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

Help Us Celebrate!!

It’s been ONE YEAR today that we started the blog Don’t We Look Alike?, and what a ride it’s been!  We’ve learned a lot about adoption and related issues and have met some wonderful bloggers and other individuals along the way.

Coincidentally, this is also our 200th blog post!!!

English: Independence Day fireworks, San Diego.

English: Independence Day fireworks, San Diego. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Luanne:

When my husband and I adopted our two children in the 1980s, the only thing we knew about adoption was what we learned from local sources. My brother was adopted as a baby when I was eight, so adoption was familiar to me (link to my very first blog post about my brother). When we decided to adopt, we first thought of fostering because we knew the need was great, but we were told that because we didn’t have any children we didn’t qualify and were encouraged to adopt a baby for our first child. That seemed like good advice.

To do so we were asked to attend an “Adoption Information Meeting.” That evening five agencies were represented, and the bottom line was that if we wanted to adopt a baby we could go through Bethany, which represented Holt in Michigan.  Through that agency, we could adopt a Korean baby.  Within a year or so our son was in our arms. We then requested another child through the same agency because we felt it would be in our son’s best interests to share ethnicity with his sibling. Things were different in the eighties than they are today, and I still believe that was a good choice.

At that time, we didn’t have the internet to get information. Our information came from adoption-related sources, such as our case worker, the agency, other parents from our city who had adopted, etc. When the kids were little, we were connected to this network, but when the kids got older and were extremely busy with other activities and we moved away, we became less tied to any “adoption community.”

We never lost sight of our own notion that adopted children and children in transracial families couldn’t have their special circumstances ignored. But it often seemed like we were the only people around us who felt that way. People insisted that they “never thought” of our son or daughter “as Korean” or “as Asian” or “as adopted.” We would grit our teeth because ignoring realities doesn’t do our children any favors.

It wasn’t until Marisha and I started this blog that I found a whole community on the internet of people who “get” what adoption means, who understand that adoptees undergo trauma (often as infants), and that there are many political issues related to adoption which need to be considered. In fact, it feels as if the issues of adoption are just heating up.  Adult adoptees are leading the campaign to reform the way adoption works in this country.

I also didn’t know diddly about open adoption until reading like mad–blogs, articles, books. Open adoption is very different from the situation of my children’s adoptions, so it’s been such an educational experience for me to learn so much about it from the mouths of others.  We don’t know yet what adult adoptees are going to tell us in the future about their open adoptions, but I want to keep up on all this because it’s so important.

I feel passionate that reform is needed in certain aspects of adoption and foster care issues, while I am realistic about the impossibility of a system which works perfectly for every circumstance. I believe that the interests of children should be put ahead of the interests of adults.   I’d like to see our society work at becoming a “village” that cares for the various needs of foster children and children in need of adoptive families.

Thank you to all our readers and those who have participated in discussions on our blog.  And thank you to the other bloggers about adoption and foster care who share your hearts and experience with the world.

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Marisha:

I have done quite a lot of reflecting lately about this past year–mainly regarding my adoption. Seeing as this is the first year anniversary of our blog, I wanted to write a post about how amazing it is for me to see how much I have learned about myself, my mother, and other adoptees and parents.

I see most of my progress in how I now react to the different situations I am put in regarding being “Asian” and being “adopted.” The stigma has slowly started to drain away, and I am happy to feel a sense of relief when I think about my own adoption issues. In the past I would be overly sensitive and get hurt too easily by the comments someone would make to me such as the “tsunami in Japan” incident or my middle school crush telling me “I’m only into blondes.” I used to think that those comments were a reflection of how people saw me, or that I wasn’t good enough. Instead, I resound in knowing that most of those incidents and experiences have in fact, nothing to do with me or who I am on the inside or outside. Being comfortable in one’s skin is never easy– it would be false to think that one can fully live a life of confidence and not have any insecurities or flaws within them. I have accepted my flaws and faced my insecurities. I face them every day, in fact.

I am so thankful for my mom for being patient with me these past 25 years. This blog has not only bonded us even more, but has given us an honest outlet to communicate with each other about the problems we both are facing in life and with each other. It has been a rocky year personally for both of us. I have done some things that I am not particularly proud of, but have learned from them and found it easier to move on from the past because I have given myself the time to understand my issues of abandonment and insecurities about being an Asian-American adoptee.

At the same time, the amazing adoptees I have been in contact with or have shared some of their stories on our blog or on their own blogs have educated me. They help to fill a void–that feeling of being alone. It has given me a comfort to know that I am not alone in this. That a lot–if not most– adoptees face the same feelings I do at some point in their lives. I am inspired by that.

This next year is full of excitement. I ring in the one year anniversary with the blog by announcing my new journey. I will be playing one of my dream roles: Mimi in the musical RENT! I have waited my whole life for this moment, and I feel as if it has come at the perfect time for me to start this next chapter as a proud adoptee and woman. I have learned to not let my race or my cultural position define me because at the end of the day, that doesn’t matter. What you choose to do and how you choose to live your life is material enough to create a success out of oneself. I am so proud to see the world start to change to give opportunities to people like myself, despite what we look like on the outside or where we come from.

Thank you for tuning in to the blog every week and thank you for allowing me and my mum the freedom to share our stories without judgment. I look forward to many more stories in the future from us and especially from all of you!!!

To help us celebrate, please consider donating to help foster children.  As an example, here is a news story about an Arizona charity (not yet rated by the BBB or Charity Navigator) which seeks funds to send foster kids to summer activities of their choice.  We donated for dance classes for a boy who wanted to take dance. Click this link to read the article.  In the article is a link to donate.

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!

It’s Time for a Blog Break!

We’re taking a blog break this week.  We’ll miss you and will try to read some blogs when we can.

Marisha is in rehearsal for a play, A Piece of My Heart (playing Leeann) which will be at the Los Angeles New Court Theatre May 24-26. Luanne has other writing projects which she needs to get caught up on.  Make it a wonderful week, folks!!

piece of my heart_1

If you’re in the Los Angeles area, you can buy tickets here to see this amazing play about six women in the Vietnam War.  Directed by Becca Flinn.

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)

FOR THE NEXT THREE WEEKENDS!!

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.

CHICAGO CAST
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

TICKET INFORMATION
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 www.sdmt.org.

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https://dontwelookalike.com/2013/02/13/2830/

“Dying Day”: The Love Story of Adoption

By Andy at Our Life in 3D

An interesting thing happened on the way home from work the other day. ~ I’m gonna lose some readers with this ~ I was listening to NPR radio when something got my attention so much that I felt I was meant to blog about it.

Now for all of you that are going to comment on how it is a sign of old age that I am listening to NPR on the way home instead of something to help me unwind, relax. Don’t worry–I am already afraid of this.

The story was on ‘All Things Considered’. It was on a Winter Song List of people who wrote in on favorite or most inspirational songs and NPR got to pick a winner. The collage of songs caught my attention. The winning song, and story behind it, made me take notice and actually pull over to write down the author, the title to the song, and the winning contributor so I could follow up when I got home.

The winning song was Brandi Carlile’s “Dying Day.” Its an upbeat acoustic song about a writer longing for her love that is far away. Its kinda a catchy song in its own right but it is not what drew me in. Take a listen while you read on . . . .

You see the author of this winning story was locked in an adoption. She was going to adopt a darling 5 ½ month little girl from Ethiopia. She was on an international adoption trip where she had the opportunity to meet the potential baby she wanted to adopt.

For those not familiar with international adoptions, usually you sign on for an adoption program, you state what types of children you are willing and not willing to adopt, factoring in everything from race to birth defects to parental drug use and so on. Everything. The agency eventually matches you up with a child and you have to make the long trip to meet the child to see if each one is compatible with the other. Then you talk to the government agency, fly home and wait to hear if you have been approved or not.

The potential mother was Joanna Woodbury of Wauwatosa, Wis. and I’ll let her take it from here or you can listen to the episode here:

“It was awesome, and probably the most difficult thing I’ve ever done, all in one,” Woodbury says. At the time, the little girl the couple was applying to adopt was just 5 1/2 months old. “We got to be with her for about 45 minutes. I held her for 20, and then she fell asleep. We had to put her down and leave the room, and then take a 4 1/2-hour bus ride back to an Ethiopian court and say, ‘Yes, we want to parent this child.’”

A few days later, they were back in Wisconsin, where there was nothing to do but wait to hear that the adoption had been finalized. It would be a trying 11 weeks before word came through — and during that time, Woodbury says, she found a new appreciation for “Dying Day.”

“I was in the car listening to this song, which has always been a favorite of mine, and all of a sudden the lyrics just meant something different,” she says. “The lyrics are, ‘I just want to kiss you, and I’m going to love you till my dying day,’ and that I should be there to take of you and I can’t be. … It’s all about longing and a little bit of hurt, and just waiting until you get back to that person. And that’s how I felt.”

Meet ‘Nettie’ — short for Netsanet, an Amharic word for freedom

Meet ‘Nettie’ — short for Netsanet, an Amharic word for freedom

I got it. I knew exactly how she felt. In fact, I couldn’t even listen to that song without tearing up a bit. If you are a parent you probably know too. Now, if any of you are readers of my blog you have to know how I feel about my two little girls. They are a gift from God that have far exceeded my expectations of what being a Dad and raising two toddlers could have ever been. But I think only a few may have guessed by now that our kids are adopted.

My ‘Dying Day’ moment was not pre-adoption though. We met our potential birthmother in a meeting prior to the adoption She was beautiful inside and out, as was her mother that came with her. We waited another 10 days ourselves until we found out we were finally going to be parents. Bam! parents in with 10 days to prepare!

But it was so much more than those 10 days. I found out in my early 40′s that we could never have children; Think about it, could never have children. Ever. We tried the IVF procedure several times and while hopes and prognoses always started off high they always ended in tears and silence.

And so, sitting in my car, on the side of a busy roadway, I knew exactly how Ms. Woodbury felt. When we finally were able to receive our new daughter, now about 2 ½ weeks old, we were the happiest people on the planet. But as all you parents know, the magic is only just beginning at that point.

Receiving our new baby girl. The answer to our prayersI

I got to stay home on my company’s FMLA plan to be SAHD for the first time, as our new beautiful daughter slept and ate and pooped and occasionally smiled. And I knew I was going to love her until MY dying day.

Actually, in reality my song was Jimmy Buffett’s, “That’s What Living Is To Me”. The lyrics went, “..the world’s too big to understand. Be good and you will be lonesome. Be lonesome and you will be free. Live a lie and you will I’ve to regret it. That’s What Living Is To Me.”


We had the new tropical DVD version of this song, possibly one of the most scenic videos ever. We had just gotten back from vacation about 3 months earlier and I was still riding the tropical high. Knowing that my daughter was going to grow up loving Jimmy Buffett just as I did (she has little choice living close to the beach) I would play the scenic DVD for her. And when this song came on I would pick her up and hold her gently close to my chest until I could smell her baby’s breath and slowly dance to this song while I quietly sang it in her ear, ” That’s what Dylan is to me. That’s what Dylan is to me.”

So, like Joanna Woodbury, we found our little girl(s) and will continue to love them until our Dying Day. Being flesh and blood means little to us. These girls are a precious gift granted to us by Angels. That’s what Dylan (and Skylar) is to me.

Counting Down to 2013!!!

Everyone in our family wishes you and yours

A VERY HAPPY NEW YEAR!

***

If you haven’t heard Lea Michele sing “Auld Lang Syne,”

here is just the audio so you can focus on the music.

A Little Diva Magic

Broadway Lights

Broadway Lights (Photo credit: M.V. Jantzen)

Shhh.  We know we’re supposed to be on vacation, but we couldn’t resist this fun!  Christine Pedi’s diva impersonations for Christmas.

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