What’s a Jewish adoption agency?
The term “Jewish adoption agency” refers to an adoption professional that works primarily with Jewish families and pregnant women. These agencies focus on the Jewish faith and helping Jewish families to grow and can be contacted by reaching out to the Jewish Family Services in your area. (Adoption Options, for example, is the nonprofit adoption program that works with Jewish Family Services of Rhode Island.)
What types of adoption do Jewish adoption agencies complete?
As a Jewish couple hoping to adopt, there are two options available to you:
1. Adopting a child from a Jewish woman. There are services that exist to help find homes for Jewish children in need of adoptive families, like the Jewish Children’s Adoption Network, which serves as a matchmaker of sorts. Keep in mind, though, that limiting your search to children of Jewish ancestry may lengthen the time it takes to find an adoption opportunity.
2. Raising an adopted child into the Jewish faith. It’s also an option to formally convert your child to the Jewish faith after his or her adoption is completed. This opens your search up to children who weren’t born to Jewish parents or raised in Jewish homes, which can significantly shorten your wait time.
The choice, of course, is ultimately up to you, but most Jewish adoption agencies will be able to help you weigh these options to determine which is best for you and your family.
What should families pursuing adoption know before working with a Jewish adoption agency?
As a Jewish family considering adoption, here are a few things you may want to think about before beginning the process:
- Religious practices of Jewish families can vary in different households, and interfaith families are gaining in popularity. To give any potential birth mothers the best, most accurate picture of your family, you’ll want to be up front about the way you practice your faith (or faiths) in your home.
- Depending on the age of the child you adopt, the ways in which you can convert him or her to the Jewish faith may differ.
- Not all Jewish communities have the same stance on adopting children who aren’t of Jewish ancestry. In the event that you adopt a child with the plan of converting him or her to Judaism, you may need to be ready to explain to those around that your child will still be raised in the Jewish faith just as if you had added them to the family the “traditional” way.
What other resources are available to Jewish families pursuing adoption?
A Jewish adoption agency can be a great resource in itself, but there are others available to you as well.
- Your local Jewish Child and Family Services: The branch nearest you can offer guidance and support through the adoption process as well as connect you with Jewish adoption agencies.
- Jewish Children’s Adoption Network: Can help the Jewish adoption agency you work with to locate Jewish children in need of a home by playing matchmaker.
- International Association of Jewish Free Loans: Offers loans to Jewish families without charging interest.
- Hebrew Free Loan: A loan available to help pay for international or domestic adoption.
- Kveller: A website that gives advice to Jewish parents on various subjects, including adoption.