Out of a
South Korean
Orphanage and Into the World

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

Birth Year

1971

Adoption Year

1973

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

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

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

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

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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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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 found out I was adopted 3 years ago.

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

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

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

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

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