What If?: An Adoptee Dilemma


A Mu Performing Arts Community Forum: Co-sponsored by American Studies, Macalester

What If?: An Adoptee Dilemma looks at the adoptee experience from the inside. A diverse panel of adoptees engaged in a comprehensive dialogue of stories and perspectives, exploring topics of interchangeability, destiny, race, sexuality, and family from an adoptee point of view. Moderator: SooJin Pate (far right) Panelists from left to right: Robert O’Connor, Shandamarie Stracek, Oh Myo Kim, Shawyn Lee and Jae Ran Kim

About the Panelists

SooJin Pate (moderator) is an Assistant Professor of English at Minneapolis Community and Technical College. She received her PhD in American Studies at the University of Minnesota and was a finalist for the Ralph Henry Gabriel Prize for Best Dissertation in American Studies. Her book manuscript, Genealogies of Korean Adoption, is forthcoming from the University of Minnesota Press. She teaches courses in composition, critical race theory, and multi-ethnic literature. Oh Myo Kim is a PhD student in Psychology at the University of Minnesota studying issues of race and identity in transracial adoptive families. She is teaching “The Psychology of Adoption” at the University of MN and is a currently a practicum therapist at the VA medical center. She is a Korean American adoptee from Seoul, South Korea and grew up in New Jersey. Jae Ran Kim is a licensed social worker and PhD candidate in Social Work at the University of Minnesota. Her publications include “Outsiders Within: Writing on Transracial Adoption,” “Here: A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota” and Harlow’s Monkey, a blog about transracial and international adoption. Shawyn Lee is a genderqueer identified Korean adoptee. Having worked for many years in LGBTQ communities as a social justice activist, Shawyn has returned to academia as a PhD student at the University of Minnesota in the School of Social Work. In August of 2009, Shawyn returned to Korea for the first time since being adopted. The experience and personal meaningfulness of this journey contributes greatly to Shawyn’s commitment to adoption research both academically and professionally. Robert O’Connor is an African American adult transracial adoptee who experienced multiple failed foster and adoptive placements along with his sibling Adam. Robert has moved from being a state ward to being a state ward administrator, from special education student to college professor, and from cultural isolation to cultural practice innovation. He is a tenured faculty member at Metropolitan State University in the social work department, and an independent diversity consultant and child welfare trainer and consultant with the Federal Resource Center for Adoption’s training and technical assistance team. Shandamarie Stracek was adopted from Bogota, Colombia, at eight weeks old. She was raised in central Minnesota and attended St. Cloud State University, where she received her bachelor’s degree in Marketing. Shanda currently works for General Mills in the Consumer Foods Sales division. She enjoys volunteering as an M & M mentor at CHSFS and connecting with other adopted adults through the Resource Committee of Adopted Adults.