Dear Dr. Yael,
I enjoy your column in The Jewish Press and am particularly impressed with the care and adherence to Jewish ethical principles with which your answers are imbued. You answer with great sensitivity, humility, and compassion and your responses are free of harsh judgment.
There recently have been a few letters about people who have adopted children. I would like to adopt a child. I am in the process of becoming approved as a foster/adoptive parent by my state but the available children are not Jewish. I am happy to care for any child who needs it but I’d much prefer to provide a loving home for Jewish children. I was wondering if you or your letter writers might be able to direct me to any agency or organization that might be involved in the fostering or adopting of Jewish children. I was certainly pleased and proud when the social worker with Dept. of Children, Youth, and Families answered my query with, “I’ve never known a Jewish child to be in our system.”
I am glad that the vast majority of Jewish children are in loving family homes and don’t need to be in DCYF system!
But there must be Jewish kids somewhere who are in foster care or are legally free for adoption. I don’t know how to find them. Any help or suggestions would be most appreciated.
Please do not use any part of my letter without changing my name. Thank you.
A Loyal Reader
Dear Loyal Reader,
Thank you for your sensitive letter. I reached out to a friend to help me respond to your letter.
The following is the response that I got:
I am writing as someone who has fostered and adopted older jewish children. There are many Jewish children, I understand, who need loving homes. It is not an easy thing to take in a child, but it truly depends on the person doing it.
The only agency I know of that has foster children is Ohel. The only thing is that from my understanding, Ohel, as a foster agency, has a policy where they work towards ultimately re-uniting the foster child with his/her biological family. So it may take a while until adoption becomes an option, if at all.
I don’t know of any agency that works with children that are legally free for adoption.
The one person I know that has been involved for years with placing needy children in homes is a Rebbetzin from Agudah.
Another idea is that this woman might try to do research on her own.
She might try Googling Jewish Adoption Agencies, or, look outside of the country for a child. She may have to move temporarily for the process to take place, while, at the same time, maintaining her own home, if she finds something out of state.
I used to get a newsletter from a Jewish Adoption Agency, I believe, from Denver. I think they had both Jewish and non-Jewish children – perhaps more non-Jewish than Jewish.
Networking is also a very good medium. We let the word out when we were initially looking to adopt; we told many people. She should let the word out to people she knows outside of her state. I think I was recommended to say kapitel 22 by a big tzaddik (Rab Usher Freund, zt”l. from Yerushalayim) when I was in the parsha. We also went for 40 days straight to daven at the Kotel, and when we returned home, a message was on our answering machine that led to our first two children. I was advised to daven for one thing only if one goes that route.
A bracha and/or guidance from a tzaddik is definitely a smart place to start. Perhaps someone can go on her behalf if she isn’t able to go herself.
May she be matzliach in her quest. If she has much love to offer, and is ready to put all her physical and emotional kochos into this parsha, she can be very matzliach and give a very needy child, who may have no other options, a loving home.
I also spoke to A T.I.M.E., an organization that is becoming involved in helping people adopt Jewish children. You can call them at 718-686-8912. Perhaps you can also explore adopting Jewish children from the Ukraine by calling CHABAD shluchim in Ukraine.
Hatzlocha with this beautiful and holy mission and may you be zoche to help children find a living home!