On May 7th, 2018, Mindullae (Dandelions), an organization of Korean parents whose sons and daughters were adopted overseas, held an event to commemorate the reunion of one of its members with her daughter, a Korean-American adoptee who was visiting Korea for the first time. KoRoot and SPEAK co-hosted the event along with Mindullae.
The event consisted of a “Human Library” of birth family members and people adopted overseas sharing their stories, a screening of a new documentary called “A Letter for Sang-Ah,” musical performances, and lectures by Profs. Kang Tae-in and Sara Docan-Morgan.
SPEAK’s Media Director, Katelyn Hemmeke, gave the following opening address:
“Today, in between Children’s Day and Parents’ Day, we gather to create a space that is all too uncommon: a space where birth family members and people who were adopted can gather together and share our stories with each other, face to face. For all of us, there is a special kind of joy in hearing the story of a family that has been reunited. There are no words that can describe the joy of finding someone you may have waited most of your life to meet, of seeing all the ways that their face looks like yours. But there is also a particular kind of pain we share in knowing that so many families are still hoping and waiting to find each other. There are no words to describe the ache of years apart that can never be regained, or the frustration of linguistic, cultural, and geographical barriers separating you from your next of kin. In the traumatic separations that changed all of our lives forever, we have all endured stunning losses that are not always acknowledged.
Today, as we listen to the stories of birth families and people who were adopted, as we hold these intertwined joys and sorrows, let us remember that each and every story is precious and unique. Let us remember that healing and reconciliation do not occur in a single moment, and that we must support each other through every stage of our journeys. And let us stand in solidarity with each other and with other communities around us as we work toward a society where hopefully, no family will have to endure the pain of being separated.”