Saturday, March 4, 2017


I am Mirah Riben, author of two internationally acclaimed books and nearly two hundred published articles, including many on Huffington Post , where I have been writing since October 2014.  

THE STORK MARKET: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry (2008).                                                          
Reviews and purchase information for THE STORK MARKET here. 
My first book, "shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption" was published in 1988.                                   Excerpts of The Dark Side appeared in:
  • Utne Reader, Nov/Dec, 1991, Vol. 4, pp 53-54  
  •  Social Issues Review Series, 1991, Vol. 4
  • Macrocosm USA, 1992, p 147 
  • "...a must read." The American Adoption Congress
  • "...challenges the commonly held idea that adoption is a winning solution for
    everyone...this book is to be recommended as one of the few available which balances the more usual happy-ending adoption stories with a birthparent's is recommended for those who prefer the truth, even if unpleasant, to unquestioned adoption mythology." RESOLVE Newsletter
  • "Although not an easy book for an adoptive parent to read, this is certainly an important book for anyone striving to understand all sides of the adoption triangle. The good news (for adoptive parents) is that Riben is not slamming adoptive parents...her really big guns are leveled at The System. I recommend that adoptive parents read this book." Gigi Wirtz, Families Adopting Children Everywhere (FACE)
  • "A terrific is dynamic! I will be asking my members to...purchase your book...I am constantly rereading sections." Parent Finders, Ontario 
As a proponent of human rights with a focus on the rights of mothers, fathers, children and families in crisis, I have been researching, writing and speaking about the need to reform and de-commercialize adoption practices since 1980, exposing corruption, coercion, exploitation, commodification and trafficking of children for adoption. I oppose all profiteering in adoption and is a staunch proponent of equal access for adoptees to their original birth certificates. As an advocate of family preservation I seek an end of the falsification of such vital records, and believes that adoption as it currently practiced should be replaced with guardian adoption, after all attempts to provide resources for children to remain safely within their extended family have been exhausted. 

I co-founded the original Origins, a New Jersey-based national organization for women who lost children to adoption.  I am former Director of the American Adoption Congress and Past Vice President of Communications of Origins-USA. I was among the very first pioneering mothers to publicly address the lifelong pain of losing a child to adoption and confront the myth that birth mothers asked for or were promised anonymity from their children. 

After the 1987 murder by Joel Steinberg of his illegally adopted daughter, Lisa, I worked with authorities and the family to reunite the toddler boy found in the Sternberg home with his original family, who had agreed to his adoption under duress. 

I have been keynote and invited speaker at numerous national and state adoption conferences as well as the 6th Annual PLI Adoption Law Institute Conference panel, “Costs of Adoption: A Survey and Ethical Considerations”; the 7th Annual NJ Research Conference on Women, Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey; the 2007 Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference sponsored by The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute and Ethica, Inc., and the Association for Research on Mothering Conference, York University, Toronto, Canada 2009. 

Bloggers at the Ethics in Adoption Conference 2009. 
L-R: Claudia D'Arcy, Suz Bednarz, Bernadette Wright, Mirah Riben  

I have appeared as an adoption expert on several national television programs as well as appearing on Russia-Today television numerous times discussing the murder and abandonment of Russian adopted children and the ban on Russian adoptions. 

In 2009 I traveled to Guatemala with a human rights delegation to support mothers of children kidnapped for adoption. 


I'm a true Aquarian "flower child" who maintains the values of the sixties - peace, love, social justice, and equality. Since 1980, I have focused my human rights activism on the rights of mothers, fathers and their children: Family Preservation not adoption separation.

In 1987 I organized a Candlelight Vigil I organized to honor of illegally adopted Lisa, killed by Joel Steinberg, and to bring attention to the need to reform adoption and open sealed records. It was covered by WNBC-TV New York.

In 1989, I organized a speak-out at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington DC at the culmination of a walk of adoptees and mothers who had lost children to adoption that began in New York City. 

L - R: Mary Anne Cohen, Sherry Chait and I

Also, that year, at the AAC national conference in NYC, I organized a “red tape”  event that garnered media attention to the issue of adoptees being denied access to their birth certificates. 

BELOW: Signing The NJ Adoptee Birthright Access Bill, 2016

My presentation at the AAC Region 3 conference in 1989 entitled “In the ‘Best Interest’ of All: Equal Rights for Adopted-Separated Persons” I encouraged adoption rights advocates to stop asking for “open records,” and to frame their argument as one of equal rights.

Honors and Awards:

  • 1997-1998. Who’s Who in American Women, 20th edition
  • Golden key National Honor Society, Rutgers University Chapter, in  Recognition of Outstanding Undergraduate Achievement
  • Dean’s list, University College, 1998
  • Recipient of an academic scholarship, University College, 1999-2000
  • 1989 “Outstanding Achievement Award to an Author”, People Searching News, Florida. Jone Carlson, Editor
  • Dean’s List, Middlesex County College, 1982-1983 academic year
Personal Life:

I was born and raised in Brooklyn. Lived in Greenwich Village, Manhattan from the age of 17. Waitressed in renowned coffee houses such as the Wha and the Why Not where I met and became good friends with Richie Havens. 

In 1968 I was pressured to lose my firstborn child to adoption, and received no support to keep my family intact.  Instead, I - like so many woman of my generation - was assured it was loving, unselfish thing, would be for the "best" and I would "put it behind me" and get on with my life.

In 1969 I became employed at Volitant/Histrionic Publishing, 21 West 26 Streetin NYC, becoming Associate Editor of three magazines. 

In 1971 I met the man who became my husband and moved to New Jersey to raise our family. I was full-time at-home mother to our three children and a La Leche League Leader. I was class mother and active with their scouts while offering support to birth moms and writing my first book.

While parenting our three children, I also took in foster children, housed expectant mothers in need, and reunited hundreds of adoption-separated families. 

In 1995 my first daughter succumb to depression.  It was then I learned that adoptees attempt suicide four times more often than their non-adopted contemporaries.