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

Explore stories by ▾

  • 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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • I want to be as good a parent as my mom was for me. I’ll try my hardest.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • I was 7 and a half when I was adopted. I was told that I had two sisters.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • Because I’ve chosen to become a single mother, I think about my birth mother a lot.

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • I don’t know how to put it into words. I wish I could live like everyone else.

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • In the Holt records, it says that I was left on the doorstep of a man’s house.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • What I had been looking for in my birth mom, I found when my son was born.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • What I’ve learned through my faith in the Lord, is that it happened for a reason.

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch