As a grassroots non-profit, Adoptees for Justice relies upon our incredible volunteers, members, and staff. Thank you to our volunteers and members who join, shape, and fight for just and humane adoption, immigration, and restorative justice systems! Adoptees for Justice is an intercountry adoptee-led organization. Our members are adoptees with and without citizenship as well as parents, children, and siblings of adoptees. We are committed to being led by those most impacted. Below, meet just a few of the folks who are integral to the operations, mission, and strategy of Adoptees for Justice.
Meet Our Team
Impacted Adoptee Lead
Anissa is an activist, mother, and American adoptee without citizenship. Adopted from Panama by an American military family, Anissa was deported in 2006 when her daughter, Vanessa, was only 12 years old. She is fighting for the Adoptee Citizenship Act from Panama, and shares her story in order to educate others about the issues faced by adoptees without citizenship. As the Impacted Adoptee Lead and one of three A4J staff members, Anissa organizes adoptees without citizenship in the Impacted Adoptee Committee.
Impacted Adoptee Co-Lead
Kristopher is an adoptee from Saigon, Vietnam who escaped during the evacuation of Saigon in 1975 during US Military Operation Babylift due to the imminent Communist takeover of South Vietnam. Raised in Alaska, he attended the University of Alaska Anchorage and was recruited as a Systems Engineer to design a local bank’s fiber infrastructure. Kristopher is the former Director of IT and Apprenticeship Opportunities for the Urban League of Metropolitan Seattle. He worked with local tech companies and disenfranchised communities to educate, train, and prepare communities of color for fair opportunities in the IT Sector. He has also taught robotics and code block programming to high-school students. Kristopher sits on several Boards that stem around Social Justice, Education and is the former post-prison employment advisor for Seattle City Council. As an Advocacy Co-Lead and one of three A4J staff members, Kristopher believes in the organization’s mission to “Educate, empower, and organize transracial and transnational adoptee communities to achieve a just and humane adoption, immigration, and restorative justice systems.”
Rebecca (she/her) is studying to get her master’s in Occupational Therapy at Ithaca College. She has been a speaker on two adoptee panels on campus and a part of an adoptee club. She has been a volunteer with Adoptees for Justice on the Education Committee and helps run the A4J social media accounts.
* = A4J Contractor or a person whose employer has allocated time for work with Adoptees for Justice.
** = Core Volunteer or Committee Lead.
A4J Board of Directors
Board Chair, Advocacy Co-Lead
Emily Kessel – Chair (Arlington, VA) is a Korean American adoptee and Minnesota native and lived in Korea as a Fulbright grantee and M.A. student for a Language Flagship Program based in Hawai’i. She works for a federal government agency in Washington D.C. on Legislative & Intergovernmental Affairs. Previously she worked in the nonprofit sector, and is currently an Executive Committee Board Member for NAKASEC. Ms. Kessel has been involved with the Adoptee Citizenship Act work since 2015 and is a co-founder of Adoptees For Justice.
Becky Belcore joined NAKASEC’s staff in January 2017. Prior to NAKASEC, Becky was an independent consultant for community-based organizations and foundations. She also worked at Woods Fund Chicago, the Korean American Resource & Cultural Center (KRCC), and as a nurse and a union organizer. She is a board member of Adoptees for Justice and HANA Center. Becky enjoys spending time with her daughter and identifies as a Korean adoptee.
Taneka Hye Wol Jennings
Taneka Hye Wol Jennings is a transracial Korean adoptee with citizenship. She currently resides in Chicago, where she serves as the Deputy Director of Programs for the immigrant rights and service organization HANA Center. Taneka volunteers actively in her community and serves in a number of advisory capacities for local, national and international groups. As someone who has been impacted by unjust policies and systems, she believes in the power of being rooted in the community, building new narratives together, and advancing solutions that bring about a more just and loving future for all people.