AKF (Adopted Koreans’ Association) is a non-profit nationwide association founded during 1986 in Sweden. The association developed as the first independent association for Korean adoptees in world, leaving a special mark in the history of international adoption. A number of adoptee associations soon followed in other major adoption countries indicating the growing need for Korean adoptees to meet and form their own open communities. As these communities of Korean adoptees continue to develop AKF is very happy to be a member of IKAA™, the International network of Korean Adoptee Associations.
The activities of AKF today focus on three key areas: social events, adoption policies and Korea & roots. As AKF’s mission states that the main purpose of the association is to provide and function as a platform where members can exchange experiences regarding the unique situation of being adopted from Korea. AKF provides an exclusive opportunity for adoptees to mutually learn more about both Korea and living as a Korean adoptee in Sweden. The identified key areas are meant to satisfy this purpose, encourage growth in knowledge about adoptees, and improve the situation for Korean adoptees in society.
Throughout the more than 25 years that AKF has existed, the association has had approximately 2000 members, of which the vast majority have been Korean adoptees. Many members have passed through, hopefully taking with them important experiences, but some of the first and founding members can still be found within the association. During the last couple of years AKF has seen an increasing return of previous members who are now, at another stage of their lives, rejoining the association to gather more knowledge and once again becoming part of the community. As Sweden was a forerunner in international adoption the average age in the association is now above 30, while members are between the ages of 18 to 50. AKF has received financial support from the Korean Embassy in Stockholm and the Overseas Korean Foundation (OKF), during the past years from the Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare (MoHW), as well as sponsorship from Korean companies and individuals in Sweden. Swedish government support for adoptee associations was introduced for the first time in 2005. Although the association’s resources have been limited AKF has continuously been hosting activities for Korean adoptees and documenting adoptees views and experiences through the magazine Um & Yang. In 2003 AKF helped finance the project Hitta hem which included the first Swedish anthology with Korean adoptees. By hosting a large conference in 2006 AKF further highlighted the importance of adoptees’ voices in telling the story about international adoption from Korea. To celebrate its 25th Anniversary, AKF hosted a large international IKAA Gathering in 2011 with more than 200 participants from all over the world. AKF has also arranged group tours to Korea during the past IKAA Gatherings in Seoul and is proud to continue the work of creating meaningful relationships within the international community of Korean adoptees.