Out of a
South Korean
Orphanage and Into the World

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

Birth Year

1970

Adoption Year

1982

Adoptive Country

United States

A documentary
film project by
Glenn Morey and
Julie Morey

Explore stories by ▾

  • 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch