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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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