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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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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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  • 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 remember much, except the crying—all those unhappy children.

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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