Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Harding does Hanukah

Next up on Renee's challenge is Harding: Here are some other visions of his future.

Avrum and Shifra had absolutely no plan to adopt.  With 2 adult children and twin boys in High School, they thought they were all set for retirement in their luxurious house in a nice neighborhood.  Life is good!    Then the twins went to spend the Summer of 2012 in Israel at a Yeshiva (religious academy). The house was so quiet suddenly! Too quiet.... How could this be?  This is what they wanted, no?


On Tisha B'Av, the fast day commemorating the destruction of the 1st and 2nd Temples in Jerusalem, they pray at their usual synagogue, reciting the familiar prayers from the book of Lamentations, comparing the Jewish people without their Temple to the widow and the orphan.....  As they leave the synagogue, they see a poster advocating adoption of special needs orphans -- is that their boy in the picture?! Yakov is definitely in Israel, but why is his 2nd grade photo staring at them out of this poster?  The next day, they call the number on the poster, and they know that retirement can wait....


The adoption is fast, even by Ukraine standards.  Their homestudy is quick and easy, and a series of serendipities pave their way to adopt just in time for Hanukah, an unheard-of 4 months from commitment to homecoming.  His regimen of ARV medications is easy to manage, and he readily soaks up all that his new home has to offer.  They name him Nissim, which means "miracles", both because Hanukah commemorates the miracle of the oil and because of all the miracles that brought this little boy to them.  As Nissim lights the menorah for the first time ever, surrounded by his brothers and parents, he slowly repeats the blessing after them:
"Barukh atah Adonoy, Elokeynu melekh ha-olam, she'asoh NISSIM la-avoseynu bayomim ha-hem bazman ha-zeh."
Blessed are You O Lord, G*d King of the universe, Who made miracles for our forefathers in those days at this time.



  1. This is lovely. And what a blessing it will be, indeed.

  2. This is a real family (some names changed). I have tutored their sons for several years. Harding really does look a bit like one of their twins.

  3. Such a great story! The best... it's true!

    As someone who lives with a youth with HIV, managing HIV+ children's needs are not nearly as scary as many people believe...


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