Friday, August 10, 2007

Book Review

Title: The Stork Market: America’s multi-billion dollar unregulated adoption industry Author: Mirah Riben

Reviewer: Lynne Hutton, Branching: Newsletter of the Post Adoption resource Centre (PARC), NSW Vol 14, No 2, July 2007, p12

Mirah Riben does not leave the reader in any doubt as to the current state of adoption practices in America as she explores the US$6.3 billion unregulated adoption industry from every angle. An enormous amount of detailed research has gone into this book — the author quotes from a wide variety of sources and opinions, including anecdotal stories, but she writes in a style that is fairly easy to read and follow.

The book exposes corruption in the US adoption industry and exploitation in a market based on supply and demand, which sees the child as a ‘product’ and adoption as a ‘business’ rather than focusing on the rights and welfare of the child.

It is divided into subjects such as the history of adoption in the US, prevalent myths in adoption, the business of adoption (capitalism and corruption), international adoption, ways to avoid being victimised (for both adoptive parents and expectant mothers), open adoption/ sealed records, fathers’ rights and preserving parenthood. In ‘Chapter X: Adopting Alternatives’ the author states “Australia provides a model based on the best interest of children” — she outlines this model and suggests it (including “permanent guardianship”) as one alternative to adoption that the US could follow ‘to create a safe and ethical system to provide care for children in need’. Finally she asks ‘Can It Be Fixed’? with an optimistic view of what she envisages for the future.

Mirah says in her Introduction that this may be a difficult or painful book for some to read, and in fact it may sadden, shock or anger people. “But it is for just these reasons you might need to read it”. As an Australian (and a birth-mother), I found this book interesting and informative and would recommend it to anyone touched by adoption.

To read all the reviews: AdvocatePublications

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