Book Review: After the Morning Calm

After the Morning Calm is another anthology of works by Korean adoptees. It is edited by Nancy Fox, adoptive mother, founder of the adoption agency Americans for Internation al Aid and Adoption and past president of the Joint Council on International Children’s Services; and by Sook Wilkinson, PhD, a Korean-American psychotherapist who has worked with adopted Korean children. She is the author of Birth is More than Once: The Inner World of Adopted Korean Children, which you can read my review of here.

The editors acknowledge their debit to Voices from Another Place (see yesterday’s blog for a review), which is a previous anthology of works by adult adopted Koreans which focused on the experiences of the “first generation” of Korean adoptees, those adopted prior to 1976. The editors say that this volume is intended to appeal to adolescent and young adult adoptees as well, and also anyone connected to Korean adoption.

After the Morning Calm does contain several essays by older Korean adoptees as well as adoptees who were older at the time of their adoption, but also includes many essays by adoptees in their twenties and many who were adopted as infants. One writer is 19. Another is 66-year-old Washington State Senator Paull Shin, who was adopted by an American serviceman when he was 18. Shin believes he is the oldest Korean adoptee.

Several of the stories in After the Morning Calm (Morning Calm is a nickname for Korea, much as Japan is often called the “Land of the Rising Sun” tell about reunions with birth families. Two contributions give voice to adoptees with disabilities, including Asia Renning, a teenager with autism who carried the Olympic Torch on a leg of its journey to the Atlanta Games in 1996. We also meet again three contributors from Voices, giving us a chance to learn more about their stories.

Another interesting contribution is a piece by an adult adoptee who has also adopted from Korea, in which she intersperses some of her earliest experiences with her new adoptive family with her first encounters with her daughter.

Still another interesting entries include the story of the Korean-American adoptee who founded MPAK (Mission to Promote Adoption in Korea), which works to encourage Koreans to adopt; and a series of letters between an American Korean adoptee who learns that his birth sister was adopted to Norway, their birth parents, and the American adoptive parents.

After the Morning Calm focuses on essays, letters and poetry. It does not include adoptees’ artwork as Voices does, except for the front cover design.

Please see this related blog:

Catch the Olympic Spirit: Register Your Child for the Special Olympics!

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About Pam Connell

Pam Connell is a mother of three by both birth and adoption. She has worked in education, child care, social services, ministry and journalism. She resides near Seattle with her husband Charles and their three children. Pam is currently primarily a Stay-at-Home-Mom to Patrick, age 8, who was born to her; Meg, age 6, and Regina, age 3, who are biological half-sisters adopted from Korea. She also teaches preschoolers twice a week and does some writing. Her activities include volunteer work at school, church, Cub Scouts and a local Birth to Three Early Intervention Program. Her hobbies include reading, writing, travel, camping, walking in the woods, swimming and scrapbooking. Pam is a graduate of Seattle University and Gonzaga University. Her fields of study included journalism, religious education/pastoral ministry, political science and management. She served as a writer and editor of the college weekly newspaper and has been Program Coordinator of a Family Resource Center and Family Literacy Program, Volunteer Coordinator at a church, Religion Teacher, Preschool Teacher, Youth Ministry Coordinator, Camp Counselor and Nanny. Pam is an avid reader and continuing student in the areas of education, child development, adoption and public policy. She is eager to share her experiences as a mother by birth and by international adoption, as a mother of three kids of different learning styles and personalities, as a mother of kids of different races, and most of all as a mom of three wonderful kids!