Saturday, January 1, 2050

Welcome to Yangja Stuff!

This is me. Hi!
My name's Spencer Lenfield. I'm a Korean-American adoptee (KAD, as the abbreviation goes) in my mid-twenties currently living and working in Washington, D.C.; I was born in Seoul and grew up near Kalamazoo, Michigan. Welcome to Yangja Stuff!

About the title: 양자 (yangja; 飬子) is one of the two or three Korean words for "adoptee"—at least as far as I, with my limited (though growing!) knowledge of Korean, understand. (It's also a homonym for the Korean word for "quantum" (量子)—but I'm digressing.)

I decided to create this blog for two reasons. First, because there has been an explosion of material (stories, advice, opinions, resources) for KADs in the past decade—and it's growing every day. Much of it is online rather than in print, rapidly growing, and not necessarily aggregated or organized in any particular way. I have found this material incredibly helpful as I've started to think about adoption more seriously; as I've started learning Korean and becoming seriously interested in the culture; and as I've considered spending time in Korea and conducting a biological family search at some point in the future. Having amassed it—and coming across more of it all the time—it seemed important to me to put it out there in one place for the benefit of other KADs.

Second, I've been doing a lot of thinking about the wide range of issues tied to being a KAD as I learn Korean, contemplate the search process, etc. It's not material that feels quite right for my other blog, and it's also too miscellaneous for print—on top of the fact that so much of the KAD world is being built principally on the Internet rather than in print, as makes complete sense for a 21st-century community scattered around the country. So I hope that Yangja Stuff can serve as a way for me to do something I rarely do—think out loud—as well as a forum for other KADs, including those I might disagree with, and to be part of building this community, both online and in the real world. I also would be very grateful for thoughts and advice from other KADs—on learning the language, on visiting Korea, exploring Korean culture, and everything else.

There is an array of topics that I think a blog for Korean-American adoptees can productively cover. Obviously, Korean-American adoption—but on top of that, there's all the different parts of those three words that KADs have some stake or interest in: Korea; the Korean language; Korean culture, history, and politics; being Korean-Americans; being Asian-Americans; interracial adoption; international adoption; adoption at large; race and ethnicity generally, in America, Korea, and elsewhere. We are living in a time when Korean culture is more widely known, publicized, and appreciated than ever before; when race is at the forefront of the news; and when the discourse around adoption is more dynamic, complex, raucous, and impassioned than ever. I plan on gathering material on all of these—and blogging about these topics—which will hopefully be browse-able, if all works out, with the tag cloud at the top of this blog.

Again: welcome! Whether you're a yangja or not, I hope there's stuff here that you'll find interesting and useful. 


  1. Hi Spencer! Thanks so much for linking to our page! We appreciate it so much and look forward to connecting with others through your site. If you want to add to "articles," here is a link to our NBC News feature: Thanks again! -Lee + Whitney

    1. Thanks so much! I'll take a look. I've really loved reading your blog, by the way! It looks like you had a really great time in Korea recently.