IKAA AKA Virtual Age Breakout Discussions Summary

July 2021
By Tommy Gentzel | IKAA Vice President and Marissa Martin | Also-Known-As, Inc. Advisor


The International Korean Adoptee Association (IKAA) partnered with Also-Known-As, Inc. (AKA) to launch our first virtual Age Breakout Discussions event. Celebrating their 25th Anniversary, Also-Known-As, Inc.is a NYC-based adoptee led nonprofit organization and one of the founding member organizations of IKAA. AKA is an organization for all intercountry transracial adoptees and therefore we extended this event beyond the Korean adoptee community. The age breakout discussions have been popular events at IKAA’s International Gatherings and align well with two of the organization’s core values; Space to Nurture Growth and Global Connectedness. These sessions provide a space for adoptees to share their own stories and hear experiences of other adoptees in a group setting. We were supported by over 20 volunteers to help facilitate breakout sessions across global time zones.

Although specific conversations varied among the different age groups, many themes were consistent across age groups. The facilitators and notetakers captured some of the common discussion topics and they are listed below.

Cultural Connection

  • Motherland trips
  • Living in Korea
  • Food
  • Learning mother language

Adoptee Journey and Evolving Identity

  • Discovering the adoptee community
  • Learning the vocabulary and ways to express one’s own identify


  • How you see yourself and the influence on your relationships with others
  • Fetishism toward asian women
  • Relationships with adoptive parents


  • Close family members not being able to understand
  • Experiences of children of adoptees
  • Adoptees who adopt


  • Reactions to anti-asian hate
  • Generational and regional differences in experiences as a person of color
  • Difficult conversations with family
  • Proximity to whiteness and notions of being the model minority
  • Lack of representation in media

Birth Family

  • Birth family search experience and methods (including DNA testing)
  • Relationships with birth family members


  • Not having access to medical records
  • Loss and trauma
  • Forgiving and accepting one’s self

Adoption Policy and Advocacy

  • Getting involved in advocacy
  • Understanding the history of adoption policy

While the age breakout format represents only one style of a discussion group, interesting and meaningful discussion groups can be created using other formats and discussion topics. We encourage adoptees and adoptee organizations to continue supporting spaces for adoptees to hold these discussions and to utilize these themes to encourage deeper conversations and creative programming. Those who are newly discovering the adoptee community may have commonalities and interests that are similar to others discovering the community regardless of age. Like our in-person discussion events, these are typically only the beginning to greater self discovery, curiosity, and community.

Original Event Description

The international age breakout sessions were one of the most popular sessions in conferences and gatherings past; a place where international adoptees had the opportunity to discuss topics and experiences with adoptees of similar age, regardless of their adoptive country. This year, the International Korean Adoptee Associations (IKAA) will be partnering with Also-Known-As (AKA), a founding member of the IKAA network, to co-host a virtual international age breakout event.

The event honors the growing community of intercountry adoptees seeking connection with other adoptees as well as Also-Known-As’ 25th Anniversary and is part of its anniversary celebration. The anniversary, themed “Celebrating the Global Adoptee Community” is an acknowledgement that Also-Known-As’ community spans beyond the local tri-state area. We invite intercountry adoptees across the United States and the world to celebrate their heritage and lived experiences.

This event is open to all intercountry adoptees of all birth countries. While the majority of adoptees in the IKAA network are of Korean origin, international adoptees share similar experiences, milestones and challenges and our goal is to create a space where those experiences can be shared with other adoptees of similar age.

IKAA’s and AKA’s values to provide space to nurture growth, support global connectedness and shape public narratives is achieved through actively creating space and opportunities for dialogue. We hope you will join us in this global dialogue!

Registration closes May 28th, 2021!

Session 1 – June 5th Sat (Sun for China, Korea, Australia time zones)


Duration (2 hr), Start time below

  • 12:00 PM | Pacific (e.g. San Francisco)
  • 2:00 PM | Central (e.g. Chicago)
  • 3:00 PM | Eastern (e.g. New York)
  • 9:00 PM | Central European
  • 3:00 AM | China
  • 4:00 AM | Korea
  • 5:00 AM | Australian Eastern

Session 2 – June 6th Sunday


Duration (2 hr), Start time below

  • 3:00 AM | Pacific (e.g. San Francisco)
  • 5:00 AM | Central (e.g. Chicago)
  • 6:00 AM | Eastern (e.g. New York)
  • 12:00 PM | Central European
  • 6:00 PM | China
  • 7:00 PM | Korea
  • 8:00 PM | Australian Eastern