My mother emigrated from Turkey when she was nearly 17, she was pregnant with a child, and she lived with her family in Jerusalem's Machane Yehuda neighbourhood. The father is unknown, he may have been her boyfriend back in Izmir, in any case that’s what her family claims. She fell ill with dysentery and the fever caused a seventh month premature birth, and I was born a premature baby at the Shaare Zedek hospital. According to a document in my possession, a day or two after birth, I was transferred to WIZO Jerusalem, where my name was changed from Josepha to Yael.
When my biological mother's condition improved, she asked to see the baby - at the hospital they claimed that since I was born prematurely I did not survive. From that day on, until her death, she never ceased looking for me in the streets of Jerusalem, so I was told by her sisters and a close friend of hers. What she didn’t know was that I was transferred to WIZO Tel Aviv, and at the age of 5 months I was adopted by my adoptive parents, who changed my name to Ariella. For years I had a gut feeling and various events in my life from which I gathered I was not their biological daughter. I realized it given their age, and after overhearing "whispers" behind my back by some "kind souls" in my adoptive mother’s family.
I tried to talk to my parents about it but they just became more entrenched and shut off, they claimed that they and only they were my parents and I have no other parents and how dare I think so. It should be said that my adoptive parents were the kind of parents that any child would want to have - to say that I was brought up as a princess is nothing next to what they gave me.
My adoptive mother died 40 years ago when I myself was already the mother of three, and even then my adoptive father refused to talk. 30 years ago when his apartment was undergoing renovations , I found the documents withheld from me at the bottom of a drawer, as if an invisible hand had guided me there. But even then, when all the evidence was in my hands, I could not get my adoptive father to open up and admit it, and because I did not want to hurt his feelings and the memory of my mother, I took action quietly, in my own way, without his knowledge.
Because I only had my biological mother’s name and no social security number or immigration certificate number, I had no success in finding her, and I was in fact searching for my mother by her surname.
I never imagined it was actually her maiden name and that she was not married at the time, and that these were the reasons I had reached a dead end. Even after dozens of phone calls to anyone with her surname who lived in Jerusalem I did not find her, and.only 16 years ago, after my father had already died an idea flashed in my mind, since she immigrated to Israel from Turkey, perhaps she was registered in the Turkish immigrants’ organization. I contacted them by fax and they returned my call, and indeed there was a registration bearing her name but it did not help me much, since she had remarried and there was no way of knowing what had happened to her and what her surname now was.
I also turned to WIZO Jerusalem and asked to open the adoption file. In the adoption file, which, by the way, is to be found in WIZO Tel Aviv, were the same documents that I already had, and so I did not receive any new information there, and they could not or did not want to help me. After almost a year I was approached by the Turkish immigrants’ association, and I was told that there was someone in Jerusalem whose sole occupation was the legacy of Turkish Jews and the story of their emigration to Israel, and that his family name was the same as my biological mother's family name. He gave me his phone number and when I called it turned out that this man was my uncle, my biological mother’s brother.
As they say, God works in mysterious ways, and somehow when I had already lost hope of knowing where I came from and what my origins were and who my biological mother was, I found my family and I have two sisters and a brother and a large family living all across the country. I met with them and they received me as if we had grown up together. We are in excellent relations ever since. To my regret I never got to meet my biological mother - she died two years earlier from the cursed disease.
As a postscript - after I found my biological family, I went to some very close friends of my parents, who knew and kept silent all these years. I found one at Kibbutz Givat Brenner, and she told me that her husband had helped my parents buy me. And at a price! He had even volunteered to drive me from WIZO Tel Aviv to my parents’ home since my parents did not have access to a vehicle. This uncle also died and much of that secret was buried with him, the aunt (so I called her my entire life) did not know who was paid and how much. Another thing that she was able to tell me was that my adoptive mother went through a hysterectomy due to an infection in Sha’arei Zedek, Jerusalem, in ‘49, and it was then that the option of adopting me was brought up, after it was clear that she could never give birth herself.
I publish this in a wish to aid and contribute to uncovering the truth, if I help even one more adopted child summon courage and find their biological parents following my story - that will have been enough.
When my biological mother's condition improved, she asked to see the baby - at the hospital they claimed that since I was born prematurely I did not survive. From that day on, until her death, she never ceased looking for me in the streets of Jerusalem, so I was told by her sisters and a close friend of hers. What she didn’t know was that I was transferred to WIZO Tel Aviv, and at the age of 5 months I was adopted by my adoptive parents...
after I found my biological family, I went to some very close friends of my parents, who knew and kept silent all these years. I found one at Kibbutz Givat Brenner, and she told me that her husband had helped my parents buy me. And at a price!