I still remember the day clearly. It was a crisp autumn morning on November 14 years ago. My alarm clock went off, and I wearily looked up at the ceiling and sighed thinking that there must be a better way.
The US was entering a recession and as a wholesaler in the diamond business, my future economic outlook was looking grim.
I knew I needed a change, but was unsure what that change would be.
And then - that very morning - I got an email from Nefesh B’Nefesh that changed my life.
The email prompted me to inquire about the process of Aliyah and in March 2008 I began my life in Israel.
I’d be lying if I said it was easy. Finding my professional footing was difficult, but eventually I worked my way up from teaching English as a temporary job to working in sales in high tech.
But as we bask in the aftermath of Thanksgiving leftovers and Turkey day blends into Hannukah I can’t help but think of gratitude and miracles during this time of year.
That is because it was on Thanksgiving Day in 2018, I experienced the crowning achievement of Aliyah: officially adopting my two beautiful kids.
After trying to conceive naturally for a few years, my wife and I looked into adoption. We spent a year waiting by the phone, hoping to receive the auspicious phone call notifying us that we’d be parents.
The waiting was interminable, so much so that we began to accept that we may have to be content with being the cool aunt and uncle.
But then, when away on business, I was eating at a Chinese restaurant and the fortune cookie at the end of the meal read that “a cheerful message is on its way to you.”
It certainly did. My wife called moments later, saying that the adoption was approved. A month later, on Thanksgiving Day, we stood before the judge and my son and daughter were officially part of our family.
Our kids, who were five and six at the time, were such a natural fit in our home. They didn’t speak English. I spoke little Hebrew. Yet, somehow, we made it work.
As a parent, I believe I have the duty to love, protect and educate. It’s very easy to do all three with my children and I’m proud of the people they are becoming.
Could this amazing fortune happen to me had I not made Aliyah? I’m not sure.
However, I do feel that from the recession, to the Nefesh B’Nefesh email, to every gain and setback I’ve experienced since being here, happened so my children could find their forever home and we could be together.
So, for those looking to make Aliyah, I’d encourage them to keep their eyes open for signs pointing them to take this giant leap. It may very well give you a life you never knew was possible.
Adam Lerch made Aliyah in March 2008 from Oakland, CA. Since its inception in 2002, Nefesh B’Nefesh, in cooperation with Israel’s Ministry of Aliyah and Integration, The Jewish Agency for Israel, Keren Kayemeth LeIsrael and JNF-USA, has facilitated the Aliyah of over 70,000 North Americans to Israel.