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FY 2010 Annual Report on Intercountry Adoptions (December 2010)

Some highlights:

  • With 863 adoptions, South Korea ranks #4 behind Russia (1,082), Ethiopia (2,513), and China (3,401).
  • California received the highest number of adoptees: 850. The economy must be doing better.
  • The US sent 43 children for adoption, mostly from Florida state (27), and mostly to Canada and the Netherlands.
  • The economy of transnational adoption: agencies charged a high of $62,000 for a Convention adoption.

The Migration Information Source just released a report on Korean Immigrants in the United States.

Some notable findings:

And a notable absence:

  • Not a single mention of whether or not, and how, transnationally adopted Koreans fit into this picture.

I’m interested in this not only because I’m a Korean American immigrant and therefore one body counted in this data, but also because of how it affects and reflects both my personal and professional lives.

Most of my family members are small business owners and have struggled to get, maintain, and use health insurance. More than 1 in 4? That’s a frightening ratio. What the data doesn’t tell you is the actual or estimated physical/medical/mental health needs of said Korean diaspora, and the rate at which we can/not access the necessary resources.

If more than half of Korean immigrants have a bachelor’s degree or higher, what does that mean for our attitudes towards education, libraries, our children’s education, etc? Are we now working in careers that are commensurate with our degrees, expertise, skills? Earning salaries that are on par with our non-Korean immigrant colleagues? And then those 251,000 children – what kind of library services, school media resources, children’s and young adult literature will they need?

And finally, do the Migration Information Source and US Census count transnationally adopted Koreans? Or are they categorized, counted, and analyzed elsewhere? And if so… where? And why?

Former First Lady welcomes adoptees to Seoul

IKAA Gathering 2010 Welcoming Ceremonies photo shoot

Our MT team!

Playing goofy games at MT (Membership Training). GOOD times ^^

2007 Gathering Gala with some pretty awesome ladies

This week I’m attending the IKAA Gathering 2010, which is the 5th overall Gathering (DC, Oslo, Seoul, Seoul, Seoul). I had the privilege of attending in 2007 – what an amazing learning experience. I’m looking forward to listening and learning this time as well.

Being back in Seoul for the first time since 2007 has also been a trip. It seems like Korea changes every year – more and more apartment buildings going up, more and more shopping centers (recession? what recession?), and more and more foreigners walking the streets of Seoul. I’ve always seen white (and a few black) people in Korea and assumed they were probably American military, but now I’m definitely noticing more Southeast Asians. Korea is definitely changing – and yet how much is it not? We may think Korea is becoming more globalized because so many more foreigners live here, but I wonder how easy it is (not) for them to live here.

What hasn’t changed – Korean girls are still wearing high heels everywhere they go. I tried this yesterday, and they weren’t even spiky heels, but oh boy my feet hurt. Cute flip flops for me, thank you very much. Also, the food is as good as ever. Where else can you get 냉면 for w4,000? Some days I’ve had 팥빙수 once after lunch and once after dinner. I know, I know. Rough life.  Public transportation (the subway, buses and taxis) are as accommodating and accessible as ever. Traffic jams aside, I love how it’s so easy to get around Seoul. And one of my FAVORITE things about Seoul – cafes on every single corner. I’m writing this blog entry from a doughnut shop across the street from the Myeong-dong Lotte Department Store – sitting on the second floor, next to a huge window, watching as the people and cars rush down and across the street. I could sit here and stare out the window all day.

Yesterday was awesome on several levels: hung out with my former UCLA TA (Dr. Paul Y. Chang), guest lectured for his class *Social Change in Modern Korea* on the topic of *Transracial Korean Adoption: History, Issues & Representations*, ate 팥빙수 with my dear friend Kyunghee at 청계천 (see image header and read “about the header” on my about page), and had dinner with my cousin Banghee’s family. And then ate 팥빙수 again. Awesome, I tell you.

I gave my website address to Dr. Chang’s students, so I’m posting this entry just to say HELLO to you all! I really enjoyed chatting with you during the break and after class. For more information about transracial Korean adoption, check out the links on the left sidebar (under Adoptee Organizations and Adoptees Speak) or feel free to email me ( with questions.  Study hard and good luck on your finals! ^^

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