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December 02, 1988 - Image 140

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1988-12-02

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Continued from preceding page

prised me." Smith's two-year-
old daughter Amy arrived
from India, just three days
short of her four-month
The situation was a little
different for 37-year-old Lisa
Kaichen, who is executive
director of the Children's
Charter of the courts of
Michigan in Lansing.
Kaichen had some personal
insight into adoption, having
been adopted by her step-
father. Like most adoptive
parents, Kaichen initially
wanted a baby, but is thrilled
with • her-five-year-old
daughter Angela, adopted
through Family Services in
Lansing. "I always wanted to
be a mother and Prince Char-
ming hasn't shown his face
yet. I thought about a
biological child, but I
wouldn't love an adopted
child less. I just didn't want to
look back when I was 80 and
be sorry."
It's said a child changes
your life and that's no dif-
ferent for a single adoptive
mother. Each woman had to
make adjustments in her life
to accommodate new respon-
sibilities. All of the changes
were anticipated and done
willingly. "I never would've
believed that someone so lit-
tle could make so much laun-
dry,” says Hughes. She has
found that much of her extra
curricular activities are now
directed toward what's good
for her daughter.
"I haven't seen many
movies lately, haven't done
much sailing. On the other
hand, I'm scheduled to go on
the second hayride of my life.
I've never been thrilled with
The (Michigan) State Fair.
This year, it was wonderful!'
As for household ad-
justments, Hughes says "it's
no big deal, you just live in
It's not just messy houses,
dirty diapers, Cheerios on the
carpet and less social ife.
Hughes says Gabriela has
changed the way she looks at
life. She has bought extra life
insurance and worries about
financing a college education.
Initially, all of the women
took some time off to spend
with their new children. Sur-
prisingly, none of them had
trouble finding quality day
Hughes' daughter is in a
federal employee program
downtown, near where she
works, so Hughes can have
lunch with Gabriela during
the week. Gordon has a
housekeeper, while Smith
secured a place for Amy at a
neighborhood at-home
daycare facility. Kaichen's
daughter Angela is in
kindergarten in the morning

and attends a school district
run day-care program in the
Once involved in the adop-
tion process, all of the women
found friends and family to be
enormously supportive and
helpful, and that becoming a
parent formed the basis for
new friendships. Three of the
women — Hughes, Smith and
Gordon — are involved in a
single parents' network. The
Michigan Association of
Single Adoptive Parents pro-
vides support and activities
for its members.
For Hughes and Gordon,
the adoption had definitely
brought them closer to their
Jewish heritage. "Jenny's
given me a reason for getting
more institutionally
motivated in being a Jew,"
says Gordon. "I've always
been culturally and ethnical-
ly Jewish. Since I have
adopted Jenny, I will join a
temple. I feel it's important to
be part of a community. Also,
we're going to have a conver-
sion and naming ceremony
with my family in New York.
It's important to my parents.
We're using their rabbi in
Hughes' congregation has
become a family of sorts. She
decided to join Congregation
T'chiyah downtown and it has
paid off richly in friends and
support. "I chose a very child-
oriented group and I've got-
ten a very positive response
from the congregation. A
friend at T'chiyah told me
that the souls of people kill-
ed in the Holocaust inhabit
the bodies of converts. So,
Gabriela was meant to be
Hughes will also take her
daughter through the conver-
sion process. It's been an
enlightening experience for
her. "I knew I wanted her
raised as a Jew. I'm finding
it's a very rich heritage I
didn't know enough about.
It's strengthened my own feel-
ings about being Jewish!'
As the number of women
heading households con-
tinues to grow, single parent
homes are becoming a more
acceptable lifestyle and less of
a stigma for mother and
child. The single adoptive
mothers say they are finding
ways to cope — for example —
compensating for the lack of
a male role model by using
friends, fathers and brothers
as substitutes. Still it can be
difficult for a child to under-
stand. Kaichen's daughter
came home from school one
day asking why she didn't
have a daddy. Kaichen wrote
a book for Angela explaining
that there are many different
kinds of families. Even so,
Kaichen says Angela doesn't

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