ADOPTION PLAY PROJECT, 2016, MIXED BLOOD THEATRE (PHOTO CREDIT: LINDSAY MARCY)
What is the Adoption community?
Welcome! Adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, foster parents, social workers, siblings have stories to tell about how we define family, identity, and culture. Stories of challenges. Bureaucracy. Miracles. Highs and lows. Stories of love and support, loss and grief. It’s not a one-time event but an ongoing experience.
Art We’ve Made
In My Heart: Graphic Novel
Created by Alan Berks & Leah Cooper
Illustrated by Becca Hart
THE ADOPTION PLAY PROJECT is now a graphic novel! Experience the play over and over again or for the very first time in this illustrated book.
Alice is getting married, and her sister Jen returns from Korea to be with her. But when the families come together for an engagement party, the realities of adoption send them down the rabbit hole. Can Alice, Jen, Alice’s fiancé Lewis, and their extended family survive adoption’s mixture of delight and darkness, absurd bureaucracy and hopeful fantasy, joy, and sorrow—while confronting an anxious White Rabbit, a cryptic Caterpillar, a vengeful Queen of Hearts, and the elephant in the room?
IN MY HEART GRAPHIC NOVEL, 2021
Study Guide and Book Club Questions
- What is your experience with adoption? Do you talk about it with people? When and why?
- Who in your life has been affected by adoption? Have you ever talked to them about it? Why or why not?
- Which character in the book is closest to your own experience with adoption? In what ways did you relate to them? In what ways did you disagree with their point of view?
- Is there something you wish you could say to a character?
- People who aren’t affected by adoption also have feelings of being disconnected from their family of origin or in need of more information about their identity. How do you think the issue of adoption makes those feelings different for people inside the adoption community?
- A sometimes-overlooked relationship within the adoption circle is that between siblings. How are sibling relationships address in the book? What other ways might siblings be affected?
- In the “trial” scene, the Queen of Hearts says that everyone is victims, prosecutors, and jury. How do you interpret what she means?
- What does the elephant in the book (and in the “room” of adoption) represent to you?
- Do you have an opinion about whether adoptees should be allowed to see their birth records? Does the book seem to lean toward a particular point of view? Do you disagree? Why or why not?
- What part of the book made the strongest impression on you? Why do you think that is?
In My Heart: The Adoption Play Project
THE ADOPTION PLAY PROJECT ran December 9 – 18, 2016 at Mixed Blood Theatre in Minneapolis, with Adoption community members performing alongside professional actors. The play is a twist on Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – with magical and familiar characters phasing in and out of real people’s adoption experiences. Audiences were immersed in an epic journey told through story, song, dance, and a chorus of adoption community members, sharing their life stories.
♦ denotes Adoption community member
Megan Kim Anderson♦
Delinda “Oogie” Pushetonequa
Tyler Park Skone♦
Creative and Production
Leah Cooper♦ and Alan Berks, Co-Director and Co-Writers
Aaron Gabriel, Composer
Tamara Ober, Movement Collaboration
Mindy Eschedor♦, Music Director
Deb Ervin♦, Stage Management
Tracy Swenson, Assistant Stage Management
Sarah Tan, Assistant to the Directors
Mindy Eschedor♦, Keyboard
Steve Grisdale, Percussion
Kimberly Michaels♦, Vocalist
Eric Solberg, Bass
Adam Whisner♦, Guitar
Tyler Park Skone♦
Wablenica Song (Native Adoptee Healing Song)
Written and spoken by Jerry Dearly
Performed at the Gathering for Our Children and Returning Adoptees
Organized annually by Sandy White Hawk♦
Designers and Crew
Andrea Gross, Costumes
Zeb Hults, Scenic
C. Andrew Mayer, Sound Design and Engineering
Mike Grogan, Lights
Sarah Salisbury, Properties
Morgan Groff and Tracy Swenson, Costume Assistance
Ariel Leaf, Lighting Assitance
Leslie O’Neill, Movement Assistance
Matt Earley, Mixed Blood Technical Director
ASL Interpreting: Krista Anderson, Katie Johnson and Sarah Brown
Audio Description: Laurie Pape Hadley
Videography: Ben McGinley♦
The Administrative Team
Community Engagement: Leah Cooper♦, Ellen Fenster, and Meghan Gunderson
Story Circle Support: Meghan Gunderson, Ariel Leaf, Adam Whisner♦
Marketing and Communications: Alan Berks and Deb Ervin♦
Graphic Design: Lindsay Marcy
Community Outreach and Box Office: Kaira Hogle
Evaluation and Lobby Displays: Ariel Leaf
Volunteer Coordination: Sarah Tan
Whether you are an adoptee, birth parent, adoptive parent, or sibling, we recommend you find a local support group in your area. Read more here about how to find one or start your own.
More books on Adoptee Reading website
The Primal Wound by Nancy Verrier
Ambiguous Loss by Pauline Boss
Kinship by Design by Ellen Herman
From the adoptee perspective
Outsiders Within: Writing on Transnational Adoption, edited by Jane Joeng Trenka, Sun Yung Shin, Julia Chinyere Oparah
Called Home, Book 2: Lost Children of the Indian Adoption Projects by Patricia Busbee and Trace A. DeMeyer
The Language of Blood by Jane Jeong Trenka
You Don’t Look Adopted by Anne Heffron
From the birth mother perspective
Sunlight on my Shadow by Judy Liautaud
The Girls Who Went Away by Anne Fessler
Also check out the Adoptees On resources page which is far more comprehensive than ours!