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  • A.D. Herzel

Korean Adoptee Healing Project


The Korean Adoptee Healing Project explores the multitude of issues around international, trans-racial and Korean adoption from a personal and political perspective. After 50 years of living in the United States as a minority, and very often being the only Asian face in the room A.D. Herzel circles back to her origin story.

But, this is not just her story, as there are at least 200,000 Korean adoptees globally. We are a tribe.

How we evolved in trans-racial families, how we identify culturally, and the trauma some of us have experienced are the visual stories I have begun telling.

Through realistic drawing translations of Adoption photos to abstract golden silhouettes, I examine the shadows of my subjects and with each new portrait the facets of this beautiful tribe multiply.

What began as a personal exploration has grown as I continually add participants. Where once the Adoption photos represented orphan sales pitches, they are now, often the only vestiges of an unknown history.

Each portrait is a story of survival and I draw to honor that. For me, to draw something is to know it so well that you have taught yourself to love it, and so I do.

After the first portrait, my friend wrote, “You don’t know how healing this is.” So, there is that too. I hope to have an exhibition of the portfolio within the next two years.


A.D. Herzel is a Korean American adoptee, Visual Artist, writer, and educator. She has exhibited work nationally for the past 20 years. She trained as a painter and printmaker at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts and went on to receive her M.Ed. in Art Education at the Tyler School of Art in 2000. Her digital work has been published in the Manifest International Drawing Annual, INDA 8 and she has won several awards of recognition for her drawings. In addition to exhibiting work in numerous juried shows, she has been recognized by curators from the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, The Kimbell Museum of Fine Arts in Texas, and The Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts in Philadelphia. She has been represented by galleries in Fort Worth, TX, Nashville, TN and Philadelphia, PA.

If you are interested in learning more, participating or supporting the Korean Adoptee Healing Project and A.D. Herzel visit her website and become a member of her Patreon.


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