International Korean Adoptee Associations

IKAA Gathering Seoul 2016


August 2 – 7, 2016 · Seoul


The IKAA Gathering 2016 will take place in Seoul, Korea on August 2 – 7, 2016 and will promote the connection of adult Korean adoptees to each other and their Korean heritage, as well as welcome future generations of adoptees into the adoptee community. This is the largest conference of its kind, occurring only once every three years, with attendees from all across the United States, Europe, and Asia. Attendance in 2016 is expected to reach over 500 participants.  

The workshops and sessions at the IKAA Gatherings provide a time for participants to explore more specific topics related to adoption, the adoptee experience, or the themes of the Gatherings. Past sessions and topics have included birth family search, birth family reunion experiences, building relationships with birth family members post-reunion, Korea from a historical perspective, developments in domestic Korean adoption, working and living in Korea, Korean adoptees’ relationships with adoptive family, parenthood, exploring identity through art, and much more. The age breakout session, one of the most popular, is a session where attendees are split into groups according to their age. Adoptees have an opportunity to meet and talk about personal experiences with others of a similar age, regardless of their adoptive country.  


The theme of the IKAA Gathering 2016 is Connecting Communities & Looking Towards the Future.  As the adoptee community continues to grow by adding new generations, both through their own children and families, as well as new and future leaders, it is important for adoptees to stay connected.  Building a strong community leads to a brighter future with more resources and services for all adoptees and their families.

And don’t forget our hashtag… #IKAAG16

General Information

General Information


August 2 – 7, 2016



The Lotte Hotel Myeongdong in downtown Seoul. This is a 5-star hotel that offers a special discount to Gathering participants, including free WiFi and free access to indoor swimming pool and health club!



Korean Adoptees: 18 years and older (18 western age is 19 in Korea).
Their partners/spouses and their children.

Some special sessions & events during the Gathering will be open to Korean nationals.



The conference language is English, although some sessions may be held in other languages.



Conference Fee – The registration fee covers conference activities & materials, welcome reception, gala dinner, farewell concert & party and other meals provided at the conference. (Does not include accommodation, airfare, transfers to and from the airport or optional activities). For complete details, please see the “Conference Fee” section below.

Airfare – We will be posting information on airfare specials from Europe, and we should also have a special group rate from many cities in North America. Check the IKAA Gathering 2016 official Event Page on Facebook page as well for updates: For complete details, please see the “Discounted Airfare” section below.

Accommodations – The Lotte Hotel in Myeongdong, Seoul. Information for booking the special conference room rate will be available from mid-January 2016. For complete details, please see the “Accommodations” section below.



We know that unforeseen circumstances can arise, so we will allow for cancellations and refunds, less a $25 administrative fee per person:
– if a registrant contacts us and requests a refund by April 30, 2016: 100%
– if a registrant contacts us and requests a refund by June 15, 2016: 50%

After June 15, 2016, there will be no refunds. Refunds must be requested by email to No refunds will be made online.


Deadline: July 15, 2016

All registrations are subject to availability and will be on a first come, first serve basis.



Parents will be responsible for the care, feeding and well-being of their own children. Children are not allowed to be left unattended in their hotel rooms.



Travel insurance must be taken care of individually by each participant and is strongly recommended.


Contact info

General Email:

Registration Email:


Conference Fees

Conference Fees

Conference Fee – The registration fees are per person: adoptee, spouse/partner, or child.

There is a special discounted conference fee for those staying at the Lotte Hotel during the conference days, as those staying at the hotel are contributing to the overall costs of venue space through their room rate.


Registration Fee Schedule
Early Through March 31st
Regular April 1st – June 30th JULY 10th **Extended!!**
Late After June 30th JULY 10th


All conference registration fees are inclusive of processing fees, and will not be considered complete until payment has been received. Registrations made prior to the deadline, but without payment will be subject to the registration fee current at the time of payment (your payment date will determine your registration completion date). Payments must be made thru PayPal (you do not need to have a PayPal account to make a payment through PayPal).


Conference Fees for those STAYING at the Lotte Hotel*:

Category Early Bird Regular IKAA
Regular Late
Adult (adoptee/spouse/partner) $235 $270 $295 $340
Child (0-4 yrs) Free Free Free Free
Child (5-11 yrs) $55 N/A $80 $105
Child (12-17 yrs) $105 N/A $130 $155


* Includes free continental breakfast Tue, Wed, Thur, Fri, Sat + WiFi + access to the indoor swimming pool and fitness club.

NOTE: To benefit from the special discounted conference rate, participants have to stay at the Lotte Hotel from August 2 thru August 7, 2016 (5 nights), at a minimum, but you are welcome to stay extra nights.


Conference Fees for those NOT STAYING at the Lotte Hotel:

Category Early Bird Regular IKAA
Regular Late
Adult (adoptee/spouse/partner) $285 $320 $345 $390
Child (0-4 yrs) Free Free Free Free
Child (5-11 yrs) $55 N/A $80 $105
Child (12-17 yrs) $105 N/A $130 $155


The Regular IKAA Discounted Member Fee is valid for members of an IKAA Member Association:

U.S.A. AK Connection (MN) / Also-Known-As, Inc (NY) / Asian Adult Adoptees of Washington (WA) / Korean Adoptees of Hawai’i (HI) / Association of Korean Adoptees-SoCal (CA) / Adoption Links (D.C.) / Korean Adoptees of Chicago (IL)
Europe Adopted Koreans’ Association (SE) / Arierang (NL) / Korea Klubben (DK) / Racines Coréennes (FR) / Korean Italian Adoptees (IT) / Belgian Adoptees from Korea (BE)


Refund Policy:
Prior to April 30, 2016, it is possible to cancel the registration and receive a refund, less a non-refundable $25 administrative fee per person. Cancellations by June 15 will receive a 50% refund – less a non-refundable $25 administrative fee per person. After June 15, 2016, there will be no refunds. Refunds must be requested in writing or by email to – no refunds will be made online.


Please note that Weekend Pass registrations for adoptees currently residing in Korea are currently open. Please see the “How to Register – Adoptees Living in Korea” section below.


How to Register (Discounted) - Staying at the Lotte Hotel

How to Register (Discounted) - Staying at the Lotte Hotel

Follow this link to go to the registration page if you plan to stay at the Lotte Hotel.


IKAA Gathering 2016 – Participants Staying at the Lotte Hotel


How to Register - Not Staying at the Lotte Hotel

How to Register - Not Staying at the Lotte Hotel

Follow this link to go to the registration page if you are not staying at the Lotte Hotel.


IKAA Gathering 2016 – Participants NOT Staying at the Lotte Hotel


How to Register - Adoptees Living in Korea

How to Register - Adoptees Living in Korea

Follow this link to go to the registration page if you are an adoptee living in Korea looking to sign up for the Weekend Pass.


IKAA Gathering 2016 – Adoptees Living in Korea

Conference Events - Quick Links

Conference Events - Quick Links

Links to the individual pages for parts of the IKAA G16 can also be found by rolling your mouse over “Gatherings,” and then over the submenu that appears “IKAA Gathering Seoul 2016”.

Preliminary Itinerary

Fourth International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies

3rd Annual IKAA Leadership Development Program

Gathering Family Program 2016

Workshops & Sessions

G16 Film Program

International Association of Korean Lawyers (IAKL): Free Legal Advice Booth

“Amazing Race” Style Competition: Around Seoul

Poker Tournament

Korean Baseball Game — LG Twins vs Doosan Bears

Optional Add-On Activities

Social Nights

Attendee Bio Hub

Seoul Tourism Ideas

Shopping Near the Lotte Hotel



We are happy to announce that the IKAA Gathering 2016 will take place, once again, at the 5-Star LOTTE Hotel in downtown Seoul (Myeongdong district – NOT Jamsil)!


The exclusive room rate for G16 participants is:

  • 165,000 KRW per night for a double room (1-2 persons) (approx. $142 USD/€133) + 10% service + 10% tax for foreigners
  • 215,000 KRW per night for a triple room (approx. $180 USD / €169) + 10% service + 10% tax for foreigners
  • 270,000 KRW (Family Room – easily fits 4 persons) per night for a Deluxe Twin and Extra bed + 10% service + 10% tax for foreigners

*The rate includes FREE WIFI in the entire hotel + FREE access to the indoor swimming pool and Health Club.*

**During the dates of the conference, free continental breakfast (Tues, Wed, Thurs, Fri, Sat) will be provided by the Gathering, but ONLY for those staying at the Lotte Hotel.**

***For your convenience, this significantly discounted rate will also be available to Gathering participants from one week before and one week after the gathering.***


To obtain the exclusive Gathering hotel rate you have to make your booking through the special link sent to you, once you have completed your registration for the conference. This link will be available mid/end January.

IKAA strongly encourages all G16 registrations to stay at the Lotte Hotel from Tuesday, August 2nd through Sunday, August 7th (5 nights). This will help ensure that you have easy access to all of the many programs and events happening throughout the week. In addition, by choosing to stay at the Lotte Hotel, you are supporting IKAA to secure the banquet rooms, conference facilities, equipment, and meals that are essential for a successful Gathering, which is why participants staying at the Lotte Hotel for the duration of the Gathering will receive a discount on their registration fees.




30, Eulji-ro, Jung-Gu
Seoul, Korea 100-721
Tel. +82 2 771 1000

Subway Stations:
Line No. 2 (Green Line): Entrance No. 7 & 8 from Euljiro 1ga station
Line No. 1 (Blue Line): City Hall Station, 5 min. on foot

Getting from Incheon (ICN) Airport to the Lotte Hotel

Getting from Incheon (ICN) Airport to the Lotte Hotel

KAL Limousine Bus

  • Bus # 6701
  • KAL Bus Stop # 4A OR 10B (see map below)
  • Runs approximately every 15-20 minutes — for the complete schedule, please visit the KAL Limousine Bus Website.
  • Takes ~70 minutes to get to the Lotte Hotel
  • KRW 16,000 (Adult) — Tickets purchased at the KAL Limousine Counter (#22) or at the KAL Limousine Bus Stop

ICN Bus Map


There are different types of taxis in Korea — regular/standard taxis (silver or orange) and deluxe/luxury taxis (black). For more information on the differences between the taxis, click here.

Fares from ICN to the Lotte Hotel will be around KRW 65,000-75,000 for regular taxis and KRW 95,000-100,000 for deluxe taxis.

Additional Transportation Options

Please visit the “To & From Airport” page on the Incheon Airport Website.

Korean SIM Cards - Link Korea

Korean SIM Cards - Link Korea

Link Korea Logo

We have secured a discount for IKAA G16 Participants for SIM cards to be used in your own, unlocked phone with UNLIMITED 4G/LTE DATA plans through Link Korea!



  1. Complete your IKAA G16 Check-In and receive your conference materials, including your G16 Badge.
  2. Visit the Link Korea Booth, next to the IKAA G16 Registration Check-In Table on August 1st, August 2nd, or August 3rd, with your Passport, Cash (in KRW), and your G16 Badge.
  3. Let them know which Rental Period option you would like, get your SIM card, and pay.
  4. Enjoy your trip with unlimited 4G/LTE data!


If I can’t make traditional calls, then how can I call people?
There are a number of apps that allow you to make DATA ONLY calls! Our favorites are: KakaoTalk (this is by far the most popular messaging/calling app in Korea), WhatsApp Messenger, and Skype. All can be easily found by searching the App Store on your phone, and all are FREE!

I want to take advantage of this offer, but will be arriving earlier. Is it possible to pick up the SIM card earlier?
Unfortunately no. Of course, you can still get an unlimited data SIM card with Link Korea through their website, but you will be subject to regular pricing, OR you can wait until August 1st.

I will be arriving during the dates the Link Korea Booth will be open, and plan on getting this SIM card, should I also make a reservation online?
Nope! Just come, complete your IKAA G16 check-in, and head on over to the Link Korea Booth.

How do I know if my cell phone is unlocked?
We know this mostly applies to US phones, but the easiest way to find out is to contact your home cell phone provider and simply ask!

I’m not sure if I need unlimited data. What are my other options?
One suggestion is given in the section, “Telecommunications” under the tab below, “Traveling to Korea – Useful Information”. If you do your own research and find something interesting, please let us know and we’ll post it here!

Traveling to Korea - Useful Information

Traveling to Korea - Useful Information

Passport & Visas

You must have a current passport to enter the Republic of Korea. It may take months to obtain, so don’t delay. Most conference participants coming from Western countries can travel to Korea without having to obtain a tourist visa prior to entry. Upon arrival at Incheon International Airport, Immigration & Customs Officials will stamp a tourist visa in your passport – Americans (up to 90 days), Canadians (up to 6 months), many Europeans (up to 90 days) and Australians (up to 90 days).

However, make sure you double check before coming to Korea, by contacting your local Korean consulate or embassy. You can also visit the Korean Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade website for information about required travel documents (if any) or to find your nearest Korean Consulate or Embassy (please click HERE if you are not sure of your nearest Consulate or Embassy).

Climate & Clothing

The summer months of July and August are the hottest of the year and extremely humid. Summer brings “monsoon season” to Korea, which means heavy rains from the end of June through July. Usually, the rains stop around the beginning of August, although it varies from year to year. You will only need to bring light clothing and possibly a sweater for indoor use (in the air conditioning). If you forget to pack an umbrella, there are numerous shops that sell them all over Seoul.


The currency of Korea is the won (KRW / ₩). Although exchange rates fluctuate, approximately 1 USD = 1151 KRW, and 1 EUR = 1,279 KRW (as of July 1, 2016). You can access a handy exchange rate converter at: (or Google) for up-to-date information.

The easiest way to get KRW is to withdraw cash from global ATMs in Korea using your home debit/bank card (a.k.a. check card). The exchange rate applied to ATM withdrawals is usually good and comparable to that of banks. However, keep in mind that your bank and/or the ATM from which you withdraw funds might also assess a user fee. Also, not all ATMs are global, however, you can find them at most large bank branches and subway stations that clearly display the international cards that can be used at them to withdraw money (and they typically have a sign saying “Global ATM”). Lastly, make sure that your debit/bank card can be used internationally – this may be indicated by displaying the Visa®, Mastercard® or Maestro® logos, etc.

In addition to ATMs at Incheon (ICN) Airport, there are a number of various banks within close proximity to the Lotte Hotel, and ATMs (including Global ATMs) in the subway station accessible through the basement of the hotel, so you won’t have to worry that you might not be able to find one.

Traveler’s checks are not accepted everywhere, but they can easily be exchanged for KRW at banks, hotels, and the airport. Where can you get the best exchange rate? Usually banks give the best rate, and hotels give the worst rate. However, at the bank, you may encounter some challenges if the employees don’t speak English very well, where as hotels, all the front desk staff speak English, although many banks now have an international desk to accommodate non-Korean speaking customers.

Finally, credit cards are usually accepted at most stores, hotels, restaurants, bars, etc. – the most common cards being Visa® and MasterCard® — although many smaller establishments still prefer cash. Also keep in mind that some credit cards have foreign transaction fees.


220 Volt (same as Europe). American appliances require special adaptors to safely convert your 110 Volt appliances for use in Korea. While staying at the Lotte Hotel Seoul during the conference you can contact the Housekeeping Department to obtain these converters, however, it is recommended that you purchase a voltage converter before your trip. Most devices these days (cell phones, computers, etc…) have a built in converter, so all you’ll need is the physical adapter for your plug to fit the outlets.


Having a mobile phone during your trip to Korea can be extremely helpful. Making calls from your hotel room can often be prohibitively expensive, even for local calls.

There are a number of options for foreign travelers to get a Korean SIM card, both at Incheon (ICN) Airport and within Seoul.

One option is Link Korea, which offers unlimited LTE data with a SIM card that you can put in your unlocked phone (check with your provider to make sure your phone is actually unlocked BEFORE you go to Korea) for a given rental period (5, 10, or 30 days). You will also have access to WiFi via the Olleh (KT) Network. As with most Korean cell phones, incoming calls are free.

They also offer a WiFi router which works with up to 7 devices, with a daily rental fee.

With unlimited data/WiFi, you can easily call home for free via Skype, Whatsapp, or KakaoTalk (the most common communication app in Korea), and can similarly contact fellow Gathering participants for free via these apps. You will also have regular access to maps, Facebook, Twitter, and whatever other sites and features you cannot live without. ^_^

There are other options that do not include unlimited data, such as EG (Evergreen) SIM, however we suggest that you do your research to decide which type of SIM card will best suit your personal needs.


Health problems are not likely to occur in Korea. The hygiene standards are high and medical facilities are widespread. However, do not take any risks and ask your doctor which precautions (vaccinations) you can take before you leave. If you are on medication, be sure to take enough with you and do not forget to bring the original wrapping and your prescription. Pharmacies are located in every major area of the city, should you need to purchase medicine.

If you should have a medical emergency, dial 119 and an ambulance will come get you, however it is advisable that you have a Korean-speaking person accompany you. It’s advisable to know that in Korea, patients are expected to pay for medical services upfront.

There are 2 International Health Care Centers, affiliated with Yonsei University (one of the top 3 schools in Korea):

One is located Sinchon by Yonsei University (north of the river), and the other is in Gangnam (south of the river). There are also phone numbers for emergency services:

Most people in Korea drink bottled or filtered water rather than tap water.

Discounted Airfare

Discounted Airfare


From the US:

Discounted flights on Korean Air from the US have been negotiated for those who have registered for the Gathering 2016. If you have registered, you will receive the contact information to book your airfare, if you so choose.

Examples of the discount (from the KAL) website are $1,170 US West Coast July departures with US discounts approximating 7-12% from other gateway cities. Any connecting flights will be at regular website rates. Discount prices for the US will be available only through March 31, although the airline may extend that deadline depending on availability.


From Europe:

Korean Air Discount for Gathering participants:

From Paris (CDG) / Rome (FCO) / Milano (MXP) / Amsterdam (AMS) / London (LHR) / Frankfurt (FRA) / Copenhagen (CPH) / Stockholm (STO)
To Korea: Seoul (ICN), CJU, PUS, USN, KWJ, RSU, HIN, TAE, KPO

And return.

Fares available on

Discount: 6% on fares available on (KE website fares are already discounted by 4% compared to Korean Air public fares).

Departure Period: July 15th to August 4th, 2016
Last Date of Return: August 31, 2016


How to get the Gathering Promotion Code (from Europe):

1. Once registered for the Gathering 2016, send an email to and get the KE promotion code (1 per registrant).

2. Book your flight online on and enter the promotion code.

3. Send a copy of your e-ticket and your departure date to


KE banner ikaa



G16 Checklist — I have…:

❏ Completed registration and received my confirmation and e-ticket(s) via email.

❏ Sent a clear, good quality headshot photo of myself and those I have registered for (if applicable), to be used for the Conference ID Badge to

❏ Reserved a Hotel Room (registered participants will receive a link to make their reservation online with the discounted G16 rate)

❏ Joined the IKAA G16 Registered Participants Facebook Group, where registered participants will be the first to know about updates.

❏ Booked my flight to South Korea. IKAA will provide information about discounted airfares in the IKAA G16 Registered Participants Facebook Group and on the website as it becomes available.

❏ Printed the e-ticket, to be presented for Registration Check-In at the Lotte Hotel and to receive my G16 ID Badge

❏ Informed my local IKAA Member Organization about my registration so they can keep me updated about discounted flights, information sessions and meetings with other participants (a list of IKAA Member Organizations is available at the IKAA Website:

❏ Read and Agreed to the IKAA G16 Terms & Conditions


Travel Checklist

❏ A Current Passport (if applicable)

❏ Acquired a Visa (if required – dependent on your country of citizenship)

❏ Acquired travel insurance (if applicable)





I would like to review my adoption file / I would like to initiate a search for my biological family. How do I do this? Can IKAA help me with my birth search?

IKAA does not provide birth search assistance. There are a number of agencies and organizations in Korea who already help with this service (see below).

To review your adoption file or initiate a search for your biological family, you should first contact your Korean adoption agency directly (there are 4 — see below). If you are unsure which Korean agency you went through, you can find the information on your adoption documents.

You can also contact Korea Adoption Services, the governmental organization responsible for adoption related matters: (English) or (Français)

If you are unsure about whether or not you would like to review your file or begin searching for your birth family, you can check out “Search: 10 Questions to Ask” written by Hollee McGinnis (adult adoptee, founder of Also-Known-As, Inc., New York) and originally presented at the 1st International Gathering of Korean Adoptees (DC, 1999).

If you need additional help with your search, you can also contact:

Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link (GOA’L) — The only adoptee-run organization in Korea
Birth Family Search Email:

Why does IKAA do Gatherings only once every 3 years?

The simple answer is that it is just not logistically possible to do it more frequently.

It is not always immediately apparent, the amount of time and efforts that go into coordinating an event of this scale. Planning for each Gathering begins more than 2 years prior to the actual event and typically involved 20 or so individual trips to Korea for meetings with sponsors, cost / product negotiations, and general preparations. And remember, IKAA is entirely volunteer, so while one or two individual flights / trips might be sponsored, we pay for nearly 100% of all costs on our own, out of pocket.

How can I get involved with IKAA?

There are two very easy ways to get involved with IKAA: 1. You can get involved in your local IKAA Member Association or 2. You can volunteer at the next IKAA Event.

If your local association is not currently a member of IKAA, you can have them contact us at for more information on joining the IKAA Network.

You can also get involved by making a donation to IKAA to help offset some of the administrative and logistical costs incurred when organizing international events and in running the organization.

Gosh Gosh