KAAN Key Volunteer Spotlight: Scottie Allen
Updated: Oct 5
Name: Scottie Allen
Pronouns: She/Her, They/Them
Where do you call home? Milwaukee WI, currently located in Seoul South Korea
What is your volunteer role? ASL Access Coordinator
Tell us a little about yourself. How do you spend your time outside of KAAN?
I was born in Seoul and adopted at 4 months to parents in Washington who had already adopted a boy from Korea. My first visit to Korea was 10 years ago when I was 28 and living in Italy. While I am in reunion with my birth family I do not have regular contact with them. I have been living in Seoul since August 2019. I am a nationally certified ASL/English interpreter who has a mental health qualification and is licensed to do community and K-12 work in the state of Wisconsin. I work for Professional Interpreting Enterprise (PIE) in Milwaukee WI and I'm grateful that they have consistently provided support to me and KAAN. In my free time, I rock climb (bouldering/top/sport) with friends at a local gym or outside. I also find myself down in Chicago for KAtCH (Korean Adoptees in Chicago) events when possible. I enjoy reading, cooking, hiking and playing the ukulele. While in Korea I have also been studying Korean and Korean Sign Language.
In October 2019 I was fortunate enough to go to Seoraksan National Park in Sokcho and hike a few trails during peak color season. This hike was the Ulsanbawi Trail; you can see Ulsanbawi behind me (it looks like a dragons back).
How did you hear about KAAN?
The 2017 KAAN conference had a panelist that requested ASL access. The interpreting world is so small, word eventually got around to me. Because of that panelist, I was able to become a part of the KAAN community.
How did you decide to get involved with KAAN?
Because of the previously mentioned experience, I think KAAN realized they were unintentionally marginalizing some of our own community. Together, we wanted to be proactive in welcoming ASL users to the KAAN community so I came on to coordinate the ASL access and focus on welcoming the Deaf community to KAAN.
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?)
I'm interested in the diversity within the adoption community, perspectives and voices that aren't typically heard from. I'm interested in the injustices that the community has faced and continues to face. I'm also interested in how our experiences as adoptees has shaped our experiences as humans and the self-care that we use to help heal from the trauma of adoption.
What do you love most about the KAAN community?
I appreciate how welcoming this community is. I appreciate how adoptee focused it is but also how it's also family focused. I appreciate how easy it has been to work with KAAN with regards to what ASL access means and how best we can provide that.
What is a fun or random fact people might not know about you?
I studied TaeKwonDo from ages 5-8 and started again when I was 19 and by age 22, I earned my first degree black belt in TaeKwonDo. After I moved to DC for graduate school, I stopped practicing.
Anything else you'd like to share with the KAAN community?
I'm grateful for the support of my Deaf friends, KADs and non-KADs. For the last 18 or so years, they have given me their time and energy so that I could learn how to be a better human, through cultural knowledge, linguistic fluency and personal friendships. I’m also indebted to the many interpreters I’ve worked with over the years, especially the ones who have graciously donated their time and effort towards KAANs goal of providing ASL access.