Newsworthy Articles/Events (Week of June 20, 2011)

20 06 2011

There are a lot of incredible anniversary celebrations this year.  Arierang, AKF, AK Connection, and AAAW are all having anniversaries.  I wish I could go to them all, but sadly I will have to choose.  They all look great!  -GS

Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link (GOA’L) Loses Korean Gov. Funding, Temporarily Shuts its Doors – This is a quite a shocking development.  GOA’L has had an incredible impact on the international Korean adoptee community.  To hear more about how these budget cuts will affect GOA’L please read the following statement issued by the Secretary General, James Rosso.

PACT Camp A Gathering for Adoptive Families with Children of Color – July 17th through July 21st, 2011 – Tahoe City, CA – This is one of the best camps out there right now.  For more information please go to their website.

First Group of Korean Adoptees Regain Korean Citizenship Through New Dual Citizenship Law – This is wonderful news and yet again speaks to GOA’L’s tireless advocacy on behalf of the International Korean adoptee community.

“Encouraged Donations” to Chinese Welfare Homes Continue to Lead to Corruption – “A welfare home in Hengyang City in the central Hunan Province once ordered every employee to find three children in a year who could be adopted. They only received their salary and bonus once the quota was filled, the Southern Metropolis Daily reported earlier.”

Asian Adult Adoptees of Washington 15th Anniversary Mini-Gathering, September 15-18, 2011 – Seattle, WA – AAAW is celebrating 15 years of service to not only the Korean adoptee community of Seattle, but the Asian adoptee community.

AKF Sweden 25th Anniversary IKAA Gathering and Annual Convention – August 12-14, 2011 – Come be a part of AKF’s 25th Anniversary celebration.  It’s one of the oldest Korean adoptee organizations in the world.

Arierang Netherlands 20th Anniversary Celebration – Sept. 16-18, 2011 – Netherlands – Here is another great opportunity to not only celebrate one of the oldest adoptee organizations, but also go to the Netherlands.  Looks to be a great celebration.  Please see their website for more details.

AK Connection Minnesota 10th Anniversary Celebration – November 12, 2011 – Minnesota, USA – AK Connection is celebrating their 10th year anniversary and wants YOU to be a part of it.  Check out their website for more details, registration, and a full itinerary.





GOA’L Forced to Temporarily Shut Its Doors

11 06 2011

Hi folks – I come to you with some alarming news.  The Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link (GOA’L), a non-profit established by and for the adult Korean adoptee community in Seoul, Korea is temporary shutting its doors.  Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare has withdrawn financial support for Birth Family Search Department, Staff, and Operating costs.

Despite this alarming news, GOA’L’s Secretary General, Mr. James Rosso vows that GOA’L will continue to provide services in some shape or form.   Below is a letter from the Secretary General, followed by a summary of how this withdrawal of funding will affect the organization’s goals and operational services.  To read the official statement issued by GOA’L please go to this link.

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2011-06-08 State of G.O.A.’L

It is with great disappointment and utmost urgency that I report the current state of G.O.A.’L which has remained the only adoptee non-profit and non-governmental organization in Korea since 1998. For many years G.O.A.’L has operated with the assistance and subsidies from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (보건복지부) for not only programs and services but also for staff. We also rely on corporation and company sponsorship, membership dues, fundraising and donations. G.O.A.’L has exceeded many people’s expectations and provided more with what little amount it receives compared to the other organizations.

Over the past few months the Ministry of Health and Welfare has gone through changes in funding processes, policies and overall direction when it comes to post adoption services here in Korea and abroad. During this time G.O.A.’L worked with the various adoption agencies as well as other adoptee related organizations to participate in defining what the Ministry should fund, how it should be funded, requiring surveys and evaluations on programs and services as well as allowing adoptees to be a part of the decision making process.

Recently the Ministry of Health and Welfare has decided to no longer support G.O.A.’L in certain areas like Birth Family Search, staff wages and certain programs and services. Unlike other organizations, G.O.A.’L does not have a consistent source of revenue to provide for its staff and operating costs. G.O.A.’L requires sufficient planning and notice to prepare for such changes but cannot continue to operate without this year’s subsidy. This was explained to the Ministry of Health and Welfare many times but they claim they cannot continue to support G.O.A.’L in these areas. Ironically funding and support will continue for things like events and program-based services.

As a result, effective immediately G.O.A.’L is forced to temporarily close its doors due to the lack of financial support and economic hardship. G.O.A.’L still believes in having an adoptee organization provide programs and services to adoptees, provide oversight and input to Korean government and adoption agencies, and be a voice on behalf of the community. In the coming days and weeks, G.O.A.’L will be meeting with its Board of Directors, key stakeholders and supporters. We ask for your continued support and understanding. G.O.A.’L will continue to serve the adoptee community in whatever capacity we can as it is our mission and responsibility. Further explanations will be posted on our website, blog, forum, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of communication.

If you are interested in helping G.O.A.’L, please contact me at sg@goal.or.kr or 010-4361-4783.

Sincerely,

James Rosso / Yoo Shin Kim 김유신
Secretary General 사무총장
Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link (G.O.A.’L) (사)해외입양인연대

Summary

• G.O.A.’L NO LONGER receives support for staff from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.

• G.O.A.’L NO LONGER receives support for the Birth Family Search Department.

• G.O.A.’L does NOT receive government funding for operation costs.

• G.O.A.’L will continue to receive funding for program-based services like Living in Korea and Counseling, First Trip Home and special events.

• G.O.A.’L receives LESS government subsidies compared to other organizations.

• G.O.A.’L lacks consistent revenue and income to maintain its cost of operation and staff.

• The G.O.A.’L office will continue to exist in some capacity until further notice.

• Secretary General will continue to maintain G.O.A.’Ls existence and work to serve the community.

G.O.A.’Ls Operations, Programs and Services

• G.O.A.’L will reduce its current services and temporarily close its doors until further notice.

• G.O.A.’L Korean Language Scholarships will continue until further notice.

• No new G.O.A.’L Korean Language Tutoring requests will be taken.

• Annual programs like the G.O.A.’L First Trip Home, Annual G.O.A.’L Conference and Christmas Fundraiser will still be planned.

• Volunteers for translation and interpretation will be limited.

• Birth Family Search services will be limited.

• Response to emails, phone calls and faxes will be limited.

• Program-based services will continue.

• Daily services like F4 Visa, Dual Citizenship, etc. will be limited.





Newsworthy Articles/Events (Week of June 6, 2011)

6 06 2011

Before I jump into my links for this week, I want to draw attention to an interesting story that ABC news reported on recently.  The story talks about price differentials for children of color vs white children.  According to the story, “When a couple seeking to adopt a white baby is charged $35,000 and a couple seeking a black baby is charged $4,000, the image that comes to the Rev. Ken Hutcherson’s mind is of a practice that was outlawed in America nearly 150 years ago — the buying and selling of human beings.”

Of course there are justifications in this story that talk about how White children are in demand but are less available than children of color.  Thus, in any exchange where money is involved in a capitalist nation, supply and demand begin to seep into business practice.  I understand the rationale but it does not make this any less despicable in my eyes.

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For more on this story click on this link (Courtesy of ABC News).

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(Courtesy of the AFAAD email listserv) – “My friend is organizing a Truth and Reconcilliation Commission in the Twin Cities, and told me about this one going on in Maine, concerning child removal from Native families. Apparently, it is the first TRC supported by the government in the U.S.”  For more information please click this link.  Here is another article detailing the abuses that many Native American children have faced within the child welfare system.

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If you’re in Boston, check out this awesome new Korean Language Exchange Program piloted by Ms. Saebom Soohoo.  Below is a message from her with additional information about the program

Hi all,
I started this program in February and now we’re coming on our second term. I’m really searching for some “American” guys to buddy up with Korean guys. By American I mean anyone who knows American culture, speaks English well, and has a genuine interest in Korean culture. It’s a great chance to practice your Korean, make a new friend, and learn about Korean life/culture. If you know of anyone please send them my way.

-Saebom SooHoo, kacelboston@gmail.com

Korean & American Cultural Exchange Program (KACEL 케이셀) for Korean & American adults now taking applications for summer term!

KACEL 케이셀 is looking for fluent English-speakers aged 23 and older who’d like to befriend a Korean national new to the United States. KACEL gives the Korean buddy a chance to learn American culture and practice speaking English with a native speaker. You, in turn, learn about Korean life and culture and can practice speaking Korean.

Time commitment is 2-3 hours/week, or bi-weekly based on you and your buddy’s schedule, plus optional monthly group events that typically occur on weekends. To join you complete an online application and then, based on availability, are matched with a buddy with similar interests.

Visit kacel.wordpress.com to see if the program sounds right for you, and then email kacelboston@gmail.com for an application. (Say you heard about it through BPAC!) Our next term starts in June and will run till August/September.

 





Newsworthy Articles/Events/Misc. (5-13-11)

13 05 2011

Hi all,

I know it has been a long time since I regularly posted.  My apologies.  This MSW program has really consumed a lot of my time and energy.  However, I do have some time this summer, so I am hoping to start posting more regularly.  For now, I hope to post links to articles, events etc. on a weekly basis.  Enjoy!

NPR’s Talk of the Nation – “The Parenting Dilemmas of Transracial Adoption”

I have to admit, this NPR program is better than most I have heard on transracial adoption, but there are still some areas that could use some reframing.  There are more adoptees’s voices being heard in this particular program, but it still felt like adoptive parents were the subject of the story, rather than adoptees themselves.  I was happy to hear that one scholar and professor who was featured on the show, was herself an adoptee.  Finally, although they asked for adoptee callers to call in, they were addressed as “children of adoptive families” either pointing to the fact that adoptees can never be separated from their familial ties, or the ever present notion that adoptees are perpetual children.  Regardless, I would definitely recommend listening to this program.

“Adoption, My Voice, My Body: A Writing Workshop”
Sunday June 5th (for Adopted People), Saturday June 11th (for Adoptive Parents), Saturday June 18th (for Birth Parents) — 11am-3pm, Oakland, CA
For those of you out in the Bay area, this looks to be a great workshop with the wonderful Lisa Marie Rollins of AFAAD.  Check it out if you can.

Business Insider – How a Broke Chinese Province Sold Kidnapped Babies to America for Adoption

This is unfortunately another story of adoption corruption in China.  However, I think it is also important to not lose sight of How and Why Hunan province government officials engaged in illegal activities such as these.  As many other human rights activists within the adoption community have reminded us, the demand created via intercountry adoptions has created a need to fulfill a supply of adoptable babies.  This is not to diminish the need for reform and accountability in China’s adoption programs, but I do think it’s important to not take this article’s title at face value.  As we all know, there are always more than just one institution to blame when these devastating instances occur.

(Courtesy of the Korean Adoptees Worldwide listserv)

The Korea Times – Wait Becomes Longer for Foster Parents, Adoptees


“The underlying issue is we believe babies should be preferably raised in their mother country,” said Lee Kyung-eun, an official from the health ministry. “We also think it is a transition period to increase domestic and reduce international adoptions, and it is consequently producing undesirable results. But we will try our best to increase the overall adoption rate and help children find new homes here.”

NEW You Tube Channel for International Adoptee Artists Being Formed

For anyone interested in helping contribute to this awesome project, please contact Kristin aka Park Kyung Soon via her You Tube channel.  This looks like an amazing project and I’m really looking forward to being a part of helping out in some way.  If you’re an artist, musician, poet, please reply to this post so that we can consider you once the channel is up and running.

Here is a message about the new you tube channel:

hey guys-after a year of trying to figure out how to contribute to the adoptee community, i have finally decided to start a youtube channel dedicated to international adoptees.

my goal is to curate a site where fellow adoptees can post videos, interviews, poetry, music, short stories, etc. which explore adoption in a safe environment. my hope is to build an online adoptee community where we can archive our experiences so that future generations can have a greater understanding of our shared histories.

i would love some help with curating the channel. please also consider contributing a video. please also forward this message to other fellow kads! http://www.youtube.com/user/ParkKyungSoon

thanks for your support

kristin aka park kyung soon





KoreAm Journal Articles

21 02 2011

Over the years, KoreAm Journal has slowly begun to chronicle the lives of more and more Korean adoptees.  I have found that very few Asian American magazines take the time to consider our stories as part of the Asian American diaspora.  It seems that in the past several years, KoreAm Journal has made a commitment to highlighting at least one Korean adoptee per issue.  This past issue highlighted several Korean adoptees.  I will paste in a few article summaries, but I hope you’ll support KoreAm Journal by going directly to their website.  Although, there is still much to be discussed about the ways in which adoptees are portrayed in articles such as these, it is no doubt a first step in raising awareness around issues affecting Korean adoptees.

GS

“Where I Come From”

KoreAm Journal

Author: Elizabeth Eun
Posted: February 7th, 2011

Emile Mack may be the highest-ranking Asian American firefighter of a major American city, but what tends to surprise people most about the Los Angeles Deputy Fire Chief is his most unique background: At age 3, he was adopted by an African American couple. His is a story that challenges our notions of race and identity; it’s about the ties that bind and the gift of family.

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“The Kimchi Chronicles”

KoreAm Journal

Author: David.Yi
Posted: February 3rd, 2011

Adoptee Marja Vongerichten, wife of famed chef Jean-Georges, explores the national dish of Korea in a new PBS series that merges culinary adventures with a personal tale.







Korean Adoptee Facing Deportation

8 02 2011

Hyphen Magazine:  Submitted by New America Media on January 21, 2011

http://www.hyphenmagazine.com/blog/archive/2011/01/korean-woman-adopted-infant-facing-deportation-arizona

Here is another case of an adoptee whose parents never naturalized her and who now faces deportation based on a felony conviction.  As many of you are familiar, immigration law dictates that anyone convicted of a felony who is not a citizen can face deportation hearings.  For adoptees, this is an all too familiar story.  Prior to 2001, transnational adoptees had to be naturalized by their adoptive parents.  If their adoptive parents did not, many were forced to retain a green card, some, never had the opportunity to apply for citizenship as adults, and some didn’t even know about their status until they were adults.

This raises two interesting discussions.  First, it highlights how transnational adoptees are immigrants.  For instance, where does this politically situate the adoptee within current discussions on immigration?  Second, it makes you wonder what one would do if they were deported to their birth country of which they knew nothing about, and could not speak the language.  This is precisely what this adoptee is now faced with.

Even the Korean government acknowledges this striking human condition and ask for amnesty allowing for her to stay in the U.S. since she does not speak Korean, nor does she have any connections her birth country.  For more discussion regarding this issue, I invite you to check out another blog which chronicles these such stories.

http://adopteeimmigrant.blogspot.com/2011/01/korean-woman-adopted-as-infant-facing.html





“My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it”

8 02 2011

I’m finally back after a bit of a hiatus.

My sister sent me an article detailing a recent statement issued by Maine’s governor LePage.  For the full article, please go to the New York Times’ link by clicking here.

The NAACP invited governor LePage multiple times to the Martin Luther King Jr. day celebrations set to kick off on Monday in Bangor, Maine.  Citing several other engagements that day, stated that he would not be attending.  Let’s take a look at what he had to say.

“He also said the N.A.A.C.P. officials should “look at my family picture,” pointing out that he has an adopted son who is black.

“My son happens to be black, so they can do whatever they’d like about it,” he told a reporter for WGME-TV. “The fact of the matter is there’s only so many hours in a day, so many hours in a week, and so much that you can do.””

His first remark is strikingly familiar.  How many times have you heard someone respond to claims that they are racist with the phrase, “But I have Black friends.”  Not only did he stoop to this level, but he did so off the back of his transracially adopted African American son.

But wait, it gets better…

After being criticized for ignoring the NAACP, the governor said:

““Tell them to kiss my butt,” adding, “If they want to play the race card, come to dinner; my son will talk to them.””

Not only does the governor show a blatant lack of respect to the NAACP, but he once again attempts to claim innocence through is son.

But wait, surely those in his office will attempt to right the ship after his biting words…

“Mr. LePage’s spokesman, Dan Demeritt, later released a statement reiterating that the governor’s decision about the events was not about race. “This is about a special interest group taking issue with the governor for not making time for them,” the statement said, “and the governor dismissing their complaints in the direct manner people have come to expect from Paul LePage.””

LePage’s office dismisses his behavior as not being based on race…and yet somehow he has made it about race by tokenizing his Black son and attempting to use him as a “get-out-of-jail-free” card from this coming week’s MLK jr. day celebrations.

It’s incredibly disheartening to hear such blatant disregard for the NAACP and the legacy of MLK jr., and disturbing to witness an adoptive parent attempt to dodge responsibility shifting it onto his son.  There is really so much more to say about this, but I will leave that up to my readers to comment.  Happy Reading!  -GS








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