Nov
10

Conference 2015 Group Photo by CJ Kim

RCKC's Sixth Annual Conference, "Made in Korea, Assembled in the U.S.: Personal Narratives of Korean Adoptees," was held on Saturday, November 7, 2015 at the Rosenthal Library at Queens College. This conference focused on the experiences of Korean adoptees who grew up in the United States. Eleven presenters from around the U.S. read from personal essays and shared intimate details of their lives with the audience, and approximately 100 people attended the all-day affair.

 This conference was a forum for Korean adoptees to share their individual experiences and to tell their stories on their own terms, and it was very powerful and emotionally stirring. Korean adoptees have been marginalized by the Korean and Korean-American communities for far too long, and we believe that it is important to embrace them as part of the Korean diaspora. There has been too much negative stigma unjustly imposed on Korean adoptees as well as their birth families, who are often pressured into giving up their children for a variety of reasons. Some of these reasons include Korean society persecuting single unwed mothers, ascribing orphan social status to adoptees, and an overall lack of support and resources for families or mothers who have difficulties raising children for whatever reasons.

 We plan on publishing an edited book with the essays presented at the conference as well as essays by a few additional individuals.

We would like to thank the Research Foundation for Korean Community (RFKC) and Queens College for making the conference possible. We would also like to thank Eleana Kim, Mee Hyun Gerstein, the International Korean Adoptee Association (IKAA), and Also-Known-As (AKA) for helping us publicize the call for submission of essays. And last but not least, we would like to thank the presenters for contributing their valuable time and energy in writing wonderful essays and traveling to Queens to participate. Special thanks to Mi Ok Song Bruining for allowing us to use the title of two of her poetry chapbooks as the title of the conference. 

 

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