Heidi Lynn Adelsman is a University of Minnesota graduate and a licensed pipe fitter. She is researching and writing about the history of housing and school segregation in Minneapolis, as well as environmental justice in the Twin Cities area. Her writing has appeared throughout Minnesota in various periodicals and newspapers. Adelsman’s interest in transracial adoption stems from her experience in a family at the forefront of transracial adoption in Minnesota the 1960s. Her brother was transracially adopted in 1966, through Lutheran Social Services, where her mother worked. She has one younger brother still living.
Ellen Barry is Founding Director of Legal Services for Prisoners with Children and currently serves as the co-chair of the National Network for Women in Prison. She was awarded a Soros Senior Justice Fellowship and a MacArthur “Genius” Grant for her work on behalf of women in prison. Barry was one of the lead counsels in Shumate v. Wilson, a class action lawsuit challenging horrendous medical conditions faced by California state women prisoners. She has done extensive legislative and policy work around the issue of incarcerated women and their children. Along with 1000 other women worldwide, she was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005 as part of the 1000 Peace Women.
Laura Briggs is an Associate Professor of Women’s Studies and an adoptive parent. She also holds affiliate appointments in History, Anthropology, and Latin American Studies. She received her Ph.D. from Brown University’s Department of American Civilization. She is the author of Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science, and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico and is currently working on a book on transnational and transracial adoption. Some of her other research interests include eugenics, reproductive technologies, and education and technology.
Catherine Ceniza Choy is associate professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. She is the author of Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History (Duke University Press, 2003), and is at work on a book project that focuses on the history of Asian international adoption.
Gregory Paul Choy lived and worked for six years in Minneapolis, MN, where he was an assistant professor of Humanities at the General College of the University of Minnesota and then an assistant professor of English at St. Thomas University in St. Paul. He and co-author Catherine Ceniza Choy have also written “Transformative Terrains: Korean Adoptees and the Social Constructions of an American Childhood,” in The American Child: A Cultural Studies Reader (Caroline Levander and Carol Singley, eds., Rutgers UP, 2003). Currently, he is a visiting assistant professor in the Ethnic Studies department at UC Berkeley, where he teaches courses in Asian American literature.
Rachel Quy Collier was born in Central Vietnam in 1974 and adopted to the United States the following year. She has since lived in both her native and adopted countries, writing, editing, teaching, and doing social work. She now lives in California with her husband and two dogs.
J.A. Dare was born in Busan, South Korea, December 28, 1974 (estimated). He was adopted in 1980 to Virginia, USA. His adoptive parents divorced 6 months after adoption; no relationship was maintained with his adoptive father. He lived with mother until attending college in 1993. Dare earned two B.S. degrees in 1998 from Virginia Tech, as well as an MS in 2004 from California State University- San Jose State University. Has lived/worked in Connecticut, Maine, and California for several engineering companies. Currently lives/works in Germany as an engineer for a German-based multinational corporation. He has backpacked in over 20 countries on 6 continents.
Kim Diehl grew up in Miami, Florida where she currently lives and works. She is a National Organizing Body member of Critical Resistance, a national organization that works to build an international movement to end the Prison Industrial Complex by challenging the belief that caging and controlling people makes us safe. She delights in writing at the beach, playing tennis year round and returning her library books on time.
Kimberly R. Fardy is an Executive Director of Young Women United for Oakland – a social and economic justice organization dedicated to the self-empowerment and determination of young women of color (ages 14-21) living in Oakland’s lowest income neighborhoods and highest-risk blocks. At 23 years old, she is an outspoken activist, stud, visionary, and wordsmith. Originally born in Boston, MA, she has traveled the country to see the conditions her fellow people of color are facing, and currently resides in Oakland, CA. Born to write, she shares her perspectives and knowledge of politics, freedom, love, pain, and history through a mixture of spoken word, rap, poetry, and narrative. Her mission in life is to bring women of color a step closer to liberation.
Laura Gannarelli was adopted from Korea at the age of nine and was brought up in a small Minnesota town. She now lives in Chicago, where she runs her graphic design firm gannarelli: design as strategy. She has also started her own not-for-profit organization Paper Lantern Resource Center to provide resources for parents, teens, and children. The center will help transracial adoptees navigate the unique and challenging circumstances that they face as children and as adults.
Shannon Gibney is a thirty-one-year-old mixed race Black woman adopted domestically by a white family in the United States. A 2005 Bush Artist Fellow, her short story “When They Came to See the Castle” won the 2002 Hurston Wright Award. Gibney’s fiction, nonfiction and poetry have appeared in numerous magazines, newspapers and journals. A graduate of Indiana University’s MFA program in fiction, she edited Indiana Review. Most recently, Gibney was editor of the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder, where she continues to publish numerous news and features stories, as well as reviews. She is currently at work on her novel “Hank Aaron’s Daughter”.
Mark Hagland was born in Korea in 1960, and grew up in Milwaukee, WI. He received his BA in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, then moved to Chicago, where he received his MA in journalism from Northwestern University in 1982. He has lived in Chicago and worked as a professional journalist since then. He writes in a variety of areas, including health care policy and busines. He has a life-partner with whom he has shared 20 years, and a 5-year-old daughter.
Perlita Harris has edited the UK’s first anthology of poetry, art, autobiography, memoir and oral testimony by transracially adopted people. In Search of Belonging: Reflections by Transracially Adopted People was published in May 2006 by the British Association of Adoption and Fostering. Perlita is a social worker who specialised in adoption support. She is currently employed as a lecturer in social work at the University of Bristol. Her research interests include service users views and experiences, particularly Black perspectives and those with personal experience of adoption or being ‘looked after’. Tobias Hübinette (Korean name Lee Sam-dol) is a lecturer at the Department of Oriental Languages, Stockholm University, Sweden, where he received his Ph.D. in Korean Studies in 2005. He received his B.A. in Irish Studies from Uppsala University, and his M.A. in Korean Studies at Stockholm University. He has published books on Swedish National Socialism and Fascism, and is doing research on Korean adoption, adopted Koreans and Korean diasporas, as well as on Western images of Korea and East Asians, problems regarding Orientalism and Asianists, and issues concerning marginalized minorities. His dissertation Comforting an Orphaned Nation is available from Seoul Selection.
Jane Jeong Trenka was born in Seoul 19 years after the “end” of the Korean War, in the American military district of Yongsan. Because of her father’s alcoholism, compounded by a lack of adequate social services in Korea, she and one older sister were sent via Lutheran Social Services to a childless white couple in rural Minnesota in 1972. In 1995, Trenka returned to Korea and was reunited with her family. She didn’t have to search; her Korean mother found her. Trenka is the author of The Language of Blood: A Memoir. She lives in Korea, where she is relearning her first mother tongue.
Sunny Jo is a 30 year old female KAD (Korean ADoptee) writer and activist. She was kidnapped from her birthparents and adopted to Norway at age 18 months and currently resides in Sweden. She was reunited with her birth family in Korea and her biological brother, who was adopted to the USA, in 2000. Sunny Jo is founder and president of Korean @doptees Worldwide an online forum and international organization for KADs. She is also author of the memoir From Morning Calm to Midnight Sun (2005 Truepeny Publishing), co-editor of the Scandinavian KAD anthology Fra det Fjerne Øst til det Hvite Nord – Från det Fjärran Öst till det Vita Nord – Fra det Fjerna Øst till det Hvide Nord: En antologi av skandinaver adoptert as well as author and editor of several other books, articles and collections of adoptee writings. She holds a B.A. in communication from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Sunny Jo may be contacted at: email@example.com or http://www.sunnyjo.info .
Jae Ran Kim was born in South Korea and adopted to Minnesota in 1971. She was 30 years old the first time she ate kimchee. After returning from her second trip to Korea in 2005, she legally changed her name back to her original Korean name. She is currently a Title IV-E Child Welfare Scholar at the University of Minnesota School of Social Work where she is completing her MSW. In addition to her academic life, her poetry, fiction and essays have been published in Korean Quarterly, KoreAm Journal, Minnesota Monthly and Star Tribune. Jae Ran lives in Minneapolis with her partner and two kids.
Anh Ðào Kolbe was born outside Saigon, Vietnam and came to the United States via New York City in 1972. She left two years later and grew up with her Greek and German parents in the Middle Eastern countries of Qatar and Oman, spending a good part of her childhood schooled in the British system. She came back to this country via Boston for college, but didn’t exploit her starving artist talents until after graduation. For a sample of her portfolio, go to http://www.adkfoto.com.
Nathalie Lemoine (Cho Mihee) is a Korean-born French speaker Belgian artist and activist based in Seoul. She is founder of the Euro-Korean League, the first adoptee association in Belgium; co-founder of (EKL-Korea), the first-ever adult adoptee association in Korea and co-founder and first president of Global Overseas Adoptees Link (G.O.A’L). She is a committee member of K.A.A.N. (Korean Adoptee Adoptive family Network), and has initiated workshops on GLTB adoptees, artist adoptees, and adoptees returning to their birth-land. During her 12-year-long stay in Korea, she has helped more than 600 adoptees in their searches. Lemoine’s first film Adoption won first prize at the Brussels Short Film Festival. In March 1996, she organized the first adoptee artist exhibition titled West to East. Soon after, she established the artist groups KameleonZ, Han Diaspora and KimLeePark Productions. In 2000, her first book was published in Korean, titled 55% Korean. Since 2001, she has produced the annual Overseas Korean Artists Yearbook.
Beth Kyong Lo was adopted from Seoul, South Korea in 1975. When not busy chasing around her house full of children or working on her doctoral degree in clinical psychology, she spends her time writing fiction and creative nonfiction. Her work can be found in Colors Magazine, Seeds From a Silent Tree: An Anthology by Korean Adoptees, A View from the Loft, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance and Paj Ntaub Voice. She is currently working on her first novel “Kimchi, Wild Girl.”
Ron McLay was born in Glasgow Scotland in 1961 and adopted at age 6 months by Scottish parents. He migrated to Australia with his adoptive family in 1970. He has worked in the computer industry for many years and is currently working for the Australian Human Rights and Equal Opportunity Commission. He found his Scottish birth mother at 30 and has quite recently found his Kashmiri birth father. He has a 17 year old daughter. He is active in adoptive issues in Sydney and regularly appears as a speaker at workshops for prospective adoptee parents of inter-country children.
Patrick McDermott is a student of Latin American and Latino Studies at Salem State College in Massachusetts. He has presented his research on Salvadoran immigration to the United States at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research and at the David J. Rockefeller Center for Latino Studies at Harvard University. McDermott has worked with Pro-Búsqueda, a San Salvador based NGO that reconnects families separated during the armed conflict in El Salvador. In the United States, he has been active with Central American immigrant organizations. McDermott’s research interests include migration, Mesoamerican anthropology, and Central American history.
Tracey Moffatt was born in Brisbane, Australia in 1960. Of Aboriginal ancestry, she was adopted by a white family and grew up in a predominantly white, working-class suburb. She studied visual communications at the Queensland College of Art, from which she graduated in 1982. She then moved to Sydney, where she continues to live and work. Moffatt first gained critical acclaim for her short film Night Cries: A Rural Tragedy, which was selected for official competition at the 1990 Cannes Film Festival. Her first feature film, Bedevil, was shown in Un Certain Regard at the Cannes Film Festival in 1993. Since her first exhibition in 1989, Moffatt has shown her photographically based art in numerous exhibitions in Australia and abroad.
Ami Inja Nafzger (a.k.a Jin Inja) was adopted from Cheonju, South Korea in 1975 at the age of four and grew up in Wisconsin. She attended Augsburg Lutheran College in Minnesota, graduating in social work, sociology, and Native American Indian Studies. She moved to Korea in 1996 and founded G.O.A.’L. in 1998 where she served as the Secretary General until early 2003. She serves on the boards of the Asian Pacific Cultural Center; Children’s Home Society; Korean Quarterly newspaper; and Dragon Boat Race Festival and was appointed by Governor Tim Pawlenty as the representative for the Asian and Korean communities in Minnesota. She is also in currently establishing a G.O.A.’L. USA chapter, which will serve the 30,000 Asian adoptees in Minnesota.
Kim Park Nelson was born in Seoul, Korea in 1971 and adopted by white parents in St. Paul, Minnesota. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate in the department of American Studies at the University of Minnesota. In her dissertation, Park Nelson positions Korean adoptees at intersections within American race relations, as emblems of U.S.-Korean geopolitical relationships during and after the Cold War, and as empowered actors organizing to control racial and cultural discourses about adoption. Her work is based on Korean adoptee oral histories that she has collected for the past three years. She is currently teaching one of the first college courses on Korean adoption.
Julia Chinyere Oparah, aka Julia Sudbury is a diasporic Igbo woman and member of the Umochoke clan, Owerri, Nigeria. She was born in Edinburgh, Scotland in 1967 and grew up in a multiracial adoptive family in the south of England. She is a professor of Ethnic Studies at Mills College, a women’s liberal arts college in Oakland, California, author of Other Kinds of Dreams: Black Women’s Organisations and the Politics of Transformation [Routledge 1998] and editor of Global Lockdown: Race, Gender and the Prison-Industrial Complex [Routledge 2005]. Oparah is involved in the prison abolitionist, anti-violence and global justice movements and is a co-founder of Sankofa, a support group for transracial adoptees in the San Francisco Bay Area.
John Raible is a biracial adoptee of African American, English, Irish, French, and Norwegian descent. After living with an African American foster family for several years, he was adopted in 1962. John hosts a web site (John Raible Online), which offers transracial adoption support and information. Raible answers questions posted on the web site of the New York State Citizens’ Coalition for Children on their “Ask the Experts” page. He is the adoptive father of two African American sons adopted from foster care. Raible holds a master’s degree in multicultural education, and plans to complete work on his doctorate at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2004.
Dorothy Roberts is Kirkland & Ellis professor at Northwestern University School of Law, with appointments in Sociology, African-American Studies, the Institute for Policy Research, and the Joint Center for Poverty Research. She received her B.A. from Yale College and her J.D. from Harvard Law School. Roberts has written and lectured extensively on the interplay of gender, race, and class in legal issues concerning reproduction, motherhood, and child welfare. She is the author of the award-winning Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare (Basic Civitas Books, 2002) and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty (Pantheon, 1997), as well as casebooks on constitutional law and women and law.
Sun Yung Shin was born in Seoul in 1974, 21 years after the Korean War Armistice. According to the Holt Agency, she was abandoned at the Shinkyo Police Station. She lived at an orphanage and then a foster home before being adopted in 1975 by a white American couple that had already adopted a white American male newborn. In 1978 she became a naturalized U.S. citizen and her name and photograph were featured in a high school social studies textbook under “Immigration”. She is the author of Skirt Full of Black, a book of poems, and Cooper’s Lesson , an illustrated children’s book in Korean and English. Shin has returned to Korea twice. Currently she lives in Minneapolis where she teaches literature and writing.
Kirsten Hoo-Mi Sloth was born in Korea in 1973 and adopted to Denmark at the age of about 9 months. She holds a MA in Political Science and works as a project manager in a market research company in Copenhagen. Since 1999 she has been in the board of the Danish association of Korean adoptees, Korea Klubben.
Soo Na lived in Corea for six years before her migration through adoption to North America. Soo Na’s life work includes working at unclotting the throat and loving without exploitation. Currently, she lives in the Republic of Corea, where she is working on a video and writing project. By day she is a teacher. She received her B.A. from Hampshire College.
Shandra Spears is an actor, singer and writer who has performed or read throughout North America. Her poetry and scholarly works have been published in Native women’s anthologies and journals, most recently the special Native edition of the Atlantis Women’s Studies Journal (v. 29.2). Other pieces have been published in Sankofa News and Tansi Magazine. Spears has an Honours B.A. in Drama and Communication Studies, and teaches in the Assaulted Women and Children’s Counsellor/Advocate Program at George Brown College. She is Ojibway, a member of Rainy River/Manitou Rapids First Nations and a member of the Wolf clan. Raised in Chatham, Ontario, she now makes her home in Toronto.
Sunny Jo is 30 year old female KAD (Korean ADoptee) writer and activist. She was kidnapped from her birthparents and adopted to Norway at age 18 months and currently resides in Sweden. She was reunited with her birthfamily in Korea and her biological brother, adopted to the USA, in 2000. Sunny Jo is founder and president of Korean @doptees Worldwide (K@W), an online debate and information forum about KAD issues. She is also author of the memoir From Morning Calm to Midnight Sun (2005 Truepeny Publishing), and author and editor of several books, articles and collections of adoptee writings. She holds a B.A. in communication from Simon Fraser University in British Columbia, Canada. Sunny Jo may be contacted at: http://www.sunnyjo.info.
Kekek Jason Todd Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) is a Bush Leadership Fellow and third year law student at Hamline University School of Law. He has also served as an Indian Child Welfare Act Court Monitor for the Minneapolis American Indian Center.
Heidi Kiiwetinepinesiik Stark (Turtle Mountain Ojibwe) is a Ford Foundation Fellow and a Doctoral Candidate in American Studies at the University of Minnesota. She received her B.A. in American Indian Studies at the University of Minnesota.
Sandra White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota and currently lives in St. Paul, Minnesota. She has three children and three grandchildren. She is the co-founder and Director of First Nations Orphan Association. White Hawk is a spokesperson on the impact of adoption and the foster care system on First Nations People, and has traveled internationally sharing her inspirational story of healing. She is also a traditional dancer and participates in pow wows across the US and Canada. White Hawk was named one of the “50 Most Influential and Cool People of Madison, WI,” in Madison Magazine, November 2002 and was honored with the Outstanding Native Women award from the University of Minnesota 2003.
Indigo Williams Willing OAM is the founder of Adopted Vietnamese International. She was a 2003 Rockefeller Fellow studying adoptees for the “(Re)constructing Identity and Place in the Vietnamese Diaspora”, program at The William Joiner Center for the Study of War and Social Consequences, UMASS, Boston. She is continuing her research on transnational adoption for her doctoral studies at The University of Queensland focusing on new constructions of identity and belonging.
Bryan Thao Worra was born in Vientiane, Laos in January 1973, and was adopted by an American pilot. One of the most widely published Laotian writers, his work has appeared in the anthology Bamboo Among the Oaks, as well as Whistling Shade, Urban Pioneer, Unarmed, Asian Pacific Journal, Journal of the Asian American Renaissance, and Quarterly Literary Review Singapore, among others. He currently resides in Saint Paul, Minnesota.
Jeni C. Wright is a resident of Philadelphia, where she is an Independence Foundation fellow for an organization assisting senior citizens. She has been writing since age seven and has the diaries and journals to prove it. She grew up in a very loving household in Massachusetts, with her parents Bob and Mary, her brother Benjy, adopted from Vietnam, her sister Mary-Anna, who was adopted from Catholic Charities in Plymouth, MA, and her sister Katherine. Jeni can be reached at wright. jeni @gmail.com
Special thanks to Bryan Thao Worra for creating the videos!