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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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