Out of a
South Korean
Orphanage and Into the World

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

Birth Year

1970

Adoption Year

1982

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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