Exploring Self-Expression and Identity: Leah Garlock

“It takes courage to grow and become who you really are.” – E.E. Cummings

Leah Garlock, a Korean-American transnational adoptee, is an experience designer and illustrator and is the Communications Manager for Asian Womxn in the Arts (AWA). Leah sat down with our 2020 Adopteen Virtual Camp campers to explore how creativity and artistic expression can be used to process and celebrate our diverse and ever-evolving identities.

Identity is ever-evolving, but whatever that identity is right now, we hope you are able to own it and feel proud of it! What are some ways you have found help you to express and explore your identities?

“Looking towards the positive is an act of bravery. Dare to hope. Dare to believe in good.”

Sam Futerman joined our Adopteen Virtual Camp with a moving keynote conversation about her inspiring journey navigating home and family and rootedness. Sam is a passionate adoption advocate. She is also an actress, director, and producer, known best for her documentary, Twinsters, which follows the incredible journey of identical twin sisters Sam and Anise, adopted into families an ocean apart and brought together by fate.

Have you watched Twinsters? Home and family can be both a joyful and painful conversation. How have you navigated the ideas of home and family in your own life? If you attended Sam’s keynote (woo, Adopteen Virtual Camp!), what were your takeaways? Did what she shares resonate with you?

“I had to stop trying to make everyone else feel comfortable and get comfortable with myself. Live your loud life exactly who you are and how you are. You being you is all you need to do in order to show up for the world and show up for yourself.”

Kristen Kish is a Korean American transnational adoptee and the winner of Bravo’s Top Chef Season 10, author of “Kristen Kish Cooking: Recipes and Techniques,” and the Executive Chef at Arlo Grey in Austin, Texas. Kristen sat down with our Adopteen Virtual Camp 2020 campers for a heartfelt and beautiful conversation on owning your superpowers, embracing the unknown, and giving yourself grace on this wild journey called life.

What do you think about what Kristen had to say about the importance of giving yourself grace to explore and grow and change your identity in whatever ways make you happy? Do the stories of her childhood or birth culture estrangement resonate with you?