Archive for March, 2011

Via Slant Eye for the Round Eye

Please bear with me as I indulge some of my personal rants. Specifically, please be patient as I vent about the largest adoption agency in the lovely state of Minnesota.

My name is Kevin, and I’m what some call a KAD – Korean adoptee. Yes, I’m Asian. Yes, I’m Korean. Yes, I’m transracial. Yes, I love me some kimchi. And, no, strange girl from UCLA who opted to go off on Asian students, I don’t talk on the phone in the library.

I’m also a recovering “agency person” as well. A few years ago I worked for the largest adoption agency (as well as the second largest agency) in Minnesota.

Here begins my story . . .

During my time with this agency, I was a part of the team that recruited new, potential adoptive parents. I even worked with adoptive parents after they finalized their adoption to recruit other adoptive parents! It was fantastic. I was pretty good at my craft. Not as great as Blake from Glengarry Glen Ross, but I was a “closer.” Let’s just put it this way. There was a demand for a particular “product” and I helped meet that demand. Heck, I would go as far as to say that I even helped create a need for this demand.


Wow, I want to say, “So now we know,” but some of us have always known.  I hope to hear more from Kevin in the future.

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Charlie (Lisa) posted some info in my comments.  I’m moving it here, plus adding a little from their website.

Thank you for your words!

I am the Vice President of Korean Adoptees of Hawai’i (KAHI).

I am working on a Research Project on transnational adoptees and their American parents. Please visit our website to find out more about this study, access the surveys, or send requests to be interviewed:


Or follow us on Facebook:
to http://www.facebook.com/Stories.Adoptee.Parent

Of access our on-line (anonymous) survey for adult transnational adoptee (age 18+) by clicking on:

From their website:

We are a mother-daughter team of researchers. Lisa (daughter) is full Korean by birth; she holds both a BA (American University of Paris) and an MA (University of Washington) in International Studies, with focus on Korean Studies, and currently lives in Hawaii, on the island of Oahu. Karen (mother) holds a Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology from Northwestern University and lives with her second husband (Navajo by birth) in a rural community in the northeast corner of Arizona, on the Navajo Nation.

Our mother-daughter adoptive relationship has been complex. Although we have worked through many of the challenges that have faced us, we’ve done so “by the seat of our pants,” experimenting along the way and often feeling quite lonely and confused in the process. Together, we have become interested in other transnational adoptive family relationships, in part because ours has at times been strained. Like many transnational adoptees, Lisa has needed to explore issues related to her identity as an adoptee, as an Asian, and as a Korean American. Like many white adoptive parents, Karen’s “color-blind” point of view tended to minimize the significance of race and racism in American society; she thought that “love would be enough.” Our differences in perspective have sometimes felt like a major chasm. Until recently, we assumed our experiences were unique, shaped by circumstances particular to us. The research literature suggests, however, that many of the issues that we faced are quite common among families that include children who were adopted transracially and transnationally (e.g., Freundlich and Lieberthal 2000; Pertman 2009). Barb Lee’s poignant film, Adopted (2007), captures the sense of deep loss that both adult transnational adoptees and their adoptive parents feel when this chasm has not been bridged.

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Insomnia decided to pay a visit.


Random thoughts popping off like little flares in the back of my mind.

Behind at work, always behind.  How do I even begin to catch up?

Date on Saturday?  Do I really want to go?  Not really.  I feel like being a hermit this weekend.

Time to spring clean again.

Before anything, need to spend time with the kids.  *sigh*  I miss the days when I could spend all day with them.  Would be nice to check out the Korean restaurant and pick up some supplies from the Asian grocer.

I miss NC.

Wonder how my parents are doing.

Wonder if I should start looking for Ma’ again.

The Vietnam Vet I spoke to today said I should keep trying.  He told me stories.  They always have stories.  I was more interested than I let show.  Hearing their memories strikes a chord with me these days.

Still kind of freaked out about the guy who approached me to ask me if I was from Vietnam.  He broke down into tears, grabbed me in a big bear hug and then drug me by the arm to his wife.  “She’s from Vietnam,” he exclaimed, “Isn’t she beautiful!”  He hugged me, held on and just sobbed on my shoulder.  Not sure of how to react, I hugged him back.  It seemed to be what he needed.  I looked at his wife curious as to her reaction.  She was looking at her husband and smiling sympathetically.  She looked into my eyes and mouthed, “Thank you.”

So there I was standing in the middle of a department store with an older, African American Vietnam Vet whom I’d never met before clinging to me and sobbing like a child.  I suppose I should have felt awkward.  Maybe I did and just don’t remember.  But he’d reached out to me for some reason.  If all he needed was a little human kindness, who was I to deny him something so simple?

He took my cheek in his hand and whispered, “May you have a good life, child.”  As I watched the couple walk away, I wondered about his story.  I wondered about all their stories.

My perceptions of the men who had occupied my birth country have been shaped by my adoptive father and my early childhood experiences – and not many of them in a positive way.  Perhaps it is something to re-examine.


It’s going to be a long day.

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