Out of a
South Korean
Orphanage and Into the World

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

Birth Year

1971

Adoption Year

1973

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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