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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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  • When I walk into a room, do people look at me and say, there’s the Asian girl?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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