Q&A Part 1: Ciska's questions


Ciska was the first person to ask me questions. Here are my asnwers:

  1. When / how / why did you dedide to adopt?
    The decision wasn1t coming easy. Kevin and I both have a background in adoption and we knew we wanted a larger-than-the-standard family. I am very much an “International adoption is the absolute last resort if all else fails in the child’s country”, so it took some convincing to commit to adoption. The key was when we found out that some children related to Kevin were available for adoption, and the laws favoured Kevin as next-of-kin. We were already in the process when a disruption landed P in our home.
  2. What is life like in Israel?
    Different. Israel is a very unique county in the sense that it’s at the crossroads of the East and the West. European Zionists dominated the establishment and initial culture of the country initially, mostly secular people. But at the same time there are all the Eastern Jews, from all the countries of the region and farther east… the culture is a big mix of the traditions, there is the ever present conflict of secularism vs. ultra orthodoxy (usually there are less problems in between)… and yes, after a while I start to feel like as if I was in Europe, but then something happens that reminds me that no, I’m in the Middle East.
  3. Don’t you feel “too young” to have such a large family? (I’m in my mid-twenties and though I’d love a large family, I think I’d just crash and burn when I had so many people to take care of.)
    I do. Kevin is, however, 7 years older than me. I became a father at 21, and with my guarded life expectancy I’m already middle aged. So while I feel young at times, it also just feels natural at other times. Also, the family dynamics is different from the average.
  4. You write a lot about being in the hospital, feeling sick … but I wonder why you’re there / feel sick. Do you have an illness, a disability … ?
    Yes on both. I have had cancer several times, due to a genetic glitch. A segment duplication on the 21st chromosome is most likely to blame for some… and the treatment I received as a child and young adult for the most recent one. I also have FMF, a hereditary disease as well. While most of my ancestors are Ashkenazi Jews, I have a few Sephardim here and there, so while others get silver candlesticks from their ancestors, I got messed up genetics. Due to an accident I also am an amputee and had major spinal trauma.
  5. As an adoptee and as an adoptive parent, what would you say is the n°1 worst thing an adoptive parent could do? (Talking about parents trying to do good, not abusive / careless parents.)
    I think the worst mistake that they make is that they are unprepared for the realities of adoption. Adoption is not all roses and blue skies. Maybe the biggest mistake is when they think that their will be an instant connection with their child and their love for their adopted child will be the same as for the bio children, and vice versa. It doesn’t work like that. My love for my adopted children is very real and no less than my love for my bio children, but it took some time and it is different. Simply because we missed periods of psychological maturing together, it is different. Feeling guilt over it is bad. Blaming the child for it is worse.

    Another thing that the parents can really mess up with is expecting gratefulness and generally having a saviour mentality. Adoption means loss for the adoptee. A loss of the biological family, a loss of all they knew before, even a loss of their previous identity–and this is true for domestic adoptees as well! There is often trauma, that needs to be adressed, and the new adoptive parents think that love will heal every wound.  And it won’t.

4 Responses to “Q&A Part 1: Ciska's questions”

  1. Ciska says:

    Thanks for your answers!
    You seem to have everything against you healthwise. At university I took a class on Jewish history and we did learn about Tay-Sachs, but not about other genetic diseases.
    I would love to visit Israel sometime, as I have a degree in Ancient History of the Levant. In my imagination, Israel is still the same as it was around 100 AD, but everything has completely changed of course. I’ll visit it one day!

    • Hevel says:

      Funny thing about Tay-Sachs is that for the past so many years there have been virtually no diagnosed cases in Israel. There are other genetic diseases, however, that are getting more attention. The trick about one of mine is that it’s autosomal dominant, so I don’t need another carrier to pass it onto my kids (which luckily, it seems I haven’t) and the FMFis rare in the Ashkenazi population. Out of all my siblings only my twin and I have it.

      Now, let’s see… 1st/2nd century… we tend to stone people less these days. There are more Jews here with the global population growth. We have Harel Skaat, of course… Our fashion sense is way better, and we are still waiting for the Messiah.

  2. Ciska says:

    And you probably don’t hide in caves anymore for the Romans … I wrote my thesis on the Bar Kokhba War. 😉

    • Hevel says:

      With all the Christian pilgrims flooding us for Holy Week I kinda feel tempted to hide while I’m in Jerusalem for Seder on Friday.

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