Friday, June 18, 2010

Orthodox Jewish Attitudes Toward Adoption

We hear from time to time about evangelical Christian attitudes in regard to adoption...their desire to "save" the children of thr world and make converts. But little is ever written about orthodox Jewish adopters.

This blog gives you a glimpse into the mindset of this sect which, like some evangelical Christians,   want total conversion and have limited tolerance and lack of respect for their adopted child's heritage.

If you read the comments, you will learn that conversion to Judaism is far more complicated - physically and emotionally - than conversion to Christianity. It includes food restrictions that might conflict with inborn life-threatening allergies and even circumcision.

"You can perfectly well teach a child Chinese culture without tripping up on the concept of “religion” as defined in Judaism. Confucianism is often called a ‘religion,’ but has no real deity, and is more of an ethnical/philosophical guide to life. You can “de-religionize” Taoism pretty easily. Instead of ancestor veneration, tell your child about how much Chinese people respect their parents and grandparents etc."

"reading some articles on the halacha [Jewish law], its actually FAVORABLE to adopt a non Jewish child and convert over a Jewish child and this is why: the lineage of a Jewish child can be in doubt…also, if the parents of the Jewish child weren’t properly divorced, then this child would be consider a Mamzer and not able to marry (or something like that). it is also considered noble to raise an orphaned child as one’s own." [Note mamzer is technically a child of adultery but has come to be used to mean bastard. Not sure how this perosn means it.]

"It’s a big tzchus to adopt a child, even more so for making him or her Jewish. I’ve been told this by several top rabbaim." [I could not find a translation for tzchus - she is either saying it's a big deal or a good deal which would be a mitzvah]
"Healthy, Jewish infants don’t come up very often and for reasons mentioned in this thread, it’s better to adopt a non-Jewish child."
About the circumcision of a two-year newly transplanted to America child:
"My son was 2 when we brought him home from Romania. YES one of the first things we did was Milah. With a Mohel and doctors in a hospital operating room!! traumatic? I was more traumatised then him. It was a non-issue. PLEASE"
From Stars of David, a Jewish pro-adopion website:

For the child to be considered Jewish, he or she must be formally converted. Such a conversion is an absolute requirement of Jewish law, and dispensing with it can have serious consequences later in life, for the child may reach Bar Mitzvah age, want to marry or join a synagogue, only to be told by a rabbi that he or she is not really Jewish. The ceremony is simple, and should be done as early as possible.
The conversion consists of two parts, circumcision (milah) and immersion (tevilah). If possible, a boy should be circumcised on the eighth day (but not on the Sabbath or on a Festival) with a slight change in blessings. The blessing reads, "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us to circumcise proselytes."

Immersion is a requirement for both boys and girls. The immersion is done in a "mikvah," or Jewish ritual bath. Usually the immersion takes place as soon as the infant is old enough so that there is no physical danger. Six months is the age preferred by many rabbis. Yet it is permitted any time until "Bar" or "Bat Mitzvah."
The immersion must take place before a "beit din" of three rabbis. The child should be naked and held in such a way that the water touches every part of the body. The child is quickly immersed, and two blessings are recited by the rabbi (or by the child, if old enough). The child is then immersed once more.
(Some rabbis do it twice more.)
The two blessings recited at the mikvah are: "Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has sanctified us with His commandments and commanded us on the immersion." Praised are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, Who has kept us alive, sustained us and allowed us to reach this season." Following the immersion and after the child is dressed, he or she is given a Hebrew name and welcomed into the Jewish community with a special prayer.
Bringing an adopted child to the "mikvah" for a conversion is a happy event, worthy of celebration. Many couples invite other members of the family, take pictures, and celebrate with refreshments at home or at a favorite restaurant. As the child grows up, pictures and memories can be shared of the day the child was welcomed into the Jewish community.
This all cuts close to home for me. While I am not at all religious and none of my immediate family is, I have one orthodox cousin who also happens to be the only family member who has adopted!  I have not spoken to her in many years so i forget what country her kids were imported from. last I heard they are adults and are being married with the assistance of a match maker!

Another issue which has always concerned me is that Jews are obligated to say special prayers for their close relatives such as parents who have passed.  But of course an adoptee most often ha sno way of knowing if his birth parents ar dead or alive or when they pass.  More on this issue at this link.

1 comment:

Michele said...

Thank you for this interesting round-up of viewpoints.

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget