COVID 19 and the Intercountry Adoptee Community: Ann McKinnon

Living within a worldwide pandemic, intercountry adoptees, like everyone else have been deeply impacted. From small business owners who have had to close their brick and mortar stores, to adoptees living in worry about how they will pay next month’s rent to fun ways to connect with other adoptees to make the day pass with some levity and community, we are sharing ways IAMAdoptee can support you.

Even though things seem to be shifting and some cities and states are trying to move toward opening up more, things are not the same.  Small business owners have been particularly hit hard with this current pandemic.  IAMAdoptee would love to feature the many intercountry adoptees who are trying to keep afloat.  Please consider how you can support them!

Here is our interview with Ann McKinnon, Korean adoptee and owner of Rise & Pine Bread:


Basic biographical information:

Ann McKinnon, adopted from Korea, owner of Rise & Pine Bread

How do you identify yourself? 

Korean adoptee, baker, wife, mom, military spouse

Where were you adopted from and when? If you would like to share any aspects of your life before adoption, please do. 

I was adopted from Korea in 1977, when I was four and a half months old.

Where did you grow up and where do you live now? 

I grew up in suburban Minnesota, just outside the Twin Cities. After college, I moved to NYC and lived there for over a decade before relocating to central North Carolina, where I live now, because of my husband’s job in the Army. 

What is your profession? 

I worked in the nonprofit sector for two decades before changing career paths, going to culinary school in NY, and opening my own small business baking sourdough breads.

Tell us about your business or the line of work you did pre-COVID 19? 

I have a small (very small!) sourdough bread business that is in its third year this year. Prior to the COVID 19 pandemic, I sold my bread at a couple of local businesses and set up a stand at my local farmers market.

How have you been impacted by the current COVID 19 pandemic? 

The businesses that I sold my bread to prior to the pandemic have both had to change their business models to adjust to our new reality. As a result, sales using my bread have slowed down or even stopped in one case. Also, because I didn’t feel comfortable participating in the farmers market this year, I’ve changed my business model to offer contactless deliveries to my customers’ homes instead.

What are ways you are working through this current crisis for your business?

I’ve adjusted my business model to offer contactless deliveries, which has actually worked out really well so far. I had always wanted to do deliveries for my customers but felt too overwhelmed by the idea of coming up with the perfect infrastructure and process to support that model. With this crisis, I felt I had to move quickly to make a decision to shift gears even if it wasn’t perfect, and to my surprise, it has been super successful! It kind of just underscores the wisdom in not letting perfect become the enemy of good.

How can we, the intercountry adoptee community, support you? 

Follow and like my social media accounts – @riseandpinebread on Instagram and @riseandpine on Facebook and continue to adhere to your own local government’s guidelines regarding social distancing in order to flatten the curve. The sooner we can do that, the sooner we can all get back to “normal” life, whatever that will look like when we get to the other side of this! 

Have you learned anything during this crisis about the small business industry, communities, and/or yourself? 

That our industry is incredibly creative and resilient. I’ve seen lots of small businesses in my community work hard to implement quick changes in order to survive through this crisis. I feel very fortunate to live and work in a community that has always shown a lot of love to local small businesses but that is coming through even more clearly now when we all need each other more than ever. 

Adaline Bara, Interviewer, is a Chinese adoptee from Hunan, China who grew up with Kansas City, Missouri with her two adoptive sisters and two mothers. She was adopted at 8 months old in 1996 and went back for the first time when she was 13. This sparked her love for travel. She pursued an art and fashion design career at the London College of Design & Fashion in Hanoi, Vietnam and later worked at Chula Fashion as an events coordinator. Although she loves art and design, her true passion is supporting the intercountry adoptee community through organizations like IAMAdoptee, China’s Children International and The Catalyst Foundation. You can connect with her via Instagram.