A Deaf Korean Adoptee’s story…

I am sharing this vlog for Nayo Lim-Franck, a good friend of mine from Gallaudet University, to raise awareness about Korean Deaf adoptees. This video is being shared with her permission. Nayo has opened my eyes to what intersectionality really means which has helped me make sense of my own experiences growing up Deaf in Singapore and also living as a Deaf immigrant in Australia. Our conversations over the past one year has made me redefine my understanding of social justice. Her friendship has been one of the highlights of my time at Gallaudet University, and a real blessing! 🙂

The vlog is a personal account of her experience growing up as a Korean Deaf adoptee in upstate New York. She raises the importance of accessibility of resources for Korean Deaf adoptees as well as the need to form a supportive community that raises awareness of Deaf Korean adoptees’ experiences.

*I have turned off comments on this blog post. It is not my place to comment and respond to comments on this issue because I am not a Korean Deaf Adoptee. I share this as an ally. If you have any comments, please direct them to Nayo on her youtube video by clicking on  https://www.youtube.com/watchv=d8NsgisBM_M&feature=share

*Directly quoted from Nayo:

Happy National Adoption Awareness Month!
National Adoption Awareness Month (ASL)
Video captioned for non-ASL users.
[Transcript is provided below for DeafBlind and Blind folks]
The speed is not in real-time as the recording has been sped up for easier viewing.
Open (& healthy, please) dialogues are welcome!
Hope to make additional vlogs on “adoption justice” in near future.
Thank you for your support!

[A Korean adoptee with short black hair, nose ring and lip ring, wearing a long-sleeved denim blue button-up shirt is sitting on a chair against a background of white wooden door shutters.]
In American Sign Language (ASL):
You know the typical question I get all the time?
“Where are you from?”
For a transracial and transnational U.S. Korean Adoptee like me, my answer always changes depending on who is asking me.
So, if I respond that I am from upstate New York, people are often not satisfied with the answer and keep asking, “No, where are you REALLY from?”
I was born in Korea and then adopted, which means money is involved in moving me from Korea to be raised in upstate New York.
So, if I respond that I am from Korea…?
However, I am already disconnected from the Korean country, its people, its language, its culture, its food, etc. and instead, I am raised in the U.S. by white hearing family, with the U.S. culture and whiteness now inherent in me.
So, does that define who I am?
Some adoptees feel that our identities are not your business. I understand and respect that. Why? Because many of our adoptee experiences are different but they are not unique. Many adoptees can relate, understand each other, support, build community because we all have our history in Korea.
It is hard for Korean adoptees to gather together because we are spread out all over the world. Communication mode varies. Plus, our adoptee identity have a wide range from acknowledging the lack of biological roots, to wanting to learn about Korean culture and language, to thinking about our biological families, to actually finding and meeting them, and to traveling to Korea or moving back to Korea, etc. This is how our identities can vary.
My barrier [to connecting with other Korean adoptees] is that it is not always accessible [communication-wise].
There are many gatherings, conferences, speakers, but are there interpreters provided?
There are many books, articles, blogs out there but all are in written English. There are also many videos and movies, but are they all captioned?
Even though there are about 100,000 Korean adoptees all over the world, I don’t have the exact number of Deaf Korean adoptees yet. On my Facebook, I have about 25 Deaf, Deafblind, DeafDisabled, Hard of Hearing Korean Adoptees but I know there are many more of you out there.
It is very important to me that my community support and raise awareness about Deaf Korean adoptees and their experiences, not from white adoptive parents, families, adoptive agencies, companies-mostly hearing, therapies, social work, academic, whoever.
What we need is language access to information and transparency of resources for this cause of Adoption Awareness Month of November.
Yes, I am late. In fact, today on November 30th, 32 years ago I was adopted by a family that I love very much.
Thank you! (‘I love you’ hand sign)
November 29, 2015