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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch