Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Special needs adoption from a Jewish perspective.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Taking care of our own

In an earlier post, I mentioned that while Jewish philanthropy often extends out to the global community, individual charity is usually focused on individuals within the tribe.  For example, when I told my parents that I was thinking about international special needs adoption, my dad said, "Why not take care of our own first?"

It was about that same time that I was reading Shelley Bedford's adoption journey, and I came to this post.

Naum Friedman

 This child was, like so many others in his country, left at the hospital when he was diagnosed with Down syndrome.  And then his parents left that country and moved to Israel!  Yes, Naum Friedman was born Jewish.  Now he is a happy, thriving Christian child named Xander Matthew Bedford.  Yes, he was rescued.  Amazingly and wonderfully so!  But he was also lost forever to the Jewish family.  How many others like him are there?  I often see pictures of children on Reece's Rainbow that seem to have Jewish facial features.  Are they?

Ultimately, though, the point is not that a particular orphan may have been born Jewish.  The point is that once adopted by Jewish parents, he or she IS Jewish.   A convert into Judaism is as much part of the tribe as anyone else,  just as an adopted child is as much part of the family as any other member.  Adopting children -- no matter to whom they were born -- means making them "our own".  And then taking care of them.

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