Tuesday, August 26, 2008

thank you angie mama

This e-card is from my stepmother. It is not a technicality, but the slow reality after the healing from hurt during my early years when being an adopted daughter, and being a new wife expected to raise an adopted child at the same time she gave birth to her own daughter,were difficult roles forced on the both of us. The constant is that my stepmother has pretty much always laid out a place for me at the dinner table.

Always a wealth of support and a staunch supporter of being an independent woman, it took me a while to realize just how much she cares. Sometimes it's hard to see when there are other people manipulating the emulsion.

Inspiration of the Day: Kareena Zerefoles

illustrations by kareena's zerefoles

I've seen Australian illustrator Kareena Zerefoles's work around the design world in space. Her work is delicate, feminine and bends cute into kinda creepy - in a good way. My favorites are the children's book images (need I remind you that Grimm's Fairy Tales are just that?)

Today she is featured on DesignSponge and had this to say about where she goes to be inspired:

"Where do you go in Australia when you want to feel inspired?At the moment, my studio is based in East Sydney [amongst galleries, design stores, and lovely little cafes and bars] and I’m living in harbour-side Kirribilli – where I’ll often head down to the water and wander around to Lavender Bay – past the rides and carnival tents of Luna Park."

I want to go there - all of there! Keep drawing and inspiring.

Sunday, August 24, 2008


um, not my mother but she did give birth at North Shore Hospital
No Cedar-Sinai? Shocking right?

last week or so have felt like i've been coaxing the last teaspoon of honey out its plastic container. while i've learned that the best of what you can give can not be forced forward, i am, i have grown a bit impatient in my age. i'd like to scribble that out and say how much there is to be done, and how much I've learned while the things you can't push out are baking in the oven but i'd rather burn the roof of my mouth than wait to ingest things properly. I am still a petulant child.
This week a few people have asked me what I think about this lawyer, the mistro. I am in no rush to press fast forward and record a person's character, history with a half drawn picture in my notes. I don't know. I don't know and I suppose that's why I should ask him to help me fill out the features.
As for features, Tuesday is my birthday and if my mother is still here it is our day of remembrance. What she remembers, or thinks of this day I don't know. I don't even have a sketch of her. On Tuesday I will excavate every posting board ISO. I have no expectations beyond expecting that they will never be read by her eyes. What are the things that you do every day? Brush your teeth, wash your face, drink water, pee, talk, walk, read, think? So on the day that you brush your teeth, wash your fash, drink water, pee, talk, give birth to a child, talk, walk, read, think does every other year then begin with the thinking of giving birth to a child? Like the way we celebrate birthdays?
I could have fallen from the sky but according to 1978 testimony, I was born in Long Island. Everything else feels a little out of reach. This information is not suitable for adopted children. I would surely shove all the pieces in my mouth.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Quote of the day: Sylvia Plachy

"What we do, is not polite. We search for that secret which, like a pearl in
the ocean, is not easily found or given up."

Sylvia Plachy, Introduction to "25 and under: Up-and-Coming American Photographers, Volume 2"

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Revised Trailer

Cleaned up and more first person:

I am a Jane Doe with three families: my birth parents, my adoptive parents, and my stepmother' family. I belong to them all - yet none claim me as their child. When I visit the doctor's office, I force back a wave of tears as I draw an X through the section asking for my family medical history. If I let the wave crash, I fear I would drown in my own tears.

Maybe the part of me that cries at Volkswagen commercials is hereditary. Maybe I am at risk for certain diseases; maybe I should be checking a different box for my ethnicity. I'm filling in the blanks for my own history. Adoptees are denied the right to their historic and genetic identities. This is what I know - I am made up of three parts: what my life has made me, what I've made out of that life, and the one who gave me life. According to the New York State Adoption Registry, her name is NOT APPLICABLE.

There's a way to buy anything - even a child. In the US, there is a dirth of healthy white babies available for adoption. When something is in demand, a rare commodity, there's always someone looking for a way to profit from those who are willing to pay the price. But at what cost to the couple, the child - how far would someone go to get the goods? I was purchased by a couple with the highest bid – the price that was right for a baby broker who in the 1970’s revolutionized the adoption industry in the United States. Three years later that couple divorced, and at age 8, my mother was deemed unfit to raise a child and my father was granted full custody.

With my birth certificate sealed, I posted and searched through countless internet message boards to find my birth parents. While I found no information about my own family, I did find adoptees and birth mothers whose adoptions were orchaestrated by the same lawyer. I'm in touch with a Knoxville police officer and birth mother Jaymie who is now a professional searcher. According to Jaymie, my mother was coerced into giving me up for adoption. She's been tracking the lawyers business for 30 years. She says that birth mothers are misunderstood - and most want to be found. I'd just like to know where I came from, what my ethnicity is, and if she looks like me. It's human to want these answers. It's inhumane to keep them a secret.

Jaymie's not the only one who supports this notion. (This is from a book - need reference) "Methods of procuring the babies include obtaining signed relinquishments from mothers under duress or coercion, admitting a pregnant woman to a hospital under the name of the adopter or falsely telling the mother "the baby died" shortly after birth and falsifying the original birth record, and actual purchase from economically disadvantaged parents in the U.S." Did this happen to my mother? Does she think that I am not alive? Many adoptees and birth parents, those without a tribe, post on message boards on the birth day. Not a year has gone by where I haven't looked.

JAYMIE: "In my searches I have found several natural mothers who had committed suicide on or near the birthday of their relinquished child. I don't think these women did this out of fear of their identity being discovered one day in the future. I think they did this out of total despair. Despair over a system of closed adoption, a system that didn't allow them to have the hope that one day they would get to know the adult that once was their child."

What I do know is that there are people who have revised my history. There are others, thousands of me, looking for where they came from. So I'm going to meet with them and visit my adoptive parents, longtime family friends, and the lawyer behind the curtain - people who know more about the historical me than I do. At the same time, Jaymie will begin her search for my mother. The woman my stepmother thinks is named Mary Mayo, the woman my father said grew up in Long Island, the woman I met only once the first time I ever cried. Maybe I'll find her, maybe I'll find another family in my birth and adoptee friends scattered across the country, maybe I am Marnie Mayo. Maybe I'm not.

The end of the story is not about seeking one adoptee’s history, but about relationships lost and found, those who unknowingly sold their children, the others who’ve learned that they came with an expensive price tag, and those who set the price and profited from a profoundly personal and painful experience.

Monday, August 18, 2008

brokedown ballerina girl

poor girl only has half a tu-tu. When I received the box from the eBay seller, I almost gave it a neutral rating: sure it's vintage and she didn't say it was perfect, but wow, it is trashed and the ballerina is a hot mess. Then I realized that the creepy music box that plays out of tune and my banged up dancing girl is just perfect for the part. Very lucky, ebay seller.

Here she is - she wouldn't be your first pick for the chorus line but she's me, and I am her.

always the same day

been waiting to get feedback on my treatment and lock down dates to shoot the funding trailer. I know email - we think people are fibbing when they say "it must have ended up in my spam" but working for an internet company, I know that email is less reliable than we think. MUCH less. So I did my follow up because it's the right thing to do. Some people think following up is annoying people - you *have* to follow up with people because it's your responsibility, a favor that you are asking of them, and let's face it, people have other things to do. As they should. It's your high priority, not theirs.
Of course I get a response from two different people within 30 minutes of each other. It always happens that way and although it isn't planned, I think we tend to respond to things at the same time. There has to be some reason why it always happens at the same time.
So I'll have a borrowed camera soon and feedback on the trailer. We're moving but sometimes you have to plug along while you wait for the other pieces. I have a photo of the jewelry box. I can't wait to see how it all comes together. I'm guessing the trailer will be shot by the first week of September - edited by mid-September. That's wishful thinking.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

I'm clearly a mix, but what am I? (being a mutt)

Good question!
I've been asking the same about me. Every time I turn a page in Lynne Taggart's book I say to David, "Maybe I'm Austrian", or"do I look German?" Michelman exported from both countries - like my dad who exported carpet and named one of his lines "Marnie". Yeah I guess it's a loose thread.
Cute dog, right? I love what atomic bliss said about this photo:

"Bailey, adopted from a kill shelter (ughhh- MG), is 1 year old and teaching me everyday about affection and love."

That's what adoptive parents - or any parents - should strive to be. Every day.

To buy, rent, borrow or beg

We're ready to shoot the pitch trailer. In fact we are more than ready: we've got the photos, mobile, chandelier, and I just bought the jewelry box. So - with shipping - we'll be ready by the weekend. The pitch trailer is necessary for more than funding, it is to see how David and I work together, how David is feeling/working behind the camera (with my content), outreach to align with non-profits, and a visual reference to get anyone involved with the project. It's a big deal and I'm super excited. While I can see the entire piece, the reality of embarking on this journey is hard for me to wrap my head around. Visiting some of the people along the way is awfully scary, but certainly not even close to where I've been before. The trial is always a good frame of reference.
The big time hold up is camera equipment. Here are my choices:
To Buy: I'll have it all the time, it will be easier to edit, I can use the camera for other projects, I can *learn* how to use the camera and I never have to ask this question again.
To Rent: There are some cheap rentals through Table members (you guys rock). I'm just afraid of missing moments. I wish I could attach a camera to my head and it would produce high quality footage. Also, if I rent for too many days, why not just buy a camera?
To Borrow: We have an insane number of friends who have cameras. It's kind of like asking to borrow their husbands, even if they are collecting dust in their closet. The cameras!
To Beg: Well I call it inquiring. Maybe someone wants to help a first timer. Maybe it can be a barter exchange. That would be nice.
A friend said I could borrow one of his but I haven't heard back from him. Is it rude to call again? I'll email, then call.
Aiming for this weekend. I'll post my very very lame vid of the twirling photos. We just wanted to see how it moved. So like this, but 1 million times better.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

do not touch baby mobile

our baby mobile is a chandelier. It's light, reflection and what is out of your reach.

techie stress

I hate to get stressed on the weekends. Sometimes when you have too many balls in the air you need to just turn that store sign over to "CLOSED" and rest, or bake cookies, or hike, maybe clean the kitchen. Other sources of creative inspiration can help you get out of an inspiration rut, but doesn't help as much when it's something technical or logistics. We need a camera - people have cameras and they are expensive. I mean so much so that it's cheaper to buy than to rent. But I don't want to buy a camera. I'm not the director of photography and in order to raise funds, I need a trailer. Chicken = egg, Egg = chicken. Scrambled.

I'm waiting to hear back from a friend who offered, and if not, hmm, well then I'll send an email to both groups I post in. Ack, I don't know- my head hurts.

I can't wait to see how these two come together in the trailer. See next post.

Just some minor construction - things have a way of working themselves out.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Inspiration of the day: Beachwood Canyon

These are one of the three sets of steps I run up and then jog, run, or walk back down the canyon. They inspire me because they are a challenge but the payoff - for my health, being outdoors and everything I experience from up above, is incredible.

Last night as I ran up the third flight of stairs, I thought "wow, these are getting easier". That was a huge accomplishment. Much like this film, my art work, public speaking - all of my creative labors of love. I cherish each and every one of them, and am thankful to have the outlets to be, well, me.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Brothers Bloom Trailer

On the topic of family - nah, I'm not even going to try to weave this post into the subject of my blog. The trailer is out for our friend Rian Johnson's (director of the indie cult classic, "Brick") long anticipated second film, "The Brothers Bloom" - and, because Rian is too darn smart and innovative to do anything else but exceed expectations, it's fab.

That's all I'll say, except that I've been loving Mark Ruffalo for far too long. Ah, I know - his wife's birthing coach is delivering our friend's long anticipated release due out on August 15th. Both highly anticipated releases. I'm a goof - here's the trailer. Enjoy!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Storybook format for trailer

Because my creative eye is whimsy and it's an ironic twist on the film, I think I'll filling in the pages of this book for the trailer. I'm loving it. It's so precious and sweet and for my trailer, kind of twisted in the vein of my mixed media installation, "What's After The End". I only have slides of the installation but I'm getting them converted.

Here's the book cover---can't wait to see all of the inside pages

Oh - and yes - I will get permission!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

50 words and five pages

The first draft of my treatment is DONE! I'm having it looked at by three people - one knows the subject matter and is good with structure, one who can look at it from a producer's perspective, and then a general email to The Table (ie anyone in the industry who will take the time to read it). I realized I know a lot more about the social causes I'm speaking for than I realized. As for films or TV that cover the same subject matter? Going on a road trip to find answers - sure, finding your birth parents - yup, finding out you were sold by a baby broker, visiting your estranged adoptive parents, other casualties while one of the birth mothers, a professional searcher is conducting a traditional search? Hmm, don't think so. I also decided that I wanted to highlight technology as one of the main reasons why I was able to make the connections I've already made. Sponsor please? I will be blogging on the road and using my iPhone to keep in touch with people, take quick photos (especially self portraits), get information and news while the camera is rolling, and er, get directions.
I'm pretty excited - now I can start meeting people who will come on board as advisors. I needed to have the goods before I was just talking about an idea. Next up, the funding trailer...

Monday, August 4, 2008

greetings from last weekend

I needed a break from the research so I got my hands into all kinds of paint and glitter. I cleaned my office only to pull everything out again. Well at least the dust is gone. And I've got a little art, and a little clearer head.I did receive the batch of only existing baby photos from my stepmother. I look nothing like me until about a 1.5 years. Weird.

You can find my work at (where else) etsy: www.stellarskie.etsy.com


Friday, August 1, 2008

quote of the day: sarahjanestudios

From etsy seller Sarah (Jane) of Sarah Jane Studios :

"I think every child is an artist…I just never grew out of it. "

Help me pick a name for the film!

Get This - Survey Results - GlowDay.com

DocuWeek @ the Arclight

For my fellow Angelenos:

International Documentary Association presents:
The 12th Annual DocuWeek Theatrical Documentary Showcase August 22-28, 2008

DocuWeek is a public theatrical exhibition of outstanding new documentary films --a week-long journey of color, music, human drama, laughter and tears. This year DocuWeek will showcase 23 diverse and extraordinary documentary feature and short films at ArcLight Hollywood and ArcLight Sherman Oaks.

- General Admission $12
- ArcLight members $9 (IDA members, seniors, and students must also be registered as an ArcLight member to receive the discount. ArcLight membership is FREE and easy; click here to join now.)

Ticket Purchase Online: NOTE SCREENING LOCATION PRIOR TO PURCHASING TICKETS. Tickets for ALL DocuWeek theatrical showcase screenings (programs A-S) are available for purchase online at www.arclightcinemas.com .

a gift for no one

I wish this was two necklaces and the other said "on the day you were found"

made by etsy seller Birthdesigns

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Self portraits by the sounds of the philharmonic

I just returned from listening to the LA Philharmonic at the Hollywood Bowl. My friend's parents have box seats and for classical, that means you are sitting at a table with a "waiter" serving your every whim. We had our own food, and wine, lots of conversation so we were pretty self sufficient . As I sat there with glass in hand, I wondered what the others were thinking when they listened to the sound. For me classical music clears my head of the muck of the mundane - work, stress, problems, errands - and goes straight to the creative. How am I shooting the trailer? The words came to me, the visuals in place, the way I imagine it to be. I faltered on a few "maybe this is too specific" but this blog is all about commiting the ideas to paper and then decide.
I was thinking about how my artwork has always been self portraits. Oftentimes mixed media but more specifically I thought of the series I shot around 1998. I guess it was after the fall, when I moved to Park Slope. I shot a series of self portraits in a white eyelet cotton slip and a big illuminated stomach with a cord hanging from the edge of my slip, down to my feet and plugged into the wall. I took the images and made photo transfers, ironed and sewed them on to the original slip and performed a surgery to make the round illuminated stomach permanent in the dress. At the time I was fascinated with the simple idea of lights on/lights off, communication flowing/communication severed. At which end?I spray painted silk roses and stuck them into the stomach. This piece was really about the death of an unborn. I didn't think of it that way, I didn't really think at all but I called it "orbed" and another "unplugged" so yeah, I guess we are talking about abortion, or really just losing a life before it began. Let me be clear about this: about abortion does not mean against abortion. The piece was picked up by Hofstra College for a show produced by SAF, Survivors Art Foundation. I was out of town whent the show went up and despite my directions, the pieces were installed completely wrong. They lost their meaning. But I still remember.

Tonight I realized how personal this story needs to be - because that's what it's about - being adopted and wanting to know where you came from. If I am going to interview family members, shouldn't I "interview" myself? The artwork is a direct connection to my yearning to know where I came from. While the film is about baby brokers and adoption in the US, it is specifically about my experience as an adoptee and finding out that I was sold. Even though I didn't know this until recently, it was never right and I've explored this in my work many times. So that's my jumping off point- the self portraits, the self. People have such difficulty accessing information, their subjects - I have mine right here. Thousands of images. That's where all the questions begin to take a shape of their own. So that's where I will begin.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

What stuck together

Originally uploaded by chutes and ladders
Two of three of the photos.

I have nothing else to say right now. I just feel sick.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

virginia wolfe's room has broken angels

In reading, researching and writing about adoption, adoptee's rights, baby brokering and probing into my own family history, I'm unearthing details I couldn't write for fiction. This space - my blog- I think of as an online "room of one's own". And that is two-fold: it is the place where I can express my thoughts, and it is actually about my history. Not the one I've created but about my creation. Where I am from. All of those N/A's on my registry papers.

On Saturday morning I woke up and dug into a large tub filled with negatives and photos. On top of the tub was a Converse sneaker box filled with mostly letters from my friend Gillian, concert ticket stubs from high school and college, and some random photos. The first thing my hand pulled from the box were a group of photos stuck together from age. The photos were from different years, different subjects - I had never put them in this order- but they were together for a reason. A polaroid of me at 7 months (clearly marked in my 8 year old cursive), a self portrait in a white sequin tank top and a pink tiara from college where I had added wings and the word "angel" across my head in white out, and a snapshot of me as tinkerbell in a flying accident, our friend Bryan and David at Barney's Beanery on Halloween after my car accident in 1999. I had eccentuated the bruises on my face and had band aids on my arms. One of my wings was broken.

So what was similar about the polaroid baby photo? There were no angels in the photo, unless you count children as angels, which according to my parents and friends of the family, I was the most good natured baby and well behaved child. That's not it though. It is the bruising around my face, as if I had been in an earlier flying accident. This was no accident though, no normal child bruising. A doctor could tell me what I already know. How far back do you remember? Some things leave permanent marks.

And so if there is any grey matter with SM, it is that his "practice" whether it served people well, was still the selling of babies, not to people who were necessary perfect parents - he wasn't in the business of determining that. Did I have opportunities created by my parents economic status? yes. Did I get to become who I am today because of it? no. I have gotten to where I am despite it.
This is going to be a very nasty road to dig up. I hope we - adoptees and birth parents separated- find it worth it all.

all sold

all sold
Originally uploaded by blinkeke.
jesus christmas.

"i want to be the girl with the most cake"

enough said.

Little Red Riding Hood

Originally uploaded by Ragazza*

I don't know if it's because the three things that frequent a Flickr adoption search are cats, pandas and these freakybeautiful dolls but I'm becoming crazy obsessed with them.

This is Goldilocks but I call her Little Red Riding Hood. We all know what happened to her: she went searching for answers, found her grandmother before the killer wolf, dressed in her grandmothers bed clothes, tried to eat her too. Oh yeah, she was saved by some guy with an axe.

And that's a fairy tale, kids.

ISO of the shell

136/365 I wish...
Originally uploaded by spring_peeper
I found this heartbreaking image about infertilty posted by spring_peeper on Flickr. I imagine every month to be as fragile as an eggshell. We are such complex beings sometimes yearning for that something that should be simple.
I look at this image and see myself hatched from the egg, trying to to find my way back in to one of the four black corners.
Being an adoptee with endometriosis, I get the heartache from the other side. And that makes me think of birth moms too, what I'm reading in Lynne McTaggart's book and the birth mothers confused, coerced and threatened into giving up their children and realizing, that yes, my mother was/is one of them. So I dedicate this to her, wherever she may be.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Table: 1st Meeting

Hollywood Creative Directory


1. Find a "mentor"
2. Go through NYU's back door by asking for a letter to interview NYU filmmakers for video archives
(more direct - email Lorie for contacts)
3. Shooting in other locations: using a college student (GA: Savannah, UGA, Circus)
4. Watching DOC films: Amoeba, Jerry's Video on Hilgard
5. Documentary suggestions: Barbara Cobble (Harlem County), Ken Burns (photography+Film), Richard Brash
6. Trailer examples: Apple Trailer - Documentary (on a wire), YouTube, MySpace
7. Celebrity adopting children - involvement, possible voiceover
8. Documentary.org
9. WIF Malibu Breakfasts: speak to Candice Bowen (VP Membership), referred by Robert Anicko

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

So that's where I came from

The "Made In Taiwan" stamp on Ken's butt has new meaning to me.

Meeting with Tien Nguyen

How lucky am I to get advice from a smart and talented woman who looks incredible just a few months after giving birth.? Today documentary filmmaker (The Story of Spirits) Tien Nyugen and I met to talk docshop. I believe my first words were "Hey, the last time we were together, you were puking in the bathroom from morning sickness" That's so charming of me! I can't wait to start interviewing people!
I so get what I need to do right now, and I've got lots of work to do. I am absolutely determined to secure funding - through online marketing and grants.
Here's my right now list of things to do:

  1. Research NP's for sponsored funding
  2. Research and buy a camera!
  3. Listen and read online successful pitches
  4. Watch every documentary on parents and children
  5. Invest in a basic seminar

First 3 goals

  • Shoot 2-3 footage/trailer
  • Write the perfect pitch
  • Align w/NPs
Thanks Tien!

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

If you are in or near New Orleans on July 22nd

There will be an adoptee's rights demonstration during the National Conference for State Legislature's Annual meeting on JULY 22nd (yes, that's next week).
The Adoptee's Right Committee's protest is in effort to end discrimination against adoptee's basic right to their history and to unseal birth certificates (this is state legislature so right now only a few dates have unsealed bc's). They have three slogans to get their point across:

Stop discrimination against adopted people.
Equal Rights for adopted citizens.
End birth certificate discrimination.

To find out more information about the demonstration,please visit The Adoptee's Right Demonstration

for adoption: darling diva SOLD

Some days I feel like darling diva. Now more than ever...

Kid art....

Kid art....
Originally uploaded by CleverGirlBek
On the subject of children and creative energy (it starts early!), I love when parents take the fridge magnet off their children's art work and make it a focal point of the home.
There's a direct connection between CleverGirlBek and myself that I am exploring now that makes this image even more special to me
More on that soon!

Adoptees Lifting The Fog

Social Networking and support for adoptees and birth parents

View my page on Adoptees Lifting The Fog

what am I doing here?

about me/about my film:

I was adopted at birth. At age three, my adoptive parents divorced. My adoptive mother is bi-polar; my father remarried four times. Growing up I began to question who negotiated this adoption; had anyone screened my adoptive parents or was the price just right?

I began searching for my birth mother and found very little information until I got the name of the lawyer who handled my adoption. He is a notorious baby broker who coerced young and terrified girls into handing over their white babies and (unbeknownst to them) selling them to affluent Jewish families for 25,000 per child. He has been disbarred in three states, written about in "The Baby Brokers, The Marketing of White Babies in America" by Lynne McTaggert, and even sold the babies of female innmates.

I have been connecting with birth mothers and learning of their experience and adoptees like myself who found their birth mothers or who are still searching. My documentary is about the selling of white children as commodity and the lengths that others will go to profit from the pain, exploit the embarrassment of a pregnant woman who in these cases, were lied to, treated like garbage and threatened that if they did not "deliver", they would go to jail. My birth mother is one of these women.

My journey begins by interviewing Jaymie, a birth mother exploited by the baby broker, who became a police officer, and then committed her life's work to reuniting over 2000 successful adoptees/birth parents (including her own), to other birth mothers and adoptees who were casualties of the baby broker. The subplot is my own search for my birth mother (with the help of Jaymie), interviewing my estranged adoptive family and adopted friends who've chosen *not* to search for their birth parents.

The end goal is not to find my mother, but about the relationships lost and found, those who unknowingly sold their children, finding out that you were bought for a staggering amount of money, and those who orchaestrated and profited from a profoundly personal and painful experience. Whether it is $100 or $25,000, should people make money from selling children?