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HADASSAH'S MEDICAL ADOPTION UNIT (the story behind the JTNews banner....)


The abandoned baby found in Jerusalem was transferred by the police to Hadassah Mount Scopus  where  Hadassah’s Medical Adoption Unit goes beyond medicine at each child’s check-up.


Part I

A young  woman from a traditional community secretly gives birth to a baby. Shame or worse awaits this single mother if she keeps the child. She wraps her baby in a blanket and leaves her on a doorstep in Jerusalem’s Old City with a note “Please take care of my baby girl. Her name is Sumaya.’

Sumaya is Arabic for means “clear skies.”

A lad passing by notices the baby. His father calls an ambulance.

The ambulance drives to Hadassah Mount Scopus.

That’s where all babies who undergo adoption in Israel are cared for, in a special unit that provides professional and loving care, conducts groundbreaking research and provides reassurance to adoptive families.

“First, we examined Sumaya and ruled out any health problems,” said Dr. Yackov Berkun, head of pediatrics at Mount Scopus. “Our nurses stepped in to feed her and to shower her with hugs and kisses from the moment of her arrival until the right home could be found.”


Part II

The potential parents are waiting. You can hear their arrested breathing  as Dr. Shaya Wexler weighs and measures, peruses the chemical parameters in blood tests, elicits a laugh from the  baby. They couple is already in love with this child.

“As a doctor, you are supposed to leave your own heart at the door,” says Dr. Wexler. “But these check-up’s are tough. Let’s say you discover fetal alcohol syndrome, which isn’t uncommon. On one hand, you want to give this child who is already an innocent victim a chance at a good life. On the other hand, you owe the adoptive parents as much information as you can give them on what they may have to face. Even that is sketchy because you can’t absolutely predict school and behavioral problems that are associated with a syndrome.

“ I look at every adoptive parent as a righteous person who is ready to give love and care to a needy child. It’s my weighty responsibility as a Hadassah physician to provide information, to give medical counseling and often support. Sometimes the news is heart-breaking, but there’s also great hope. Parents can see beyond medical challenges and bring out the tremendous potential of these kids.”

Dr. Wexler and his co-director Dr. Ariel Tannenbaum see children at every stage of the adoption process—when they first enter the system, when they meet potential adoptive parents, and often afterwards. From newborns to teenagers. They work together with the child welfare services.

There’s so much wishing in the room. Older children understand, of course, that his findings will impact their chances of becoming a part of a family.

“Even choosing the right words to present a child’s medical profile to parents is agonizing,” said Dr. Wexler,  “This is part of my job at Hadassah that goes way beyond medicine.”


Sumaya means Clear Skies. Hadassah does its best to provide clear skies for Sumaya and all the babies heading to new homes.

Good beginnings.....A Hadassah specialty.

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