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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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