Avoiding Origin Deprivation and Genetic Identity Losses:

a 4-day Interdisciplinary Symposium on Adoption and Kinship Rights

The KAARN network coordinators (Boon Young Han, Ryan Gustafsson, and Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen) will participate in

Avoiding Origin Deprivation and Genetic Identity Losses, a 4-day interdisciplinary symposium on adoption and kinship rights.

The symposium is organized and hosted by Dr. Alice Diver from School of Law, Queen's University Belfast and funded by a Queen's

Global Research Partnership Development Award. 


Tobias Hübinette (Karstad University, Sweden)

Gonda Van Steen (King's College London, UK)

John McLeod (University of Leeds, UK)

Frances Latchford (York University, Canada)

Alice Diver (Queen's University Belfast, Northern Ireland)

Christina Baglietto (Child Identity Protection, Mexico City)

Laurence Bordier (Child Identity Protection, Geneva)

Jacqueline Williamson (Kinship Care, Northern Ireland)

Boon Young Han (KAARN & Seoul National University, South Korea)

Ryan Gustafsson (KAARN & University of Melbourne, Australia)

Nikolaj J. L. L. Pedersen (KAARN & Yonsei University, South Korea)

Eventbrite sign-up.

(Online participation possible.)

Korean International Adoption: Conceptual, Contemporary and Historical Perspectives

The edited collection Korean International Adoption: Conceptual, Contemporary and Historical Perspectives is under contract with Palgrave

Macmillan. The collection brings together articles based on presentations given as part of the first three installments of the 

KAARN seminar series, together with a number of additional articles commissioned for the collection. The collection is expected to

get published in 2024. 


Theoretical and conceptual issues in adoption studies

3rd seminar series.

The seminar series Theoretical and conceptual issues in adoption studies will run on Zoom in the fall of 2021 with three presentations by scholars working on adoption. Each speaker will discuss one of their ongoing projects, collectively shedding light on the theoretical and conceptual issues in adoption studies. 

October 13, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Hosu Kim, Associate Professor of Psychology (College of Staten Island)

Accounting for Gift in Transnational Adoption Practice

Hosu Kim is Associate Professor of Psychology at College of Staten Island and an affiliated faculty of the Critical Social Psychology program at

the City University of New York Graduate Center (CUNY), U.S.A. In 2020-2021, she is a faculty fellow of the Committee of Globalization and 

and Social Change at the Graduate Center. Her current research project entitled “Walking Peace: Embodied Practices of Reparation toward Decolonizing Asia,” explores how peace-building and human rights have fostered within communities and sites afflicted with state violence

as alternative to state reparations. They include Korean transnational adoptees’ DNA activism, the former US military base, civilian massacre

in Vietnam and in Gwangju, South Korea. She is the author of Birth Mothers and Transnational Adoption Practice in South Korea:

Virtual Mothering, published by Palgrave-Macmillan in 2016.

Zoom registration link.

October 27, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Gonda Van Steen, Koraes Professor of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature (King's College London)

A Snapshot of Forced Consent in Intercountry Adoption from Cold War Greece

Gonda Van Steen is Koraes Chair of Modern Greek and Byzantine History, Language and Literature in the Centre for Hellenistic Studies and

the Department of Classics at King’s College London. She is the author of five books. Her latest book, Adoption, Memory and Cold War Greece:

Kid pro quo? (University of Michigan Press, 2019), takes the reader into the uncharted terrain of Greek adoption stories that become

paradigmatic of Cold War history and politics. Her current project delves deeper into the identity dynamics of Greek adoption stories

and incorporates some of the adoptees’ narrated experiences.

Zoom registration link.

November 10, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Tobias Hübinette (Karlstad University)

Overseas Korean Adoption and the Birth of Swedish Colour Blindness: A Study of How the Korean Adoptees Transformed Sweden’s

Attitude to Race and the Relationship between Race and Swedishness

Tobias Hübinette has a Ph.D. in Korean Studies and is Reader in Intercultural education, Senior Lecturer in Intercultural

Studies and teaches Swedish as a Foreign Language, at the Department of Language, Literature and Intercultural Studies, Karlstad University, Sweden, where he also teaches Comparative Literature and in Gender Studies. He is conducting research within the field of Swedish critical race and

whiteness studies, which he is also actively trying to establish within Swedish academia, and he has also been engaged with Korean adoption

studies and critical adoption studies. He has published several books and articles focusing on Korean adoption and transnational adoptees

as well as on Swedish whiteness and Swedish racial formations and race relations. 

Zoom registration link.

Historical and Contemporary Perspectives on Korean Adoption

2nd seminar series.

The seminar series Adoption Research in Korea will run on Zoom in the spring of 2021 with four presentations by Korean scholars working on adoption. Each speaker will discuss one of their ongoing projects, collectively shedding light on the current state of adoption research in Korea. 

April 14, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Pilsik Shin, Ph.D. in Gender Studies (Seoul National University)

History of 5 Generations of Overseas Korean Adoptees and Adoption Policy from 1953 to 2021

Pilsik Shin recently received his Ph.D. in Gender Studies from Seoul National University (2020). He is the first ever male to do so. Dr. Shin

has written on unwed mothers and adoption history and continues to support and advocate for the rights of those impacted by adoption.

Zoom registration link.

April 28, 2021 - 7pm (KST):

Helen Noh, Department of Social Welfare, Soongsil University

Korean Adoption Practice: Current Status and Issues

Helen Noh is a professor at School of Social Welfare, Soongsil University and is currently serving Dean of the College of Social Science. She

received her Ph.D. in Social Work from the University of California, Berkeley. Prof. Noh specializes in child welfare and has authored

and translated several textbooks on child welfare and solution focused practice. 

Zoom registration link.

May 12th, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Rami So, School of Law, Seoul National University

Legal History of Korean Adoption

Rami So is a clinical professor at Seoul National University School of Law.  She received her LL.M. from Pennsylvania State University and

focuses on human rights cases, including adoption and child abuse. 

Zoom registration link.

The Right to Origin

Inaugural seminar series. 


The seminar series The Right to Origin will run on Zoom in January and February 2021 with three presentations by adoption scholars. Each speaker will discuss the concept of the right to origin and examine the broader social, legal and political implications in South Korea as a sending country along with experiences from North America and Europe as receiving countries. 

Registration required for participation (links below). 

Download poster.

January 27, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Dr. Alice Diver, Liverpool John Moores University: 

The right to identify one’s ancestors: why the notion of ‘limping parentage’ is increasingly relevant to origin deprivation

Dr. Alice Diver is a Senior Lecturer in Law at Liverpool John Moores University, England, U.K. She is a closed records, adoptee from Quebec (of indigenous descent) and the author of A Law of Blood-ties: The Right to Access Genetic Ancestry (Springer, 2013). Formerly a Solicitor in private practice (Northern Ireland), she has been lecturing in law since 1993, focusing mainly upon Family Law and Human Rights. She has published extensively on the subject of origin deprivation and the loss of genetic connection, in journal articles, book chapters, and conference papers.

Read Diver's abstract here.

Zoom registration link

A recording of the seminar is available here.

February 10, 2021 - 9am (KST)

Prof. David M. Smolin, Cumberland School of Law: 

The Case for Moratoria on Intercountry Adoption

David Smolin is the Harwell G. Davis Professor of Constitutional Law, and Director, Center for Children, Law, and Ethics, at Cumberland

Law School, Samford University. He has served as an independent expert for the Hague Conference on Private International Law (HCCH)

on intercountry adoption issues, and has served as an external expert for the International Reference Centre for the rights of children

deprived of their family, of the International Social Service (ISS/IRC), on issues related to children’s rights, adoption, and surrogacy.   

He is a member of the core expert group that developed the Verona Principles on international standards for surrogacy.   He also serves

on the Ethics Committee at Children’s (Hospital) of Alabama. He teaches in the areas of constitutional law, bioethics and law, family

and juvenile law, children’s rights, and criminal law and procedure. Many of his publications are available for free download, with over 80,000 downloads.  He received the Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award from the St. John’s University Adoption Initiative in 2014.   

He has presented internationally at the Second International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies in Seoul, South Korea; the 2010

and 2015 Hague Special Commissions on the Practical Operation of the Hague Adoption Convention; the 2014 International Forum

on Intercountry Adoption and Global Surrogacy at the International Institute of Social Studies, the Hague, Netherlands; the State

Supreme Court of Sao Paulo, Brazil; and the NALSAR University of Law, in Andhra Pradesh, India. He has worked together with his

wife, Desiree Smolin, on analysis and reform of adoption systems and practices, and sometimes contributes to the adoption blog she co-founded. 

Zoom registration link.

A recording of the seminar is available here.

February 24, 2021 - 7pm (KST)

Pill Kyu Hwang, GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation:

History of Monitoring the Adoption Process in Korea: From Hyun So to Jeong In

Pill Kyu Hwang is a lawyer with the GongGam Human Rights Law Foundation and Adjunct Professor at the School of Law, Seoul National University where he is in charge of the International Human Rights Clinic. He has actively supported the rights of adoptees and natural

families for decades and was part of the official investigation team into the death of Korean American adoptee Hyun So. More recently he

has worked on cases including the bereaved families from the Sewol ferry disaster, survivors of the deadly humidifier sterilizer

scandal and refugees in Chejo-do Island.

Zoom registration link.

A recording of the seminar is available here.