Afternoon Keynote – Dr. Kim Park Nelson
Resolving Adoptee Multiversity: Direct-to-Consumer Genetic Testing as a Proxy for Birth Family Search among Adopted Adults
(Students, Staff, and Faculty only)
What does it mean to be separated from the family of one’s birth, to lose one’s first identity? The “life that could have been” and the fact of parental replacement is continually present for adoptees. The desire to learn more about our first families is inescapable. We become the people we are as the result of our adoptions, but we also know there must be a “could have been”—if only we could find it. This presentation theorizes adoptee multiversity as a lived experience among adoptees, with birth search through direct-to-consumer genetic testing (DTC GT) as one remedy adoptees use to recover information central to their identities.
Kim Park Nelson is a Korean adoptee, educator, and researcher whose work uses adoption as a lens to understand race and culture. Her work has contributed to building the field of Adoption Studies and Korean Adoption Studies in the U.S. and internationally. She is director and associate professor of Ethnic Studies at the Winona State University. Dr. Park Nelson has authored or coauthored several published articles on adoption cultures and communities. Her book, Invisible Asians: Korean American Adoptees, Asian American Experiences and Racial Exceptionalism (2016) published by Rutgers University Press, dismantles the stereotype that Asian Americans are untouched by racial marginalization. The book is based on her ethnographic research exploring the many identities of adult Korean adoptees, as well as the cultural, social, historical, and political significance of seventy years of Korean adoption to the United States.