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Far from mine: Parents who gave their children up for adoption reveal the pain - and lack of support | Israel Hayom

2023-06-08T09:33:00.897Z

Highlights: Thousands of biological parents who have been forced to give their children up for adoption are legally prevented from contacting them. They feel that the welfare services ignored their needs and did not offer support for their plight. Of the approximately NIS 970 million earmarked in 2021 for the care of children removed from their homes and for the rehabilitation of their parents, only two percent were allocated to parents. Ministry of Social Affairs: "Changes in the Adoption Law are currently being examined, including the possibility of transferring information to biological parents about an adult adoptee"


Thousands of biological parents who have been forced over the years to give their children up for adoption are legally prevented from contacting them or finding out what happened to them • Alongside the longing, regret and dream of meeting, they feel that the welfare services ignored their needs and did not offer support for their plight • The data do not lie: Of the approximately NIS 970 million earmarked in 2021 for the care of children removed from their homes and for the rehabilitation of their parents, only two percent were allocated to parents • Ministry of Social Affairs: "Changes in the Adoption Law are currently being examined, including the possibility of transferring information to biological parents about an adult adoptee."


When G. talks about the painful episode in her life, her voice sobs and cries out. She is a 57-year-old cancer patient and a resident of Tirat Carmel. In her early youth, she became pregnant from a rape she had undergone, and due to her difficulties, she was forced to give up the baby she gave birth to for adoption. Now a mother of two and grandmother to grandchildren, she wants to meet her daughter, whom she separated from decades ago. Praying that she will be able to fulfill her big dream - before the disease overwhelms her.

She grew up in a conservative family in Haifa. In 1982, at the age of 16, she became pregnant. When her stomach began to bulge, her father kicked her out of the house, fearing the reactions of the environment and "shame." She spent her pregnancy at the Amirim daycare center in Jerusalem, an institution that accepted pregnant young women with difficult backstories, until birth. According to G., already during her time at the daycare center, which closed at the turn of the millennium, she experienced increasing pressure from social workers to give her daughter up for adoption immediately after she was born.

The baby was born at Bikur Cholim Hospital in the capital. "For three days she was in my hands, and I even gave her a name - Ortal. I was young and groggy. I didn't understand exactly what was going on with me. Perhaps without understanding too much, I signed consent papers to give her up for adoption."

When she returned home, without her daughter, G. married, on the family's orders, a man from Eilat. "It wasn't good for me, and two days after the wedding I fled back to my parents' house in Haifa. After many lives and upheavals, at the age of 18 I met a good person who supported me, and together we had two children."

According to G., over the years, she has not stopped turning to the Child Welfare Service at the Ministry of Social Affairs, which handles adoption matters, begging for some kind of sign of life from her daughter. "I left her letters in the adoption file, with pictures and updates about my life. I have shared with her over the years about my children who were born and my grandchildren. But the service said she never approached them to open her adoption file. I find it hard to believe and accept this.

"I've heard of other cases in the Child Welfare Service where letters and pictures never reached their destination. I feel, like other mothers in my situation, who never saw me as worthy of being treated humanely in the equation. Someone who deserves to receive fragments of information about her daughter.

"Despite my condition, I have never received support from the state. No psychological treatments, no rent assistance, nothing. Throughout the years, I felt like I hadn't been seen at all."

Her daughter is supposed to be 41 now, but G. knows nothing about her. "Maybe she's a mother herself, and I guess her adoptive parents gave her a different name. Today I'm a sick person, and it's very hard for me. I beg welfare to initiate an appeal to her, to tell her about me, to forward her pictures and letters of mine. That at least I'll see her once in my life—before it's too late."

Don't judge me

G. is just one of thousands of biological mothers who, due to a difficult life story, were forced to sign an agreement to give their children up for adoption, and since then have lived with constant longing, a sense of missed opportunity and maternal curiosity about their fate. Mothers who feel that the State of Israel has neglected them physically, financially and emotionally, and has not done enough to support them during their pregnancy – and afterward. They argue that if they had received such support, chances are they would have raised the child on their own instead of having to give him up for adoption.

According to the "Permanent Home" program, the official policy of the Ministry of Social Affairs, in any case where a child is removed from the home of his biological parents due to difficulties, it is preferable to return him to the parents' home after they undergo rehabilitation. If this is not possible, he should be sent for adoption in a foster family. The policy is intended to offer the child a permanent and beneficial growth environment as much as possible, in the company of the parents who brought him into the world. However, the data show that in practice, only 10 per cent of children in out-of-home frameworks eventually return to their biological parents' homes.

G.: "I left my daughter letters in the adoption file, with pictures and updates about my life, but welfare officials claimed that she never asked to open the file. I find it hard to believe. I feel like I've never been seen as someone worthy of being treated humanely in the equation, someone worthy of shards of information."

Israel currently registers fewer than 100 adoption cases a year – half the number in the 60s. The adoption procedure customary in Israel is permanent, and it is also known as "closed adoption". This procedure does not allow the biological mother any right to contact her adopted child - even after he has grown up and reached the age of 18. Under the Adoption of Children Law, enacted in Israel in 1960, the right to contact the biological parent is reserved only for the adopted child. Although there are cases in which adoptive families maintain consensual "open adoption" – one that deprives the biological parents of any legal right to the child, but leaves them with the right to maintain contact with the child and keep up to date with the adoptive family throughout his life, these cases are considered rare.

Over the years, the status of women in Israel who were forced to give their child up for adoption due to financial difficulties has not changed significantly. The latest State Comptroller's report, published last month, revealed that 91 per cent of all mothers whose children were removed from home in 2017 did not participate in any rehabilitation programs funded by the Ministry of Social Affairs. The numbers are staggering: out of a budget of about NIS 970 million in 2021, earmarked for caring for children removed from their homes and rehabilitating their parents, only 2 per cent was allocated for parental rehabilitation.

Miri Cohen (55), a resident of Beit Shemesh, is a single mother of three children from her first marriage. When she was 35, she gave birth to another son, who was adopted, whom she named Matan. Today she makes a living by working as a domestic worker, and never stops thinking about her son, who is supposed to be a 20-year-old soldier.

"By the time I divorced, I was already a mother of three, and I sank into a bad mental and financial situation. In those days I knew someone - from whom I got pregnant with Matan. As soon as it became known that I was pregnant, the father did not want to acknowledge the child and disappeared. In fact, there was no one to give me financial support during and after pregnancy."

Didn't social services help you?

"They didn't mobilize to get me back on my feet, and ignored my basic requests under the pretext that 'there is no budget,' despite repeated pleas. I lived only on the alimony I got from my ex-wife, 2,000 shekels a month. It was terrible: one day there was no running water in the house, one day there was no electricity. One day there is something to eat, one day there is not. When I came to relief and said, 'I have no way to give medicine to the child,' 'I have nothing to give him to eat,' they were ignored. I was in a daily battle for survival, but they didn't look at me. I probably wasn't important enough to them.

"After I gave birth to Matan, a social worker came to the hospital and asked to take him for adoption. I flatly refused. Faced with the situation, my brother offered to take the baby into foster care, but it didn't last. At the age of one, Matan was returned to me, but the welfare services claimed that 'it is not appropriate to shake the child in this way.' There was a welfare meeting, with many professionals, and they convinced me there that for the child's best interest, it would be better for him to be taken for adoption. I signed the agreement with a torn heart, I just had no financial choice. I gave up.

"Since then, for more than 18 years, I have been waiting with a beating heart for a sign of life from him. Unfortunately, I didn't know at the time that there was even a possibility of open adoption, and welfare didn't bother to explain it to me. In my opinion, they should have recommended this path to me."

Miri Cohen: "If I had received emotional and financial support from the state, I might have raised my son with dignity. Do you think a mother is happy to give up her child? I fought tooth and nail not to put him up for adoption. Unfortunately, I had nothing to give him to eat. There wasn't even Materna."

Matan opened his adoption file?

"I keep going to the welfare office, inquiring, asking and trying to understand whether he opened it or not. Have they changed his name since then? They don't agree to say a word to me. They wave me off claiming they don't know. I put letters, up-to-date photos in his adoption file, attached my phone number – and so far nothing."

Maybe he doesn't want to know who his biological mother is?

"There is no doubt that the child's will is above everything. I don't expect him to give up on the parents who raised him so devotedly for so many years. I just want to see him, that's all. What will happen next? I don't expect anything. I'm torn with longing for him. I didn't sign the agreement to send him for adoption because I didn't want him. I really wanted to, but I faced so many difficulties that I just had no choice.

"If I had received emotional and financial support from the state, I might have raised Matan with dignity and joy. Do you think a mother is happy to give up her child? I fought tooth and nail not to give him up for adoption. I promised that I would do everything to give him a good life, but unfortunately I did not succeed alone. I tried, but had nothing to give him to eat. Even Materna wasn't there, I had to boil some milk for him with water. Because I always saw the best interests of the child, I preferred that he grow up in a place where he could take care of his basic needs."

Miri Cohen: "I cry and shut myself up. The environment also judges: 'How did you hand over the child?' Judge those who abandoned me without a decent allowance and without being able to stand on their feet. I haven't had a single happy day since my son went for adoption. I wish I would meet him and finally come full circle."

And all these years you never stopped tormenting.

"I cry and shut myself in. I have no girlfriends. Potential spouses hear my story and run away. The environment also judges: 'How did you hand over the child?' Judge those who abandoned me without a decent allowance and without being able to stand on their feet. I haven't had a single happy day since Matan left. One. I wish I could meet him and finally come full circle."

24 years of longing

Doron Abramovich (48) from Netivot, who works in the kitchen industry, had five children in his youth. Three boys were given up for adoption when they were young, and he knows nothing about their fate, and with the other two girls, now 20 and 21, he maintains a fatherly relationship.

"I grew up in Beersheba, and when I was 17 I met a girl my age. We dated for a few years and got married. At the age of 20, we had twins, and later two daughters and a son. Then the mess began. There was severe neglect in the house. I worked from morning to night, as the sole breadwinner, while my mother hung out from home. The children stayed in kindergarten from seven in the morning until seven in the evening. At one point, I went to social services and simply warned that you can't go on living this way, that you can't raise children like this.

"With their best interests in mind, I realized that it would be better for them to grow up in a more stable and safe place. I signed an agreement to give them up for adoption, and the mother also signed. This happened when the twins were 3 years old. We later divorced, and there is no connection between me and their mother."

Doron Abramovich. "From the first moment they took them I miss them, I don't sleep well, I keep thinking", Photo: Liron Moldovan

Ever since saying goodbye to his sons, Abramovich has found no real rest. "I'm torn with worry and love. From the first moment they took them, I miss them. Didn't sleep well. Constantly thoughts. However, I do not regret it, because I guess the children are better off today. I hope they don't lack anything and that they come first. That's what matters.

"I tried to find out at the welfare services whether the twins, who are now 28, and the younger son opened the file over the years. The answer I got was: 'We have no idea, we don't know.' I put letters and pictures in the adoption file, but today I gave up, because I feel there is no one to talk to. I want to insert up-to-date letters, to explain myself to the children, so that they won't be angry with me, so that they understand that I acted for their benefit, not for their detriment - but welfare doesn't want to help and won't bring in more letters. Welfare needs to take active action so my children know I'm looking for them. Maybe they don't even know they're adopted.

"That's how I've been through decades of longing. I dream about them night and day. My dream is to see them once, no more, and to get on with their lives later."

Doron Abramovich: "I tried to find out at the welfare services whether my children had opened the adoption file over the years. The answer I got was, 'We have no idea.' I feel like there's no one to talk to. I want to explain myself to the children, so they understand that I acted in their best interest – but welfare doesn't want to help."

מה מצבך כיום?

"עובד ומפרנס, וממשיך לכסות חובות כבדים מהעבר, שנוצרו כשכל עול כלכלת הבית היה רק על כתפיי. אני גר עם בת זוג אוהבת שעובדת בגן ילדים, ושתי הבנות שלי עצמאיות. שורף לי הלב שחמשת ילדיי לא גדלו יחד כאחים".

הגעתי למצב אובדני

גם אסתר שוקרון גיגי (63) מטבריה, מטפלת הוליסטית בהכשרתה, מתהלכת בחיפוש ובגעגוע. "הילד שמסרתי בעל כורחי לאימוץ אמור להיות היום בן 43", היא נאנחת. "הוא נולד ב־1980, כשהייתי בת 19 וחצי. כשנכנסתי להיריון, בן הזוג שלי בחר להיעלם. בגלל הפחד שלי מהתגובה של אבי ז"ל, שהיה אדם קשה, העברתי את תקופת ההיריון במעון 'אמירים', שם ניסו לשכנע אותנו שכדאי למסור את הילד לאימוץ. לא הסכמתי בשום אופן, ובשלב מסוים הגעתי לניסיון אובדני בגלל ניסיונות השכנוע הבלתי פוסקים האלה.

"הלידה בבית החולים היתה חוויה מפחידה עבורי. הייתי לבד, והמשפחה שלי הגיעה רק אחרי שהכל נגמר. לתינוק קראתי איתן. אחרי שלושה ימים אמרו לי שהוא חולה בצהבת, ושעלי לחזור למעון. החתימו אותי על מסמך שחרור מבית החולים, ולדעתי באותה הזדמנות החתימו אותי גם על מסמכי האימוץ, ללא ידיעתי והסכמתי.

"אמרו לי שהילד שוכב באינקובטור, אבל כשבדקתי ראיתי שהוא לא שם. צעקתי והשתוללתי, אבל הם טענו בקור רוח שחתמתי בהסכמה על מסמכי אימוץ. החלטתי לא לשתוק ויצאתי למאבק. פניתי לעורך דין בחיפה, לצד אבא של איתן, שחזר בינתיים לתמונה, אבל לא הצלחנו לשנות כלום.

"פניתי לרבנים, הפכתי עולמות. לאן לא הגעתי כדי למצוא את הילד הזה, לחפש אותו. בשירות למען הילד אמרו לי שהוא לא פתח את תיק האימוץ שלו. לתחושתי, הם לא ממש מגויסים לסייע, בלשון המעטה. אבל אני לא מוותרת, אני לא אעזוב את העולם לפני שאראה אותו".

אסתר שוקרון גיגי, עם תמונתה בצעירותה, שאותה צירפה לתיק האימוץ של בנה אם יחליט לפתוח אותו. "מאז לא השגתי שום פריצת דרך", צילום: אייל מרגולין - ג'יני

עם השנים נישאה והביאה לעולם ארבע בנות. "הכרתי בעל מדהים, וגם הבנות מדהימות", קולה רועד. "אני מתרגשת בכל פעם שאני מדברת על המאבק שלי. בעלי ז"ל, שנפטר לפני שנה, היה שותף מלא בחיפושים, בכאב ובמאמצי החיפוש שלי. בשלב מסוים אפילו חשבנו שגילינו מה מספר הזהות של איתן, אבל לא השגנו שום פריצת דרך. מהרווחה ידענו רק שהוא מתגורר בירושלים, אז כשהוא חגג בר־מצווה עברתי עם בעלי בכל אולמות השמחות בירושלים, אבל לא מצאנו אותו".

מה היית מצפה שהמדינה תעשה למען אימהות ביולוגיות במצבך?

"שתיקח אחריות. כמו שידעו 'להעלים' את הילדים בלי להותיר עקבות, שייקחו אחריות על תיקון העוול הזה. מובן שאני אכבד כל החלטה של הבן שלי, אבל אני רק רוצה לראות אותו, ולו פעם אחת בלבד. רק לשבת איתו ולעשות סגירת מעגל. לבקש ממנו סליחה, שימחל לי, ושאוכל להסתלק בשקט מהעולם כשיגיע זמני. אני רוצה שהוא יידע שיש לו היום משפחה ענקית, טובה, עם לב רחב, אחיינים, דודים, בני דודים, גיסים, אחים - כולם מחכים לו, כולם רוצים שהוא יחזור".

אסתר שוקרון גיגי: "אמרו לי שהבן שלי שוכב באינקובטור, אבל בדקתי והוא לא היה שם. צעקתי והשתוללתי, אבל ברווחה טענו בקור רוח שחתמתי בהסכמה על מסמכי אימוץ. פניתי לרבנים, הפכתי עולמות, לאן לא הגעתי כדי למצוא אותו, לחפש"

גם ברטה בורמד (בוטבול) שקועה כיום במסע חיפוש נואש אחרי בתה האובדת. היא בת 71, אישה משכילה ומרשימה, דוברת אנגלית, צרפתית ועברית.

"בגיל 23 סיימתי לימודי מלונאות בירושלים, תחום שבו אני עוסקת כמעט 40 שנה. הייתי צעירה נאיבית שלא מבינה כל כך מחייה, עולה חדשה ממרוקו, ואחרי שהכרתי בחור כמה ימים, כשעבדתי כפקידה במלון בים המלח, מצאתי את עצמי בהיריון.

"מהרגע הראשון ידעתי שלא אוכל לגדל את התינוק. הוריי ומשפחתי הקרובה לא ידעו כלום, ולא הייתי מבוססת כלכלית בכלל. חברה שלי הפנתה אותי לשירות למען הילד בירושלים. הגעתי אליהם בחודש השמיני, ושם שלחו אותי לשהות עד אחרי הלידה בביתה של גברת מדרום אמריקה.

"ילדתי בחודש מארס 1976 בבית חולים ליולדות ביפו. אני זוכרת את התינוקת יוצאת ממני. שיער שחור מלא. לא הניחו אותה עלי, למרות שנורא רציתי לראות אותה. בלילה קמתי מהמיטה והתגנבתי לחדר הילדים. זיהיתי אותה לפי השיער. זאת היתה הפעם הראשונה והאחרונה שראיתי את בתי.
"אחרי יומיים הגיעה מישהי עם טפסים לאימוץ - וחתמתי לה. היא שאלה איך ארצה לקרוא לתינוקת, ועניתי ללא היסוס 'אורלי'. חגגתי לה בלב בכל שנה יום הולדת".

ברטה בורמד. "חגגתי לבתי בלב בכל שנה יום הולדת", צילום: אייל מרגולין - ג׳יני

מהיום שבו בתה הגיעה לגיל 18 חיכתה בורמד בקוצר רוח לאות חיים ממנה. "השארתי לה מכתבים בתיק האימוץ ומספר טלפון. רציתי לספר לה שהתחתנתי רק בגיל 53, ושלא הבאתי עוד ילדים לעולם, כי במשך שנים הרגשתי שלא מגיע לי. כשהייתי בת 43 התפכחתי ורציתי להרות, אבל אז גילו לי גידול בצוואר הרחם, ונאלצתי לגנוז את החלום סופית".

את סוד חייה גילתה למשפחתה לפני ארבע שנים, זמן רב אחרי שהוריה הלכו לעולמם - "הם מעולם לא ידעו שהיתה להם נכדה בכורה. במשך שנים הכיתי על חטא, אולי הם היו מקבלים אותה בסוף".
אחרי השיתוף הגבירה את פעולות החיפוש אחרי בתה. "בשלב מסוים אחי אפילו הציע שנשכור חוקר פרטי. אני שלחתי מייל לשירות למען הילד וביקשתי לדעת אם בתי חיה ואם היא גרה בארץ. ענו לי שכן. היום אורלי שלי אמורה להיות בת 47, וייתכן שאני בכלל סבתא ממנה.

ברטה בורמד: "לאורך השנים חלחלו בי מחשבות מפחידות - מה אם לא אימצו את בתי מייד? אולי היא היתה בודדה? התגלגלה בין משפחות? אבל לא רציתי להשתגע. דיבור איתה יביא לי את הנחמה. שלא תחשוב שאני נרקומנית, שנטשה אותה, חלילה"

"כשאפגוש אותה אני ארצה לבקש ממנה סליחה ולהסביר לה שרציתי את האושר שלה תמיד. מסרתי אותה לאימוץ כי לא ידעתי כלום על עצמי ולא רציתי לגרור אותה לחיים אומללים ולא מבוססים. לפעמים, לאורך השנים, חלחלו בי מחשבות מפחידות: מה אם לא אימצו אותה מייד? אולי היא היתה בודדה? אולי התגלגלה בין משפחות אומנה? אבל לא רציתי להיכנס לזה כדי שלא אשתגע. אני תמיד מעדיפה לדמיין אותה מוקפת במשפחה שמחה ואוהבת, ולכן היא לא מעוניינת לפתוח את תיק האימוץ שלה ולגלות מי אני.

"אני רוצה לדבר איתה ולשמוע שהיא בטוב. זה יביא לי את הנחמה. שלא תחשוב שאני איזו נרקומנית, חלילה, ושנטשתי אותה. שתדע שלמדתי והתפתחתי בחיים, ושאני ממתינה לה בזרועות פתוחות".

איחר את הרכבת

שרונה דוכנה, המלווה הורים מאמצים ואומנים, היא מייסדת מיזם האימוץ והאומנה מרכז הדרכה להורים ולאנשי מקצוע.

"כמו השקט שאחרי הסערה, כך גם אחרי מסירת ילד לאימוץ יש דומייה מחרישת אוזניים", היא אומרת. "קולן של האימהות הביולוגיות לא נשמע, ואם נשמע - אינו זוכה למענה ראוי. לקיחת ילד מזרועות אמו היא אירוע דרמטי ביותר לשניהם. חובה לטפל בהורים הביולוגיים ולאפשר להם להשמיע קול, לזכות בהקשבה ובתהליך שיקום בתקווה לריפוי.

"מהידוע לי אין גוף ייעודי שמעניק טיפול מלא לאימהות לאחר לקיחת הילד מרשותן. גורמים רבים מעורבים בתהליכים, כולם רוצים בטוב, אך המענה שניתן - לא די בו. הטרגדיה שעוברת האם היא בלתי נתפסת. קודם למסירה מצבה היה רעוע, ולקיחת הילד מערערת אותה עוד יותר. תהליך שיקומן של האימהות הוא זכותן - וחובתנו כחברה. רובן תהפוכנה שוב לאימהות בעתיד, ומכאן ששיקומן עשוי לסייע גם בגידול ילדיהן הבאים. הטיפול בטראומה שחוותה האם חייב להיעשות על ידי מומחים לטראומה ובעזרת תהליכים תרפויטיים חווייתיים".

שרונה דוכנה, מלוות הורים: "מהידוע לי אין היום גוף ייעודי שמעניק טיפול מלא לאימהות אחרי לקיחת הילד מרשותן. גורמים רבים מעורבים בתהליכים, כולם רוצים בטוב, אך המענה שניתן - לא די בו. הטרגדיה שעוברת האם היא בלתי נתפסת"

לדברי דוכנה, הנטייה כיום היא לשקול בחיוב אימוץ עם קשר, כלומר אימוץ פתוח. "מן הראוי שהקשר בין ילד שבגר ובין הוריו הביולוגיים, בדרך כלל אמו, יהיה הרבה יותר נגיש ופשוט מכפי שהוא מתנהל כיום. כל תהליך של חיבור הוא שונה, ולכן לא צריך לקבוע מתכונת אחידה, אלא להיות קשובים לכל הצדדים".

את הצד השני במשוואת האימוץ, זה של הילד המאומץ עצמו, מכיר מבשרו היטב צחי ברדוגו (52), שגדל כילד מאומץ. במשפחתו המאמצת גדל כבן יחיד, אבל אחרי שפתח את תיק האימוץ שלו, כשהגיע לגיל 47, גילה שיש לו למעשה אחים. את אמו הביולוגית, שנפטרה עוד לפני שפתח את התיק, מעולם לא פגש, אבל עם אביו הביולוגי הצליח להתאחד ("כל חיי עברו לי בראש בדקה לפני שנפתחה הדלת, הוא רעד וסיפר לי הכל"). את המסע האישי המטלטל שעבר לגילוי נסיבות מסירתו לאימוץ פירט בספרו "ילדותי השלישית", שיצא ב־2022.

כיום משמש ברדוגו מנטור המלווה מאומצים בוגרים במסעם לקראת פתיחת תיק האימוץ וההתוודעות למשפחתם הביולוגית. בד בבד, הוא מייעץ להורים מאמצים ומרצה על סיפור חייו. בשיתוף עמותת "משפחתא" יזם את הפודקאסט "ערוץ האימוץ", שבו הוא מארח מאומצים, אימהות ביולוגיות והורים מאמצים עם סיפורים ייחודיים.

צחי ברדוגו. "למנוע תחושה של נטישה", צילום: פיני חמו

להבנתך, מה הדבר העיקרי שהמדינה צריכה לשנות ביחסה לאימהות ביולוגיות?

"לתת להן תמיכה ומעמד. אני, כילד שנשלח לאימוץ, מרשה לעצמי להאמין שאין אמא שמסרה את הילד שלה מרצון. יש אמא שהיתה במצוקה - ולא היה מי שיסייע לה ויתמוך בה. המדינה וקהילת האימוץ בישראל חייבות לדאוג לקביעת מעמד חוקתי להורה הביולוגי. המדינה צריכה להכיר בצורכיהם המיוחדים ובטראומה שהם נושאים עימם כל חייהם, ולאפשר להם כלים להתמודד עם הנכות הרגשית הנסתרת. לאפשר להם להרים את הראש - מבושה לגאווה ולביטחון.

"The state must continue to support and accompany biological parents. The establishment must prevent a sense of abandonment among mothers whose world has been destroyed, especially since for the most part they come from a weaker segment of Israeli society."

What does a biological mother go through from the moment she is forced to give up her child?

"Giving up for adoption – whether initiated by the biological mother or through social services – is a traumatic and agonizing event that changes lives. My biological mother, for example, died at the age of 62 without ever telling her four children about me, whom she brought with her husband after my birth. Today I know that she was tormented and used to visit the children's home where I lay as a baby. She planned to bring me back to her, but reality slapped her in the face. I understood that she had been deceived, that she had been misled. It gave me a rest for my soul: all my life I lived with the feeling that she had given up on me, and in fact I discovered that she actually dreamed of me."

Tzachi Bardugo: "I, as a child who was sent for adoption, believe that there is no mother who gives her children away voluntarily. The state and the adoption community must establish constitutional status for the biological parents, and recognize their special needs. To allow them to raise their heads from shame to pride and security."

Do you think more caring child welfare services would have benefited these mothers?

"Of course. A proper process vis-à-vis the biological parent, including fathers, is necessary. It must be part of the state's overall care of the adoption community. This is not only the stage before the adoption, but the care and emotional support during the delivery or taking of the child by social services, and in the years that follow. And of course – at the stage when the adult adoptee wants to open the file, meet and get to know his biological parent."

Social worker Avi Ophir, an individual and family couples therapist and group facilitator, believes that the right to step in the adoption case should not be reserved only for the adopted child. Ofir founded and accompanied the support group "Biological Mothers" on a voluntary basis for two years, after realizing, as he put it, that their voices were not heard. As part of the group, biological mothers from all over the country gathered for a bi-weekly meeting in Tel Aviv, led by Ofir. The goal: to go through emotional processes together - and in a supportive environment.

"Israeli law states unequivocally that a biological mother cannot search for her child, whom she gave up for adoption. In the age of social media, many mothers manage to reach their children after all. As the founder of the group that accompanied biological mothers in in-depth processes, I believe that after a certain period of time, 25-20 years, the mother also deserves the right in principle to open the file.

Social worker Avi Ophir: "Let the Child Welfare Service not tell stories about a lack of budget and manpower. For two years I have been courting him to allow individual treatment for biological mothers, but none of them have received. These mothers are not on the priority list at all."

"The law must stipulate that they will be allowed to receive orderly information, of course while respecting the child's wishes if he refuses. The one who can help in this matter is undoubtedly the Child Welfare Service, in addition to the Knesset Welfare Committee, which should act to change the law regarding the opening of the adoption file. A decision must be made in principle that biological mothers also deserve treatment and equal treatment to those received by adoptive parents."

Social worker Ofir is not satisfied, as he puts it, with the functioning of the welfare services on the issue. "Let the Child Welfare Service not tell stories about lack of budget and manpower shortages. They need to give more resources to the biological mothers. For two years I have been courting the service, which will enable individual treatment for biological mothers. None of them received treatment."

What is the source of this situation?

"For lack of prioritization of biological mothers. They are not on the list of priorities at all. Nonprofits have only recently begun to address their needs a little, but it doesn't stand at all compared to what adoptive parents or adopted children receive."

What spurred you, as a therapist, to establish the group for biological mothers?

"Society has always looked at these mothers with contempt and accused them of abandoning their children. They never made a real attempt to understand the background to the handing over of the child. However, it is important to emphasize that the system sees the best interests of the child first – and rightly so. No one claims that children were given up for adoption frivolously. The children were removed from the house only after a thorough examination, and when it was clear that the biological mother was unable to raise him."

Not always happy ends

And what happens to biological parents who finally manage to get in touch with their adopted child, and even meet him? According to Tzachi Bardugo, this long-awaited union may sometimes be more complex than it seems.

"Even when happy ends occur and there is an encounter between a biological mother and the child she longed for all these years, the gaps that have been neglected and not consistently addressed along the way can create secondary pains. In many cases, the biological parent sees that his child has had a much better life than he could have offered him himself, and in response develops a certain emotional numbness towards the child. Sometimes it is difficult for the biological parent to bungee jump into the life of the child who has grown up in the meantime.

G.: "I assume that my daughter's adoptive parents gave her a different name than the one I gave her at birth. Maybe she's already a mother herself. Today I am a sick person, and I beg welfare to initiate an appeal to her and tell her about me. That at least I'll see her once in my life, before it's too late."

"The adopted child also faces his own difficulties in the late encounter with the biological parent. I am currently accompanying, for example, a woman who is in the process of opening an adoption file and becoming acquainted with her biological mother, an 83-year-old childless woman from the Shfela. The mother was happy that she suddenly had a daughter calling, caring and visiting, but the daughter, for her part, expected greater devotion from the mother - and was disappointed. She aspired to receive much more affection and interest from her in the life she went through, and also to experience true sharing in all aspects of her life, including financials. I don't pretend to set rivets on all the meetings, but from my knowledge, in many cases the relationship with the biological parent does not continue in the way that the adopted child expected."

Rachel Gross (74) from Kiryat Ata is one of the lucky biological mothers who managed to get in touch with their adopted child. Her personal story began when she was a 19-and-a-half-year-old soldier. At the time, she became pregnant with her best friend, but her father prevented them from both of them from marrying. When she realized that she would not be able to return home with the baby, she had to give her up for adoption with a torn heart. Since then, for about 50 years, she has lived "with half a heart," as she puts it.

"I've been looking for my daughter for years, all over the world. I left her letters and pictures in the adoption file, but to no avail. Like others, I have strong feelings about the conduct of the Child Welfare Service. As a biological mother, I often felt that after they took my child away from me, I no longer deserved her care."

Rachel Gross. "As a biological mother, I often felt that after they took my child from me, I no longer deserved her care," Photo: Eyal Margolin - Ginny

After half a century of searching, the miracle she longed for took place, in a way unrelated to social services. "Meeting her, and the grandchildren I had from her, was euphoric and full of emotions. At the meeting, she told me that she had never received the letters and pictures that I had made sure to put in her bag. I am comforted by the fact that I met my beloved daughter after all these years."

Rachel Gross, who found her daughter on her own: "Meeting her, and my grandchildren from her, was euphoric. She told me that she had never received the letters I had made sure to put in her adoption file. Today I am comforted by the fact that I met my beloved daughter after all these years."

The best summary of the article will come from a painful statistic presented by Tzachi Bardugo: "In Israel, about 400 adoption cases are opened every year. Today, there are about 10,000 adult adoptees who have not yet opened their file. In other words, there are tens of thousands of biological mothers who are still sitting and waiting to hear from their children. Will the State of Israel finally reach out to them?"

Responses

The Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Security said in response: "Adoption is a complex and difficult process, focused on the welfare of minors. The Child Welfare Service takes care and reserves to the adoptees all information about them, including to the extent that letters intended for the adoptee will be given when he opens the adoption file.

"The Ministry of Social Affairs is studying the recommendations of the State Comptroller's report and continues to fine-tune the work methods, including the manner of treatment and accompaniment of families and parents and the required allocation of resources.

"According to the law, the right to open an adoption file belongs to the adoptee only. We are currently examining changes in the Adoption Law, and the possibility of transferring information to biological parents about an adult adoptee will also be examined."

meravs1992@gmail.com

Wrong? We'll fix it! If you find a mistake in the article, please share with us

Source: israelhayom

All news articles on 2023-06-08

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