Hi Sara. I have just started to be curious as to where I actually came from and have wanted to try and reach out to other Korean adoptees. I went through the process of requesting my file as well as my twin sister's file from Holt. Once received, I had a co-worker take a look and review the file (as it was all in Korean) and she said that there was nothing within the file that indicated who my birth parents were. I was told by someone at Holt that according to their files, my sister and I were actually given our Korean names by a social worker (and that the names we thought were our legal Korean names are apparently not) so even if we wanted to, we couldn't even start out with searching our Korean name because that isn't even our legal names and our date of birth was estimated as we were admitted at the orphanage on April 24, 1969 and so I guess they gave us a birth date of April 7th. I am attaching some informative information that I got from someone from Holt - it might be interesting to those who are in the same situation as I am. I'm curious to find out from anyone else out there that might have ran into the same problem as me and whether they have decided to do an independent search. Speaking to a few Korean ladies at my nail salon, they have all told me that if our Korean mother gave us up, she probably still wonders what has happened to us because that stays with them during their lifetime that they gave up not only one baby, but two. My curiousity also stems from the fact that we believe we are a mix of Korean and some other nationality as we don't fully fit into the "stereotypical" Korean look. It is most probable that our father might have been in the military and gotten our mother pregnant and then she was not able to care for 2 babies. That is just our guess. Whoever our father might be, he probably is unaware that he even has twin girls out in the world somewhere! It baffles me a bit as to where we do actually come from. Our adopted parents have both passed away (have been gone for over 20 years now). I've never had a real yearning as to who my birth parents were but my boyfriend is more curious than me and I have thought more about it and do wonder where we came from?
"According to your file, you were abandoned, but there is no record of where. Your birth place is noted as “unknown”. In these cases, birth dates were estimated based on physical appearance and development, and names were assigned. Your file says you were originally taken in by the city social section (similar to a US state’s Dept of Human Services) before being referred to the orphanage. Children were often left in very public places to ensure they are found immediately and taken into care by the proper authorities.
It is very, very common that there would be no record at all of your birth. Korean birth and death records are kept very differently from what we’re used to in the US. In Korea, births and deaths are registered by the head of household, or family chief, with the local government office. This is called a Family Register, and looks rather like a family tree. It is up to the family chief to do so, and there is no law requiring that it be done. Even now, births don’t have to be registered until the child needs to produce a Family Register to enter school.
Hospitals in the US automatically register a birth with the state and a birth certificate is issued. That birth certificate remains for that person’s entire life. In Korea, a person can be added or removed to the Family Register at any time. When a woman marries, she doesn’t change her last name, but she is removed from her father’s Family Register and placed on her husband’s Family Register. It was also very common for children to be born at home with the aid of a mid-wife, or in a small clinic or doctor’s office.
An independent search is one that you would conduct on your own, although there are several adoptee groups found on the internet that may be able to assist you. If you do decide to work with one of these groups, please be very careful as not all groups are legitimate or ethical."