The Rapidian

Immigrant Heritage Month Profile: Meet Katie Bozek, Ph.D., LMFT

In celebration of Immigrant Heritage Month, this series features profiles of community members who have immigrated to Grand Rapids.
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For Immigrant Heritage Month, I asked several friends and connections who immigrated to Grand Rapids to share a little about their heritage. The goal of this endeavor is to help educate and inform myself and others in the community about the rich cultures of our neighbors. And, to celebrate the ways that these individuals have contributed to what we know as American culture today. I asked each of them the same questions and their responses are all featured here in the Profile section of The Rapidian. 

Katie Bozek Ph.D., LMFT is a marriage and family therapist and owner of Transitions Therapy, PLLC. I met her while working on Rapidian articles for the Grand Rapids Asian Festival. Katie is one of the eight members of the organizing committee for the Festival and a passionate voice for the local Asian-Pacific American community. I’ve enjoyed getting to know her over the past several months—and learning from her and her experience as an International adoptee from Korea. 

I asked Bozek: What is an important part of your culture/heritage that you want to preserve in your life and also want to share with American culture? And, what in American culture do you embrace? 

Bozek said: "This is a difficult question to answer because as an International adoptee I did not grow up in a Korean household; nor did I necessarily have access to learning about Korean culture in the contemporary sense. There were books on hand regarding the history of Korea, and traditional culture, but not what Korean culture looked like presently. So, I have had to be intentional about learning about the Korean culture. I have had to forge my own unique combination of the Korean culture I know, and the American culture into a Korean adoptee culture. In terms of preservation, I wanted to keep my name. When I arrived in America I was given a new name, as many adoptees are, and lost my Korean name. When naming my first child, I knew I wanted him and any other children I had to have Korean names. I wanted to honor both their Korean and Polish/Dutch/German backgrounds. My daughter, who is my youngest child, has my Korean name as her middle name so that it would not be lost. Aside from that, when I arrived in America I did not have any other part of Korean culture to pass on.

What in American culture do I embrace?

I was raised within a 'typical' mid-west home, and so I would say that I embraced most parts of the American culture. As I grew older, and was able to explore more cultures, I saw myself being able to pick and choose what I want to 'embrace' and teach my children. Referencing my response from the first question, they live in a combination of 'American' and Korean adopted culture."

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