family” does not mean marriage. Married people often adopt, of course, but there are no legal restrictions on whether or not you have to be married to adopt a child. Same-sex couples still cannot legally marry in many states, which is a common concern in terms of adoption; however, if you are capable of raising a child, you can adopt. The same rule goes for single people looking to adopt.
“You can’t adopt unless you’re rich and have a big house.”
ÂÂ It’s not news that raising a child is expensive; however, you don’t have to be “rich” to adopt. If you can support the child with food, water, a bed, a roof, a healthy environment, safety, and an education, then you can adopt. There are adoption requirements that you have to meet in order to raise a child, but boatloads of money is not one of them. Think about it: if a child was dropped into your life right now, could you support him or her? Besides the financial requirements, your child does not even need his or her own room, although it’s highly recommended. The child only needs a bed by law; however, if you have multiple children, you need to meet other legal obligations such as living requirements of children over the age of 6. Contact us if you’re interested in adoption, but aren’t sure if it’s possible. We’ll help you find out if you can support a child for sure.
“There aren’t really that many children up for adoption.”
This statement is so far from true that it’s really mind-boggling how it came to light. There are over 100,000 children ranging from all ages, from infant to full-grown adults (age 21), waiting to be adopted. Where this myth originated is unknown, but it’s entirely false.
“Adopted children have more psychological problems than biological children.”
Adopted children are no different than birth children. An adopted child has the same genetic probability of having a disorder as a birth child. On top of this, an adopted child is raised in a similar environment to a birth child, resulting in similar psychological states. Actually, studies have been done that showed there are very small negative impacts of adoption on children and it does not result in higher chances of any social problems or mental disorders.
“All adopted children will never see their birth parents again.”
Although possible, it’s entirely dependent on the type of adoption the family goes through. If the family uses open adoption, a child could reconnect with their birth parents in the future. In many cases, the child doesn’t even desire to reconnect with their birth parents, so this is myth is only partially true. Learn more about the differences between open adoption and closed adoption here.
If you have any questions about adoption feel free to contact us today. We’re more than happy to provide answers to any questions you may have.
Adoption Makes Family wants to ensure that everyone involved with the adoption of a child is well-informed and has the support necessary to make conscious decisions about their adoption. For this reason, we’ve put together a list of adoption resources to help you through the adoption process.
Adoption is a wonderful part of today’s society. But unfortunately there are many women who have an unwanted pregnancy and simply cannot care for the child once he/she is born. In this scenario, the birthmother seeks an adoptive parent to take the child from birth to raise him/her as their own. You may be one of these potential adoptive parents and are looking to adopt a child, a birthmother going through a tough time with your pregnancy, or just someone looking for information on adoption. Here are some useful adoption resources and links that will help you get your research started:
- Some adoption FAQ from us at Adoption Makes Family: http://adoptionmakesfamily.org/index.php/resources/frequently-ask-questions-birth
- The Child Welfare Information Gateway provides everything you need to know about adoption on their website, from ethical issues, to how it works, and even parenting resources: https://www.childwelfare.gov/adoption/
- 1-800-HOMESTUDY is a great resource for anyone preparing for an upcoming home study and we highly recommend you look through their checklist and print it out: http://www.1-800-homestudy.com/
- The Dave Thomas Foundation has a bunch of useful adoption information, but the list of 10 steps to building your forever family is something that all prospective adoptive parents should take a look at. https://www.davethomasfoundation.org/about-foster-care-adoption/adoption-guide/10-steps-to-building-your-forever-family/
- The National Adoption Foundation provides financial assistance through grants that you may be eligible for if you are in need of help in paying for your adoption: http://fundyouradoption.org/adoption-grants/
- We recommend Sherry L. Leichman to answer any legal issues regarding adoption. http://www.leichmansnyderlaw.com/1.0/about.html
Adoption Support and Counselors
At Adoption Makes Family we want you to be able to assist your child wherever possible and make for a strong, loving, and hopeful future for them, and we’re willing to act as another resource to help during the process.Â We can help you create your own loving adoption plan and can essentially plan out the future your child would like to have and discuss ways of reaching these goals. We can provide you with the support and assistance whenever you may need it.
Whether you have already adopted through us, are planning to adopt, or are just thinking about it, it’s worth mentioning that we have adoption counselors on-site and ready to answer any questions you may have. Birthmothers and birthfathers often have trouble dealing with the adoption emotionally and require additional support outside of traditional means. We’re here to help you through it and make the process go as smoothly and stress-free as possible. Of course, the same support is available for prospective adoptive parents and we would be more than happy to answer your questions or advise you on what to do next in the adoption process.
If you have any questions or require additional assistance with your adoption, then please contact us:
There is often much confusion on how many kids you can adopt, but it all falls down to legal requirements. Each state has their own laws regarding adoption and will mention the limit on how many kids you can adopt; however, some exceptions can be made.
Maximum Children per Household in Maryland
The state of Maryland only allows for you to have a total of 6 children in your household. Some parents are looking to grow a very large family, sometimes up to a dozen children. If you are looking to raise more than 6 children in your household, then there are some things you need to know before making your next move:
- Stress and Anxiety – Can you physically handle 6+ kids? Will you be physically or mentally incapacitated? As much as we like to think we can raise as many as we’re allowed, it’s not always the case. As it is when adopting any child, it’s best to weigh your options before adopting.
- Financials – Can you afford 6+ kids? Take a look at your current situation and try to calculate having more children. Don’t forget to consider the future (teens to young adults).
- Space Requirements – Do you have room for 6+ kids? Some prospective adoptive parents forget to consider spacing in their home when they look to adopt more children. If you have a full house now, then where will you place another child? If you upgrade your home, will you still have the money to raise the child? Be sure to consider when they will want to have their own rooms in their teen years.
How Does it Work?
The state does not generally allow you to adopt more than 6 kids because it assumes that your space could not accommodate more than 6 kids and maintain a healthy environment. The state of Maryland believes that no parent should raise more than 6 children; however, we understand that sometimes you feel like you have to break this restriction.
One of the few scenarios in which the state will step aside for you is if you are adopting a group of siblings. If you currently have 6 children and would like to raise twins, then by state law you are technically not allowed; however, it is common practice to find that the state will accept sibling groups to be taken into 1 home and be viewed as 1 unit. In this case, you can have more than 6 children living under one roof. Siblings are oftentimes separated during adoption, even with all the pushing from agencies and the government to ensure the siblings stay together. This exception is very helpful and in the long run will benefit the family as a whole.
We’re Here to Help
Contact Adoption Makes Family today for more information on adopting children and our advice on adopting into large families. If you need help with the adoption process, we have adoption counselors ready to help you in your situation.
At Adoption Makes Family our goal is to find a loving home for any child that is without a parent, or will be without a parent due to an unwanted pregnancy. We understand that it’s a difficult and emotional time for adoptive parents, which is why we offer various support options. Our counselors are here to help you through all the difficult decisions throughout the adoption process. One of the most difficult decisions is to decide between open adoption and closed adoption. In order to choose, let’s break down each of them.
So what exactly is open adoption? Open adoption has various meanings to different people; however, there is one aspect that is absolutely undebatable: the adopted child can have connections with their birth parents if they wish to. An open adoption means that the birth mother, adopted child, and adoptive parents are all in contact with each other. From this point of the definition on, there is much debate over what an open adoption should enclose. Lawyers and various adoption agencies will tell you different reasons to be for or against open adoptions. In the end it’s the birth mother’s and the adoptive parents’ decisions. You will have to work through this with each other and decide which terms you want.
An open adoption can mean that the birth parents are invited to visit on all special occasions, events, and so on; however, it could also be what some refer to as “semi-open” in which it is an “open” adoption, but there are some limits on what the birth parents want to participate in. Some birth parents want long-distance contact through pictures and letters, but not in person. Other times, the adoptive parents and the birth parents want a “closed” adoption.
In some cases, the birth parents and the adoptive parents want a closed adoption. In a closed adoption, both the birth parents and the adoptive parents do not want any contact whatsoever. Many people assume that the adopted child will want to meet their biological parents, but that isn’t always the case. In many cases the child will not think twice about it because their adoptive parents are the ones who are there for them and that’s all that matters; however, this is not always the case. It all depends on the child and current situations.
In a closed adoption, the adopted child will have no connections and the adoption agency will be legally bound to deny access to any connections to their birth parents. The same goes for the adoptive parents. The adoptive parents and the adopted child can request a change in the adoption to be open, but the birth parents have to agree and then there has to be a legal review. If you want to change to an open adoption, it is possible, but it is also complicated.
Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption
If you believe that somewhere down the line your child will want to be in contact with their birth parents, or you will want to be in contact with the birth parents, then consider open adoption. If you do not believe this and would like to be completely separated from the biological parents, then a closed adoption makes sense for you. Adoption Makes Family offers both closed and open adoptions.
Contact us and ask about how our open or closed adoptions work, or to discuss which option is best for you.
Probably the most common question I am asked when people inquire about adoption is how long does the process take?Â The honest answer is, I have no idea.
I can tell you that the home study process is almost completely dependent on the Prospective Adoptive Family (PAF).Â Once the PAF sends in the home study application and fee to Adoption Makes Family, the home study documents are unlocked through our website.Â The PAF then has five (5) months to complete all of the paperwork and submit them to the Agency.Â Once we have all of the documents, the law allows us 90 days to complete the home study.Â I have had PAFs complete the home studyÂ documents in just a few weeks and I have had situations where PAFs take over a year.Â
As for the placement phase of the adoption, there is just no predicting how long that will take.Â Several factors are in play.Â First, we must wait for a call from birth parents who are looking to create an adoption plan.Â We have many outreach programs going onÂ and the Agency’s name is well circulated around Maryland and on the Internet.Â We network with hospitals, clinics, schools and many different types of media all across the state of Maryland.
Once birth parents contact Adoption Makes Family, we inquire about what type of family the birth parents are seeking for their adoption plan.Â We meet with the birth parents to learn more about them and understand their very personal adoption journey. Â
A family could be waiting just a day and birth parents call for a family that is a perfect match for the new family.Â Other situations may be that a family is waiting for a long time because there is not a match between the PAF criteria and the birthparents’ wishes.Â On the other hand, if the PAF has particular criteria for an adoption plan, it may be longer to find birth parents who fit those criteria.
The next question asked by many PAFs.Â What can be done to shorten the waiting time?Â The answer: take a look at the criteria you have selected for your adoption plan.Â Be sure your criteria are not so limiting that very few birth parents would fit into your criteria.
If you have more questions, you are always welcome to call us directly at 410-683-2100 or email email@example.com.
Starting on October 1, 2013, Maryland adoption agencies will be permitted to facilitate assistance for certain birth mother expenses. The new law allows for reasonable expenses to be paid for transportation for medical care associated with the birth mother’s pregnancy or birth of her child. The law also permits birth mothers to receive financial assistance for reasonable food, clothing and shelter costs associated with the birth mother’s pregnancy or birth of her child. Also permitted will be reasonable expenses associated with any required court appearance relating to the adoption. Once paid, the expenses are not refundable to the adoptive family, even if the adoption plan fails.
To qualify for the payment of these expenses, the birth mother’s physician must submit a letter stating that the birth mother is unable to work or otherwise support herself because of medical reasons associated with the pregnancy or birth of the child.
Birth mothers are looking forward to this change in the adoption law. Several times, birth mothers have been influenced to go to other states to try to get financial assistance. This is a violation of Maryland law and could cause problems for the birth mother. Now, Adoption Makes Family will be able to facilitate financial assistance when assistance is truly needed, and at the same time, protecting the legal rights of the birth mother.
Adoptive families have expressed both relief and concern about this change in the law. First, there is great relief that birth mothers who are in a financial crisis due to medical issues surrounding the pregnancy will be able to receive assistance. Adoptive families have expressed their concern about the birth mother and her well being. Adoptive families have wanted to assist birth mothers who are genuinely in a financial crisis. However, in the past, there were legal restrictions prohibiting adoptive families from providing assistance. Fortunately, those restrictions have been removed and Maryland adoption agencies will soon be able to facilitate this financial assistance.
Adoptive families are, as well, concerned about this change in the Maryland adoption law. There are numerous cases where birth parents have received assistance from hopeful adoptive parents. For whatever reason, the birth parents elected to abandoned the adoption plan and parent the child. In some cases, it has been learned that there was fraud involved and the birth parents never intended to carry out an adoption plan. In those fraudulent cases, adoptive families have worked with legal authorities to take legal action. In either case, this change in Maryland adoption law does bring with it an increased risk for the adoptive family in the adoption process.
Adoption Makes Family, a licensed Maryland adoption agency, will work to assist birth mothers in Maryland with the financial assistance as prescribed under the law should the need arise. We will work to screen potential financial crises with birth mothers who wish to create an adoption plan through Adoption Makes Family. It is our hope and goal to facilitate assistance only where assistance is truly needed and appropriate under the law.
A yahoo group called “Adoptionscams” has been developed and can be an aide to help adoptive families in their adoption journey. One issue often discussed is whether a particular birth parent has a history of financial scams.
Today I attended the naming of one of our babies. It is a tradition to celebrate the arrival of a child into a family by giving a child a special name that often brings together all of the families. In the event that a birth parent selects a name for the child, the adoptive family often works to include that name in the child’s final name. When the birth parents do not select a name, the adoptive family chooses the name. In either event, the naming of the child is one of the most important tasks of the new family.
In the ceremony today, the adoptive family choose the name for the baby. I listened to the explanation of how the name of the child was chosen. The story was beautiful. This child’s names mean “song” and “of the people.” It was explained that the child was named out of recognition that he was not of just one family. This child was of many people, joining of the birth family and the adoptive family. Today was a celebration of the beauty of adoption. How perfect to be a child of love between two families.
When I wrote our agency’s mission statement, I wrote “from one heart to another.” This child is from the loving heart of the people who created him to the loving heart of the people who will love and celebrate him and his life every day. So, “of the people” is so appropriate. He is of the heart of his biological family and his adoptive family.
His second name, “a song”, was also so appropriate. It was explained that each of us in life has a song that expresses who we are. Here, a baby is starting with a song of love, joining together families, and celebrating the world of adoption.
It’s been almost a year since we brought our beautiful, little, Jimmy home. As we are excitedly planning his first birthday party (with a Dr. Seuss theme), I find myself reflecting on our journey to become parents.
My husband and I met later in life (I was in my late thirties). We were fortunate to start our married life together with my husband’s wonderful son from his first marriage! Although I love him dearly, we wanted to add to our family.
I was frankly shocked and very depressed when it became apparent that having biological children was going to be very difficult. Thus started the infamous cycle of infertility. I had known many friends who had been successful with this process so I assumed that although it might take awhile, eventually it would work. I thought, “Surely after having had to wait so long to get married, God will bless me right away with a child!”
I was wrong. Infertility brought much heartache and more despair. I don’t know how to describe it but I just knew when it was time to stop. Those of you who are going through or have been through infertility treatments might know what I mean. Although it was a difficult decision to make, it was also a relief to know that we were getting off of this particular roller coaster!
We turned our hearts toward fostering. We took the PRIDE classes and were almost ready to finalize when I panicked. I felt like I would be a much more effective foster parent if I had a child that I knew that I could call my own. So we decided to delay fostering.
At that point, we decided on infant adoption. The cost was daunting but we moved forward hoping that God would help us to find a way. Through a series of events, I called Dean at Adoption Makes Family inquiring about a homestudy. He called me back immediately; and on a Sunday! When I mentioned that he had the most reasonable price that I had seen, he said that it was the same price that he had paid for his own homestudy several years ago. An adoption social worker who had also adopted! Bonus!
When I saw the amount of forms on the homestudy I was originally disheartened. “Who thought up all of these forms? Are you kidding me? How many background checks do I need? And how many copies?” are frequent thoughts that went through my mind.
I just decided to take it one form at a time. I think that I emailed Dean and Carin (his fabulous, knowledgeable, and very calm assistant) about 100 times with questions about this form or that before I actually sent in the packet. I also made MANY trips to the notary – just when you think that everything is notarized…
Eventually we had completed our homestudy. At the close of the final interview at our home, Dean let us know we were approved to adopt a child. Dean then dropped a bomb and said that he had a baby for us. I don’t think I remember much after that announcement as we were in complete shock! The baby was in Cradle Care with a little over a week to go before the 30-day waiting period was finished. We were ecstatic and eagerly awaited the next few days.
A few days later, Dean called with the news that the mother had changed her mind and decided to parent her child. I couldn’t blame her. I wish her well and hope that she and her little one are happy together. But, I was very depressed. It just seemed that my goal to become a mother just continued to evade me.
Dean suggested that we make a video to be published on the Adoption Makes Family website. We took his advice and invited his talented and sensitive videographers into our home. About a week later we got a call from Dean. He was two weeks old, still in the hospital but should be out soon, were we interested?
I was flabbergasted and extremely exciited!! When Dean asked if I wanted to visit him, I wasn’t sure if I wanted to go; believe it or not! I was scared of becoming attached and having another disappointment. But on the advice of Dean and a lovely adoptive mother who went through a revocation herself, I went. I took one look at him, went home that night and made some substitute plans for my class, and almost never left him while he was in the hospital.
Jimmy has been our joy and our miracle. He is almost always smiling. He laughs at everything and is the most fun I have ever had! I hardly remember life without him! I would encourage anyone who is considering adoption to please take the plunge! It’s a different roller coaster than infertility. In my opinion, if you decide to go with Adoption Makes Family, it’s a ride that will end with happiness and miracles; just like our fabulous little boy.
We are hoping to adopt again and I know that if it’s God’s will, we will have a little brother or sister for our smiling boy.
For many years we tried to have a baby through IUI and IVF. Blood tests, ultra sounds, and hormone injections became the norm. We lived our life based on my cycle. The negative pregnancy tests were taking their toll on us both emotionally and financially. One day while wondering how much more we could take, we realized that maybe our path to parenthood should be through adoption. After all, we each have an adopted brother so we were no strangers to the idea.
Deciding to adopt was the easy thing. Figuring out how to go about it was the arduous task. At first we got turned down from several agencies that told us they would not work with a lesbian couple. One agency tried to discourage us saying that birth mothers prefer traditional families and therefore it would likely be a waste of our time to adopt. When we finally found an agency that welcomed us we were overjoyed. The agency seemed to be very caring and they went to great lengths to show how involved they were in the regions where they worked. This would be a foreign adoption and our child would be coming from an extremely impoverished area so we were impressed by the agency’s humanitarian efforts. Or so it seemed.
We were eventually matched with a beautiful eight year old girl. We knew her name, received her information, sent pictures and gifts. We prepared her room. We bought clothes and toys and waited for the call to travel. And then the bottom fell out. The adoption fell through. We were heartbroken. And every time we had to retell the story we felt the pain all over again.
Once it was apparent there was no way to complete the adoption we grieved for the loss of a child we’d never met but had come to love. And even though it seemed like the odds were stacked against us, we were determined to be parents. I could not shake the feeling that we were supposed to be someone’s mommies. There was a child out there that should be with us.
And then, our many years of trails and suffering evaporated in an instant. In one phone call actually. An attorney friend, who knew our horror story in detail, also knew Dr. Dean Kirschner of Adoption Makes Family.
One night, while out at dinner I got a phone call from a number I did not recognize. Dr. K was calling to see if we would be interested in adopting an African American infant male. Well that was different from our original plan. But yes! Absolutely we were interested. “Great,” said Dr. K, “He’s due next week.” NEXT WEEK?! And so began 10 days of preparation for the arrival of our first son.
It was a whirlwind of activity. We had no car seat, no crib, and no diapers. Suddenly all of our dreams were coming true. And all of the pain and grief that we’d experienced faded away. We were not worried about the birth mother changing her mind. We were not concerned about complications of any sort. We knew better than anyone that those possibilities existed. But we also knew that this baby was our baby. He was the one we had been waiting for.
Dr. K. brought us to the hospital to meet our son, Caiden. We met Caiden in the hospital nursery when he was one hour old. Holding him in his hospital “baby burrito” and little knit cap made it very very real. Everything we had experienced had led us to this moment. This was our baby. The one we’d been dreaming and praying and hoping for. Adoption Makes Family made us a family.
Caiden is now a bustling, energetic toddler who recently became a big brother. We adopted our second child, a daughter, through Adoption Makes Family. It has been a blessing to our family to deal with Dr. Kirschner and the staff of Adoption Makes Family. They are loving and genuine people who operate with the utmost integrity and caring for both the adoptive and the birth parents. I cannot say enough about how wonderful our experience has been dealing with AMF and we have two beautiful children to show for it!