Having hosted two online international meetings of the Hong Kong Adoptee Network, we felt it was about time we held a meeting for the UK network. The meeting was open to UK ‘ex-pats’ living in Hong Kong and in other parts of the world.
Taking on board feedback from the two previous meetings, we eschewed speakers / presentations and opted for an ‘open space’ approach. People had said they enjoyed the breakout rooms as it gave them an opportunity to meet and talk more intimately with other members. After the first breakout which was a catchup period, we used Mentimeter Word Cloud to identify what topics people wanted to discuss in the second breakout.
DNA was a popular topic with roots/birth family searching and records tracing also mentioned. We set up 5 themed rooms with people able to join the room/s of their choice: Roots tracing -DNA; Roots tracing -using records; Roots tracing -other aspects; Identity & Belonging; Creating a shared database
Some of the points that came out of the discussions:
- Difficulties experienced by people based on their Chinese/East Asian appearance – some amusing, some embarrassing, racist elements involved
- The impact of roots tracing on other family members
- A database capturing various pieces of information would enable commonalities to be identified and connections to be made. Participating would be entirely voluntary including the data fields and level of information. A number of issues would need to be sorted out eg levels of access
In the wider discussion that followed the feedback, a suggestion was made for a mentoring scheme. There was also a query about whether UKHKAN had considered grants to enable people undergoing roots tracing to return to Hong Kong. It was explained that most funding bodies will only give grants to constituted groups with financial track record (audited accounts). The National Lottery is organised into regions so can be difficult for national groups to fit into the scheme.
We concluded the Reunion with a word cloud to find out how people were feeling: