Kim was among the first wave of a 200,000-strong exodus of adoptees, as South Korea became the world’s first source of international adoptions.
She asked that NPR not use her name because of the stigma of being an orphan in South Korea.
In its early years, the South Korean government crafted a narrative of a racially homogeneous nation, she says, “the idea being that children who were not fully Korean would never be accepted in South Korean society.
And the South Korean government realized that there was an interest among Americans to adopt these children.”
But South Korea, she says, leaves it to parents and adoption agencies to make the decisions, which South Korean courts simply rubber-stamp.