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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • I did 23andMe. My second cousin on my birth father's side contacted 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 ask myself a lot of questions about my ability to be a mother.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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