A Jewish Look at Adoption
It is a mitzvah to get married and have children. If a married couple is physically unable to have children, the commandment to be fruitful and multiply may be satisfied by adopting a child. Jewish law does not directly address the matter of adoption, nor is there a formal adoption ceremony (although several beautiful prayers and blessings have been written for such an occasion).
But what happens when a Jewish couple adopts a child born of a gentile mother? The answer is that the child must undergo the conversion process, although many Reform rabbis will forego this requirement so long as the child is raised as a Jew and given a Jewish education.
In most respects, all obligations parents have toward their natural children apply to adoptive children and, vice versa, concerning the child toward the parents. The child becomes a part of the Jewish community and is welcomed like all Jewish children with a bris, a Pidyon Ha-Ben (if applicable), and a naming ceremony.
The conversion procedure for a child is not as rigorous as that of an adult. Although the conversion process does vary according to the branch of Judaism to which the family adheres, it will generally include the following:
Approval by a rabbinic court
Circumcision performed with appropriate ceremony
Immersion of the child in a mikvah (ritual bath)
A commitment the child will receive a Jewish education