You may be surprised to learn that Minnesota has one of the highest number of adopted Koreans, per capita, in the world. in Here: A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota, Kim Jackson and Heewon Lee set out to capture a visual history of some of the individuals that make up the 13,000–15,000 Korean immigrants in Minnesota in this rich tapestry of photographs and oral histories. Here are just a few of the individuals who are featured in this book.
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“There’s good and bad stereotypes. I get the stereotype that Asians are smart, in math and science. I hated that. My parents didn’t put any expectations on me. They didn’t put any pressures on me. But, I think I’ve always put pressure on myself, to do the best I could, whether in school or in athletics.” Read more »
“I think I’ve been really lucky in that my parents have seen the importance of connecting me to Korea. I think the older adoptees have been told, ‘Well, you’re not Korean, you’re American,’ so they didn’t have anything Korean in their lives.” Read more »
“Going to school was just a normal thing for me. I mean, people would ask me, ‘Why aren’t your parents Asian?’ or something like that, and I’d be kind of confused, like, ‘I don’t know.’ But, finally I asked my parents why they looked different. And so, they told me, ‘Oh, you were adopted,’ and stuff like that, ‘That’s why you don’t look the same.’; So . . . I just kind of accepted that.” Read more »
“I was involved deeply with the Korean American church all the time, and a lot of my close friends are Korean American. I’ve always identified myself as Korean American. In fact, that’s kind of an interesting thing, too — my parents could never understand why I only date Korean Americans, or Asians, and why I decided to choose a Korean American church.” Read more »
These oral histories and photographs from Here: A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota by Kim Jackson and Heewon Lee appear with permission from Yeong and Yeong Books, St. Paul, Minnesota.
Photographs by Kim Jackson
Book design by Heewon Lee
Oral histories conducted by Kim Park Nelson, Ph.D
Forward and Introduction by Jae Ran Kim, MSW, LGSW
Preface by Wing Young Huie, documentary photographer