Who Participates: Adoptive parents, adoptee, friends

Materials: Memorable objects from the adoption process

The Ritual: Rabbi Geela-Rayzel Raphael and her husband, Simcha, a psychotherapist and professor, created a welcoming ceremony for their daughter that included a reading from the Talmud: "Whoever raises another's child in their home is regarded by the Torah as though the child had been born to him or her." A ceremony built around this reading might also include a display of the letters and documents that led up to the adoption, joyful Yiddish singing, original poetry, prayers, and blessings.

Read the full text of Simcha and Geela-Rayzel's ceremony here.

Also, the parents and friends can share their memories of the experience of adopting the child. The Raphaels had their close friends recite the following: "This is the story of mystery and destiny, of knowing and not knowing, of longing surrender and fulfillment, a story of lessons learned and prayers answered, a journey of faith and disappointment, hope and ambivalence, angels and mortals, miracles and mundane matters."

The Meaning: In the words of the Raphaels, "This is our story of struggle to complete a family, to fulfill a soul contract whose full meaning we have yet to glimpse. This is a tale of a family searching for a missing child, a brother finding his sister, parents meeting their daughter."

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