Lab Note #6


I know I’m a little late here, but Happy Lunar New Year to all who celebrate! Whether it is Seollal (Korean) or Tết (Vietnamese) or Chinese New Year, I hope this year of the Rabbit (Chinese/Korean) or Cat (Vietnamese) brings blessings and joy!

Growing up in a white family, I had a vague sense there was a holiday for “Chinese New Year” but didn’t realize Koreans also celebrated the Lunar New Year, or that in Vietnam it is called Tết. I didn’t know specific dishes were considered central to the holiday. In my early 20s I worked for a small company owned (and mostly staffed) by Asian and Northern African employees. It was at this job I first really connected with “real” Koreans – two brothers – who thought I was tragically deprived of knowing my culture. They tried to teach me a few Korean words and phrases. My Chinese and Sri Lankan bosses provided lunch for all their employees and it was in the company lunchroom that I learned Asian food was a far cry from the celery-laden canned Chow Mein my adoptive mom would occasionally make or the egg foo young at the small Chinese restaurant we would sometimes get take-out. I joke (though it’s true) that this is what I thought Chinese food was when I was growing up (above right).

I’ve mentioned before that it took a long time for me to feel comfortable cooking Korean food. Now, I make it often and every year for both American New Year and Lunar New Year I make traditional Korean rice cake soup, also known as tteokguk. Although feeling “authentic” may always be something I grapple with, preparing and sharing Korean food helps soothe those feelings a bit. The loss of the opportunity to learn these dishes from my Korean omma and halmoni can never be fully reconciled. At the very least, each New Year I can look back and see the steps I’ve made toward recovering some of what was taken from me and food is a large part of that healing.


I want to spread the word about a new research study launched by friend and colleague Hollee McGinnis. In the spirit of transparency, I was a consultant in advising on some of the survey questions. Please consider completing the survey. It is a long survey but I encourage you to hang in there! These survey questions were added because we want a holistic full picture of adult adoptee lives.

Link to LAUNCH video and text from caare-research website here.

Link to MAP project webpage.

Direct link to the survey here.


Recognition that corrupt practices are part of the larger phenomenon of adoption has been increasingly detailed and these stories here are just a few examples.

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A host of new projects by adoptee writers have recently or will be soon released – and getting a lot of acclaim!

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