Art from Adoption

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m taking great care in reading Perpetual Child: Dismantling the Stereotype (Adult Adoptee Anthology). Last time I talked about Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston’s essay, “Discovering My Imposed Age & the Effects of the Institutionalization of Perpetual Childhood.” The second piece in the book is a lyric poem. As a poet, it thrilled me to find such excellent poetry collected alongside essays.

The poem is “Everyone Loves An Orphan,” and it was written by Nicky Sa-eun Schildkraut, a Korean adoptee. According to her website, her bio (there is also one in the back of the book) looks like this:

I am a poet, scholar and teacher who teaches creative writing and college composition in Los Angeles. As a Korean-American adoptee, my creative and scholarly work reflect an ongoing interest to explore the emotional and historical aspects of the Korean diaspora as well as transnational adoption.  Previously, I collaborated on avante-garde music and art projects with composers and visual artists. I have advanced degrees in poetry, (M.F.A. degree in poetry, 2002 and M.A. in Literature, 2010) and a Ph.D. degree in Literature & Creative Writing from the University of Southern California (2012).  My first book of poetry, Magnetic Refrain, was published in February 2013 by Kaya Press. I am currently completing a second book, lyrical and narrative poems Until Qualified For Pearl and a non-fiction critical book about adoption narratives in literature and film.

The premise, if you will, of “Everyone Loves An Orphan” is the story is of an orphaned child “born from a field of weeds / they later called lilies.” She learns to fantasize a story about her origins. Questions–such as was her mother the mistress of a married man, did her mother work in a garment factory, and so on–came to her, but eventually she discovers that  a deception surrounds her very origins–that she wasn’t an orphan at all.

The child was adopted by a family in a strange land.

. . . you’ll learn

another language. In your sleep,

you’re already talking

to yourself, filling in

the rest of the story.

Once upon a time,

there lived a family . . .

Notice that the poem is written in 2nd person (you, rather than I or she). I believe this creates a distance that almost frames the story, thus drawing focus. It creates the illusion of objectivity, but increases the poignancy.

This poem isn’t a simple display of emotion, but a complex and beautifully written exploration that forces the reader to think and feel more deeply about what it means for a child to grow up with lies and secrets.

The Power of Naming

Menomama3, who blogs about adoption issues as well as about her family, sent us a link to a video which comments well on the power of naming and how that affects this poet who was adopted as a young child.

Read it through to its finish because its effect on you will happen when you take the time to do so.


How do you feel about what you just witnessed?

Rachel Rostad’s blog can be found here.

Blogger Meetup!

by Marisha

I was fortunate enough to have the beautiful Marijane from Beyond Two Worlds come to my production of RENT in Phoenix! It was such a pleasure to meet another fellow blogger–and an adult adoptee, as well! I had the best time talking with her even though our time was brief. Thank you so much for supporting me in the show.

I know that my mum cannot wait to meet you as well!

Marisha and Marijane

Marisha and Marijane

Back Home Again

by Luanne

I hope you enjoyed the interview in two parts of Kat Mendoza, a mom by biology, by adoption, and by fostering. Her insights are very special. We are thrilled to have Kat’s story on our blog.

If you missed the posts because of the holiday, here are the links:

Part I

Part II

This past weekend I had the good fortune to see the play A Piece of My Heart at the Los Angeles New Court Theatre.  It was the last play in their 2012-13 season. This theatre company, founded by Alex, Nathan, and Meg Burkart, is bursting with talent. DWLA’s Marisha is thrilled to be joining them!

The play was directed by Becca Flinn. The cast of seven included Marisha and  six other powerful actors.

A Piece of My Heart – Los Angeles New Court Theatre

This ensemble play is a heart-wrenching story about women in the Vietnam War (nurses, a WAC, an entertainer), and it was a wonderful way to honor our veterans this Memorial Day weekend.  I felt so proud and humbled by the thought of the individuals in our military and the veterans of our military.

Look for the 2013-14 season at the LANCT as it sounds fabulous and includes Twelfth Night, Speech & Debate, Look Back in Anger, and the musical A New Brain.  I can’t wait!

Off-Broadway Makes The Call, About Adoption and Race, Opening April 14 – Mobile

Guest blogger Lisa Ercolano sent us a copy of this Playbill article.  We can’t wait to read the reviews on this production about international adoption.  If any readers get a chance to see the play, we’d love to read what you think about it.

Kerry Butler, Kelly AuCoin, Eisa Davis Make The Call, About Adoption and Race, Opening April 14 – Mobile  The text images below are copies of this linked article.

Kerry Butler show playbillKerry Butler show playbill part 2Kerry Butler show playbill part 3

Click on the photo below for a different article about the production.

Kerry Butler, Russell G. Jones, Crystal A. Dickinson, Kelly AuCoin and Eisa Davis
Photo by Joseph Marzullo/WENN

Adoption Poem “The Call” by Emmy’s Mom

The Call

by Susan Farese
March, 2013


Just a typical day at the mall it was,

In June, Nineteen ninety-eight…

My cell phone ringing: “Hello” I said

Thus this call indeed transformed our fate…


A three-person conference call (I’ll never forget)

My hubby, me, and one other…

Our adoption coordinator extraordinaire

(Will I finally become a mother)???


Would we welcome and love this “infant girl”

To cherish, raise, teach & protect?

Many months of waiting (was our quest truly over)?

Our hearts filled with hope to connect…


Just one month old, this sweet precious baby

We’d receive the mailed video soon.

We’d visit the orphanage next month via jet

And hope to read her “Goodnight, Moon”!


My husband and I pledged yes on the spot

To bring this all to fruition

True joy but along with it many unknowns

Adoptive parenting would be our new lifetime mission!


We finished the conference call, I was in shock

My heart swelled with pure loving care

Would I be able to mother her well?

I contemplated with much prayer…


There were tears in my eyes and joy in my soul

From my purse I found a store receipt

And with eyeliner jotted down all of the notes

From that ultimate phone call, so sweet!


Then I ran right into a store in the mall,

Bath and Body Works it turned out to be

Adrenaline pumping, my arms filled with Goosebumps

Shouted “I’m going to be a Mom!” with glee!


The sales team was so very nice to me

A memento box I bought on a whirl!

I filled it with congratulations cards we received

Months later for our precious little girl.


Our bundle of heartfelt joy joined our lives

Kindred spirits bonded emotionally

We celebrated with family and friends

Sang her lullabies, rocked her, hubby and me…


Time certainly flies, each minute, week, month

Then all of a sudden a year

We’ve been blessed with our daughter

Connected forever,

When I think of her, I grin, ear to ear…


Now it’s been nearly 15 years from that day

…My significant visit to the mall

It took this long to convey in a poem

The significance of that magical call!

The memory boxwith congratulations

The memory box
with congratulations

Photo on top of the memory box:
Susan with daughter Emmy

Susan feeding daughter Emmy

Susan feeding
daughter Emmy

A Magical Experience

by Marisha

Hello Friends!

I haven’t updated our readers in a while, but I wanted to say a quick hello!

I just finished doing a production of one of my favorite shows, Chicago, at North Birch Park Theatre in San Diego. I was fortunate enough to work with my friend Ron Kellum for the third time, with whom I did this same show my sophomore year of college. Also, with one of my inspirations and friends, Randy Slovacek, who did the amazing revival choreography again!

The experience was truly magical. It was a rare thing to have so many talented people with so much hunger and love for the stage in the same show. It became like a family, even though it was a short six-week process.

Most importantly, I was able to relive my role as Liz, the “Pop” girl in the number “Cell block Tango.” It was amazing to see how different my take on the role was now that I am five years older. I like to think all my discoveries as an adoptee have matured and settled within me, and I can finally explore all aspects of myself knowingly and fearlessly.

This role is so amazing, because it gave me the chance, as an Asian American female performer, to give a ballsy, intimidating, and strong performance–just the type of performance that you don’t normally see written for us. I hope more come around for me and others. Enough rambling, hope everyone is well!!!

Take care! X

Marisha Castle and Aurore Joly"Chicago" SDMT

Marisha Castle and Aurore Joly
“Chicago” SDMT

San Diego Musical

Theatre Presents Kander

& Ebb’s ‘Chicago’

Come see Marisha (Liz)


San Diego Musical Theatre presents Kander and Ebb’s “CHICAGO,” February 15 – March 3, 2013 at The Birch North Park Theatre.

Book by Fred Ebb and Bob Fosse
Music by John Kander
Lyrics by Fred Ebb

From the San Diego Musical Theatre Facebook page

In roaring twenties Chicago, chorine Roxie Hart murders a faithless lover and convinces her hapless husband Amos to take the rap…until he finds out he’s been duped and turns on Roxie. Convicted and sent to death row, Roxie and another “Merry Murderess” Velma Kelly, vie for the spotlight and the headlines, ultimately joining forces in search of the “American Dream”: fame, fortune and acquittal. This sharp edged satire features a dazzling score that sparked immortal staging by Bob Fosse.

“A pulse racing revival that flies us right into musical heaven.” – The New York Times

We’re proud to “Razzle-Dazzle” you with San Diego Musical Theatre’s upcoming production of Kander & Ebb’s “Chicago”, February 15-March 3 at the Birch North Park Theatre! The show is Directed by Ron Kellum, Choreographed by Randy Slovacek with Musical Direction by Don LeMaster.

Emma Radwick as Roxie Hart – Kyra Da Costa as Velma Kelly – Robert J. Townsend as Billie Flynn – Alonzo Saunders as Mary Sunshine –

Cast also includes: Ria Carey, Marisha Castle, Chris Cortez, Alexis Henderson, Jason James, Aurore Joly, Andrew Koslow, Ariel Lowell, Mike Motroni, Marco Puente, Joshua Ross, Chuck Saculla, Jennifer Simpson, Katie Whalley, Matthew Williams

Single tickets for SDMT’s production of CHICAGO are $26.00, $36.00, $46.00 and $56.00. Children 16 years and under receive a $10 discount. Seniors 65 years and older receive a $5.00 discount. Equity and Actor’s Alliance may purchase up to 2 tickets at half price. Groups of 10 or more receive a 25% discount. For individual or group tickets contact the Administrative Office at 858-560-5740 or visit SDMT online at


Gifts to the World by Kayla Richardson


Dancer, Choreographer, Musical Theatre Performer

fierce dance 4

Kayla spent much of her childhood performing in musical theatre in Cincinnati.  Today she is a senior dance major at Point Park University, where she also studies dance management.  She was born in Fort Worth, TX, in 1992 and was adopted a month later by Brian and Helen.  The family lived in Namibia in southern Africa from 1995-97, but has lived predominantly in Ohio.

Wait ’til you see Kayla dance!!!

Here is Kayla dancing in a piece this fall – her senior year in college:

Kayla choreographed for her high school, selecting girls for their first featured roles:

In this video, Kayla performs her unique anti-lyrical piece for a college audition:

fierce dance 3

Gifts to the World by Marisha Castle



Marisha writes and performs singer/songwriter, pop, and acoustic music with her guitar and piano. She is currently working on her first demo CD with a music producer.  She has performed in Los Angeles at clubs such as Parlor on Melrose and Eleven Nightclub.

A graduate and B.F.A holder of the University of Oklahoma’s Musical Theatre Department, Marisha has been trained in many vocal styles, dance, and acting.  Her resume includes many musicals, such as Miss Saigon, Rent, and Chicago; plays like Joy Luck Club and A Piece of My Heart; screen work such as the lead in a short film All the Little Girls; and music videos. She has representation across the board in L.A, where she currently resides.

The singer/songwriter passion drives Marisha to work hard at her dreams. Through self-examination, which includes understanding her adoption, she has been able to delve into all aspects of herself and use it to create her art in many forms. She wrote this song, “Save Me,” over a year ago and has provided a snippet of it for us to enjoy. Her songwriting truly is her diary and her lyrics really express what she is going through–raw and with honesty. She is so excited to share this with our blog supporters and to be among the other talent that is being represented in the showcase!

Note from Luanne:  Marisha provided this short video ” Save Me,” and we were going to post it with a video from a club performance.  But with a mom’s privilege I begged her at the last minute to record another song just for us without background club noise.

arrow-rightHere is If I Could.



In costume for a music video

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