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Adoptees should have “lived” experiences related to adoption and race: traveling to birth countries, attending racially diverse schools.

Then Klunder heard Kim Stoker give a lecture about learning the Korean language as an avenue to “belonging” in South Korea.

Raised in Colorado and Virginia, Stoker has lived in South Korea for 15 years and has the maternal presence of someone who has held the hands of many 20-something adoptees during their first months in Seoul.

“I do really feel like these are my kin.” By the end of Stoker’s talk, Klunder felt, as she put it, “invited to come back.” And before leaving South Korea that week, she decided that she would return to live there.

She packed one large suitcase with clothes and two carry-ons with shoes, handbags and books, including works by Gabriel García Márquez, Saul Alinsky, Bell Hooks, along with South Korean adoption memoirs.

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