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U of Minnesota conference offers one-day event on adoption as a life experience

July 12 @ 8:00 CDT - 4:00 CDT


Two Korean adoptee experts on adult adoptees’ issues will join a group of experts in a day-long symposium on the challenges faced by adoptees face at every stage of adulthood.

This symposium is part of a four-day event, the 8th International Conference on Adoption Research (ICAR-8). The symposium will be held July 12, 9 a.m.to 4 p.m. (doors open at 8 a.m. for continental breakfast) in the Northrop Auditorium on the University of Minnesota campus in Minneapolis.

Lifelong Issues in Adoption: Reframing the Discourse through Lived Experience is the title of the one-day symposium. The symposium was organized by adoptees, and all of the speakers/artists are adopted persons. Admission is $75 and includes a full day of lectures, panel discussions, music, and audience participation. Continental breakfast, a morning coffee break, and a box lunch will also be provided. Information and tickets are available on the Northrop Auditorium website.

The two Korean adoptee speakers are Hollee A. McGinnis and HeeWon Lee.  McGinnis is a Ph.D. social worker, researcher, and a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University School of Social Work. She has achieved a 30-year career in a community organizing, adoptee empowerment, and adoption policy and research.

In 1996, she founded Also-Known-As, which is still an active organization of adult intercountry adoptees in New York City.  McGinnis will speak on her own research project, Mapping the Life Course of Adoption (MAP): Health, Well-Being, and Adoptee Connections in Adulthood.  In 2023, KQ reported on the information-gathering phase of this research project here.

Heewon Lee is an assistant professor and the assistant program director of the genetic counseling graduate program at the University of Minnesota.  She also works with the National Institute of Health (NIH) Coordinating Committee for Practitioner Education in Genomics and other groups of research professionals concerned with genomics and genetic testing. She will speak on the topic: Invisible Families: How Adoptees Use Genetic Testing.

Another Minnesota adoptee speaker is Shannon Gibney, a writer, educator, activist, and the author of the young adult novels  See No Color (2015) and Dream Country (2018) that won Minnesota Book Awards in 2016 and 2019. Gibney teaches writing at Minneapolis College, and  was recently selected as one of three Educators of the Year in the Minnesota State College and University system. Her new novel, The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be (2023), explores themes of transracial adoption.  Her speech is entitled:  The Girl I Am, Was, and Never Will Be: Exploring themes of transracial adoption through speculative memoir.

The ICAR-8 website has more detailed information on continuing education credits offered for various disciplines and certifications, and a brief summary of speakers, bios and topics for the other three days of the conference.


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Northrop Auditorium
84 Church St. SE
Minneapolis, MN 55455 United States
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