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Agencies that work with Jewish Parents

We’ve been struggling to expand our adoption outreach. Are there any agencies that work with and actually have placements with Jewish Parents? We are reform & have a blended/interfaith extended family as my husband converted. Thanks.


Although we are Catholic, we adopted through JFCS, a Jewish social service agency.  Do you have one near you?  Ours is in ma…the program is called adoption resources.  Good luck.

Posted by mamallama on Jan 17, 2015 at 10:12pm

try here for help

I don’t think public agencies can discriminate due to religion. Other private agencies will also help you including Jewish family and children’s services. If you are going international I suppose it would depend on the sending country.

Posted by Regina on Jan 17, 2015 at 11:56pm

Ironically, Nightlight Christian Adoptions does not discriminate on the basis of religion. Open Adoption and Family Services doesn’t either. Adoption Connection in San Francisco (not Kansas, there are two completely different agencies) is actually run by a Jewish cultural entity of some sort.

Good luck!

Posted by rredhead on Jan 18, 2015 at 5:36am

Adoption Connection in San Francisco will only work with parents who have a primary residence in the 19 county area in CA.

Posted by atempel on Jan 18, 2015 at 10:32pm

We filled out an application for JCAN but they didn’t seem too interested.

Posted by atempel on Jan 18, 2015 at 10:39pm

You can work with any agency. Most, if any, do not discriminate based on religion. There are certain things I might advise, like not being so overt about your religion (no matter what religion you are) in your profile. You aren’t hiding anything, but it’s more important to show holiday tradition without being so religious in nature. Make sense? This, coming from a Jewish adoptive mom turned adoption consultant. smile  Happy to talk to you more about it if you’d like.

Posted by RGAdopt on Jan 27, 2015 at 4:15am

The face of the Jewish people is changing, partly because of intermarriage, but also because of adoption.  Jews today—Reform, Conservative, and even Orthodox, as well as non-observant—are doing all kinds of adoption, and the children they are adopting come in all colors and have all kinds of backgrounds.

I happen to be a Jewish single Mom, long divorced, who adopted at age 51.  I chose to adopt from China because I loved Chinese culture, which shares many of the values of Judaism, and because, at the time, there were a lot of Chinese baby girls in need of homes.

Although I was raised in Reform Judaism, I converted Becca to Judaism in a Conservative mikvah; she was, however, named in a Reform synagogue.  She attended a Conservative Jewish preschool, and then attended a Conservative Jewish day school from kindergarten through seventh grade. 

One thing that was quite noticeable, especially in the day school, was that there were plenty of kids whose faces did not “match” their parents’.  Becca even found a friend who was Chinese and whose Mom by adoption was single and older than I am!  And, of course, there were biracial kids whose families were formed through intermarriage. 

There were plenty of Caucasian adopted kids, as well.  American Jews tend to marry late, often because they are waiting to finish their education and get their careers well established.  Many find that the “clock has run out”, when they try to conceive, so they turn to adoption.  But there are also Jewish families who adopt after divorce and remarriage, as well as Jewish singles who want to have children, even if they haven’t found the right person to marry.  Today, even Jewish gay and lesbian couples and singles are adopting; in Becca’s school, one of the students was the child of a lesbian rabbi and her female partner.

Most agencies, except for those few (mostly Evangelical) that require a statement of Christian faith, are very open to Jewish families.  However, in domestic newborn adoption, where it is typical for the pregnant women making adoption plans to choose the person/couple to parent their child, Jewish families may be passed over in favor of Christians.

Let’s face it.  A Christian young woman who may never have met a lot of Jews, and who grew up happily decorating Christmas trees and hunting for Easter eggs, may want a similar upbringing for her child.  As there are very few Jewish women in the U.S. who are making adoption plans, unless they have severely disabled children, Jewish families will be at a disadvantage, unless they are lucky enough to find a Christian woman who doesn’t really care about the religion of the people who adopt her baby, or who knows enough about Jews to realize that many of us make great parents.

By the way, even if children of Jewish women were available for adoption, Orthodox families might not choose to adopt them because of the laws of “mamzerut”, which literally means “bastardy”.  If a Jewish child was conceived in adultery or incest, he/she is considered a mamzer, or bastard, under traditional Jewish law.  (A child who was simply born out of wedlock is NOT considered a bastard.)  Under traditional law, a mamzer cannot become an Orthodox rabbi, cannot marry an observant Jew, and so on.  Some Orthodox Jewish families will not want to adopt a known mamzer or a Jewish child with an unknown history who might be a mamzer.  They would prefer to adopt a non-Jewish child, to whom the laws of mamzerut do not apply.

So while plenty of American Jews are doing domestic newborn adoptions through agencies that work with birthmothers, others are choosing alternative routes.  Some have gone the independent domestic adoption route, and used networking and advertising (where allowed) to identify an expectant mother, then hired a social worker for the homestudy and an attorney for help with finalization.  Many have gone international, while others have adopted from foster care.  Most foreign countries, by the way, do not have religious requirements for parents, although some do give preference to people of certain backgrounds.  As an example, Poland gives preference to Catholic families, but China, which is supposedly atheist (though it is deeply spiritual), is open to all religions except those that have practices that seem unsafe to them, such as using faith healers instead of doctors, or not allowing blood transfusions. 

My homestudy report was full of references to my religious beliefs and practices, and it did not hurt me in the least.  Although China’s political climate is anti-Israel, it doesn’t carry over into its adoption system.  In fact, my understanding is that many adoption officials actually like to see a homestudy report that mentions active practice of a religion, because they believe that it will help parents raise a child with respect for traditions and moral/ethical values.  On the other hand, there is no discrimination against atheists and agnostics either, and most homestudy social workers will ask families how they will raise a child with good values, in the absence of a God-centered religion, and record answers sensitively.

With regard to interfaith couples, or Jews by choice who have non-Jewish family members, homestudy workers generally have no problems as long as both members of a couple are in agreement with regard to what they will teach an adopted child about religion and how they will handle relatives who may not be supportive of a family’s religious choices.  And most countries won’t have a problem, either.

All in all, I would urge you to think about all of your options, and then do a lot of research.  You are bound to find a way to adopt the child of your dreams.  One place to start is a Jewish adoption agency, but frankly, many non-sectarian adoption agencies are perfectly fine with Jewish families.


Posted by sak9645 on Aug 06, 2015 at 6:30pm

By the way, I used a non-sectarian adoption agency that had both a domestic program and several international programs.  In our group of eight families traveling at the same time to complete adoptions from China, one other single woman and I were Jewish.  The agency was totally comfortable with Jewish clients.

International adoption is a great choice for Jewish families who may be having difficulties finding American pregnant women who are willing to place their babies with non-Christians, especially if the Jewish families live in an area with a vibrant Jewish community that is multi-racial/multi-ethnic. because of intermarriage, adoption, and conversion.  However, you do need to understand that you will not be able to adopt a newborn, and that most children coming home will be at least a year old, and more commonly 18-24 months old.  Also, you will need to be sure that you can commit to including in your life people of your child’s birth culture who can help him/her learn to appreciate his/her cultural heritage.

However, in many areas of the U.S., it is not particularly difficult for Jewish families to find pregnant women who are comfortable making plans to place their babies with them.  I would recommend that you look at agencies that work with pregnant women from large metropolitan areas that are religiously diverse, to have the best chance of finding a match. In such areas, it is more likely that a non-Jewish woman will meet Jewish people in her everyday life, learn some basics about Jewish beliefs and holidays, and so on.  Such knowledge can help a women develop a comfort level with placing her baby in a Jewish home.


Posted by sak9645 on Oct 27, 2015 at 3:04pm

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