This post is one in a series highlighting the ways our #KAAN2016 Conference, scheduled for June 24-26 in Pittsburgh, PA, provides a wonderful place for education, dialogue, and support for various members of the adoption community.
My name is Margie Perscheid. I’m the adoptive parent of two young adults from Korea, both adopted as infants and now grown.
I’m also a long-time KAAN supporter and attendee, and am proud to say that I’ve attended every KAAN Conference since the first one in Los Angeles in 1999.
HERE’S WHY #KAAN2016 IS A GREAT PLACE FOR YOU
In 1999 when I attended the first KAAN Conference, my kids were just 10 and 8, still in elementary school. KAAN offered a place where I could connect with adoptive parents, adult adoptees, Korean Americans, and other members of the Korean adoption community to learn and build friendships. As my kids grew through childhood and adolescence into young adulthood, KAAN’s ever-evolving programs provided me with education, support and community.
Now that they’re grown and working, what, you might ask, could KAAN offer? A lot!
At the top of the list is contact with adult adoptees. KAAN is adoptee-centric and primarily adoptee-led. Adoptee voices are valued and respected. Adoptee writers, artists, musicians and performers are showcased. Adoptee research is presented. I can think of no other environment in which I can be immersed as I am at a KAAN Conference in the knowledge and talent of incredible adoptees. It is a privilege that no adoptive parent should take for granted.
I also appreciate KAAN’s diversity and inclusiveness. KAAN conferences welcome everyone in the Korean adoption constellation: adoptees of all ages, adopted and non-adopted siblings of adoptees, spouses and partners of adoptees, first parents, adoptive parents and grandparents, adoption agency representatives, and Korean Americans. KAAN also offers a safe and welcoming community for LGBTQ adoptees. Transracial adoptees from the U.S. and countries other than Korea are now an important KAAN constituency.
KAAN Conferences also provide a forum at which difficult and challenging issues can be raised and discussed. Mothers’ rights in Korea, intercountry adoptee citizenship, race and racism in the U.S. are just a few of the topics that form the stuff of KAAN Conference keynote speeches, workshops and after-conference discussions. KAAN Conferences are a meeting place for everyone who cares about adoption justice and ethics.
MY SHORT LIST OF RECOMMENDED SESSIONS Click here for full schedule and details. There are over thirty sessions and support forums, with general sessions open to all adults and adult-adoptee-only sessions in every block. We also offer youth and childcare programming for younger adoptees and siblings or children of adoptees.
In keeping with KAAN’s adoptee-centric focus, inclusiveness and willingness to tackle important issues, I recommend the following sessions to parents of adult adoptees:
Conference Welcome and Opening Keynote (Andy Marra)
A History of Korean Adoptees in the US (Joy Lieberthal LCSW, Hollee McGinnis MSW, PhD candidate)
“You’re Asian, You Don’t Play Football”: A Discussion on Masculinity in Asian America (Benjamin Kim Oser, Noah Sinangil)
LGBTQ Adoptees and Allies: Open Forum (Michael Burdan, Kate Zielaskowski MS, Alex Myung Wager)
Legacies of Korean Adoption on Global Child Welfare (Oh Myo Kim PhD, JaeRan Kim PhD, MSW, LISW)
Intersections of Empowerment: Korean Adoptees & Feminism (Kate Firestone MA)
Recentering Our Conversations About Race (Erica Gehringer, JaeRan Kim PhD, MSW, LISW, Katie Bozek Ph.D., LMFT, Susan Harris O’Connor MSW)
Adoptee Showcase: Author Matthew Salesses/ Reading and Discussion of The Hundred-Year Flood Director/Animator Alex Myung Wager/ Private Screening and Discussion of Arrival
KAAN has evolved over the years, with each conference providing a different view of and into the Korean adoption community. #KAAN2016 is particularly rich in sessions that will make us think, hard, about the adoption experience. These are the very sessions that we parents of adult adoptees need to keep us thinking critically about our children’s experiences.
Join the conversation in Pittsburgh, I promise you’ll enjoy every minute.
I’ll be looking for you at #KAAN2016!