100% real talk with your two new Korean adoptee besties! Hana and Ryan, Korean adoptees from Melbourne, Australia, talk about anything and everything adoption related, including race, gender, birth family search and reunion, and more.
Original podcast music by Domus.
On Listening, Friendship, and Doing the Work with Pastor Kim of KoRoot
Pastor Do-Hyun Kim (김도현) talks about his early work in Switzerland and how he first became aware of Korean adoption, the activities he has run at KoRoot over the years to support adoptees, and his tireless commitment to raising awareness of adoption in Korea - including the separation and loss felt by adoptees and original mothers - what he has learned, and the company he has kept. He talks using anger as a powerful force for good, the importance of spotlighting authentic voices, and how he loves to party - for round 1, at least. This is a very special conversation with an incredibly passionate and compassionate man who has devoted so much of his life to supporting Korean adoptee communities and fighting for family preservation.
Stay out of the comments! Lessons from very minor internet fame
WE’RE BAAAAAACK! Ryan’s in Melbourne lockdown 5.0, or what feels like 50.0, and Hana can only meet up with one other person after 6pm in Seoul. Plus, she can’t listen to music faster than 120BPM at the gym (but songs like Robyn’s Dancing On My Own at 117BPM are A-OK.) Covid restrictions, eh.
In this convo, Ryan shares some exciting life news and Hana talks about pandemic hypochondria and her visit to a one-stop-shop health check centre (kind of like a medical jjimjilbang). We also discuss both the weird and wonderful messages we’ve received after the release of Aaron Choe’s short doco for Vice Asia, dealing with haters, and remembering your audience. (Just in case it’s not clear, this episode falls into our casual, random, frivo category!)
Actually, we’re f***ing badass: Embarking on The Hero’s Journey 3.0 with Korean Adoptee Ben Kaplan
On Adopted Feels, we’ve mainly interviewed friends and friends of friends (sliding into Joel Kim Booster’s DMs didn’t work, unfortunately - if anyone out there can hook us up, please do!).
Korean adoptee Ben Kaplan contacted us out-of-the-blue to offer his story, becoming the first “completely random person” guest on the pod. It would be his first interview, so he apologized in advance in case he was a “noob” (which, for those of you like Ryan who are uninitiated to gamer culture, means 'newbie').
Ben is incredibly warm, reflective, and generous. This is an in-depth and far-reaching convo about identity and self-exploration: we start with Ben’s time in Seoul, immersed in the underground art scene and doing it rough in a converted machine shop in Mullae, before reaching “rock bottom.” Ben then returned to the US, just as the global financial crisis hit, where he shelved a lot of the questions that Korea had raised, until recent Anti-Asian racism in the US reawakened feelings that had laid dormant for years. We talk about the 3 phases of Ben’s ongoing identity search, how he has come to see being adopted as a superpower rather than as a disadvantage, why he has recently started to think about changing his name, becoming the mentor he never had, and much more!
Benjamin Kaplan is a Korean American adoptee currently living in Portland, Oregon. He lived in Korea for 3 years back in the late 2000s and during that time created a website focusing on the underground art scene in Seoul called, The Native Gaze. He now works as a Design Director of Brand Experience at Nike. His wife Erin is also adopted (domestically within the US) and after adopting their dog Pancho last year, they now have a true “family of adoptees.”
Check out Ben’s work at www.bvkaplan.com and lots of cute dog content at
Ed Pokropski Ain’t Licking No Watermelons: On Comedy, Confidence, and What It Means To Be Asian American
In this episode we chatted with Edward Yoo Pokropski, the Executive Producer of the upcoming Asian Comedy Fest! Ed is also Writer/Producer for the Brand Creative Team at USA Network and Universal Kids for NBCUniversal. He has been nominated for a daytime Emmy twice and won zero times. He also performs stand-up and hosts events, sometimes for money, sometimes for a drink ticket and a story. He is originally from Philly and proud to be a Korean American adoptee.
Ed tells us about moving to New York six years ago, which was the catalyst for developing confidence in his own voice, in both comedy and as an Asian American. This journey from community to activism ultimately led to the creation of the Asian Comedy Fest.
Buy tickets now for the digital premiere of the Asian Comedy Fest on May 27th from asiancomedyfest.com (you’ll receive a private link that will stay active for 48 hours)
Proceeds benefit Apex for Youth (apexforyouth.org)
Follow @asiancomedyfest on Instagram, Twitter and FB
Watch Ed’s talk on his Korean adoptee experience for Crushing The Myth here:
“수박 겉 핥기”
(su-bak geot halk-ki)
Meaning: doing something superficially, scratching the surface
Literal meaning: Licking the skin of a watermelon
The Intersectional Lives of Transgender Adoptees: an online panel event by Also-Known-As, Inc.
This episode is an audio recording of a recent online event called “The Intersectional Lives of Transgender Adoptees” (2021.04.26), organized by the adult adoptee organisation Also-Known-As, Inc., under the most excellent leadership of Korean adoptee Mike Mullen.
In the first panel of its kind, Ryan, along with three amazing transgender intercountry adoptees—Pauline Park, Jin Jiang, Andy Marra—with facilitator and transgender Korean adoptee Min Matson, discuss what it's like being trans and an adoptee, including grappling with the current resurgence of anti-asian racism and anti-trans legislation, navigating birth family search and reunion, names, and more.
This was an informative, insightful, and deeply personal discussion that evolved from numerous conversations between Pauline and Mike over the years and drew over 150 online attendees. Thank you to Mike, AKA, and the panelists for letting us share this special event here, and we hope this contributes to continued conversations in the future!
You can also watch the video recording of this event on YouTube:
Also-Known-As, Inc., founded in 1996, is an adult adoptee run organization based in the NY metro area. They provide educational programs, facilitate community building activities, and work hard to elevate the voices of intercountry adoptees. For more info visit: https://www.alsoknownas.org/
Follow the panelists here:
Pauline’s blog: https://paulinepark.com/
Jin on Instagram: @jin_jiang0611
Andy on Instagram: @andy_marra
Min (facilitator) on Instagram: @sfolliethepug
Exploring the “2nd gen Korean adoptee” experience with Bastiaan Flikweert, aka 신서빈
Not an adoptee and not quite a gyopo, Bastiaan Flikweert, also known as 신서빈, best describes himself as a second generation adoptee. Born in 1999 to two Dutch Korean adoptees, he spent his childhood living in both the Netherlands and Korea. He credits his intercultural upbringing with opening up many opportunities, but also with struggles and questions of identity and belonging. Bastiaan is completing an undergraduate degree with a double major in History and Korean Studies. He is currently living in Seoul, conducting research on the first mothers of transnational adoptees, with a focus on agency versus structure before and after 1966.
In some ways Bastiaan’s experiences reminded us of our own: he occupies a liminal space and has already transitioned through periods of living in Korea and the Netherlands, and back again. Bastiaan is thoughtful and reflective beyond his years; he shares eloquently about growing up with two adopted parents and between two countries, his experiences of racism, returning to Korea as an adult, and his hopes to foster the community of second generation adoptees. This was a fascinating interview that sheds light on the intergenerational impacts of being adopted and the insights that sometimes only later generations have. This interview also made us feel very old. Finally, stay tuned until the very end when Bastiaan indulges us in a classic Adopted Feels random question segment!
Connect with Bastiaan on Instagram (@b_seovin) or on
LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/bastiaanflikweert/
Wow. Just …. Wow. This podcast really hit home for me. I’ve only listened to maybe 2-3 episodes so far, but I gotta say, these 2 hosts are the most wholesome representatives of the adoptee community. I really can’t describe how relatable their content is and how sensitive they are to every adoptee experience. Hope they continue this journey and I can’t wait to follow along as I process the adoptee journey as well.
I am so thankful for this podcast, it is amazing. I really appreciate how much the hosts open up and talk about subjects in adoption that I am exploring more and more about as I grow older. I’m a transracial international adoptee who is also a part of the lgbtqia+ community, and I really respect and appreciate how much all of the aspects of race, ethnicity, sexuality, gender, etc. are talked about in relation to adoption and also just y’all’s lives. Thank you both for sharing and creating this podcast!
What a gem!
I love this podcast! The hosts are open and real, and they make me think as well as laugh. I feel like I’m getting to overhear friends talking about their histories and many adoption-related issues. Both hosts are insightful and ask great questions of each other and their occasional guests. I think it is a wonderful platform for sharing the lived experiences of adult Korean adoptees. It is a deeply personal view into their world and is valuable for adoptees and adoptive parents (and anyone else who is interested). It is an honor to get to listen. I find myself recommending this podcast to many members of the adoption community, and it is especially valuable for my LGBTQ friends to hear such an open voice about that perspective on reunion with birth family.