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Korean + Asian Adoptee Films

Updated: Nov 13, 2022

Below are some movies, documentaries, and short films that touch on the adoptee experience that you can watch:

Korean Adoptee Experience

Aka Dan YouTube musician and Korean American adoptee Dan Matthews travels to South Korea to perform and reunite with his biological family, including a long lost twin he never knew he had.

Approved for Adoption Comic-book artist Jung returns to Seoul for the first time since he was abandoned at the age of 5.

Blue Bayou As a Korean-American man raised in the Louisiana bayou works hard to make a life for his family, he must confront the ghosts of his past as he discovers that he could be deported from the only country he has ever called home.

Crossing Chasms A documentary about Jennifer Arndt, a Korean adoptee, who returns to her birth country seeking answers to the complex questions surrounding her adoption. In her search to define her identity, she walks through her past to understand the present. On this journey she meets other Korean adoptees who share their experiences as she tries to track down her own biological family. Through her own story and the testimonies of seven other adoptees, we learn about the complex issues facing Korean adoptees through their own voices.

First Person Plural An 8-year-old girl is adopted by an American family only to discover, years later, that she has a birth family in Korea.

Forget Me Not Following three pregnant unmarried women at the institution "Aeshuwon" on the South Korean island called Jeju and their process towards the difficult and painful decision - whether to keep the baby or give it away for adoption. A decision strongly influenced by a huge pressure from the outside world.

Found Tabitha is stuck between two worlds. When the Artistic Director of her theatre company tokenizes her for his Equity, Diversity and Inclusion initiative, she faces her reality of living in two skins.

Found in Korea An adopted woman, on her first return to Korea searching for her birth family and her roots, sheds light on the social stigmas surrounding adoption in Korea's present day society.

Geographies of Kinship In this powerful tale about the rise of Korea’s global adoption program, four adult adoptees return to their country of birth and recover the personal histories that were lost when they were adopted. Raised in foreign families, each sets out on a journey to reconnect with their roots, mapping the geographies of kinship that bind them to a homeland they never knew. Along the way there are discoveries and dead ends, as well as mysteries that will never be unraveled.

Going Home A Jewish raised Korean adoptee from Manhattan undertakes a profound journey in hopes of discovering his birth family in Seoul.

In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the US in 1966. Told to keep her true identity a secret from her new American family, this eight-year-old girl quickly forgot she was ever anyone else. But why had her identity been switched?

Made in Korea: A One Way Ticket Seoul-Amsterdam? In-Soo Radstake arrived in Holland from Seoul in 1980. Adopted as a baby by a Dutch couple he is now searching for his true identity. His search takes him along the eight other adopted persons who came with the same flight to Holland. His search ends with a reunion of his arrival group. Exactly twenty-five years after arrival is the group of nine South-Korean adoptees reunited. But this time as adults.

Passing Through Fresh out of college, Adolfson - a Korean adoptee who grew up in Coon Rapids, Minnesota - decides to return to his land of birth for fun and new experiences. Events culminate when Adolfson is reunited on Korean national television with his three long-lost siblings.

Resilience Myoung-ja, who has sent her son Brent (Sung-wook) abroad to be adopted meets him after 30 years and spends a special time with him. They meet for the first time on national TV, then part ways and meet repeatedly, trying to become a family again. Unfortunately, they are faced with problems that so many families with adopted children experience, such as the language barrier and the cultural gap. Myoung-ja takes part in a movement against international adoptions and tries to build a firm base for her life as she takes care of children born to single mothers. The process of becoming a mother and son unfolds dramatically through interviews and observations that take place over an extended period of time.

Searching for Go-Hyang A moving personal documentary that traces the return of twin sisters to their native Korea after a fourteen year absence. Sent away by their parents for the promise of a better life in the US, they instead suffered mental and physical abuse by their adoptive parents, including the erasure of their cultural heritage and language. Reunited with their biological parents and brothers, the young women explore their past in an attempt to reconnect with their “Go-Hyang”, their homeland, which they find they may not have a place in anymore. This beautiful film is a rare feminist look at the issues of cross-cultural adoption and national identity.

Susan Brinkui Arirang A Korean orphan is adopted by a Swedish couple and moves to Europe. She is renamed 'Susan'. Her new mother is very abusive and Susan unsuccessfully attempts suicide. The first chance she gets, she moves out of her home and into the high school dorm. Unfortunately, life does not get any easier there.

The Return Two Danish-Korean adoptees return for the first time to the country they were once born in. Confronted with the spirit of their Motherland and the personal stories of the fellow adoptees they meet in the city of Seoul, Karoline and Thomas are hurled into an emotionally disorienting journey that forces both of them to question and face their own destiny and identity.

Tie a Yellow Ribbon Estranged from her family due to a childhood indiscretion with her white brother, a young Korean adoptee seeks to regain a sense of home by exploring ties with the East Asian Americans she meets in her new apartment building, until her brother shows up at the door, stirring long lost feelings that she has tried to bury.

Twinsters Adopted from South Korea, raised on different continents & connected through social media, Samantha & Anaïs believe that they are twin sisters separated at birth.


Asian Adoptee Experience

Daughter from Danang Separated at the end of the Vietnam war, an "Americanized" woman and her Vietnamese mother are reunited after 22 years.

Found The story of three American teenage girls-each adopted from China-who discover they are blood-related cousins on 23andMe. Their online meeting inspires the young women to confront the burning questions they have about their lost history.

Somewhere Between A documentary on four teenage girls living in different parts of the US and united by one thing: all four were adopted from China due to family situations colliding with the country's "One Child Policy".

Struggle For Identity: Issues in Transracial Adoption A thought-provoking 20-minute video presenting a group of adoptees who discuss their experiences growing up in transracial adoptive families. They delve into complex issues such as confronting stereotypes, fitting in with their culture of origin and learning to define themselves in terms of race and culture. Included in the video are interviews with several adoptive parents who discuss the obstacles they faced in raising children of a different race.

Wo Ai Ni Mommy From 2000 to 2008, China was the leading country for U.S. international adoptions. There are now approximately 70,000 Chinese adoptees being raised in the United States. Ninety-five percent of them are girls. Each year, these girls face new questions regarding their adopted lives and surroundings. This is a film about Chinese adopted girls, their American adoptive families and the paradoxical losses and gains inherent in international adoption. The characters and events in this story will challenge our traditional notions of family, culture and race.


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