Lesson 6: Aftermath of the Korean War: Korean Transnational Adoptions
​Activity 6.3: ​Experiences of Korean Transnational Adoptees 

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Students learn about transnational adoptions from the perspective of Deann Borshay Liem, a Korean adoptee.

In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and was sent from Korea to her new home. Growing up in California, the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated until recurring dreams lead Deann to discover the truth: her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, Deann's heartfelt journey makes First Person Plural a poignant essay on family, loss, and the reconciling of two identities. (MU Films)

First Person Plural (Source: IMBD)

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Activity Questions

  • What are some of the experiences and feelings faced by Korean transnational adoptions?

  • How do conflicting feelings about their identity affect Korean transnational adoptees' relationships with their American and Korean families?

  • How does war, poverty, race, gender and global relationships influence adoption? 


​Instructional Strategies

  • To support this lesson, use the Lesson 6 Teachers' Guide and Lesson 6 Presentation found under Lesson 6.

Introduce the Film

  • Have students share their thoughts about whether, if adopted, they would want to know their biological parents.

  • Show the film, First Person Plural (Director Deann Borshay Liem, 53 min.). This film follows the journey of a Korean adoptee, from her childhood and high school experience with her adoptive American family to her trip to Korea to find her birth mother.

  • If the film is not available:

During Viewing

  • Distribute and review the Viewing Questions for First Person Plural (download below). Encourage students to notice information in the film that will help them answer the questions.

After Viewing

  •  After watching the film, place students in pairs or small groups to complete the Viewing Questions as directed. Then review the answers as a class.

Extension

  • Have students read and report on one of the eight adoptees highlighted on Voices of Adoptees (First Person Plural website). 

​Closing the Activity

  • End class with review and discussion of the activity questions.

External Resources

 

Resources​​

Worksheet: Viewing Questions for First Person Plural (PDF)

YouTube Video: Trailer for First Person Plural (1:51 minutes)

In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and sent from Korea to her new home in California. There the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated, until recurring dreams led her to investigate her own past, and she discovered that her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, Borshay Liem embarks on a heartfelt journey in this acclaimed film that premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. Nominated for an Emmy for Best Director, First Person Plural is a poignant essay on family, loss and the reconciling of two identities.