Korean Adoptees Use DNA to Find Families

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Side x Side exhibition in Seoul (Jung Yeon-Je)

Once known as the “land of orphans,” South Korea has placed nearly 200,000 children in foreign adoptions since the 1950’s.  Until 1995, it was the world leader in sending children for adoption in the United States. Frustrated by incomplete and sometimes falsified records, many of those adoptees are now turning to DNA technology to find their birth families -- a process that is sometimes seamless, but more often fraught with challenges. We talk about the legacy of Korea’s adoption policies and speak with some adoptees about their efforts to connect with  their families.


Bella Seigel-Dalton, co-founder, 325KAMRA, a nonprofit organization focused on helping Korea adoptees find family members with DNA

Eleana Kim, associate professor, Anthropology, University of California Irvine, and author of "Adopted Territory:Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging"

Glenn Morey, filmmaker and co-director of "Side x Side" and "Given Away," two documentaries about Korean adoptees' searches for their biological families

Alyssa Jeong Perry, producer, NPR's podcast "Code Switch"