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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch