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 loved me so much, before they even had me.

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

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

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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 get the answers I wished for, but I am more at peace with that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 grew up speaking Korean.

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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