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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

    Watch
  • In the Holt records, it says that I was left on the doorstep of a man’s house.

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

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

    Watch
  • If I wasn’t adopted, I’d be working a rice field. I’m not really an outdoor guy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • When I walk into a room, do people look at me and say, there’s the Asian girl?

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

    Watch
  • I am a man who should have died a long time ago, but I have a family now.

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

    Watch
  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch
  • What I’ve learned through my faith in the Lord, is that it happened for a reason.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Watch