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March 26, 1993 - Image 24

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1993-03-26

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Q

uality you can build on,
a name you can trust.

New Adoption Guide
Debuts In May

A new book, with Orthodox, Conservative and

Reform input, is directed to the Jewish community.

ELIZABETH APPLEBAUM ASSISTANT EDITOR

ighteen years ago Paul
Vander Velde was trou-
bled by comments he
heard after he adopted
a little girl from Korea.
"It's really nice you did
that," said an acquaintance,
a part of the Dutch commu-
nity where the Vander Veldes
lived. "But how will she be
able to find one of her own
kind?"
Mr. Vander Velde turned to
his community for guidance,
but he couldn't find what he
needed.
This frustration planted an
idea that has blossomed into
a project to help ethnic and
religious groups give support
to their members involved
with adoption. The project,
funded in part by the U.S.
government, will feature a se-
ries of guidebooks aimed at
various communities.
The first guide, Let's Cele-
brate Adoption, is written for
the Jewish community, and is
set for publication next
month.
Workers on the guidebook
hail it as almost wondrous, in
no small part because it
comes with the approval of
Orthodox, Conservative and
Reform rabbis, who also
worked together on the pro-
ject.
"And understand the kinds
of sensitive issues we were
dealing with — like 'Who Is a
Jew,' " said Hillel (James)
Rosenfeld, an adviser on the
booklet. The result, he said,
"reflects a tremendous sense
of unity."
The project began last year
with Paul Vander Velde,
then working as director
of the division of chil-
dren's services for the
Michigan Department of
Mental Health.

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Mr. Vander Velde has since
taken a position with the Kel-
logg Foundation, though he
has remained active in work-
ing on the project.
"I felt that communities in
general, and religious com-
munities in particular, need-
ed to know how to be more
supportive for families in
times of need," he said.
As part of a larger grant fo-
cusing on post-adoption is-
sues, sent to the Department
of Health and Human Ser-

Hillel Rosenfeld

vices, Mr. Vander Velde wrote
in one sentence, something
along the lines of wanting "to
develop a guide about adop-
tion for religious communi-
ties." The grant was
approved.
The next questions cen-
tered on practical concerns:
For which group should the
guide be written, and who
should write it, who should
serve on advisory panels, and
what should the tone of the
text be?
In short, just about every-
thing had to be worked out.
Mr. Vander Velde turned to
his colleague Hillel Rosenfeld,
clinic administrator with the
North Oakland Child and
Adolescent Clinic. A longtime
activist in adoption issues, Dr.
Rosenfeld had the connections
and recommendations, which
is how the first book came to
be directed toward the Jew-
ish community.
All those involved with the
project stress the importance
of speaking to individual re-
ligious and ethnic groups.
"People will accept things
better if it matches with their
cultural perspective," Dr.
Rosenfeld said. "We didn't
want anyone to look at a
guide and say, 'But what does
this mean to me?"
The guide is believed to be
the first of its kind ever writ-
ten specifically for the Jewish
community.
Meanwhile, Mr. Vander
Velde was working with Car-
olyn McPherson, chief speech
writer for Connie Binsfeld, on
the lieutenant governor's spe-
cial commission on adoption.
Mrs. McPherson had ex-

ADOPTION page 26

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