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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • I ask myself a lot of questions about my ability to be a 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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  • Our extended relatives made it clear. My sister and I were “add-ons.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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