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BKA At Large, 2016

11/20/2016 10:00 PM | Sarah O'Neill (Administrator)

Blog post coordinated by Becky K. (thanks Becky!).  Post by Becky K., Oh Myo K., Kenny L. and Sarah O.  


Where have we been this year? Everywhere, it seems! It's been a busy 2016 and BKA members are active in the community, attending many Korean and Adoptee related conferences and events. 

International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) Gathering 2016

Dates/Location: August 2-7, 2016 in Seoul, South Korea

Attended by over 25 people from Boston/Massachusetts, including 6 BKA Board members


The IKAA Gathering, held every three years in Seoul, is the largest gathering of adult Korean-born adoptees in the world. This year’s Gathering did not disappoint, offering a vast array of activities from which to choose. It included workshops and tours of Seoul (including an extremely delicious food tour by fellow KAD Daniel Lee Gray and his company ifood Korea), a family program, a day-long film festival featuring films by and about adult adoptees, the Fourth International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies, a leadership development program and a myriad of social and networking events (“Amazing Race” around Seoul! Poker Tournament! Baseball game! Restaurants, bars and karaoke!). 


A big shout out to Oh Myo K. and Jason R., BKA-ers who presented their own original research at the Symposium and to everyone from Boston (and friends) who made the trek to Seoul! A great chance to meet new friends and reconnect with existing ones from all over the KAD community.  




 Korean American Adoptee/Adoptive Family Network (KAAN) Conference

Date/Location: June 23-27, 2016 in Pittsburgh, PA

Attended by Oh Myo K., who also presented on "Legacies of Korean Adoption in Global Child Welfare"


Description: The annual KAAN conference brings together Korean adopted adults and children, their families, and professionals working with the Korean adoption community. There are over 30 panels on such topics as: identity development, race and privilege, birth family search and reunion, etc. There are also social activities, readings, performances, and film screenings. The theme this year was: Widening the Circle.



Adopted Filipinos in the Diaspora: From the Motherland to Otherland

The Filipino American National Historical Society 16th Biennial Conference

Date/Location: June 23, 2016 in New York City, NY

Attended by Kenny L., who also presented


The Filipino Adoptees Network (F.A.N) is a global organization dedicated to supporting, educating and promoting cultural awareness on adoption issues and preserving Filipino heritage. FAN accomplishes this by creating a resource center for Filipino adoptees, offering adoption and cultural connections to related websites, and organizations. The organization also encourage adoptees to explore their heritage as Filipinos by providing a sensitive and nurturing setting and aim strengthen the network of Filipino adoptees and adoptive families by partnering with other adoptees and utilizing community resources.


Kenny has been involved with FAN, BKA Colorado Heritage Camps, and the adoptee community on and off again since 2007.



Harvard Asian Pacific Coalition: Breaking The Bamboo Ceiling Symposium

Date/Location: April 16, 2016 in Cambridge, MA

Coordinated Randy T. (coordinator), and attended by over 10 BKA members and friends


This day-long symposium featured panel discussions and interactive workshops delivered by over 20 Asian and Asian-American leaders. Although Asians are 6% of the American population and growing, they hold 2.5% of law partnerships, 2.4% of Congressional seats, 0.3% of corporate CEO positions, and next to none of the leading roles in sports and media.


The Harvard Students Asian Pacific Coalition (HSAPC) symposium seeks to illuminate the paradox of the bamboo ceiling and work towards professional leadership and change through critical conversations with pioneers in the fields of business, education, activism, medicine, politics, entertainment, and the arts. It was great to attend and see all the work of our very own Randy Tarnowski.

Also-Known-As (AKA) NY Anniversary Celebration

Dates/Location: April 23-24, 2016 in New York City

Attended by 7 people from BKA


Description: This milestone celebration brings together a diverse group of international adoptees from around the globe. The weekend included a musical presentation and panel, social gatherings and many great chances to catch up with friends, culminating in the Saturday night gala celebration.  The gala was a lovely night to celebrate the wonderful accomplishments of a fellow Adoptee group as well as see many friends.





The 10th Annual New York City Asian American Student Conference (NYCAASC): Checkpoints at NYU

Date/Location: April 23, 2016 in New York, New York

Attended by over five people from Boston, three of whom moderated and/or presented


This year’s theme, CHECKPOINTS: Communicating Consciousness, to characterize the collaborative, educational space we are working to build. Workshops discussed issues like state and police violence, A/P/A diaspora, transnational adoption, and know-your-rights training, featuring speakers like the artist Lee Jacob Hilado, activists from 18 Million Rising, scholars from right here at NYU, and many, many more. It was great to hear our very own Nate K., and Lillian and Nora H. on a panel discussing 'how transnational adoptees are making their place in the Asian American narrative.’




7th Annual Conference of the Research Center for Korean Community (RCKC) at Queens College

Date/Location: November 7, 2015 in New York, NY

Attended by three BKA members


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 great opportunity to connect Korean Adoptee experiences in the narrative of Korean American history.


The RCKC is doing a lot of work to document Korean American history and their eagerness to include KAD stories is exciting.




Koreans and Camptowns: Mixed-Race Adoptees and Camptown Connections at University of California, Berkeley

Conference co-hosted by Center for Korean Studies and Me & Korea

Date/Location: September 26, 2015 in Berkeley, California

Attended by Becky K.


This conference was about the camptowns that developed alongside American military bases in Korea before and after the Korean War. It focused on the lives of people who lived in the camptowns and the historical context surrounding the overseas adoption of thousands of mixed-race children. I really enjoyed learning more about the history of the origins of Korea Adoption at this conference as well as seeing friends from my first homeland tour.




Where will we go next year?  Want to join us? Please feel free to reach out if you have interest in attending.  Also... we're also always looking for suggestions for other events for the group to check out in the future.


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