Kim Park Nelson and Jane Jeong Trenka’s comments in “Asian Fusion” (January) oversimplify the adoption process. We did not wrestle through the decision, process, and expense to adopt our Korean daughter to satisfy our “consumer desires and fantasies,” as Trenka suggests, but rather to bring a child from certain poverty into our home and into our love and support. Contrary to Park Nelson’s suggestion that we never considered her birth mother’s loss and sacrifice, our daughter prays daily for her Korean mother’s well-being and happiness. We do feel a responsibility to expose her to Korean events and cultural programs, but they will never replace the experience of growing up in Korea.
Given the choice again, I would still choose to provide her a life of opportunity in America over a culturally authentic experience in South Korea as a poor and vulnerable girl. Perhaps someday South Korea will be able to absorb and support all its children, but until that occurs, transnational adoption will remain a viable option for birth and adoptive families.
I like to buy your “best-of” edition (“Minnesota Favorites,” January) to look for new places to explore in Minnesota. Frankly, I am very disappointed with this year’s feature. Nearly all of the places mentioned are in the metro area. I have lived my whole life in Cold Spring, a bustling little city that only gets noticed for bad news.
I am very proud of central Minnesota, Stearns County in particular. There is a lot going on here that people don’t know about. They hear about Lake Wobegon and farming and assume people are slow or live a backwards lifestyle. I love Lake Wobegon; it’s the small town I grew up in, forever preserved in those stories. As for farming, I have never met a dumb farmer; they know a little bit about everything, because you can’t call a plumber or electrician every time there’s a problem.
In high school, people couldn’t wait to move to the Cities. At my 10-year reunion, I heard a lot of people saying they live in the Cities but are looking to move back this way. Life here is pretty good, and I just wanted you to know that the metro doesn’t have the best of everything.
I am compelled to reply to Gregg Lipelt’s letter about “Rejects d’Art” (December) by Jack El-Hai. Lipelt’s reference to a demagogue leading mindless followers presents a frightening but untrue scenario.
El-Hai’s writing was straightforward and represented what he was looking for—an us-against-them article. He found the voices that served his purposes. My experience learning from and teaching with Richard Lack at Atelier Lack helped me understand the determination it took for him to keep painting and teaching in a traditional manner from the 1950s to the ’90s. Lack fortified himself ideologically against those who wanted to “extinguish” those skills. Though I questioned some of Lack’s views, I am so grateful to have met a painter who took the time to pass along the craft of drawing and painting in time- honored methods. These are methods that gave Rubens, Sargent, Klimt, O’Keeffe, and Picasso their skills base.
I see the Atelier serving a role similar to other local creative programs, such as MacPhail Center for Music, Minnesota Dance Theatre and the Dance Institute, and the Loft Literary Center, all of which offer excellent fundamental instruction. The Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art will continue to teach the fundamental skills of traditional drawing and painting. So let’s all move on.
Co-director, Atelier Studio Program of Fine Art
2007 Tamarack Award
Entries for Minnesota Monthly’s $10,000 fiction competition are accepted March 1 through May 15. The winning story will appear in our November issue. Visit www.minnesotamonthly.com forcontest guidelines.
Submit letters via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org, or the old-fashioned way to The Mail, Minnesota Monthly, 600 U.S. Trust Building, 730 Second Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55402. Please include your daytime phone number and city of residence. Text may be edited for length and clarity.