News Room

A Message from our Executive Director

May 2021

I am writing this before I leave on a trip to Seoul, South Korea, at the end of April to visit our son, Karl, who has lived there since December 2019. My husband, Kevin and I adopted Karl from South Korea 25 years ago.

In preparation for the trip, I have had to learn about the requirements for visiting South Korea. Such as, I need to have a specific COVID test within the outlined timeframe before I get on the plane. Upon arrival, after what looks like an obstacle course of paperwork and requirements, I will then be taken to a government facility to quarantine for 14 days. Food will be brought to my door, and I’ll have a daily health check. I have a plan sketched out for how I’m going to spend my time, wanting to make the most of it and fulfill the requirements. I have been preparing myself, even though I know that I need to experience it to know how it will all work out. Yes, it is strict, and I am a self-invited guest.

When I think about being in South Korea, I wonder what it will feel like to look very different than most people. How will it feel to not understand their verbal or written language? Will I unknowingly be offensive or worse yet, illegal? How will I be vulnerable? How will my experience differ from the culture that I have only learned about, in the comfort of my home? I’m open to learning and experiencing, at least to some degree, what it might be like for some of our kids, and my own son. For their families who immigrated here. For those who don’t speak the dominant language. For those who don’t blend in with the majority of our country, whether by skin color, social status, disability, etc. Will I better understand my son’s experiences in Minnesota by being with him in South Korea? To all of these questions I say, I don’t know, but I’m willing to try and learn.

I look forward to the journey and sharing my story with you when I return. Thank you for making it possible to stand with our kids!

Jackie Johnson
Executive Director