The children of Chaya Ben Baruch
The children of Chaya Ben BaruchSelf Photo

When Chaya Ben Baruch's sixth child was born in Fairbanks Alaska, her very wise midwife told her, "Just take him home and love him." This she did, and quickly bonded to the child. Within a short period of time, she and her husband Yisroel attended a conference where they learned that raising two children with special needs is better for the child than raising just one.

Thus began their journey. They adopted their seventh child, a girl with Down Syndrome, when she was just a few days old.

The time had come to leave Fairbanks and move on. The family decided to make Aliyah.What would be for their two little ones with Downs? How would Aliyah work out for the family? "G-d sends the right messengers at the right time," says Chaya. The family landed in the northern city of Safed.

Not much time passed before Chaya heard from a neighbor about a baby with Downs who had been abandoned at the Safed hospital. It was an uphill battle, as Chaya and her family took this little one home, raising him as their own. Unbelievably, it took eight years for governmental permission to finalize the situation.

From nursery school teachers to lawyers, Hashem put incredible people in Chaya's path. More special babies crossed paths with them as the years went by, and Chaya founded an organization called Birkat HaDerech, which matches abandoned babies with Downs Syndrome to families who want to adopt them.

It was less than a decade ago when Chaya heard about the opportunity to donate a kidney to a needy recipient. "I thought to myself that many of my children are not biologically related to me. If one of them needed a body part, I would have to ask another person to donate. How could I ask someone if I wasn't willing to donate a body part myself?" Her recipient turned out to be a well-known Safed doctor, who saves many lives himself.

Chaya continues to visit babies born with Downs Syndrome, giving support to parents. She speaks about marrying off her children with Downs, being positive through challenges, and also gives advice to other parents who suddenly find themselves parents of children with special needs.

Tune in to meet a one-of-a-kind woman, whose personality of chessed (acts of kindness) is matched only by her unpretentious nature.