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Mission

Our mission is to connect, collaborate, and preserve adoption legacies through community, culture, and post-adoption services. Adoptees deserve the opportunity to know their history, have a sense of belonging, experience their birth culture, and have access to services in a supportive safe space throughout their adoption journey.

Connect
Connect

We connect adoptees with each other and with resources and services.

Collaborate
Collaborate

We seek to fill in the gaps to provide essential post-adoption services that don’t exist.

Preserve
Preserve

We strive to preserve our adoption legacies, histories, and communities.

Board of Directors

Ami Nafzger

Ami Nafzger

Founder, CEO & President

Mounds View, Minnesota

I was born in Korea and found in Challado Iksan. It is guesstimated that I was adopted at the age of 4, after which I grew up in Northern Wisconsin.

I received a B.A. in Social Work, Sociology, and a minor in Native American Indian Studies from Augsburg College in Minneapolis. Since 2011, I have worked with the Department of Human Services, Minnesota. I currently serve as a Policy Program Manager for the State of Minnesota at The Department of Human Services. I work with systems modernization and data systems programs and their policies, processes, and training for Children and Family Services.

Since 1993 I have been giving back to my community by volunteering on boards and as a leader. I have helped various organizations and have served on the Asian Governor’s board of Minnesota for 8 years.

I founded Global Overseas Adoptees Link (G.O.A’L) in Seoul, South Korea, in 1997 and served as its first Secretary-General. I also founded Adoptee Hub on April 9, 2018.

I believe there is a lack of birth search services and disconnect with the birth country culture, language and policies for adoptees in the United States. Additionally, I believe it is important to have a physical space for adoptees to meet others who have similar background experiences, find a sense of belonging in a community to call their own, access support and resources to find their identity, their culture, language, history, biological family, and relate through studies, data, books, film, art and music, group counseling, and group therapy sessions.

Li Quaites

Li Quaites

Vice President & Director of Information Technology

Omaha, NE

Li Quaites has worked in the IT industry for over 30 years and is currently the Technology Director for a commercial real estate company in Omaha, Nebraska.

She was born to a Barbadian father and Korean mother in a rural village two hours north of Seoul, near the DMZ. Her mother struggled as a single mom and relinquished Li for adoption when she was 2 years old. Raised by a Black military family in midwestern United States, Li and her husband raised two daughters in America’s heartland.

Li formally began her birth family search in 2015, and made a trip to Korea in August of 2019—her first trip back since she left the motherland in 1970. Fellow adoptees rallied around her during that trip, supporting each other mentally and emotionally. That was Li’s first experience with the adoptee community and it inspired her to help other adoptees along their journey.

Elizabeth Burt

Elizabeth Burt

Treasurer, (Interim) Director of Financials

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Hello! Since 2015 I’ve been working for Target HQ as an I.T. tech support, with a background in managing consumer Telecom technology. I have an A.A.S. degree in accounting.

I am a Korean adoptee. I was guesstimated to be about 6 years old when I got adopted into rural Wisconsin. I attended a camp for adoptees known as Korean Culture Camp in Minneapolis, MN as a 5 & 6th grader, then to an overnight one known as Camp Tiger as a 7-8-9-10th-grade student, with a stint as a counselor for one summer in my early 20’s at Camp Tiger. After high school, I moved to the Twin Cities to attend the U of M, where I got further introduced to a wider Asian American community and the adult Korean adoptee community. During my time here, I have attended/participated/volunteered at various events put on by local Korean adoptee groups and organizations, and I have made some great friends and met some amazing individuals. Most recently this year, I partook in learning to play the Korean gayageum instrument through MN ChangMi Drum and Dance Group as well.

My biggest event happened this April 2018, where my memories were validated, and my heart was filled-I was reunited with my birth family.

I believe in the mission of Adoptee Hub, where it will amass a home, a place of connection, a safe place to explore and learn, and collectively collaborate not just resources and services, but also as a venue to get to know our skin and be confident and proud of our cultural dimensions and know it is ok to be who we are, wherever we are in our journey to self-discovery.

Yun-Sook Kim

Yun-Sook Kim

Secretary & Director of Services

L.A., California

According to my records, I was “found in Seoul” not long after my umbilical was removed. I flew to Chicago because at the time there were no flights from Korea to Michigan. I was adopted by a Catholic family from the west side of Detroit with a Native American foster sister, two biological sons, and later other step-siblings. I always felt a profound longing for my biological family and motherland. Especially growing up and moving between urban, suburban, and later rural areas in a blue-collar family of autoworkers. The Motor City, Motown, and the Murder City informed and shaped my identity from my early memories as “yellow” or “other” and always an “import”. Fortunately, my self-initiated opportunities to learn and embrace my heritage provided centeredness needed for my existence. As a child, I spent many nights with tears looking up at the stars knowing my birth mom was somewhere under the moon too and that we at least shared this…

I always wanted to be in the human services in some capacity helping others not fall through the cracks. My interest and passion to gain higher education and to be in a position to attempt to address the broader issues of international adoption and empower underrepresented populations including my narrative as a transracial/transnational adoptee. In high school, I started my formal birth search in the states and later on TV and newspaper when I lived in Seoul the 3rd time. At 16, I started working at a wig shop on the east side of Detroit with my first pretend mom, Ms. Chin. She gave me “immigrant” tough love motivating me to never settle for what was presented before me and to cultivate my natural hustle and heart to make the world mine. As an undergrad, I had another transformation. I officially changed my name back to my birth name so it would be on my diploma and to start my professional career…

Some of my adoptee community involvement includes: Holt International Summer School at Ilsan; Culture camp counselor in Michigan & Holt-New Jersey; presenting and moderating spoken word performances at KAAN in Seattle & Minneapolis; advocacy for Justice for Adoptees Campaign for Russell Green, International adoption worker for Lutheran Adoption Service; Search & Reunion Counselor for GOAL; and various KADS efforts in arts in advocacy in SF, LA, & Seoul. My commitment also lies in providing a link between the Korean diaspora and with KADS through my efforts in representation and participation in the larger Asian American and people of color communities through a career in the non-profit sector and community collaborations and organizing. My writing and poetry have been published and performed throughout Korea and the US. I’m a Clinical Team Lead and work with the chronically homeless in LA. I am working toward my license as a Clinical Social Worker, my first book, dual citizenship, always improving my Hangul, and raising my daughter to be a loud & proud Asian American woman. We’re one generation away from the motherland of a rich culture of 5,000 years of history. If you’re reading this you made it this far! I encourage the adoptee community to join us to learn, embrace, heal, expand, and explore all we have is each other. Everyone has a role; let’s build and celebrate our uniqueness!

Lisa Hanson

Lisa Hanson

Policy Legal Advisor and Director of Development

Minnesota

More to come.

Corinn Weiler

Corinn Weiler

Director of Communications

Alexandria, Virginia

I joined Adoptee Hub because there’s a great opportunity to help adoptees navigate the complex journey in finding their birth families. As an adoptee going through my own birth search, I recognized the huge gap in resources which was a calling for me to join and help build, alongside fellow adoptees, services that all of us in our community will benefit from.

Caitlyn Stone

Caitlyn Stone

Director of Public Relations

Michigan

More to come.

Adoptee Hub Volunteer Staff

Leslie Mortensen

Leslie Mortensen

Co-Lead Events Coordinator

Minnesota

I was adopted at four months old from South Korea and raised in Minnesota. I am the youngest of four Korean adoptee siblings. I attended Korean Culture Camp and Saturday Korean School since I was very little and I always had exposure to Korean Culture. My parents have also been very involved within the Korean adoptee community throughout my life.

I went to St. Cloud State University where I majored in Mass Communications with an emphasis in Advertising and minored in Graphic Design. Continuing my education, I earned my M.A. in Strategic Communication Management at Concordia University.

I have been to Korea three times since being adopted, but last summer (2019) was my first time back as an adult. Being there as an adult was a life changing experience for me. Currently, I have done four different birth searches with no luck. It was hard to navigate my searches and I feel there is a lack of streamlined services and information.

I want to help bridge that gap to make it easier for adoptees to conduct a search and get the emotional support needed throughout the process. I joined Adoptee Hub because I believe in the services and education currently being provided and want to be part of the future goals it aims to achieve.

Amanda Parrish

Amanda Parrish

Copy Writer/Editor

Denver, CO

Amanda Parrish is technical writer who was born in Seongnam, a suburb of Seoul, South Korea. She was raised in the white-populated area of Little Korea, the Koreatown of the metropolitan DC area, and lived in the Korean-populated area of Little Korea for more than 10 years. In 2017, she moved to Denver, CO, where she met her husband. They’ve been married for a little under two years. She volunteers at Adoptee Hub as a copywriter to help stand up a birth search portal, among other adult adoptee services.

Amy Haggenmiller

Amy Haggenmiller

Copy Writer/Editor

New York

More to come

Amy Herzel

Amy Herzel

Copy Writer/Editor

Virginia

More to come

Liz Salisbury

Liz Salisbury

Developer, Front End

Colorado

More to come

Aron Spiess

Aron Spiess

Developer, Lead Application

Minneapolis, MN

More to come

Amanda Jackson

Amanda Jackson

Executive Researcher

Woodbury, Minnesota

I was born in Cheongju, South Korea and was adopted when I was 9 months old. Raised in a family of 10 in Stillwater, Minnesota, I am the youngest of 8 kids, five of whom are adopted from Korea. I’m currently married to another Korean Adoptee and now live in Woodbury, Minnesota. I have been a Lead Infant Teacher at a non-profit school for 7 years.

I have been to Korea 11 times and have met my birth family at the age of 6. I am still in contact with them. Both of my parents, as well as two brothers, are alive and well. They all attended my wedding in 2017.

I joined Adoptee Hub because I see this as a great opportunity for adoptees to get information. Whether it’s about finding birth family, needing tips, or just the need to be with other adoptees as emotional support.

Kelsey Hedlund

Kelsey Hedlund

Social Media Specialist

Minnesota

I was born in Bucheon, South Korea and was adopted when I was four months old. I grew up in Mahtomedi, MN, moved to Middleton, WI, and then moved to Rochester, MN when I was in middle school through high school. I went to college at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I majored in Fashion Merchandising and minored in Business. Since graduating, I’ve made the decision to transition into a career in digital marketing starting with social media. I’ve been doing part-time and independent contractor roles that leverage my Fashion Merchandising degree and desire to gain experience in social media. I reside in Saint Paul, MN.

Last summer, I went to South Korea for the first time since being adopted. It was a life-changing experience and made me want to get more involved in the Korean Adoptee Community in my area.

I attended Adoptee Hub’s kick-off event last Fall. It really resonated with me and made me want to get involved especially with their social media.

Ryan Jackson

Ryan Jackson

Technology Coordinator

Woodbury, Minnesota

I was adopted at six months of age in 1984 and grew up in Brainerd, Minnesota. Attending Korean culture camp as a child, I have always had exposure to Korean culture. I have worked in IT services for about 10 years. I am married to another Korean adoptee and now live in Woodbury, Minnesota.

I have been to Korea once in 2005, spending my 21st birthday there. I joined Adoptee Hub because I want to support the community and help Adoptee Hub bring new services to adoptees.

Hannah Kim

Hannah Kim

Translator

Minnesota

More to come

John Ha

John Ha

Translator

Korea

More to come

Sung Hee Min

Sung Hee Min

Translator

Minnesota

More to come

Ben Martin

Ben Martin

Videographer

Minnesota

More to come

Advisory Board

Dr. Lee, Dong Il

Dr. Lee, Dong Il

Executive Director of Global Arts Festival

Seoul, South Korea

Dr. Lee is a Visiting Professor of Sogang University, Korea for the past 7 years. He is the Founder and was the Artistic Director of Mu Performing Arts(Theatre Mu), Minneapolis, United States.

Dr. Lee has raised millions of dollars for dozens of Korea universities and organizations. He has a Ph.D. in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota and has a master’s in Theatre Arts from the University of Minnesota, United States. Dr. Lee is a recipient of the Minister’s awards from the Dept.of Education & Science, Korea; the Governor’s award, of ChungNam Province, Korea; the President’s Award from the Ministry of Public Admin, Korea; the Post Doctoral Fellowship of Harvard University; along with dozen’s more.

Dr. Park, Jin

Dr. Park, Jin

Honorary Board Member

Seoul, South Korea

Grand National Party, a former member of the Korean National Assembly.

Naomi Chu

Naomi Chu

Financial Advisor

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Naomi Chu is the Vice President of Asset Management, currently responsible for the direct supervision of the Asset Management team and the operational aspects of the Artspace portfolio. This includes supporting Asset Managers as they encounter challenges in the operational aspects of their properties, as well as supporting Asset Managers in identifying solutions when facing challenges in the community. Naomi partners with the Senior Vice President of Properties to plan and implement departmental initiatives. She also ensures smooth transitions from the property development phase of activity to operations.

Naomi is also a Program Manager of the Rafala Green Fellowship Program. This fellowship program seeks to promote equity and inclusion in nonprofit real estate by training the next generation of POCI emerging leaders working at the intersection of arts, real estate, and community development. Fellows are introduced to the core competencies of property development and exposed to Artspace best practices while working on current projects in the Artspace pipeline across the country. Previously, she served as the Director and visionary behind Artspace’s Art Bridge Program, a long-distance collaboration program that worked with social justice arts organizations across the country to advance the use of video conferencing technology for artistic collaboration, expanding the vision of new workspaces for artists and arts organizations.

Naomi began working with Artspace in 1997 through a local property management company, handling Artspace’s commercial properties in the Twin Cities. In 1998, she was hired to create Artspace’s first for-profit subsidiary, Performance Property Management Company, which allowed Artspace to run their local commercial property management team in-house. In 2005, Naomi took leave from Artspace to become Executive Director of the Asian Pacific Cultural Center, a nonprofit organization focused on developing a Pan-Asian center to celebrate, promote, and foster understanding of Asian Pacific cultural heritage in Minnesota, where she gained valuable experience employing the Artspace model. In 2008, Naomi returned to Artspace in the role of Finance Manager.

Naomi graduated from the University of Minnesota with a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology and Saint Paul Technical College with an Associate Degree in Applied Science as an American Sign Language Interpreter/Translator.

Naomi brings a unique skill set to the Artspace team, from her managerial experience and financial expertise; to her comprehensive background in government relations, development, and community engagement. She takes great pride in her contributions to Artspace’s partnerships with First Peoples Fund in South Dakota; PA’I Foundation in Hawaii; and Turtle Mountain Tribal Arts Association in North Dakota.

Dan Park Pagel

Dan Park Pagel

Honorary Board Member

Seoul, South Korea

As Managing Director, Dan provides overall leadership and managing of Equis Korea. Focused on providing a paramount level of efficient and effective services in the commercial real estate needs for multinational clients in office, industrial, investments, and retail areas of acquisition and disposition, relocation and expansion, tenant representation, landlord representation and development consulting in Korea. Mr. Pak attended Northwestern College of Chiropractic where he received his Doctor of Chiropractic degree. He also attended Winona State University to study Pre-medicine. And finally, he attended Cannon Falls High School and graduated with honors with 5 major scholarships.