This post is one in a series highlighting the ways our #KAAN2016 Conference, scheduled for June 24-26 in Pittsburgh, PA, provides a wonderful place for education, dialogue, and support for various members of the adoption community.
TODAY’S WRITER: Katie Jae Naftzger, LICSW
My name is Katie Naftzger. I’m the coordinator for the wellness program and those coming to KAAN for the first time. I remember my first year, back in 2009. Wow, was I nervous! I thought to myself, am I really ready for this? I thought about postponing a year but was too intrigued. Could this really be a place where Korean adoptees and their families would feel welcome? But, as soon as I got there, I felt included. I was just so struck by the warmth of the community and those running the conference. I felt welcomed, validated, and accepted.
I thought to myself: There’s no other place like this.
Now, as a member of the Advisory Council and frequent speaker for KAAN, I still love hearing from those who step into KAAN for the first time. Some arrive apprehensive, then become cautiously optimistic, and, by the end of the conference, tell me that it’s one of the most amazing experiences of their life. It’s a place where you’re not alone, even if you came alone, which many do.
HERE’S WHY #KAAN2016 IS A GREAT PLACE FOR YOU
- One of the hardest aspects of being a Korean adoptee is feeling alone and misunderstood. At KAAN, you won’t be alone. Many will understand and have gone through similar experiences.
- Whatever your feelings are about being adopted and/or Korean, there’s a place for you at KAAN.
- We value those coming to KAAN for the first time and provide opportunities to meet other first-timers. We also will provide a downtime room for those who just want some space or break. You won’t have to worry about where to sit at meals either. We’ll have a place for you!
MY SHORT LIST OF RECOMMENDED SESSIONS
Click here for full schedule and details. There are over thirty sessions and support forums, with general sessions open to all adults and adult-adoptee-only sessions in every block. We also offer youth and childcare programming for younger adoptees and siblings or children of adoptees.
LGBTQ Adoptees and Allies: Open Forum
co-sponsored by the Ellie Conant Memorial Fund
Michael Burdan, Kate Zielaskowski MS, Alex Myung Wager
“You’re Asian, You Don’t Play Football”: A Discussion on Masculinity in Asian America
Benjamin Kim Oser , Noah Sinangil
Starting the Race Conversation
Katie Bozek Ph.D., LMFT, Erica Gehringer, Michelle Green
I’ll be looking for you at #KAAN2016!