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Adoption

Betty Jean Lifton, 1926 - 2010

One of the many defining things that BJ was —
was adopted.
And we all know
— those of us who are adopted ones —
that the world infantilizes us and constantly
refers to us as ‘adopted children’
Even when we are 30, 40, 50, 70 and on.
BJ was “an adopted child” and it is fitting that she be referred to that way,
because she kept a clear and present focus on children,
on children’s issues, and on children’s literature.
I met BJ in 1975.

Miriam Belsky Solotaroff

Miriam Belsky Solotaroff made headlines in 1937 when she “rocked the school board” of New York for insisting on maternity leave to care for an adopted baby, a privilege only granted to biological mothers at the time.

Annette Baran, 1927 - 2010

It is of course impossible to say a few words about Annette and it is impossible to separate her work from herself.

I met Annette in 1978.  

She had written Adoption Triangle, and I was finishing a Master’s Degree, and as an adopted person, my aim was to get people/professionals to understand us a little better.  

Annette did!!   

I called her…

The Adoption and Jewish Identity Project

Dr. Jayne Guberman felt two things when her adopted daughter announced at a pre-Bat Mitzvah family education program eight years ago, “I don’t know how I feel about being Jewish.” Guberman felt it was incredibly courageous of her daughter to share this in public. She also felt very alone as an adoptive parent in the Jewish community.

Never too late to become a Jewish mother

Is 73 too old to become a first-time mother? Not for the trailblazing Marylin Berger, who is now raising an 8 year old boy from Ethiopa.

Doing the "work" of identity

"Who am I, anyway?" That's a question most of us ask at various points throughout our lives -- usually most noisily as adolescents but with piercing power as we grow older, too.

Justine Wise Polier

Justine Wise Polier espoused an activist concept of the law and a rehabilitative rather than a punitive model of judicial process, she pioneered the establishment of mental health, educational, and other rehabilitative services for troubled children. She also took a leading role in opposing racial and religious discrimination in public and private facilities.

Amelia Greenwald

As an international public health nurse during World War I and between the wars, Amelia Greenwald was a leader in the field of public health. She was born in Gainesville, Alabama, on March 1, 1881, to Joseph Greenwald (a grain dealer and mayor) and Elisha (Elise Haas) Greenwald, German Jewish immigrants who married in Memphis, Tennessee. She was the youngest of eight children: Isaac, Carrie, Jake, Morris, Sylvester, Julian, and Isadore. On her father’s knee, Greenwald listened to stories of the Confederate nurses during the Civil War and knew that she wanted to became a trained nurse.

Helen Lehman Buttenwieser

A distinguished attorney who specialized in adoption and foster care issues and represented child welfare agencies and the children under their care, Helen Lehman Buttenwieser was born on October 8, 1905, and grew up in a Jewish family prominent in New York banking and philanthropic circles.

Funny, You Don't *Look* Jewish...

Last week’s New York Times article “Journey from a Chinese Orphanage to a Jewish Rite of Passage” got me thinking more about the complexities of reconciling an adoptive Jewish identity with a non-Jewish biological heritage. The article follows the story of a Chinese girl named Cece adopted by a lesbian couple in the early 1990s when China first opened its doors to international adoption. About three weeks ago, Cece became a Bat Mitvah, one of the first Chinese adoptees of her cohort to do so.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Adoption." (Viewed on December 20, 2014) <http://jwa.org/tags/adoption>.

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