Religion for an Adopted Child


When we began this adoption process, we discussed what religion we would raise our child(ren) and never really came up with a clear answer. It mostly leaned towards whatever religion they wanted and we are certainly willing to explore other religions that we are all comfortable with.

I was raised Jewish… very lax, barely any Hebrew, public school, became a bat mitzvah at 13, confirmed at 16, worked at the temple in the kindergarten for several years and at a few Jewish summer camps, etc. Steve was raised Methodist by a fairly religious mother.

These days, the only religion we have is that I work at a religious school and get the many holidays off. We don’t attend church or synagogue. We exchange gifts on the gift-giving holidays, but not much more. My family often forgets the holidays, I put up my little Christmas tree and sometimes remember to put the menorah up next to it. Though, to tell the truth, I can’t remember the last time I actually lit candles for 1 night let alone 8.

As I mentioned, I work at a religious school – one of the several Jewish schools in the area. Since it is an Orthodox (the most strict) school, I was curious what would need to be done in the off chance that I actually wanted my child to attend. I don’t. Aside from the exorbitant prices, the education doesn’t seem that wonderful and I would much rather let me kids interact with children from all walks of life – every religion, background, upbringing – rather than just a small select group. The more I think about it, the happier I am with my child in a good public school.

Anyhow, a boy or girl adopted child without a clear-cut parental lineage/ religion would need to be vouched for by an Orthodox Rabbi and given a Jewish name. A girl child needs to be “purified” and dunked in the mikvah – a ceremonial bath. A boy child, however, would need a circumcision if it wasn’t done as an infant. If it was, there would still be a ceremony in which needles and blood was involved.

I’m going to have to go with a h-e-double hockey sticks no! on that one.

So I was tooling around in the Adoption section of and found this

Jewish law does allow for the conversion of babies and children under the assumption that being Jewish is a privilege that the child would want. The caveat is that when the child is 12 or 13 he or she must be presented with the option of renouncing his or her conversion. If, at that point, they choose to accept Judaism or are silent, they are deemed adult converts. (citation)

Basically, we will not be converting our child to any religion until he tells us himself. I will even go to church, temple or other religious building if he wants to explore other religions. There is so much other stuff to think about and I know once he comes to live with us most of this won’t matter anyhow.


One comment on “Religion for an Adopted Child

  1. Katie

    Adopted or not adopted, I’m of the mind that all parents should go by your statement: “Basically, we will not be converting our child to any religion until he tells us himself.”
    Having been raised/born into Catholicism, I had no chance to explore other religions. I wish I had!

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