Mirah Riben

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Mirah Riben
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Born (1945-01-26) January 26, 1945 (age 79)
CitizenshipUnited States of America
  • Author
  • Writer
  • Researcher
  • Advocate
  • Social activist
Years active1969-present
Known forKnown for her critical examination of the adoption industry and reproductive biotechnologies

Mirah Riben (born January 26, 1945) is an American author, freelance writer, researcher, advocate and social activist whose career began in 1969 as the Associate Editor of three magazines at Volitant/Histrionic Publishing.[1]. She is known for her critical examination[2] of the adoption industry[3] and reproductive biotechnologies[4]. Riben has presented at The Association for Research on Mothering Conference, York University, Toronto, Canada (2009), the 6th Annual PLI Adoption Law Institute Conference panel, “Costs of Adoption: A Survey and Ethical Considerations” (2009)[5], and the 7th Annual NJ Research Conference on Women, Rutgers[6], the State University of New Jersey.

Her concerns with adoption have been a vital focus of her life since 1968[7], when like millions of women[8] [9][10], she was persuaded to lose her firstborn to adoption as a result of social shame and secrecy surrounding single motherhood prevalent from the 1940s to the early 1970s.

Riben first became known in the movement to bring greater regulation and humanity to adoption practices in 1988 when she published Shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption, a critical analysis of the sealed adoption process and its impact on families.

Presentations and conferences

Riben has been a vocal critic and researcher in the adoption debate since the 1970s[11], appearing on a number of television and radio programs. In 1988, she was a guest on the Geraldo Show in an episode entitled “Private Adoption: White Knights or Flesh Peddlers?” In 1990, she appeared on the Joan Rivers Show in segment #1170, with Grace Anne Smiegel, grandmother of Lisa Steinberg who was killed by Joel Steinberg. Her other appearances include:

Riben also presented at Adoption Community of New England on The Universality of Losing a Child to Adoption April 17, 2010; and at Adoption Ethics and Accountability Conference, Oct. 15-16, 2007, EBSAI and Ethics.

Written works

A dedicated researcher, Mirah Riben has been published widely on domestic adoption, as well as international and inter-racial adoption. Riben’s work has dealt with many understudied issues related to adoption, including the economic structure of the adoption industry and marketplace[12], the implications of race, age and health on the price of adoption[13], the impact of adoption on birth families and adoptees[14], and the lack of regulation in the industry[15].

Her books, first shedding light on ...the Dark Side of Adoption (1988)[16] and then The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry (2007)[17] were some of the first to counter the myth of altruistic, win-win adoptions, exposing a multi-billion-dollar industry[18] with many uncredentialed actors[19], complex implications of racial and social politics[20], and little oversight[21]

Riben’s work also exposes the international settings that lend themselves to issues such as human trafficking[22], fraud[23], corruption[24], rights[25] abuses[26], and scandal, as related to adoption[27].

Her work is widely-regarded in the field of social work[28] and has been included in the social work handbook for adoption[29].

She has over 200 articles published in a variety of publications, including 100 articles published on the Huffington Post, many of which deal with the ethics of modern adoption practices[30] and the realities of adoption loss[31]. Riben has been widely cited regarding the contested[32] adoption case[33] involving a young Alabama mother named Kimberly Rossler[34] and pre-birth consent[35], which is currently legal in three states--Idaho, New York, Oregon[36]. Recent articles have dealt with issues[37] such as genetic selection for health, physical and educational traits; third party reproduction and surrogacy[38], the creation and selling of desirable frozen embryos by for-profit companies[39]; all of which exploit and commodify human beings.

Advocacy and activism

Riben has a long history of advocating for children. In the 1970s, in addition to caring for her three children, she was a home birther and La Leche League Leader.

In 1980, Mirah Riben cofounded the advocacy organization Origins (the precursor to Origins-AU, Origins Canada and later Origins-USA) a national group for mothers who lost their children to adoption, campaigning against practices such as sealed birth certificates, the issuance of falsified “amended” birth certificates, and pre-birth matching with “expenses" paid directly from prospective adopters to expectant mothers.

Riben is former Director of the American Adoption Congress and in 1989 helped organize the first march on Washington for Adoptee rights[40].

Riben was a member of the Board of Directors of Origins-USA, a nonprofit organization dedicated to keeping natural families together. She also served as Public Relations Chair in 2007 and Vice President of Communications in 2008, of the organization.

She has been a prominent advocate to change the language of adoption, and for the mental health of adopted adolescents and adults[41][42], who are four times more likely to attempt suicide and deal with issues such as genealogical bewilderment and genetic sexual attraction. Riben is concerned with emotional, physical and sexual abuse of adopted children[43], as well as adoptive parents who abandon or rehome the children they have made a lifetime commitment to protect.

In the media



  1. Martin, Douglas (2004-02-16). "Adrian Lopez, 97; Published Niche Magazines". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  2. Craig, Gary (2017-04-17). "Human Trafficking: Women's Stories of Agency By MariaDe Angelis Newcastle upon Tyne: Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2016. ISBN 978-1-4438-8526-3; £41.99 (hbk)". Social Policy & Administration. 51 (3): 539–540. doi:10.1111/spol.12299. ISSN 0144-5596.
  3. Ross, Loretta; Solinger, Rickie (2019-12-31). Reproductive Justice. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-96320-7.
  4. Petropanagos, Angel (2010). "Donna Dickenson Property in the Body: Feminist Perspectives. Cambridge, UK, and New York, Cambridge University Press, 2007". Hypatia. 25 (3): 613–617. doi:10.1111/j.1527-2001.2010.01119.x. ISSN 0887-5367.
  5. Adoptauthor (2009-09-13). "FAMILY PRESERVATION not Adoption Separaration: Sixth Annual Adoption Law Institute". FAMILY PRESERVATION not Adoption Separaration. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  6. "IRW Conferences". irw.rutgers.edu. Retrieved 2020-06-17.
  7. Brodzinsky, David. (1993). Being adopted : the lifelong search for self. Anchor Books. OCLC 1147728154.
  8. "What Was the Baby Scoop Era?". WorldAtlas. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  9. Solinger, Rickie, 1947- (2000). Wake up little Susie. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-92676-9. OCLC 42861677.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  10. Fessler, Ann. (2007), The girls who went away : the hidden history of women who surrendered children for adoption in the decades before roe v. wade, Tantor Media, ISBN 978-1-4945-9949-2, OCLC 950737938, retrieved 2020-07-13
  11. Ross, Loretta; Solinger, Rickie (2019-12-31). Reproductive Justice. Berkeley: University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-96320-7.
  12. Riben, Mirah (2006). The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregualted Adoption Industry. The Stork Market. ISBN 978-1-4276-0895-6.
  13. Kimberly McKee (2018). "Adoption as a Reproductive Justice Issue". Adoption & Culture. 6 (1): 74. doi:10.26818/adoptionculture.6.1.0074.
  14. Wolf, On behalf of; Baldwin; Associates; P.C. (2015-07-08). "Family law experts: Adoptees are people, too". Wolf, Baldwin & Associates, P.C. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  15. Engel, Madeline (2018-06-12). "The Role of Media in the Development of U. S. Policy on Disrupted Adoptions of Children". Sociology Between the Gaps: Forgotten and Neglected Topics. 4 (1). ISSN 2472-1255.
  16. Riben, Marsha (1988). Shedding Light on the Dark Side of Adoption. Harlo. ISBN 978-0-8187-0105-4.
  17. Riben, Mirah (2006). The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregualted Adoption Industry. The Stork Market. ISBN 978-1-4276-0895-6.
  18. Hyde, Cheryl A (2014-04-25). "The child catchers: Rescue, trafficking, and the new gospel of adoption, Kathryn Joyce". Qualitative Social Work. 13 (3): 443–445. doi:10.1177/1473325014530940b. ISSN 1473-3250.
  19. "Child Abduction for Adoption and the Tangled Web of Deceit in Guatemala: A Review of Erin Siegal's "Finding Fernanda"". Rewire.News. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  20. Woodward, Kerry (January 28, 2016). "Marketing Black Babies versus Recruiting Black Families: The Racialized Strategies Private Adoption Agencies Use to Find Homes for Black Babies". Sociology of Race and Ethnicity. 2 (4): 482–497. doi:10.1177/2332649215627820. ISSN 2332-6492.
  21. McKee, Kimberly (2019). "The Consumption of Adoption and Adoptees in American Middlebrow Culture". Biography. 42 (3): 669–692. doi:10.1353/bio.2019.0065. ISSN 1529-1456.
  22. Gibbons, Judith L. (2017-04-03). "Human Trafficking and Intercountry Adoption". Women & Therapy. 40 (1–2): 170–189. doi:10.1080/02703149.2016.1210965. ISSN 0270-3149.
  23. Fronek, Patricia (2015-03-02), "Intercountry Adoption in Australia", Encyclopedia of Social Work, NASW Press and Oxford University Press, ISBN 978-0-19-997583-9, retrieved 2020-06-20
  24. Rotabi, Karen Smith (2012-10-31). "Child adoption and war: 'Living disappeared' children and the social worker's post-conflict role in El Salvador and Argentina". International Social Work. 57 (2): 169–180. doi:10.1177/0020872812454314. ISSN 0020-8728.
  25. McKee, Kimberly D. (2016). "Monetary Flows and the Movements of Children: The Transnational Adoption Industrial Complex". Journal of Korean Studies. 21 (1): 137–178. doi:10.1353/jks.2016.0007. ISSN 2158-1665.
  26. Parker, Phil (2017). "Revisiting ICWA after Adoptive Couple v. Baby Girl". SSRN Electronic Journal. doi:10.2139/ssrn.3068969. ISSN 1556-5068.
  27. Rotabi, Karen Smith; Bromfield, Nicole Footen (May 22, 2012). "The Decline in Intercountry Adoptions and New Practices of Global Surrogacy: Global Exploitation and Human Rights Concerns". Affilia. 27 (2): 129–141. doi:10.1177/0886109912444102. ISSN 0886-1099.
  28. Rotabi, Karen Smith; Bunkers, Kelley McCreery (November 25, 2011). "In an Era of Reform: A Review of Social Work Literature on Intercountry Adoption". SAGE Open. 1 (3): 215824401142816. doi:10.1177/2158244011428160. ISSN 2158-2440.
  29. Pawar, Manohar (2014-10-28). "Handbook of international social work: Human rights, development and the global profession Lynn Healy and Rosemary Link". Journal of Social Work. 14 (6): 658–659. doi:10.1177/1468017314535535. ISSN 1468-0173.
  30. Lott, Tamikia, "Adoption Agencies and Services", Encyclopedia of Human Services and Diversity, Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., vol. 1, pp. 33–34, ISBN 978-1-4522-8748-5, retrieved 2020-06-20
  31. "The Insensitivity of Adoption Day Celebrations". Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  32. Samuels, Elizabeth J., Time to Decide? The Laws Governing Mothers' Consents to the Adoption of Their Newborn Infants. Tennessee Law Review, Vol. 72, p. 509, 2005, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=843584
  33. Golgowski, Nina. "Alabama mom speaks out after newborn is given up for adoption, says her pleas to keep baby were ignored". nydailynews.com. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  34. "Alabama adoption page can go back online: Supreme Court". al. 2019-06-29. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  35. Thibodeaux, David, Whose Rights Should Prevail? Toward a Child-Centric Approach to Revocation of Birthparent Consent in Domestic Infant Adoption (2014). 1 Belmont Law Review 343 (2014), Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2481238
  36. Child Welfare Information Gateway. (2017). Consent to adoption. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Children's Bureau.
  37. "The Future of Conception | Bioethics Research Library". Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  38. Kalantry, Sital (2017-12-21). "Regulating Markets for Gestational Care: Comparative Perspectives on Surrogacy in the United States and India". dx.doi.org. Retrieved 2020-06-20.
  39. Hrekov, Yevhen; Hrekova, Maryna; Kabalskyi, Roman (2019). Berkis, U.; Vilka, L. (eds.). "Social and philosophical background and legal mechanism of assisted reproductive technologies regulation (by example of surrogate maternity)". SHS Web of Conferences. 68: 01016. doi:10.1051/shsconf/20196801016. ISSN 2261-2424.
  40. Goza, Amanda B. (March 1994). "The adoption life cycle: The children and their families through the years". Journal of Child and Family Studies. 3 (1): 121–125. doi:10.1007/bf02233915. ISSN 1062-1024.
  41. Soll,, J (2005). Adoption Healing: A Path to Recovery. Baltimore, MD: Gateway Press.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
  42. Ligtvoet, F. (2012). "A Call for a Rating System for Adoption Agencies". Against Happiness.
  43. Hyde, Cheryl A (2014-04-25). "The child catchers: Rescue, trafficking, and the new gospel of adoption, Kathryn Joyce". Qualitative Social Work. 13 (3): 443–445. doi:10.1177/1473325014530940b. ISSN 1473-3250.

External links

This article "Mirah Riben" is from Wikipedia. The list of its authors can be seen in its historical. Articles taken from Draft Namespace on Wikipedia could be accessed on Wikipedia's Draft Namespace.