Name: Rachel Hye Youn Rupright
Gender Pronouns: She/Her/Hers
Where do you call home? Albany, NY
Tell us a little about yourself. How do you spend your time outside of KAAN?
In my other lives, I work for our state health department on cancer prevention and am proud to work in public health right now. I also serve on the Board of Directors for a regional non-profit that connects fresh produce and green spaces to our urban neighborhoods. Last year, my husband and I adopted a little boy, so every day has been an adventure being a parent! I also love to garden -- which means around this time of year I’m cursing the bunnies for eating my vegetable plants!
What is your role on the Advisory Council?
I’m currently the Assistant Director, which means supporting the Executive Director and the Advisory Council in a variety of ways. For several years until now, I only volunteered with the conference programming and speakers. Yet, with this new “promotion” and the 2020 conference cancelled, I’m finding my way with KAAN as an organization in terms of finances, communications, internal capacity, relationship building, and strategic planning.
How did you hear about KAAN? How did you decide to get involved in the AC?
One night many years ago, I stumbled upon a Deann Borshay documentary on POV. It was the first time I’d ever watched anything like it and immediately fell into the rabbit hole of the internet and found KAAN. At the time, KAAN’s upcoming conference wasn’t too far of a drive. And then, at some point I volunteered to help out and here I am.
How many KAAN conferences have you attended?
A few… and was bummed Denver2020 didn’t happen!
What issues/topics related to adoption are you most interested in? (e.g., What types of topics have you presented on or attended at previous KAAN conferences?)
My interest in issues/topics at KAAN has evolved as I, myself personally evolve. When I initially found KAAN, I hardly knew any other Korean adoptees. I didn’t have language or knowledge about things like birth search, returning to Korea, and identifying as Asian American -- and I was really drawn to learning everything I could. As years have passed and now especially as an adoptive parent, my interests have now shifted to gaining the tools I need to raise a child of color (with my husband, who is white), understanding the context of adoption, the greater experiences of our community, plus owning and articulating my own adoption story. In addition, because I’m involved in the programming, it’s important for me to ensure there is something for everyone at KAAN -- which is intentional with this organization -- so I’m also interested in finding the breadth and depth of issues/topics that our community needs and wants.
What do you love most about the KAAN community?
I find a lot of home and comfort in our Korean adoption community, as well as look to our community as genuine place for my own personal growth and learning. Many of us who spiraled in our own orbit for so long can now find a space with each other. And, because I didn’t grow up with racial mirrors or mentors, let alone adoptee mirrors and mentors, I love meeting and am inspired by my fellow adoptees as artists, parents, writers, business owners, immigrants, healers, queer, entrepreneurs, students, advocates, people of color, and researchers.
What a fun or random fact people might not know about you?
I love Brown Sugar Pop Tarts!