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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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