Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The "crime" of truth seeking

Pulling an oxygen tank in one hand and holding a cane in the other, Jill Ekstrom cried and trembled as she was sentenced to 18 months' probation, a $540 fine and $850 restitution to the Davis County Sheriff's Office. According to other reports, whoever, District Judge Ben Hadfield sentenced her to a year in jail, but suspended the term until the mental health evaluation is completed.

Her crime: Helping to reunite people separated by fraudulent state issued falsified birth certificates!

Ekstrom told reporters she took a plea deal because the case was affecting her family, not because she was guilty. She also said she accepted the plea because because of her health, because her public defender was overworked and the lack of money to hire better legal representation. She said she wrote a letter to the judge asking if she could do community service instead of jail so she could help people and turn her case into a positive experience.

Ekstrom - who called herself a "confidential intermediary" - was caught in a sting when a Davis County sheriff's deputy posed as an adopted child (sic) seeking a birth parent.

What a shame she was not able to stand up as a martyr for the unconscionable destruction of fmailies and the criminalization of certain people - those adopted - completing their genealogy as freely as those non-adopted.

Decades earlier Sandra Muser did just that! She stood fast and served her prison term and wrote "To prison With Love."

And when my friend and co-founder of the origins origins - started in NJ in 1980 - Lucy pare was likewise caught in a strong operation on camera, she said for national TV that she related her work to that of those who smuggled slaves through the underground. She said that, like them, she was practicing CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE and conscientious objection to unjust laws.

I am proud to know such civil rights fighters and sad that in 2008, this is still being prosecuted as a crime.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Adoptee Opins Sought

Many on the receiving end of adoption, celebrate a "Gotcha! Day."

From where I sit, as a loser in this uneven, lopsided transaction...I find it a bit offensive.

I cannot help wondering how adoptees feel about it?

Were any of you subjected to it growing up, or is it too new? Either way, how do you feel when you hear adoptive families celebrating the day the "Gotcha!" -- snatched you up and away!

This needs to be added to my list of "Adoption Dichotomies" posted on the 8th.

On other issues:

  • How old is old enough to be found by the mother who bore and lost you to adoption?
  • How old is old enough for a mother to go directly to her offspring and not ask the "permission" of his/her adoptive parents? 18? 21? older? younger? Never?
    As soon as she can?
  • Would it have been preferable of you - and at what ages - to have had contact made to your adoptive parents first?
  • OR, would rather have been just left alone forever, until YOU were ready to initiate contact?
  • What was done right/wrong for you in YOUR contact?
  • How do you feel in general about having been adopted?
    • sucks
    • no big deal
    • would have preferred to have been born into adoptive family
    • would have preferred to stay with and been raised by my immediate family?
  • What's the best and worst parts about being adopted? Has it caused you pain? Confusion? Anger? Other feelings?
  • Would you recommend others adopt?
  • Would you recommend someone you love place a child for adoption?

Annette Baran: Pioneer of Open Records

A pioneer of Open Records and open Adoption speaks out about HONEST, ethical child alternative care and the importance of maintaining consanguinity and provenance.

You need to watch and listen to ALL!

Part Two:

Part Three:

Part Four:

Part Five:

I hope there will be a Part 6 in which Annette would repeat what she has said previously:

“It seems to us that, if we take off our blinders, we must admit that we have been co-opted in supporting a system that causes pain and lifelong suffering to all the parties involved. ... Relinquishment of children to a new set of parents, as a final, irrevocable act, severing all rights of the birthparents, must be discontinued...

“Open adoption, which we helped pioneer, is not a solution to the problems inherent in adoption. Without legal sanction, open adoption is an unenforceable agreement at the whim of the adoptive parents. Instead, we propose a form of guardianship adoption that we believe would be in the best interests of all concerned, with special benefits for the adoptee for it would decrease the abandonment/rejection issue and permit the child to know the birthparents as real people who cared about him but could not raise him...

“We have always maintained that adoptive placement is the last resort, to be considered only when all other options have been thoroughly explored….The struggle to open records and address the wrongs of the past must continue. However, simultaneously and with equal emphasis, we must begin to look at the future and address the need for sweeping change...

“Why have we not made prevention a major issue?

“We have always maintained that adoptive placement is the last resort, to be considered only when all other options have been thoroughly explored….The struggle to open records and address the wrongs of the past must continue. However, simultaneously and with equal emphasis, we must begin to look at the future and address the need for sweeping change.”

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Adoptive Monster of the Year: Judith Leekin, The Face of Evil

In this AP photo, Judith Leekin adorns a comb-over to cover her devil horns.

This one-woman "diabolical" axis of all that is evil wins the prize of
Adoptive Monster of the Year -
hands (or thumbs) down!

We can only hope that he is treated deservedly when she enter prison for ten years for a fraudulent scheme in which she adopted 11 disabled children under four aliases, while collecting $1.68 million meant for their care to support a lavish lifestyle.

Leekin separately faces 10 counts of aggravated child abuse and other charges in Florida, where prosecutors say she used physical violence against the children, restrained them with plastic ties and did not allow them to go to school.
The be-ach cried in court, saying she missed "her" kids. I wonder if she misses the severely handicapped boy who disappeared from her home in 2000 and has never been found!

BUT WAIT...THERE'S MORE!! New York City child welfare managers helped steal hundreds of thousands of dollars meant to help adopted children. Three workers -- the Supervisor of Adoptions for ACS, the deputy director of ACS's payment services department, and an outside contracting agency that works with ACS -- funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars out of ACS accounts to Stay Thompson who did not have any adopted children.

Some of the money was used by these greedy men to "adopt" cars like a BMW and a Range Rover.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

July 15

"Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage: anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they don’t remain the way they are."
St. Augustine

Today is my beautiful, precious daughter Alicia’s birthday.

She was born on July 15, 1967. I saw her a few times while she was in foster care and then again I got to see her three times when she was 16 years old.

I hope to be re-reunited with her and visit longer in some afterlife....if there is one.

She is memorialized at

Happy 41st Leesh!

Peaceful wishes to all,

Mirah Riben

Monday, July 14, 2008

Ralph and Alice's Adoption

The Honeymooners: The Adoption
Running Time: 37 min. Episode #57

Originally seen as a 37-minute sketch on the March 26, 1955, edition of The Jackie Gleason Show, "The Adoption" is easily the most poignant and heartrending of all the Honeymooners episodes.

The Kramdens want to adopt a baby. "We wanted this more than anything in the world," says Ralph. The adoption agency tells Alice her application is being considered, but that a staff worker must come to the apartment to look it over before final approval is granted. A pall falls over the Kramdens because they think once the worker sees their crummy apartment they'll be denied a child. They borrow furniture--a TV set, drapes, refrigerator, stove, new table and chairs, couch, etc.--to make the apartment look presentable.

Ralph and Alice are as nervous as two kids on their first date as they wait for Miss Lawrence from the agency to arrive. As she is interviewing the Kramdens, Ralph almost blows everything when he notes with amazement that a light goes on in the refrigerator when the door is opened. But no amount of homina-hominas can keep the charade going when Frank, the iceman, comes in with the Kramdens' daily delivery for the icebox. Ralph and Alice finally admit they redecorated the apartment with borrowed goods to make an impression. We're not cheating to get a child, Ralph says desperately, we're fighting to get one.

Miss Lawrence says the agency is not as concerned with furnishings as it is with finding couples who really want children, and that she's never met a couple who want a child more than the Kramdens. Approved!

The Nortons accompany the Kramdens to the hospital to pick up the baby. When the child is wheeled out Ralph's joy turns to anger when the doctor says the baby is a girl. Ralph insists that he get a boy, and the doctor goes off to try to arrange it. Alice, near tears, leaves the room, leaving Ralph alone with the baby. Ralph apologizes to the baby for not wanting to bring her home. As the infant weaves her magic on Ralph, his arguments for not wanting a girl become less convincing. By the time the doctor returns with the news that the Kramdens can get a boy, Ralph turns on him like a lion defending his cub--Ralph wants the girl. "Ralphina" is a Kramden.

A week later, the doctor visits with somber news: the child's natural mother wants the baby back. Ralph, enraged at the doctor for bringing the news and at the mother for trying to reclaim the child, pounces on the doctor and manhandles him. The doctor hastily explains that the Kramdens are Ralphina's legal parents now [in just one week??] and that he and the adoption agency will support them in a custody fight; he came only because the mother was so insistent.

He leaves, and Ralph, emotionally unprepared for this turn of events, reacts the only way he knows how: he hollers, in pain. Alice, as bad as she feels, empathizes with the mother. Ralph tries to suppress similar feelings, but eventually his conscience overrules his heart: they must give up the child. He goes upstairs to the Nortons' to call the doctor, leaving Alice alone, sobbing.

Running time: 37:05

On January 8, 1966, Audrey Meadows returned for 1 special episode, "The Adoption", a classic Jerry Bresler & Lyn Duddy musical episode featuring Ralph & Alice's attempt to adopt a baby. It was part of the "Jackie Gleason and His American Scene Magazine" This would be the last episode filmed in black & white and is a precursor to what is now known as the "Color Honeymooners" over the next 4 seasons.

NOTE: I guess this was case in which "art" did not affect life.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Adoption Dichotomies

There are perhaps more contradictions in the world of adoption than agreement amongst those whose lives are irrevocably changed by it.

ONE: Fundraising - by private parties and even churches - to help people pay ridiculously high adoption fees to obtain children through private adoption, thus supporting the often coercive and exploitive world of child trafficking...RATHER THAN fundraising to help support mothers in crisis keep their families intact.

This has become so widespread here are websites and articles that lists various to fundraise to support baby brokers: -

Agencies, of course, encourage this practice - beg and humiliate yourself, use your freidns and acquaintances to support your "need" to obtain a child at any cost:

This one specializes in one fundraising method:

And there there are the untold number of sites of private individuals and churches holding fundraisers:

Seems like an especially OBVIOUS irony that children are most often placed into adoption because of lack of financial ability on the part of their natural families...and yet these strangers who cannot afford to have one, get help!

TWO: Adoptive parents complaining about news reports that identify adopted chidlren as adopted children. This is very odd inasmuch as politicians, celebs and others who adopt often use the fact as a badge of their nobility and altruism.

I cannot count the number of blogs of people walking those who chose to read through the TRIALS and TRIBULATIONS of their "adoption journeys." Google "adoption journey and you will see THOUSANDS...this is just a very tiny sampling:

Readers are expected to offer sympathy every step of the way, starting with a long list of failed infertility treatments. TSK TSK what a shame they make you jump through all those hoops! Imagine, a home study to ensure you might actually be fit parents! How UNFAIR these blogs claim, that others can give birth without having to complete all these forms, etc.

If they go overseas, that's another entire adventure and full of tales of unfair delays, etc. etc. Kinda brings me to IRONY NUMBER...

THREE: Adopters can be angry when their adoption falls through, but how dare a natural mother be "an angry, bitter" person about actually and literally losing HER child!

FOUR: The myth that adoption is 'the same as giving birth' and nurture trumps nature. The so-called "forever mothers" who raise a child are the "real" mothers...that is of course until their child turns out to be difficult. They are then the first to cry "bad blood."

Then there other blogs - a smaller number - who also seek sympathy, but in in these it's for the fact that they ordered a and paid for a BMW and wound up with a lemon, or simply a Chevrolet.

Just yesterday I was speaking to someone about one of my books on adoption. A woman within hearing distance, butts in ad says, "Oh, you've written a book about adoption?" "Yes," I reply.

The woman then puffs out her chest ad very proudly announced: "I'm an adoptive mother" and then pointing to an 8-10 year-old red haired tyke next to her, she says: Domestic!" as if describing the type of automobile she had chosen, a domestic model over an import.

It seems clear to me that adoption is often analogous to the olf joke about husbands and wife and their division of responsibility for their children's behavior. "When he's good he's mine; when he's bad he's hers/his."

So it seems with adoption, that adoptive parents are allowed to point out their children's adoption status if it is thought to be to their advantage - a source of status for them...or if they want to separate themselves from a "bad seed." But others should not.

Why? Is adoption like "the N word" in that it's acceptable when a Black person uses it but not at all proper or acceptable for a white person to? If so, that makes the word adoption a dirty word.

In all of this, one can only wonder what sense of self the impressionable children growing up with these dichotomies are learning? What messages are being sent about them? That they are the proud "domestic" model their Mom obtained and is proud to show off? That the word adoption is good or bad? Something to be ashamed of? Something private like masturbation? No, that's a bad analogy because masturbation is natural and on does it to themselves - whereas adoption is unnatural and done TO children and their natural families.

Perhaps it's most like divorce. When an acquaintance announces they are newly divorced, the polite response is often to ask whether that is a good thing or not for them. New divorces are sometimes eager to get back into dating and will make it known immediately that they are in fact divorced. being divorced myself for more than a decade, I prefer to identify myself as a single woman rather than a divorce.

But again, that doesn't quite fit as it is I who get to make that choice. It is beyond my writing abilities to come up with any analogy for the oddity of adoption.

Be sure to see also: Gotcha Day! for the biggest irony of all.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Material Mamma

Madonna's marriage was rumored to be on the rocks even before she adopted - or more accurately while she was adopting - David Banda. The media said that Ritchie did not want the adoption.

Now, her divorce and infidelity rumors have reached epic proportion with her being named as "the other woman" in Alex Rodriguez's divorce.

And as it all unfolds...all I can think of is what does David Banda's father think of all this? Yohane Banda said that he had been told the Kabalah follower was "a good Christian woman."

On a far less serious note, I also cannot help but wonder why this material woman with all her wealth cannot afford a root touch-up before being photographed in public...not just once, by consistently:

(L) Madonna and boyfriend Warren Beatty in 1989, who according to Madonna's brother's tell-all book, suspected her of cheating on him. (R) Madonna currently (and A-Rod)

Below, another view of the rich bitch with the baseball dude.
Get a colorist, woman! And get rid of that awful dress while you're at it.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Is Adoption The Solution?

Great Expectations for Young Mothers

by Mirah Riben

The Gloucester school teen pregnancy spike in teen pregnancy rates is the latest fodder for the media’s reporting of an increase in the number of teen pregnancies in both the U.S. and the U.K. The first such rise in more than a decade, it has been called ‘disturbing’ (1) that in 2006 the teen birth rate in America increased, for the first time in 15 years, according to a report by the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).

The “trend” has been blamed on Hollywood—both the personal lives of the stars like Britney Spears and her 16-year-old pregnant sister Jamie — as well as movies such a “Knocked Up”, “Waitress”, and “Juno.”

Worldwide, rates of teenage pregnancy range from 143 per 1000 in sub-Saharan Africa to 2.9 per 1000 in South Korea. After a decade of abstinence-only sex education, the US teen pregnancy rate is 53 per thousand, twice the rate of any other industrialized nation (WHO).

Are the concerns warranted?

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), single mother births are surging among women ages 25 to 29 but teenagers account for only 23 percent of these births.

Looking at the larger picture, teen marriage and childbearing was the norm and still are in much of the world, from 13-year old Juliet Capulet to 15 year-old Pocahontas. “Most of us would find our family trees dotted with many teen marriages. Marital durability has more to do with the expectations and support of surrounding society than with the partners’ age.” (2)

David Popenoe, author and director of the National Marriage Project at Rutgers University seems to agree, reporting that “in the developed nations the situation is different. The networks to help the teen mothers, composed of grandmothers, large, extended families, intimate neighborhoods, and working fathers, are seldom in existence….Under modern conditions, teen pregnancies are considered not a blessing but a curse.” (3)

Is adoption a solution?

Rep. Larry Liston believing that a lessening in the stigma of pregnancy outside of marriage is part of the problem, was criticized for commenting: "In my parents' day and age, (single teen parents) were sent away, they were shunned, they were called what they are. There was at least a sense of shame. There's no sense of shame today. Society condones it. I think it's wrong. They're sluts. And I don't mean just the women. I mean the men too."

His comments drew heavy fire, leading to an apology. Yet, despite all of the hullabaloo, the American teenage pregnancy rate was actually at an all time high in the 1950s.

Pregnant teenagers face many of the same obstetric issues as women in their 20s and 30s. However, teens are known to be prone to poor nutrition, insufficient pre-natal care, premature births and low birth-weight babies. U.S. rates of premature births climbed steadily during the past two decades reaching an estimated 12.8 percent of births in 2006, government figures show. More than 540,000 babies were born premature that year.

Adoption—which can only occur after the birth—does not prevent or even reduce these risk factors. Conversely, delaying childbirth increases several risk factors for infertility. Fertility treatments that result in multiple births and older mothers contributed to the rise.

For mothers between 15 and 19, age in itself is not a risk factor, but additional risks may be associated with socioeconomic factors. Concern is raised that teen mothers will not finish school and will therefore be subjected to – and subject their children to – a life of poverty. However in a five-year longitudinal study that compared the lives of adolescent mothers, 116 of whom chose to parent and 76 of whom chose to place their first child for adoption the two groups differed little in educational attainment. No significant group differences were found in the psychological measures of well-being. Although relinquishers are more likely to be employed, their earnings at the five-year follow-up do not differ from those of partners. The authors conclude that the decision to parent or relinquish does not set the course for these young women's lives. (4)

Amidst all the concern over women having their children while they are young and fertile – “babies having babies” – there is little concern about women who wait too long and face infertility, take fertility drugs and have large families all at once in their 40s or 50s….a “trend” that might be considered at least equally as “disturbing” in terms of the health of the mother and the child as well as the cost to society, as premature high-risk births require millions of dollars in medical treatment at birth and special education for the school life of the child.

Young mothers are often told that they are being selfish and should allow others—more mature, married, and financially “stable”—to raise their child. The irony in this is that neither marriage status, nor finances are guaranteed to remain as they are – one of the realities shown in the film “Juno.” Are young mothers anymore selfish to want to have their families when they are younger and complete their education and career later in life, than those who chose the reverse, risking not be around to see their child graduate college?

Perhaps it’s time to reorder our priorities. The exact window for chronological perfection is 20-30. But as with weight few of us fall within the ideal. While no one would advocate fourteen year olds or younger parenting, neither is 40 or older optimal. Each has benefits and challenges. Single mothers by choice, of a more “appropriate” or acceptable age, are also struggling with finances, day care and many of the same issues as are younger moms. And, when they cannot succeed in becoming pregnant, they adopt – taking a child from another single mother.

The uncle of Jamie Lynn Spear’s baby’s father in an interview calmly recognized that it was not the best idea for her to be pregnant. But he said, “It’s also not the worst thing that could happen.” With support, the best can be made of an untimely situation. Fantasia Barrino, for example, went from single teen mother to winner of American Idol to Broadway in the starring role of Celie in The Color Purple.

Teen mothers report:

"It's hard, but it's worth it—that's what I think."

"If you have a baby, it’s not the end of the world, and you have to make the best decision for your kid. Don’t let it stop your dreams—just keep pursuing them." (5)


The role of family and society is to support all expectant mothers and mothers, not to judge who is “deserving” of the joys of motherhood and who is not based on arbitrary factors such as youth or finances. All mothers-to-be deserve to receive unbiased information the pros and cons in objective terms and assistance to go forward with their decision.

The Gloucester High School pact is an anomaly, and according to many psychologists has more to do with teens seeking peer support in defying social norms. According to Gracie Hsu of the Family Research Council, "contrary to the common perception that teenage sex and pregnancy typically stem from two teenagers getting caught up in the heat of the moment, new research reveals that many teenage girls are being sexually exploited and impregnated by adult men." That is a serious situation that needs to be addressed rather than shaming young victims.

Adoption is not a solution for teen pregnancy. According to Bernadette Wright, PhD and president of origins-USA, a national non profit that advocates for the rights pf mothers and keeping families together: “It merely exploits the situation to fill a demand for infants to adopt while creating lifelong grief, guilt and shame for mothers and feelings of abandonment and rejection for their children.”

The way to reduce teen pregnancies is to broaden and increase health and sex education from “abstinence-only” to including birth control methods.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The ALL NEW Origins-USA!

Origins-USA has begun collecting the stories of mothers who lost children to adoption, to raise awareness of mothers' experiences and the effects of adoption separation on mothers. Please take a few minutes to share your story in your own words, at

We have also launched a new program called HUGS - "Helping "U" Get Support". Visit to find a volunteer you can call if you need support, or to sign up as a HUGS volunteer and support other mothers.

Friday, July 4, 2008

A Wonderful Alternative to Adoption

Saving girl child, adoption of villages top FLO agenda

Commemorating the silver jubilee of its formation this year, Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry Ladies Organisation has set saving the girl child, adoption of villages for empowerment of women, and planting of trees as its top agenda.

SAVING THE girl child, adoption of villages for the empowerment of women, and planting of trees top the agenda of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Ladies Organisation (FLO), as the organisation goes into an overdrive to commemorate the silver jubilee of its formation this year.

Addressing the media, Anuradha Goel, president, FLO, said, "The ‘Save the Girl Child’ project, to be launched on July 23 by Renuka Chaudhury, Union minister for women and child development, has been designed to raise the awareness levels in women, children and menfolk in villages and semi-urban areas. The objective is to create awareness of the detrimental effect of the declining sex ratio in various parts of the country."

Goel said, under the project, "we will go to the factories and other household industrial clusters, call in the local Members of Legislative Assembly (MLAs) and women panchayat leaders, and impress upon them the need to create mass awareness of the socially and morally reprehensible practice of female infanticide."

During the year, FLO also proposes to adopt a village and make it a model village. This will encompass entrepreneurship development programmes for women, planting of tress, training of women in converting kitchen waste into bio-gas as a cooking fuel. Such a village, the FLO chief said, would also provide recreational and other facilities to elder citizens. "We will adopt a holistic approach. The idea would be to involve whole families in community care, where women will be joined by children and men in the making of a model village."

Goel said, during its silver jubilee year, FLO would plant 2,500 tress throughout the country. FLO would also impart training in nurturing and care of tree saplings and each tree would be under the charge of a tree-custodian or parent.

In a bid to promote entrepreneurship and professional excellence in women, FLO, as part of its ongoing programme, proposes to organise 25 training programmes across India at the grass root, middle and senior levels. Five of these will be at the grass

Goel said, FLO will take up a programme of mentoring 25 professional FLO members as also continue with showcasing of the talents of FLO members in its seven chapters throughout the country.

She announced that the postal authorities would release a special postage stamp/cover to commemorate the silver jubilee year.

The Press meet was also addressed by FLO past presidents – Abha Dalmia, Dr Manju V Mehta, Kusum Ansal, Mukta Jain, Sudha Jhunjhunwala, and young FLO member, Shalu Jindal.

Wouldn't it be grand to see Ethiopia, Russia, China, Guatemala, Vietnam, and other nations that are having their children taken from them create similar projects?

Projects like this are a great alternative to suggest to those who complain about the high fees involved in adopting on child. One can only guess how much good $40,000 could do to improve the lives of an entire village - build a school? Buy books? Medical supplies?

The US could use funded affordable day care!

This is Family Preservation in practice!

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