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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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