Thursday, March 23, 2017

Follow-Up

I spoke to Arnie's three contacts.

Sharona and Bat-Chen said that the fostering system is through the Welfare Department and therefore whatever rules we came across when applying to adopt would also be applicable when applying to foster. And therefore that they can't help us, and good luck.

Maybe I didn't explain well enough that what I'm looking for is something OUTSIDE of the fostering/welfare system.

I just got off the phone with Gitit and I told her that we would like to be an option for children who need to be removed from their homes in emergency situations. She reiterated that any kind of fostering has to go through the system. But she works (worked?) with a home for at-risk children from which they send children to משפחות אורחות (host families) every so often and that she would look into finding us a child to host. She said, however, that she has three children and she can't imagine how we with five have the energy or desire to take in another. She seemed skeptical and said it is a complicated process and that it might not be the best for our current children and that sometimes the experiences are downright unpleasant.

I told her we want to try.

It's something. And as Arnie says, there are probably all kinds of other off-the-beaten-track options like this that we can find if we just keep looking.
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I am still waiting for Noa to get me the contact info for the woman she knows. And beH one day next week I will walk into Summit and see what they say.
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My friend Minette also suggested that I try to think of other ways to put my love out into the world. She brought up the idea that I have visisted several times of volunteering with Chibuk Rishon to hold preemies in the hospital who have no one to hold them. I have reached out to Chibuk Rishon once or twice in the past and been told that a) it requires a very serious time commitment, which I was not able to make at the time, and b) they already have more than enough volunteers and are not recruiting more.

I have more time now that my kids are older (and with their father 2-3 days a week). Even if they're not recruiting volunteers right now, maybe there is a list I can get onto and there would be a slot available one day.

Being in that situation also seems like it would be a good way to "slip in" as a home for a baby that ends up suddenly needing one. So this seems like it would be a good option in terms of donating my time and finding a place to pour out the love that I feel I need to give, and also in terms of my goal of some day beH becoming a foster or adoptive parent.

I emailed Chibuk Rishon (office@tinokot.org.il) and am waiting to hear what they have to say.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Exploring Alternatives

I have decided than in addition to getting letters about our state of health and submitting them to Shani at Shahar, I will also:

1) Walk into Summit in Talpiyot and sit down with someone there and plead my case. I will beH do this one afternoon next week. Maaseh Choshev 4 / 02-563-1350

2) Talk to Niva Ament, an acquaintance of Noa Choritz's, and see if she can help me. (I'm waiting for Noa to get me her contact info.)

3) Explore the option of unofficial fostering. I asked Arnie for leads in this direction and so far he has put me in touch with:

    a) Gitit of Beit Elazraki

    b) Bat-Chen of the Welfare department in Gadera

    c) Sharona Yosef, recently retired head of social work in  Shlomi

I am waiting for emails from Gitit and Bat-Chen. I only have a phone number for Sharona - I will call her when I get up the nerve.

It feels good to have a plan.

Moving Forward - Because We Will Not Be Stopped

This morning I called an organization called Shahar and spoke to a woman named Shani. I told her that we are interested in becoming a foster family. I told her that we had met with השירות למען הילד about adopting and were told that we were not eligible and to ask about whether fostering might be an option for us. I told her that we do not have clean bills of health and asked whether that would be an issue for the fostering system.

Shani said that yes, chances are it would be an issue and chances are we would not be accepted.

But this time I pushed.

I said to her we have five thriving children, we can prove that we are fit parents. If a child desperately needs a home, would they really not be sent to us, despite the fact that we have a perfectly warm and loving home for them, just because we have a health history that is not even relevant today?

Shani said that maybe, if we get letters from our doctors saying that we are healthy and fit to raise a foster child, that we could get permission to go ahead with the application process.
(She said to get the letters and fax them to her at 077-933-1340.)

I am clinging to this slim hope. That IF both of our doctors will agree to write this letter, then MAYBE the fostering system will agree to let us apply.

I wrote to my doctor to request a letter. I am waiting to hear what he says before approaching Ophir's doctor.

In the meantime I am exploring other options. Just like when Meital told us we couldn't adopt but maybe we could foster, at least I had something to hope for. I am looking for something else to hope for.

I don't think this can be the end of the road for us. We so much want to help a child/ren out there and there is so great a need. It can't be that they will refuse us. There must be some child, somewhere, that we can help.

We will continue to look for him/her until we find him/her.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Hitting a Wall

This afternoon we had our initial meeting with השירות למען הילד. We went to their offices in Jerusalem and met with a woman named Meital.

She asked us to introduce ourselves - our names, ages, and what we do. She wrote down everything we said. Then she asked us why we want to adopt and she wrote down our answers to this too. I said that adopting has always been a dream of mine, and I feel I have a warm and loving home to offer to a child who needs one. Ophir said that he wants to change the world and as an introvert, he doesn't feel really capable of going out into the world and making a big change so the way he feels he can change the world is in his own home.

She also asked us what kind of child we are looking for. I said that ideally I'd like a baby but I know that the chances of getting a baby are slim. But that I've heard that it works best if the child you adopt is younger than your youngest child - in terms of him/her integrating into the family - and that right now our youngest is 7 so under 7 would be best.

Meital then told us what they are looking for in adoptive parents.
One of the first things she said was that they need to have an absolutely clean ("חלק") bill of health, both physically and psychologically.

Neither Ophir nor I have a clean bill of health.

We reviewed our histories with MEital and she told us that there was no point continuing with the process because we would ultimately be rejected. She said these kids have so much in their backgrounds already that it is not fair to put them with adoptive parents who are not 100% healthy and who might for any reason have issues taking care of them at any point in the future.

I cried.

But I took it in stride.

I had wanted a sign about whether this was something our family should take on or not. And this was a sign, as clear as day, that G-d does not want us continuing on this journey.

That does not mean, however, that I am done, or that I will give up so easily.

Meital suggested we look into fostering and see if they have the same rules.

This is not the end of the road for us. We will try to foster. Fostering might even be a better option for us, because as Meital said, it is pretty much impossible for us to adopt a baby because we already have kids and babies are reserved for couples who have no kids. If we foster, there is a chance of getting a baby.

If fostering is not an option for us either, we will find another way to change the world.

Here I go, crying again.

Sunday, February 5, 2017

The First Step

In December 2016, we took the plunge and printed out the adoption application form,

In addition to filling out the form, which asked us about our marriage, our previous marriages, information on our children from this and previous marriages, our health, our education, our work, our home, and our incomes (whew!), we also had to include:

Copies of our ID (teudot zehut)

Copy of our marriage license
Copies of our last three pay stubs from our places of employment

Three character references
A hand-written history of each of our lives (תולדות חיים)
A photograph of our family.

This is the photo we chose to include:





It took us some time to gather everything that was needed, but on February 2, 2017, we submitted the forms to השרות למען הילד - מחוז ירושלים - רח ירמיהו 39.

Ophir brought in the paperwork in person, to be sure it arrived in the hands of the right person. He was told that a social worker would get back to us within two weeks. We are so excited and nervous!