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Korean Adoptees and Parents Celebrate Culture, Community at Camp in Johnston

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JOHNSTON, Iowa - Adopting a child from another country and culture can come with its challenges, but K.A.M.P. (Korean Adoption Means Pride) - a Korean culture camp hosted by the non-profit Iowans for International Adoption - seeks to build a supportive community for both Korean adoptees and their parents.

"There's a lot of questioning that happens," said Abbie Smith, a mother of two adopted Korean children. "And this is the place where they can safely ask those questions, have peers to swap answers to those questions, or figure out how to manage that search process for 'Who am I?', 'Where do I fit in in the world?'"

The 43rd annual event kicked off Wednesday and will go through Friday. Kids of various ages will learn about the Korean culture and their ethnic heritage, while parents will participate in separate activities, including discussions based on issues around adoption.

"We don't look like a lot of families here in Iowa, yet there's a lot of us here," said Smith. "And so being in a place where we all have similar stories, and similar paths in creating our families, is great."

Korean dance and drum demonstrations, language and art lessons, and cultural food preparations are among the activities at the event.

About 50 adoptees and their parents are signed up for the camp this year.