2014 Twin Cities Newsbriefs (Click here for: National + International Newsbriefs)

Hanyang Performing Arts orchestra concert set 

A performing arts group consisting of members of the Hanyang Performing Arts orchestra and the National Orchestra of Korea will perform at the University of Minnesota Twin Cities campus in a free event October 31. 

The concert is cosponsored by the University’s Department of Asian Languages and Literature and Allthatstory, a Korean marketing firm. The Hanyang orchestra plays traditional music using traditional instruments, while the National Orchestra uses a blend of Korean and Western music. 

The concert is free, but reservations are required. For more information closer to the event, check the University of Minnesota events website at:

Planetary Adoption mail art project 

A display of mailed-in art on the topic of adoption will be shown at upcoming international adoption-related events this fall. 

The Planetary Adoption project is a grassroots, un-juried art collection of art pieces, sponsored by AdopSource on the theme of adoption, sent to the exhibit through the U.S. postal service.  The artwork must be by adoptees, on the theme of adoption, and between 3.5 X 5 inches or 6 X 1, and mailed like a postcard to qualify.  Extra postage may apply.   It can be in the form of a drawing, painting, photo, poem or other media.  The mail art project is open to adoptees everywhere.  

The mail art received by September 1 will be displayed on opening night of Middle Brother, a play by Eric Sharp about a Korean adoptee who meets his birth family in Korea. Middle Brother will premiere at the Southern Theater, Minneapolis September 12, and run through September 28. 

AdopSource will continue to accept pieces through October 1 to be displayed during the Minnesota Transracial Film Festival, an annual November festival of films by and about transracial adoptees. 

Art should be mailed to:  AdopSource, P.O. Box 18435, Minneapolis, MN 55418.  See the Facebook site on the Planetary Adoption project for updates. 

How to be a Korean Woman returns for one night 

Sun Mee Chomet’s one-woman play How to be a Korean Woman will return to Minneapolis for one night only on August 17, 7 p.m., at the Sabes Jewish Community Center, Sunday, August 17 at 7 p.m. 

The play was first staged at Dreamland Arts, and last year had three sold-out engagements, including one run at the Guthrie Theater’s Dowling Studio.  

Chomet has worked with numerous Twin Cities theater companies including the Guthrie (The Burial at Thebes, Macbeth, The Intelligent Homosexual, The Two Gentlemen of Verona, After 100 Years) and has acted in theaters nationwide.  How to be a Korean Woman has received a Top Ten Shows of 2012 award and a Best New Script award from the Star Tribune, and Chomet was chosen as one of City Pages 2008 Artists of the Year. 

The play uses text, music, and movement to explore themes of motherhood, sisterhood, family, and the longing to know one’s past.  It tracks the adventures of one Korean adoptee woman as she is reunited with several women of her birth family.  Tickets are $18, $15 for JCC members, and can be reserved by emailing:, or phone:  952-381-3499.

Korean language school 

The Korean American Association of Minnesota (KAAM) will start a Korean language school this fall. The class, intended for all age groups, age 6 to adult, and all levels of Korean language background. Classes will meet September 7 through December 21, every Sunday from 2 to 4 p.m. Registration starts August 18. Classes will be held at the Korean Service Center, 2417 Larpenteur Ave. W., St Paul.  Tuition is $120/student ($100 for a second student). Contact:  763-560-0404, or a staff member of the school at 763-202-2557

Minnesota Korean American Youth Council forming 

The Korean American Association of Minnesota (KAAM) is forming a youth council of middle school and high school level students for the organization. For more information, contact:,  phone: 763-560-0404.

Celebrating 8.15 National Liberation Day  

KAAM will commemorate the anniversary of National Liberation in Korea, on Friday, August 15 with an event including a dinner, speaker and performances. 

The day is known as 8.15 or Gwangbokjeol (literally Restoration of the Light in South Korea, and in North Korea, the anniversary is called Jogukhaebangui nal or the Liberation of the Fatherland).  

The event is open to the public, and will be held at Church of All Nations, 4301 Benjamin St. NE, Columbia Heights, from 5:30 to 8 p.m.  For more information on cost or reservations, call 763-503-2600.

KAAM golf tournament

A golf tournament to benefit the Korean American Association of Minnesota (KAAM) will held Saturday, August 16, 1 to  p.m. at the Logger’s Trail Golf Course, 11950 80th St. N., Stillwater.

Admission to the tourney is $75 (dinner included). To register, contact: Jaewon Kim 612-220-0683  or Hyungho Han 612-275-6692. To reserve, send admission fee to Jaewon Kim, 11219 Sundance Way, Woodbury,  MN 55129

KAAM annual athletic event set 

The Korean American Association of Minnesota (KAAM) will hold its annual athletic event with events in soccer, volleyball, dodgeball and foot volleyball on September 20 at the Coon Rapids Soccer Complex, 1705 111th Avenue,  Coon Rapids. Various participation fees apply, from $100 per event (except $200 for soccer), to $400 for all.  For times of events or more information, contact the office at 763-560-0404 or

Seventh annual anti-human trafficking youth conference set

The seventh annual Anti-Human Trafficking Youth Conference will be held August 1 through August 2 (overnight) at Comstock Hall at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities campus.

End Slavery Now (ESN) is a youth-led anti-human trafficking organization sponsored by the Korean Service Center. ESN develops youth leaders to serve as experts in the anti-human trafficking movement. Members work in an advocacy role to stop the international criminal industry of human trafficking and to spread awareness statewide. 

Comstock Hall is at 210 Delaware St. SE, Minneapolis, 55455. For more information on how to get involved, see the Facebook page of End Slavery Now, or contact the Korean Service Center, at 612-342-1344. 

Hanji Crew holds fall events 

The Hanji Crew will hold fall papermaking events for all abilities, including beginner level, to learn and take home original Korean paper art.  Cost of projects varies depending on size and complexity.  The Hanji Crew also makes its own crafts, which 

are then sold with the proceeds going to organizations serving Korean adoptees. 

Dates will include August 4, September 8, and October 25 at Korean Heritage House, 681 North Snelling Ave. For more information, contact:  Please join us! 

AK Connection holds summer picnic

AK Connection will hold its Annual Summer Picnic on Saturday, August 30.

The event will be held at the Brookview Park Picnic Shelter in Golden Valley, MN.  Korean food provided at 5 p.m. for members and their families.  To sign up or for more information, contact

Pizza garden cooks this summer, will be perfectly done in the fall 

A partnership between a local pizzeria and a middle school, if tended carefully throughout the summer, will result in some lessons in science, math, health, and produce a few pizzas too. 

Ann Kim, proprietor and chef of Pizzeria Lola in Minneapolis responded to a request from the brother of one of her restaurant managers, a special education teacher at Anthony Middle School, located about a mile and a half from the popular south Minneapolis pizza spot. 

“He thought it would be great to have a garden for the school and use it as an educational tool. He thought there was a lot of connections you could make with science and math, and biology,” she said. To lend some help to get it started, Pizzeria Lola held a fundraiser in the spring, and 25 percent of a night’s revenue went to funding the garden. “We were still short, so we just decided to fund the whole thing, because they wanted to break ground this season,” Kim explained. 

The pizzeria’s involvement will not end with the funding.  They want to help with a program through which “the things they grow we could use here, either in a pizza or we could create some specials with them. The kids can see the idea full circle, from seeing the vegetables grow, to cooking with them and eating them.” 

The group broke ground this spring and planted six raised beds, in the shape of a pizza. They planted herbs, peppers, tomatoes, onions, garlic and squash, which will yield vegetables that can be harvested in the summer and fall.  Pizzeria Lola supplied a pizza break for the volunteers who built the garden beds, shoveled in a mountain of topsoil, and planted starter plants. For the summer, a cadre of volunteers has been assembled to water and tend  the garden. Starting in September,  the students will take over garden duty. 

Pizzeria Lola, in South Minnea-polis, serves pizza and other items inspired by seasonal and local foods, and offers a few Korean fusion items, such as a kimchi pizza and a bulgogi barbecue pizza, its top selling item. 

Connect-A-Kid needs adult mentors 

AK Connection and Connect-A-Kid are partnering to bring a mentoring program to Minnesota. The program strives to match mentors with adopted children and tij

The Connect-A-Kid team wants 

to help mentors partner with 

and support adopted children 

and their families in your local area. Parents also benefit from mentors as a resource and their children look to their mentors as a special friend. 

We need teams of four adult mentors to begin this program. The more teams, the better and the more kids we can reach. To join, visit and complete the application, interview with the director of mentor recruiting and join a team. 

A $35 background check is required and is refunded by AK Connection upon successful acceptance into the mentor program.  AK Connection is a Twin Cities based organization of adult Korean adoptees, and has a website at: 

Adoptee night at the Twins 

AK Connection will join the Mixed Roots Foundation for the Second Annual Adoptee Night at the Twins on Friday, August 15.

The Mixed Roots Foundation is a organization to leverage philanthropy and grassroots fundraising to provide more quality and quantity of post-adoption resources for adoptees and their families through support for adoption community resource organizations.

A pregame reception will be held at 4:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. at Hubert's Bar and Grill at the Target Field Plaza. Game time is 7:10 p.m. Tickets are available at or on its Facebook site. 

Minneapolis hosts national Korean adoptee-adoptive family conference

The annual conference of Korean adoptees and their families that travels the county will be held in Minneapolis in June. 

The  Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network (KAAN) will be held at the Doubletree by Hilton, Minnea-polis, June 27 through 29 and will offer more than 30 sessions on a variety of topics for Korean adoptees and their families, including spouses, parents, and children of Korean adoptees. 

Conference presentations are designed to introduce important topics involving growing up Korean and adopted, dealing with adult life as a transnational and transracial adoptee, and the challenges of bringing up Korean adoptee children. There are sessions for adoptees only, a children’s program and sessions designed specifically for teens. There are also presentations designed for adoptive parents. 

The conference also includes special dinners, a performance by Minneapolis singer songwriter (and Korean adoptee) Mayda, and a premiere screening of the film Approved for Adoption, which is distributed for educational purposes by the Twin Cities-based and Korean-adoptee-powered non-profit Rainbow World.  There will also be a performance of the one-woman play How to be a Korean Woman, an autobiographical birth search and reunion story by Twin-Cities-based actor/playwright (and Korean adoptee) Sun Mee Chomet. 

The national community of Korean adoptees and adoptive families has aged since the first KAAN conference in 1998, and has built up a depth and breadth of experience. Some of the conference sessions attest to that experience, including one on how one’s definition of family changes after reuniting with birth family, and another about how having adopted children changes the experiences of being a parent-in-law and a grandparent. One session will address how adoptees can deal with the loss of adoptive parents and how that fits in with the initial loss of birth parents by an adoptee. 

Conference presenters will also discuss the work of adoptee-led organizations in Korea, such as the work of the Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link (GOA’L) in assisting adult adoptees with legal issues of working or going to educational programs in Korea, including the various issues of the dual citizenship law. 

Since 1999, KAAN has provided annual conferences in the U.S. or Korea. In addition to Korean adoptees and their families, the annual event also draw Koreans and Korean Americans, social workers, adoptees from other backgrounds, emerging artists, writers, and leaders from throughout the national adoption community. 

For registration and hotel information and details of the conference closer to the event date, see the website:

Shin named as recipient of McKnight Fellowship 

Poet Sun Yung Shin of Minneapolis was named as a recipient of the 2014 McKnight Artist Fellowships in Poetry/Spoken Word.  Two other poets and one children’s writer also received the prestigious local literature award. 

The fellowships are judged by prominent American authors and editors, and the winners, all from Minnesota, are awarded $25,000 each.  The recipients were chosen from a field of 108 qualified Poetry/Spoken Word applications and 27 qualified Children’s Literature applications.


Shin’s books include Rough, and Savage; Skirt Full of Black; Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption; and Cooper’s Lesson.  She edits the online literary journal This Spectral Evidence and lives in Minneapolis.


Other recipients included Sierra DeMulder and Danez Smith for the poetry/spoken word award, and Carolyn Williams-Noren for the single children’s literature award.  Sierra DeMulder is a two-time National Poetry Slam champion and the author of The Bones Below and New Shoes On A Dead Horse. She is currently studying English at the University of Minnesota.  Danez Smith, of St. Paul,  placed 6th at the 2011 Individual World Poetry Slam, and is the 2013 Rustbelt Midwest Regional Slam Champion.

The fellowship program is administered by the Loft Literary Center in Minneapolis, and funded by the McKnight Foundation. 

Linda Sue Park receives children’s literature award

A luncheon and award ceremony was held recently at the University of Minnesota to honor two winners of the 2014 Kerlan Award: Linda Sue Park and Russell Friedman.   


The Kerlan Award is given in recognition of singular attainments in the creation of children’s literature and in appreciation of the generous donation of unique resources to the Kerlan Collection for the study of children’s literature.   It is sponsored through the Children’s Literature Research Collections of the University of Minnesota Libraries


Linda Sue Park is an award-winning author of poetry, picture books, and novels for children and young adults. She received the Newbery Medal in 2002 for her novel A Single Shard. Her stories have contributed to the understanding of Korean history and diasporic culture of young readers.

Workshop set for adults dealing with  teen and tween adoptees set 

A workshop entitled What I Would Tell You if I Could Find the Words will be presented in both Minnesota and Illinois by the non-profit Gift of Identity Fund.  The Minnesota workshop will be held in St. Cloud on Saturday April 26; the Illinois workshops will be Saturday, May 3 in central Illinois and Saturday, May 17 in Downer’s Grove (Chicago).

The workshop is targeted for adults raising teen or pre-teen international adoptees or teachers or other adult leaders who deal with this group.  It will cover issues including fitting in, relationships with birth families and adoptive families, adoptee loyalty, poverty, understanding their background, abandonment and self-worth issues, among others. 

The workshop will include personal sharing and thoughts from international adoptees, and suggestions on how to create a strategy to strengthen the relationship with an international adoptee child through these important years. 

The cost is $10 per person, with all proceeds going to the Gift of Identity Fund, which provides grants to international adoptees visiting their birth country with the goal of helping them understand identity, heritage and culture.  For more information, see the website: 

Spice and Slice of Asia programs coming to area libraries

Programs for children and all ages will be held in area libraries as part of the ongoing Spice and Slice of Asia program during Asian Heritage Month, officially celebrated in May.  The program will include a session on India at Augsburg Park Library and  a demonstration of Circus Manduhai, a Mongolian circus, at Ridgedale Library, both on Saturday, May 3; a teaching session entitled Lucky Lion and Red Ribbons, at which participants (K through sixth grade) will learn an acrobatic trick and a ribbon dance at Sumner Library on Tuesday, May 6; a make-your-own Japanese art print Saturday, May 10 at Penn Lake Library; Origami Fun at Penn Lake Library on Saturday, May 17; a performance of the pan-Asian Iny Dance Theater on Saturday, May 17 at North Regional Library; and a demonstration of Hmong Dance by the Qeej Performers on Saturday, May 24 at the Brookdale Library. 

For times and other details, call Erica Skinner, Hennepin County Library communications manager at 612-543-8518, or check the schedule at the library website:  

Four-part film series to launch

Two local organizations representing the interests of adult adoptees will sponsor a four-part film series to begin in January.  Films will be shown at the Trylon Microcinema, 3258 Minnehaha Ave., Minneapolis. 

The first film, Operation Babylift, by Tammy Nguyen Lee, will be screened Thursday, January 30, 7 p.m.  The film series is jointly sponsored by AdopSource and Gazillion Voices. 

Operation Babylift is a documentary that tells the story of U.S. government initiative to airlift 2,500 Vietnamese orphans out of Vietnam during the waning days of the Vietnam War.  The film looks at the significance of this event through the eyes of the adults who were once the orphans in the airlift.  The film will be followed by a post-screening discussion facilitated by Adam Chau, a Vietnamese American adoptee. 

The Ghosts of Jeju, by Regis Tremblay, will be screened Thursday, February 13.  This documentary describes the continuing resistance by the ordinary people of Jeju Island, joined by activists and Catholic Church and other religious leaders, to the construction of a naval base which will be used to berth nuclear destroyer submarines.  The story is told in the context of the American presence in South Korea after World War II.  The people of the village who are peacefully protesting this base are being arrested, jailed, fined, and sometimes injured, for their resistance to a project that will destroy their natural environment and their way of life.  The film also shows the spirit of the villagers and supporters, who have not lost hope despite overwhelming odds.

On Thursday, March 13, 7 p.m., the event will include, several short films by and about adoptees, with  a post-screening discussion. On Thursday, April 24, the documentary Resilience, by Tammy Chu, will be screened.  The film describes the reunion of an adult Korean adoptee  from North Dakota with his birth mother in Korea, on a Korean TV show specializing in reunions, and later in person,  after a separation of almost 30 years.  Unable to communicate, the mother and son, along with other family members, struggle to become a family again. 

Tickets are limited and can be purchased in advance through the Trylon website: AdopSource is a non-profit resource and service organization for and by adoptees in Minnesota. Gazillion Voices is an online magazine representing the interests of the adoptee community.  For more information about the film series, see the AdopSource website: 

Korean Culture Day showcases Korean Heritage House offerings

By Libby Pomroy

Friends of Korean Heritage House (KHH) gathered on December 7 as Consul General Sang-il Kim presented a grant to KHH founder Brooke Jee-in Newmaster to support activities that celebrate Korean culture.  The funding was used for costumes and props, traditional drums, Korean language books and other supplies for the KHH and Jang Mi Traditional Dance and Drum. 

The free event was held at a nearby St. Paul school, and included a performance by Jang Mi Korean Dance and Drum, culminating with the premiere of a five-drum dance made possible with the purchase of additional painted buk drums.  The standing-room-only crowd of 300+ was treated to a Korean fashion parade featuring many new pieces purchased with the grant including traditional bride and groom attire and a spectacular queen’s costume.  

The Korean Culture Day also included kids’ activities, a high-quality photo booth where subjects could have their photos taken in traditional Korean hanboks, Korean paper art (hanji) projects, and a Korean market.  Event participants had the opportunity to learn about other Korean-related groups in the Twin Cities as well.  The event culminated with a reception featuring Korean snacks.

Korean Heritage House, located at 681 N. Snelling Ave, houses the non-profit Korean Cultural Association, which promotes Korean cultural education and activities in the Twin Cities, such as guest speakers, craft classes and cooking workshops.  Jang Mi Korean Dance and Drum is a performing group, and with Newmaster as artistic director, holds lessons in Korean traditional dance and percussion forms for all ages. 

More information can be found at

Film festival, conference focuses on adoptee discovery and advocacy

By Bill Drucker

St. Paul-Minneapolis was a very happening place on the weekend of November 15 and 16 with two events at which adoptees took center stage.  The fifth annual Minnesota Transracial Film Festival (MNTRFF) was held Friday evening and the all-day Adoption Reform Conference (APRC), took place on Saturday in the John B. Davis Lecture Hall at Macalester College.

The MNTRFF, held this time at the Parkway Theater in Minneapolis, was initiated in 2009 by the Twin Cities-based adoptee organization AdopSource to showcase films on topics of transracial and transnational adoption.  There are an increasing number of films of this genre as adoptees chronicle their own journeys of discovery, and go beyond that discovery to place transnational and transracial adoption issues in a global and historical context. 

The 2013 film festival included a live performance of the Minnesota Korean Heritage Choir, and five very different films:  Beth Kopacz’ Who Is Park Joo Young? (2013); Ramsay Liem and Deann Borshay Liem’s Memory of Forgotten War (2013); Jaikyong Choi’s Where Are You Going, Thomas? (2012); Tammy (Tolle) Chu’s Searching for Go-Hyang (1998); and Brian Tucker’s Closure (2012).

Filmmaker Beth Kopacz created a short, personal film of her birth search in South Korea.  Kopacz plans to  expand this film into a larger project.  Jaikyong Choi produced a biographical documentary on Thomas Park Clement, an inventor of innovative medical devices who was once a Korean War orphan abandoned in the streets.  The film explores how Clement has raised funds and collected valuable medical equipment, and has donated the equipment and funding to needy clinics in North Korea. 

Tammy Chu, who went on to produce the documentary Resilience, about birthmothers and their struggle for rights in South Korea, created Searching for Go-Hyang, about her journey, along with her twin sister, in finding their birth family in South Korea. 

The Liems’ film examines the situation of elderly Korean Americans who were separated from their family members in North Korea because of the Korean War and the division of the two Koreas.  The brother-in-law/sister-in-law team has toured the country with Memory of Forgotten War to inform about the predicament of divided Korean families, and commemorate the 60th anniversary of the armistice agreement. 

The highlighted transracial film of the evening was Brian Tucker’s Closure, a moving personal narrative of Angela Tucker, Brian’s wife. Angela is an African American who was adopted into a multi-racial household in Bellingham, Washington.  The beautifully-produced film explores the issues of domestic, transracial adoption and shows how Angela bravely crosses many racial, cultural and geographic boundaries to reconnect and 


A discussion panel was held as part of the film festival, with Kevin Vollmers as moderator, and panelists Ramsey and Deann Borshay Liem, Thomas Clement, AdopSource member Dawn Tomlinson, Jenni Fang Lee, 

a Chinese American adoptee who was the subject of another film, and filmmakers Angela and Brian Tucker.

The Twin Cities embraces one of the largest and most diverse groups of Asian ethnicities in the country, including first and second generation Hmong, Chinese, Vietnamese, Tibetan and Korean first and second generation  as well as large population of Korean adoptees.   Native Americans are also represented in large numbers.  It seems fitting that new ideas of adoption policy should emerge from here and that the first Adoption Policy and Reform Conference be held here.

The day started with blessings in the form of a Welcome and Wiping Tears Ceremony conducted by Sandy White Hawk and associates from Minnesota’s Lakota community.  Lakota chants were sung and the audience got up to form a human circle for the ceremonial blessings.  

The first forum topic of the conference was activism in which a panel consisting of Mary Martin Mason, Sandy White Hawk, JaeRan Kim, and Fang Lee discussed how the adoptee community must reclaim its rights to personal records and take on issues of adoption ethics, as well as policy and legislative direction. 

In a second forum on Performance and Adoptee Activism, participants showed how media, theater and other performance arts can 

be used to raise social consciousness on adoption issues.  Moderated by Kevin Vollmers, the discussion panel included Katie Hae Leo, Marissa Lichwick-Glesne, Chad Goller-Sojourner, and Kurt Blomberg ---- all writers, performers, activists, and adoptees.  The panel discussed issues of adoptees’ image, identity, acceptance, integration, and self-expression.  

The panel took up the issue of the broad protest in 2013 of the staging of the play Miss Saigon at the Guthrie in Minneapolis.  Focussed activism by the Asian American community aimed at a mass audience got attention in the mainstream.  Panelists discussed the many ways in which performance arts and other visual arts can sway social movement, deal with racism and gender, focus ethnicity and identification, and educate the mainstream as well as ethnic and other select communities.

The third forum, on Research and Activism discussed how the trends in research are shifting to favor the adoptee perspective, child protection and child civil rights, birth mother representation, and family and community support.  The panel was moderated by Shannon Gibney and featured researchers Liz Raleigh, SooJin Pate, Kelly Condit, and Robert O’Connor.   

  The fourth forum, on Policy and Activism was moderated Joy Lieberthal Rho with panelists Jane Jeong Trenka, Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston, Nicole Callahan, and Tara Linh Leaman.  The panel discussed how activism on a variety of topics has positively affected adoptee access to records, issues having to do with citizenship (in Korea, access to dual citizenship for transnational adoptees), and immigration/ deportation issues, specifically how activism has halted deportation for several non-citizen adoptees in the U.S.  Gaps in legal processes of adoption are wide.  The law may require a condition, but that condition is not followed in policy or practice. 

Trenka raised the issues of adoption auditing and more transparency.  The Special Adoption Law recently passed in South Korea was meant to give birthmothers and adoptees more rights.  There is resistance by the governments and institutions affected by this law in South Korea. 

The fifth forum on Mental Health was moderated by Susan Branco Alvarado and featured JaeRan Kim, Fintan Moore, Hei Kyong Kim, Elana Meesun Schuster, and Robert O’Connor. 

Not a topic often addressed, this was well presented by a seasoned and professional panel.  The topics addressed positive reinforcement, supportive parenting, and trust building.  Therapy and coping skills for adoptees and parents were discussed, as well as stress and fear.  

This forum addressed a new definition and development of the adoption experience.  With the aide of better education and understanding, new types of psychological screening lead to better diagnosis and therapy.  These will require support from the state and community, as well as revision and updating of practices by those working within the mental health system.    

There was a closing ceremony in which participants exchanged greetings to the person standing in front, to the left and to the right to demonstrate how community is strengthened by diversity and unity.

The overall theme of the five forums addressed adoption reform 

----  to re-assess, revise, and redefine.  The conference consensus hinted at an emerging paradigm shift from the interests of institutions and established authorities to a focus on adoptive and birth families, as well as children and adult adoptees. Overall, there is a movement toward a future of adoption characterized by better representation and recognition of adoptees.

The weekend interest in the transracial film festival and adoption reform conference among the participants was significantly high.  Coordinator Keven Vollmers reported there were about 170 attendees at MNTRFF and 125 at the APRC event.  Both were launched with a local support, sponsors, organizations, and an army of volunteers. 

The MNTRFF has been an annual event since 2009.  This Adoption Reform Conference (APRC) is the first.  With so much attention to the transracial adoption issues, another conference can be expected in the near future.

Korean Students’ Glee Club to visit Twin Cities  

The Korean Students’ Glee Club (KSGC), comprised of college music students from various universities in the Seoul metropolitan area, will give workshops and perform in the Twin Cities January 24 through 30.

The KSGC has made significant contributions to Christian missions and to the development of choral music in South Korea for more than 47 years.  It tours annually within South Korea, performing a repertoire ranging from the Renaissance to 20th-century choral music.  The group gives monthly performances at churches and social welfare institutions in Seoul.  The choir toured eight times in North America from 1990 to 2011, and travels in Europe every three years.

The choir will be hosted by Korean Presbyterian Church (KPCM) in Brooklyn Center, with partner organizations Korean Institute of Minnesota and Korean Adoptee Ministries.  

The group will hold a choral music seminar for the KPCM choir and the Minnesota Korean Women’s Choir.   The group will perform at St. Olaf College on Monday, January 27 (7:30 p.m.); and on Tuesday, October 28 (7:30 p.m.) at the University of Wisconsin at River Falls (see Calendar of Events for details). 

The Korean Students’ Glee Club website is at:

Dawn Tomlinson named AdopSource president 

Dawn Tomlinson has been elected as the new president of AdopSource.  Tomlinson has been the AdopSource treasurer and a board member.  She also serves as a Camp Choson Board member and coordinator of the Camp Choson parent workshops, and has extensive volunteer experience as a parent volunteer for Jang Mi Korean Dance and Drum. She brings with her a wealth of knowledge about the international adoption. 

Outgoing president Kate Mee-Hee Sands was on the board for six years, and served two years as president. 

AdopSource is a Twin Cities-based resource and service organization created to discern and address the social service needs of all adult adoptees and the adoptee community of Minnesota.  AdopSource also sponsors the annual Minnesota TransRacial Film Festival (see newsbrief this issue) and other adoptee-related events.  

More information on AdopSource is at its website:  


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