NOTE: Neither this book nor The Dark Side is available in ANY bookstore
Used copies of The Stork Market are Available on Amazon for $117 and up!
THE STORK MARKET has been compared to Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth and called more accessible than Solinger’s Wake up Little Susie and Pertman’s Adoption Nation (AAC Decree, Winter 2009).
It is every bit as relevant today as the day it was written.
Reviewers have hailed THE STORK MARKET as an “invaluable,” must read.” “and amazing expose,” 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 is “ not only exposes the problem but offers common-sense solutions.
“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
“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 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'
"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 multi-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 cannot 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., Child Psychologist, Author, Adoption: Uncharted Waters.
“Combines the historical and legal perspective with really hard-hitting journalism.”
Maureen Flatley, political consultant and media advisor specializing in child welfare and adoption
Reviews on Amazon.com:
"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.
"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, African American LiteratureBook Club, News Blaze, Dallas Black, Blacksonville, Chicken Bones, The Philadelphia Sun, Urban Spectrum. (Review also syndicated in: 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)
"According to the author's research, adoption hasn't progressed much since the orphan trains of the nineteenth century. Anyone can be an "adoption professional," for there are no requirements or standards. Today's baby brokers use the internet to ply their trade, while state agencies push children into unmonitored homes to claim federal subsidies. Celebrity adoptions demonstrate the widespread disregard for the rules. Through comparisons with Australian methods, Riben offers a future for American adoption. Payments of all kinds should be eliminated, she says, and objective counseling provided to expectant mothers. Contact between expectant mothers and prospective adopters should be curtailed, and certification of adoption practitioners made mandatory penalties for human trafficking would further discourage the brokering of babies. Prospective adoptive parents are among the victims of this horrific trade. Vulnerable in the face of infertility, they are presented with an idealized picture that neglects detail. The fact is that adoption is a business; babies are priced on age, race, ethnicity, health and physical ability. Corruption is rampant, and a failed outcome can be devastating, Riben offers guidelines to avoid being victimized and recommends a thorough background check of any adoption agent. The author also addresses the plight of those adult adoptees whose records are sealed,
and who therefore face considerable obstacles in learning their background.
"Adoption records were never sealed to protect mothers who surrender - or those adopted -
and do not exist now for their protection. Those who lobby against open records do so on behalf of the brokers, to secure their bottom line. Maintaining sealed adoption records does not "protect" mothers - or adoptees - from shame; it legitimizes it. The Stork Market is a compelling and disturbing look at the state of adoption in America. Describing the progress that has already been made, Riben says,"The profit motive and corruption in adoption cannot be mended; it must be ended."
"This should be required reading for all those considering adoption as well as families that
have already been created through adoption. A great read."
"Riben's presentation of the facts of the experience of parents by birth of children given to adoption is important reading. For such a book to be written requires first obtaining the confidence of such parents, and then to present their experience in valid form. This Riben has been able to accomplish. It is an impressive achievement. Though painful to some to read, it is truth, rather than the pretense we are accustomed to relative to this complex subject."
Jean Paton, MSW, Founder and Coordinator, Orphan Voyage, and author of Orphan Voyage and Breaking Silence
"A rare book that combines an authentic voice with a synthesis of facts and attitudes to further illuminate the complex world of adoption. Riben is sensitive, mature, realistic -- and a good writer."
Annette Baron, MSW, LCSW, co-author, The Adoption Triangle
"...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 reality...it 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)
"Very thoughtful because of deep commitment to preventing future agony...a powerful argument against sealed records."
Penny Partridge, Adoption Forum
"...painful, uncomfortable reading: The price we must pay to redeem all these little Lisas [Steinberg] out there."
Father Daniel Egan, author, The Junkie Priest
"Required reading for anyone who is serious about understanding all aspects of adoption and how we...can work together to effect positive change."
May Boyden, Adoption Resource Center of Children's Home Society of Washington
"Now at last, a book devoted to exploding the glowing NewSpeak myths in adoption and exposing its dark side to public view. Movement activists will undoubtedly find the book to be a useful resource..."
Carol Anderson, MSW, JD, Past President, Concerned United Birthparents
"Without a doubt (shedding light on, . . The Dark Side of Adoption} has accomplished what (it) set out to do in revealing some little known, and often hidden sides of the adoption experience . . . We need adoption reform. We need to face this huge social issue. We need to be thought provoking even though it can be a painful process. Thank you for having the courage to spell it out in your clear-cut approach to the problems."
Carol F. Gustavson, Founder and President, Adoptive Parents for Open Records, Inc. (APFOR)
"shedding light on . . . The Dark Side of Adoption by Marsha Riben is a book long overdue. I commend the author for her stance and courage. .. If we as the adoption community are to humanize adoption and place it in its proper perspective we must unite in shedding light on... The Dark Side of Adoption.”
Emma Mae Vilardi, Founder and Director of International Soundex Reunion Registry.
"Is there really a 'dark side' to adoption? Marsha Riben's book very powerfully reveals the atrocities done in the name of adoption. Shedding light on . . .the Dark Side of Adoption will shock you, but when you’re through reading; you'll know you've. been given an honest account of the other side of adoption! A must for those working in the adoption field." ...” "A wonderful job of compiling the facts... a great resource tool...a MUST for those working in the adoption field."
Sandra Musser, Musser Foundation Director, Adoption Triangle Ministry and ALARM. Author of I Would Have Searched Forever and What Kind of Love is This?
"Impressive piece of work -- reflects serious research...in language and a format that is easy to read, enticing and interesting; informative and stunningly realistic."
Rachel Rivers, OASIS
“…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.
Denise Roeslle, Adoption Today magazine, Oct. 2008, pp 58-9.
"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. 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., adoptee and father of three adopted sons, and member of the Executive Committee of Massachusetts Access Rights To All.
"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. 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, 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), New South Wales, Australia
"...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, author Things I Wish I'd Known When Considering Adoption, Board of Directors, Ethica
"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
"The Stork Market leads us through the seamy side of adoption: Trusting couples desiring a child [are] scammed of thousands of dollars. Women [are] convinced to travel across country to deliver a child in a state 'friendly' to adoption. Women [are] required to pay thousands of dollars because they did not turn over the 'goods.' Men [are] 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 [are] kidnapped and smuggled into the United States.
"Riben not only exposes the problems but offers common-sense solutions. Mothers should be made aware of their options.
"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, Esq., Former Regional Director, Concerned United Birthparents, Vice President, Origins-USA
"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
"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 De Lorenzo, Author of Peanut Butter and Jelly Possibilities: Youthful Inspiration