Tens of thousands of adoptees call Minnesota home, and for those in their teens and college years, coming to understand their identity and being able to express themselves is an integral aspect of their lives. Unfortunately, resources designed specifically for individuals who identify as adoptees are not readily available, even for the Twin Cities state.
To provide that artistic medium, COMPAS, a St. Paul-based arts organization, Land of a Gazillion Adoptees (LGA), and spoken-word artist Kyle Tran Myhre, aka Guante, have teamed up to develop Creating Home, a program that looks to connect young adoptees with world-class artists through interactive workshops and even performance opportunities. The program’s Kickstarter, which has 24 days left to go, will go towards funding a three-month pilot project where teen and college age adoptee participants will have access to the tools and resources to tell their stories and express themselves through whatever artistic medium they choose. Continue Reading »
SNL Korea, which came under scrutiny recently for poking fun at Korean American adoptees in a recent sketch, issued a formal apology for its insensitive and tasteless content that understandably drew angry responses from the international adoptee community.
The program, produced by cable network TvN, aired a skit, titled “Meeting You Now,” which depicted a Korean American man at an airport in Korea meeting his birth mother for the first time. Fictitiously named Jason Dooyoung Anderson, the man speaks to his mother with a broken Korean accent, saying, “Why did you abandon me, mom? Were you ass broke?”
It’s Like Riding A Bike
story and illustration by KAM REDLAWSK
From birth we are meant to go through a series of milestones that exemplify growth, such as crawling, speaking, walking, running and riding a bike.
I don’t really remember my first steps or first words; in fact, as someone adopted from Korea, there are very few glimmers of my life that I remember before coming to America in 1983. But one of my most memorable milestones as a child was the very first time I successfully rode a bike without training wheels.
I remember this particular day, the hue of the sky and the gentle push of the wind, as I did my best to ride a bike. I had been practicing all day in my driveway. Dusk was soon approaching, and my father had suggested we call it a day and perhaps try again another day but I wanted to keep at it. I circled the driveway trying to stay on my bike for at least a few consecutive minutes. I kept falling and getting back up and falling again. The falls frustrated me and yet only lent to my determination. Continue Reading »
A tasteless skit by SNL Korea which makes fun of the Korean adoptee experience has understandably drawn the ire of the Korean American adoptee community.
The skit, titled “Meeting You Now,” depicts a Korean American man who has just arrived at an airport in Korea and sees his birth mother for the first time. Speaking in broken Korean with exaggerated misuse of formal, casual and slang speech, the man reads a letter to his birth mother.
It gets even murkier once you understand the dialogue. Some of the absurd lines uttered in a fake accent by the actor include the following:
“Why did you abandon me, mom? Were you ass broke? You get punished if you abandon your kids.”
“My American mom told me my heavy drinking comes from my Korean mom.” Continue Reading »
This picture shows South Korean babies given up for adoption. Between delivery and placing them with a foster family, these infants usually spend their first few weeks in the adoption agency’s nursery, where a handful of caregivers look after them.
Faces of Adoption
A photojournalist, herself a Korean adoptee, presents the very intimate moments shared with her by birth mothers, adoptive parents and adoptees.
story and photographs by JEANNE MODDERMAN
It was clear when I started this project on Korean adoption that I could not be an objective photographer. That didn’t mean I wasn’t going to try. As a Korean adoptee trying to tell this story, I wrestled with how I could document all perspectives. I wanted to portray the facts, but also capture the humanity of this sensitive topic. I admit my adoptee status granted me special privileges in photographing this project. I was able to gain access to very personal and intimate moments because the subjects took comfort in the fact that I had some understanding of the situation. Still, I was unprepared for much of what I witnessed.
I’m not sure you can ever prepare yourself to watch a mother give away her 5-day old infant and the absolute despair that ensues, or see an adoptive family meet their daughter for the first time, or witness an adoptee reunite with her birth mother after searching for seven years. These experiences directly affected my own adoption story. After meeting one of the birth mothers, she made me promise to search for my own mother. It’s what she hoped her own child would do.
I wanted to cover the longing of many adoptees to return to their birth country and the result of some making their lives there. There is a large community of Korean adoptees from all over living in South Korea. As one who lived there for over a year, I can attest that it’s a time filled with complex feelings and emotions, often a struggle to decide how you fit in, but also a security in being with people like you. Working on this project opened my eyes to the many faces of adoption and allowed me to see it from new points of view. From the birth mothers, to the foster mothers, to the adoptive parents and, of course, the adoptees, there are so many stories out there waiting to be told. Continue Reading »