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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 adoptive parents are Korean. I grew up speaking Korean.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 loved me so much, before they even had me.

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