Jewish Adoption

Adoption is an ancient practice mentioned often in the Torah - the Jewish religious scriptures. After reading this article, you will have a better idea of resources for Jewish adoption, agencies and organizations that are available to help, and Jewish practices and attitudes about adoption and otherwise.

Tradition is immensely important in Jewish culture. Even though adoption is widely known and condoned in the Torah, the bloodline of the child is important in some Jewish circles. For the Orthodox, or more traditional Jewish people, it is important to find out the Jewish lineage of the birth parents - mainly the mother - to determine the child's rights in the Jewish community later on in his/her life. On the other hand, in other Jewish circles, multicultural adoption is welcomed and often encouraged. In fact, it is estimated that 25 percent of Jewish couples who adopt are choosing to adopt from overseas.

Once the child is adopted, there are the traditional Jewish ceremonies to perform. For a boy, of course, a bris would be performed if the baby was not circumcised at birth. A bris is a traditional ceremony performed by a rabbi and a moyle - a man who performs circumcisions. In this day and age, the moyle is usually a pediatrician or other medical doctor. If the boy was circumcised at birth, a simple naming ceremony by a rabbi brings the child into the Jewish religion. A baby girl has a naming ceremony also. The naming involves a ceremony where the child's Hebrew name is chosen, usually after the Hebrew name of one of the adoptive parents' deceased relatives. In the more Orthodox circles, a conversion would have to be performed first, but all of that again depends on the bloodline lineage of the birth mother.

There are several agencies which aid in Jewish adoption. Jewish Family Service (JFS) is a common organization throughout the United States that serves the Jewish community. JFS is not an adoption agency per se, but they will assist you in finding the right agency for your needs. Stars of David International, Inc. is a non-profit organization that provides support, education and information about adoption to the Jewish community - including prospective parents, adoptive families, adult adoptees and birth families.

Armed with this information, you can begin to feel more comfortable with the Jewish adoption process. "Go forth and multiply," but if you can't do that...adopt!