The Rivlins meet with adoptive, foster parents

PRESIDENT REUVEN Rivlin and his wife, Nechama, meet with men and women who have adopted children to showcase the need for more volunteers. (photo credit:HAIM ZACH/GPO)

Around 10,000 children in Israel await foster care or adoption, officials say on Family Day.

Children are a joy according to Jewish tradition. Children whose lives can be vastly improved by love, understanding and a change of environment are an even greater joy.

Conscious of this, Nechama Rivlin, wife of President Reuven Rivlin in conjunction with the Summit Institute which cares for children at risk invited a broad demographic swath of adoptive and foster families to the President’s Residence in celebration of Family Day.

Rivlin told parents participating with biological and foster or adopted children that she admired their strength and courage for opening not only their hearts but their whole beings and their homes to children in need.

Summit executive director Yoni Bogot said while the law provides for youngsters to remain in foster care only through age 18, there are many cases in which such strong attachments are formed that the foster ‘child’ stays far beyond that age.

Masha, 20, was worried about what might happen to her when she turned 18. Her family had taken her in when she was eight, and assured her there was no cause for concern, she said. “I go home to hugs and kisses and all the things that happen in a family. I am part of them and they are part of me. They are my family for good and for bad.”

Orit Amiel, who heads Summit’s foster care department, said that notwithstanding the advertisements calling for potential foster parents to come forward, there were insufficient suitable applicants.

In Israel today, there are some 10,000 children at risk waiting to be placed in foster care or to be adopted.

Among the families present were haredim, national-religious, secular, Ethiopian, Beduin, and Jerusalem Arabs. All had children of their own. One religious family with eight biological children including two sets of twins couldn’t thank Summit enough for yet another set of twins – two beautiful little Ethiopian girls who were perfectly groomed and whose body language spelled total integration into the family.

A haredi family had taken in a child with special needs and said that in addition to love they wanted to give him self confidence so that he could find his place in mainstream society.

A Beduin family came with two little Mohammeds – one biological and one foster.

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