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

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

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

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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 good to feel like you can acknowledge the complexities around adoption.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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