Uri Nara, Our Country: Korean American Adoptees in the Global Age

  • Kim Park Nelson


This chapter is an analysis of ethnographic materials, including personal stories and immigration experiences of Korean adoptees who were child migrants to the USA and return migrants to South Korea. Park Nelson makes connections between transnational adoptee immigration policy, American race relations, and Asian American experiences. Korean American adoptees who have returned to live and work in the nation of their birth are in a sense “global citizens” who possess both the American economic and cultural capital to live as expatriates and the Korean ethnic connections to gain a foothold in South Korea. But despite these apparent advantages, adoptees face exclusion as foreigners in both countries—through racial discrimination in the USA and because of their lack of linguistic and cultural fluency in South Korea.


  1. Collentine, Joseph, and Barbara F. Freed. 2004. Learning Context and Its Effects on Second Language Acquisition, an Introduction. Studies in Second Language Acquisition 26: 153–171.Google Scholar
  2. Diner, Hasia R. 2003. Hungering for America: Italian, Irish, and Jewish Foodways in the Age of Migration. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.Google Scholar
  3. Hong, Jeannie. 2006. International Korean Adoptee Resource Book. Seoul: Overseas Korean Foundation.Google Scholar
  4. Louie, Andrea. 2004. Chineseness Across Borders: Renegotiating Chinese Identities in China and the United States. London: Duke University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Park Nelson, Kim. The Adult Korean American Adoptee Oral History Project: A Collection of 66 Life Course Histories. Oral life course histories, Feb 19, 2003–Jan 13, 2007.Google Scholar
  6. ———. 2016. Invisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences, and Racial Exceptionalism. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  7. Prébin, Elise. 2013. Meeting Once More: The Korean Side of Transnational Adoption. New York: New York University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Sheppard, Nicole. 2007. Vice Secretary General, Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link. Personal Communication, Aug 20.Google Scholar
  9. Shiao, Jiannbin Lee, and Mia Tuan. 2006. Korean Adoptees and the Salience of Race in Romance. Paper presented at the American Sociological Association, Montréal, Canada, Aug 11–14.Google Scholar
  10. Tobias, Hübinette. 2005. Comforting an Orphaned Nation: Representations of International Adoption and Adopted Koreans in Korean Popular Culture. PhD diss., Stockholm University.Google Scholar
  11. Trenka, Jane Jeong. 2007. Adoption is a Feminist Issue: Towards an Imaginative Feminism. Paper presented at the Conference of the Korean Association for Feminist Studies in English Literature, Seoul, South Korea, June 9.Google Scholar
  12. Yoon, In-Jin. 2002. A Comparison of South and North Korean Policy for Overseas Koreans. Paper presented at the International Conference on the Korean Diaspora and Strategies of Global Korean Network, Seoul, South Korea, Oct 11.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kim Park Nelson
    • 1
  1. 1.Minnesota State University MoorheadMoorheadUSA

Personalised recommendations