Saturday, June 30, 2007

"The Best Interest"

The right to a child
Red Pepper Archive

Emotional reunions between grown-up children and the mothers who gave them up at birth are less likely to be a happy ending than an exposure of rejection and loss. Ruth Valentine explores the politics of adoption.

Adoption has become political. Officially, that is: on 17 February, Stephen Dorrell opened his mouth and spoke the word – adoption. 'Decisions about who can adopt should reflect commonsense values widely shared by society, rather than the specialist and fashionable theories held by a particular professional group.' The context was the announcement of new regulations, giving would-be adopters the right to information about the adoption agency's decision. Not especially stirring stuff, but an opportunity for more social work-bashing. A more far-reaching Adoption Bill was dropped from last year's Queen's Speech, not least for fear of the family-values brigade pressuring single mothers to give up babies for adoption.

Or else: adoption has always been political. The children of the poor, like tax revenues, have been redistributed amongst the middle classes. Or more subtly: those parents whom society treats most harshly, who because of oppression, homelessness, poverty, unemployment or emotional deprivation find it hard to care for children, are given not help to do so but a court order.

The current debate of course reaches back before Dorrell. Some arguments go back at least to the Second World War. 'We know there have been questions about these spinster adoptions,' wrote a social worker to Chichester County Court in the 1940s, referring, inelegantly, to my elderly guardians. 'But in this case...'. And there I was, subject to the same lifeless dilemma: do two elderly women have the right to adopt? What else do we do with this superfluous human being?

The truth is that there has never been a public debate about adoption. The right may groan about political correctness, but the left has never found the issue worthy of its attention. And adoption is a strange institution, worth debating. It is not simply a system for ensuring the care of orphaned children. Adoption has long since ceased to be concerned mainly with orphans. No, the debate, the playground for politicians, is now, as in 1945, about one thing: who has or hasn't the right to adopt children. Do lesbians? Disabled people? Smokers, people with weight problems? And, most virulently, since this is the group least used to official disapproval: do white adults have the right to adopt black children? Adoption as a practice is never questioned.

This is not a debate, but a tantrum. Feel the hatred fly off the newsprint, the 70-point headlines. They say we're not good enough to adopt children. Since the tantrum claims to be the voice of Our People (white, employed, heterosexual, able-bodied, married), it is presented always in these terms. 'Pain of couple refused by PC officials'. The photo: a couple looking ordinary and hopeful and pained. Commonsense values.

Of course the rage, like all rage, comes out of pain. To long to have children and be unable is a bereavement: a pain you wake up with, that catches you like angina as you walk down the street amongst the women with buggies, the men taking their sons to see Arsenal.

We are not good in this country at living with pain. Nor, therefore, at bearing other people's. Never mind, we say to the child whose kitten dies: we'll get you another one. With enough money, we can get another anything. Substitution. Make no mistake, pain and substitution are political. Substitution, we might say, is the opium of the people. Narcotic. Pain-killer.

Hence the rage and incomprehension around this 'right' to adopt children. You can't have children. You've had the indignity and physical pain of what the hospitals already call infertility tests. The unreality of test-tubes of sperm being thawed and spooned into you by someone in uniform. The risky, haphazard, emotionally exhausting process of in-vitro fertilisation.

Never mind, Mrs Jones, what about adoption? Adoption is not a substitute for childbearing. It's not the same thing.

Adoption is political because it is about power. About who has power. People used to having the power of the consumer, the power to obtain substitutes, find themselves in the power of officials, judges, social workers. Those parents whose child is to be adopted (these children are not orphans: even, perhaps especially, in the child-exporting countries there is usually at least one parent), have forfeited their share of power: by poverty, or an inability to care for their children to other people's standards; or by desperation, taking the paltry money, convinced or half-convinced by the dealer's half-hearted argument: she'll have a better home.

If adoption is the redistribution of children from poor to rich, then inter-country adoption is the perfect example of colonialism. Where children become the commodity, like oil, or gold, or mangetouts.

Ceaucescu is ousted then executed in Romania. Journalists fly there. The papers are full of pictures: Romanian orphanages. According to Isabel Fonseca, most of the children in those 'orphanages' were Roma. The Roma have elaborate extended family living arrangements, which cater even for truly orphaned children. The collection of these Roma children in one place starts to have another political meaning.

Mr and Mrs Someone, resourceful, moved by the pictures, take two months' leave and drive to Romania. The dealer, the intermediary – there has to be an intermediary, someone who speaks English, who interprets bureaucracy, who makes it all right – says: orphan. Or else: they haven't visited in all this time. If he's less than subtle, he says: they won't be a problem. If he's clever, he says: you've seen the conditions.

There are regulations for inter-country adoption, but the intermediary ensures that Mr and Mrs Someone don't have to bother too much about that. Nor, in the end, when the child is here, do the courts. As with Edita Keranovic, smuggled out of Bosnia, though her surviving relatives want to look after her. The courts say: it is in Edita's best interests that she stay in Britain.

The Children Act requires the court to consider the best interests of the child. But who defines those interests and what criteria do we use?

What she needs is a loving home, we say, rendered simplistic by those dark un-English eyes, the evident neglect. As if love, the emotion, the intention, were enough. It is the old puritan error: what matters is the intention, not the impact. The error that makes us unable to tell when we are being oppressive: I didn't mean to. I only wanted to help. We know what horrors 'love' may inflict on children.

Let us consider the child. Here he is: Michael. We will call him Michael, even though he was called Marin in Romania and Jorge in El Salvador and Aleksander in Moscow and Ly in Vietnam and Ade in Tottenham and Darren in Birmingham;once he is here he will become Michael. What does Michael say?

Listen closely. Michael was born and straight away removed from his mother. He never fed from her breasts or felt her body-warmth. Or: Michael was born, and stayed with his mother, his father, and then after six weeks/six months/six years he was taken away from them.

The best interests of Michael are: not to have had to leave his parents. Or if that is really impossible: to be with people who can understand his loss and speak of it. Will tell him the unbearable truth and help him to bear it. Are not too hurt, or offended, or afraid of what the truth wakens in them. Good social work practice, what Mr Dorrell reviles as political correctness and specialist theory, seeks out and supports this kind of adoptive parent. [Ed: Better still, of course, good social work practice helps keep the original fmaily intact!]

Do not speak to me of the right of people to adopt when there is this far more basic and undebated right, the right of a child to honesty and understanding. The pain Mr and Mrs Someone have gone through, however great, gives them no entitlement. It does not count in comparison to the loss and confusion of Michael, the power of his experience of rejection. People desperate to deny the fact of their infertility, to 'treat him as if he was our own', are in no position to help a small child deal with the painful reality of his past.

The truth about our origins is important to all of us. Go to the Family Records Centre (previously St Catherine's House) and see the people trawling through the registers. Up to 70,000 adopted people have taken the one step we can, applying for permission to know our original name. Some percentage of these have managed to track down the mother they lost; some, fewer, the father.

The world is in love with these stories of reunion. With Clare Short, courageous and honest, saying it was a mistake, hugging her new-found son. With the aptly named Secrets and Lies. Hollywood requires a new plot device, the PUC (pronounced puke), the Previously Unknown Child.

As if we were all seeking for atonement. For the message: our terrible errors can be wiped out. We can turn the clock back. Here are these radiant mothers, relieved children. In 1945, or '65, or '85, we required these women to surrender their children. 'I was told I had to forget you had ever been born,' said my mother, 'so I did.' Now we require them to reshuffle their lives, to reveal their painful past to families who cannot but be shaken by the revelation. The stories of reunited birth parents and children do not end at the moment of reunion, the photo where we all strain to discover likenesses. With little support or understanding, as opposed to myth-making, available to either side, not surprisingly the stories often come back to a less fairy-tale beginning; it may not be the birth that is rerun, but the rejection.

Where does this leave our non-debate? New Labour can choose to ignore the right-to-adopt lobby and think seriously about the needs of hurt children. Or it can go for the populist line, dowse us in the sticky rhetoric of family values, and watch the graceless squabbling for possession of children continue.

There is a role for the left here: to open up the discussion, not in terms of the rival claims of the would-be adopters, but in terms of the unacknowledged needs of the powerless and unheard children.

Ruth Valentine is a writer and works as a consultant to voluntary organisations.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Review of The Stork Market

Review of "The Stork Market" reprinted from its original post at AdopTalk, Sunday, March 25, 2007

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. The root of most of these abuses is the ancient "root of all evil", the love of money. Ms.Riben makes a clear case that commercialism and lack of uniform or stringent regulation of adoption providers is the culprit. She also calls into question the belief that because one can pay, one "deserves" a child to adopt, whether that is really the best solution for the child or not.

This book provides a good overview of what is wrong with the adoption industry, from the coercion of naive pregnant women without providing real options counseling or alternatives, the attempts to take birthfathers out of the picture, to scams that promise a baby to prospective adoptive parents but take their money and give them nothing. Seeing the child as a product subject to the laws of supply and demand, and adoption as a businness rather than a sensitive child welfare issue is also exposed as a cause of corruption and suffering. 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 annectdotes of helping unwed mothers to keep their babies.

There is also a harrowing chapter on the most extreme horrors, children adopted by abusers and pedophiles because of the lack of oversight of adoption facilitators.

I was solidly impressed and enjoying this book right up until the final chapter in conclusion, where I feel the author will lose a lot of other readers as well. What troubled me was the solution proposed, to replace adoption with some form of legal guardianship, and the conviction that adoption is too flawed to be fixed, but must be "restructured" or replaced.

My experience has been that when one starts talking about abolishing adoption or changing it to legal guardianship, many people who would otherwise support reforms of the system stop listening and get defensive, because adoption HAS worked for them, or those they know, despite its many flaws and abuses, and they are not interested in getting rid of it.

Like Ms. Riben, I am also a surrendering mother with many years in adoption reform. Unlike her, I still believe in reform and flexibility in adoption; yes, I would like to see all the abuses she has pointed out reformed and changed, by better, more uniform laws, stricter regulation, better mandated ethical practice. I do not see this necessitating replacing adoption with guardianship. I wish she had ended her book after documenting the abuses, and left readers to draw their own conclusions. I feel the end conclusion weakens an otherwise powerful book as a tool to promote change and understanding.

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
Posted by AdoptTalk, Sunday, March 25, 2007@ 9:28 AM

For additional reviews and purchase information for The Stork Market: America's Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Helping Single Mothers and Ending Exports of Children

The First Annual Award for
Family Preservation Hero of the Year goes to:
Dr. Richard Boas

American adoptive father launches campaign to help unwed Korean moms

Just one year ago, Dr. Richard Boas, the American father of an adopted Korean girl named Esther, was financially helping other Americans so they could adopt children from overseas.

By Kim Young-gyo and Jane Jeong Trenka

However, Boas’ perspective radically changed after visiting South Korea late last year. Now, he is an activist for the rights of single and unwed mothers and their children. Moreover, he has become a staunch supporter of domestic adoption within Korea.

"Isn’t it in the best interest of a developed society — any society that loves its children — to support them in whatever way possible?" Boas asked in an interview with Yonhap News Agency earlier this week.

The ophthalmologist from Connecticut was in South Korea during the past week meeting lawmakers, academics and social workers to promote not international adoption, but family preservation.

Almost 20 years go, Boas and his wife adopted Esther, believing that they would be able to give her a better life in the United States.

"As grateful as I am that Esther came into my life — and that I had the great privilege of bringing her up, of being her father and seeing her grow into a fine young woman — it pains me to see any woman give up her child because people and the government won’t support her," Boas said.

The Korean international adoption program began in the aftermath of the Korean War, peaking in the mid-1980s when over 8,000 children a year were sent abroad for adoption, mostly to the United States. In the 1990s and beyond, the "problem" of single mothers in Korea has provided a new supply of Korean children for the West.

The number of South Korean children sent abroad for adoption abruptly dropped as a result of media coverage of the program during the 1988 Olympics, and has hovered around the 2,000 mark since 1991, according to Korean government data. However, along with China, Russia and Ethiopia, it is still one of major "sending" countries to the U.S., according to the annual U.S. State Department report on "orphan" visas.

Nearly all internationally adopted Koreans in the past few years have come from unmarried and single mothers. South Korea not yet ratified the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, while the U.S. has signed but not yet implemented it. North Korea has no international adoption program.

South Korea, the world’s 11th-largest economy, has been criticized both at home and abroad for its low rate of domestic adoption. Government figures show that there have been about 87,500 domestic adoptions versus 158,000 international adoptions since the end of the Korean War in 1953. Even though the government is now promoting domestic adoption, Confucianism, which stresses patriarchal bloodlines, and social stigma against unmarried and single mothers and their children are commonly cited as the reasons for high relinquishment and low domestic adoption.

South Korea ranks 53rd in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development’s (OECD’s) Gender Empowerment Ranking, between Chile and Botswana.

"I had the sense of almost rescuing a child from what seemed like a very dismal fate in Korea," Boas said of Esther, whom he adopted when she was three and a half months old. She is his third child, in addition to two biological children.

With his children grown, Boas closed his medical practice and started a program with other Connecticut adoptive parents to help people adopt internationally. The Adoption Foundation at Family and Children’s Agency financially aided about 15 families to adopt children, including special needs children and siblings.

However, Boas’ view of international adoption changed radically when he visited South Korea for the first time in October 2006 and met a group of unwed mothers who had already made arrangements to give up their children, even before delivery.

"When I met the moms, I started asking myself questions that the other Americans weren’t asking." Boas said. "Why would these moms give up their babies? Isn’t it the right of any birth mom anywhere in the world to bring up her child if she’s capable and loving? Why are these kids not being absorbed into Korean society, either by their birthparents or by domestic adoption?" The rate at which unwed mothers relinquish their children in South Korea, estimated at 70 percent, comes as a shock to Americans, where fewer than 2 percent of unwed mothers relinquish their children for adoption.

After meeting healthy and seemingly capable Korean unmarried mothers, who were nonetheless sending their children overseas for adoption, Boas wondered, "Why am I favoring so much international adoption when it doesn’t need to be necessary? This is like the tail wagging the dog."

Boas returned home to Connecticut, unsettled about what he had seen in Korea. He read about the South Korean social welfare system in comparison with Western European countries and the U.S. Then he encountered an article by Marie Myung-Ok Lee, the Korean-American author of "Somebody’s Daughter," who had studied Korean birthmothers.

"She became aware that the effect (of international adoption) on these mothers is devastating. They learn English just so they can get a phone call from their child 20 years later. They still long for their children," Boas said, explaining why he turned his attention to helping Korean mothers keep their own children.

Through his foundation affiliation, Boas now provides funds to the San Francisco-based foundation Give 2 Asia, which also maintains an office in Seoul. In turn, Give 2 Asia supports such organizations as the Single Mothers Network, the single and unwed mothers’ group home Aeranwon and the Korean Women Workers Association.

"I think the problem, in retrospect, was that so much of this has been adoption-driven ... I understand some years ago the agencies in Korea even competed with one another to try to find all the adoptable kids they could. It may be in the best interests of the adoptive family, but children are by definition helpless. They can’t make requests. They’re not asking to go overseas." Boas said that domestic adoption can also help boost South Korea’s declining population; with a 1.13 percent birthrate in 2006, the country has the lowest birthrate in the OECD.

The practice of international adoption has become "business as usual," Boas said, but now "Koreans have a golden opportunity to really evolve and do so well by these kids and their mothers. I think when you really come down to it, the economic price and the social price is relatively small. I think it’s much smaller than the price that everybody is paying now."

Monday, June 25, 2007

Boycott News Update

Joining the Boycott:

Adoption Advocates, Lynne Banks and Kelly Kiser-Mostrom, are survivors of adoption scams, and together have founded They update and maintain an ongoing adoption fraud and unethical practices database for future reference for prospective adoptive parents, expectant parents, birth mothers and adoption professionals in the adoption community. Both woman assist local and national law enforcement agencies and support victims of fraud across the United States.

Kelly Kiser-Mostrom is the author of The Cruelest Con. She is from the heartland of Nebraska and a mom through adoption of four children. In her pursuit of adoptions she has worked with agencies, facilitators, attorneys and the Department of Social Services. Adoption holds a special place in her heart as her husband and other family members are adoptees. Articles relating to The Cruelest Con have been reported nationally in Time Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, 48 Hours and Dateline. Kelly is a member of the American Adoption Congress and presents workshops nationwide.

Lynne Banks is a Board Member and the Midwest Regional Director for the American Adoption Congress. After becoming a mom, again, through open adoption she has spent the last 13 years receiving an education in adoption. She has been recognized nationally for her advocacy in adoption and as a promoter for Ethical Open Adoptions; she enjoys the challenges of being a Triad Search Angel, and was a 2006 Angel in Adoption Nominee.

I welcome Kelly and Lynne and all adoptive parents who know that unethical adoption practices and practitioners hurt all involved in adoption and are appalled and opposed to adoption coercion and epxloitation.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

CUB Retreat

CUB Retreat, September 28-30, 2007

The Hyatt Lodge at McDonald's Campus

2815 Jorie Boulevard,
Oak Brook, Illinois, USA 60523
Tel: +1 630 990 5800 Fax: +1 630 990 8287


Please mark your calendars and save the date for the 2007 CUB retreat which will be held in the Chicago Metro area on Friday, 9/28 through Sunday, 9/30. All members of the adoption triad and those who support us are welcome to attend. The goal of the CUB retreat is to create an environment for renewal, devotion, healing, peace and an escape from the pressures of ordinary life. It is a time to come together with others who know and understand the challenges we face as members of the adoption triad. A program that supports this goal is in process and we will be providing more information, including costs, as these plans become formalized.

The 2007 CUB retreat will be held at a unique venue - the McDonald's corporate campus in Oak Brook, IL. Located on 88 acres of forest preserve with a lake and four miles of hiking trails, the campus provides a beautiful fall setting, conducive to serenity.

The retreat sessions will be held at Hamburger University, McDonald's own corporate training facility. Overnight accommodations have been secured at the Hyatt Lodge which is located on the campus. A trolley circles the campus throughout the day to assist those who may need a ride. Also, the Hyatt provides a shuttle within a 5 mile radius of the campus, including the beautiful Oak Brook mall. Many restaurants are available within this radius, to accomodate your tastes although two hosted dinners at the Hyatt will be included as part of the retreat.

The McDonald's facility is located 20-25 minutes by car from O'Hare or Midway airports and from the city of Chicago . Public transportation into the city is also available via metra, the commuter train line.

Details to follow

Michael Moore Where Are You?

The adoption industry needs a Michel Moore figure to bring public attention to the corruption and harm being done in the name of child protective services.

Michael Moore, is on tour not just promoting his latest expose documentary Sicko a cinematic indictment of the American health care system. He has also pushed his prescription for reform: a single-payer system, with the government as insurer, that would guarantee access to health care for all Americans and put the private insurance industry out of business.

What a unique idea! Government actually helping the end user instead of big business! If only. Government actually being what it was intended to be - what we were all taught as children it was: of the people, by the people and for the people. But what has become instead of the rich, by the rich and for the rich. United Corporate America. In the almighty dollar we trust.

Guarantee care for everyone and put the private insurance industry out of business! Now here's a man who thinks like me. Put an entire industry out of business.

How about the crooks in the adoption industry that sell babies like used cars....pricing them by gender, age, and skin color? How about putting that multi-billion dollar industry out of business?

Can't be done so why try? Why indeed. Why call attention to any pervasive problems in our country. Let's just all sit back wrapped in the warmth of apathy and not even vote next election! Better yet, let's support those who indulge in unethical practices...let's play in their playgrounds like on biggest online gathering of the industry. It's not like we need their services like we need health care. No, let's just partake in it to help them make more money by attracting even more people to their site and their advertisers. After all, we can't fight them so we might as well join them, huh? As always, the NCFA laughs heartily as we fight amongst ourselves and accomplish nothing because the weakest link amongst us wins out. Fear wins out. The need to please others wins out.

When do we stop being victims, licking our wounds of the past? Blacks were enslaved for generations and a small percentage of them are seeking reparations...but that is not the major thrust of their movement today. Today they deal with the worst aspects of racism today: police brutality and profiling. Those are the 21st century problems. They are being mistreated whether they are called Black men or African American in the press hasn't changed their daily lives.

A lesson we can learn, too, from the civil rights movement, was that playing Uncle Tom was not the way to go! Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin was the Michael Moore film of the day. Graphically depicting the horrors of slavery, the book was both revered and reviled. For a time, in Kansas, it was a capital offense to own a copy, and the public persona of Uncle Tom, instead of the symbol of a strong, spiritual man, whose disobedience to his master caused his death, Uncle Tom became a metaphor for a submissive, weak black person who wanted to be white.

We need to chose which Uncle Tom we wish to be. The strong empowered one or the submissive "Yes, sir" one, who works for "the man" and helps build his wealth by picking his cotton.

We need to be our own Stowe and Moore. We need to expose the reality of adoption today. We need to expose the pain of imperialistic colonialism and the wanton severing of familial this case, not for servants or a labor force...but for the desired commodity of a child of one's "own" and for the profiteering of those who make it happen. And in the process, the child is stripped of his identity and connection to blood relatives, and replaced with a name that marks - brands - him as the sole property of his proud new owners. And he is expected to be grateful.

Money is made, people are sold...and the American public accepts these atrocities yet again, because of the good old American belief in apple pie, motherhood and the mantra of entitlement: "If you can afford it, you deserve to have it"...even when that "it" is an human being! And, the converse accepted mainstream notion: "If you're poor it's your fault because you're lazy and we refuse to help you." Ah, America, land of opportunity and equality, freedom and justice for all...who can afford to pay for it.

Michael Moore, we need so many more of you brave souls to pull back the covers and expose the ugly truths.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007


AMAZON RECCOMENDS: The Stork Market & The Baby Thief! has very cleverly matched up these two books:

Raymond's The Baby Thief: The Untold Story of Georgia Tann, and
Riben's The Stork Market: America's Unregulated Multi-Billion Dollar Adoption Industry

They are a perfect match because the tale of Georgia Tann also appears in The Stork Market, as it the pivotal point of the beginning of corrupt adoption in the U.S. The Stork Market starts at this point and continues from the 1940's to day...

The Stork Market
is also available at a discount, direct from

Mention that you saw it here, and receive an autographed copy!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Wake up, Little Sandra

Sandra' Hanks Benoiton's most recent blog, "The low road to Paris (Hilton) 06/17/07" at International was pointed out to me. It indicates that she has discovered that we are alive and well here having sane sensible discussions about family preservation and defending ourselves against a series untrue, totally unwarranted, and unprovoked attacks against all adoption reforms, reformers, and adoptee rights.

Welcome. Please feel free to join us with a comment - or a guest blog - as long as you abide by the rules of decency and decorum. This is a place for meaningful discussions with respect. Personal attacks are not tolerated here and I reserve the right to delete portions of any comment that are inflammatory. I also reserve the right to block anyone who persists in flaming.

Half way through Sandra's latest post the tone and writing style change. I hope that we could continue a discussion in a rational, calm way – without personal attacks.

I would first like to point out that Sandra neglected to mention a very important part of my post to which she commented, so I will repeat it:

“I have spent 30 years of my life working with adoption issues. I have lived amongst mothers who relinquished, adoptees, and adoptive parents all of whom shared an intense desire to make adoption be more honest, open and humane. Bright, intelligent caring people, every one, respected and respectful.

“In hindsight, I guess I was sheltered, insulted from this anger and hate, for one, because I met all of the adoptive parents face-to-face not through the anonymity of the Internet. That is why nothing could have prepared me for the viciousness that I have read pouring out on these pages on over the past days!”

My point is that, thankfully, I know better that to generalize the meanness expressed by Sandra and some of her friends to anyone other than a small group of angry women. I do not lump all adoptive mothers together and blame the all for the things said by a few. I don't know Sandra and never said one negative word about her, or any other adoptive mother, in fact. I did what every other journalist in the world did and criticized Angelina Jolie’s adoption practices.

To state that adoption practices are racist and classist is no more a condemnation of any individual adoptive parents, than to state that the American school system is racist and classist is a condemnation of any individual school teacher or parent who send their child to public school!

FACT: A system that prices children based on the color of their skin is a racist system.
(Read: "Wake up Little Susie: Single Pregnancy and Race Before Roe v Wade" by Solinger; read "The Baby Brokers: The Marketing of White Babies in America" by Lynn McTaggart)

FACT: Jolie adopted from a woman who was later charged with fraud.

FACT: Two of Jolie’s adopted babies – Maddox and Zahara - had living mothers. The truth was kept from her fraudulently, and when she found out, like Madonna (who also has been criticized by the world press), she refused to return the child.

That they did what they did and that they are criticized for it are facts, neither created by me or any anti-adoption conspiracy.

FACT: Most adoptees - domestic and international - feel unfairly and unjustly deprived of their original birth identity by adoption.

FACT: Some internationally adoptees are very angry and very much anti-adoption, especially international adoptions, and call it worse than cultural genocide.

FACT: Some who have adopted internationally have very strong opinions against many of the practices involved in IA

FACT: Government and non-profit watchdog agencies are well aware of the trafficking for adoption, have decried it and are working to change it.

Is UNICEF anti-adoption?

Is is also fact that is money making venture. If the jobs of some who work there are in jeopardy, it is not because if complaints, is is because of what they did that caused those complaints. (Even Paris Hilton has stopped playing victim.)

These facts may be unpleasant. It is difficult and painful to read the anger of some international adoptees. But they are facts and they are the true feeling so those who lived in their shoes. We can ignore them. Chalk them up to a few malcontent extremists...or, we could consider if there is not some amount of those feelings in every child who is transported from their homeland, though they may be too respectful to say so?

Does stating these facts point a finger of blame on all who adopt? Not at all. It does not implicate any who adopted with the full knowledge and assurance that the child they were taking into their care was legally and ethically relinquished or orphaned by both parents who were fully informed of their options and rights, and that all this was being handled by a reputable agency. Because you see, I am PRO the permanent care of children - such as the 130,00 here in US foster care - who have no families they can ever be returned to because their rights were severed by the courts...a position of mine (and the most ardent so-called or self-proclaimed anti-adoptionist), and one those who have read my work would be aware of.

Many adopters, either because they lose money through an unethical adoption practitioner here or abroad – or, because they become aware that these things exist -- work to REFORM unethical adoption practices and put an end to the corruption in adoption. Kelly Kiser-Mostrom, author of “The Cruelest Con” is a prime example. I could name many more including other adoptive parents, who Sandra has bashed because they too want to weed out the criminals and make adoption truly be in the best interest of these it is intended to serve....and then accuse me of bashing adoptive parents!

To openly say that aspects of adoption are bad and these aspects need to be weeded out and ended is no more anti-adoption that to be against the war in Iraq and to against some U.S. policies is to be anti-American. It is no different than a Catholic being repulsed and ashamed of those who wear the robe of priest in their faith and violate their vows and irrevocably harm innocent children. To be silent in the face of such abuse is far more shameful than to be a whistle blower to stop crimes against children and other innocent victims.

That is what I do. That is my job, my life. To point out the wrongs in adoption and make it safe for those who need to find suitable safe alternative, permanent family care.

Those who so vehemently defile that which they label “anti-adoption”.... does that make you, Pro-adoption? and its advertisers are decidedly pro-adoption. So, if I clump you all together, and paint you with one broad brush to ridiculous extremes as you do us, does that then mean that you see nothing wrong with adoption and everyone who can afford to pay to secure a child is entitled to that child, no matter what? Does that mean that you support adoptive parents who abuse and kill the children they are entrusted with?

I have never made such absurd assumptions. I judge individual actions, not people, and speak out against those I find to be in conflict with the best interest of children. Let's try to start over from a position of believing one another's sincerity, if that is possible. Attacking motives and sincerity will not fly here.

So, you have any interest in ridding adoption of its worst element and making it safe for all the parties to it?

If not, why not ... and if so, why are you being so argumentative and attacking of those of us who do?

Thursday, June 14, 2007

A Sad State of Affairs

The Internet. I marvelous source of information...the world at our fingertips...

And also the source of the vilest filth that possibly could be disseminated.

Blogs are of course a place one can read about the dribble and daily inner workings of the minds of ... well, anyone with access to a computer! It's a virtual sewer of garbage spewing forth from mindless fingertips out into cyberspace...

Unfortunately some people have a hard time telling the truth from fabricated nonsense and once written, words take on a life of their own.

One such possibility is the tripe produced by a grown-up Paris Hilton. Grown up physically, she still thinks that wealth and "fame" through genetic ties can allow her to act like an ignorant, arrogant spoiled child. And so it is that the sister of actor Tom Hanks is so damn bored in paradise that she has nothing better to do than to blog all day on her own two (at least) and countless number of others!

A wanna be fiction writer, according to her bio, she is adept at the art of weaving fact and fiction into such a convoluted, contrived blend that unraveling any sense of her ramblings and maze-like string of links back to her own previous abstractions is virtually impossible. In her pompous arrogance she is the Picasso of using the English language to obfuscate instead of elucidate or communicate anything meaningful beyond her frequent use of "blah, bah."*

And yet, because the internet is equally filled with fools who are as unable to read as she is to write, her unadulterated, intentional misconceptions pass off for reality! And so, I am left to re-set the record straight, for what it's worth.

On June 10, 2007, Sandra Hanks Benoiton, writing for wrote the following:
"Shedding The Dark Side of Adoption: blah, blah, something longwinded and sinister-sounding, or something like that, equated adoptive parents with the devil"(1)

"The last time, she was slinging words that accused international adoptive parents of being racists and perpetrators of "cultural genocide". (2)
Pity Sandra cannot understand the difference between pointing out that the system/industry of adoption is plagues with racism, that is not directed at those who adopt. Overall very odd assumptions about The Dark Side, considering these reviews:

"...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)
"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
"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)
But then of course, these reviewers actually read my book! An amazing concept if one is to write about a book - to actually open the over and read the words, assuming one knows how to read, which may be a leap. While these of course have been accused of being "selected" reviews...I challenge anyone to find a bad review of either of my books, to date, by anyone who has actually read them.

Who is Sandra? In her own words:

Completely convinced that Fifty is the new Thirty Sandra Hanks Benoiton is doing the 'mom thing' all over again. In 2003, at the age of fifty-one, she and her husband Mark adopted their son, Sam, thirteen weeks old at the time, from Cambodia. Two and a half years later when she was fifty-four, they returned to Phnom Penh for their three-month old daughter, Cj. With two children born in 1969 and 1971, respectively, Sandra has a thirty-two year gap between her first lot of kids and the second, and a range of experience that can only come with living for a while. Her older kids ... and her darling granddaughter ... live in the US, but Sandra, Mark, Sam and Cj live on the island of Mahé in the Republic of Seychelles, a small island nation in the Indian Ocean. Sandra is involved in adoption-related issues in Seychelles and internationally, lobbying and writing on related topics. She also contributes to local publications in Seychelles, works as a speechwriter, and fashions fiction as often as time allows. (3)


Sandra Hanks Benoiton lives in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles with her husband, Mark and her two youngest children, Sam and Cj, both Cambodian-born. Two adult bio kids [sic] and one adorable granddaughter are in the USA. [emphasis added]

Sandra is actively involved in adoption issues in Seychelles and writes for both local and international audiences on this topic and others. She is also enjoys work in fiction and is presently compiling a collection of short stories. (4)

Earlier history is explained in this comment on a teen pregnancy blog, which explains her two older "bio" kids:
Comment from: Sandra Hanks Benoiton [Member] ·

I was one of those stats 37 years ago. Birth control was illegal for anyone under 18 at the same time 'free love' was touted everywhere. Good plan, heh?

Had I had the option, I would have used it. Telling me not to 'do it' was not at all helpful, nor did it influence me (or my boyfriend) at all.

I had to leave school, but finished high school through night classes, then college, while parenting eventually two little ones. It was tough, but it was what I wanted to do with my life then. (5)

I have spent 30 years of my life working with adoption issues. I have lived amongst mothers who relinquished, adoptees, and adoptive parents all of whom shared an intense desire to make adoption be more honest, open and humane. Bright, intelligent caring people, every one, respected and respectful.

In hindsight, I guess I was sheltered, insulted from this anger and hate, for one, because I met all of the adoptive parents face-to-face not through the anonymity of the Internet. That is why nothing could have prepared me for the viciousness that I have read pouring out on these pages on over the past days! I was attacked by angry wolves that I can liken only to a lynch mob filled with rage and in the full belief that they deserved to own slaves they had bought and paid for and that if freed, blacks should mind their manners and stay silently on the back of the bus! I can see far more clearly now than ever before why adoption has become so severely polarized with name calling of anyone who tries to improve it as being anti-adoption. If I used the same broad brush Sandra does and attach one perosn's beliefs and quotes to others, I'd think badly of all adoptive parents. Fortunately, I know many who are as ashamed of the likes of Sandra and her supporters as I am.

What had I done to evoke such anger? Not written my books - no, she admitted she never bothered reading either of them before trashing them, despite her own claim elsewhere on the net:

It's important to read the whole thing, not just the predigested versions the media masticates before hand, then spits out for easy consumption. (6)

No, what I had done to strike a raw nerve was simply what hundreds of journalists all over the world have done: I criticized Angelina Jolie's adoption practices. This was not just any adoption I had commented on...not just another prima donna. And not just because they both adopted internationally, or even both adopted from Cambodia.

Lauryn Galindo, of Seattle WA, who helped Jolie adopt her Cambodian son, Maddox, pleaded guilty to visa fraud and money laundering as part of a ring that paid poor Cambodian women as little as $100 or less for their children. The agency which handled hundreds of such adoptions charged fees of $10,000. Prosecutors accused Galindo of falsifying some adopted children's names, dates of birth, places of birth and family history, so many of the children -- some taken from mothers in Cambodia -- may never learn their true identity.

Sandra's children were adopted from Serey Puth, owner director of Asian Orphanage Association
, Phnon Penh, and former associate of Lauryn Galindo. Surey Puth was himself investigated by INS - an investigation that led to Cambodia halting international adoptions.

It is only recently that some progress has been made in persuading the Cambodian courts to take action over this issue. At time of writing, a total of 7 people have been formally charged with human trafficking under Cambodian law by a Phnom Penh court. All are staff or associates of either the Asian Orphans Association (AOA) or the Khmer American Orphans Association (KAOA). Both organizations are private orphanages in Phnom Penh which are run by adoption facilitators, named Serey Puth (AOA) and Sea Visoth (KAOA), who cater to the US market for Cambodian children through established US adoption agencies. The charging of these people only occurred after considerable pressure from LICADHO and others, including a few select officials within the Cambodian government who are concerned about baby-buying for adoptive purposes, and media publicity. [Emphasis added]

Cambodian League for the Promotion and Defense of Human Rights (LICADHO), Briefing Paper Abuses Related To The International Adoption Process In Cambodia

Adoptions from Cambodia are still suspended. There is some hope for new adoption legislation in Cambodia in 2007.

What has been especially disturbing to me, is the backlash of adoptive parents who
- instead of wanting to make adoption more ethical and less corrupt - chose instead to kill the messenger and put their heads back under the covers, returning to munching on snack, snickering and laughing at abuses in system designed to care for the world's most vulnerable children.

I sincerely hope - and want with all of my heart to believe - that the adoptive parents who commented in response to Sandra with hate-filled posts are anomalies among adoptive parents. They are certainly out of character compared to those I have long been associated with. I wish them and their children peace.

Most shocking of all was not Sandra, but an editor at, Lisa Pietsch. Lisa writes elsewhere online about Human Trafficking:

Trafficking is happening everywhere and all around us. Some countries are suppliers and others are receivers or merely stops in transit. Regardless of what part of the trafficking is happening in a country, the fact that it is happening at all establishes the complicity of that country in the overall crime....
Allowing the practice of human trafficking is morally reprehensible....Can you live with the knowledge that human trafficking happens every day - even here in the United States? [emphasis added]

Yet, despite this impassioned plea, Pietsch denies the connection between human trafficking and adoption, ignoring that it's recognized as such by watchdog groups and the UN., stating (typical of the nasty sarcasm throughout):
So sorry to be such a disappointment to those who, with a third-grade mentality, equate adoption with human trafficking. (7)
This is a level of denial likened only to those who deny the existence of the Holocaust. This this same editor called the pack of lies Sandra wrote about my books - putting in quotes things I never said in any of my writings - "a great blog!"* paid employees, rather than set a standard of decorum, to have free reign to violate the stated rules of the website regarding slander and libe and applaud others who do likewise.

And in response to Sandra's major flawed thesis (spelled assumption/guess?) that I write for the profit of profiting, rest assured that Sandra and her editor make far more peddling their insipidly bad writing on than I ever will selling my books and donating the proceeds to adoption charities.

And, as if all of this is not enough the same pack of wolves followed me over to the Crisis Pregnancy blog also on*. Heather Lowe interviewed me there, after reviewing The Stork Market. She wanted t share with her readers the important suggestions contained in my book to help both prospective adopters and expectant mother avoid the pitfalls of corruption in adoption, and clarify my positions adoption. The responses by many of the same posters from Sandra's blog support the denial of adoptee's original identity wth comments like "it's just a piece of paper."* Their ignorance and indifference to the needs and feelings of the children that are raising is indeed frightening.

(1) Benoiton, Sandra Hanks. "Trash adoption, sell a book" 06/10/07
(2) Benoiton. "When poop is just poop" 06/10/07
(3) Benoiton (Older Parent Adoption Blog)
(4) Benoiton (Adoption News)
(5) Benoiton. Comment 0n "Teen Pregnancy", Crisis Pregnancy Blog. 08/18/06 @ 05:58
(6) Benoiton. Comment on "Parenting Is Hard Enough!" Birth-First Parent Blog. 02/13/07 @ 22:41
(7) Pietsch, Lisa, Editor. Comment on "Trash adoption, sell a book" 06/13/07 @ 16:21

NOTE: Hyperlinks to the above quotes from have been intentionally omitted so as not to support the financial gains of a site being boycotted (see preceding post). Screen shot print outs are available for verification of accuracy upon request.

Mirah Riben 6/14/07

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

BOYCOTT ADOPTION.COM, solely owned and operated by entrepreneur, Nathan Gwilliam, is a money-making venture that provides resources such as blogs, forums and chats for anyone with an interest in any aspect of adoption - and does so for one purpose only: to support their advertisers who profit from adoption placements. Many of these advertisers are unregulated adoption businesses, some of which have been investigated for corrupt practices.

Neither the bloggers, nor their "editors" - who are paid by - apply any restrictions on attacks, libel or slander contrary to their own rules.

Adoption reformers have been lured into using this site which profits adoption practitioners of questionable ethical standards.

Parents and Professionals for Family Preservation and Protection is opposed to the purpose of this site, its advertisers and its practices and urges all who are truly interested in preserving families to boycott and its affiliates.

The site exists to promote infant adoption through advertisings that glamorize relinquishment with lies and coercion - such as photo listing of families seeking to adopt with phrases such as "find the perfect parents for your child" and do not ensure informed option counseling, legal counseling or any other protections for such women.

Adoption reformers need to stand on the side of ethics in adoption and boycott this commercial endeavor to capitalize on the pain of adoption losses while assisting in the increased proliferation of exploitation and corruption in adoption.

We join and support an already existing boycott of by Our support of the boycott against in no way is meant to imply support of any other goal of nor the rights of gays, or anyone else, to adopt. Our interest in this is mutual only in boycotting

The purpose of adoption is to find the best possible family to meet the needs of orphans and children needing permanent care, not to find children for anyone who wants one, thus, we do not support anyone's "right" to adopt a child.

Supporting this boycott are:


Full story appears at:

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

More or Less: Pro- or Anti-Adoption?

Reply to: More Adoption, Less Adoption? By Jan Baker

In my research, I have spoken and with and or read the writings of the most strident anti-adoptionists, and remarkably, not of one them is 100%! Not one advocates leaving a child in an abusive or dangerous home, nor prefers foster care or institutionalization. These are false impressions that are being spread by those who have not taken the time to read and discuss the issues, but have chosen to jump to conclusions.

I highly recommend reading completely, “The Case Against Adoption: Research and Alternatives for Concerned Citizens” by Jess DelBalzo, one of the oldest and most radical self-proclaimed anti-adoptionists. If you read it through, you will see that she is not saying anything very different than many within adoption reform who use the phrase Family Preservation.

All of us agree with UNICEF that separating a child from his/her family should be a last resort, only when no extended family can care for the child. We are all opposed to unnecessary separations. Where we disagree is what defines "necessary." You twice use the example of drug addiction. Addiction, however, is seen by the medical community as a treatable illness, albeit with some more resistant to treatment than others.

Many of us would not advocate, as you do, for removal of a child for pre-birth drug use without giving the mother an opportunity for rehabilitation. This is a slippery slope that could lead to babies being taken form cigarette smokers. Many of us are opposed to permanent solutions for temporary problems. Removing a child from his/her family involves a gamble that the outcome will be better. Like medications, none of these so-called “solutions” is without its side effects, or shortcomings. Studies and model programs (described in The Stork Market) have found that mothers and babies do better when kept together during drug rehabilitation, with supervision.

When you read the work of Elizabeth Samuels into the history of sealed adoption records you discover that the records were sealed to protect adoptive parents from intrusion, and secondarily to protect adoptees from the stigma of illegitimacy. Since the second reason no longer exists, the need to seal records cannot be said to have anything to do with providing for the best interest of children who need alternative care. In fact, it is counter to healthy identity formation and is known to create an increase in mental health issues for those adopted.

All reformers agree that when a non-relative placement is necessary it must be open and honest and now we have learned to add is: enforceable. Some of us recognize that the only way for adoptions to be truly open and honest and openness never stopped leaving a child with no access to his true identity, is to not falsify the birth certificate to begin with.

Thus, some adoption professionals reformers such as Reuben Pannor, Annette Baron, Jean Paton and others have advocated enforceable open adoption by calling it simple adoption, guardianship adoption, or permanent legal guardianship. A (Long Overdue) Time for Sweeping Change . This is what all anti-adoptionists and those labeled as such are suggesting. It is nothing new or radical or for that matter far different from what any other adoption reformer are suggesting…just with different words to describe the same thing. Some are additionally more lenient in their preferred definition of necessary, although that will always remain a matter of interpretation and never be totally defined or legislated.

To be 100% anti-adoption would mean being opposed to adoption no matter what! There is, thus, no one who is 100% anti-adoption, no more than those who are not anti-adoption are by definition pro-adoption. Unless one considers blogging on being pro-adoption, inasmuch as that is decidedly a pro-adoption site which exists for the puyrpose of gettiugn their advertsiers see, who exist for the sole purpose of profiting from adoptions. One might also call those mothers who are basically content with open adoptions (albet, some want more openness) pro-adoption.

One label is as equally absurd an extreme stereotypical assumption as the other, and are simply polarizing.

We are all on a continuum in respect to our desire to transform adoption into something ethical and human, removing coercion caused by the commercialization and privatization of adoption. Labels such as these create we/they dichotomies of people who are all working toward the same goals and keep us in-fighting instead of using our energies toward what is needed. Instead of labeling, especially as it often done in a very judgmental, perjorative fashion, it is far more appropriate to ask one another "how" anti-adoption are you? People are learning to judge themselves on a scale of 1-10 with one being someone who thinks adoption is wonderful thing that should be supported and promoted (pro-adoption) 10 being those who see it as failed system that needs to be replaced with a far more moral one.

Where do you lie on that continuum? More importantly to what degree to either side - left or right - of where you place yourself, are you will to listen to and try to understand the views of others...and maybe even work with others?

For further reading, I suggest:

Family-Organzational Dynamics and Health

Organizations are large families. Some are well-oiled, healthy, mutually supporting. Many are dysfunctional.

We need to evaluate our families and the organizations we align ourselves with. Is that family or organization functioning in healthy or dysfunctional manner? Is it driven by love and cooperation or by fear and power struggles? Does it echo and support my personal values? Is it the proper vehicle for me to hop (or stay) on to take me to the goal I wish to accomplish? Where is it headed? Does it have direction or is it circling aimlessly? Can it be fixed? How? What can I do to help and when is it time to say: I’ve tried all I can and move on?

Every problem has three choices: accept it, change it, or leave it. In order to make the right choice of these three, it is helpful to analyze the problem to determine if it is repairable and how that might be accomplished.

Organizational Structure: Just Like a Family

Every organization has its “founders” who are their original family/parents who created/birthed it. By and by many founders step down…pass the torch, relinquish their role to others. Sometimes these changes occur peacefully, smoothly and voluntarily and sometimes not.

Eventually a new person, team or regime adopts and takes over the organizational entity. Many pay to buy these positions, and thus feel sense of “ownership” – as some adoptive parents feel about the children they acquire. Many also feel a bit insecure in their role…a sense of perhaps not being the “real” parent of this entity, or as a president might feel who’s election results are questionable.

Sometimes the newly in charge encourage the originators or predecessors to be held in respect or reverence, honoring past achievements as a proud tradition and heritage.

Other times, leaders or heads of families defile, denigrate or simply ignore as non-existent those who came before them and created that which they covet. They over compensate for their feelings of insecurity and rightful ownership by holding on tenaciously and possessively with a death grip.

They tend to surround themselves with their loyal sidekicks who assure the emperor that his invisible clothes are just fine, and they treat all “others” with great fear and distrust. Understandably, the more they sense their ownership has been acquired or is obtained through surreptitious or less than wholly ethical, rightful means, the more paranoid they are about it.

Businessmen and politicians have their inner circle they surround themselves with and for adopters it’s extended adoptive family members and friends.

While all members of the family entity – insiders and not - may share the same love of country, organization, or child – some are labeled as dissonants and some as patriots. (Note: It is the party with the current control/ownership that gets to do the labeling, though the “others” will retaliate with counter claims.) In adoption those in possession are labeled rescuer/saviors while first/original/natural mothers are labeled – overtly or not – as rejecter/abandoner.

Left unchecked we/they divisiveness destroys the very entity they all ironically love and care the most about.

Anyone not in the inner circle, not on the “right” side of the debate – that being the opinion of those in control - are met with frustration at not being let in; not being able to make
meaningful change. Offers to help are seen instead as threats. Those trying to share the role of management - or co-parenting (albeit of an adult child) - are often seen as enemies by an over protective, paranoid “mother hen” or company or national president. This decreases the health, efficiency and effectiveness of the family or organization as constant fighting defeats accomplishing the business at hand. Instead paranoia deepens; poison is spewed; arguments, accusations; conspiracy theories abound in an atmosphere of distrust that originates from the top down. Extreme cases lead to family violence, divorce, hostile takeovers, wars with those labeled as “other” or enemy, even if blood kin as in civil war.

In unhealthy entities, power struggles ensue for “possession” and “control“ and the “child” is thus torn in half by the struggles and withers and dies or lingers on, damaged, never really whole and healthy. In the worst case family scenarios, the child is subjected to brainwashing by one side against the other. Told awful things about half his family. All of this is to the detriment of the child or entity that all actually love and want to be a positive a part of.

Conversely, We know that they healthiest thing for adoptive families, and families of divorce is a free open exchange where everyone is encouraged to give ad much love, support and assistance to the child they share. In healthy, mature, secure families and organizations there is unity: bi-partisan cooperation; adoptive and birth families sharing the wedding of a child. The child (or entity) benefits and thrives optimally in an atmosphere of mutual caring.

We also know from personal experience that sometimes our best, most sincere, efforts to reach out lovingly and offer help and support to family, friends, loved ones, co-workers etc. are thwarted and rejected. Sometimes we can let go temporarily and sit back and wait and try again at a later time. And sometimes the door is slammed so tightly that all hope is taken from us. The personal is political and larger organizations are our larger family. Letting go is always hard.

And so we wait and we hope. We hope our children will welcome us into their lives before we die…perhaps when their adoptive parents die. We hope the current US administration changes before it destroys the country, and we hope the same for all entities organizations we care about.

Divided we fall...

Monday, June 11, 2007

A simple act of kindness...

A longtime reunited adoptee friend and Family Preservationist, Kathy, recently recalled a heart-warming recently story with a lesson in it for us all.

She heard that a local hospital in her area was not letting mothers see their babies if they had discussed the possibility of adoption with a local agency. The women were given cell phones and told to call the agency any time they needed to talk to someone.

Kathy went to the hospital to visit some of the women. She asked each the following question:

"Years from now, who do you think you might regret not having been asked to help you?"

"My father," one woman said, "would be really upset if he found out that I gave up his grandchild."

Kathy encouraged her to call him. She told her to say: "Daddy, please don't be angry. I'm in the hospital. I've had a baby and they won't let me see him and I need you."

Kathy received a call later from the young woman in tears. She told Kathy that her father was on his way to bring her and her baby home!

Exposing Fraud in Adoption

In my continuing efforts to expose fraud and deceit in anything to do with adoption, I bring you:

Sandra Hanks Benoiton, who according to her bio "lives in the Indian Ocean island nation of Seychelles with her husband, Mark and her two youngest children, Sam and Cj, both Cambodian-born. Two adult bio [sic] kids [conceived and raised by her as a single parent] and one adorable granddaughter are in the USA.

"Sandra is actively involved in adoption issues in Seychelles and writes for both local and international audiences on this topic and others. She is also enjoys work in fiction and is presently compiling a collection of short stories."

Sandra is also, apparently involved in spreading libelous lies in a smear campaign.

After posting on at least three different blogs - her own self-indulgent Paradise Preoccupied ("Trash adoption, sell a book)" one at and another on her blog ("When poop is just poop")...all trashing me and my books...citing a bunch of unsubstantiated quotes from Lori Carangelo that have never appeared in any of my writings...she then admits to having never read neither of the books she is criticizing!

This woman, who is the sister of actor Tom Hanks, is a one-woman NCFA - lies and all!

And supports her. Why? Because is a business that is set up for one purpose and one purpose only: to support adoptions through their paid advertisers. They are fond of the "controversy" stirred up by Sandra's lies. Every time someone clicks on the site to read it or to comment, every click - cha-ching! - the $ is flowing! Advertisers pay per click. And so, out of the "kindness" of their greedy little hearts they provide a playground for adoption reformers, so they cna make money off us too!

UPDATE 6/13/07: The editor Lisa Pietsch who had posted in support of this tripe has since seen the light and removed her supportive posts. Lisa, who writes in opposition to child trafficking claims to be on board to make positive changes, albeit slowly.

See also Boycott of

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Protest the National Council for Adoption (NCFA)


Thursday, July 26, 2007

5:00 pm ET - 9:00 pm ET

Outside the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill
400 New Jersey Ave, NW
Washington, DC 20001

We'll assemble outside the Hyatt Regency Washington on Capitol Hill, 400 New Jersey Ave, where NCFA will be holding its National Adoption Conference, to protest the NCFA agenda. The hotel is a short walk from the Union Station Metro and Amtrak station.

About the National Council for Adoption (NCFA):

The NCFA is using taxpayer dollars, through the Infant Adoption Awareness Act, to promote counseling for pregnant women that does not inform them of abortion, discourages them from raising their own children, and pushes adoption. In a Guttmacher Institute study, the majority of family planning providers interviewed had negative experiences with the NCFA's training curriculum. For example, one counselor said she said she was given "tips and techniques...about how to work against [women's] resistance, make them proud of their decision and convince them that adoption is a good choice." One family planning provider from Planned Parenthood of Collier Country, Florida, said she was told to repeatedly bring up adoption as an option, even if a woman says she is not interested. According to Guttmacher, "These examples border on coercion and clearly violate both Title X [of the Public Health Service Act] guidelines and principles of medical ethics."

Adam Pertman, executive director of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, said "NCFA is an umbrella organization for adoption agencies that are mostly Christian and Mormon—many of which have certain moral, religious and philosophical views that do not comport with the notion of presenting women facing an unintended pregnancy with all of their options in a neutral, unbiased way." Pertman also expressed concern about the kind of adoption advocated by NCFA: "The type of adoption that the NCFA curriculum promotes is the old-style, closed, secretive and still-stigmatized form that is no longer accepted by most adoption practitioners, who favor greater honesty and openness in the process."

According to the NCFA's own website, it supports legalized infant abandonment (called "safe havens"). NCFA also opposes the right of adoptees to access their original birth certificates, even when they are adults.

Things to bring:

Make signs and bring brochures for your organization.

What to wear:

Adoption truth t-shirts and pins are encouraged.

Please register, so we know how many people to expect. Everyone is welcome, even if they are not registered.

Legal stuff: We applied for an assembly permit from the DC police and expect to receive approval in July. DC law prohibits blocking the street or the hotel entrance.

Supporting Organizations
Adoption Crossroads
Parents and Professionals for Family Preservation and Protection

NOTE: Anyone needing a ride from central NJ, please contact

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget