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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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 good to feel like you can acknowledge the complexities around adoption.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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