Transracial Adoption from one black girl’s perspective

About Lisa Marie

Lisa Marie is a Bay Area (Oakland) based, Black/Filipina writer, performer and lecturer and one leading voice in transracial/ international adoption education and advocacy. She is currently touring her acclaimed solo show, Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girls Story of being adopted by a White Family… that aren’t Celebrities, a comedic, but intense look her experience of being adopted by a white family in the 1970′s.

She has performed Ungrateful Daughter in the New York International Fringe Theater Festival, The Atlanta Black Theater Festival, San Francisco Solo Festival, San Francisco Theater Festival, at StageWerx Theater, Off-Market Theatre, The Marsh Theater at Berkeley, The Marsh Theater in SF, The Shelton Theatre, universities and academic conferences across the United States. Ungrateful Daughter has been awarded a 2010-2011 James Irvine New Works development grant and a Zellerbach Family Foundation and a City of Oakland Cultural Arts Grant in 2012. She is the Producing Artistic Director of Third Root Art Collective. Third Root Art Collective is a performing Arts House / Production company that workshops, directs and produces solo and ensemble theater, and works to support upcoming artists interested in developing innovative work for stage, web & screen.

She has been teaching creative writing, poetry and performance workshops for over ten years. She was the 2010-2011 Poet in Residence at June Jordan’s Poetry for the People at U.C. Berkeley and is an alumni in Poetry of the nationally known VONA Writing Workshop working with Ruth Foreman and Willie Perdomo. She was most recently published in Eye to the Telescope, in the anthology, Other Tongues: Mixed-Race Women Speak Out and River, Blood, Corn – A Literary Journal and her short chapbook of poems, Splice. Forthcoming publications are in As/Us Literary Journal (June 2013) and Line/Break Special Issue on Asian American Adoptee poetry (May 2013). She is currently focused in on her new manuscript of poems, tentatively titled, “Anchoring the Compass”.

Lisa Marie has been featured as a commentator on CNN, NPR, KPFA Berkeley, KPFK Los Angeles and was given the honor of one of Colorlines Magazine’s “Innovators to Watch” for her social justice work around black adoptees. Lisa Marie was the Adoption Education Specialist for Pact, An Adoption Alliance from 2006-2008 and is currently a regular workshop consultant for OFC – Our Family Coalition in San Francisco.

She has been an invited panelist, speaker or performer on a multitude of topics around race and adoption, multi-racial and multi-cultural identification, the politics of inter-country and domestic transracial and same race adoption. Some of her appearances include, Mills College, Stanford University, The Claremont Colleges / Pomona College, UC Berkeley, UC Irvine, CSU San Bernardino, Santa Monica City College, CSU Long Beach, Hampshire College, MIT, The Mixed Roots Film and Literary Festival, Seattle WA’s Central District Forum: “Which Way Seattle”, Oregon State University and UI Urbana-Champaign. She has keynoted for the MSU Conference at UC Berkeley and the 2011 KAAN conference in Atlanta, GA and was a recent week-long Artist in Residence at Pomona College in Claremont, CA.

As Founder and Director of AFAAD, Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora, Lisa Marie has helped build one of the first international organizations to focuses on the needs of adoptees and foster care alumni of African descent. AFAAD provides space for adoptees and foster care alumni to connect, heal from loss, create support networks and advocate around domestic and international adoption issues.

Lisa Marie holds a BA in English Literature and Women’s Studies, an MA in Cultural Studies focusing in African Diasporic Women’s Literature, an MA in African American Studies from UC Berkeley and is currently on leave from her doctoral program in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley. Her dissertation work takes a cultural studies approach to focus on the construction of black women’s bodies in the discourse of domestic and international adoption, and how these themes emerge in the literatures of the adoption memoir. This work partially examines the concept of diaspora as a useful, healing place for identification for displaced black bodies to assert a kind of (re)location. She has authored “A Birth Project”, a blog focusing on transracial adoption and black diasporic identity since 2006.

Lisa Marie is available for interviews, speaking engagements, lectures, artist in residence positions, creative writing workshops and full length performances. For more information email her directly. lisamarierollins (at)

Check out some Video / Audio here

SF Weekly, June 2, 2010


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