The reasons for transnational adoption of Korean children have been numerous and heartbreaking: the Korean War left many Korean children orphaned, some of whom were adopted by American soldiers. Soldiers were also fathering children, including under sordid or violent circumstances. Many were abandoned. After the war, the South Korean government promoted national identity as one of racial purity, explicitly supporting the exclusion of mixed-race children, who were visible reminders of American dominance and occupation. Illegitimate offspring were not entered into the family registry, so they had no rights of citizenship. The journey that each adoptee travels is different, but all of their stories echo certain themes. In GEOGRAPHIES OF KINSHIP, award-winning documentarian Deann Borshay Liem enables the viewer to comprehend and feel the primal connection with a family and culture that each may have never encountered by introducing us to four adoptees. As they tell their individual stories, not only is longing apparent, but also hope and resolution–an apology from a South Korean President, ongoing work to prioritize family preservation over adoption, increasing support for single mothers, and legislation allowing for Korean dual citizenship. – Herb Ling, Programmer
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