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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • We have to stop turning ourselves into victims.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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  • Why is Korea still sending children for adoption abroad?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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