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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.


  • A Birth Mother’s Story – Joslin

    We ask birth mothers to share their story if they choose.  Here is what Melissa wrote:

     

    My story is not easy to tell. It is about two people dedicated to each other and to giving our child the best possible life…even if it means that it isn’t with us.

    I found out I was pregnant on a hot July day. At only 20 years old, I was very scared and felt alone.          

    For the first couple of weeks, my boyfriend Brandon and I weighed our options. Abortion was completely out of the question. We debated raising our baby ourselves and at first got excited about the idea. After talking to our families, however, reality set in. Neither my family nor Brandon’s family were in physical or financial states to help us. Brandon was having difficulty finding work and I wasn’t making enough money to be able to support all of us.

    We then decided that we were going to give our child what she deserved; a life where she never had to go without as we did growing up.

    We came to the agreement of adoption.

    We contacted Dean at Adoption Makes Family, filled out paperwork, and set up a meeting. The first time we met Dean, he was so warm and heartfelt that we immediately felt at ease with our decision. He brought over portfolios of adoptive families for us to look through.

    That’s when we fell in love with Chris and Michelle, the adoptive family.

    After the first meeting with Chris and Michelle, Brandon and I knew our baby was going to be so happy, loved, and very well cared for in their home.

    As the pregnancy progressed, we grew even closer to them. Michelle and I even agreed on a name together and she let me honor my mother and grandmother by picking the middle name for our daughter.

    On March 22, 2012 at 9:43 P.M., Madelyn Rose was welcomed to the world weighing in at 6 lbs. 5 oz., 19 inches, and very healthy! Brandon and I got very emotional the next day when it came time to sign the paperwork that sealed the adoption. Dean remained supportive the whole entire time.

    The next morning was the hardest thing in my life I’ve ever had to do. I had to say goodbye to my daughter, who I carried for 9 months, felt every movement and kick, and stole my heart just 36 hours before.

    As soon as I left the hospital I cried for the whole rest of the day in Brandon’s arms. 

    Adoption does cause stress on every party involved. Brandon and I were just two young people in love, forced by our circumstances to make a scary decision for the innocent life of an unborn child. Looking back, however, we wouldn’t change our decision for the world.

    We keep in contact with Dean and love receiving updates and pictures of Madelyn. It makes us feel good to know that we made the dreams of our baby and two loving parents come true by choosing adoption.

  • What makes a letter and pictures so important?

    Adoption Makes Family has a policy of asking adoptive parents to send a letter and pictures of their adopted child to the Agency throughout their adopted child’s life.  Why?

    First, many birth parents express their desire to see that their biological child is happy, healthy and growing.  Birth parents don’t stop loving their child when they create an adoption plan.  As a matter of fact, we all know that an adoption plan is created because the birth parent has such love for a child, that the realization of not being able to care for a child has lead to the self-less gift of creating an adoption plans.

    Birth parents experience a grieving process that is eased by hearing their adoption plan is doing well.  To receive a letter that shares how the child is doing, and seeing a few pictures of the child, gives the birth parent a tremendous sense of relief. These letters and pictures help the birth parent to see the positive outcome of their adoption plan.  Adoptive parents need not fear the birth parent.  The creation of the adoption plan has created a permanent loving bond between the birth parent and the adoptive parent – all centered around the love for the child.

  • Talking to your child about adoption

    I have asked families how they talk about adoption to their child.  Here are four responses.  If you have one, please send it along.


    Every six months, we send our birth mother a little photo book telling her about our son’s new accomplishments and emerging personality.  It is written to her, and while it doesn’t address her by name, it does speak directly to her with sentences like: “His beautiful smile came from you… as did his great intelligence… We will teach him to honor you for all that you provided him.”

    One of the reasons we chose to send our birth mother a photo book, instead of a more traditional letter and pictures, is that we also wanted copies for our home.  It’s important to my husband and me that guests, extended family, and all of our children clearly understand the gratitude we feel towards our son’s birth mother.  Because we have two biological children and because our son is a different race from ours, we want to make it crystal clear that we *celebrate* the special way that Joshua entered our family.  We also wanted our son to grow up feeling secure about the fact that adoption and his birth mother are safe, open topics in our home, and we felt that these books take the burden off of him by starting the conversation ourselves. 

    For the first time just yesterday, Joshua approached me with one of those books in hand.  He turned around and backed up, indicating that he wanted me to pull him onto my lap.  At the same time, he handed me one of his books.  We turned the pages together and he smiled and laughed at “Jos-swa” as a baby.  As I held him on my lap, I read the words I wrote to his birth mother. 

    Joshua didn’t understand the words I read yesterday, but for the first time, he heard them.  Little by little, one reading at a time, hearing will turn to understanding.  He will understand that he has a birth mother, that she loved him before we even knew of him, and that we honor her.


    Every night we say a prayer…I say it as if I were Amy who is now 2. So it will be her prayer as she gets older and says it herself.

    “Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the lord my soul to keep, when in the morning light I wake, teach me the path of love to take.   God bless Nana, Grandpa, mommy and me, my birth family, my extended family and friends.”


    Caiden is only 2 but since he was born we have talked to him about the fact that he was adopted.  We are very open about it and use age appropriate language but we talk about it regularly so that it becomes “normal” for him and so that it is never something he feels different or shameful about.  Caiden is African American and we are white so we also talk about our differences and similarities.  We have childrens books about adoption and differences in families in terms of how they are created and the types of families there are.  Sometimes when we are putting him to bed we talk about the first time we ever saw him (in the hospital nursery) and how excited we were to finally meet him.  We tell him how we met his birth mother and that she wanted to meet us to make sure we would love him and take good care of him.  We feel like the more open and honest we are with him, the easier it will be as he gets older, and the more confident he will be when other people ask him questions.  We really want Caiden to be confident and proud of himself and where he comes from. Every family has to do what’s right for them but I can’t imagine not talking about it or having a date in the future when he will be told.  It’s his history and we feel like he has the right to grow up knowing who he is, where he comes from and how we became a family. 


    I just wanted to tell you about how I tell my kids they are adopted.   Have a little story to tell them.  I started telling them when they were really little so it gave me time to try it out, to find out what I felt comfortable saying and make sure that I included everything that I wanted to say.  The stories have evolved but have solidified into a predictable bedtime story.  Sometimes I tell it every night.  Then I go through phases where I don’t and then it comes back again.  They start as every good story should: Once upon a time there was a beautiful girl named Josephine.  You were growing inside of her.  She was your birthmom.   Daphne doesn’t quite know her’s the way Brett does yet. It is really fun. He knows when I get to the part where I say, “I remember the first time I saw you.  I picked you up and I kissed you like this.” He turns one cheek to the side while I kiss it and then turns the other cheek while I kiss it.  He loves the part when I say, “One night the phone rang and they said, “your baby boy was born! Your baby boy was born!”

    Anyway I think what I want to share with other adoptive families is that I believe in telling my kids their story from the time they are tiny! It has helped me to say the words out loud so that I know how to do it.  It is also a special thing to hear about their special story and because I use the same words every night it is familiar and they love it. 

    My kids who are not adopted have said, “Mom, do I have a story?”.

    I hope this helps someone! I also have a few books that I have found that I like.  I love You Like Crazy Cakes (Rose Lewis) and Over the Moon (Karen Katz) are about International Adoption but still share the feelings of adoptive parents.  I Don’t Have Your Eyes(Carrie  Kitze) is probably for transracial families.  How I was Adopted (Joanna Cole), Forever Fingerprints (Sherrie Eldridge who is adopted and has written a book for adults called 20 things your Adopted Kids Wish You Knew), And My Adopted Child, There’s No One Like You (Kevin Leman) talk more about the feelings of the adopted child.  I love the one by Kevin Leman even though the name doesn’t sound as interesting as the others.  I also have the Jamie Lee Curtis book and love it.  I always cry 🙂

  • Our Adoption Journey

    Adoption is as much a miracle as birth itself.

    Bryon and I started out on our adoption journey in June of 2008. We chose to go the route of adoption when we discovered that I could not biologically conceive a child. For us, parenting and loving a child was and is more important than a biological connection.  

    We started looking around for information on adoption and realized that we first needed to have a home study done. I found a link with information about adoption home studies and entered our information. Adoption Makes Family called us that day! We then made an appointment to go in and meet with Dr. Kirschner so we could get a better understanding about the adoption process. After meeting with him, we quickly realized that this was the agency we wanted to work with to do our adoption.  We started on our paper work and dear birthmother book that day.

    We had always dreamed of becoming parents. We have worked hard and have learned a great deal in life.  We know that in life it is a very rare thing to be able to make a single decision that will have such a powerful and positive impact on us and others.   The decision to adopt did just that.

    There were many ups and downs that went along with this journey and some times it became a little discouraging.  We understood the struggles a birth parent experiences and that sometimes birth parents decide to parent their child rather than create an adoption plan.   We had a few situations where the birth parent decided to parent her child. We understood and supported her plan.   But we still had faith we would become parents. 

    So you can only imagine our excitement when after only a little over a year we learned that we had been matched with a birth mother! We were absolutely ecstatic! We were lucky to have been able to meet our son’s birthparents and get to know so much about them.  We took notes and learned so much so when he does ask about his birth parents we will be able to tell him everything we know.

    Our birthmother was 5 months along when we met her and the next 4 months seemed like they lasted forever. We held onto the memories of meeting the birth parents for dinner, sharing time together and getting to know each other.  It was amazing to know that we were going to be joined together through an adoption.

    Finally the big day came. Our son was going to be born! To say we were excited doesn’t even begin to describe the emotions we were going through that day. We packed up the car that morning and set off on our 2 ½ hour trip down to southern Maryland where he was being born. The trip seemed to take forever.  We were able to spend the whole day with our birthparents. To my surprise, I was able to be in the delivery room when our son was born! What an experience that was! To be with our son and his birth mother  at the start of his life was such an amazing way for our family to start.  That is a forever memory that still puts a lump in my throat. We stayed down there for 2 days until we were able to bring our baby home with us.

    Adopting through Adoption Makes Family was a fantastic experience and one we can’t wait to do again! Dr. Kirschner was there for us from the beginning of our process through the day we brought our son home and beyond. Thank you Adoptino Makes Family.  Here we go again!

  • Dear Chad and Mary (Adoptive Parents)

    Can you believe Lisa is a week old already? I think we’re going to have to find a way to slow time down! I have been thinking about you guys a lot
    this past week and just checking up seeing how things are going. I am sure you are tired, but excited to be new parents!

    I also wanted to make sure I let the both of you know how overwhelmed with love and joy I have been towards you! I can’t thank you enough for taking
    our little girl in and loving and raising her as your very own. This sort of situation isn’t one you can really mentally prepare yourself for because
    you don’t know exactly what to expect until it happens. I found it extremely hard to leave the hospital because I could not fathom the thought
    of leaving her there by herself with just the nurses. When Dr. Dean finally told me she was with her new mom and dad, I found it peaceful to finally be
    able to sleep!

    The thought of changing my mind hasn’t occurred to me once! When Lisa first looked at me, instantly she had me wrapped around her little finger and I
    just knew right then and there that I was doing the best thing for her. Seeing the both of you at the hospital also reassured me how right this was
    – seeing the love and excitement you two have for her.

    Mary: You have so much energy and life in you that I know you were meant to be a mom. I have so much faith in you that I know Lisa is going to be a
    wonderful young lady. If she does cheerleading (which I know she will at least try it with both of us being cheerleaders) you must give her my best
    support for me!

    Chad: When we first met you, you were shaking when we asked you to be our baby’s adoptive father. Later that day, we went home and I cried to Dave
    because I knew just how perfect Lisa was going to have it. I never had my dad around much growing up and I know she’s going to have the father that I
    never had, but wanted. She is going to have a father to stand behind her, support her, love her, and be there no matter what.

    I pray for the two of you and Lisa every night before I go to bed. I really feel that this was part of God’s plan for us to find you guys and be
    together to share this experience. I look forward to seeing Lisa grow up through pictures and look forward to hearing from you! We’re gonna become
    close. I don’t at all worry because I have enough faith and trust that you are going to do a great job at taking care of the little angel who stole our
    hearts.

    Thank you again so much!

    Love
    Emily

  • Welcome to Libby’s Corner!

    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. 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. I am the father of two boys. 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. 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 allowcomplete and open discussions about birth parents and their adoption story. There are no mysteries or secrets. There are stories of love, excitemen 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 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