Conference Press Release

KAAN 2014: A Return to Minneapolis
A Korean Adoption Conference Highlights That the Time is NOW to Listen To and Support Adoptees

For immediate release

CAMP HILL, PA – A national conference returns to the Twin Cities for the first time since 2002. On June 27-29, 2014, attendees from across the Unites States and beyond will converge in Minneapolis for this distinct event that is part inspiration, part academy, and part reunion. Themed “The Time is Now,” the time is right for this adoptee-centric conference, organized by KAAN (the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network), to revisit the state.

“Minnesota is known for being the home to the highest per capita of Korean adoptees in the United States,” says Kimberly McKee, Ph.D., KAAN Advisory Council member and this year’s regional conference coordinator. “As a result, there is a vibrant adult adoptee community, including scholars in the field of adoption studies as well as musicians and artists.”

Executive director Stacy Schroeder agrees. “Part of our mission is to highlight what is happening in each area we visit. We are so excited to support what some are calling the ‘adoptee renaissance’ going on in Minnesota.”

KAAN 2014 will showcase this community, boasting a conference lineup including many well-known Minnesota adoption scholars and community leaders, such as: keynote Elizabeth Raleigh, Ph.D.; Kelly Condit-Shrestha; Shannon Gibney; JaeRan Kim, MSW; Oh Myo Kim, Ph.D.; Heewon Lee, Richard Lee, Ph.D.; Soojin Pate, Ph.D.; Kate Mee-Hee Sands, and Kevin Haebeom Vollmers. The schedule (posted at KAANet.org) includes over thirty sessions that delve into such topics as relationships, search and reunion, racial identity, white privilege, parenting advice, and legal issues pertaining to adoptees.

The arts and cultural offerings are just as rich and varied. Chasing Lovely, an up-and-coming country/pop/rock music sister duo with Minnesota roots, will perform on Friday afternoon. Friday evening features Sun-Mee Chomet and her award-winning show “How to Be a Korean Woman.” Local musician Mayda Miller, an adoptee whose songs have received national acclaim, will anchor the Saturday evening gala dinner performance after a selection of local spoken word artists. The weekend also includes the screening of the recently-released film Approved for Adoption, distributed in the United States by the Minnesota production company Rainbow World, and a closing performance by Susan Harris O’Connor from her works “The Harris Narratives.”

Vendors, exhibits, support groups, and several specialty dinners—including an adoptee-only gathering at Midtown GlobalMarket’s new Korean fusion restaurant The Rabbit Hole—round out the weekend. Adoptee-mentor-led programs for children and youth ages 3-17 are offered this year in collaboration with Connect-a-Kid ( http://www.connectakid.org ).

A unique aspect of this conference is its ability to bring together individuals and groups from across many perspectives. Adoptees are the largest demographic, duly represented in leadership and presenter roles. Invested relatives—parents, spouses, siblings, and children, from both birth/first and adoptive families—are also actively engaged. Other people of color, including Koreans and Korean-Americans without direct ties to adoption, participate as well, recognizing the common experiences they hold with adoptees and desiring to support them on their journeys. Scholars, authors, artists, social workers, adoption agency employees, organization leaders, and others come together to give KAAN its dynamic blend of viewpoints.

While KAAN’s core and roots are connected to the Korean adoption community, members of other adoptive communities will find common ground. In fact, adoptees born in India, Colombia, Vietnam, and the United States are presenting at KAAN 2014.

KAAN is a project of The Foundation for Enhancing Communities, fiscal sponsor. KAAN was founded in 1998 to help build a national adoption community, seeking to understand and improve the lives of adoptees and their families. Annual conferences travel throughout the country and in 2006 even took place in South Korea.

This summer’s conference, KAAN’s sixteenth, takes place at the DoubleTree by Hilton Minneapolis – Park Place at 1500 Park Place Blvd, Minneapolis from June 27-29, 2014. Online registration, advertising, vendor, exhibit, and sponsorship opportunities, and more can be found at http://www.kaanet.org. Separate gala dinner tickets can also be purchased for the Saturday evening meal and concert. Register and pay in full by March 15 for early bird discount. Questions? Contact regional coordinator Kimberly McKee at 585.507.5399/ mckee.kimberly@gmail.com or national president/executive director Stacy Schroeder at 717.574.3629/ stacy@kaanet.org.

Photo courtesy of Meet Minneapolis.

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