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LGA to launch Gazillion Voices, an adoptee-led magazine focusing on topics and issues important to the adoption community and beyond.

"Meaty, spicy, and perhaps with a little crunchy coating – Gazillion Voices promises to be a buffet of news and views for and by adoptees, served fresh monthly wherever there is internet. Yum!"  Jane Jeong Trenka, author of The Language of Blood, Fugitive Visions, co-editor of Outsiders Within

"Gazillion Voices has the opportunity to unite the global adoptee community and its allies in a creative, strengths-based, yet challenging manner. The team of contributors is a skilled blend of artists, writers, clinical researchers, activists, and advocates that represents a broad range of opinions, stances, and messages. Its readership most definitely will not agree on all the ideas and opinions brought forth; however, all backgrounds, messages, and comments will be welcomed and treated with the respect that we have waited way too long to earn. " – Susan Branco Alvarado, MA Ed, LPC, PLLC

"For too long adoption policy and decision making have been fueled by altruistic and often misguided practices. Now a cadre of hip, articulate, smart, and focused adopted adults and allies have come together to make sure that unfortunate dynamic changes. They have not just focused on one voice. They have come together to be a chorus for change, enlightenment, and truth. If you are one of the one in six Americans touched by adoption – you have an adopted child or grandchild, niece or nephew, student, patient, employee or friend, or you are a state or federal legislator or regulator – you need to support Gazillion Voices."  Maureen Flatley

A Brief History of Land of Gazillion Adoptees (LGA)

About a year and a half ago, Korean adoptee Kevin Haebeom Vollmers started Land of Gazillion Adoptees (LGA), a multimedia company premised on a simple, yet ambitious idea – it's the adoptees’ time to lead the adoption community. LGA started at the grassroots level as a small blog. Soon thereafter, LGA expanded into other areas. It co-published the anthology Parenting As Adoptees, put into motion plans for five additional books, created the website Watch Adoptee Films to stream adoptee-centric films, and coordinated from the ground up successful micro-fundraisers.

For its part, the blog quickly became one of the most read and influential online spaces for adoption by becoming a place to highlight the expertise and experiences of adoptees and their allies: a “go to” partner to those in the adoption community who wish to quickly and widely disseminate information; a space for serious, in-depth discussions about adoption practice, ethics, policy, legislation, and research; and a “tool” to question and hold accountable the traditional adoption narrative and those who adhere to it. As a result of the blog, the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) hosted an unprecedented meeting between adult adoptees from across the United States and congressional staff in Washington, DC. Minnesota Public Radio and The Kojo Nnadmi Show hosted stand alone programs featuring adult adoptees. And an unlikely team consisting of adoptees, adoptive parents, and staff members of the National Council for Adoption (NCFA), was formed to draft and legislate an amendment for the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 in order to offer all international adoptees retroactive citizenship.

Senator Mary Landrieu introducing amendment #1222 to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. The amendment will give retroactive citizenship to all adoptees.
Senator Mary Landrieu introducing amendment #1222 to the Comprehensive Immigration Reform Bill. The amendment will give retroactive citizenship to all adoptees.

The plan has always been there for the LGA blog to transition into something else, but not until year three of the company’s business plan.  However, Kevin took a look at how much the blog was flourishing.  More importantly, he took a close look at how much of an impact the topics and issues important to the adoption community had on the mainstream, but at the same time how misunderstood adoption was by the general public. So, with the encouragement of adoptees, adoptive parents, first/birth parents, friends, and family, Kevin pulled together a team to launch a subscription-based, monthly online magazine to up the ante by bringing the voices of critically thinking members of the adoption network, especially adoptees, into the broader community.

“A Gazillion Voices will be the first time all of our voices will be heard. We may not have said the words. We may not have been present, but we’re going to read someone else’s words or hear them and it’s going to be our words, our thoughts, our feelings … And what I really love about it is that, because we come from a place of grief and loss and separation, in the midst of love, we know very well how to make sure everyone is included in the conversation.” Sandy White Hawk

The Launch of Gazillion Voices 

We are excited to announce that this August, LGA is launching a first of its kind online magazine that will be led by adoptees – Gazillion Voices

Every month, Gazillion Voices and its contributors will offer rich, compelling, and thought-provoking content that will be accessible to a broad audience: exclusive cover stories; visually moving cover images; columns and opinion pieces; film and photo essays that show adoptees in their everyday lives; podcasts that dive into complex issues; video interviews with adoptees from all across the US and world; and thoughts and perspectives about research/policy/legislation, arts/culture, literature, and food.  Like other professional magazines, Gazillion Voices has planned well in advance.

Inaugural Issue

Cover Story: Ripping The Tape Off 
By Mary Martin Mason and Joy Lieberthal Rho 

Cover Image
By Kim Jackson

Image from Kim Jackson and Heewon Lee's book HERE: A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota.
Image from Kim Jackson and Heewon Lee's book HERE: A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota.

Columns 

  • David Amarel and Martha Crawford: Learning Curve: Another Fine Mess 
  • Corrigan D’Arcy: Universal Motherhood: The Birth Mother Experience Has No Borders 
  • Shannon Gibney: Ongoing Adoption Reunions 
  • Susan Devan Harness: An Introduction/Social Memory 
  • Laura Klunder: Racial Reassignment 
  • Fang Lee: Traveling to China and Reshaping Identity as an Older Adoptee
  • Aselefech Evans: Thoughts on International Open Adoption 
  • Steve Kalb: The Challenges of Working in the Adoption Industry as an Adoptee 
  • Amanda Woolston: Adoption Competence in Generalist Practice, Outside of the “Adoption Worker” Box 


Research, Policy, Legislation 
By John Raible 

Arts, Culture
By Jared Rehberg 

Food: An Intro of Sorts 
By Thomas Kim and Kat Melgaard of The Left Handed Cook

Martinis w/Marissa: Pedro Magni and Leona Louis E. Merk
By Marissa Borst 

Literature: Where We Are, Where We’ve Been
By Katie Hae Leo 

Film Essay: Milton Washington
By John Sanvidge
Teaser video below

Photo Essay: Kelly Brownlee
By Suzi Pratt

Image from Suzi's first photo essay featuring Kelly Brownlee.
Image from Suzi's first photo essay featuring Kelly Brownlee.

Table Talk: Susan Harris O’Connor
By Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao 

Podcast: Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota/Children’s Home Society & Family Services 
By Kevin Haebeom Vollmers 

Future cover stories will be written by guest contributors, and some of the planned topics include: the impact of liberalism on adoption (written by David and Desiree Smolin, Maureen Flatley, and Maureen McCauley Evans); destructive behaviors of adult adoptees (written by Dr. Oh Myo Kim); the ethics of first/birth family search and reunion; a review of children’s books that involve race, culture, identity, and adoption (written by Dr. Sarah Park Dahlen).  And future cover photos will come from professional and amateur adoptee photographers and artists.  

An image from the Adoptee Identity Project, which will be unveiled on Gazillion Voices.
An image from the Adoptee Identity Project, which will be unveiled on Gazillion Voices.

The Gazillion Voices Team

Individuals familiar with adoption know that the contributors we have assembled for Team Gazillion Voices is impressive. The team includes: Dr. David Amarel, Dr. Amanda Baden, Marissa Borst, Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy, Martha Crawford, Aselefech Evans, Erika Fisher, Shannon Gibney, Shelise Gieseke, Susan Devan Harness, Steve Kalb, JaeRan Kim, Thomas Kim, Laura Klunder, Heewon Lee, Fang Lee, Katie Hae Leo, Mayda, Kat Melgaard, Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, Kit Myers, Suzi Pratt, Dr. John Raible, Jared Rehberg, John Sanvidge, Aron Spiess, Kevin Haebeom Vollmers, and Amanda H.L. Transue-Woolston.

Although they represent a variety of backgrounds, what the members of the team share is their desire to openly talk about their expertise and perspectives to a wide audience in hopes of bringing to adoptees, adoptive parents, first/birth parents, adoption professionals, and beyond a more nuanced discussion about adoption, the discourse of which is far reaching. 

“When we talk about adoption, we’re talking about everything. We’re talking about family formation. We’re talking about kinship. We’re talking about racial identity and racism. We’re talking about gender identities and sexism. We’re talking about war and militarism. We’re talking about capitalism and poverty. We’re talking about empires and colonies. We’re talking about indigenous populations' experiences and removals from their homelands and communities.”Shannon Gibney

Risks and challenges Learn about accountability on Kickstarter

The fiscal health of magazines has been tenuous in recent history. Diminishing subscriptions and ad dollars have been problematic, even for well-known publications. Because of this, we have made strategic choices that will certainly help us remain sustainable. For instance, we are currently in talks with a very large institutional partner in hopes of bringing the voices of adoptees and their allies to different communities and audiences. Additionally, rather than taking ad dollars from anyone, we have reached out to companies and organizations who share similar approaches and missions and can see the mutual gains that can come from their presence in the magazine. Moreover, our decision to only have an online presence was driven, not just by expenses associated with printing, but also driven by our desire to meet our various audiences where they are; our design is such that our publication will be a space where a variety of mediums, i.e., text, photography, film, art, etc., can readily be shown on computers, mobile devices, and some smart TVs. And we are already in conversation with a developer about a mobile app, which will be available to Apple and Android devices.

With all that said, our first major challenge is covering initial overhead. In order for us to offer high-quality content to subscribers and become the publication we know that the magazine can be, we need individuals like you to partner with us and offer financial support. Some of the funding needs include:

- maintenance of the magazine website (www.gazillionvoices.com), which is currently being built for the August launch;

- equipment rental and digital cartridges for film and photo essays;

- travel associated with film and photos essays and in-person interviews;

- mobile app development;

- Dropbox Pro subscription.

We hope you consider supporting our Kickstarter campaign. Whether you are a part of the adoption community or not, your support will aid an unprecedented publication to be rich, compelling, and thought-provoking on a monthly basis.

Questions? Please email Kevin Haebeom Vollmers: kevinhaebeomvollmers@gmail.com.

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    Inaugural issue of Gazillion Voices. Access to publication will be emailed.

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    For DC area supporters: Free nonalcoholic drink at La Mano Coffee Bar (304 Carroll St NW, Washington, DC, 20012). Anna Petrillo, co-owner of La Mano, is scheduled to contribute to a future article.

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    Book bundle of upcoming releases "The Declassified Adoptee: Essays of an Adoption Activist," signed by Gazillion Voices contributors Amanda Woolston and JaeRan Kim and the "Lost Daughters" anthology, signed by all four editors--including project founder, Amanda Woolston.

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    Signed copies of journalist Kathryn Joyce's "The Child Catchers: Rescue, Trafficking, and the New Gospel of Adoption". Kathryn is scheduled to contribute to future article. (Note: This new reward amount is for supporters who give starting 7/22/13.)

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    30 minute Skype conversation with Linda Goldstein Knowlton, the director of "Somewhere Between", which Gazillion Voices columnist Fang Lee participated in. Supporters will get the opportunity to talk with Linda about their projects.

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    30 minute Skype conversation with Lisa Marie Rollins. Supporters will get the opportunity to talk with Lisa Marie about their performance and writing projects. Lisa Marie is scheduled to contribute to a future article.

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    30 minute Skype conversation with Gazillion Voices columnist Fang Lee, who was featured in "Somewhere Between" and a member of the 2013 Girls G20 Summit. Supporters will get the opportunity to talk with Fang about her current work activities and supporters will get to talk about their projects.

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    30 minute Skype conversation with activist and award winning author Jane Jeong Trenka; signed copy of the recently published Korean version of Jane's memoir "The Language of Blood"; recently published human rights comic; 2013 Single Mothers Day poster. Jane is scheduled to contribute to a future article.

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    Signed copies of Ann Fessler's "The Girls Who Went Away". The hardcopy versions of the book are now out of print. Ann is scheduled to contribute to a future article.

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    Korean themed blocks from Love on the Blocks (lovesvilleusa.com)/signed copies of Kim Jackson and Heewon Lee's "HERE: A Visual History of Adopted Koreans in Minnesota" (koryobooks.com/shop/here)/signed copies of Sun Yung Shin's "Skirt Full of Black" (www.sunyungshin.com)/signed copies of Lee Herrick's "Gardening Secrets of the Dead" (www.leeherrick.com). Heewon Lee is the Gazillion Voices web designer. Kim Jackson is contributing to the inaugural cover issue. Jessica Sun Lee of Love on the Blocks, Sun Yung, and Lee are all scheduled to contribute to future articles.

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    Cooking, eating, and conversation with Gazillion Voices columnists Thomas Kim and Kat Melgaard of The Left Handed Cook at their home. Two other members of the Gazillion Voices team will be there as well. This reward is available to a party of 2-3 individuals. (thelefthandedcook.com)

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