NYC Dates and Supporting Adult Adoptee Voices

Yay! I got my dates for the NYC shows! Please pass this information on to all your folks on the East Coast who should come see the show!

There are six shows – August 10-23rd.

Check out the NEW TRAILER of the show here!

FRI 8/10 @ 8:30p
SUN 8/12 @ 7:00p
WED 8/15 @ 8:30p
FRI 8/17 @ 4:00p
SUN 8/19 @ 2:15p
THUR 8/23 @ 5:00p

Tickets go on sale July 20th! TICKET INFO HERE

We have 13 days left on our campaign to get to NYC – we NEED your donation and your help to spread the word! Please check out the kickstarter video and donate what you can!

Thank you so much for all your support and See you in NYC!!


NYC Premiere! Yay! I got IN!!

I’m thrilled to announce that my play “Ungrateful Daughter: One Black Girls story of being adopted into a white family…that aren’t celebrities” will have its NYC Premiere at the 2012 NYC International Fringe Festival in August!! I got in!!! YEEEEEEE! NYC here I come!

I will be posting fundraising, production updates, and the specific show dates as soon as I get all that information!

HUGE HUGE thank you again to ALL of my donors, both individual, organizational and foundations! Huge thank you to the adoptee community who has has my back from the beginning. I could NEVER have gotten this far without your support. Lets DO this!!

Longing: First Movement

in the shadow of this empty birth certificate
I live as (un) blank slate of memory
longing is a pain knowing can cure,
desire for your hand to cover mine

sweet jane
sweet sweet jane doe

something about ghosts living between us
people want to disregard,
silence the voices in their heads
as if they never were

Anyone who’s ever split apart

this grief can make you forget what they told you
try hard to remember the words
feel them on your tongue
like the name your mother says she picked for you

Anyone who’s ever had a dream

I will not cast out my name
even for you, who wish me away
who embroil me in your secrets
entice me to fall into your denial of my body

Anyone who’s ever played a part

this cannot be cured by unknowing
the empty space above your head in family photos
the void position next to you on the family wall
my face in the back of your mind, our fathers obituary

Anyone who’s ever been lonely

I carve my name over and over into my arm
tattooed and cut, mark red and blue
like the cord that ties us together
the death that rips our flesh

Anyone who’s ever split apart

sweet jane
sweet sweet jane doe

I’m still here, I promise

Its been a minute since I’ve posted something and I know I’ve been neglecting this blog. So just checkin in, sayin whats up. I hope you all are doing well.

Few things:

Susan over at ReadingWritingLiving is writing some great stuff around the new show, Find My Family on ABC. Personally, I’ve been too afraid to watch it, but am getting together with a group of adoptees in Jan to watch it together.

Other news: AFAAD is collaborating with AKASF on an adult adoptee group for adoptees of color. Its a multi-session based group that will focus on deepening our group discussions of race, identity, adoption and healing and self care. Please, tell any adult adoptee of color that you know! Have them email me afaadinfo(at) gmail (dot) com .

The 2009 AFAAD Gathering went off without a hitch. You can read all about it over at the AFAAD Blog where there will be photos and video and writing about it posted very soon!

I’m well, trying to finish up this dissertation and also importantly, trying to begin to start writing again and finishing my play about transracial adoption, Ungrateful Daughter. I know a few of you have seen pieces of it already, but its my goal by May 2010 to have it complete and ready to put back up on the stage. hell yeah!

Happy Holidaze!

Searching for Visuals

Its been a painful and powerful trip home. Every time I come home I’m more and more overwhelmed with the isolation of my family and their community from the realities of people of color not only in their own backyard, Indigenous people, Mexicans and Islander peoples but people of color across the world. I continue to try my hardest keep myself separate from my parents friends who are evangelical Christians and who live in their white privilege, and live inside it in ways that are SO similar to the liberal, educated white folks of the Bay area I cant begin to talk about it. Its so time for me to begin to start speaking some truths around that again that I cant believe how long I feel I’ve been silent. I’m just now able to talk about how the past work I did doing adoption education has had an major impact on my relationships with white people. I thought I had worked through a lot of my anger, its been renewed with a vengeance and vigor I had forgotten. All I can say here is, AFAAD is my response, a response that is solely about the children who grow up in transracial adoptive families.

At the same time I’m channeling positive responses to the pain I feel when I am reminded of how deeply racist our world is, I’m more and more impacted by how much I love my family, my parents, my cousins and aunts and uncles, and how much they love me. It was actually evident to me this year that they really missed me being here since the snowstorm prevented me from being here for Christmas, and they like it when I come around. It was so nice to just be my immediate family and miss all the Christmas hullabaloo that forces me to have to be around a bunch of people I don’t give a shit about and who don’t give a shit about me, and who in every other instance would never be interested in knowing who I am. and for the most part, still aren’t. This may be a change in the way I spend my holidays. I’m just sayin.

Its such a contradiction to live inside such love and such pain at the same time.

I spent a few days in Seattle, networking for AFAAD and Third Root a little, but mostly just catching up with the new friends who I’ve made who are meaningful to me and hiding in a coffee shop for hours on University Ave working on my chapters.

One significant thing that happened is that I spend some time in the amazing Seattle Public School archives looking at high school yearbooks from the 1960’s. I was looking for my birth fathers photo, based on a name my birth mother gave me.

I got lost on the way to the archives, but it was in this great building, the John Stanford Educational Center, where it looks like the Seattle school district offices are located. Ah teachers. How do I love thee? I made it there about a ½ hour before they closed and a lovely young woman, with a rockin vintage shirt and cool ass glasses with a green tint, (I love Seattle!) Althea, came up to take me upstairs to the archives.  I love the smell and look of historical archives. Being an academic, I have a healthy respect for history and the preservation of it. and to see the history of the Seattle schools being care for so lovingly and .. I always worry about funding for these things. If you can – after you donate to AFAAD (ha!) – donate some money to them or to your local school district historical archive!

Althea brought me the years 1966-1969. I had estimated that since he was supposedly 20 to 22 when I was conceived, that those were reasonable years to think he had graduated. I put on the white gloves and started though, reading over pages, laughing at hairstyles and clothes, while trying not to listen to my internal voice. In my head I kept saying, what if she lied to me to keep me off track? What if she doesn’t want me to know who he is? What if she just picked some random person? (which is still a possibility).

I couldn’t find it. It wasn’t anywhere! I kept looking over and over the pages, thinking I had missed something. Parrish, Patton, Peterman, Perkins, Peth. Pittman, Powell, Purvis, . . . nothing. Finally, after looking through 2 high school 4 years each, I stopped and started packing up. Althea came up and asked how it was going. I sighed and told her that I hadn’t found anything. She asked me a few questions about who I was looking for. I hesitated, because as an adoptee who has done mad reading on the negative responses to when we are searching for our birth families, we have been warned to be cautious about what we share with people.

I looked deep into her face, took a breath and said, “well, it’s a name that someone, well, it’s a name that my birth mother gave me for my birth father. Perhaps its not the right name. Perhaps it was just one of those leads that I have to live with not working out.” But inside, I wasn’t connecting to how much I was putting on this. I was really hoping to find something. I was disappointed, and it was starting to hurt. Althea’s eyes looked at me and she said, “why don’t we try 1965, just for the heck of it? Just to say you did it?” I shrugged, thinking, sure, why not, whatever.

When she brought back the books, she paused and then told me her story. A story about her own family, and so closely aligned with the narrative of lifelong secrets and lies, shame, truth, longing and have that impacts our adoptive families. I am always overwhelmed and honored when strangers can open themselves to me and share their stories.

I put the white gloves back on and began to thumb through the pages, starting with the seniors. It was a flash. There it was. 1965. on the bottom corner of the page. I felt the tears start coming, I took a deep breath, don’t cry, don’t cry, it may not be him, it may be a wrong lead, don’t cry.

Its him. His face looks light in the photo, but all of the photos at that time look like they are lightened, so I think he is medium or brown skinned. In another photo I found of him posing for the Dance planning committee, he look much darker than his senior photo.  It lists some of his interests and his honors. I found it.

I wanted to start dialing a phone right then, but I didn’t have a middle name. Something that would distinguish him from all the other people in Washington state who have the same name who I have come across. We got copies, and I think I made it part way back to the elevator before I started crying and just had to be me and give mad love and a hug to Althea to thank her for the help.

I got back to where I was staying and checked my email and whaaaatt? Got an email from Althea, with his middle name and his birth date. Are you kidding me? Dammit, started crying again but with a big cheese smile.

Look people, if you are in a position of power, if you are an archivist, I want to just reiterate how important your job is and not just on the organizational, administrative tip. You being open to people, being non-judgmental about the people who come to your world – people who need histories, need truths, need the stories of our lives – your not questioning our personal motivations is SO extraordinarily important in an archivist and as someone who has ‘control’ over the archives. So many adoptees experience people being ‘gatekeepers’ and trying to keep us away from the truths of our lives. The narrative of the outside world is that we don’t need to know and that we shouldn’t want to know. and thats just bullshit.

I have no idea what I’m going to do next, knowing me I’ll sit on this for another 6 months to a few years. I still haven’t processed this at all, but I just wanted to share and thank Althea deeply and publicly for her consideration, patience and openness. Gurl, you rock, and you just changed my life.