Saturday, May 3, 2014

Adoption Activism History: The ORIGINAL ORIGINS

Before there was Origins in Australia or the UK, and LONG before Origins-USA .... back in the pre-Internet dark ages ...

In 1980, five women from New Jersey found one another and formed the original "ORIGINS: an organization for women who lost children to adoption."

We put out a national bi-monthly newsletter and held local in-person meetings for more than a decade.

We were pioneers! I was on the Mort Downey Jr. Show twice with adoptees and adoptive parents bringing light to the issue that was never even spoken about before. I was later on the Joan Rivers Show talking about the Joel Steinberg case, with Grace Smeigel.

The five founders of The Original ORIGINS were: MaryAnne Cohen, Allison Ward, Lucy Pare, Evelyn Ziemtez and myself. 

Mary Anne Cohen is the poet laureate of adoption reform.

Lucy Pare gained national infamy in a "sting:" set up by a TV news network to catch evil mothers trying to find and "stalk" their lost children by paying money to an "underground" searcher.  They sent a couple pretending to be birthparents to infiltrate one of our meetings! The news reports of her being "caught in the act" made her look like a dug dsealer exchanging money for information in a parking lot. But, when they made it known it was a sting and shone lights and cameras on a stunned Lucy, she stood her ground and compared her work to the underground railraod that helped slaves escape and let them know it was CIVIL DISOBEDIENCE to disobey laws that kept mothers and their children apart!


Left to right: MaryAnne Cohen, Sherry Chait, Mirah Riben, Washington DC, 1989. 
First national Match on Washington DC to unseal adoption records. 
We are holding our ORIGINS quilt made with patches for our lost children and our logo in the center.


This hearty group including Marilyn Bursen, Judy Taylor, Sharon Bell, and Joe Soll...
marched from NYC to Washington where they were joined by hundred of others of us.



This entire March and SpeakOut at the Washington Memorial was organized by Origins, the AAC and Council for Equal Rights in Adoption (CERA), without the Internet! We were a powerful and strong network of support group across the country! 






7 comments:

maddogmarley said...

Thank you, Mirah. It has long bugged me that disrespect shown by the original Origins by the late comers. It is not that the name is the same (that happens), but the attitude Origins (NJ) has been subjected to. You are an important part of our history.

I received the Origins newsletter for years and it was wonderful.

Mirah Riben said...

Thanks, Marley. I appreciate that.

maryanne said...

Thanks Mirah. We had a good run with Origins NJ and there is much to be proud of. The founders and members deserve to be honored. It was nice to see the old pictures, and sad to remember those who have passed on like Evelyn and Sharon.

Anonymous said...

As Executive Director of Origins Canada, I was unaware of this history. The mothers at Origins NJ who worked so hard to bring to light the injustice done to us and our children deserve our gratitude and acknowledgement...Blessings,
Valerie Andrews

Mirah Riben said...

Thank you.

Lana Rue said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mirah Riben said...

I have knowledge of but have never personally dealt with Golden Cradle. Post your email or find me on Facebook and I will try to help, if I can.

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