In this powerful tale about the rise of Korea’s global adoption program, four adult adoptees return to their country of birth and recover the personal histories that were lost when they were adopted. Raised in foreign families, each sets out on a journey to reconnect with their roots, mapping the geographies of kinship that bind them to a homeland they never knew. Along the way there are discoveries and dead ends, as well as mysteries that will never be unraveled.
Ultimately what emerges is a deepened sense of self and belonging, as well as a sense of purpose, as Geographies of Kinship’s four protagonists question the policies and practices that led South Korea to become the largest “sending country” in the world—with 200,000 children adopted out to North America, Europe and Australia. Emboldened by their own experiences and what they have learned, these courageous characters become advocates for birth family and adoptee rights, support for single mothers, and historical reckoning.
The broader history of transnational adoption since the Korean War provides the backdrop to our stories. For over half a century, the Korean adoption experience and subsequent Diaspora have transformed not only how adoption is practiced worldwide, but also how kinship, identity and race are perceived and contested. As the forerunner for international adoptions from China, Russia, Guatemala, Ethiopia and other countries, the Korean model challenges us to reflect on universal questions of identity, assimilation, kinship and belonging. Geographies of Kinship explores these themes by listening closely to those who have lived the experience most intimately-adoptees-while relaying a compelling history of epic scope.
National Endowment for the Humanities, California Humanities, Berkeley Film Foundation, and our Kickstarter backers. Additional support provided by The Lawrence Choy Lowe Memorial Fund, Center for Cultural Innovation, and the Channing and Popai Liem Education Foundation.
Katahdin Productions and Center for Asian American Media.
We are honored to have the support of an amazing group of Outreach Partners who supported our Kickstarter campaign. Our Partners are: Adopterade Koreaners Forening (Stockholm), AdopSource (Minneapolis), AK Connection (Minneapolis), Also-Known-As, Inc. (NYC), Arierang: Dutch Association for Korean Adoptees (Amsterdam), Asian Adult Adoptees of Washington (Seattle), Assoc. of Korean Adoptees San Francisco, Assoc. of Korean Adoptes So-Cal, Boston Korean Adoptees, Center for Asian American Media (San Francisco), Global Overseas Adoptees Link (Seoul), IKAA: International Korean Adoptee Associations (Seattle), Korean Focus (Metro D.C.), Ko-Root (Seoul), Korean Adoptees of the Hawaiian Islands (Honolulu), KAAN: the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network (Camp Hill, PA), Korea Klubben (Copenhagen), Korea Quarterly (Minneapolis), InKAS: International Korean Adoptee Services, Mixed Roots Foundation (San Francisco), One World: Chinese Adoptee Links. Thank you for your support, Partners!
Geographies of Kinship was made possible in part because of generous donations from our Kickstarter supporters. Our sincere thanks to everyone who donated to our campaign.
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