Like so many Jewish women, Anne Suissa pursued her education and career with gusto, earning degrees from Cornell and MIT and going on to manage 27 people at the U.S. Department of Transportation.I found the link to this article in another article about religion and adoption in the National Catholic Reporter. The writer says:
Suissa always knew she wanted marriage and family, but by the time she had found her husband and began trying to have a child, she was in her late 30s. Doctors told her the fertility treatments she had begun would not likely succeed.
Today, the Suissas are parents of two children from Guatemala, both of whom they converted to Judaism. Though their lives are full and rewarding, Suissa still wishes someone had encouraged her to start a family earlier.
In Jewish families, it’s “education, education, education,” she said. “But nobody told me that college might be a good time to meet a nice Jewish boy.”
The general track of Suissa’s life is not unusual among Jewish American women. As a group, they’re highly educated—a fact demographers say contributes to their relatively low fertility rates.
Still longing to be mothers, they often adopt, and frequently, their children are of Latino, Asian or African descent. And that, in turn, is slowly changing the face of American Judaism.
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“People don’t blink when they see these kids in synagogue today,” said Susan Abramson, the rabbi at Temple Shalom Emeth, a Reform synagogue in Burlington, Mass.
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“Judaism is a religion, not a race, and we are enriched by the diversity these kids bring,” said Jenna Greenberg, the associate cantor at Washington’s Adas Israel Conservative synagogue, who recently presided over the baby-naming ceremonies for two girls from Guatemala.
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Paul and Joanna Tumarkin of Tucson, Ariz., married in 1994, the same year Joanna earned a doctorate in ecology. Then in her mid-30s, she discovered earlyinto fertility treatments that chances of conceiving a child were poor. The couple turned to China, where they adopted two girls.
Adopting two orphans in need of a home, she and her husband said, would be a personal expression of “tikkun olam,” or the Jewish responsibility to help heal the world.
I don't have any beef with Catholics' attitudes toward adoption, but I am frequently frustrated by evangelical Christians who believe adoption is a way to "save" an orphan--both from poverty and the heresy of a non-Christian life. A number of evangelical churches has started adoption ministries to encourage families to adopt. Some do focus on adopting harder-to-place children, who desperately need homes.Hmm, I'm not sure that any religion gets a pass on the "save an orphan" meme -- look at the last line I quoted from the article about adoption and American Jews: "Adopting two orphans in need of a home, she and her husband said, would be a personal expression of “tikkun olam,” or the Jewish responsibility to help heal the world." And don't get me started about Catholics and adoption -- suffice it to say, that prohibitions on reproductive assistance often lead Catholics to adoption before they've really resolved their infertility issues. . . .
But most adoption specialists agree that an attitude of "orphan saving" is psychologically detrimental to adoptive children and later adults.