Out of a
South Korean
Orphanage and Into the World

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

Birth Year

1967

Adoption Year

1968

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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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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