One in a Million: Why Dafna Meir HY”D was Raising 2 Foster Children

One in a Million: Why Dafna Meir HY”D was Raising 2 Foster Children

When I read that in addition to her own 4 biological children, Dafna Meir HY”D and her husband were raising two foster children, I suspected that secondary infertility stood behind the decision to become a foster family. When I found out that Dafna, a nurse and a practitioner of alternative medicine, specialized in infertility issues, that, for me, confirmed my suspicion.

But I was wrong.

Dafna Meir chose to become a foster mother to two children, brothers named Yaniv and Yair, because she herself had been adopted and she was determined to pay back the kindness she herself had received as a child.

meir family final

At the funeral, Dafna’s adoptive mother Atara spoke:
“You came to us at the age of 13, you were at an institution where every child had a relative to go to, but you didn’t have uncles or aunts or a grandfather or a grandmother or even parents who could have you. So I decided that we would try to make a match between us.”

Atara spoke about Dafna as a teenager, about her decision to join the IDF, about the way she suddenly announced to them, her adoptive parents, her decision to marry Natan only a few weeks before the wedding.

Dafna had recently told Atara that she had decided to become a foster parent when she and Natan were still dating.
When Natan proposed marriage, Dafna told him, “I have one condition. No matter how many children we have, we will also adopt children in addition to our own children.”

Dafna’s adoptive mother continued, “And that’s what happened. They received Yaniv and Yair when they were three years old and 18 months. It hadn’t been exactly simple to find a foster family that was willing to take in both brothers together. They invested in the children with all their hearts and from little, lost Dafna emerged a mensch, a woman, who knew how to contribute and knew how to give.”

In his eulogy, Dafna’s husband, also Natan, related to Dafna’s special background, “My Dafna, she was one in a million, one in a million who grows up in a home that is not a home and succeeds to grow and be heal. Dafna decided she would return kindness to the world, and that is what she did.”
Eulogy reprinted and translated from www.inn.co.il

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My Life as a Stay at Home, Working Mom by Deborah Cenker
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A Mother's Sacrifice that Created a Gadol Hador

10 comments

  1. Lauren Adilev

    Excuse me but this woman was brutally murdered by some worthless punk two days before your post and you are suspecting she was a bad girl and didn’t keep giving birth because she had “only” four children? You have no right to speculate on why/why not she had these four. The reasons are private. Not every woman is physically or emotionally capable of having the “right” amount of children: 8? 10? 12? Her life was brutally taken, her husband has to live many years without his soulmate, six children will never receive a hug from their Eema ever again and you wonder why she didn’t have more children?

    • hi lauren, I apologize it came across as insensitive. I hadn’t been wondering why she has 4 children. I was wondering about her decision to become a foster mother.

    • I am totally bewildered at your comments without having read Chaya’s response below. She was not bothered by the number or lack of children but by the obvious unusual circumstance of foster children…. In most foster adoptive families there are no biological children (at least that is my impression). We sometimes find the brave, dedicated parents who continually rescue and raise the hard to place, disabled, or troubled children who have no one. This is only makes Dafna’s murder more painful and tragic. Hashem should avenge her, and bring us Moshiach now! These tragedies are too horrific on an individual and national level.

  2. Chana Jenny was wondering about the reason she adopted children, which is a bit different. Chana Jenny doesnt seem like the judgy type, im sorry you see it that way. She opens herself and her thoughts to the public for our benefit – please dont scare her from writing openly and honestly.
    Dafna is an inspiration, may Moshiach come now so shecan be reunited with her loved ones here on earth!

  3. My friend Aviva Yoselis just send me this article about Dafna Meir HY”D..

    To Dafna Meir- A Tribute to A Woman I’ve Never Met

    Unfortunately, I’m used to getting told about the violent deaths of people I don’t know, stabbings at the bus stops where my children and I stand regularly, pictures of blood stains on streets that I pass daily, but the name of this woman sounded familiar when I read it. Dafna? Wait, could that be? I went back through my e-mails with a growing sense of horror, and then looked up online to realize that my memory was actually accurate. This was the woman I had been emailing with for the past few months, discussing women’s health e issues. She was definitely my kindred soul in increasing access to non hormonal contraceptives for women. I like meeting other professionals who feel a bit on a crusade like I sometimes do.

    We played phone tag, making times to talk, to “meet” with one another but our two busy lives got in the way. This Sunday morning, after a month long hiatus, I had an e-mail from her. “When are we speaking? We need to discuss this issue!” I smiled to myself and called her later in the day. No answer. So I emailed her and told me I was available all day. She didn’t call. I waited, figured she’d gotten involved in something else.

    Now I can’t stop thinking about her. Was she fighting for her life when I called?

    I’ve been reading articles about her life all day. I wanted to talk with her before; now, I want to be her friend. I didn’t know we had sons in the same yeshiva, I didn’t know she worked as a nurse in the hospital. I didn’t know she was fostering two children and that she had been adopted herself.

    I want to ask her questions, to continue the friendly argument we started online. I want that normal life back when I don’t know people who’ve been stabbed in front of their homes, when I don’t clench up every time someone says, “Did you hear?” I want to be able to delay an important conversation with a colleague and not worry that they won’t be around to have it later.

    I want Dafna to continue to post her blog, to plan with me how we continue on this mission, to help me think about I can reach more women, to share our resources, to grow as people, to discuss our sons’ school. Most of all, I just want to say, I’m sorry, Dafna, that I didn’t call sooner.

    • I’ve also been reading articles about Dafna. I went into her blog, to find out what kind of person whe was. I was so impressed with what I read. I’m sorry I didn’t know her in her lifetime.
      Such a tragedy, for her famnily, her community, and for all of us.

      • I also wish I had known her. She seems really special…Turns out I do know her husband’s sister.

    • I also had an experience like this! (Although not as intimate.) I had received Dafna’s number a month before to call her about some women’s health stuff. I texted her around 10:30 at night asking if I could call–she said in 10 minutes, and I called her apologizing for the late hour. I remember her saying something to the effect of “what are you apologizing for? It’s not too late”. She gave me the references I needed and wished me hatzlacha, and even over the phone, she just seemed optimistic and lively. I hung up, not thinking so much about it, until horribly, this past Sunday. Like the article here, seeing that name and seeing the picture made this ominous link in my head, and I was like, “What?” It’s horrible when any member of Am Yisrael is murdered…horrible, horrible…but in my experience of these horrors, actually having interacted with the person makes it a personal shock. I was just…shocked. Hashem should avenge her blood.

  4. boruch dayan haemes. may her family continue to be strong.

  5. Beautiful article.
    So incredibly painful – the loss of such a special woman- Hashem please send us Moshiach now.

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