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 Adoptionblogs.com 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 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)
"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)

And:

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 Adoption.com 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
www.licadho.org/reports/files/31AdoptBPaper.pdf

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

NOTE: Hyperlinks to the above quotes from Adoption.com 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

9 comments:

Anonymous said...

I finished reading the entire blog in question at Adoption.com. As an adoptive parent to children adopted internationally and an advocate for adoption overhaul I am very concerned about the message Adoption.com appears to be condoning. Human trafficking in adoption not only exists, it is well-documented. If Adoption.com supports employees who make incredible statements such as "So sorry to be such a disappointment to those who, with a third-grade mentality, equate adoption with human trafficking." perhaps a boycott is in order as well as some much needed education.
-Kimberly Kennedy

Jane Edwards said...

"Adoption.com should be boycotted if for no other reason, it supports the commercialization of adoption. It is a profit corporation. Thus its name is adoption.com, not adoption.org."

Mirah Riben said...

Jane, as a Board member of CUB, do you see any conflict of interest of two of their VP sand anther board member being paid bloggers at Adoption.com?

Mirah Riben said...

The dots are right there popping up at you as you look at your computer screen and not too hard to connect.

Link to this LDS adoption agency is right on Heather Lowe’s blog page:

http://www.providentliving.org/familyservices/strength/0,12264,2120-1,00.html

Adoption.com sponsored by LDS...LDS is in bed with NCFA...CUB bd members (including the VP) work and are paid for by adoption.com

Conflict of interest? In bed with the enemy???

I've heard it said, if you lie down with dogs, you'll wake up with fleas.

Now, I ask, which is the worse shame – being labeled anti-adoption...or being labeled pro-adoption? I know my choice!

Mirah Riben said...

Nathan Gwilliam, the owner of Adoption.com is a big time MORMON - LDS!

His business profile lists the following:

Favorite Book:
The Book of James in the New Testament

Favorite Quote:
'The truth of God will go forth boldly, nobly, and independent until it has penetrated every continent, visited every clime, swept every country and sounded in every ear, til the purposes of God shall be accomplished.' - Joseph Smith

Favorite Scripture:
James 1:27

Desiree said...

A word of advice, Mirah...

Don't afford Sandra's blog more attention than it warrants or let it raise your blood pressure.

My husband's work was also trashed by Sandra. Her methods make it clear that she either is too emotionally upset to think clearly and understand the arguments that she trashes or that she doesn't have the time to carefully do so or that maybe that she doesn't care to do so.

Sandra admits on her private blog that she's having trouble finding issues to write about that please her blog employers and that generate enough readers.

You, Mirah, are being used.

Don't take the bait.

My advice--let it go. Don't take it personally. Really, as you've already started to figure out in your blog posts, it's not really about you or your work or even Sandra being interesed in acquiring a nuanced and mature understanding of difficult issues (and her difficulty in reconciling your work into such an reasoned understanding).... nor was it about my husband and his work.

It's really all about Sandra and her needs and her issues.

Beyond the above...consider this...

Every whistle blower and reform fermenter is heckled by those who find truth threatening. Those who find truth personally threatening at a deep level want to silence those who proclaim it. As a reformer and whistle blower you should NOT expect to see in heckling type interactions, integrity of discussion or fairness.

The kind of trashing you've experienced goes with the territory. Expect it.

When it comes, recognize it for what it is, take a deep breath, and ignore it. Save your blood pressure and energy for more important matters.

Just my two cents worth.

Desiree

Mirah Riben said...

es, Desiree, yes:

"Every whistle blower and reform fermenter is heckled by those who find truth threatening. Those who find truth personally threatening at a deep level want to silence those who proclaim it."

Well said an I am well aware!

Ms. Benoiton is of no consequence whatsoever. She has no credentials, no facts and no one listening to her except he other spoiled brat rich friends sipping pina coladas and laughing and the plight of children being trafficked.

She has not one intelligent thing to say, except to claim that as an adopter she is both a savior to be praised and victim of angry backlash.

She is an embarrassment to adoptive parents, professionals and all who share my concerns about the corruption in the adoption industry and the safety and well being of the children it is intended to serve.

slyoung said...

I attempted to post a reply on Benoiten's blog, but she, like most who are fearful of the truth, has a moderated blog. I doubt that it will see the light of day, so I am posting it here...

I was wondering as I read your blog what it is about Mirah Riben and her book that is so threatening to you that you have to devote so much space and time to trying to debunk them, even though you have not even read either of her books. If you had read the books instead of dismissing them out of hand, you would have seen that her facts are backed up by statistics, scholarly articles and credible sources. Her arguments are not specious, and her facts are just exactly that.

On the other hand, we have your blog. You quote nothing except yourself. You offer nothing but your opinion. You have no testimony to back your argument, but evidentiary, and that is your own. Seems to me that you are doing nothing more than ranting.

Frankly, Mirah offers a more compelling case than you do. And, I suspect that, despite your denial, that her tactics ARE indeed working and that is what makes you so fearful. People no longer automatically associate adopting with sainthood, the tarnish on the halo is evident. If you were not very much threatened by Mirah and her book and her factual presentation of adoption and the necessary changes I don't think you would so relentlessly pursue this discussion. It would have faded into the background.

I want to thank you for putting the time and energy into keeping this argument alive and keeping Mirah and her book at the top of your list. I see that you have had over 80 reads on this particular blog. One would assume that if people can read, they can learn and formulate opinions of their own. I think we have all learned from you. You make a very strong statement for Mirah Riben and her book. Again, thank you.

Sincerely,
Sandy Young
OriginsUSA, Inc.
www.OriginsUSA.org

Mirah Riben said...

I can tell you for a fact that on her "Paradise" blog at wordpress.com she blocked all comments from me. She didn't deeto have he ability to do that on adoption.com, but now she has changed venues (and keeps on dnacing) on yet another blog and seems to be able to pick and chose wwhich commtns she psots once again. I guess th ealck of cntrol and the amount of feedbakc in disagrement with her adoptiob.com was too hard to handle, after all she is a poor "innocent" victim of attacks...after staring all of this insanity because I - and half the world - commented negatively about Aneglina Jolie's adptions!

Now she is into a rant about anti-adoptionists, a label she uses for all adoption reformers, claiming "reform" is a code for "abolish."

Better anti- than pro coercive, corrupt adoption, I say!!

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