IAMAdoptee and Korean American Story: United in Sharing Resilience and Strength

It began again with the death of a young 14 year old Korean adoptee by suicide.  Her death and the stories of death by suicide of adoptees from Korea, Ethiopia, India, Vietnam and more emerged louder and clearer.  For those of us serving and supporting the well-being of intercountry adoptees from academics to clinicians, this was not astonishing, but deeply troubling.  With the generosity of Korean American Story and their commitment to preserving stories of all Korean Americans, IAMAdoptee collaborated by supporting this endeavor with a brave assemblage of adoptees from multiple generations.  We felt it important to hear the achievements and challenges of growing up in America as an adoptee of color with a focus on age, gender and region.  We asked adoptees in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s to share their lived experience with adoption, mental health, and suicide, as well as a visual reminder of hope and that we are all a part of a larger whole.  It was a personal ask of these men and women to open up and share, for some, the only time they have ever done so in such a public way.

Michael Pulliam is our youngest adoptee, still in his 20s. We know him as an amazing counselor for Sejong Camp.  Michael’s gift is his ability to talk to any little boy and make them feel heard.  In real life, he works in technology support.

Andrea (Andy) Marra is the Executive Director of The Transgender Legal Defense & Education Fund.  It was a gift for us to have Andy come and share her thoughts and views of being adopted, being a transwoman and being the extraordinary advocate and leader she is.

Alex Myung is a gifted creative, animator and storyteller.  You can see his beautiful work in his short film, Arrival and in Cartoon Network’s Steven Universe.

Jae Rindner has been a long time leader of Also-Known-As and currently on the board of ATN.  We really appreciate Jae sharing her story for the very first time.  In the real world, Jae works at the Office of the Executive VP of NYU Langone Health.

Marissa Martin, LMSW is the Executive Director of The Advocacy Institute.  She has been a long time advocate and leader in the adoptee community in NY.  She has led in a multitude of ways for Also-Known-As as President and Director of Mentorship as well as created programming for All Together Now.

Major Mike McDonald, US Army has been a long time active member of our adoptee community. He was one of the first intercountry adoptees to host a podcast, The Rambler, giving voice and story to nearly 60 adoptees from all over the world.

Meg Campbell is a NICU nurse and the youngest sister of IAMAdoptee Co-founder Joy Lieberthal Rho.  It was a very personal ask to have Meg come and share her adoption story.  Adoption is not something that has one narrative, even if we are from the same family.  With gratitude and love to Meg’s authenticity and bravery!

Lee-Ann Hanham Fabella, LCSW came into the adoption community as it was emerging and was a wonderful leader as President of Also-Known-As.  But it is her love for mentorship and young adoptees that stand out as she helmed the AKA Mentorship program for many years.  Lee-Ann is a social worker and therapist.

Michael Mullen has a real job, but we know him as the current outstanding President of Also-Known-As.  He has led this grassroots organization of 25 years for the past 5 years and continues to expand the mission of always welcoming adoptees who come to NY to find community.

Lynn Richards-Noyer is one of the founding members of Also-Known-As.  For 25 years, she has been the one who welcomes and always ready to share space and time for other adoptees as they begin their journey.  Lynn is a Community Manager for Regus, a global network for work space.

Thank you to Korean American Story for their continued dedication to include Korean adoptees into the diaspora of Korean American history and storytelling.