We Are Not Our Cruxes | Session Three

Join us Saturday, January 6, 2024, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Michelle & Barack Obama Sport Complex Community Room in LA or online for We Are Not Our Cruxes, a project that centers the voices and mental health of adult adoptees and those who have gone through the foster care system. The project seeks to strengthen community and provide healing using art.

Through a series of hybrid convenings, participants engage in critical conversations aimed at exploring their unique struggles and experiences of those who identify as adopted or foster care alumni. Additionally, these gatherings offer art-based healing workshops, carefully designed to explore the emotional landscape of adult adoptees and foster care alumni while simultaneously promoting emotional well-being and resilience. Invited panelists for the critical conversations include adoptee artists, activists, mental health professionals, and scholars. The art-making portion of the events will be led by artist, art therapist, and transcultural adoptee Nicole Rademacher.

This second session will feature artist Kayla Tange, community organizer María Fernanda, and advocate Marie Gardom Lam.

Events are designed for adults, 18+. Those who identify as adult adoptees and/or foster care alumni are invited to be part of a larger project, that includes an online interactive multilayered visualization.

All events will be recorded to form part of a short documentary at a later date. Please indicate on the ticket form if you do not want to be recorded, and we will exclude your likeness from being used. If you attend via Zoom, all names will remain anonymous.

Register for the event here.

The Sports Complex is wheelchair accessible.

COVID Health & Safety: While we look forward to this in-person event, the health and safety of our guests remains our top priority. Please do not attend the event if you are experiencing any COVID-like symptoms.

This project is funded in part by the California Arts Council, a state agency.


Kayla Tange is a Los Angeles-based artist who was born in South Korea and adopted by a Japanese American family. Psychic boundaries, sexuality, and permanence are recurring themes in her work. Under the performer name Coco Ono, she performs archetypes, stereotypes, and societal confines – often in dark humor. Coupling her experiences, while rethinking eroticism, the work is created to facilitate meaningful dialogue around our need for belonging. Her work has been performed or exhibited at Human Resources, Highways Performance Space, REDCAT, Torrance Art Museum, Performance Studies International, Melbourne, OUTFEST, and Asian Pacific Film Festival.

María Fernanda (she/her) is an afro-indigenous, transracial, transnational adoptee who currently lives in Texas with her husband, two children, aquatic creatures, and fur babies. She was born in Quito, Ecuador, South America in 1984 and relinquished to an orphanage before her first birthday. María was adopted before she was 3 years old and brought to the United States to live her new life with her adoptive American family. As a young adult, she became very curious about learning her story and connecting the dots to her identity. In 2020, María found and met her first/birth family, and in 2021, she her and family traveled back to Ecuador for the first time to meet them. It was during the beginning stages of reunion that María began to long for connection with other adoptees. This inspired the co-creation of ASA+ Extended Latin Americas. A community and space for adult adoptees who have ties to a Latin country either by birth or birth parent. The group has allowed for many adopted people to connect in ways that they did not have growing up.

Marie Gardom Lam (she/her) is an intercountry transracial adoptee. Marie, Chindian born in Malaysia, adopted to the UK, started to really look deeply at adoption’s hidden impacts after Brexit and its anti-immigrant rhetoric. Living as an outsider among people who took their place in the world for granted, Marie searched out and found other adoptees. She quickly became active within adoptee community, writing, advocating, and community building. Marie is an InterCountry Adoptee Voices (ICAV) Representative for the UK. Finally ready at 48, Marie found her birth family in Malaysia in the pandemic, and she is now reckoning with reunion across continents and cultures.


Nicole Rademacher is a socially-engaged artist, Associate Marriage and Family Therapist, and Registered Art Therapist working in video, photo, collage, and community engagement. The influence of her adoption and reunion (with her birth family) feature prominently in her studio practice where she explores concepts of intimacy, identity, belonging, and family. She held an artist residency at La Cité Internationale des Arts, received an Artistic Community Engagement Grant from the Rema Hort Mann Foundation, and is a recent recipient of the Adoptees for Awareness Grant, the Arts Council for Long Beach’s Creative Corps Grant and the California Arts Council Individual Artist Fellowship. Rademacher holds an MFA in Electronic Integrated Arts from Alfred University and a BFA in photography and video from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in addition to an MA in Marital & Family Therapy with a Specialization in Clinical Art Therapy from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles. She has collaborated and shown work widely both nationally & internationally including the Centro de Arte Digital en Memoria de Juan Downey in Chile, Harvestworks in NYC, LOOP Video Art Festival in Barcelona, and Transmediale in Berlin. Rademacher lives and works in Los Angeles, USA. nicolerademacher.com


Yes! You are more than welcome to attend and join in the community healing. We just ask that you allow the adoptees and former foster youth to have space to voice their experiences.

If you attend in-person, art supplies will be provided. If you Zoom in, feel free to bring whatever art supplies you prefer to use. Nic encourages colored pencils, collage, markers, slick sticks, and pastels.