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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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 walking down a dirt road in Korea, and crying.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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