The story of Yaffa Leba Gottlieb who have adopted 2 children with Down syndrome

To read on Chabad website:

Yaffa Gottlieb: Adoptive Mother to Two Children with Down Syndrome

Meet Yaffa Leba Gottlieb. Her petite status and soft voice belie her giant spirit. Yaffa is a creative, quietly confident maverick. A barrier-breaker. A jumper. A believer. A passionate doer. An original thinker and jokester.

Two aspects of her fruitful life are particularly intriguing. She is a prolific author of both whimsical children’s and more reflective adult books. And some 24 years ago, she and her husband adopted and raised two infants with Down syndrome only 4½ months apart in age.

First, the backstory.

Yaffa grew up in Akron, Ohio, where her love of literature and writing was stimulated by her teachers.

“I started writing at 8, and just always knew I would be a writer,” she recalls.

The same love of ideas that was nurtured by literature eventually drove this open-minded thinker into the world of Torah. She went to the University of Michigan for undergraduate studies and then to grad school at Washington University in St. Louis, where she worked as a teaching fellow. “An advisor once commented, when I was perhaps overly zealous in my teaching about the placement of semicolons, ‘It’s just grammar. You don’t have to teach a way of life.’” This innocent comment got under her skin.


A week later, the Goldstocks called with an urgent situation. They had learned of a Jewish infant with Down syndrome who was about to be placed into a non-Jewish home. They took the child from the hospital and brought her to the Gottliebs since they were foster-care certified.

They placed her gently on the dining-room table. “She lay there in her bunting . . . and she looked like an angel,” says Yaffa.

“My husband looked and me. I looked at him. That was the whole conversation. We kept her.” The clarity of that moment still rang in her voice two decades later.


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