Summer comes slow to the Pacific Northwest, but it’s never too early to start planning for the fall, especially if it involves beautiful, crisp autumn days in the Midwest. Mark your calendar for the KAtCH (Korean Adoptees of Chicago) mini-gathering, September 14, 15, and 16.
LGA spoke with Allen Majors about KAtCH last month. Here’s what he had to say (don’t miss some of the best advice ever at the very end of this interview):
LGA: What the heck is KATCH? What does it stand for? How long has it been around? How many members do you have?
KAtCH: KAtCH is “Korean AdopTees of CHicago”. Our genesis dates back to the early spring of 2008 (right after the Las Vegas mini-gathering in January 2008). The founding board was Kim Langrehr, Anne Mills, and Katie Stefani (all who have moved away from the area). I am not sure how many dues-paying members we have, though I would estimate 25 or so. For our monthly dinners we typically have 10-12 show up.
LGA: What would the group ultimately like to accomplish? Do you have some goals for 2012 and 2013?
KAtCH: Our goals are to build and support the adult Korean adoptee community in the Chicagoland area. We also promote education and awareness on issues surrounding transracial and international adoption and issues related to multiculturalism. More practically speaking, we support one another by providing an informal community where adoptees can be with other adoptees, we connect as an adoptee organization with other Korean organizations in the area, and we are active under the greater worldwide International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) organizational umbrella.
We have a 2012 goal of hosting a Chicago mini-gathering: See details here>>
Further out we want to increase our membership and activities and have greater organizational capacity in the activities which we currently undertake.
LGA: It’s great to see male adult adoptees in leadership positions, especially since folks like you serve as great role models. Do you have any advice for pre-teen and teen adoptees?
KAtCH: Advice I would give to pre-teen and teen adoptees is that while I appreciate there is a broad spectrum of interest in exploring one’s adoption and birth family history, have the courage to ask questions about your background if you are disposed toward exploring. Take the risk to pursue answers and associate with others who will support you in this endeavor. Be honest with yourself about your “fit” with your adoptee family. If you are grateful, that is your decision and should be respected, but know that real gratitude comes from within a person of their own volition and cannot be obligated by others around one. Such an attempt by others is manipulative and seeks self-validation at the expense of another/you. If you have been adopted into a white family, in addition to exploring Korean culture, explore whiteness, with all its privilege and dominance, and challenge your family to do so too. We never know the path we did not take, so we cannot definitively say that our life would have been better or worse if this or that had or had not happened. It remains for us, as it does for each and every person, to make the best of each day and of our whole life. Being a transracial and transnational adoptee affords you unique insights, and I hope that you will be good stewards of these insights and use them in ways that contribute to others.