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Also-Known-As Newsletter: March 2023

March 15, 2023

Become A MemberA Letter From Our President

Dear adoptee community,

Recently I’ve had a few conversations where the term ‘ambiguous loss’ came up. The term, as I understand it, was coined by Dr. Pauline Boss and exposited in her book by the same name. Ambiguous loss was a term for this experience she kept coming across in her research among families who had lost someone who had fought in the Vietnam war due to ambiguous circumstances (e.g. their plane went down at sea, they were captured and never found, etc.). The lack of closure and sense of lingering possibility, she found, had as great, if not greater, impact on those experiencing this ambiguous loss.


Societal/communal markers.

Rites of passage | Rituals.

Moment of clarity.

Vocabulary to articulate.

Answered questions.

Peace of mind?

I don’t need to tell you how our experiences as adoptees make us experts in this field, whether we like it or not. However, being in and among the adoptee community I have come to understand that these things that have had such a relentless cascade of belief in and desire for, are not all that they seem to be. I’ve had to suspend my expectation that these things are like some kind of obedient dog that comes galloping to our side when we call out for them. Rather, my relationship with ambiguous loss is much more like a taciturn cat—you can look and look and sometimes never seem to find where they’re stowed, and yet—other days, you find they’ve been sitting right there next to your window, bread-loafed, quietly taking it all in.

And I’ve found that the more I, too, allow myself to take it all in—the spectrum of whatever have and don’t in this particular moment, I’ve found I am able to empathize a great deal more with others—because everyone, at some point, is walking through their own ambiguous loss. But here’s the point: the moment someone else can see, or articulate, or be present while we find words for what is undefinable—it becomes a little less ambiguous.


Robert Lee (Calabretta)
Also-Known-As President,

Also-Known-As Adoptee Excellence Scholarship

The 2023 Also-Known-As Adoptee Excellence Scholarship is now live!

One individual will be awarded a $1,000.00 (one-thousand dollars and zero cents) scholarship to support their full-time study at an accredited institution.

International adoptees are invited to apply if they are U.S. citizens; age 25 or under; and plan to enroll full-time in 2023 at an accredited college, university or vocational-technical school in the United States.

Financial need will be considered. This merit scholarship will be awarded in June 2023.

For more information, FAQs, and to apply, please visit https://www.alsoknownas.org/scholarships

Also-Known-As Upcoming Events

Happy Hour at Draught 55 3/26Also-Known-As is hosting another Happy Hour at Draught 55 in midtown on Thurs. March 16th from 6pm - 9pm! We invite you to come socialize, meet new people / reconnect with old friends, and hangout with us. Everyone is welcome, so come say hi and bring your friends!Who: Everyone!What: Happy HourWhen: Thursday, March 16, 6:00PMWhere: Draught 55, 245 E 55th St New York, NY 10022Cost: Pay your own way

Virtual Writing Workshop: What We Wish They Knew 3/23During this intimate adoptee-only virtual writing workshop facilitated by Heather Schultz Gittens, we will explore a variety of prompts. Building upon past workshops, the focal area of this experience will be to build on the theme of what we as adoptees wish those in our lives had known more of in order to better support us on our journeys.

Event date: Thursday, March 23, 2023
Time: 6:30-8:30PM EST
Who: Adoptees Only
Where: Virtual Zoom (Link in Event Details)
RSVP: On Facebook or Click to Join Day Of!
Cost: Free Virtual Event

About Heather Schultz Gittens
Heather Schultz Gittens (she/her) is the Founder and Owner of Huh Healing Hub LLC. She earned her Usui Reiki Master Certification from Lily Rubinstein at The Center of Inner Wisdom in 2018. After moving through feelings of abandonment, grief and shame as a transracial adoptee and motherless daughter, she is deeply devoted to helping others heal themselves through Reiki, meditation and writing.

In 2019, Heather created her Reiki company (Huh Healing Hub) in New York City. She included her birth surname (Huh) into the business name to honor her motherland of Korea. She offers private Reiki sessions and leads Reiki circles and workshops focused on mindfulness, unconditional self-love and transformation.

Heather is also a full-time Lecturer in the Department of Communication Studies at Baruch College. She teaches Professional Speech Communication, Introduction to Business Communication and Business Communication. Her classes blend theoretical concepts in communication, career development skills including interviewing and networking, and self-care and self-love tools including positive affirmations and mindfulness. She received a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism and Master of Public Administration from Baruch College.

Community News

Nicole Chung's second book, A LIVING REMEDY, is now available for preorder! For a signed and personalized copy, preorder through adoptee-owned Loyalty Bookstore. From the bestselling author of ALL YOU CAN EVER KNOW comes a searing memoir of class, inequality, and grief—a daughter’s search to understand the lives her adoptive parents led, the life she forged as an adult, and the lives she’s lost. A LIVING REMEDY goes on sale April 4, 2023.

The next Korea Gathering is being planned for July 10 to 16th 2023. To learn more about the gathering and register to attend, visit the 2023 Gathering page. IKAA is also recruiting volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering with the planning committee, please fill out this form.

To publish your news in our community section, please send us an email with the details!

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