KoRoot and the Politics of International Adoption in Korea

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KoRoot—a guest house for Korean adoptees visiting Seoul.

While I have known about KoRoot for a while, it wasn’t until my recent trip to Korea that I actually stepped foot into the hostel. For those unfamiliar with KoRoot, it’s a guest house created especially for Korean adoptees and their families when they visit Seoul, often for the first time and sometimes in an effort to trace biological family members in the country. Priced economically, KoRoot offers room, board, meals, cultural events and social activities for its guests and the Seoul adoptee community. It also is engaged in local outreach activities aimed at educating Korean society about international adoption and some of the social forces driving it, topics that are still very sensitive in this country fixated on family bloodlines and social perceptions. Continue reading “KoRoot and the Politics of International Adoption in Korea”

Writing on the Go: Reactions

I’m usually very organized, but for some reason, I’m all over the place right now juggling work and preparing for my trip on Thursday. But I had to take a few moments to share some quick thoughts on some adoptee-related news: Continue reading “Writing on the Go: Reactions”

Advice from an Adoptee to First-time Soon-to-be Adoptive Parents

Two years ago my friend Gabriel (not her real name so as to protect her privacy) reached out to me, wanting to talk about adoption. Gabriel is an accomplished, single woman in her early 40s who, like many girls and young women, always thought she’d one day marry and have a family of her own. Except it didn’t quite happen the way she was led to believe it would. Continue reading “Advice from an Adoptee to First-time Soon-to-be Adoptive Parents”

Why I’ve Decided to Take a DNA Test

For several years now, DNA tests have been used to help adoptees find their biological parents and/or living family members. They have also been instrumental in absence of family medical records.

The Korean adoptee community has been at the forefront of utilizing DNA tests to pair adoptees with living biological family members—or at least attempt to give adoptees more information about their genetic make-up, but as an outside observer has pointed out to me, this collection of DNA is doing something much more—it’s compiling recorded data on Korea’s adoptee community, something that has not existed before. Continue reading “Why I’ve Decided to Take a DNA Test”

Living with two names: reclaiming birth identities

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When I was in second grade, I went through a mini identity crisis. For reasons I can’t really remember (I was probably bored and wanted to seem unique), I decided to use my Korean birth name on all my school papers. Of course everyone at school, including my teacher, knew me as Jodi, but for some reason, I wanted people to start knowing me as Soh Young (or Lee Soh Young / 이소영 to be exact). And so for a couple months, that was what I did. I used my Korean name on all my school papers and temporarily went by the first name of Soh Young. Kind of dorky, I know. But for some reason, it seemed important to me at the time.

It didn’t last long. Continue reading “Living with two names: reclaiming birth identities”