What if I adopt a baby boy?

Jewish law teaches us that whether a baby is Jewish is determined by whether the woman giving birth to him (his "biologic mother") is Jewish. So, if a Jewish family adopts a baby, the baby has to be converted to Judaism unless the birth mother happened to be Jewish. If you are fortunate enough to adopt a baby just after birth, he can have a bris on the 8th day. Otherwise, it can be done shortly after you get him. If he wasn't circumcised as a newborn, the bris would be like any other bris, with 2 exceptions. There is a slightly different prayer that the mohel says in Hebrew sanctifying that the bris is being performed in the name of conversion to Judaism. 

Secondly, the bris needs to be witnessed by 3 Shomer Shabbos, mitzvah-observant Jewish males (a "beis din"). Dr. Katz can help coordinate this for you. When done in this fashion, the bris becomes the first step in the baby's conversion to Judaism.  Then, sometime after the circumcision heals, he is dipped in the mikvah, a spiritual bath, also in the presence of a beis din, to complete the conversion process. The mikvah dipping should be done under the supervision of your Rabbi.

If the child is over several months of age, the circumcision may need to be performed under a general anesthetic in an operating room. In this case, Dr. Katz would perform the bris along with a urologist. Please contact Dr. Katz in advance, so he may help you arrange this.

If you adopt a baby who already was circumcised at birth, he only requires a symbolic bris, also known as Hatafas Dam Bris. The ceremony is the same, but since he's already circumcised, only a tiny prick of the penis, allowing a drop of blood to flow, is all that's required.

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