THE STORK MARKET
The Stork Market has been compared to Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and called more accessible than Sollinger’s Wake Up Little Susie and Beggars and Choosers and Pertman’s Adoption Nation (AAC, Decree Winter 09).
Reviewers have hailed The Stork Market as an “invaluable,” “must read,” "an amzing expose," "courageous" calling it an: “informative, well-documented and fascinating expose,” "an inconvenient tyruth," with “copious and well-documented research and a clear, engaging writing style” that “investigate(s) this shameful trafficking in infants.”
The Stork Market has been recommended for its "impeccable" research, "clear and cogent writing style," and because it “not only exposes the problems but offers common-sense solutions.
“…a must-read for every mother who is considering surrendering a child, every couple seeking to adopt, and every adoption professional and legislator in the United States….You won’t find a more straightforward account of the adoption industry as it exists today. Concise, well researched and documented, The Stork Market offers a comprehensive history of current adoption practices, including the lack of regulations (no requirements for training, licensing and reporting) for agencies and facilitators in 47 of our 50 states, transgressions committed against both natural mothers and adopting parents (including recognizable names like Georgia Tann and Seymour Kurtz), varying international adoption policies, trends toward rushing mothers into the decision to surrender, unenforceable open adoption agreements, safe havens, foster care, and sealed records....Mirah Riben’s conclusion (a view shared by Origins-USA, on whose board of directors she serves) is that family preservation is the answer — with kinship adoption and legal guardianship as viable alternatives to adoption by strangers, the end to amended birth certificates, enforcement of open adoption agreements, and a greater focus on finding families for older children in foster care.” Adoption Today magazine, Oct/Nov. 2008, pp 58-9, Denise Roessle. Full review.
"Mirah Riben’s book, The Stork Market is...an important contribution to the field. Ms. Riben’s research is impeccable and her writing style clear and cogent.
"In a few short chapters Ms. Riben deconstructs the myth of the happy birth mother and happy adoptee and replaces it with the cold reality of an activist industry out of control that has lost sight of the fact that adoption must be in the best interest of the child or it becomes an unethical, immoral, and sometimes illegal act. In doing so Ms. Riben covers all of the pertinent bases: the history of adoption reform; the unethical, immoral, and sometimes illegal practice of adoption attorneys and agencies; the issue of birth mother and adoptee rights; the nature of parenthood and family; the parameters of international adoption; and the increasingly important question of father’s rights.
"Ms. Riben also includes documentary notes and an index as well as a conclusion that considers goals regarding how the existing system of adoption can be fixed.
"The Stork Market is a well researched and well written book that in the words of the late Howard Cossell, “Tells it like it is.” It is noteworthy that Ms. Riben “tells it like it is” without the histrionics and ax grinding so often found in books of this genre. Rather, like Nietzsche and Kierkegaard, she pulls back the veneer of the warm fuzzies of the social institution of adoption to expose the rot at its core perpetrated by the adoption industry.
"I highly recommend The Stork Market to all members of the adoption triad, state legislators, and the general public. With one out of three American families touched by adoption, this book is a must read for any thinking person interested in the truth of adoption."
Msgr. John W. Sweeley, Th.D., adoptive and father of three adopted sons, life member of Bastard Nation: The Adoptee Rights Organization and a member of the Executive Committee of Massachusetts Access Rights To All.
“This book—a wonderful and well-integrated mix of approaches —part analysis, part case studies from the front lines, part hand-book, part up-to-date law and policy review—is a testament to Riben's powerful and enduring commitment to the rights and needs of vulnerable women and their children. Riben's book is a clear, bright blueprint for change.”
Rickie Solinger, historian and author, Wake up Little Susie; Beggars and Choosers
“Combines the historical and legal perspective with really hard hitting journalism.”
Maureen Flatley, political consultant and media adviser specializing in child welfare and adoption
“Once again, as in Dark Side, Riben has pulled back the covers and exposed the unpleasant truths and problems that need to be addressed in American adoption practices….the conclusions that Riben comes to are inarguable. Most impressive on every count ….well researched and thought out.” Annette Baran, M.S.W., L.C.S.W., co-author The Adoption Triangle
"I would be lying if I said I enjoyed The Stork Market. It is not an easy read, no matter what adoption perspective you’re coming from. I found myself gasping, squirming, and shaking my head in disbelief as often as I nodded in agreement. Yet, I was drawn in and compelled to keep reading, no matter how disconcerting.
"The Stork Market provides an important perspective on adoption as it exists today. Not unlike Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth — another discomforting read, but nonetheless an important addition to our base of knowledge and the means to get us thinking about where we should go from here. Along with the works of Rickie Sollinger (Wake Up Little Susie and Beggars and Choosers) and Adam Pertman (Adoption Nation) — and I found The Stork Market more accessible — it is a must-read for every mother who is considering surrendering a child, every couple seeking to adopt, and every adoption professional and legislator in the United States.
"Riben provides a concise, well researched and documented history of current adoption practices....
"We don’t want to give up our cars, our fireplaces, beef, and cell phones, even though Al Gore and other environmentalists insist that we must in order save the planet. Likewise, infertile couples don’t want to give up the chance to build a family. Those who have adopted, or hope to, may find the book difficult to digest. I submit that the same is true of birthmothers and even adoptees struggling with whether adoption was in their best interest.
"Adoption isn’t going away any time soon. But I agree with Riben that our focus has to shift back from recruiting mothers and finding children to meet the needs of prospective adoptive parents to the original intent of adoption: to provide homes for children who might not otherwise have one. Her conclusion (a view shared by Origins-USA, on whose board of directors she serves) is that family preservation is the answer — with kinship adoption and legal guardianship as alternatives to adoption by strangers, the end to amended birth certificates, enforcement of open adoption agreements, and a greater focus on finding families for older children in foster care as opposed to 'blank slate' infants. "Indeed a lofty goal. But after reading The Stork Market, I believe it is an aim worthy of our consideration and effort. Kind of like world peace."
The American Adoption Congress, Decree, Winter, 2009, Vol.26, No. 1, p. 7. Denise Roessle, Full Review
"When I read Mirah Riben's brisk polemic against adoption as we know it in America I found myself internally screaming: How can we make this book required reading for every person considering adoption--both the women who give birth and the people who adopt? For good measure, let's get it to every legislator in this country who doesn't yet understand that the commerce of adoption has not served those for whom it was ostensibly designed: the children.
"Perhaps I'm jaded: I'm one of the women still caught in the trap of a closed adoption of the mid-Sixties, when I surrendered a daughter to adoption. Do I feel abused by the system Riben so systematically takes apart? Yes. But our voices are lost in the din of would-be adopters who have delayed conception until their plan to build a family is through the taking of someone else's child--and severing as many ties as possible with the child's natural family and heritage.
"Thankfully, Riben exposes this calculating and cruel mind-set--and what it has done to the children--with copious and well-documented research and a clear, engaging writing style. Given today's shortage of American babies available for adoption, Riben's chapters on the international adoption trade are especially revealing and moving. Case studies, statistics, analysis--Riben uses all the tools to make her point and delivers it with the crushing blow of a hammer."No one who reads this book will come away without thinking that the adoption policies of America need to be re-thought and re-done. Riben, a longtime adoption-reform activist, deserves more attention and credit than I fear she will receive.
"Kudoos, Mirah, don't put down your pen! Lorraine Dusky, author of Birthmark (1979), the first memoir from a birth mother.
"I can't commend and thank Mirah enough, it takes a lot of courage, to write and expose the truth. " Insights, Vol. 20 No, 2, Nov, 2007. ARCS Adoption Research & Counseling Services, Western Australia
"Mirah Riben does not leave the reader in any doubt as to the current state of adoption practices in America as she explores the US$6.3 billion unregulated adoption industry from every angle. An enormous amount of detailed research has gone into this book — the author quotes from a wide variety of sources and opinions, including anecdotal stories, but she writes in a style that is fairly easy to read and follow.
"The book exposes corruption in the US adoption industry and exploitation in a market based on supply and demand, which sees the child as a ‘product’ and adoption as a ‘business’ rather than focusing on the rights and welfare of the child.
"It is divided into subjects such as the history of adoption in the US, prevalent myths in adoption, the business of adoption (capitalism and corruption), international adoption, ways to avoid being victimised (for both adoptive parents and expectant mothers), open adoption/ sealed records, fathers’ rights and preserving parenthood. In ‘Chapter X: Adopting Alternatives’ the author states 'Australia provides a model based on the best interest of children' — she outlines this model and suggests it (including 'permanent guardianship') as one alternative to adoption that the US could follow ‘to create a safe and ethical system to provide care for children in need’. Finally she asks ‘Can It Be Fixed’? with an optimistic view of what she envisages for the future.
"Mirah says in her Introduction that this may be a difficult or painful book for some to read, and in fact it may sadden, shock or anger people. “But it is for just these reasons you might need to read it”. As an Australian (and a birth-mother), I found this book interesting and informative and would recommend it to anyone touched by adoption."
Lynne Hutton, Branching: Newsletter of the Post Adoption Resource Centre (PARC), NSW www.bensoc.org.au/parc Vol 14, No 2, July 2007
"I read your book. Congratulations for the clear stand you take and for the excellent description of what is so totally wrong with adoption - and even more with intercountry adoption. Indeed a failed social experiment. I would like to order four more copies."
Roelie Post, author Romania - For Export Only - The untold story of the Romanian 'orphans'
"...dedicated, tenacious reporting, collecting many disparate facts into one unified whole. By recounting the many ways that the big business of adoption has harmed those it has purported to help, The Stork Market exposes a side of the institution that many would like to ignore."
Heather Lowe, Crisis Pregnancy Blog
"A must read adoption book. The Stork Market by Mirah Riben, is a must read, for anyone touched by adoption. It is an informative, well-documented and fascinating expose of the many abuses - permeating a muti-billion dollar, unregulated adoption industry. Written in a crusading, investigative reporting style, the Stork Market is a courageous book. It will please many in the adoption world, but is sure to threaten others - especially those who profit from the lucrative business of adoption.
"As a pediatric/child psychologist, I have worked in the trenches and treated hundreds of the worst-case casualties, of our closed adoption system; so I can attest to the truth in this important book, and offer first person witness, to the validity of much that Ms Riben documents and is concerned about. Surely, a family system based on secrecy, lies, and a denial of human/civil rights can not ultimately be 'in the best interest of the child;' and a passionate caring that the needs of the children be primary, 'not secondary, or even worse, irrelevant to an adult's agenda,' is evident throughout the book..." David Kirschner, PhD., Author, Adoption: Uncharted Waters
"...if you take issue with anything in Mirah’s book, you might want to do some research before trashing it out of hand. There is an extensive bibliography at the end of Mirah’s first book...There are numerous sources all over the internet and in bookstores that substantiate every quote.
"You might do well to do a little more research, and for a beginning you can start with the “Notes” section in Mirah’s first book, where she addresses many of the items that you took issue with in your piece. Her list of references alone is worth the price of the book and is a valuable resource on issues related to failed adoption, infertility issues, adult adoptees and their issues and many of the other items to which you took exception."
Sandy Young, June 6, 2007. Paradise Preoccupied.
"This is a useful and important book, well researched and documented, about what is wrong with domestic and international adoption in the USA today. Written in a clear, crisp journalistic style that is easy to read and follow, Stork Market quotes from a wide variety of diverse sources and opinions about the many abuses in our adoption system, and the injustices to all triad members these abuses engender. ... Ms.Riben makes a clear case that commercialism and lack of uniform or stringent regulation of adoption providers is the culprit.... provides a good overview of what is wrong with the adoption industry.... Seeing the child as a product subject to the laws of supply and demand, and adoption as a business rather than a sensitive child welfare issue... The problems of sealed records, secrets and lies, amended birth certificates which state that the adoptive parents gave birth to their adopted child, and the new Safe Haven legal abandonment laws are also addressed, along with some heart-warming anecdotes of helping unwed mothers to keep their babies....I was solidly impressed and enjoying this book ....I hope this book will be widely read and discussed by all interested in adoption reform, and serve as a platform to implement needed change...."
MaryAnne Cohen, mother, poet, co-founder of Origins: An organization for women who have lost children to adoption.
"The Stork Market is an expose on the United States adoption industry, and is a must-read. The book motivates adoption reform by educating the public about the true, and often unspoken, intents, motives, and policies driving adoption in the United States. Stork Market leaves few if any stones unturned, covering the history of adoption, cultural myths surrounding "motherhood," corruption, international adoption, victimization of natural and adoptive parents, natural fathers, and alternatives for social policy. Stork Market essentially discusses 'What is wrong with adoption in the United States.'"You will likely not read Stork Market linearly, but will skip around to various sections according to your own interests and priorities, eventually reading it all. What makes Stork Market a must-read for everyone is the breadth of issues it covers and its basic truth about them. Stork Market gives the reader the whole picture. The book was long overdue. No one can come away from reading Stork Market without being far more educated about a negative aspect of our society that has remained cloaked in deceptive cultural wrapping for far too long." Erick L. Smith, Paralegal, 4 stars Amazon
"Telling It Like It Is
"The Stork Market is a must read for those considering adoption or surrendering a child for adoption; and for public policy makers.
"Adoption is usually thought of as a positive event - finding a family for an unwanted child; helping a woman go on with her life without a burden she cannot bear.
"In fact, adoption has become a total distortion of the intended purpose of finding homes for orphaned children. It is a multi-billion dollar unregulated business which exploits mothers and commodifies children.
"The demand for adoptable children - particularly healthy white infants -- far exceeds the supply. Couples and singles desperate to be parents pay thousands of dollars for the babies that become available. Meanwhile American children who need homes are languishing in foster care.
"The Stork Market leads us through the seamy side of adoption: Trusting couples desiring a child scammed of thousands of dollars. Women convinced to travel across country to deliver a child in a state 'friendly' to adoption. Women required to pay thousands of dollars because they did not turn over the 'goods.' Men denied their paternal rights by convoluted laws requiring them to sign up on "putative father registries." Poor children in Asia, Eastern Europe, and South America kidnapped and smuggled into the United States.
"And its not just prospective adoptive parents and natural parents who suffer. Adoption cuts children off from blood relatives and denies them the right to know their origins. Unscrupulous adoption practioners place children with anyone who can pay their fees. Sadistic adopters abuse - even murder - children entrusted to them.
"Riben not only exposes the problems but offers common-sense solutions. Mothers should be made aware of their options. They should have sufficient time to consider and re-consider their decision. Fathers should have actual notice of the birth of their child and the pending adoption so that they can assert their rights. International adoption should be curtailed and resources made available to poor women to allow them to raise their children. Adoption agencies should be licensed and regulated. Private adoptions conducted by 'facilitators,' attorneys, doctors, and others should be outlawed.
"Finally Riben recommends that adoption - cutting off all legal ties between the child and his original family -- be replaced with guardianship-like arrangement. Adoptive parents would have custody but the child would retain a relationship with the original family."
Jane Edwards, Vice President, Origins-USA; former Regional Director, Concerned United Birthparents
"A Passionate Voice
"Mirah Riben is a passionate voice for adoption reform. She has spent decades researching and writing about how mothers -- often single and without resources -- have been coerced, even forced, into surrendering their children to adoption.
"I'm an adoptive mother....and have some appreciation of the pain (her parents) still experiencing over not having been able to raise their child....
"And Mirah Riben is trying to change that world. She's trying to empower single, pregnant young women, and to prevent them from being coerced into giving up their children. I very much hope she succeeds.
Barbara Bisantz Raymond, author The Baby Thief
"In the rush to anoint icons like Madonna and Angelina Jolie for sainthood following their adoptions of babies from Africa and Asia, no one seems to be stopping to ask how widespread this practice might be or whether it's in the best interest of the children and their birth parents. ...Sadly, this readily identifiable and burgeoning phenomenon is not at all limited to celebrities, but a big business which is depleting the Third World in much the same way those regions have been drained of their natural resources. Fortunately, one intrepid reporter, Mirah Riben, has had the guts to investigate this shameful trafficking in infants, and she is now blowing the cover off the racist racket in The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry....
"As a staunch family advocate, the author also takes aim here at the foster parenting system, pointing out that "The same funds used to support foster care could be used to help preserve families and eliminate child removal".... the bulk of this invaluable book covers the corruption in the adoption industry: the scams, coercion and exploitation rampant in a market based on supply and demand where prices are based such factors as age and skin color, and the cost of the "merchandise" is set as high as the often desperate consumers are willing to pay.....Highly-recommended for anyone touched by adoption in any way, whether considering it, working in the field, or if simply interested in child protection and family preservation."
Kam Williams, syndicated reviewer, The African American Literature Book Club, Dallas Black, News Blaze, Blacksonville, Chicken Bones, Urban Spectrum, BlackFemLens.org, Los Angeles Sentinel pg B-6, 5/3/07, Black Star News pg 17, 4/4/07, Caribbean Life pg 50, 4/11/07, Philadelphia Sunday Sun pg 23, 5/6/07
"I fully acknowledge the atrocities committed by the adoption industry every day in the adoption world...I myself am a victim of adoption fraud and words cannot express the anguish we endured. I agree with you 100% that the industry needs a serious overhaul....I am currently researching adoption trying to gain insight into multiple perspectives. Yours provided one." Dawn DeLorenzo, author, Peanut and Jelly Possibilities: Youthful Inspiration
"This book should be required reading for all who are considering adoption. Prospective adopters need to understand the role they play in perpetuating the abuses on mothers and children. It isnt all wine and roses and damage is done to many - for generations.
"Mirah has done an amazing job clearly articulating the abuses and the problems that exist in the American adoption industry. As someone who lost her first born to a baby broker (page 77-78 in the book), I can attest that all that Mirah states is spot on.
Suz Bednarz, EHBabes, Amazon
"We received your book today. I haven't put it down. I'm actually learning things, esp about domestic. Excellent points. I am thankful, deeply, deeply THANKFUL...THANK YOU SO MUCH for STATING THE FACTS about I.A.[international adoption]. So many souls, so many misheld beliefs."
Elizabeth Case, "Reformed Adoptive Parent" to Anguel, adopted Bulgaria
"...thank you for writing it. I found your book both enlightening and appalling. Having been adopted as an infant myself, I am absolutely disgusted at a system that allows us to be bought and sold like commodities....Your work is much appreciated by those of us who have experienced the negative side of adoption. Thanks for being our voice."
Triona Guidry, adoptee, blogger, writer and consultant
"This is an amazing expose that shines a bright light on the current state of adoption in the US. It is an inconvenient truth, but one we must all open our eyes to to prevent the further abuses that are so prevalent in the current system.
"Somewhere along the way adoption changed from finding families for needy children to finding children for childless parents. Adoption is not an entitlement nor is it a cure for infertility. As Joss Shawyar said in 1989 "Women can and must stop putting in orders for other women's children". Think about that.
"Adoption practices are based on the social mores of the 30s and 40s and are not only antiquated, but harmful. The current practice of lies and sealed secrets in adoption, of sealed original birth certificates and falsified 'amended' birth certificates for adoptess (oh yes, that is exactly what happens) is a violation of human and civil rights. Alabama, Delaware, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Ohio, Oregon and Tennessee give adoptees some form of access to their original (unfalsified) birth certificates. In Kansas adoption records were never sealed. Illinois is in transition to allowing access and efforts are moving forward in many other states. 
"Adoption is an unregulated industry and as such there are many abuses going on. There is massive corruption too. It exploits birth mothers and adoptive parents and commodifies babies and children. It has become a big business serving only the bottom of line of those who profit from it. The current practice of profiteering on misery has to end.
"When I started the book I couldn't put it down. The forward with the details about Australia is a wonderfully informative introduction - I wish this information could be publicized from the rooftops so others can become aware that there is a more humane way. That people are not outraged is beyond me, but this is because people don't know about what is really going on. Hopefully they will read this book and learn about what is really happening. Adoption is not practiced this way in ALL other western countries - elsewhere things are much more people, less profit, focused than here.
"This book is a must-read to open your eyes to the shocking truth of what really is going on. Please read this book to be informed and help support needed positive change.
 p xiii, foreword by Evelyn Robinson, MA, Dipl. Ed, BSW, 2006
 American Adoption Congress state legislation status
LR, Amamzon review, Dec 26, 2010