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A moving story of a noted genealogist bringing up her adopted daughter who has Down Syndrome. Described are her battles with officials and even the birth family, but more importantly the incredible accomplishments she and her daughter achieved in maximizing her daughter's potential.

Taking Tamar

  • Bringing Up a Child with Downs Syndrome
    by Martha LevZion

    This is a book about a mother's experience adopting and bringing up a child with Down syndrome.

    In 1986, Martha Lev-Zion, a single woman in her 40s, heard about a TV documentary regarding 22 children with severe birth defects who had been abandoned by their birth parents in Israeli hospitals. Martha applied for one of those babies, but was told that of the 65 applications received, hers would be the last one considered. In the end, with only one baby remaining, Martha took into her care a 14-month-old girl with Down syndrome. This book relates the amazing journey of Martha's life raising her daughter Tamar.

    Interwoven with her experiences fighting Israeli governmental authorities, school systems, the birth family, and even the U.S. government, is her commitment to bring up her daughter as normally as possible, and the incredible accomplishments her daughter was able to achieve.

    When she was 14 months old, Tamar was tested and found to have an IQ of between 45-60. Today she is a young woman of 21, living independently, with a job as an assistant secretary at a university. She still has some of the characteristics of a person with Down syndrome, but Martha’s commitment to maximize Tamar’s potential is something Martha feels any parent should do in rearing ANY child.



    6" x 9" 208 pp. softcover $19.95


    Read Sample from Book


    Excerpts from book

    “I was determined to make this a success and to give it all I could so that this child, who had been abandoned since the day of her birth fourteen months earlier, would know that she was loved, would learn to be as independent as she possibly could, and would live up to whatever potential she had inside her.”

    “Every second of Tamar’s wakeful hours was spent in stimulation. We didn’t go down the stairs without counting the steps; I pointed out every leaf form, color, texture; we smelled flowers and trees; we looked at soft earth and cement; we looked at angles and shapes of every single thing; we spotted different birds and listened to their various chirping patterns…”

    “He held it up in front of my eyes and I read: the United States of America is not required to allow visas to the following categories of applicants—ex-convicts, dope addicts, or the mentally retarded.”

    “Other parents, seeing Tamar as she progressed, insisted that she was exceptional, and that their children never could do as well as she. I am convinced that it is this very attitude that hobbled their children. If you expect nothing, you get nothing.”

    “I bless the day that Tamar’s abandonment led to my taking Tamar.”


    The Beginnings 1
    It’s Official! 25
    Education and the Travails of Tamar’s Life 37
    Tamar Becomes Bat Mitzvah 53
    Working With Down’s 69
    The Biological Family 75
    Learning With Tamar 84
    Tamar and Her Adoption 132
    Reevaluation of the Entire Educational System 143
    Tamar’s Unexpected Adventure 155
    Back to School Again 158
    When I Grow Up, I Want to Be... 160
    The End: A New Beginning 166
    For New Parents of a Child with Down Syndrome 169
    Postscript 171
    Family Album 173




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