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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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