Sunday 30th April 2017,

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Zeke Anders Finds His American Seoul

posted by Randall

American SeoulAmerican Seoul is a new vlog series on You Tube by Zeke Anders. Zeke is a Korean adoptee raised by white parents in a suburb of Detroit. By sharing his story growing up as a Korean adoptee, he hopes to generate a discussion with other adoptees and those interesting in hearing their stories.

Part 1 of American Seoul is below followed by a question and answer with Zeke in which he shares more details about his life. After that you can watch Part 2 of American Seoul.

If you like it, you can subscribe to Anders You Tube channel here.


How old are you and where were you born?

My age is a bit of controversy in that I’m not exactly sure when and where I was born.  As the story goes from my earliest and truest memory, I was found on the streets… an alley as an infant by authorities and brought to a Catholic orphanage.  Where exactly I was found is a mystery… could be in Seoul… or Busan as I have an odd and vague recollection from just hearing the name: “Busan”.  But I have no evidence to support that.

My U.S. Birth Certificate states that I was born on December 4, 1975, making me the age of 38.  But that birth date is merely a best guesstimate.

What is American Seoul?

“American Seoul” is five-part vlog series on my life as a Korean/American adoptee growing up in Detroit.  In the series, I speak candidly about my experience being raised by a “white”, middle-class American couple and how these circumstances have steered and shaped my life ultimately making me who I am today.  It began merely as an exercise in self-examination and evolved into this “vlog series”.

First and foremost, I made this for myself.  If people connect to American Seoul then that’s the icing on the cake.

Why are you doing this?Zeke Anders

I know my story of adoption is not that unique to fellow adoptees… and there’s lots of us ‘out there’ in the world.  Often times when someone finds out that I’m adopted they act so shocked and amazed… as if it’s a miracle.  Don’t get me wrong, adoption is very special.  But I think a part of why I”m doing this is not only to share my story as an adoptee but also to demystify the “stigma” of adoption that many people still have.

Lastly, I’m doing this project because I’m a filmmaker.  I tell stories.  I create content.  It’s taken me 38 years to reach this point in my life and produce this vlog to share with you.  I could not have done this any sooner.  Now is the time.

 How do you hope fellow Asian American adoptees will react to your video?

Simply put, I hope they like it.

I don’t want to come off as if my story is so unique or special because I know there are tons of dynamic adoption stories out there… some tragic and others inspirational.  Mine is probably somewhere in the middle.  But I hope my fellow Asian/Americans… and anyone for that matter can find nuggets of truth that speak to them on a personal level when they watch these videos.  Sometimes even hearing someone else share the same emotions or ideas can give strength or confirmation that I’m not the only one who feels like that or who has experienced the same circumstance.

What are the foremost challenges & issues you faced as an Asian American adoptees?

Society has changed so much since I was a kid… even as a teenager.  The world has become much smaller and a “global community”.  I think for me (as of now) those challenges are behind me.  I remember some instances mostly growing up where kids would tease me on the playground or even exclude me (but that was rare).  Kids and friends would sometimes make fun (even in jest)… squinting their eyes or mimicking an Asian language (usually Chinese).

In high school, here and there I would get picked on but that too is just part of “high school”… teens picking on teens.  Teens and adults would assume that I’m Chinese… then Japanese… Korean was never in the mix.  People would go down the list before guessing Korean.  Seriously, it’s not until I lived here in Los Angeles where people would ask if I’m Korean.

I did have a pretty big self-identity crisis during my high school and early college years.  Just wanted to be white.  White friends, white music, white fashion… white everything.

How afraid are you of exposing so much of yourself to the general public?

Not afraid at all of exposing myself to the general public… after all, it’s taken my entire life to get to this point in time.  And the time is right.  I would not have been ready a year ago or even possibly a year from now.  Now is the time and I’m excited that I’m releasing my story to the public.

Zeke Anders & FamilyWhat can you tell me about your birth parents?

I have absolutely no knowledge or information on my birth parents.  As I get older maybe I’m becoming sentimental because I used to not care at all… not in a negative way but just in an indifferent way.  Now I feel a little sad that I don’t know anything.  But that’s probably also due to the fact that both of my adoptive parents have passed away.

How are your adoptive parents reacting to this?

Both my adoptive parents have passed away.  But if they were still alive I know for a fact that they would be very proud and supportive of this project.  They always supported my endeavors and knew that I loved them with all my heart.  Nothing will ever replace them.

What do you hope to accomplish?

I hope to continue doing what I do… creating films, videos and personal content that can speak to others and even enlighten.  I would love to possibly expand this series of “American Seoul” to fellow Korean/American adoptees around the country for a larger scope vlog/doc series.  We’ll just see.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Bonnie Boulding says:

    RE: Zeka Anders fings his American Seoul: Hi Zeke, Thanks for posting this. I’m the mother of 4 children, two born to me and my husband and two adopted children from Korea. The first adopted child was a girl of 16 months from Taegu, the second, a boy with special needs of 5 yrs. of age from Seoul. He, like you, was found on the street, abandoned. I’m interested in your story and your thoughts and I like the way you are posting.
    Best wishes,
    Bonnie Boulding

    1. Zeke Anders says:

      RE: Zeke Anders finds his American Seoul: Hi Bonnie,

      Thanks for reaching out and really appreciate your taking the time to read the article and watch the two current vlogs… new vlogs will upload every Tuesday. Please feel free to connect with with me on Twitter, Facebook, g+ and YouTube. Just search my name and I should pop up.
      Wishing you and your family all the best.

      Cheers,
      ~Zeke 🙂

  2. Michelle Kelleher says:

    RE: Zeke Anders finds his American Seoul: Zeke,

    I love this! A friend sent to me today and I can’t get enough! I am a mother of 2 adopted children from Korea, Sean (12) Nolan (11). The most annoying question I get is “Are they brothers?” It eats at me! I know people mean well, but of course they are brothers! I think for them the most annoying question is “Are you adopted?” Like two white people could produce an Asian! Generally people are just curious. We live in a suburb near Boston so it is quite diverse and the boys have a few friends adopted from Korea which is great!

    I was saddened that you lost your parents, I am sure they are looking down and are very proud.

    1. Zeke Anders says:

      RE: Zeke Anders finds his American Seoul: Hi Michelle,

      Thank so much for reaching out and watching the vlogs! When I was younger, a lot of adult people who ask similar questions like, is that man with blonde hair your father? And I’d say say, yes. And many of them just had this puzzling look on their face, like how is that even possible?! haha

      It got to the point where I would add, “We look alike, don’t we”… and the crazy thing is, they would agree!! Hahaha
      Guess is goes to show how little some people actually listen. 🙂

      1. Michelle Kelleher says:

        RE: Zeke Anders finds his American Seoul: Hello Zeke,

        I noticed your going to speak in Detroit. Do you have any plans to come to Boston? It’s a great city and my family would love to come see. I am amazed and love meeting adult adoptees. I love for my kids to meet them as well. We use to do Korean School like mentoring program through a local college. My kids didn’t like going anymore 🙁 ! It was great but all the students were from Korea and all the younger kids were adopted. They also had a Chinese program too. They would probably love to have you speak there.

        Let me know your story touched me.

        1. Zeke Anders says:

          RE: Zeke Anders finds his American Seoul: Hi Michelle!
          Great to hear from you – thank you for reaching out. No plans… yet. The Detroit engagement was unexpected… the Detroit Institute of Arts asked me to speak on the “art of vlogging”… which is a great topic in and of itself because EVERYONE can vlog 🙂 It’s not just for the ‘filmmakers’ per say. Furthermore, I’ll be screening American Seoul to close the show which obviously is a great venue to introduce a wide audience to not only my work, but the forum of ‘adoption’.

          I would love to visit Boston… haven’t been there in years and it’s such a great city!! Maybe one of the museums or contemporary museums would host me 🙂

          This whole experience has introduced me to a lot of fellow-adoptees and families of adoption. It’s always great to make these connections and be a support for one another 🙂

          Cheers!
          ~z

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