I’m very excited to promote a combined project between Land of Gazillion Adoptees (LGA) and COMPAS. LGA is a multimedia company based out of Minneapolis, MN whose mission is to elevate the voices of adoptees. It works with adoptees to create products, services, intellectual capital, and events to increase the impact of adoptee programs, projects, research, art, literature, film, activism, and legislation. COMPAS is a nationally recognized arts organization that brings the arts to community members throughout Minnesota. Based out of St. Paul, Minnesota, COMPAS has been offering services throughout the state for more than 40 years, including art education programs, workshops, multi-cultural performances, and arts-based summer employment programs for youth. Through the exciting project, Creating Home, the organizations strive to work together to create a platform in which adoptees can learn to express themselves and find their story sharing medium.
“Creating Home is a multidisciplinary storytelling program for teen and college age adoptees and is driven by the idea that finding one’s voice through the arts can be an empowering experience. The three month pilot program will feature world-class teaching artist mentors (like the artists, actors, and writers featured in our video), interactive workshops, performance opportunities, and much more. It will serve as a space to affirm identity and build community in whatever ways that makes sense to the participants. Whether through spoken-word, visual art, dance, or other forms, the teen and college age adoptee participants will be given tools and resources to tell their stories and talk about their thoughts and perspectives on their own terms.”
I think this is a program I definitely could have benefited from during my early teen years. I had always been interested in discussing my adoption and did so on a limited basis. During my college I became more engaged with the adult adoptee community and found the internet/blogging as a way of raising my voice. The words activist and introvert don’t often get paired together, but both are adjectives I would use to describe myself. For me, I often get startled or need more time to process events, questions, or ideas before I can speak on them. I find that writing allows me that time to reflect on the subject as well as on how I want to say it. In this way, writing has been extremely empowering and integral in helping me find a means of expressing my voice.
“It’s wonderful what the arts can do to unlock your potential and to give you a feeling of agency and a voice…The feeling that you deserve to be heard and that you can make a difference by telling your story” – Sara Ochs, Actor & Arts Educator
As an adoptee, I also think it’s extremely important to engage with one’s personal history. Being an adoptee is a huge part of my identity that has shaped my life in so many ways. By sharing my narrative, I have connected with a number of other adoptees in meaningful ways, which has provided me with a sense of solidarity and community in our shared experiences.
I think more than even to connecting with other adoptees, sharing my narrative has been liberating on a personal level. Adoption has been a series of decisions made by others on my behalf. And as adoptees, we are so often told that we should be grateful, quiet, or unquestioning. By sharing our narratives, through writing, poetry, theater, or whatever medium we choose, we can create our own agency in using our stories for change or our own purposes. I think knowing all that I could about my personal history allowed me to more easily explain my own identity to my peers and to myself.
And this is why a program like “Creating Home” is so important: “Adoption touches everyone’s life because it weaves cultures together in interesting ways. The stories that are about to be told will change lives in profound ways – not just for adoptees but for our entire community who will finally begin to awaken to these important narratives. Stories that are largely unheard because a space hasn’t been created to bring these voices together before now. We are counting on you to help us craft the Creating Home pilot project specifically for teen and college age adoptees in the Minneapolis/St. Paul, MN area. Because adoptees are spread far and wide, we are counting on you to help us begin the process of turning Creating Home into a state-wide program. And we won’t stop there. With your investment you are also creating a program blueprint that will be shared across the country. This will be storytelling at its finest.”
“A program like this is really promising because adults in the adoptee community have been so influential in helping me come to the place I am in my adoption journey. And art is a fabulous thing, and so I feel like if you put them together it’s bound for greatness.” – Grace Newton, student at Macalester College
With just 17 days left to get this phenomenal and potentially life changing experience up and running, please give to this kickstarter today. Young adoptees’ voices need to be heard, and Creating Home needs your financial support in order to make that happen. (Also be sure to check out the awesome promotional video on the kickstarter page featuring lots of Minnesotan adoptees.)