WHAT IS YOUR ADOPTION EXPERIENCE?
I am a mother who lost her firstborn to adoption in 1968. I never forgot her and by 1980, together with four other mothers, I co-founded the original Origins: a national organization for mothers who lost children to adoption, based in NJ. We held monthly in-person support groups and produced a national newsletter. Members of our group were finding their children in far less than the better homes we had been promised. Disheartened and concerned, I searched and found my daughter to ensure that she was safe. I also began researching adoption and wrote my first book, shedding light on…The Dark Side of Adoption in 1988. The following year, while Director of the AAC, I helped organize the first march on Washington for Adoptee rights.
My activism has continued to this day resulting in my second book, THE STORK MARKET: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry in 2007 and many articles.
HOW HAS THE ADOPTION EXPERIENCE AFFECTED YOUR POETRY?
I am not a poet. I am a writer and sometimes use poetry to journal. Most of my poems are about my adoption loss. Adoption has driven me to write…it is the only way I can cope with the pain, the grief, and the anger at the lies and deception of adoption.
PLEASE SHARE A SAMPLE POEM(S) ADDRESSING (IN PART) ADOPTION.
Sacrifical FirstbornFirstbornfirst begotten onefirstborn of spiritfirstborn of fleshchild that opened my wombOnly one is calledfirstborn of manybrethren in spiritothersfirstborn of manyin fleshAnd others still,like the child of Arsinoe,who died while giving birth toher firstborn child,are first and only.Your firstfruits shall be holy,saith the Lord,and shall be dedicated unto meas a special offeringlamb of Godsacrificial lambsacrificed in spiritscarified in flesh…and God gave his only begotten sonson born of unwed motherso that others……and God spoke to the Jewsand told themto sacrificetheir firstborns no morebut God also askedthat atonement be madeso she shall be clean.and netherworld demonsand peddlers of fleshin the black-grayunderworld marketplaceseek outand offer false promisesfor a covetedfirstborn child…and on the 31st dayfirstborn sons becomelegallyand rituallyThe Firstborn.But sons (like mine)who followin the wakeof ghostly Firstbornsare forever displacedas firstborn heirs.Lamb of Godsilent sacrificial lambsacrificed in spiritspecial offering to Godseeking forgivenessfor the sin of your birthyet taken by Godas a sacrifice in fleshJuly, 1998
[This poem first appeared in the Summer/Fall 1998 Origins newsletter.]
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
MIRAH RIBEN is author of two internationally acclaimed books, shedding light on...The Dark Side of Adoption (1988) and The Stork Market: America’s Multi-Billion Dollar Unregulated Adoption Industry (2007) and numerous articles.
Riben is former Director of the American Adoption Congress and Past Vice President of Communications of Origins-USA, a national non-profit that advocates for mothers' rights and keeping natural families together. Riben has been researching, writing and speaking about the need to reform, humanize, and de-commercialize American adoption practices since 1979. She has appeared on several national television programs, and was keynote speaker at many conferences. She blogs at http://mirahriben.blogspot.com
Riben was among the very first mothers to go public in order to put a face on women who had been called the invisible party in adoption, publicly addressing the lifelong pain of losing a child to adoption. Risking imprisonment, she reunited hundreds of families separated by adoption and helped mothers prevent unnecessary adoptions. In 1980 Riben co-founded the original Origins, a New Jersey-based national organization for women who lost children to adoption (unaffiliated with any other similarly named organization).