Recap of 3/16/18 event “All Kinds of Awesome: Untold True Stories from the Korean Adoptee Community”
“It’s incumbent not only on adoptees but upon all of us in this room to help us fill in places in those stories and to allow space for those stories to develop, to be nurtured, and to be created as we move forward.” – Eric Sharp, emcee for the evening
March 16, 2018 - Network of Politicized Adoptees (NPA) and curator Eric Sharp presented ALL KINDS of AWESOME: Untold True Stories from the Korean Adoptee Community, an event that highlighted stories from eight Korean adoptees. The event took place at the Loft Literary Center performance hall, a space that offered a beautiful and intimate feel. With over 100 attendees, the evening began with an informal reception, and the program commenced soon after with welcome addresses from NPA and the co-sponsors. Eric Sharp acted as the evening’s emcee and warmed the room up with group participation and storytelling activities intended to encourage empathy and human connection. He introduced each featured storyteller before they shared, held space with them on stage, and offered insightful closing thoughts to conclude the program.
Pictured below- Curator and emcee Eric Sharp, and Storytellers Katie B., eunha jeong wood, and Nik Nadeau. Bottom Storytellers: Jennifer Weir, Kim Park Nelson, Ph.D., Kaela Marie HaNah Schweisthal, Julie Jong Koch.
Photo by Nawang B.
Living and working in Korea. Birth family searches. Dating with a capital adopt-D. Minnesota’s own Network of Politicized Adoptees (NPA) and curator Eric Sharp present ALL KINDS of AWESOME: Untold True Stories from the Korean Adoptee Community.
We are pleased to partner with the Loft and the Coalition of Asian American Leaders (CAAL) to bring you this event. As part of the Loft's To Be Honest theme, storytellers from many walks of Korean Adoptee life will celebrate adoptee culture and oral tradition in order to reflect on the varied truths (and sometimes false misunderstandings) of their experiences. This year CAAL is supporting a series of storytelling events that uplift and highlight the diverse, complex and rich stories about who Asian Minnesotans are through its campaign #MinneAsianStories.
eunha jeong wood
Nik Nadeau (Lim Chang Hoon)
Kim Park Nelson, Ph.D.
Ran Hee Chang
Kaela Marie HaNah Schweisthal
Julie Jong Koch
Korean adoptees have long struggled with lack of access to our history, and sometimes minimal understanding of the sociopolitical and cultural influences that shaped the landscape to and from which we were adopted. Join NPA for an exciting opportunity to close the knowledge gap and empower us as a community.
Network of Politicized Adoptees is thrilled to be offering a new discussion course this coming spring. Designed and taught by Kim Park Nelson, Ph.D., "Histories and Cultures of Korean American Transnational Adoption" will be offered as a 4-month Korean-adoptee-ONLY course, starting in Feb 2018 and meeting every other week through May 2018. This will be a closed course, with enrollment starting immediately, and participation maxed at 15. Attendance, commitment and participation at all classes is expected.
Course description: This course examines Korean adoption and the experience of Korean adoptees in America over the past 60 years. It centers on the history and policy of Korean American adoption and includes the experience of Korean adoptees, including social and cultural production of this ever-growing population. Using the Korean War as a historical baseline, the course considers the geopolitical and socioeconomic relationships between the United States and South Korea during and since the Cold War that have shaped the history of Korean adoption. Through reading and discussion, we will focus on the following questions: What does it mean to be Korean adopted for adoptees and others? How has the history and policy of Korean and other transnational adoption been shaped and changed? What can the experience of Korean adoptees tell other transracial and transnational adoptees groups? How does our understanding of Korean adoptees change our understanding of family? Of what it means to American? Of what it means to be Asian American? In addition, you will be asked to think and discuss about how the practice of Korean adoption impacts individuals in the adoption triad, communities, and nations personally, culturally, economically and politically. In addition to learning about Korean adoption, this course will provide a forum for you to raise questions, express opinions, exchange ideas with your adoptee peers. Because each of us brings a unique perspective to what we read based on the rich differences among us—from our individual experiences, personal histories, and diverse backgrounds—working together will help everyone to gain the greatest possible understanding from the assigned texts. Participants will be expected to prepare for seminar style discussion by reading course texts and attending all or most course meetings. The adoptee only course is led by Kim Park Nelson, Ph.D., who designed and taught the first course on Korean American adoption in 2007.
Course title: “Histories and Cultures of Korean American Transnational Adoption”
For: Korean adult adoptees
Designed and led by: Kim Park Nelson, Ph.D.
When: Mondays, February 12- May 21, 2018; 6-8pm
Where: Meetings will be held at Peace Coffee, 3262 Minnehaha Ave, Minneapolis, MN 55406
Tuition Cost: $50-75 sliding fee
Text Costs: $120*
* Text cost is estimated, if purchased new. Some of the books you may already own. Please also consider borrowing from a friend or the library if costs feel prohibitive. Detailed book list will be announced in January.
Reading Load: ~100 pages per week, or one book-length text per class
TO REGISTER (deadline Friday Jan 19, 2018):
Complete the REGISTRATION FORM.
Class fees should be paid via Paypal. If you need to utilize a different form of payment, please call or email us and we can arrange something.
Hosted in partnership with AK Connection
What image do you see? Which Korea are you from? Are you a "good Korean" or a "bad Korean"?
Join Network of Politicized Adoptees (NPA) and AK Connection on Nov 27 (Monday) for an opportunity to come together to process what it means to be Korean adoptees during this time of heightened negative media and violence toward the Korean peninsula. This event will be a space to learn more about our history and have an open discussion on how that context impacts us today. Sharon Chung will provide background on the Korean war and how that ties into the anti-Korean rhetoric that we are experiencing today. A panel, moderated by Dr. Jennifer Kwon Dobbs, will highlight Korean adoptee perspectives in this broader conversation. We will wrap up with small group discussions that will offer time for connection and reflection. We feel that this is an especially timely conversation to have with our friends, family, and the larger adoption community, and we hope that this conversation will provide new information, vocabulary, and insights to be able to process and talk about the current situation on the Korean peninsula.
6:00 - 6:30 Light Dinner
6:30 - 6:45 Welcome & Introduction
6:45 - 7:15 History & Context - Sharon Chung
7:15 - 7:45 Panel Discussion
7:45 - 8:20 Small Group Discussion
8:20 - 8:30 Close
People's Movement Center
736 E 41st St, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55407 (Corner of 41st St. and Chicago Ave.)
Please let us know you're interested by emailing an RSVP or by responding to NPA's Facebook event.
Sharon Chung recently moved to Minnesota from New York. She is part of the Korean Education Exposure Program (KEEP) Planning Team (KPT) and was actively involved & in leadership with Nodutdol for Korean Community Development, and is now a supporting member of Nodutdol.
Jennifer Kwon Dobbs is a poet, essayist, and scholar with interests in creative writing, critical adoption studies, Asian American literature, and Korean literary translation. Since 2008, she is associate professor of English and directs Race and Ethnic Studies at St. Olaf College. She lives in Saint Paul, Minnesota. www.jkwondobbs.com
Kurt Blomberg is a Korean adoptee who lives in Minneapolis, MN. In 2015, he traveled to the Democratic People's Republic of Korea through the Korean Education Exposure Program KEEP. A former professional dancer- turned education, Kurt is committed to creating spaces and places that are radically welcoming.
Eva Song Margolis is a Korean American adoptee from Minneapolis. She is a writer, organizer, and advocate for racial and economic justice. Eva has over 17 years’ experience in the nonprofit industry working the fields of community economic development, asset building, workforce development, housing and youth development. She takes pleasure in connecting people, organizations, resources and philosophies. As poet, she sees how the arts can challenge and inspire us to dissect our understanding of the world, to redefine it, and to take charge in transforming it.
Jon Tufte was born in Korea in 1969, adopted to a Norwegian and German family in Prior Lake, MN . He arrived to the US when he was 3 years old. John works as a Restorative Justice coordinator at Johnson high school and loves discussing the intersections of culture and race in the US.
Join Network of Politicized Adoptees (NPA) for a co-facilitated discussion with Kim Park Nelson on Fri, April 7, 2017. This conversation will explore our immigrant identities as Korean and Asian adoptees living in Minnesota. We hope that the conversation will provide new ways of framing our immigrant experiences, connect people within our community who’ve had a similar experiences, and empower our community to mobilize and get involved. We want folks to walk away with a clear connection between immigration history and adoption history.
These are all questions we’re hoping to explore:
- Have you ever thought of yourself as an immigrant?
- How do you define your immigrant identity in this time of increased hostility towards immigrants?
- What’s on your mind? What’s bothering you?
- How do we as Korean and Asian adoptees see ourselves as immigrants and part of the broader conversation around immigration?
- How has the adoption system and policies affected how we see our immigrant identities?
***This event is for those that identify as a Korean adoptee or Asian adoptee only. We ask that you respect our decision to center Asian adoptees for this initial conversation. We plan to gauge interest for a broader conversation but want this first discussion to be an intentional safe space for adoptees themselves.
Date/Time: Friday, April 7 from 6:30-8:30 pm (dinner will be provided)
Location: People’s Movement Center (763 E 41st St, Minneapolis, Minnesota)
Parking: Street-parking only
Registration: RSVP via FB event page or by emailing npadopteesmn[at]gmail.com
Cost: This event is FREE due to a generous grant from the Coalition of Asian American Leaders’ (CAAL) Community Voices Fund.
We hope you can join us!
About NPA: NPA is comprised of Korean adoptees representing a variety of professional backgrounds working in Minneapolis/St. Paul. NPA’s mission is to strengthen, cultivate, and improve the lives of Korean adoptees by supporting critical discourse. Through solution-focused action, we promote adoptee justice by telling our own stories and collectively working towards systemic change within adoption. NPA's vision is that all adoptees feel empowered & have access to history, knowledge, fair policy, records, and positive health & relationships.
About Kim Park Nelson: An educator and researcher whose work uses adoption as a lens to understand race and culture, Kim Park Nelson is an associate professor in the American Multicultural Studies program at Minnesota State University, Moorhead.
Park Nelson is also the author of Invisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences and Racial Exceptionalism (Rutgers University Press, Spring 2016). Her work has appeared in multiple anthologies and scholarly journals.
We are excited to introduce ourselves to you and the rest of our community. Network of Politicized Adoptees (NPA) has been quietly meeting for several years in the backdrop of much significant movement in the adoptee community. During that time, we focused on who we were, who we want to become, why we value ourselves, and how we can contribute to our community. Our process of politicization was both intentional and organic—through the exploration of established resources, reading about Korea’s divided and complicated history, building a larger self-understanding of Korean diasporic issues, and sharing our most personal stories with each other. As our identity and purpose became more clear, we decided it was time to share ourselves with you in hopes that we can be a more public part of the larger adoptee rights movement. We also believe we have things to contribute, including resources, ideas, alerts, and all around collective, movement-oriented energy. We as adoptees have created our own unique place in this world through our identities that live in the margins, and strengths created from our beginnings. We also have struggled as a community, forging our own paths of adoptee culture and identity, while navigating loss, racism, and invisibility. It is our hope that we can center the rights of ourselves as adoptees, resist the power of those who want to tell our stories for us, and move toward a retelling of our own narratives together.
Our website is still a work in progress, but we will continue working on making it a valuable resource. We welcome your constructive input, corrections, and suggestions. Please also find us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Thank you for finding us, and Happy 2017!
Co-chair of NPA