Global Overseas Adoptees' Link 2014 Summer Issue Newsletter

Global Overseas Adoptees' Link wish everybody a "cool" summer. Beat the heat; stay cool and hydrated!


This year is just flying by isn’t it? . . .

I can’t believe we’re already halfway through the year! We have been quite busy these past few months, as we’ve brought in a new group of Adoptee Mentors whom you can meet later in this newsletter, hosted numerous workshops, attended an LG Twins game and bet on horses at the Seoul Horse Track, visited a strawberry farm and learned how to make Tofu in Kyunggi-do, brought together adoptee organizations and allies to host a potluck picnic, enlisted 20 GOA’L members to participate in a Kimchi study and more! This is all in addition to the main services we offer in Birth Family Search assistance, Volunteer services, and F4 & Dual Citizenship consultations.

We’re also honored that 한국도자기 (Hangook Dojaki) has signed a contract (Sorry, Korean link only) with GOA’L to donate 1% of their ‘The Chef’ dish line proceeds to GOA’L for the next three years! So if you have been thinking about getting a new set of dishes, now you can support GOA’L at the same time.

Another highlight has been that the Board of Directors from accounting firm Ernst & Young in Korea donated ₩5,000,000 to GOA’L in May. We are deeply grateful for their personal donations and we promise to put these funds to good use! Donations are an important source of funding for GOA’L and if you would like to join the BoD from Ernst & Young in supporting our efforts, please visit our website to learn how.

In June we also finalized our participants for this year’s First Trip Home program and we are excited to meet and work with the 20 adoptees that will come to Korea for the first time at the end of August. Until then we will be busy preparing for their arrival and as John will explain later in this newsletter, our office will be closed for a certain period of time while First Trip Home is taking place, so if you have requests for our services, please plan to schedule them accordingly.

One more quick announcement is that we have renewed our contract with International Family Counseling Center (IFCC) to provide subsidized counseling services for GOA’L members. If you would like to arrange an appointment with them, please follow the link for further instructions.
We have lots of plans for the summer time, so if you’re here in Korea and are looking for some ways to keep busy be sure to follow our event calendar to stay up to date with the latest! You can also keep in touch by downloading our app for Android or Apple and following us on social media (Facebook: Global Overseas Adoptees' Link, Twitter: @goalkorea, Instagram: @goalkorea).

Thank you for your ongoing support and I hope to see you at an upcoming event!

Best Wishes,

Nikolaj Leschly
Secretary General

Mentors 2013

"I had the pleasure of being a mentor at GOAL for the 2013-2014 term. I started working at GOA'L at the beginning of August 2013 and my field of work was the F-4 and dual citizenship department.
At the beginning it was slightly confusing but when I understood the process and was able to find my way around the city on my own I thoroughly enjoyed assisting other adoptees in getting the visa or dual citizenship. It is a quite important role, I believe, since the F-4 mentor in many cases meet adoptees right of the plane and therefore also might be the first impression adoptees get of GOA’L. Chatting with people about their life experiences, reasons for coming to Korea and reasons for wanting dual citizenship has taught me a lot about life in general and adoptee experiences particularly our strengths and vitality.
I also enjoyed working in an International atmosphere as the staff at the time consisted of Koreans, Americans and a French person besides the Danish staff that included our IT-manager and myself.
Although we came from different cultural backgrounds, we had the dedication to serve the adoptee community as a common interest and overall this commitment made us overcome any differences.
I was trained by John Compton and his hard work, great knowledge of all adoptee related areas and dedication to GOA'L was a huge inspiration."

-AK Salling

“Working for G.O.A.'L as a volunteer coordinator was one of the best experiences I've had so far.
While volunteering at first, I knew that I wanted to be involved and help out more. I really enjoyed the environment and the team that has always been supportive. As an NGO we've been going through some challenging situations, and this taught me a lot on both professional and personal levels.

This fall I will start studying Korean for a year as a KGSP student, and then will do a Ph.D. I just can't wait to get started!”

-Pauline Pierre

"1. What have you learned/ what experience have you gained from working for GOAL?

I learned a lot about dealing with other people. People who were a lot different from me. People who I didn't always like. And dealing with people isn't really just dealing with people. Rather, it's more of challenging yourself to think differently, practicing self-control and being compassionate. And I learned a lot from everyone I met. I also got to learn about myself and how I personally fit in the adoptee picture.

2. How can you use this experience in the future?

The work I did at GOAL was unlike anything that I had done before. I like to think that I've had some pretty useful, engaging jobs in my life so far like working in a restaurant, working on a sales floor and as a teacher but accepting the Mentor position, while drawing on fundamental skills like public speaking or multitasking, also taught me to really invest myself into my work. I had never been so committed to doing something right and doing my best for any reason other than that I had to do it or even if personally wanted to do something. This was work that was not for myself and people depended on what we did in a real way. The motivation to do something for someone else had gotten me much further than personal goals alone. So with that realization, I am more confident in my abilities to achieve something meaningful in the service of others.

3. What are your plans for the future/ why don't you continue working for GOAL?

My plans for the future still involve Korea and possibly working with other NGOs like GOAL here on some level. I am currently enrolled at Korea University's Graduate School of International Studies majoring in International Peace and Security which is why I had to leave GOAL in the first place. I intend to work abroad outside of Asia after graduation through the American Peace Corps volunteer program or another Korea-based service and later to hopefully become a Foreign Service Officer with placement in South Korea once again at some point.

4. Do you have a piece of advice for the future mentors and/or fellow adoptees?

Just talk to people. It's the easiest way to make an impact. And you'll learn a lot about yourself, like I did. You also certainly don't need to travel around the world to get a worldly perspective if you're in Korea. Talking to adoptees and all the foreigners here can get you pretty far. And I do want to stress connecting with non-adoptee foreigners. They may not get exactly what's going on, but they are our families, friends and neighbors and to ignore them is to lose a lot of people who also have a big stake in this adoption thing, too. Just remember to keep yourself and the community open.

-Alex Borowski

Mentors & Interns 2014


The GOA’L staff members are pleased to announce the new 2014 mentors! GOA’L with the funding from KAS have brought on board four mentors who will help assist the adoptee community while working at our office. They will be assisting with the departments of Birth Family Search, Volunteer, and F-4/Dual Citizenship. We feel that our new mentors will work hard to help and serve our growing adoptee community. We hope that you can take the time to read their introductions and welcome them to our team!

Devin Walker

(Birth Family Search Department) Born in Taejon City, South Korea, Devin grew up in New Hampshire and attended a Waldorf education high school. After graduating from Newbury College in Boston, Massachusetts with a degree in Culinary Arts, Devin held various jobs in the culinary field including working for Disney World and Italian restaurants in the North End of Boston. In 2010, Devin returned to Korea to learn Korean language and culture and graduated from Sogang’s Language Institute in 2013.

Shanook Jansen

(Birth Family Search Department) Shanook Jansen, born in South Korea and adopted to the Netherlands, developed a great interest in communication between cultures. She graduated cum laude at Tilburg University in the Netherlands, and holds a Master in Intercultural Communication and Information Sciences. “I want to bridge cultural gaps between Korea and Europe”. In order to do so she is studying Korean Language at Kyung Hee University and has joined G.O.A.L as a Mentor for the Birth Family Search department.

Jacob Van Dyne

(Volunteer Department) Jacob Van Dyne, born in South Korea and was adopted to the United States in 1990. He graduated from Elon University with a double major in International Relations and Political Science. He was heavily involved as a camp director with a Korean adoptee summer camp in the United States for four years. He has been living in Seoul for a little over one year and has taken Korean language courses as well as teaching English to children and adults. He is also very active with G.O.A.'L’s soccer team.

Hyebin Yoo

(F-4/Dual Citizenship Department) Hyebin Yoo is French and Korean as he became a dual citizen 3 years ago with the help of GOA’L. In France he was a taekwondo teacher for 9 years, a cook for 7 years, and chairman of a Korean association in his hometown, Nantes. In Korea, he worked as a cook in one of Chef Edward Kwon’s restaurants and as a French translator in a company. Now he works part time as a French teacher in a language academy, a Mentor at GOA’L, and he is planning to give French cooking lessons in the future as well. As GOA’L helped him to reclaim his Korean citizenship Hyebin considers it to be a big pleasure to help other Korean adoptees reclaim their Korean citizenship as well.

Korean Office Assistants & Interns


(G.O.A.’L office intern BFS department for French adoptees) Hello, my name is Anaïs, I’m a French intern for the Birth Family Search department until the end of August. I’m studying Korean culture, language and history and that’s why I’m doing my internship at G.O.A.’L. This is my second internship at G.O.A.’L, the first internship was from April to July 2013 of last year. It mostly focused on the BFS process. Now I’m helping with the daily Birth Family Search routine and tasks (mostly related to French speakers adoptees). I hope to help the Korean adoptees’ community!

Joan Vin Koo/Hye Vin-Koo 구혜빈

(Korean office assistant) Joan Vin-Koo is a Korean assistant studying Economics at Ewha University. She started volunteering at G.O.A.L in 2012 and joined as a Korean assistant as of June 2014. She is assisting with the G.O.A.’L Birth Family Search Department. She is planning to go to graduate school to study Development Economics.

Jeong Yeon Lim

(Korean office assistant) Jeong Yeon Lim is a Korean assistant working for G.O.A.'L . She graduated from Binghamton University in New York, with a double major in Political Science (concentration on Global and International Affairs) and Korean Studies. She is planning to go back to the United States for her Master’s degree in Korean Studies. She will be working with the Korean media outlets and assisting with the G.O.A.’L Birth Family Search Department within this field.

Jin Sol

(Korean office assistant) Sol Jin is a Korean assistant at G.O.A.’L. Her major is English Linguistics at Hankuk University of Foreign Studies(HUFS). After graduation, she wants to go to graduate school to study Semantics/Sociolinguistics. She is also interested in working for an international NGO. In May, 2014, she started working at G.O.A.’L as a Korean assistant. She assists with translating adoptee-related documents from Korean to English and vice versa. She also takes important notes at the weekly G.O.A.’L staff meetings.