Activity 6.2: Korean War Orphans
Students learn about transnational adoptions from the perspective of Deann Borshay Liem, a Korean adoptee.
In 1966, Deann Borshay Liem was adopted by an American family and was sent from Korea to her new home. Growing up in California, the memory of her birth family was nearly obliterated until recurring dreams lead Deann to discover the truth: her Korean mother was very much alive. Bravely uniting her biological and adoptive families, Deann’s heartfelt journey makes First Person Plural a poignant essay on family, loss, and the reconciling of two identities. (MU Films)
- What are some of the experiences and feelings faced by Korean transnational adoptions?
- How do conflicting feelings about their identity affect Korean transnational adoptees’ relationships with their American and Korean families?
- How does war, poverty, race, gender and global relationships influence adoption?
- Use the Lesson 6: Aftermath of the Korean War and Korean Transnational Adoptions (Activity 6.3) presentation to support this lesson.
Introduce the Film
- Have students share their thoughts about whether, if adopted, they would want to know their biological parents.
- Show the film, First Person Plural (Director Deann Borshay Liem, 53 min.). This film follows the journey of a Korean adoptee, from her childhood and high school experience with her adoptive American family to her trip to Korea to find her birth mother.
- If the film is not available:
- Distribute and review the Viewing Questions for First Person Plural. Encourage students to notice information in the film that will help them answer the questions.
- After watching the film, place students in pairs or small groups to complete the Viewing Questions as directed. Then review the answers as a class.
Closing the Activity
- End class with review and discussion of the activity questions.
- Lesson 6 Teacher’s Guide (PDF)
- Lesson 6 Presentation (PPT; PDF version downloadable on Scribd bottom right)
- Video: First Person Plural (available to stream on Kanopy)
- Website: First Person Plural
- Handout: Viewing Questions for First Person Plural (Word)
- Handout: Viewing Questions for First Person Plural (PDF)
- PBS Program Synopsis for First Person Plural
- First Person Plural Discussion Guide (PDF)
- First Person Plural Original Website
Worksheet: Viewing Questions for First Person Plural (PDF)
YouTube Video: Trailer for First Person Plural (1:51 minutes)