In the course of four years of participating in the Adopted Friends Picnic, Hans Cho ’04 has learned that his “sib,” Ben Dinovelli, 9, likes playing tag more than other games.
Along with other students and their sibs, Cho and Dinovelli participated in workshops and outdoor games Saturday as part of the Korean American Students of Yale’s Adopted Friends Picnic, an event the group has hosted each semester for the past 11 years.
The picnic, which KASY members organize to teach adopted Korean children more about their heritage, brought together 50 KASY volunteers and 72 adopted children and their families, KASY community chair Hanna Baek ’06 said.
“This is my favorite event in the semester,” she said.
Parent Patricia Caron said she found out about the picnic from her adoption agency and decided to return to campus with her two adopted children after attending the event last semester.
“It’s a great way for them to get introduced to some other Korean activities and see other kids that look like them,” Caron said.
KASY President Hydie Kim ’06 said the picnic was funded by donations from local venues and proceeds from the suggested $15 registration fee. Participants in the picnic activities varied in age from nine months to 17 years old, but most were four to 10 years old.
At the picnic, participants had the opportunity to play the Korean board game Yutnori, take calligraphy lessons from graduate students, and get Polaroid pictures taken in one of 30 to 40 traditional Korean “hanboks,” or robes, Kim said.
Parents at the picnic attended a panel discussion with three recently graduated adopted Korean Americans and watched a documentary on the experience of child adoption. After the screening, members of KMA and the Yale Korean Graduate Student Association led a Korean dumpling cooking lesson for the parents while the children played with their big sibs.
The afternoon’s activities concluded with a talent and fashion show, which featured knock-knock jokes by Robert Lewis-Zimmerman, 7, an origami lesson by Marisaa Pomerantz, 9, and a karate demonstration by Dinovelli.
Cho has participated in the event for each of his eight semesters at Yale.
“It’s some of the most meaningful eight days that you’ll spend here,” Cho said.
Cho said he has enjoyed the opportunity to watch Dinovelli grow during the past few years. Dinovelli has shared with Cho his progress in karate — he has earned higher-level belts — and math –Êhe has moved past addition to multiplication.
Chang Kim ’07 helped his sib Jacob Ferrarr, 5, blow bubbles at the picnic. Ferrarr said this was his favorite activity because he liked picking up the bubbles with the plastic bubble-maker.
Baek said Korea has one of the fourth largest markets for adoption, a situation that emerged after the Korean War left a large number of children orphaned in the 1950s. She said one reason for the current situation is that Korean women who are pregnant out of wedlock often decide to give their children up for adoption because of the stigma associated with illegitimacy in the country.