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Resources for Teens Transnationally Adopted from Asia: Community

Resources for Building Community & Connections

In this section, you'll find ways to connect with other teens who are also transnational adoptees. These programs and events provide opportunities to interact and create personal relationships, both online and in person. (Although we reviewed each of these resources at the time of publication, we recommend that you talk with a parent or other trusted adult before joining a group or meeting anyone in person. As you explore these resources and figure out which ones might be a good fit, you can also check out the tips in our Evaluating Sources section.)

Long-Distance & Online Community

Logo for China's Children International with the letters CCI in a design inspired by the Chinese chop

Pen Pal Program, China’s Children International (CCI)

China's Children International (CCI) is an international organization created by and for Chinese adoptees. CCI's pen pal program connects adoptees between the ages of 13 and 25, and matches people based on common interests. Please note that you have to be a part of the CCI Facebook group before you apply, and if you're under 18, your parent must be aware that you're participating.

China's Children International (CCI) logo from CCI official website

Logo for The BEAT, consisting of the word "Beat" with the letter "B" depicted almost as a deconstructed version of the adoption symbolThe B.E.A.T. Adoption Community Facebook Group

The B.E.A.T. stands for Beginning to Explore Adoption Together, and centers around adoptionbeat.org—a hub of resources for adoptees exploring their adoption story and identity. Their private Facebook group is for teen adoptees to connect with each other. Note that you must "like" The BEAT's Facebook page before you can be admitted to the Facebook group.

The B.E.A.T. logo from The B.E.A.T. official website

Photo of an urban night scene, with text on top that says, "KAD4TEENS: BEING ADOPTED MAKES ME DIFFERENT, BUT BEING DIFFERENT MAKES ME PROUD"

Korean Adoptees for Teens Facebook Group

This private Facebook group was created by a teen Korean adoptee who felt there were lots of groups for adult adoptees, but nothing similar for teen adoptees. So this group was founded to be a welcoming place for teen Korean adoptees to connect with each other and share their experiences.

KAD4Teens promo image from the Korean Adoptees for Teens Facebook Group

Adoptee Led Groups

Logo with the letters ICAV in speech bubbles and the organization name Inter Country Adoptee Voices underneathInter Country Adoptee Voices (ICAV) is a network of transnational adoptee volunteers from around the world. ICAV has curated a list of adoptee led groups—including both organizations that are inclusive of adoptees from any country of origin and organizations specific to country of origin. Please note that the majority of these organizations are not specifically for teens. But you will find some youth-focused groups on ICAV's lists (such as Adopteen). And either way, you may want to learn more and explore.

Inter Country Adoptee Voices (ICAV) logo from ICAV official website

Group Trips to Country of Origin

ASIA Families logo from ASIA Families official website
Adoptive Family Travel logo from Adoptive Family Travel official website
Holt International logo from Holt International official website

Camp-Conference & Day Camp

Photo of a large group of people who attended a past Adopteen Camp-Conference, posed for a group photo at the entrance of a zoo with a sign behind them that reads, "Cheyenne Mountain Zoo"

Adopteen Camp-Conference & Day Camp

Adopteen's goal is to create space for teen and young adult adoptees to share and grow without adult interference. Adopteen offers an annual 3-day Day Camp and 5-day Camp-Conference where you can meet other adoptees in an open and supportive space. As with all things Adopteen, camp programs are completely organized and led by young adult adoptees.

Adopteen camp photo from Adopteen official website

Annual Conference

Photo of a large group of people at a past KAAN conference, posing for a posed group photo in front of a stage

Korean American Adoption Families Network (KAAN) Annual Conference

Korean American Adoption Families Network (KAAN) is an all-volunteer organization whose mission is to improve the lives of Korean-born adoptees by connecting the community and providing opportunities for dialogue, education, and support. The annual KAAN conference takes place in a different location each year, and usually includes about 25 youth participants (ages 8-17).

KAAN conference group photo from KANN official email

Annual Conference

Photo from a past K.A.N. conference, located in a school gymnasium. A presenter is at the front of the room with a screen on stage behind her. Attendees sit around tables and in bleachers.

Kids’ Adoption Network (K.A.N.) Annual Conference

Kids’ Adoption Network (K.A.N.) is a program run by the non-profit organization Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.). Each November, during National Adoption Awareness Month, C.A.S.E. invites adoptees in 1st-12th grades and their parents to participate in a one-day conference. In 2019, the conference included a special teen program.

K.A.N. Conference candid photo from C.A.S.E. official website

Heritage Camps

Performance at a past Korean Heritage Camp, with drummers in costume marching in front of audience members who are seated in a gymnasium-like setting.

Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families

Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families offers camps for adoptees from China, India and Nepal, Korea, and Southeast Asia and the Pacific Islands. The organization focuses on providing camp participants with authentic cultural experiences, interactive activities, and presenters from adoptees' birth cultures. 

Performance photo from Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families official website

Teen Camp

Photo of five teenagers engaged in an active game where four of them are running together while connected by stretchy fabric, while the fifth teen runs behind them.

ASIA Families Camp Rice: Teen Camp for Korean Adoptees

ASIA Families is a community for Korean adoptees of all ages, their adoptive parents and families, and the Korean community. Every year, ASIA Families sponsors a 3-day family sleepover camp, which includes a separate Teen Camp with adult adoptee counselors and their own activities.

ASIA Families Teen Camp photo from ASIA Families official website

Family Camp

Photo of a large group of people who attended a previous Pact camp, posed for a group photo outside on a lawn. Over the top right corner of the photo, a box contains illustrative icons for Pact Camp (hands, stars, and tree roots) and the text, "Pact Camp East 2019, Pine Mountain, GA"

Pact Family Camp

Pact is a non-profit organization that supports adopted children of color. Pact Family Camp is an annual weeklong summer retreat where adopted children of color of all ages (and their families) come together to build community. There are two locations for the camp: East and West.

For adoptees in California, Pact also offers teen clubs that meet on a regular basis throughout the year.

Pact Camp East 2019 group photo from Pact official website

International Conference

Photo of a large group of people at a previous IKAA conference, posed for a group photo in front of a stage. Behind them on stage is a large banner that says, "Welcome Korean Adoptees to Seoul, South Korea." On the side of the photo, a partial banner can be seen that says, "IKAA G16." Overlaid on top of the photo at the bottom is the text, "International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) Network."

International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) Gathering

International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) is a network of volunteer organizations from around the world. The IKAA Gathering is the largest conference of its kind, taking place every three years, with attendees from the United States, Europe, Canada, Australia, and Asia. The next conference will be in 2022.

IKAA network group photo from IKAA official Facebook page

Adoptee Reflections on Community

The collective emptiness, emotional striations, yearnings, and fears are en masse and this can be confronting, scary and depressing. However, the shared community offers a balm to many and for the first time in my life, a sense of “belonging”, “acceptance” and “understanding”.

 

Lan, adopted from Vietnam,
from ICAV's Perspective Paper

We need avenues and forums in which adopted people can share their experiences. We need to hear about other adoptees’ experiences with search and reunion and we need to connect with other adoptees to gain peer support and reduce feelings of isolation.

Brooke, adopted from Sri Lanka,
from ICAV's Perspective Paper