Child Adoption

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    How prevalent is child adoption in the frum community? Are there any frum-born children that are made available for adoption? Is there a lot of adoption by frum parents?

    Where do frum parents who adopt get the children from? Are they typically Jewish born children? If not, what are the halachas pertaining to them being/becoming Jewish?

    And how does Kibud Av V’Eim work for an adopted child? Does he have Kibud Av V’Eim obligations to his birth parents (assuming they are Jewish)? To his adopted parents?

    And must the child be made aware who his birth parents are, to avoid marrying a birth-sibling. (Much like the halachas of having wives in different cities is prohibited to avoid the problem of siblings marrying each other.)


    I had a girl in my elementary class that was adopted at birth and never told about it. when we finished high school her parents told her and she was also told that she was never really Jewish. Im not sure why the parents didn’t give her a choice at her bas mitzva but they just wanted to keep it a secret from her (they were baalei teshuva too). she went back to her roots and is not Jewish now. so sad


    There is a dispute among poskim as to whether yichud is permissible between a parent and adopted child of the opposite gender over age 6 (?). Most poskim say no, but Rav Moshe is mattir.


    Are you asking out of curiosity or do you have a situation you want to investigate. Just trying to bring to your attention that it is quite possible that there are people here who are adopted or who have adopted so if you are just curious, that might not be a good enough reason to run this thread.

    Feif Un

    shlishi: There are some cases where Jewish children are available for adoption, but they are very few. Most times, when a Jewish couple adopts someone, it is a non-Jewish baby. They will usually do a geirus as soon as possible. At bar/bat mitzvah, the child has to decide whether they want to stay Jewish or not.

    I heard of one boy who, at bar mitzvah, said he didn’t want to stay Jewish. He said he believed in the Torah, but didn’t want to be a Jew. He keeps the 7 mitzvos b’nei Noach, and is a good person. He said, why would I want all these rules when I can be a good person and get olam haba as a non-Jew?

    golden mom

    i know sb who looked into it yrs ago and he was told (everybody has to ask their rav..) thats its better to adopt a guyish baby then a jewish cuz it is very hard to prove the child is not a mamzer


    Is it better to allow a jewish child (who may or may not be a mamzer) to be raised as a non-jew?


    An adopted child is still obligated in Kibud Av V’Eim to his Jewish biological parents.

    As far as their Jewish status prior to their Bar or Bas Mitzvah, I believe they are somehow Jewish but forget the reasoning. (But they need to reaffirm it at their Bar Mitzvah.)


    Depot, the reason is because we assume its a zchus (plus) for them to be jewish and ???? ?? ???? ??? ????? unless they grow up and tell us otherwise.


    A child is megayer when they are adopted, and as they are raised Jewish and learn and practice Torah and Mitzvos and grow up as Jews they just have to reaffirm that they wish to be Yiddin at their Bas Mitzva / Bar Mitzva respectively. That is when the child gets the choice. If they choose to be Jewish they remain Jewish, if at the time when they take on the mitzvos and chovos on their own shoulders and their parents are basically “patur”, they choose NOT to be Jewish and be responsible for Torah and mitzvos, then that is their choice and they do not continue to be Yiddin.


    There’s a wonderful organization that helps place Jewish children in Jewish homes. It’s the Jewish Children’s Adoption Network, run by Steve and Vicki Krauss of Denver. It’s true that it’s quite rare for healthy Jewish infants to be available for adoption, but there are children who are older or have health issues. When we were looking to adopt, we (of course) asked a posek whether we should seek to adopt Jewish children, and we were told that we should.

    It’s probably extremely rare for healthy children of frum parents to be adopted by non-family members, but I have heard of one case. In the past, in some segments of the frum community, children with disabilities may have been given up for adoption, but I think that’s less prevalent now.


    Barren couples on waiting lists can expect it to take somewhere like 5 YEARS to adopt a jewish baby! Anyone who adopts before is considered lucky! This is what I heard, can not confirm though.


    what about yichud issues when the kid gets older?


    BaalHabooze, that’s not very helpful. As I said, there aren’t a lot of healthy Jewish infants waiting to be adopted, but there are Jewish children who are available.

    When we were starting on the process, we considered what we could deal with. That’s each couple’s decision. Some may decide that they only want healthy infants, some may be willing to take children with certain types of disabilities but not others, and others may take toddlers or even older kids. If you’re considering the latter, I suggest you read Adopting the Older Child by Claudia Jewett Jarrett.


    At what age do parents usually tell a child that he is adopted? And what kind of reactions can be anticipated?


    Wow, adorable, that sounds like one crazy and very sad story.


    Is there an actual halachic basis for adopting a child? In common law an adopted child has all of the perogatives of a natural child, I.E. he has inheritance and all other rights inhering to a natural child. I do not think that there is any provision for such in halacha, but I may be wrong.


    RK: If your question is whether it is halachicly permissible to adopt, I can’t see any reason why not. If your question is whether adopting has an effect in halacha, i.e. is the adopted parent halachicly considered a parent, I don’t think it does.


    There is certainly precedent in Chazal for raising an orphan. Abaye was raised by his uncle. The word “adopt” in legal usage implies legal status which I don’t think is the halacha. Abaye did not inherit from Rabbah bar Nachmeni.


    soliek: Our posek told us that yichud was not an issue. If you’ve read The Bamboo Cradle, their posek said is was an issue.

    tickle toe eitus: We told our kids from the beginning. Adoption should be presented as just another way to build a family, not as something exceptional. It’s very bad for adoptees to find out later, especially when they find out from somebody other than their parents.


    thats a great question
    if you want to know more what its like to be frum and adopted please visit
    where I am starting a network for frum adoptees

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