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Adopting Our Daughters

Adopting Our Daughters

In the footsteps of Moses

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Rabbi Bruk with his wife Chavie and their two daughters.
Rabbi Bruk with his wife Chavie and their two daughters.

Growing up, I enjoyed over one hundred first cousins, and loved our hectic family gatherings. Jewish tradition encourages having children, many children. The first commandment of the Torah (Bible) is “Be fruitful and multiply.” We consider every child to be of infinite value and a source of immense blessings. Having more than one or two children has its burdensome challenges, but we are taught that it’s absolutely worth it.

On March 22, 2006, I stood under the gorgeous Texas sky, mere moments before placing the ring on my beautiful bride Chavie’s finger, and I was dreaming. With my eyes closed and my thoughts heavenbound, I prayed and hoped that we too would merit G‑d’s blessings and—like our friends and almost every other young Orthodox Jewish couple—together raise our very own family, a home in which for the next twenty years dirty diapers, crying, and of course lots of smiles is the way of life.

From a medical standpoint it would be impossible for us to bear childrenEvidently, it’s not always so simple.

After consulting with world-renowned infertility specialists, and after various medical procedures, we were informed in June of 2008 that from a medical standpoint it would be impossible for us to bear children. While the news was devastating, we remained strong and—guided by the teaching of our mentor Rabbi Menachem Schneerson, of blessed memory—were determined to turn this unfortunate situation into a blessing.

If one hasn’t experienced adoption, it’s hard to appreciate the gift that it is. It’s a heavenly experience, where one feels G‑d’s guidance along every step of the way.

On Tuesday, November 10, 2009, our first angel, Chaya, came into our life. She was born in Russia, nine weeks premature; we met her in New Jersey, embraced her, and haven’t stopped smiling since. Less than one year later, on October 3, 2010, we welcomed our second baby, Zeesy—born in the U.S.A.—who has added even more joy to our life. Their love for each other is overflowing, despite the occasional fight over a toy; they share a bedroom, and really can’t get enough of each other.

As a rabbi who believes in the absolute truth of the Torah, it’s this ancient wisdom that gives me insight regarding all matters of life, including adoption. Less is more, and the few tidbits shared by the Torah regarding adoption are extremely powerful and inspirational.

Moses and Esther are two figures in the Torah who were adopted. In 1393 BCE, when the wicked Pharaoh, king of the Egyptian empire, decreed that all Jewish male babies are to be drowned in the Nile River, his very own daughter Bityah found a hidden newborn Jewish boy. She rescued him, adopted him, raised him in Pharaoh’s palace, and even named him Moshe (Moses)! Similarly, in the book of Esther, we read about Mordechai adopting his young cousin Esther in 402 BCE, raising her, caring for her—and eventually she goes on to become the queen of Persia, who saved the day in the miraculous story of Purim.

While my original dream only included the biological option for family building, G‑d’s ways are mysterious and vastSo, while my original dream only included the biological option for family building, G‑d’s ways are mysterious and vast. G‑d has a plan for every couple: for biological parents it includes birth pangs, hormonal changes and physical recovery, and for adoptive parents it’s the test of patience, the worry of the unknown and the drastic emotional roller coaster. Most couples are given G‑d’s natural blessings; it’s only certain ones whom G‑d gifts with the even loftier, perhaps supernatural blessing of adoption.

Yes, Chavie and I still hope and pray every day for medical advancements that will gift us with biological children; why not try that avenue as well? But it takes a lot more than DNA to raise a beautiful family. Chavie and I know full well that adoption has its rough moments, but it’s a unique gift, saved for only a select few, who I believe are handpicked by G‑d for this special task.

Chaya and Zeesy bring us joy and blessing 24/7, and we thank G‑d every day not only for bringing them to us, but for doing so with miracles upon miracles.

Rabbi Chaim Bruk serves as director and spiritual leader of Chabad Lubavitch of Montana.
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Ryvka Vancouver BC September 17, 2014

Chavi,
It was such an emotional experience for me to see you during the summer!
I was shocked I even remembered how you looked, after all, we haven't seen each other for 10 years!
Seeing you with your kids, I was truly touched. I saw how devoted you are to them, how loving and dedicated. The entire time, I was observing you bewildered. You were giving 100% of your attention to your children, with what looked to me like total adoration.
I was a little speechless from the entire experience. I knew, from your speech at the kinus a few years ago, that you had adopted children, but seeing you with them was a different reality.
Yeshar koach Ina job so well done, lots of brachos, and a ksiva vachasima Tova. Reply

Anonymous nj September 16, 2014

This is so uplifting and special. We were only blessed with one child and have been trying to have more. It's not easy being that my child who is 6 now wants a sibling so badly. Your story truly brings light to this difficult journey. Much blessings to u!!! Reply

Amy Sorter Texas September 16, 2014

I know your joy Thank you, Rabbi. We are also adoptive parents and much like you, felt Hashem's presence throughout the process. The utter devastation of being unable to conceive biologically led to our beautiful son. That son will soon be 18, and I consider myself blessed to be his mom. Reply

Anonymous September 16, 2014

Your story is so heartwarming. May Hashem bless you both in your endeavors of continuing to grow a family and continued nachas. Reply

Peter. Vink. De Grathios Bateau Bay, Australia via chabadic.com August 27, 2013

Adoption That is s lovely story my birthday is on November 10 Reply

Brooke NY via jewishlarchmont.com March 11, 2013

Adoption My parents adopted my second sister after not being able to conceive for a number of years. My mother always says that without my sister the rest of us would not be here. My parents were able to have 4 more children afterwards. We are 6 sisters. Reply

Anonymous Maricopa, AZ USA September 24, 2012

infertility It has long been known, but not shared well, that the female has to be alkaline and not acid for fertilization to take place. Researching this on one's own can bring much knowledge and enlightenment regarding the magic of conception. All the best! From a biological as well as adoptive mother. Reply

Anonymous September 19, 2012

Adoption is full of wonderful surprises Many decades ago we started adopting and didn't stop until we had a total of eight. Each and every one has been a blessing. They came to us at all ages. One boy was 15 when he came to us, another, a girl came to us when she was 11. One set of brother and sister came to us first as foster children, were sent back to their mother and six months later returned to us, this time for good. In all we adopted three sets of siblings. We didn't have the heart to break up children who felt they only had each other in their lives. Ours was the crazy house where all the neighborhood kids gathered because there was always something fun happening. The funny thing was, we were also the house that didn't have the fancy toys or even a TV. What we had was time for our children. We rode bikes, surfed, hiked, sailed, read, played board games, made up skits and generally loved being together. We didn't set out to adopt, it just sort of happened. We thank G-d that it did. We've all been blessed with love. Reply

Michal Miami, FL via chabadmiami.com September 19, 2012

Adoption Blood is not the only determinative for a family...love is. We end up where we are supposed to be. Easier said than done...it is G-d who makes the choice.

I believe adopted children are special...because they are so desired! Reply

Anonymous oceanside, ny via bachyouth.com September 17, 2012

It makes me very happy to hear your story; blesing to you and your family. Reply

Anonymous sf, usa September 16, 2012

adoption Blessings to your family !
Shana Tova!
May you merit to have more children! to love ! Reply

Greggs bozeman, montana September 14, 2012

Beautiful family We were very happy to see Rabbi Bruk & Chavie & precious daughters on Chabad.org. This beautiful family brings much joy & happiness & inspiration to all of us in Montana.

Greggs Reply

Anna Arlington, tx September 12, 2012

Understand My husband and I sought out other alternatives as well. We were fortunate that I V F was available to us. We were only blessed with one child. He is truly a gift and a joy from above. I thank Hashem every day for this wonderful miracle. Reply

Fruma Delray Beach, FL September 11, 2012

Adopting My late husband and I adopted our daughter 35 years ago.. My only sorrow here is that we never had enough money thereafter to adopt any more. When she was in first grade, another child told her he had found out that he was adopted and felt he really didn't belong. She was amazed and told him, "But Michael, don't you know what adopted means? It means they really, really wanted you! They didn't have to take you, like all those parents who didn't really want to be parents. They had a choice, and they chose you!" I was terribly proud of her, her understandidng and her compassion. And every word of this was absolutely true. Reply

janet vazquez Orlando, Florida September 11, 2012

adoption It's a blessing that comes from the Throne of the Living G-d. I have 2 sisters adoptive girls, and another boy. If we don't do it, who will? This is our calliing to teach our children the Holy Ways of G-d. They are 8,7 and the boy is 3 and the girls know the Bible. AMazing!

Reply

Malka WLAF, IN September 11, 2012

Families Come Together Beautiful article, Chaim!

Hashem blessed my husband and me with four biological sons. Each was born by C-section, the fourth when I was 35 years of age. Our OB said that to attempt to have another would be a very risky situation.

That's fine. We knew that Hashem brought families together in many different ways. Avigael Shifra (Sophie) came to us from Archangelsk, Russia, when she was 17 months old. She's now 16!

Thank you, Hashem, for your blessings. Reply

Anonymous melbourne, australia September 11, 2012

Hope Beautifull article thks for posting one never knows when one could be in this situation.Thank you for posting.
Wishing you all a ksiva vchasima tova and a gut gebentched yor. Reply

DRB RPB, FLA September 11, 2012

Abundant Blessings Fortunate children to have such blessed parents! May all of you enjoy L Shana Tova and many more blessings! DRB Reply

Anonymous Los (t) Angeles, CA September 11, 2012

Touched Finally........the voice of beauty and reason all in one. Much luck and love to your family. Reply

Rosie Rakocy Fort Walton Beach, FL September 11, 2012

Wonderful Yes, adopting children is a Blessing from G-d. As you know, we have 4 adopted children and 2 biological children. They all are loved the same and there is no difference. You are blessed. Reply

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