About thirty people, including Korean adoptees and their family members, visited Korea and learned about their roots and homeland.
The Korea Times featured this story on the 2019 Korea Bridge Tour sponsored by ASIA Families. Here is the English translation.
ASIA Families, a non-profit organization in Washington, DC, hosted the Korea Bridge Tour for 9 adult adoptees, 21 members of adoptive families (parents and their adopted and biological children), and 7 full time staff totaling 37 people.
During their visit, participants visited their adoption agencies, reviewed the adoption files, and, in some case, visited their birth places to learn about their roots. They visited the Baby Box in Young-Deung Po area and toured Gyeong Ju. They also had a meeting with North Korean defector students at Jang Dae Hyun School in Busan on July 2, 2019. On July 4, adoptees received honorary citizenships from Seo Dae Mun Gu district.
Grace Song, the executive director of ASIA Families, states “There are a number of overseas Korean adoptees who are curious about where they came from. Some of them might feel a disconnection from Korea while growing up in U.S. The Korea Bridge Tour offers an opportunity for them to return to Korea and feel healing in their hearts.”
The adult adoptee participants of the tour came from a wide variety of professions and locations. They included Maria Robinson, a newly elected state representative from Massachusetts, Keri Nelson, a researcher in a base in the Antarctica, Alicia Ritter, a coffee professional in D.C., and Grace Bechle, a social worker in Seattle.
Shonda Nichols states this tour was an opportunity to heal her silent wounds through understanding that her adoption was facilitated because her birth family wanted a better life for her.
Grace Song states that the adoptive family members paid for their particpation, but adult adoptees received scholarships to attend the tour for free, except their airfare. For the most of them it was their first visit to Korea after their adoption. The tour was made possible through the generous sponsorships by the Overseas Korean Foundation, D.K. Kim Korea Foundation, Jesus Love Church, Shining Star Korean Church (VA), Selah Art Group, Glory Travel, and an anonymous donor.
ASIA Families was founded in 2009 to assisted adoptees to build healthy self-identity through culturally enriching education programs. ASIA Families’ website is www.asiafamilies.org