Category Archives: Korean Adoptees

ATL and USSF, here I come!

(**Thank you so much to all the well wishes that came through here and in person as well as on MySpace, Facebook, etc. I’m a very happy and lucky sarahkim [so much so that I’m referring to myself in the third person].)

Many, many thanks to the folks at KAWAN…… I just found out that I will be able to attend the U.S. Social Forum next week in Atlanta!! (How funny that I was just in ATL last week when the weather forced me to spend the night inadvertantly. Thank you a million times over to M. and L.T. for the great food and great company that night!)

D.C. was an amazing experience, and I met some wonderful people there, many of whom are involved in a New York-based group called Nodutdol (a Korean community development organization). I arrived on a red-eye into Baltimore and managed to make my way to the AFL-CIO building in D.C. for the teach-in, which was comprised of two panels of trade experts as well as a lobbying workshop. On Tuesday, we spent the day running among the Congress office buildings (for those familiar with the terrain, my meetings were primarily in Longworth and Rayburn).

As an overall team of 14 people, we managed to get to 34 different Senators and Representatives (as well as the Ways & Means Commmittee).  I was paired with another person and talked with staff members (not the Congresspeople directly) from Jim McDermott (WA), Adam Smith (WA), Ron Kind (WI), and John Sarbanes (MD). At one point, I misspoke and told a receptionist that we were with Korean Americans for Free Trade. D’oh!  I also took it upon myself to inform one of Jim McDermott’s staff members about the American military occupation of the Korean peninsula, only to be told later that a better term is “American military presence” (doesn’t put people back on their heels so much apparently).

The amount that I learned cannot be summarized here, but needless to say, I am incredibly grateful and happy that I decided to become involved in Sahngnoksoo. I am feeling more and more connected with the API community beyond Korean adoptees. Since I’ve been back from D.C., I’ve had meetings with the ACLF Community Leaders Program, the founder of Chinese Adoptee Links, my fellow co-director of KIDS Culture Camp, and a fantastic Sahngnoksoo study group meeting where myself and J.B. talked to our members about issues facing Korean adoptees. (I also tried Patron for the first time on Saturday night and have since become a convert.)

So I am busy, but as I told H.P. tonight, this is the kind of busy that I like–rather, love. I don’t like school-busy…… but traveling, networking, meetings with people/organizations that I care about–I’m addicted. 🙂

USSF is going to be an amazing experience, and I am SO excited to be there along with:

  • Almost everyone I lobbied (sp?) with in D.C.
  • Sahngnoksoo folks from Seattle
  • M. and L.T. (Atlanta-ites–is that even correct?)
  • L.M.R.!
  • Harlow’s Monkey and KPN (I think?? I heard this through the grapevine?)

Yay! This means, though, that I really have to get my act together this week. Laundry, e-mails, organizing, cleaning, unpacking (I should really just leave my suitcase out), working out, etc.

8 Comments

Filed under Community, Conferences, Traveling, Updates

Interesting Weekend+

I wasn’t going to post until the end of the month, but the last four days have been extremely interesting, and I want to blog about it. Plus, I also want to procrastinate. (No surprise……. however, I don’t know when/if I will ever get around to addressing the things that I listed previously. I’m always doing that….making lists of things to blog about and then not doing it. One of the people I met this weekend said in her brief bio that one of her hobbies is making lists–which she regards as its own literary form.)

Anyway, I spent Friday–Sunday at the Wallace Falls Lodge for the opening retreat of the ACLF Community Leaders Program. I actually first heard about this program two years ago when I was apartment-hunting after first returning to Seattle from my year in Korea. One of the rooms I was looking at was in a condo owned by a Vietnamese American guy in the Central District. The room was too small, but he was nice and when I told him I was going to be starting at the Evans School, he recommended that I check out the ACLF program. I looked up the website, was intrigued, and made a mental note to look again another time. Later that year, the ACLF program coordinator (and Evans alum) sent a message to all current Evans students regarding a one-day ACLF conference in Shoreline. I attended and felt relieved to be in a room full of politically-active and community-minded APIAs. It was a great networking opportunity, and I loved being able to talk to the Evans alum who understood and sympathized with a lot of my frustrations regarding grad school.

I’d wanted to do the ACLF Community Leaders Program last year, but the majority of the program takes place during the summer, and of course I spent last summer in Seoul. So this time around, I am really thrilled to be able to participate in the program, mainly because I want to be able to network with other local APIA leaders in a way that goes beyond “hi & goodbye” (which is what I mostly experience at local events). Emphasis here being on “local” and “APIA”—I love networking & establishing relationships with other community leaders, but most of the people I meet are specifically Korean adoptees who are decidedly not local to Seattle.

So, I carpooled to Wallace Falls with two of the other participants, dozing off due to being exhausted from worrying about (yet not writing) my DP. When we arrived, many of the ACLF board members greeted us. One of them asked us, “Are you ready to have an intense weekend?!” Err…yes? I was a little surprised by the question, because I had the impression the weekend would be a relaxing time in the woods. The weekend did end up being more intense than I’d anticipated–although it wasn’t a bad thing, I think, as I’ll explain later.

I am NOT a fan of ice breakers, but the one we did after the welcoming dinner was the best one that I can remember doing. We each gave the background story and meaning behind our name(s). Even though the room was chock-full of people (there must have been at least 30+ people in the room), I was interested in every story. And I was struck how this was the first time I’ve ever been in a structured program designed for the APIA community as a whole. The diversity in the room was incredible. And even after the board members left and only this year’s CLP class remained (along with our facilitators), we were still a very diverse group (Chinese American, Korean American, Japanese American, Filipino, Vietnamese/Laotian, Pacific Islander, hapa/mixed, Iranian American, etc.).

It had been a long time since I’d been on a retreat (not since my AmeriCorps days) and even longer since I’d been on such a touchy-feely retreat. (Touchy-feely in the sense of emotional and personal…..no hanky panky ensued.) Probably not since my CCSJ days at Creighton have I been in a group that emphasized personal sharing so much. I definitely enjoy personal sharing; however, I left the weekend with little insight into what my fellow participants do in their professional/organizational positions. I’m hoping that I’ll learn more about that as we go along in the program.

Since the weekend was full of sharing our personal backgrounds/heritage/stories, naturally a lot of what I shared had to do with being adopted. During the names-ice breaker, I shared how my new Korean name is Mi-ran (in order to match my sisters, Mi-sun and Mi-hye). Afterwards, one of the other participants said quite sincerely how my story sounds so sad, and asked, “What was it like meeting your Korean family?”

I never know how to respond to this question (although I didn’t mind that she’d asked it). It’s not something that’s easily summed up into a one-sentence answer, so I usually just say, “It was complicated.” Throughout the rest of the weekend, I was a bit paranoid about coming off as the “sad adoptee.” (Like that photo of me in ColorsNW which seems manipulated to make me look like the “sad adoptee”–but it was eyeliner, not a tear!) The reality is that there is indeed a lot of sadness (if that’s even the right word) in my personal story and in a lot of stories about adoption–because there is a sense of loss, identity confusion, etc. However, I think the “sad adoptee” label can often be dismissive, and people can make the assumption that an adoptee’s acknowledgment of loss somehow translates to rejection of adoptive family, bitterness, lack of objectivity, etc.

I hadn’t been in a retreat environment like this since doing my year in Korea, and I realized that I hadn’t openly shared my stories from my current perspective to complete strangers before. Well, I have talked about my experiences, but usually I’m talking to other adoptees or classmates from grad school, or I’m in a more professional setting like an interview. Normally, I’m pretty calm when I relate my story, precisely because I want to dispel the image of the “sad adoptee,” and I don’t want to give the impression that I have “issues”–because then I fear I will lose credibility.

For some reason, though, on Saturday night, during our “personal symbols sharing,” the environment in the room made me feel extremely anxious about appearing vulnerable. I think it might have been the language we kept using about “safe spaces”—something that I value, but it contributed to the atmosphere of group therapy. My face felt flushed the entire time as I waited for the moment when I felt comfortable to share; others were tearing/choking up only mildly during their sharing. I ended up going after the other two Korean Americans shared; most of us talked about our families, and I was no different.

I brought this random folder that I keep in my room that is labeled “birth family” and has bits and pieces from 2004-2005 when I was in Korea. It has translated letters and email correspondence between my Korean family and myself as well as various photos (including a group picture of all the Korean adoptees from the 2004 Gathering). All the activities we’d done earlier in the day had been leading up to me talking about how I found my Korean family, so I started relating the story–a story I’ve told many, many times since everything happened two years ago.

My voice was shaking, though, which is not normal for me, and then I was horrified when I tried to keep talking and no words were coming out. I was talking about the irony of how my Korean mother passed away just six months before my first visit to Korea in 2001 and how I never had the chance to meet her. Before I knew it, I was crying in front of the group and ready to die of embarassment. And I’m not talking about just a trickling tear, I was actually trying not to sob while my eyes and nose were running. Everyone was incredibly supportive, however, and eventually I was able to finish the story while clutching tissues someone handed me and focusing on a log pole in front of me. There is something gutteral about the emotions surrounding adoption, I think, because it is such a major event in our lives that happens (most of the time) before we are fully conscious and self-aware.

I was worried about this public display of raw emotion, because the nature of this program is professional, and also I was worried about my aforementioned fears of being labeled “sad,” etc. I’m also a bit concerned because during the weekend I didn’t get to talk much about my involvement with the adoptee community beyond my own issues, and there were also no opportunities to talk about the complex transnational issues in adoption. But I trust that these opportunities will present themselves in one way or another during the next six months of the program. I’m hopeful that it was a good thing to have such an honest reaction in front of the other participants…..as long as they don’t think I’m crazy. 😉

Overall, I am really excited about embarking on the CLP program. The retreat was a nice opening, and I was amazed how I was connected to almost everyone there through mutual friends. I continue to marvel at how small the active APIA community is in Seattle….

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The other interesting part of the past few days was hosting Kim Park Nelson and Laura Briggs for a seminar on transnational adoption at my university on Monday. All the maneuvering it took to bring them both here paid off, because the seminar was thought-provoking and a nice break from my regular routine. We were even able to sell three copies of Outsiders Within. 🙂 I hold a lot of admiration for both of these women for being so fiercely intelligent and unafraid of confronting the dominant (sentimental) rhetoric surrounding transnational adoption.

My Korean professor actually canceled our daily class so that everyone could attend the seminar (she even threatened to take off points if people skipped it.) And then she proceeded to ask some of the most interesting questions during the discussion period. There was also a Brazilian transracial adoptee in the audience who was visibly moved by the seminar and thanked all of us profusely for holding it. (A few of my Korean classmates left early, and it was obvious that they had been forced to attend. And one elderly white woman left in a huff–Laura guessed that she must have been an adoptive parent.)

So even though the seminar attendance could have been better (I especially wish that more of the faculty members who I know have adopted children had come), the seminar itself was meaningful for a few people, and that’s what matters.

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I will end with a hilarious vignette that took place on Sunday night.

KPN joined a few of us for dinner & discussion at Tamarind Tree, a popular Vietnamese restaurant here in Seattle. It was KPN, two of my Korean adoptee female friends, and myself. We had a really great talk about a wide variety of topics–Kim’s piece in Outsiders Within, her course on Korean adoption at the University of Minnesota, issues within our community, etc.

All of a sudden, this random white woman approaches our table. She leans down and places her hands on KPN and JB’s backs. I think she must know KPN personally, so I look at her expectantly.

She says,

I’m sorry to interrupt, but I just had to come over here to tell you that you are all SOOO beautiful.

As soon as the words tumble out of her mouth, I immediately start laughing hysterically. I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t breathe. Meanwhile, KPN has a look of confused irritation and JB & HP have their lips pressed shut with disdain at the woman.

KPN eventually says, “Ok…….Thank you????”

I think the combination of my laughing fit along with the others’ annoyance gave the lady a definite “go-away” vibe, so she quickly apologized again for interrupting and then scurried back to her own table.

It was all so incredibly bizarre. The room was full of Asian people of varying ethnicities, including the restaurant servers and owners. HP and I were wearing rumpled fleece, and I still smelled of campfire smoke from the night before. Possible reasons for her approaching us:

  1. She’s an adoptive parent, and she was excited to see what her daughter might someday grow up to be (Sassy Hour ladies, you can feel me on this).
  2. She recently returned from a trip to Asia.
  3. The four of us really are that stunning.

I expect weirdness like that in Kansas City, but not Seattle….. guess it never hurts to have these kinds of reminders of what’s out there!

Everytime I think of that lady, I start laughing to myself now–I’m sure she’s glad to have had that effect on me.

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Filed under Adoption (the industry), APIA Community, Community, Korean Adoptees, Korean family, Ranting, Seattle, Updates

Thank you (and some updates)

Thank you to everyone who wrote such supportive comments here in regards to the ridiculous “stereotype party” debacle that happened at the end of March. It really lifted me up at a time when I was feeling attacked for speaking out. This whole experience has reminded me of why I’ve enjoyed blogging these past two years (has it really been that long???). And special thanks to everyone here in Seattle and online who have been so encouraging and have listened to me vent. 🙂

I have still not run into anyone who actually attended the party, nor have I seen any photos (although I did scour Facebook). Apparently, I share not one, but two classes this quarter with the party organizer! She has not come up to me, however, to discuss what happened, which is fine with me. However, I may be stuck in a group with her when my school hosts its annual series of “diversity discussion potlucks.” LOL. I can’t figure out if this is some sort of cruel punishment or an opportunity. Probably both. Maybe I can strip the veneer of politeness and disclaimers off at the potluck and say something more akin to what this blogger wrote over at Resist racism. Love it.

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My trip last month to Europe seemed to go by in the blink of an eye. It was really wonderful to spend time with some of my most favorite people in the world: Santoki, S-y, etc. The trip, however, was one of the roughest I’ve had in recent memory. It all started with me barely making it onto my international flight in SFO and my luggage not making it. Thus, I was in the Netherlands for a day without a change of clothes or any toiletries, resulting in massive sticker shock when I saw that deodorant and toothpaste were going to cost me 12 Euros. Also, during an official lunch in Paris with the Korean ambassador to France and other Important Types, I suddenly began to feel incredibly queasy–a feeling that did not subside the rest of the day during IKAA meetings. Basically, I had some sort of food poisoning, and later on at the hotel I got yet another reminder of why I could never be bulimic (I can’t stannnnnd vomiting). The next day, I came down with a massive head cold and spent the remainder of the week coughing and sneezing violently. We also had to deal with harsh weather the whole time—cold, rainy, windy. And nevermind that insufferable woman at the front desk of the La Louisiane Hotel! (S-y, I’m still laughing at K.H.’s reaction to my story.)

Luckily for me, though, I had wonderful friends and the most gracious hosts to take care of me. Amsterdam was smaller than I expected, and it reminded me of Boston–except with canals. It’s a very charming city, and I wish I’d had more time to explore. Arierang was kind enough to host a welcome dinner for myself and C. from New York on my first night in Amsterdam. I realized that I know many more Dutch Korean adoptees than I had thought!

The next day, we drove down to Paris and spent the rest of the weekend with the other members of the IKAA Gathering 2007 Planning Committee. Once the official business was over, I had a few days to do some extra sight-seeing, and during the interim when my stomach was recovered but my nose was still clear enough to taste food, I indulged in excellent baguette sandwiches and tried escargots for the first time. (And I finally made it inside the Musée d’Orsay!)

Before I knew it, I was back on the train to the Netherlands and spent the remainder of the week in Utrecht and Amsterdam. I don’t regret making the trip at all—however, I had to spend a week recovering from my “vacation” once I got back to Seattle, which wasn’t the greatest way to kick off my final quarter of school.

This quarter, I am taking four classes:

  • 2nd-year, nonheritage Korean (this is the 6th quarter of UW Korean I’ve taken!)
  • Program Evaluation (public affairs course)
  • Grantwriting (only meets four times total)
  • Public Service Clinic

The latter is where I will finally complete my degree project–an applied research project that is not a traditional thesis but is still a massive headache. Last quarter I was torturing myself with the question of whether I made the right decision to choose to do a public service clinic rather than my own topic (which would have been related to the Korean adoptee community, naturally). At the time that I chose to do a clinic, I was still thinking that I would get a 2nd masters degree in International Studies, and I figured that I could do something adoptee-related with that degree. After mulling this over endlessly, however, I’ve come to the conclusion that I do not want to put myself through the UW’s MA in International Studies program, given that it is still not quite what I want to do. Ever since I started my MPA program at the Evans School, I’ve been starving for academic work that would feed my soul, not just fill my brain with practical skills. I’ve come to believe that the MPA degree is good as a complement to something else. It teaches you about practical matters such as statistics, budgeting, policy, etc. I do feel that if I eventually make the steps to start a new nonprofit that I have a decent background to do so. However, I am really wanting to focus more on issues that are personally important to me, e.g. the development of the Korean adoptee community, Asian American media representation, etc. Perhaps I will be able to feel fulfilled once I am out of the MPA program, but if something still feels lacking later on, perhaps I will make my way down to UCLA for their MA in Asian American Studies…… (I wish the UW had an MA in Asian American Studies…..they are in the process of developing a certificate program, but there is no word on when that will launch. If it does, UCLA may be permanently out of the picture.)

So even though my schedule seems deceptively open, the fact remains that I feel overwhelmed, mostly because I still have the majority of my degree project left to complete. I am locked into this topic, because the agency I’m doing the research for has agreed to pay the UW $1,000 for my troubles. No pressure! On top of this, my job at the Lindenberg Center has ramped up considerably this quarter, since we are having a 5th anniversary lecture series in May, and I also arranged to have Kim Park Nelson and Laura Briggs (both contributors to Outsiders Within) come to the UW on May 14 as part of a seminar on transnational adoption. And of course, there are my on-going commitments with AAAW, IKAA, etc.

Nevertheless, I think I have emerged from my “winter funk,” given that the weather has turned pleasant and I actually took the initiative to clean–both physical space (apartment) and e-space (email inboxes–what a mess!). I also started working out somewhat regularly again and have been eating better (much easier now that the 7-Eleven around the corner is closed). Now if I can just make it to graduation! My parents and some other extended family will be coming to Seattle for graduation festivities in June, and then my plan is to try to do some temp work for about a month. Then I will be helping with the KIDS Culture Camp during the week before I go to Korea in July. After summer traveling, I’ll come back to Seattle and attempt to find some kind of employment. In what? I don’t have anything specific in mind. Something that’s not soul-sucking but that still pays decently. I’ll have a better idea once September is here.

So I’ll be giving Seattle another chance. 3rd time’s the charm. I want to see what it’s like to live here as a regular, working person (my previous experience here has been limited to life as an AmeriCorps volunteer [no $$$] and a graduate student [no $$$ and also stressed out as all hell]). But before regular working life starts…….

Summer! And also pre-summer travel. Here’s the latest:

  • This weekend, April 13-15: Las Vegas for S.’s bachelorette party! (Weekend of firsts: my first trip to Vegas and my first bachelorette party where I think some sort of penis-like paraphernalia will be required when we go clubbing)
  • April 26-29: San Francisco for Korean adoptee mini-gathering
  • July 19-August 30: Korea
  • August 30-September 6: Hawaii!

Guess what I’m thinking about more: my degree project or the above?

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Filed under Community, Conferences, Korean Adoptees, Organizations, Pondering the Future, School Daze, Seattle, Traveling, Updates, Work Life

Winter Funk

I don’t mean “funk” in the musical or odorous sense–I mean it in the February-blah-are-the-skies-still-grey sense. Add to the fact that I need to do all of my data collection for my degree project (final draft due on May 21st) this month, and you can see why lately I’ve just been wanting to run away to a beach somewhere and hide out underneath palm trees while sipping fruity drinks, like a deposed dictator or reclusive author.

Ok, maybe not quite like that, but I can’t seem to shake myself of this heavy avoidance mode I’ve been in since the holidays. Grad school has been wearing me down. I don’t know how people are able to do this while maintaining careers and families w/ kids to boot. And I’m not even in a “demanding” school, such as law/medicine, etc.! Ok, I shouldn’t put down the rigors of my program. Seriously, though, going back to graduate school has changed a lot of things for me. It’s caused me to relapse into the barely contained chaos that comes naturally to me. Somewhere in my early twenties, I learned to keep things fairly neat and organized, such as my living spaces, bank accounts, credit cards, bills, etc. I also became disciplined at eating well and exercising consistently all in the name of feeling good and being healthy and all that crap. It was a huge turnaround for me, and it all coincided with “finding myself,” dropping out of medical school, and writing in my journal a lot. I read a lot of “spiritual” books full of philosophical maxims such as, “If you want a royal road to mysticism, sit down quietly and listen to all the sounds around you.” I tried to become outdoorsy and went on hikes and tried snowboarding. I cut out recipes from Real Simple magazine and attempted to make them before neatly storing them in a small binder with plastic sleeves. I was the clean roommate!

I have no clue where said binder is now; it’s probably shoved under my bed in my parents’ house, collecting dust. I can’t remember the last time I made a meal at home that required more than two ingredients that wasn’t a sandwich. I’ve become one of those people that prefers not to look at her bank or credit card statements, because it’s too painful (ignorance is bliss?). The carpets in my apartment haven’t been vacuumed since September, I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve been to the gym in the past four months, and my studying strategy has become “do it when it becomes an emergency.” Also, the closest I’ve gotten to the mountains the past two years has been glancing at them from the bus window on my morning commute (on the rare day that they’re visible).

I’ve been talking to some friends lately (great post, Amy) about the quarter-life crisis, and I chuckle when I remember that I actually once bought a book on the subject (again, this was back in my “spiritual”-book-reading phase). I guess technically I’m done with the quarter-life crisis, b/c I’m past the age of 25 now and I’ve chosen a field of graduate study? I have identifiable “passions” in my life. Hmm, well, Wikipedia identifies ages 21-29 as the quarter-life crisis period. So I have one more year to get it together. Ha. For me, one of the most interesting parts of blogging and reading other people’s blogs has been realizing that problems/fears/self-doubt/ennui don’t go away with age, marital status, etc. Also, I realize that the wealth of life experience does provide a sort of emotional padding that allows one to bounce back more quickly. So based on my own past experience of being a balanced, healthy person, I know that this is achievable for me. Although I think I’ll wisely forego trying to makeover myself into an Outward Bound-ish, Seattle-crunchy nature-enthusiast.

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Let’s see….. 2007 seems to be the year that my friends visit Seattle! It was really great to see M.C. a few weeks ago (hope I can visit her in Boston soon and revisit old haunts), and this past weekend I got to see B. (delicious one) who I’m also hoping to see again in April when I go to the Bay Area. And I’m still looking forward to visits from L.L., K.S., and my parents (graduation!).

I spent some quality time at the Northwest Asian American Film Festival at the end of last month. Went to the kickoff party and saw the first episode of Eric Byler’s new PBS series, My Life…Disoriented. I thought the acting was fairly good, but the plot seemd like a re-hash of countless teen comedy cliches. I also attended the festival on Friday and saw Red Doors (directed by Georgia Lee) and a documentary about the 18 Mighty Mountain Warriors of Comedy (an Asian American comedy troupe from San Francisco). I’d vaguely heard about the former through Angry Asian Man, but then I saw this post from a local blogger — scroll down to read about the film — but only after our tickets had been purchased. Yes, it’s true that most of the daughters’ love interests in Red Doors are white men, but what bothered me even more was that the themes of the film seemed recycled from far superior Asian American films (e.g. The Joy Luck Club [yes, I like that movie! Don’t hate me.], Saving Face, etc.). The documentary about the 18MMW, however, was hilarious and a nice reprieve from the typical festival fare. (I reeeeallly wish I could have seen Journey From the Fall, though. I’ve heard it’s amazing. ImaginAsian is distributing the film, so hopefully it will be coming to a theater near you soon….)

On the 24th, I had a packed day. In the morning, I attended the ACLF/LEAP Leadership Conference and had a brief chance to network with other Seattle-based Asian Americans. I’m really trying to make more of an effort to be more active with the overall Asian American community–not just the Asian adoptee community–here in town. (Many thanks to J.B. for graciously introducing me to countless people this year!) Later on, I went up to Bothell for the KIDS Lunar New Year celebration. For those of you who don’t know, KIDS is an adoptive family group (which basically means it was founded and is primarily run by adoptive parents). This year’s event was interesting, because I brought along two of my classmates from my Asian American Diasporan Social Interaction class. We’re doing a project on AAAW, and I agreed to choose AAAW as our topic, mainly because there are some undercover adoptees in the class that I want to indirectly educate about the group. One of my classmates, a Taiwanese-born-&-raised graduate student of Korean Studies, was so overcome (for some reason) when she walked into the KIDS celebration that she turned to me and said, “I feel like crying!” I simultaneously wanted to laugh and roll my eyes but succeeded in doing neither and instead patted her on the shoulder. I think her only previous experience with Korean adoptees has been through watching K-dramas, so her reaction seemed to be based on that particular mental model.

Last week, I also met with an adoptive mom who has started running an informal group of Chinese adopted teenage girls. She had contacted AAAW with the interest in joining forces with us to have some teen-related events. Our teen program is in dire need of revitalization, so this seemed like a good opportunity to inject some life into it. I went to her house–a rambling, bohemian manse atop Queen Anne Hill–to meet her and some of the girls on one of their group nights. It had been a while since I’d been around anyone younger than 21, so I had to laugh when the girls suspiciously asked me, “How old are you?” and “Are there any boys in your teen group?” (Due to the dearth of male Chinese adoptees, the group has high hopes for our mixed teen group.) The a-mom in charge seemed fairly with-it and rightfully disillusioned with the local FCC chapter. Some of the things I said to her, though, seemed to be new concepts, but it could definitely have been worse. We didn’t get into anything nitty-gritty, anyway, since I had to run out the door to the NWAAFF screenings. I hope that we’ll be able to open up the summer KIDS culture camp to adoptees of all Asian ethnicities. Using that as a springboard, I’m also hoping we can create a more active adoptee teen group that can carry on throughout the year.

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Sometimes I wonder if there’s any point to my blogging (especially when sometimes it seems like I have to nag people to read it), but a very cool thing happened the other week that was heartening.  Apparently, another Korean adoptee had recently started a search for her birth family, and she realized that she was left at the Mapo Reception Center, adjacent to Holt Korea in Seoul.  This was a new discovery for her, and she had no idea what the Center was (she’d always been told she was found at the Mapo police station).  So she Google’d “Mapo Reception Center” and came to my blog, which led her to my MySpace profile, and she was able to message me and ask me about it.  Subsequently, she’s found out that her situation was very similar to mine—she’d grown up with the story that she was abandoned as a baby, but the reality is that her parents took her to the Center and signed the relinquishment papers themselves.  She’s currently going through the tug-of-war for information with Holt, and I wish her the best of luck…..

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I can see the light at the end of the tunnel…… I think if I can make it through February, my mood and motivation will improve considerably. As S-y would say, I’m such a 7! I seem to do things as either all-or-nothing. Just pointing out the obvious, in case you didn’t know that already. 😉

9 Comments

Filed under APIA Community, Korean Adoptees, Media/Arts/Pop Culture, Musings, Organizations, Ranting, Updates

New website for Resilience

The documentary film, Resilience, has a new website up, www.resiliencefilm.com. Go check it out!

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Filed under Korean Adoptees, Media/Arts/Pop Culture

Support Resilience

I deeply apologize for my long blog absence….. For as much of a stink as I usually make about how people should read my blog to catch up with me, feel free to kick me the next time you see me. I hope to write something this weekend….it’s been far too long.

In the meantime, take a look at the following and consider supporting this powerful film that I referred to in a previous post.

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Contact: Jessica Windt | 010-5833-2233 | resilience06@gmail.com | www.myspace.com/resilience_doc

Re: Spreading Awareness about Korean Birth mothers

Dear friends:

I am writing to request your support for the making of Resilience, the first-ever documentary film to tell the personal stories of Korea’s birth mothers. Please take a minute to read why this project is significant and how you can be a part of it.

In Resilience, Korean women come out of the dark and break their silence about the struggles of being single mothers in Korea and the pressures from their society to give up their children.

For the first time, adoptees and families can view adoption from a different perspective.

I am a Korean American adoptee and when I read the stories of the women in this film, it was the first time my birth parents, whom I still have never met, became real to me.

Maybe my birth mother is nothing like these women, but now I have a better understanding of the life she had, the environment I was born into and the complicated system I was adopted through. This is the kind of film I wish I had seen a long time ago, which is why I was eager to help in the making of it and I hope you are too.

We are making and funding this film independently, which can be the most difficult part in filmmaking. We ‘ve been able to complete a short version of the film , but still have a lot of work to do. W e are actively fundraising and currently requesting donations from individuals such as your self to help us finish this film by next year .

Any assistance you can give is greatly appreciated, whether it be $10, $1000 or anywhere in between and beyond. Every little bit counts. All contributors will be credited as sponsors in the film and will be the first to be notified of screenings and project updates .

By contributing to this film you are helping to bridge cultural gaps adoptees and their birth parents often struggle to get over. There are millions of adoptees and people affected by adoption worldwide that will greatly benefit from seeing this film.

If a monetary contribution cannot be made at this time, services, equipment, resources are also welcomed. If you cannot personally support this project, I urge you to spread the word to anyone you think may be interested.

Thank you so much for your time and attention. For more information, please contact me or go to: http://www.myspace.com/resilience_doc/

Sincerely,

Jessica Windt

Project Manager

resilience06@ gmail.com | 010-5833-2233

http://www.myspace.com/resilience_doc/

P.S. Contributions of any amount or type are welcomed. Please spread the word!

Donations can be made by one of the following:

1. Direct bank transfer to: Kookmin Bank, Account # 343602-040-67700

2. Online at Women Make Movies website:

http://www.wmm.com/filmmakers/sponsored_projects.shtml#R

*There is a 8% fee for credit card donations made online. Please disregard shipping information.

3. Checks can be written to “Women Make Movies, Resilience

Mail checks to:

246-9 Bogwang-dong #2F

Yongsan-gu

Seoul, 140-823 S. KOREA

All donations made in the U.S. are 100% tax-deductible. Resilience is fiscally sponsored by Women Make Movies, a non-profit, New York City-based film distribution organization for films made for and about women.

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Your generous contributions are greatly appreciated. All donations go towards the making of Resilience. Here is an idea of production expenses covered by your donations.

$ 25.00 5 Digital Video Tapes

$ 50.00 Production expenses for 1 day

$ 100.00 Light and sound equipment rental for 1 day

$ 500.00 Camera rental for 10 days

$ 1,000.00 Subtitles (English/Korean)

$ 2,000.00 Stock footage and graphics

$ 10,000.00 Post production services

Please don’t hesitate to make a donation of any amount. All contributions are greatly appreciated!

P.P.S. The objective of this film is to have these women’s stories heard in order to spread awareness and understanding about a side of adoption that is often overlooked. It has been difficult to find women and individuals willing to speak openly on film. Please help us make their stories heard.

A short version of Resilience has been previewed at both the 2006 KAAN ( http://www.kaanet.com/) and 2006 G.O.A.L. (http://goal.or.kr/) adoptee conferences.

For more information contact: Jessica | resilience06@gmail.com | (+82) 10-5833-2233

Resilience is produced by KoRoot ( http://www.koroot.org ) Rev. Do-hyun Kim | master@koroot.org

Directed & co-produced by Tammy Chu | chu.tammy@gmail.com | 019-9743-4344

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Filed under Korean Adoptees, Media/Arts/Pop Culture

Immigration Rights for Adoptees to Sponsor Birth Family Members

Given the situation with my Korean sisters, it might be the case that someday one of them might need to live with me in the States….. and also, of course, at the very least, I want them to be able to visit me….

But the Korean and U.S. governments do not recognize that we are, in fact, sisters. (And we are sisters, despite me being “deleted” from our family registry in Korea.)

Many adoptees are in situations similar to mine. If you haven’t already signed it, please take a moment to click on this link and read the following petition (created by Jane Jeong Trenka). And pass it on. (Thank you, JJT! I just bought my copy of Outsiders Within yesterday…)

http://www.petitiononline.com/kajok/petition.html

(**P.S. I will be in NYC for this conference on transracial adoption, Oct. 12-15. Exciting! I was in New York at about this time a year ago… To those of you who know what happened a year ago–this trip will be nothing like that one. Cross my heart.)

(***P.P.S. I just bought my ticket to go to Chicago for the mini-gathering next month…. Nov. 9-12. Anyone out there going??)

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Filed under Community, Conferences, Korean Adoptees, Policy, Traveling