Transracial Adoption from one black girl’s perspective


Oct 6, 7 & 8 – 8pm Berkeley, CA

Please come!!! BUY YOUR TICKETS NOW!

also – are you on my email list? Read my most recent update!

Vote for Meee! “Ungrateful Daughter” up for *People’s Choice* award

My solo theater show, “Ungrateful Daughter” is up for the “People’s Choice” award for for the East Bay here in Northern California! Please please go to the website and vote for this important work to win this award!!

Just one click! RIGHT HERE!!

“Ungrateful Daughter” at MIT Fri April 30th

As part of the ASAC’s “Adoption: Secret Histories, Public Policies” 3rd International Conference, 2010, on Friday April 30th I’ll be performing UD and sharing the stage with some other writerly folk impacted by adoption, Martha Gelarden, Adam Lazar, Ned Balbo, Rosemary Starace, and Craig Hickman.

Friday April 30th
Bldg 32-Room 123

I’m so excited! I hope if you are near you can come out and say hello.

“Ungrateful Daughter” performances!

Hey ya’ll! I’ve got some upcoming performances of my solo theater show! I’d love it if you came out!
Full description of the show here

March 3
Excerpt at WordsFirst at Counterpulse in SF, 7:30pm
For Tickets go HERE

Tickets, sliding scale: $15-$20
Half-price discount code: firstwords
Discount tix: $7.50-$10

April 8
Ungrateful Daughter full solo show Debut at StageWerks in SF, 8pm
April 22
Ungrateful Daughter full solo show Debut at StageWerks in SF, 8pm

TICKETS to the April 8th or 22nd shows Go here to BrownPaperTickets!

RIP Michael Jackson Part 1

MichaelJackson-OffTheWallSince yesterday I’ve been a bit overwhelmed with so many feelings around Michael Jackson’s death. I’m in the process of writing a blog from my perspective on this. Michael Jackson had a major impact on me as a black child who was a singer and performer growing up in an all white setting. I have much to say. soon.

I will miss him and will always love the music, passion and love he brought to the world.

until then read these:

Davey D
Looking Through the Window: May Michael Jackson Rest in Peace

Adrienne Maree Brown at Colorlines Blog
Michael Jackson – Who’s Loving You?

Jessie at Racism Review
Michael Jackson RIP

The Meaning of MJ

newlogoNext week I’ll be headed to LA for the Mixed Roots Film and Literary festival. Its held at the Japanese American United Museum in downtown LA!!

I’m performing a short piece from “Ungrateful Daughter” and be co-presenting in a writing workshop with my good friend, amazing writer and blogger Susan Ito about mixed-race adoptees and writing.

The festival is FREE. You should come.

Upcoming Performance!

I got a new solo piece I’m showing at the Monday Night Marsh in SF! I hope you can make it out.

This piece doesnt look at transracial adoption in a specific way – but what is does do is try to think about how the nature of adoption and foster care plays upon the notion of “abandonment” and causing a permanent scar upon the person who is adopted or in foster care.  What happens to someone when their first link to love and security is broken and severed permanently? How does that impact their ability to love deeply, create intimacies and maintain committed relationships?

sounds deep i know – but its actually gonna be funny! I hope you can come thru. I’ll be sharing the stage with 4 other amazing solo performers for a full night of theater.

multiple singular voices

7:30 at the MARSH, SF
1062 Valencia Street (near 22nd Street) San Francisco, CA 94110
The Marsh Theater

MARTHA RYNBERG “Late Bloomer” Image, identity, judgement… all
housed in one body.

LISA MARIE author of the solo show “Ungrateful Daughter”
shares a new solo short. What’s it like to be the best girlfriend
ever? Lisa Marie can tell you. Her newest piece investigates how to
maintain your cool, and move through relationships without any
baggage, or attachments – because that’s what we all want – right?

COLLEEN TANI NAKAMOTO “SOFT TISSUE” What makes a woman a woman?
Which comes first – her body, her desires, her memories? What lives
in her soft tissue?

MzDEBRA “From A to B” Be prepared to put on your attentive
listening hat, because mzdebra has a lesson for you. It’s all about
how to get from A to B, and it’s important. There’s a good reason
cave people didn’t use emoticons, and it is not because they couldn’t.

JULIA JACKSON “Tip the Board” A hilarious and touching look at the
age-old, yet uniquely American question, Who is Black enough?”

Adoptees on the Stage Baby!

Im so excited to see another person working out adoptee issues on the stage! This is freakin hilarious! Thanks to Susan for hipping me to it! Update: And to iBastard for posting it for us to find it!!

More Upcoming Shows

If you live in the Bay Area!! -  Shameless Plug to come see Ungrateful Daughter!

Upcoming Performances – 2007

Saturday July 7,   8pm

Sunday July 8,  4pm

Friday July 13, 8pm

Saturday July 14, 8pm
Sunday July 15,  4pm   

Sister Bowman Theatre in West Oakland  inside the Prescott Joseph Center

920 Peralta St (at 9th and Peralta, near west oakland BART)


OUTDOOR theater – so dress warm , bring a blanket and a flask. just kidding. but not about the blankets.

Email me for more info!

Upcoming Show and Presentation

Its been a helluva month my friends. Finally, the end of the semester – which always has me grading mad essays, meeting with students, trying to wrap up my own academic work and trying to stay sane. I also MOVED this month! AAAAAAAAAAA!!! We all know how hectic moving is.. and this one was no different. Im moving from a spacious 3 bdr flat with a huge backyard back to a 2bdr. I wont have a roommate, but I have no yard and no dining room. (sigh). But its a cute cottage and Im happy happy to have my own office again. There is seriously something about being able to write in isolation. I’ve taught quite a few writing courses, both creative and composition and I like to argue that writing is many times a collaborative process – I love the workshop setting. However – there is just something about being able to get up at 2am and write for 3 hours and pass out on the couch without feeling inhibited. I’m still moving out of boxes and trying to do a mass cleaning of my office files, but my kitchen is together and my bedroom is so lovely with a nice tree out my window! I’ve hired a student to help me go through my crates and crates of files. I think I counted freakin 17 crates! Yesterday I found stuff from my students when I was a freeway flyer, lecturing at Loyola Marymount University in Westchester, CA, LaVerne University AND Cal State Long Beach in 2000. I was like.. ok.. I think I can throw this away. But I also had flashbacks of how powerful those classes were. I taught “Women of Color in the United States” – I loved that class.

I’ve got two essays / presentations to write by June 26th, and one 40 page piece by July 16th. I’ve got grants and of course the annoucement/ donationa campaign for AFAAD that I’m determined to get done by the end of July.

Shameless Plugs for my Upcoming Stuffs:

“Ungrateful Daughter” is up for another round of workshop performance! The show will be Thursday , June 21 at 8pm, and play at the Jean Shelton Theatre in SF. This time, its for real. ;)

No seriously – this time its a longer piece – about 35 minutes and I’m performing with two other amazing solo artists, who have shorter pieces.

Buy Tickets Here for $10 - Tell your friends!!


I’m presenting at USSF! yay! Im excited to be presenting on a panel at the United States Social Forum. Im looking for some addtional funding to help me pay for my plane ticket – so if you can support me – even with something like 20 bucks. I would appreciate the love.

Here’s the deets:

The Global Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption
Featuring Outsiders Within contributors Kim Diehl, Shannon Gibney, and Soo Na, and adult adoptee activist, performance artist and scholar Lisa Marie Rollins.
The panel will be held sometime on Friday, June 29 (please check website for updates), at the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta.

Kim Diehl is a multiracial woman adopted by white parents and raised in the US South. Kim grew up in Miami, FL where she currently lives and works. She is a National Organizing Body member of Critical Resistance, a national organization that works to build an international movement to end the prison industrial complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe.

Shannon Gibney was born in 1975 to an African American father and Irish American mother. Raised in Ann Arbor, Michigan, she was adopted by a white family five months after she was relinquished. Shannon describes herself as (in this order) a creative writer, journalist, and activist, and has been exploring the potential of the written word to transform social reality for quite a while now. She is deeply indebted to all her teachers and friends (living and deceased), who have contributed to her aesthetic and political development. For more information, or to read Shannon’s work, visit

Soo Na lived in Korea for six years before her migration through adoption to North America. Soo Na’s life work includes working at unclotting the throat and loving without exploitation. She is a teacher, and received her BA from Hampshire College.

Lisa Marie Rollins is a poet and performance artist and author of A Birth Project. She is a PhD candidate in African Diaspora Studies at UC Berkeley and is currently developing her one-woman show, “Ungrateful Daughter.” She was born in Renton, Washington, adopted and raised in Tacoma, Washington, in 1970. Her adoptive family is of German/Yugoslavian immigrant descent and “good ol’ Mayflower folks, combined together to form one posse of conservative, Christian, farmer folks.” Lisa Marie is the founder of AFAAD (Adopted & Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora).

The panel will be held sometime on Friday, June 29 (please check website for updates), at the U.S. Social Forum in Atlanta.

The first-ever U.S. Social Forum (USSF) will provide space to build relationships, learn from each other’s experiences, share our analysis of the problems our communities face, and bring renewed insight and inspiration. It will help develop leadership and develop consciousness, vision, and strategy needed to realize another world.

The USSF sends a message to other people’s movements around the world that there is an active movement in the US opposing US Policies at home and abroad.

We must declare what we want our world to look like and begin planning the path to get there. A global movement is rising. The USSF is our opportunity to demonstrate to the world Another World is Possible!

Event Website:

My First Review! Yay!

Check out my first review in the Berkeley Daily Planet!

I think one of the interesting things about my solo show is the title. “Ungrateful Daughter” seems to be a sharp-edged title in the way that it grabs people’s attention – what does she mean? I think that most of my reasonings for choosing this title are connected to the discourses that surround adoption and loyalty to family. In most popular cultural imaginations of the way that adoptees should be responding to adoption is indeed either a “one or the other” response. So many of us adult adoptees have talked about our resistence to this “grateful/successful” vs. “ungrateful/failure” binary already that I wont go into it again here, but this dialouge is really what this title attempts to speak to, the complexity of this experience.

In this review, Kassof mentions me being “disenchanted” – its an interesting word. I dont know if I even was “enchanted” with being adopted or being the only black person in a white world. I think another word might be ‘critical’, which is something I think many white parents are unprepared for when their child grows up to understand the world in a particular way, and begin to respond to them in a particular way because of this understanding.

Overall – Its cool to get a review. I love that she was willing to take the chance to come to the show. I like that she was disturbed. That means I did something right. Cool. 

I want to thank my director, my workshop mates, my friends, countrymen… and my TRA familia. lol…. you like me.. you really like me! 


Im so cool!

Hey ya’ll. I got my first publicity “stuffs” in the East Bay Express, our weekly rag. Yay! I’m excited and uhhhh.. grateful all at once. Thank you all for your love and support. You inspire me to keep moving forward! and hey – come see the show on the 18th and if you cant make that – come see the Circus this week!



my director.. he’s such a smart ass.

and gee – I cant wait until I get some reviews of the show . . . (ahem!)

2 More Upcoming Shows! Yay!

Yay! If you missed it – I’ve got two more upcoming performances of “Ungrateful Daughter”.  If you’ve seen the show – please tell other folks and send me some comments, questions or raves :) about what you saw!

and i actually have an assignment for you peoples. Those of you that have seen the show – do you think that a 9 year old could handle the content, if their parents were involved in discussions of race? I’ve always said that High School age young men and women could handle it, but I’ve never consdiered any younger. I mean, there is only one place where I curse, and otherwise its just full of layers. What do you all think? 

Wednesday October 18 – 8pm (doors 7:30) and

Thursday October 19 – 8pm (doors 7:30)

with “The Secret Circus” at the new Berkeley Marsh Theatre.

Tickets are $10-22 sliding scale. (students w ID $5)

 The Marsh Theatre at Berkeley is located at:
2120 Allston Way Berkeley (at Shattuck) in the Gaia Arts Center. (2 blocks from Downtown Berkeley BART). For more info about the circus – Go to our MySpace Page 

The Secret Circus is also a show I’m co-producing – whoa!!! So if you came ANY of the weeks that this show is running – your presence would be much appreciated! Check out the calendar on myspace!!

Talk show and Upcoming Shows

yay! Ive got 4 upcoming shows of “Ungrateful Daughter”! I hope if you haven’t had a chance to see it – that you will be able to come out and support. I’ve re-written a few sections and updated some. The first two are at the end of this month in SF and the last two are in October in the East Bay. Dates TBA.

San Franciso Solo Festival
“Ungrateful Daughter”
Friday, September 29, 10pm
Sunday October 1, 8:30pm
at –
Off-Market Theatre in SF – 965 Mission St. (btwn 5th and 6th) Parking near Metreon at 5th and Mission or you can take the BART, exit Powell and walk the 3 blocks.

to buy tickets –  and for information about ALL the solo shows in the festival go to hope to see you there!! and if I don’t know you, feel free to walk up after the show and say hi. Tell me you read the blog. Tell me you liked the show.. or not. :)  

I’m also beginning to develop the next section. The first two sections have been primarily about my Afamily and my struggles as a child and adult attempting to deal with race. This next section is going to tackle some aspects of adoption in a bit more direct way that includes race of course as an overriding connection, but will also try to work through of of the issues I’ve been dealin with since finding the Bmom. (I know, I know.. I havent given you all an update on that in a while.. I promise its coming.)

On another note – Did I tell you I got called and invited to be on a talk show? Yeah i know. My first reaction was . . . HELL NO! But I’m doing some research on it and taking it under consideration. But seriously – Can you see it now?

Host:so, lisamarie, you were adopted at 3 months by a white family. Was your experience a good or bad thing?

Me:well, hostlady, it wasn’t either/ or, it was really just a complex thing. I think we have to be really careful when we discuss TRA experiences as to not just categorize them into these two little ‘ways of being’. Its wrong to simply say “Here’s a TRA with a bad experience, she had bad parents, she is not well adjusted to life, she fees unfulfilled and negative.” Or on the other hand to simply say “here’s a TRA with a good experience, she had good parents, she is well adjusted, she feels fulfilled and is thankful and grateful for her life.”

Host: well, which one are you?

Me:ummmmmm . . . I think i just explained that I’m neither and I’m both.

Host:come on lisa marie. what does that really mean? You mentioned to our producers that you parents still, even as you are an adult say and do racist stuff – I mean, this has to bother you. can you talk about that to us for a little bit?

Me: well, of course it bothers me, but I feel the same way about any white person or any person really who doesn’t attend to the way that race shapes their world. My struggle with my parents is about their inability to want to understand racism. Its much easier for white people to move through the world without being concerned with race.

Host: so really you’re angry about your parents being white, but would you have rather been left in an orphanage and to grow up in the foster care system? Would that have been better?

Me: (sigh)


Host: Sooooo lisamarie, as I understand it – you are a product of rape. How does that make you feel? (shoves the mic in my face)


Host: Sooooo, lisamarie, I understand that you haven’t been able to find your birthfather because since you are a product of rape, he didn’t know you existed.Well, have we got a surprise for you! We found your father and he’s here on the show!!… come on out John Doe!!! (me flabbergasted, jumping up and grabbing the mic cord to wrap around her neck…)

I suppose my question to the producers is – how can you guarantee that your show will be different and will be willing to actually display the truth about TRA lives? Are you seriously willing to end on a note that doesn’t replicate the same crap about ‘love conquers all’ or ‘race doesn’t matter’ or even resist making the show more about the parents than about the kids? I know that nowdays many AP’s are willing to go places that AP’s couldnt go 30 years ago, but from what I’ve seen, Im not sure how much has changed. Sure, AP’s have alot more resources, they are really required on some even tiny level to consider what it means to adopt a child of color, but how many of them really are willing to change their lives?

I don’t know how I feel about the talk show and for some reason it feels way, way different than me doing my show. I suppose because I would feel like I wasn’t in control of editing, writing, framing.. etc.. and also because I’m such a critic of media. I dont want something like the NYTimes article to endup being as deep as they go. Are they willing to push? (god lisamarie, why does everything always have to be about race with you?)

We’ll see. You wanna come with me?

Ungrateful Daughter Show, New T-Shirts and Site update

I feel so out of the loop! Ive missed you all while Ive been moving over to the new site, wrapping up the semester. So as mentioned in the last post. The Birth Project's site on blogger, started trippin out – and since I had already been considering a move to wordpress – the time seemed ripe! So here we are! Welcome and please pass the new site address on.

So much goin on with my reunion update will come soon, and with an update on the TRA Represent collection. Writings are starting to flow in, the response from people has been great.

The show on sunday night (2nd excerpt of Ungrateful Daughter) at the Off-market was great! I want to send out love for all the people who come out to see the show, those who gave me some feedback and those who sent me love by myspace.. etc.. much love to you all for your support. It means alot to me as the piece grows from a little 15 minute solo piece to an hour long show. The writing is going slow, but it is fun and very self-revealing.

Hey! I finally feel like we can start acting like we exsist and following in the steps of sister Ji-in – Im debuting some t-shirts I made about a year ago, but never put into the public! So yay! We finally have something that is ours, and sometimes i feel like there is a big stamp on my forehead, and sometimes i feel like wearing a shirt would alleviate so much pressure and explanation – so part of the beginning of these designs is to be vocal and kind of smart-ass about it. More designs coming soon with more variety to your annoucement! for now- check out TRA Represent! Store . and Enjoy!

Ungrateful Daughter Show

last night was the premiere of my work in progress "Ungrateful Daughter" at Off-Market Theatre in SF! Man —- after not performing for 4 years.. i think it all came out last night. I feel SO good and so much of what needed to be put out there … was put out there. I didnt miss ANY of my lines and it was GREAT!!

The piece is a piece I've been working on for the past 8 weeks and last nights show was only the first 15 minutes. It touches on the painful and joyful aspects of being transracially adopted. I hope to get some reviews of the piece up soon.

I'm planning on producing the show again soon. But in the East Bay. At some point I hope to travel with the piece and take it to a few places around the country. I hope you all can come!!


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