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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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