Spotlight on Catherine Ceniza Choy

by Peter Spyers-Duran

Image of Catherine Ceniza ChoyOne of the featured panelists in the APALA President’s Program in San Francisco, entitled Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy is Catherine Ceniza Choy, Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley.  Prior to coming to Berkeley, she was an assistant professor of American Studies and a cofounding member of the Asian American Studies Initiative at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.  Choy received her Ph.D. in History from UCLA and her B.A. in History from Pomona College.  The daughter of Filipino immigrants, she was born and raised in New York City and is a graduate of Stuyvesant High School. She lives in Berkeley with her husband and their two children.

Choy is the author of the award-winning book Empire of Care: Nursing and Migration in Filipino American History, which explored how and why the Philippines became the leading exporter of professional nurses to the United States.  Choy’s new book Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America unearths the little-known historical origins of Asian international adoption in the United States beginning with the post-World War II presence of the U.S. military in Asia.

In the last fifty years, transnational adoption—specifically, the adoption of Asian children—has exploded in popularity as an alternative path to family-making. Despite the cultural acceptance of this practice, surprisingly little attention has been paid to the factors that allowed Asian international adoption to flourish. In Global Families, Choy unearths the little-known historical origins of Asian international adoption in the United States. Beginning with the post-World War II presence of the U.S. military in Asia, she reveals how mixed-race children born of Japanese, Korean, and Vietnamese women and U.S. servicemen comprised one of the earliest groups of adoptive children.
Based on extensive archival research, Global Families moves beyond one-dimensional portrayals of Asian international adoption as either a progressive form of U.S. multiculturalism or as an exploitative form of cultural and economic imperialism. Rather, Choy acknowledges the complexity of the phenomenon, illuminating both its radical possibilities of a world united across national, cultural, and racial divides through family formation and its strong potential for reinforcing the very racial and cultural hierarchies it sought to challenge.

 

Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy

Co-sponsored by Video Round Table
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 4:30-5:30 PM
Moscone Convention Center, 236-238 (S)

Description: APALA President’s Program will feature a dynamic discussion between Dr. Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC-Berkeley and Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the City Librarian of the Santa Monica Public Library System. They will examine the issues raised by Geographies of Kinship: International Asian Adoption, a new film by award-winning Berkeley-based filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, in the larger context of international adoption and reflect on universal questions of identity, assimilation, family, community, and advocacy. Excerpts from the film and a personal introduction especially produced for this program by Deann will be shown. The APALA President’s Program is co-sponsored by APALA and VRT.

We hope to see everyone there!

Spotlight on Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter

by Brian Leaf

Image of Maria Teasil Hudson CarpenterOne of the featured guests in the APALA President’s Program in San Francisco, entitled Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy is Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the Director of Libraries for the City of Santa Monica, CA. She has long been involved on the Korean adoptee scene, and we are proud to be able to highlight her accomplishments as we lead up to this must-see event.

As the Director of Libraries, Maria oversees a $12 million budget, 210 employees, and five libraries. Formerly, Maria was Director of Libraries for the City of Somerville, MA and Director of Advancement, Marketing, and Communications for Northeastern University Libraries.

She completed her Master’s in Library and Information Science at the University of Pittsburgh and received her B.A. from Ohio Wesleyan U. She is a member of Phi Beta Delta, the honor society for International scholars and an American Library Association (ALA) Spectrum Scholar. She studies leadership and libraries in a doctoral program at Simmons College and is writing her dissertation on community leadership. Additionally, she is an elected ALA Councilor-At-Large and has served on committees for Asian Pacific American Librarians Association, Academic Library Advancement Development Network, Association of College and Research Libraries, and ALA. Her research has been published in College & Research Libraries, Library Management and portal.

Maria was as a long-standing member of Boston Korean Adoptees (BKA) and continues her involvement now as the Vice President of the Association of Korean Adoptees of Southern California (AKASoCal), a Southern California organization for Korean adoptees. She has visited South Korea three times, attended the 2010 Korean adoption conference, got involved with Global Oversees Adoptees Link, or G.O.A.L., and stayed at KoRoot guesthouse for adoptees.

Since my first trip back I searched for my birth family including going on television on KBS and other news outlets with no success but I have met amazing adoptee friends along the way and learned a bit more about my homeland.

In addition to her library and adoptee activities, she is also a 200-hour registered Yoga teacher and is a second degree Reiki practitioner in the Usui Shiki Ryoho tradition. In the past, she has also served on Boston’s Asian American Resource Workshop, a pan-Asian advocacy group that works for the empowerment of local Asian Pacific-American community to achieve its full participation in national society.  Maria has two brothers adopted from Nicaragua and a Swedish-American sister adopted from Minnesota.

Maria believes in living a life of abundant joy and love.

 

Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy

Co-sponsored by Video Round Table
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 4:30-5:30 PM
Moscone Convention Center, 236-238 (S)

Description: APALA President’s Program will feature a dynamic discussion between Dr. Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC-Berkeley and Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the City Librarian of the Santa Monica Public Library System. They will examine the issues raised by Geographies of Kinship: International Asian Adoption, a new film by award-winning Berkeley-based filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, in the larger context of international adoption and reflect on universal questions of identity, assimilation, family, community, and advocacy. Excerpts from the film and a personal introduction especially produced for this program by Deann will be shown. The APALA President’s Program is co-sponsored by APALA and VRT.

We hope to see everyone there!

 

Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy

by Sofia Leung

In anticipation of the 2015 APALA President’s Program, Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy, we provide a brief introduction and resource guide to the topic of Asian international adoption. The program will feature Dr. Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC Berkeley and author of Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America, and Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the City Librarian of the Santa Monica Public Library System and the Vice President of the Association of Korean Adoptees of Southern California. They will use the new film by award-winning filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, Geographies of Kinship: International Asian Adoption, as a discussion prompt to such issues as assimilation, family, community, and advocacy within the larger framework of international adoption.

There are number of books, films, exhibits, organizations and more that delve into the subject. This list is by no means comprehensive and is meant to be a starting point to help you explore the conversations happening around Asian international adoption. We have provided a short description of some of the resources.

Nonfiction

Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging by Eleana J. Kim. Designed by Heather Hensley. 2010 Duke University Press.

Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging by Eleana J. Kim. Designed by Heather Hensley. 2010 Duke University Press.

  • Choy, C. (2013). Global Families : A History of Asian International Adoption in America, Ebook library (OCoLC)63128143.
  • Jerng, M. (2010). Claiming Others Transracial Adoption and National Belonging, Ebrary Academic Complete (OCoLC)54646987.

Jerng presents the history of transracial adoption in the United States, beginning from 1851, with the first adoption law in Massachusetts. He is interested in how transracial adoption disturbs traditional ideas of family, nation, and race.

  • Kim, E. (2010). Adopted Territory: Transnational Korean Adoptees and the Politics of Belonging. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Volkman, T. (2005). Cultures of transnational adoption. Durham: Duke University Press.

This is a collection of essays that covers both the personal and scholarly perspectives of transnational adoption and explores the cultural issues of race, kinship, belonging, and identity . While it spans adoption from many different parts of the world, Korea, China, and North America are particularly well-explored in this book.

Other Notable Scholars

  • Sara Dorow
  • Kay Ann Johnson
  • Rita Simon
  • Jane Trenka
  • M. Elizabeth Vonk
  • Barbara Yngvesson

Fiction

  • Hwang, D. (2000). Trying to find Chinatown : The selected plays (1st ed.). New York: Theatre Communications Group.
  • Lee, M. M. (2005). Somebody’s Daughter. Boston: Beacon Press.
  • Lee, V. (2001). Princess June: A novel. Santa Barbara, CA: Fithian Press.
  • Scott, J.C. (2002). The lucky gourd shop. Denver, CO: MacMurray & Beck.

Film

  • Dolgin, Gail. (2002). Daughter from Danang. United States: Balcony Releasing.
  • Dossing, K., Engbo, Johan, Henriksen, Jacob Kwon, & Vesselbo, Nikolaj. (2007). A baby business (VAST: Academic Video Online). Copenhagen, Denmark: Danish Broadcasting Corporation.
  • Futerman, Samantha, Miyamoto, Ryan. Twinsters. United States: Small Package Films.
  • Gardner, Janet, Theam, Sopheap. (2013). Lost Child: Sayon’s Journey. United States: The Gardner Documentary Group.
The only picture Sayon Soeun had of his family in Cambodia. After more than 35 years, he has recently reconnected with his siblings. From the film Lost Child: Sayon's Journey.

The only picture Sayon Soeun had of his family in Cambodia. After more than 35 years, he has recently reconnected with his siblings. From the film Lost Child: Sayon’s Journey.

This documentary tells the story of Sayon Soeun, a child soldier abducted by the Khmer Rouge and eventually adopted by an American family. After over 35 years, he reconnects with his siblings, who he had presumed dead. This film is currently being shown in select locations: http://www.lostchildthefilm.org/screenings/

  • Knowlton, Linda Goldstein. (2011).  Somewhere Between. United States: Ladylike Films.
  • Lee, Barb. (2005). Adopted. United States: Point Made Films.
  • Liem, Deann Borshay. (2000). First Person Plural. United States: Mu Films.

Liem’s first documentary.

  • Pham, Quoc Thai, Gardner, Janet. (2001). Precious Cargo. United States: The Gardner Documentary Group.
  • Wang-Breal, Stephanie. (2009). Wo Ai Ni Mommy. United States: eyewang Pictures.

Exhibit

Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies exhibition at the Presidio Officers Club.

Operation Babylift: Perspectives and Legacies exhibition at the Presidio Officers Club.

  • Operation Babylift: Perspectives + Legacies, closes Dec. 31st, free admission

Presidio Officers’ Club, 50 Moraga Ave., Main Post, Presidio, San Francisco

http://www.presidioofficersclub.com/exhibits/special-exhibits/

Details the 1975 evacuation of Vietnamese children to San Francisco and the military base that became a processing center. You can see this now or when you’re in San Francisco for ALA!

Organizations

 

Global Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy

Co-sponsored by Video Round Table
Saturday, June 27, 2015, 4:30-5:30 PM
Moscone Convention Center, 236-238 (S)

Description: APALA President’s Program will feature a dynamic discussion between Dr. Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC-Berkeley and Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the City Librarian of the Santa Monica Public Library System. They will examine the issues raised by Geographies of Kinship: International Asian Adoption, a new film by award-winning Berkeley-based filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, in the larger context of international adoption and reflect on universal questions of identity, assimilation, family, community, and advocacy. Excerpts from the film and a personal introduction especially produced for this program by Deann will be shown. The APALA President’s Program is co-sponsored by APALA and VRT.

We hope to see everyone there!

APALA President’s Program

APALA President’s Program will feature a dynamic discussion between Dr. Catherine Ceniza Choy, a professor of Ethnic Studies at UC-Berkeley and Maria Taesil Hudson Carpenter, the City Librarian of the Santa Monica Public Library System. They will examine the issues raised by Geographies of Kinship: International Asian Adoption, a new film by award-winning Berkeley-based filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem, in the larger context of international adoption and reflect on universal questions of identity, assimilation, family, community, and advocacy. Excerpts from the film and a personal introduction especially produced for this program by Deann will be shown. The APALA President’s Program is co-sponsored by APALA and VRT.

Calendar of Events at ALA Annual 2015

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The latest issue of the APALA Newsletter is for the Winter/Spring 2014-2015. Older issues of the APALA Newsletter may be viewed from the Newsletter Archive page.

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