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Libby's Corner - Blog

Libby's Corenr

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.


  • Making the Move to Adoption: What Birthmothers Need to Know

    Unplanned pregnancies are a common occurrence in society. As a birthmother, you can raise a child yourself or place it up for adoption. All of the misconceptions from mental handicaps to evil parents have plagued the industry, but the truth of the matter is children that need a loving family receive a loving family through adoption. During the home study step, we do an intense evaluation of the prospective adoptive families. If you do choose to go on the adoption path, there are a lot of things you need to know, which we cover in-depth when you talk to your adoption counselor.

    Getting Started

    When you are in the midst of an unplanned pregnancy, the first stage is to give us a call. The call is likely the hardest thing to do, so you may want to come in and sit down with us to talk about it. During our initial conversation, we’ll discuss your options. We will talk about:

    • Financial Considerations
    • Support from Family and Friends
    • Support Groups
    • Future Plans

    Many adoption agencies push adoption onto all pregnant mothers, but it’s simply not for everyone. However, if you decide to move forward with the adoption, then we can talk about the steps we’ll take. Keep in mind that you have plenty of time to change your mind if you wish to down the road.

    Your Adoption Profile

    First, we need to create an adoption profile for you. The adoption profile is a part of the adoption plan. In fact, it’s one of the most important parts of the adoption plan. This profile is essentially what we use during our matchmaking. We do not choose the family for you, but we use our best judgment to see which families we think would best match your preferences, which you’ll designate in the profile. From these matches, you may choose one of the families. If you don’t like any of them, that’s OK too. Some of the specifics we’ll cover in your profile include:

    • Do you want your child to be raised by a single man/woman, married couple, or do you have no preference?
    • Do you want an open or closed adoption?
    • Would you want your child to be an only child or have siblings?
    • Do you have a preference on the family’s religion?
    • What other characteristics do you see in your child’s future?

    We’ll go over this profile with you and help you create it.

    Some other important things to keep in mind when designing your adoption profile:

    • Be honest with yourself and with us.
    • Think about what future you want for your child.
    • Be specific. The more specific you are, the better your chances of finding the perfect family for your child!

    Home Studies

    As the birthmother, you don’t need to do anything yourself for this stage, but the home study is something you should be aware of. At the very end of the process, when the child is placed in the family you can rest assured every precaution has been taken during the home study. During the home study, we:

    • Perform background checks.
    • Interview the families to get specifics about them and their lifestyle.
    • Physically evaluate every area of their home. The home must be child-friendly and safe.
    • Do not provide “free passes” for any families.
    • Check their financial standings and credit ratings.

    Many families do not pass the home study phase, but those that do are ideal families for adoption. You can take comfort in knowing that your child will be placed in a loving environment surrounded by a supportive family.

    Adoptive Families

    You have the power to say “yes” or “no” to any and all families. Our goal is provide the support and the structure you need to find the best family. Even after you choose a family, you can still back out. There is legal paperwork at the end of the process that designates the parenting rights of your child is now that of the adoptive family. That is the point at which you must finalize your decision, but that is over 6 months from now.

    Choosing the adoptive family is a beautiful process. If you choose to, you can meet the adoptive family and perform your own interview and ensure that they are the best match for you and are exactly what you were looking for. You can take as much charge in this as you wish. For example, you can have the adoption counselor come in with you, stay outside, or even perform the interview for you. This is the future of your child’s life and the family is the core designator of how he/she grows up. If you wish to remain anonymous and would prefer a closed adoption, you do not need to meet the adoptive parents at any point.

    The Birth

    During the birth, we will fully support your decisions. During delivery, you can choose to have any or none of the following people in the hospital or even the delivery room:

    • Family and Friends
    • Your Adoption Counselor
    • Adoptive Family
    • Birthfather

    After the delivery of the baby, this is the most emotional time for all of our birthmothers. We recommend you have some form of support with you once the baby is born, if not during the birth. You can hold the baby for as long as you wish, or you can hand the baby to the adoptive family yourself. One important thing to consider is when you wish to leave the hospital; before, after, or at the same time of the adoptive family. Many birthmothers don’t think of this and have a hard time leaving the hospital without the child. At this stage, a lot of legal paperwork must be filed that we will contact you to finish up.

    Final Stages

    There will also be a court date to decide whether or not the adoptive family is indeed a suitable family. Once the court declares the adoptive family the parents of the child, you have 30 days to decide whether you wish to raise the child yourself instead.

    Remember, Adoption Makes Family is here for you every step of the way. The most important thing to remember is that you have support here if you need it! If you have any questions or concerns about your adoption, let your counselor know or contact Dr. Kirschner. Keep in mind that stress, anxiety, depression, and feelings of loss, grief, and regret are all completely natural during the process.

  • When is National Adoption Day?

    When is National Adoption Day?

    National Adoption Day is a wonderful holiday that all adoption and foster care organizations and agencies celebrate across the US. National Adoption Day always falls on the Saturday before Thanksgiving.

    This year, National Adoption Day is on November 22, 2014.

    What is National Adoption Day?

    For those who don’t know, National Adoption Day is the day that courts across the country finalize thousands of adoptions. This year, the Baltimore County Circuit Court in Towson will be performing adoption finalization hearings all day starting at 9 AM. Legal and adoption professionals organized the first National Adoption Day back in 2000. As of 2006, all US and Puerto Rico now celebrate it as a day of joy and of making families whole.

    Along with performing the adoptions, National Adoption Day is dedicated to adoption awareness. Numerous agencies from around the country come together to help raise awareness. Events happen across the country and recently we’ve pushed into social media to help reach birthmothers in an unplanned pregnancy and families that are looking for an alternative way to have a child.

    National Adoption Day has helped about 50,000 children find a loving adoptive family and raised awareness for millions of people across the country.

    As a whole, the adoption industry has significantly advanced through the use of National Adoption Day. Wonderful children have connected with loving families. National news stations cover true, beautiful adoption stories. And adoptive families have a chance to celebrate and connect with other adoptive families. The adoption community sees a lot of well-needed support and families going through difficult times, and National Adoption Day can help them can get the support and comfort they need.

    How You Can Help Raise Awareness

    If you’re interested in helping out on National Adoption Day, then you should know there are a few ways you can show your support. On National Adoption Day’s website, you can organize your own event. Although it can take a lot of work and, in many cases, skillsets, it is a huge help. A popular way is to organize a picnic with your community and spread the word about it. Picnics, parties, and fairs are a great attraction to people and can spread awareness. If you want to organize an event, please do so here and let them know so they can post it on their website. We would also love to hear about your event, so please be sure to let us know.

    You don’t have to organize a huge event to support National Adoption Day. One other popular way to spread awareness is to spread the word through the use of social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. You can start by sharing this post with all of your friends!

    Lastly, if you’re a prospective adoptive family, this is the day to go forward with it. Contact us for more information on how to get started!

  • Maryland Adoption Agency

    About Our Maryland Adoption Agency Adoption Makes Family is a Maryland adoption agency that matches unplanned pregnancies with loving and caring families looking to adopt. We are located just north of Baltimore, Maryland, but serve the entire state. Our goal… Read More

  • How and When to Talk to Your Child about Adoption

    Parents often wonder “when is the best time to tell my child they are adopted?” For that matter, “how do I tell them they are adopted?” Some parents dwell on the question for too long and wait until the child… Read More

  • Effects of Adoption on Children

    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

  • Adoption Myths

    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.”

     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 Resources and Help

    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:

    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.  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:

  • How Many Kids Can You Adopt?

    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.

  • Open Adoption vs. Closed Adoption

    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.

    Open Adoption

    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.

    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.

  • How long does it take to adopt a baby?

    Probably the most common question I am asked when people inquire about adoption is how long does the process take?  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).  Once the PAF sends in the home study application and fee to Adoption Makes Family, the home study documents are unlocked through our website.  The PAF then has five (5) months to complete all of the paperwork and submit them to the Agency.  Once we have all of the documents, the law allows us 90 days to complete the home study.  I have had PAFs complete the home study documents in just a few weeks and I have had situations where PAFs take over a year. 

    As for the placement phase of the adoption, there is just no predicting how long that will take.  Several factors are in play.  First, we must wait for a call from birth parents who are looking to create an adoption plan.  We have many outreach programs going on and the Agency’s name is well circulated around Maryland and on the Internet.  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.  We meet with the birth parents to learn more about them and understand their very personal adoption journey.  

    A family could be waiting just a day and birth parents call for a family that is a perfect match for the new family.  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.  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.  What can be done to shorten the waiting time?  The answer: take a look at the criteria you have selected for your adoption plan.  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 dr.kirschner@adoptionmakesfamily.org.

     

     

Adoption Makes Family is for the adoptive family as well, providing adoption services to a family choosing to embark on their own adoption journey. Adoption Makes Family is located just north of Baltimore, Maryland, serving birth parents throughout the state and adoptive families across the country.
10635 York Road
Cockeysville
Maryland
21030
USA
Adoption Makes Family was founded to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents in a manner that is sensitive, compassionate, and personal. We are a non-profit (501-C3), licensed adoption agency based in Maryland. Our highly trained staff is prepared to meet the needs of birth parents and adoptive parents, as well as children in need of a loving home.
10635 York Road
Cockeysville
MD
21030
USA