Because we share similar acronyms, The Association of Korean
Adoptees - Southern California (AKA - SoCal) is often confused
with Also-Known-As, Inc. Here we take a look at an interview with the founders of this similar independent organization.
In July, 1994, Jo Rankin, SoYun Roe and Basil Zanda established
the Association of Korean Adoptees (AKA-SoCal) in Los Angeles, CA,
a non-profit, independent, and secular group of Korean adoptees
and their associates. AKA-SoCal's mission is to provide emotional,
social and cultural support for Korean adoptees and their associates;
increase awareness and understanding of transracial adoption; serve
as a link between Korean adoptees, the Korean-American community;
and create an international network of Korean Adoptees.
Here they pause and share their experience and achievements of
their organization since its inception.
Why did you start the Association of Korean Adoptees?
The existing support groups in Los Angeles were either for all members
of the adoption triad or for domestic adoptees. We wanted a group
which focused on transracial issues for just Korean adoptees and
their associates. There was a vacuum for a group like this, especially
in Los Angeles, where many adoptees move to because of the large
Korean-American community. We wanted to create an environment where
adoptees would feel safe and comfortable talking about these very
Where were you all in your adoption journey when you decided
to start AKA?
This was the beginning of the adoption journey for JO Basil
was recently reunited with his birth family and SoYun, a second-generation
Korean-American and his wife, was with him on his adoption journey.
Describe your first meeting.
Our first meeting was with four adoptees and four associates.
That first year, we met informally for a few hours on occasional
How have they changed?
We now have a greater variety of meetings and events, with people
coming from all over Southern California. We now meet monthly on
the second Saturday in San Diego and on the third Saturday in Los
Angeles, beginning at 2pm and lasting well into the night. We
usually start out at someone's home for the official meeting, then
eventually drive to a Korean restaurant.
What have you gotten out of forming this group?
Invaluable friendships and resources.
Why do you continue to do the work?
JO wants to continue to reach Korean adoptees who may not necessarily
have the resources or initiative to seek other adoptees. SoYun believes
everyone, not just adoptees, not just adoption triad members, not
just Koreans can benefit from the lessons of Korean adoption. Basil
wants to help others, especially the younger generation. It gives
him a sense of belonging.
What do you think is the future responsibilities that adoptees
have to the Korean American community, Korea, to adoption and young
We need to encourage Koreans and Korean-Americans to adopt. We need
to education social workers and potential adoptive parents of the
complexities which result from transracial adoption. We need to
share our experiences so young adoptees can benefit and learn from
The Association of Korean Adoptees - Southern California meets at 2pm on the second Saturday of every month in San Diego and the third Saturday in Los Angeles. AKA-SoCal is also co-host of KADapalooza, an event for Korean adult adoptees in Los Angeles in March 2001.