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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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