A religious family, parents aged 50, children aged 6-20.
The foster child is two years old.
How can we describe the short-long journey we made over three months?
About two years ago we decided to fulfill a dream and add another child to our family. The process, which began for us right in the middle of the pandemic and the lockdowns, was long – full of forms, bureaucracy, interviews, meetings, a few more forms and a bit more bureaucracy. But in hindsight, every stage we went through was important, letting the big change ripen for us as a couple and as a family. Maybe it was also an obstacle course, to fortify us and make sure that we really deserved you.
About three months ago we got a call from the placement coordinator. We were so happy – after so much anticipation, it felt like the lottery was calling. The coordinator shared your life story with us, the challenges you're facing and will likely face in the future, and asked us to think carefully about whether it's right for us.
To be honest, despite the reiterations of Summit's representatives that we should consider the decision carefully, and despite the fact that we asked to find out and hear more and more about you, we felt from the very first moment that you were ours, and that we were meant to be a family.
We'll never forget how the staff at the welfare office described you in the introductory meeting. They said you were "a beautiful boy, a prince, smart and captivating." I'll never forget the moment when I first saw your picture and my heart skipped a beat. I felt the same way I felt at the birth of your six older brothers – that from now on we'll love you forever!
In our first encounter with you, at the home of an emergency foster family, we saw that the description wasn't exaggerated, and we too were seized by your charms. We were overwhelmed with both excitement and fear, but we knew "he's the one," as they say.
The move to our home was surprisingly effortless. Being a smart, curious and strong boy, you bravely adjusted to us and to your new home. Each day you became more and more a part of us. As you surely know, your brothers and sisters are head-over-heels in love with you and are proud to be your family. We all marvel at your good heart, at the trust you place in all of us, and at your truly extraordinary intelligence.
Part of the story of your life is your biological mother, who loves you very much despite not being able to raise you. Once a week you go, usually very happily, for a hug-and-kiss session and to spend time with her. We try to give you the feeling that we respect her and are happy about your relationship, so that you'll never feel like you have to choose between us.
We had an amazing summer together. A summer in which you granted us the privilege of experiencing the uniqueness and initial joy of the "first time" – on a happy and cheerful trip to the north, in the baby carrier, in the pool with cousins, in the Kineret, in the first taste of falafel and eggplant in tahini, sleeping on a mattress in a bed-and-breakfast, in the joy of a family dance.
You taught us in a short time not to take anything for granted. We get excited over the little things – to see you sleeping in new pajamas, under a clean blanket in your own bed, where you feel "at home".
We've always been blessed, and now we're even more blessed and more aware of it.
Thank you for all the light. And for all that we learn from you, you amazing, brave boy.
Thank you for the road that still lies ahead of us, and which will make us better, more content people.
As the new year unfolds, we wish our family continues to be connected to each other and to grow together.
We pray that each and every child in Israel finds the family that's right for them, and that they may give and receive light, grow and help grow.
In the Rosh Hashanah prayer, there's a piyyut we really like:
"Today, may you strengthen us - today, may you bless us - today, may you lift us - today, may you seek us out for good. "
May we have a year in which we become strong for one another, and strengthen one another, in which we are blessed and lifted up for the good.
With tremendous love and endless gratitude,
Your mom and dad.