Adoption and D-I-Y Motherhood

Alternative family formation, infertility, adoptees, and those pregnant, unmarried Jewish women who, in the pre-Roe v. Wade years, relinquished their newborns for adoption.

This curated collection is made possible with the generous support of the Sunny and Abe Rosenberg Foundation.

Miriam’s Cup
Winter 2011-2012
by Rabbi Susan Schnur
A Ritual for Adoptive Mothers of Chinese Daughters

Off and Running: A New Film About Adoption and Identity
Lilith talks to filmmaker Nicole Opper, Spring 2010
The searching of Avery Klein-Cloud, an African-American teenager adopted into an interracial Jewish lesbian family.

Jewish Moms, Chinese Daughters, by Merri Rosenberg, Spring 2006. (Download the PDF.)
The first wave of these adopted Chinese daughters prepares for bat mitzvah. Read how Jewish-Chinese girls celebrate.

A Good Egg: The Donor’s Story
“Rebecca Greenberg” talks to Esther D. Kustanowitz, Fall 2004.
She just gave birth to her own child. Now, a Jewish woman who once donated her eggs to an infertile couple looks back on her extraordinary choice.

Polar Region, Winter 2002-03. (Download the PDF.)
A short story by Erika Dreifus.

Jewish Women’s Eggs: A Hot Commodity in the IVF Marketplace,
by Susan Weidman Schneider, Fall 2001. (Download the PDF.)
Ads in college papers invite Jewish women to become egg donors – for compensation up to $50,000! The assumptions behind the ads (infertile Jewish women seek eggs from younger versions of themselves), the risks to donors and the complex emotions generated by new reproductive possibilities. Eleanor J. Bader on buying and selling: the metaphors of assisted reproduction.

Sarah’s Laugh: How Infertile Women Deal, Summer 1998. (Download the PDF.)
Karen Propp
on doing time in a support group.

King Solomon’s Knife: A Feminist Midrash about Adoption, Summer 1998.
(Download the PDF.)
Diane Cole asks, “Who’s the real mother?” and transforms Solomon’s tale into one of healing.

Jewish Adoptions: Obstacles and Solutions, Summer 1998. (Download the PDF.)
Michele Kriegman sets forth new guidelines for how to adopt ethically.

Putting Jewish Wombs to Work: Israelis Confront New Reproductive Technologies,
Summer 1998. (Download the PDF.)
Susan Martha Kahn on pronatalism in Israel and why right-wing Orthodox rabbis have figured out how to make surrogate motherhood kosher.

The New Infertility, Spring 1988. (Download the PDF.)
In “Wanting Babies,” Shirley Frank examines what has changed in women’s lives since she wrote about “The Population Panic” in Lilith in 1980. In “Making Babies,” Sara Nelson reports on a woman who bore a child for an infertile couple. Arlene Agus tells what Jewish law says about this. In “Getting Babies,” Penina and Steve Adelman discuss the choices they made. A male perspective on infertility from Rabbi Michael Gold.

Sex and Shame in a Different Era

When abortion was unsafe and illegal, an out-of-wedlock pregnancy meant ruin. Nice Jewish girls went into hiding and gave the baby up for adoption. Here are some of their stories.

An “Illegitimate” Daughter Tells Her Birth Mother’s Story, Michele Kriegman. (Download the PDF.) Plus… Oregon’s legislation on “open” adoption, and Roseanne Barr reunites with the baby she gave up.

Secrets and Lies: The “Out-of-Wedlock” Son Finds Them Out, by David Siff. (Download the PDF.)

“Get Rid of the Baby. Let’s Go Home.” by Campbell Armstrong.(Download the PDF.)