Stephanie Dong Hee Kim is organizing this fundraiser.

15 October 2023

Establishment of the ARAN Foundation


What you see in this photo is a mother and her four daughters laughing their asses off. I am the middle one in the photo and the youngest daughter in the row. We have another brother.

This photo was taken six months ago when I stayed with my mother in Korea for a week. It took me 43 years and seven roots trips to build this bond with my own mother. For so many years I was angry with her - consciously and unconsciously - that I could not let her into my heart.

I can now look at her, her life and her choices with compassion.

I wish her peace and joy in her last years and want to make as many beautiful memories for her as possible and I feel like a lucky bastard that I can do that.

Unfortunately, I am an exception. The majority of adoptees cannot find a family because their identity and papers have been tampered with and fraudulent.

I should not be an exception, I believe that every adoptee has the right to this and I want to commit myself to this by setting up a foundation.

Who am I?

I am Stephanie Dong Hee Kim, 43 years old and live in Arnhem. I was born in Busan, South Korea, and adopted at 4 months old by a Dutch couple.

I found my family in Korea in 1992 and over the years I learned that my adoption was illegal and my papers were incorrect.

I have been to all possible archives in the Netherlands and Korea to clarify what exactly happened, how this could have happened and I have also had many conversations about this with my family in Korea.

My search has led to an investigation by the Government Information and Heritage Inspectorate into the massive unlawful destruction of thousands of adoption files, including my own, by the Ministry of Justice in the Netherlands in 1999.

Below you can see a summary of the various newsreels on May 12, 2023 after the news became known that the ministry had destroyed files (this summary was made by Nicky Gijsbers):


I gave a radio interview following the published report of the OE Inspectorate showing that the destruction was unlawful. The interview took place on July 27, 2023 at approximately 5:34 PM at NPO Radio1 News and Co and starts at 00:35:33: Interview July 27, 2023 Radio1 News and Co

my motivations

My search and the stories of many adoptees I have met have made me realize that there is something seriously wrong with the adoption system, namely: that the basic human rights of adult adoptees do not seem to matter at all, just as the rights of our families of origin.

I also believe that the Dutch State is responsible for doing everything possible to help adoptees find their family and recover what they want and when they want without drowning in official misery and without unnecessary and unjust financial barriers. .

what is my plan?

I want to set up a foundation to fight for the rights of adoptees, especially adults.

Our right to identity, access to identity and restoration of identity is central.

My vision is that all information about our adoptions, both information in our countries of origin and information on the receiving side, should be unconditionally accessible to us.

For this I would like to focus mainly on the system on the Dutch side, as a receiving country. This means that there must be compensation and support for searches in our countries of origin. Consider taking DNA tests and recording your DNA in international databases and also hiring interpreters/translators and fixers/searchers in the countries of origin.

In addition, being able to legally restore our identity is an important point: this must be possible, accessible and financially accessible for all of us. Consider correcting your birth certificate, restoring or changing your name (first name and/or surname), revoking your adoption, etc.

And last, but not least, recognition of and financial support for psychological, mental and medical assistance, adoption recovery leave, bereavement leave, etc.

I would like to make all my own experiences and acquired knowledge available via a website and help other adoptees in their search and recovery.

I also want to use my contacts and network to influence politics and policymakers.

Where necessary, I will conduct research in the archives into the origins of the foreign adoption system in the Netherlands.

Where possible, I also want to look at how different parties can be held liable.

The name of the foundation will be Stichting ARAN (Adoptee Rights Activism Netherlands).

On the website that is yet to be built, I will extensively map out what I will do and this will also evolve over time, depending on new insights and needs of the target group.

what is the money spent on?

It is important for me to have an official foundation so that I can keep the financial flows transparent and I appear more professional as a discussion partner with agencies and governments.

In addition, a website is essential for my foundation to bring all knowledge together and make it accessible to everyone.

This means that there are some costs involved. This concerns:

  • 12 euros per year domain name website
  • 90 euros per year hosting a website and email accounts
  • Building a website for 180 euros
  • 850 euros designing a logo and corporate identity
  • 650 euros notary costs and registration with the Chamber of Commerce

In order to continue, the costs for the domain name, hosting and, for example, a Google Meet subscription, subscriptions to newspapers and I will incur the necessary travel costs for meetings, presentations and procedures.

I continue to do this work as a volunteer, in addition to my paid job.

Would you like to help me and contribute to my birthday gift for my 44th birthday?

My birthday is on November 28 and my best gift is that I can set up my foundation. This way I can make something meaningful and good out of the day I came into the world and my mother panicked that she again did not give a grandson to her parents and in-laws.

Thank you!