Out of a
South Korean
Orphanage and Into the World

My adopting father told me he met my mother, and he negotiated with her.

Birth Year

1954

Adoption Year

1958

Adoptive Country

United States

A documentary
film project by
Glenn Morey and
Julie Morey

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  • Birth Year+
    • 1940s
    • 1950s
    • 1960s
    • 1970s
    • 1980s
    • 1990s
  • Gender+
    • Female
    • Male
  • Adoption Year+
    • Less Than 2
    • 2-6
    • More Than 6
  • Adoptive Country+
    • Australia
    • Denmark
    • France
    • Netherlands
    • Sweden
    • Switzerland
    • United States
  • Aged out of Orphanage+
    • Yes
    • No
  • Subject Matter+
    • Being Mixed Race
    • Have Contacted Biological Family
    • Being Mothers and Fathers
  • Clear Filterx
  • 7 countries
  • 6 languages
  • 16 cities
  • 100 stories

An international journey through the personal memories and experiences of abandonment, relinquishment, orphanages, aging out, and inter-country adoption from South Korea

 
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  • There’s no information about me, my birth, my family in Korea. Nothing.

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  • Our extended relatives made it clear. My sister and I were “add-ons.”

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  • It’s good to feel like you can acknowledge the complexities around adoption.

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  • My earliest memories are of living in one room with my birth mother.

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  • I never really discussed racism with my parents. I didn't want to relive it.

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  • Adoption includes the first family. The child did not appear from nowhere.

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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  • It’s not a job, but getting married that’s a challenge.

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  • I learned how to pronounce my Korean name, and realized that it’s beautiful.

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  • As a child, I often dreamt about what I saw the night I was abandoned.

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  • She gave me a ring she was wearing and said, “We have the same hands.”

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  • My mother simply asked me, “Would you like to go to America?”

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  • It was like opening Pandora’s Box, this piece of paper in my hands.

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  • I enjoy traveling. When you travel, you’re not supposed to belong.

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  • An immigrant family that was unwilling to give up on an abandoned orphan.

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  • I remember looking in the mirror, trying to see what made me a target.

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  • There’s a different layer on life when someone chooses you.

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  • My mom’s comment to me was, “You should be dating your own kind.”

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  • Korea never left me. Korea is inside of me. I eat, breathe, and live Korea.

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  • My adoptive parents loved me so much, before they even had me.

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  • My oldest son got me a DNA test, and it stated I’m 100% Japanese.

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  • I grew up feeling like a Martian who had arrived from outer space.

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  • I have chosen to see adoption as a part of my life, not the driver.

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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  • I was 7 and a half when I was adopted. I was told that I had two sisters.

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  • In Korea, I can feel the way people look at me, and I lose confidence.

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  • When I walk into a room, do people look at me and say, there’s the Asian girl?

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  • Because I’ve chosen to become a single mother, I think about my birth mother a lot.

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  • I feel my friends hold the concept of finding birth parents closer than I do.

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  • I see a lot of Chinese babies who are adopted. We kind of blazed a trail.

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  • I learned that I was incredibly lucky to have grown up in Denmark.

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  • He puts his little hand on my face. “Momma, we have the same eyes.”

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  • I’m grateful, truly, to be alive today. That’s why I tell my story.

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  • I remember walking down a dirt road in Korea, and crying.

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  • It wasn't until college that I started to sort out my multiple identities.

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  • When I met my birth mom, it wasn't under the best circumstances.

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  • We always felt we were Danish children, with Danish values and norms.

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  • For the first time, I saw other adoptees who looked a bit like me.

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  • My college essay was called “My Lucky Number”— my case number, K90821.

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  • I didn’t have problems during childhood. I am who I am, Dutch Korean.

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  • I was in the orphanage for the undesirable children. I was not adoptable.

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  • People say my happy appearance is impressive, given my childhood.

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  • It took my birth father 35 years of searching. He finally found me 3 years ago.

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  • Would I have been better off in Korea? I think the answer is always, no.

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  • My biological parents wanted us to be together with a Christian family.

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  • The email said, “We found your mother. You have to come to Korea now.”

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  • What I had been looking for in my birth mom, I found when my son was born.

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  • That pain never goes away. I take my pain, and I put anger over it.

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  • All of a sudden, I saw real Koreans, who weren’t speaking Danish.

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  • I don’t know how to put it into words. I wish I could live like everyone else.

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  • My teacher told the class, “This is her last day. She’s going to America.”

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  • God, why am I here? Why did you put me in this household?

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  • As of today, I do not know who is telling the truth, and who is not.

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  • I’m most likely a foundling, left near a police station.

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  • The woman on the phone says, “We think we found your mother.”

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  • My adoptive parents are Korean. I grew up speaking Korean.

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  • My adoptive parents are Korean. I found out I was adopted 3 years ago.

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  • In the Holt records, it says that I was left on the doorstep of a man’s house.

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  • My biological father is standing there, leaning over a motorcycle.

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  • I’ve been homeless 15 times, from 1987 to the present—5 years in NYC.

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  • My mother thinks that I’m happy all the time, not how I have struggled.

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  • Yeah, I’m black and Korean. But first and foremost, I’m black.

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  • When I married, I hid my history. Afterwards, the truth became known.

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  • I have both my birth family and my adoptive family, and I love them both.

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  • I was born to have an identity complex, being adopted and transgendered.

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  • I did 23andMe. My second cousin on my birth father's side contacted me.

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  • It’s important for me to share, to encourage others who’ve been victims.

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  • If I were to be given another life, I would want to receive parental love.

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  • I remember, vividly, the morning my mother gave us up. She was crying.

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  • I’ll embrace the sorrow I still feel, and one day I will heal and forgive.

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  • I am a man who should have died a long time ago, but I have a family now.

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  • I want to be as good a parent as my mom was for me. I’ll try my hardest.

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  • Five Korean adoptees getting together, then 12, 15, 20, hundreds.

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  • If I wasn’t adopted, I’d be working a rice field. I’m not really an outdoor guy.

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  • I did a total 180 from not hanging out with Asians, making up for lost time.

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  • After that, I kind of realized…okay, I’m a child born of rape.

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  • I meet facility alumni. Some are successful, some have gone astray.

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  • Mild curiosity grew into a need to connect with adoptees and Korean-Americans.

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  • My husband and I are both Korean. Our son inherits our Korean heritage.

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  • I don't talk much about growing up in an orphanage—my darkest moment.

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  • What I’ve learned through my faith in the Lord, is that it happened for a reason.

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  • What if I find out something I don't want to know? That scares me.

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  • I miss Korea and my birth family. It’s a sadness that I carry with me.

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  • My adopting father told me he met my mother, and he negotiated with her.

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  • I sold hard taffy, physical labor. Those jobs were my ticket to survival.

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  • I ask myself a lot of questions about my ability to be a mother.

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  • A feeling of detachment, and an inability to connect with anybody.

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  • My facility experience has made me tough. I don’t cry over small things.

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  • Maybe even more as an adoptee, I’m afraid of losing my parents.

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  • I think that’s why God gave me my daughter, so I wouldn't be alone.

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  • I don’t remember much, except the crying—all those unhappy children.

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  • Mixed-race kids were seen as human refuse, a scourge on their culture.

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  • I got married after my husband promised me he’d never mention my past.

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  • It made me embarrassed, that I had to explain my existence to other people.

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  • My birth mother has remarried, and her husband can’t know that I exist.

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  • I didn’t get the answers I wished for, but I am more at peace with that.

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  • Learning Korean really made me the most in touch with being Korean.

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  • It was an unspeakable act. I wanted to forget it. But I couldn’t.

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  • I was the baby—the first choice to give up for adoption. I understand that.

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  • My mom told me herself that I was born on the floor at home.

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