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

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

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

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

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

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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 no information about me, my birth, my family in Korea. Nothing.

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

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

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  • My adoptive parents loved me so much, before they even had 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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  • If I were to be given another life, I would want to receive parental love.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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  • My adoptive parents are Korean. I found out I was adopted 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 see a lot of Chinese babies who are adopted. We kind of blazed a trail.

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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