Adopting children from other countries and other cultures

By Dale Johnson Posted: January 22, 2016 11:00 a.m.

Katie Hae Leo will share her experiences as a Korean American adoptee as part of the symposium on international and transcultural adoption.
Katie Hae Leo will share her experiences as a Korean American adoptee as part of the symposium on international and transcultural adoption. Photo courtesy of Katie Hae Leo

The University of Regina is the site of a conference that looks at the challenges and rewards of adopting children internationally and transculturally.

The Theatre Department is hosting the event on Friday, January 22 and Saturday, January 23.

It’s being organized by people with ties to the University of Regina who have adopted children from other cultures.

Leesa Streifler, head of the Visual Arts Department in the Faculty of Media, Art and Performance (formerly the Faculty of Fine Arts), is the mother of a son adopted from Bulgaria.

"As an adoptive parent I have often felt isolated, not knowing many other families similar to mine. This symposium offers the chance to build community and meet and learn from other families built through adoption,” Streifler says.

“I believe that through theatre, storytelling, music and visual arts we are allowing people to explore complicated issues like identity and belonging through multiple lenses,” explains Kathryn Bracht, head of the Theatre Department, who has an adopted son and daughter from China.

“This symposium will be of interest to anyone who has been touched by international and transcultural adoption, either personally or professionally,” she adds.

Lynn Gidluck, who has a PhD in Public Policy and History from the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School of Public Policy at the University of Regina, has adopted two daughters from China.

“The four of us became friends through our children and our personal interest in raising healthy, happy children who are proud of their birth cultures,” she says. “We noticed that a lot of literature has been written on these issues by social workers and psychologists and other professionals, as well as adoptive parents. Seldom, however, do we hear the adoptees’ perspectives.”

Sonya Corbin Dwyer, who previously taught in the Faculty of Education at the University of Regina and is now at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University of Newfoundland, has adopted two daughters from China. She is travelling from Newfoundland to take part.

"I am excited to be returning to Regina for this symposium. I started my academic career at the University of Regina, started conducting research on transracial adoption issues with Lynn while there, but most importantly, I became a mother while living in Regina. Regina holds some very special memories for me on my motherhood journey, and with this symposium it continues to do so."

The symposium will feature the creative and scholarly works of adoptees and adoptive parents.

Events include:

  • A performance by Katie Hae Leo, who explores her experience as a Korean American adoptee.
  • A panel discussion by adult adoptees who reflect on what “home” and “identity” mean to them.
  • Selected readings on the nature of identity and belonging in adoptive families.
  • An evening of storytelling with Violet and Joseph Naytowhow.

There is no admission charge and all events are open to the public.

Event:         International and Transcultureal Adoption: Navigating Home to Homeland

Date:           Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 and Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016

Location:     Shubox Theatre, Riddell Centre, University of Regina

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