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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.

  • Simply Spectacular Saturday

    We had an amazing time at the annual picnic today.  By every account, it was Simply Spectacular. It is so wonderful to see all of the families, watching our children grow and having a great time swapping stories about the… Read More

  • Dealing with an Unplanned Pregnancy

    Dealing with an Unplanned Pregnancy

    pregnant womanThere are few instances in life quite as scary as realizing you are pregnant when being pregnant is the last thing in the world you want to be. If you are reading this now, you have probably experienced that moment of panic yourself – staring down at the pregnancy test and knowing that your life has now been forever changed.

    It’s important for you to know, though, that you do not have to be alone. And that being in this position, no matter how you got here, does not make you a bad person. According to the CDC, nearly 50% of pregnancies every year are unplanned. This is especially true of those under the age of 19, where nearly all pregnancies are unplanned. You certainly are not the first woman to find herself in this situation, and there are options to help you decide what to do next.

    If you are feeling scared and unsure, one of the first things to do is to find someone you trust to talk to. Isolating yourself will only make this next stage that much harder. You need support and the advice of someone who cares about you as you move forward. If you don’t feel as though you have anyone in your life who currently matches that description, consider talking to a doctor, counselor, or local church leader. There are plenty of people willing to help you, but you have to first be willing to reach out.

    Once you have your support person in line, what are your options?


    As advocates of adoption, abortion is certainly not our favorite option to promote. But it is an option available to you. Should you feel as though terminating this pregnancy is the best choice for you, visit your doctor or a local clinic for more information and the opportunity for counseling. Know that abortion can have long-lasting psychological effects and is very difficult – and oftentimes impossible – for some women to get over. But there are those who do maintain it was the right choice for them. The important thing is to be honest with yourself here about what you can handle, and whether or not you could have an abortion without regret.


    For women who cannot imagine having an abortion, but who also can’t fathom raising a child, the option of adoption provides you the opportunity to lovingly select a family for your child who is ready and willing to take on the responsibilities of parenting. In many cases these days, open adoptions also provide you the opportunity to remain in contact with your child, should that be something you want. If not, closed adoptions are also available. As the birth mother, you are able to indicate what type of adoption you want, and to decide on the family that seems best suited to raise your child. While adoption is also a difficult path and requires you to be selfless in your love for your child, it can also be a very beautiful way to form a family – and to give your child a life, even when you don’t feel prepared to raise him or her yourself.

    Keeping Your Child

    For a lot of women, the fear that overtakes them upon first finding out they are pregnant can cause them to feel as though they couldn’t possibly raise this child. Many have financial concerns or are worried about unstable relationships and educational and career goals that have not yet been reached. For some women, those fears of inadequacy linger and they never feel as though they are fully equipped to raise a child. But for others, the fears begin to fade as their baby grows, and they may begin to wish they could find some way to raise their child themselves. If you are struggling with the desire to raise your child, but you don’t know how to possibly make it work, there are counselors and programs available to help you. It certainly won’t be easy, and it will require work and commitment on your part, but if you want to raise your child yourself, there is almost always a way to make that work.

    Adoption Makes Family is here for you to assist you in weighing your options. Unlike some adoption agencies, we want what’s best for you and your child. We will talk with you about all of the options available and back you up on whichever path you take. It’s a difficult time for you; don’t go through it alone!

    Whether you have decided on adoption as your choice or are looking for more information on your options before you, please contact us at any time.

  • Advice for Birth Mothers: The Birth

    I sat in the lobby the day my daughter was born, just waiting for news that she had entered the world. Her other mommy and I had talked about how this day would go ahead of time, and I respected the fact that she did not want me (or anyone else) in the room with her during labor. I had always believed that was a decision that was solely hers to make, and I never questioned her when she outlined for me how she wanted to handle this day.

    1. She would labor on her own as I waited in the lobby.
    2. When our daughter was born, she wanted a few moments to look at her, but did not want to hold her.
    3. After that, she wanted our little girl to be brought quickly to me.

    So I waited in that lobby, feeling much like a 1920’s husband, clueless about what was happening in the delivery room.

    Until a nurse came out and said, “She’s changed her mind. She’s asking if you would come in to see your daughter born.”

    And I sobbed. Both because I hadn’t been expecting this gift, and because I was thankful she was going to allow me to be there for her – my heart had ached over the idea of her laboring alone.

    It wasn’t long after that when our daughter was born. I held her hand through the labor and we wept together at the birth. After our little girl was weighed and swaddled, she asked me if she could change her mind and hold her now – I, of course, placed our little girl immediately in her arms. We then spent the next several hours huddled together in the recovery room, passing our daughter back and forth, laughing, crying, and embracing the complex emotions that surrounded this day.

    I would like to share my thoughts with you from the perspective of an adoptive mother. As I have talked it over with my daughter’s other mommy extensively before, during, and after the birth, I have a few tips I’d like to share with birth mothers thinking about this very moment:

    1. Be Honest About What You Want: Placing a child for adoption is an incredibly difficult decision, no matter how resolved you may feel in this choice. So give yourself some room to grieve and process however you need to. I don’t know many adoptive parents who wouldn’t jump at the chance to be in the delivery room when their child enters the world, but I do know that you shouldn’t invite them to join you because you feel in any way obligated to have them there. If you are a modest person, or are concerned about how emotional you may be during the birth, it is perfectly acceptable for you to explain that you don’t want them there while you labor. It is even perfectly acceptable for you to tell them you don’t want them at the hospital at all, that you would rather have a few hours (or days) to say goodbye to your baby yourself.

    You set the rules here. Just be honest about what you want.

    1. Know That Sometimes, Things Change: I know for a fact that my daughter’s other mother never had any intention of inviting me into the delivery room. But at the height of her pain and emotional roller coaster of a labor, she decided she actually wanted me there. And I was beyond grateful that she was willing to ask for me. So just know that no matter how you think you may want things to go before the labor, there is plenty that can change on the day of – including you deciding that you would rather not have the adoptive family in the delivery room with you after all.
    2. Listen to Yourself: It is also possible that once your baby is in your arms, you will realize you don’t actually want to pursue adoption. Those post-birth emotions can be incredibly intense, so you may not know what to believe in the hours following the birth of your child. But know that adoption is never a good thing if the biological mother goes on to regret her decision to place. Yes, a failed adoption can be an incredibly painful thing for an adoptive family, but not as painful as placing a child for adoption only to realize you didn’t have or want to. There are numerous reasons to pursue adoption, and if you are confident in your decision, no matter how painful it may be, then it is the right thing to do.

    Listen to yourself and your gut in the days following the birth of your child. None of your decisions are final until the court says so.

    My daughter’s birth was one of the most incredible days of my life. But it was also one of the most emotionally complicated. I was painfully aware of the juxtaposition of my joy against her other mother’s grief and loss. My heart ached for her, and I would have done just about anything to make this process easier for her. So please know that the parents hoping to adopt your child recognize the sacrifice you are making and want to ease your pain wherever they can. Don’t be afraid to speak up and ask for what you need to navigate the complex emotions of the day. Counselors and other support options are always available to you.

    And remember that this is just one day; no matter what happens, it certainly doesn’t have to be the last day you see your child. You’re in control. If you ever need to talk to someone, we are here for you 24/7. Just give us a call: 410-683-2100.

  • What is an Adoption Plan?

    What is an Adoption Plan?

    Making the decision to place a child for adoption is a big step for most women. Simply getting to the point where they are sure this is the path they want to take can be emotionally draining. But once the decision is made, there is at least some relief in knowing what is to come. From there, they can move onto the next step – making an adoption plan.

    An adoption plan is a description of what you want for your child and yourself in the future, including detailed steps that outline how to best achieve that future. Our adoption counselors work with you every step of the way through the adoption process and will help you in creating your own adoption plan. It can be one of the most difficult steps for a birthmother to go through in terms of emotional distress, simply because it involves thinking so thoroughly about what this adoption will entail. But taking the time to put an adoption plan together makes a lot of the other difficult steps easier, because you’ve already taken the liberty of writing it all down. An adoption plan consists of your answers to many of the difficult questions you will (or are very likely to) come across down the line.

    It’s important to note that the adoption plan is not set in stone, and things may not always go as planned. The point of the plan is for you to consult these questions before they arise so you can make well-thought-out decisions on what you want to do. But everything in that plan (including your own feelings, which contributed to making that plan) is liable to change at any time.

    So, what exactly is included in an adoption plan?

    How Open is the Adoption?

    Most of the content within the adoption plan is dependent on how open your adoption is going to be. If you want a closed adoption, then many of these questions will be faster to answer compared to those who want a little openness in their adoption. Some of the questions relating to the openness of the adoption and how involved you want to be in the raising of your baby include:

    • Do you want to send letters and pictures to the adoptive family? If so, will you send them through Adoption Makes Family? Or would you like to have their direct contact information?
    • Will you visit your adoptive family? If so, will you visit regularly or only on holidays and big events?
    • Will you call regularly to check in on your child?


    Answering these questions now can be difficult, so many birthmothers take some time to think over their answers and then come back to the questions when they feel more sure about the role they want to play in their baby’s life.

    We support all of our birthmothers’ choices, no matter how they choose to define their adoption.

    Choosing the Adoptive Family

    Choosing the adoptive family is a difficult process for many birthmothers because they want the best for their child, but aren’t necessarily sure of who that might be. We work with our adoptive families to create a profile for them that highlights what they have to offer your baby. Some adoptive families have their own preferences on open and closed adoptions, so you should take this into consideration when choosing a family as well.

    A major part of the adoption plan is for you to give us some information about the kind of adoptive families you are looking for. This information helps us find the families that best match your preferences. Here are some examples of what you should think about when creating an adoption plan:

    • Do you want the adoptive family to be married, single, or do you have no preference?
    • Do you want an adoptive family that travels a lot?
    • Where do you want the adoptive family to be located? In-state? In the city?
    • Should the family have other children? If so, how many?
    • Do you have a preference on the family’s religion?
    • What characteristics do you want your adoptive family to have?

    The Birth

    The final stage of the adoption comes with the birth of your child. Your adoption plan will cover a few aspects of the birth itself so that we know in advance what you want to do when the day comes. Some questions that the adoption plan will answer include:

    • Do you want the adoptive family to be in the delivery room?
    • Do you want to take pictures with or of the baby?
    • Do you want to hold your baby?
    • How much time do you want alone with your baby, if any?
    • When do you want to hand the baby to the adoptive family? (Immediately, after you’ve spent some time with him or her, or when you leave the hospital?)
    • Who do you want there to support you?

    Life after Birth

    Your baby’s life after the birth is now in the caring hands of the adoptive family. But there are many questions involved with your preferences after the birth, mostly relating to the openness of the adoption. Some of the questions you may find yourself facing include:

    • Will you ever interact with the adoptive family? If so, will you call, e-mail, text, or see them in-person? And would you like that to be on a defined schedule, or would you prefer the relationships be able to proceed more naturally?
    • Will the birthfather be involved?
    • Do you want to support your child in other ways?

    Support through Adoption Counseling

    All of these questions can be difficult to answer and can bring up a variety of emotions. Please know you are not alone if you find yourself struggling with how to define the kind of adoption you would like.

    Your adoption counselor is here for you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Many of our birthmothers develop strong relationships for life with their adoption counselor because of the help they provide. We will be here for you from start to finish, and even after the adoption to provide you with the support you need. If you have any questions about your adoption, the adoption plan, or the adoptive family, please don’t hesitate to ask your adoption counselor. Your adoption counselor can even be with you in the delivery room if you wish to have their support there as well.

    If you’re considering adoption, are in the midst of an adoption, or have completed an adoption and wish to talk with a counselor, please contact us at any time on our hotline at 410-683-2100.

  • Talking to the Birthfather about Adoption

    Talking to the Birthfather about Adoption There are so many complicated reasons why a woman may decide to create an adoption plan for her child. It could be that she is young and single and doesn’t feel equipped to care… Read More

  • Adopting a Second Child

    You have successfully completed your first adoption and feel loved and blessed to have such a wonderful child. You’re so excited that you’re considering adopting another child. Adopting a second child is similar in many ways to adopting the first one, but has a few core differences and factors that you may want to consider.

    General Adoption Factors – The Changes

    One of the best parts about already having experience in the adoption field and going through with an adoption to the end is that you’re aware of the process and the adoption agency is aware of you. These connections give you the support and knowledge that is necessary for all adoptions. As you are aware of from your first adoption, there are some factors that you must consider with any adoption; however, these factors are more important during each consecutive adoption.

    • Financials – With all of the adoption considerations, you must consider your financial situation. Adopting a second child will double your expenses. You already have experience with the first child, so expect to have similar bills again. If you can barely afford your child, yourself, and all of the bills, then a second child can be an unwise choice. Another important consideration in terms of money are the costs associated with what one child has that the other does not. Siblings are always competing with one another and you’ll have to deal with these situations accordingly, oftentimes resulting in a purchase of some form.
      BabyCenter has a child cost calculator that states that you’ll spend about $725 per month in total supporting your child. Looking at your first adoption, compare this average with what you believe to have actually spent. This can give you a good idea of what kind of budget you’re looking at for your second child.
    • Home Study – You probably remember your home study being a little stressful. This same feeling will more than likely sink in again, but this time with an extra consideration. The adoption representative performing the home study will take note of your current adoption’s status. They will look for any safety hazards for your child, health concerns, and the general living space’s atmosphere.
    • Space – Your home has a limited amount of space. Look around your home now and see if you have enough room for another child. From the legal standpoint, your home has to have enough room to sustain a child in a healthy living environment. Your home study will go through and determine if your home meets the requirements, but you should go through first on your own and make this decision. Keep in mind that your children can share a room, but must have their own bed. If you do pursue this option, think about the future and whether or not the children will want to have separate rooms in their teen years.

    Explaining the Second Child to the First

    The key difference to adopting a second child is that you have already have a child. Depending on the age of your first child, explaining this lovely addition to your family can vary. If the second adoption will take place soon after your first, then your first child is likely still very young and wouldn’t require any explanation. However, if your first child is old enough to walk and talk, then they can likely grasp the concept of how a new child would affect them. Here are some things to keep in mind:

    • Explaining Adoption – If your first child was adopted, then they likely already know what adoption is and how it works; however, they’ve never been on the other end of the adoption process. Explain to your child how you were matched with him/her and how excited you were to finally meet them. If you feel your child is not old enough to understand this process, then you do not have to explain it to them. Many parents find that not telling them until the day your second child is born is just easier to accept and explain than starting from the beginning.
    • Waiting Until the Birth – Please keep in mind that the home study will involve whether or not your child is accepting of another sibling. You will have to at least speak with your child about how they would feel about a brother or sister before the birth. If you wish to keep some of the process out of this discussion, feel free. However, when it comes time to meet your second child, if your first child is young but not quite a teenager yet, then they will likely ask you where their new sibling came from. Sometimes it’s best to explain the concept on the day you meet your new child because it’s easier for the child to understand the concept of having a brother or sister when you show them.

    Final Note

    If there’s one thing to keep in mind it’s that this adoption will add not just a son/daughter, but a brother/sister as well. Keep in mind the emotions that your first child may be going through during the transition and be sure to give each of your children the attention they need!

    Feel free to contact us if you have any further questions.

  • Adoption Counselors for Birthparents

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  • Birth Parent’s Relationship with the Adoptive Family

    In an open adoption, birth parents and the adoptive families work out just how open they want the adoption to be. In some rare cases, the relationship between the birth parents and birth child is very close and at other… Read More

  • Can a Single Person Adopt?

    A common misconception with adoption is that you must be married to adopt. However, a single person can adopt if they would like to add a child to their life. In fact, single parent adoptions made up about 28.2% of… Read More

  • Home Study Tips

    One of the first stages of the adoption process is the home study in which a social worker does a quick walkthrough of your home to decide if they think it will be suitable for a child to live and… Read More

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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
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