Thursday, November 19, 2015

Interview with Mr. Kim, Sunup - An Orphan Who Never Got Adopted

This is a story of my childhood friend Kim Sunup, who never got adopted and aged out of the Holt orphanage at 18.  A few years ago, I had an interview with him as I wanted the returning adoptees participating at the 2010 IKAA Gathering in Seoul to meet him and hear his side of the story of not having been adopted and aged out.

Each time I visit Korea, I try to meet with my friends Kim Sunup and Kim Chulsoo (whose story I featured in my previous blog).  The three of us were very close to one another at the orphanage we lived. I got adopted out at the age 14, but my two friends never got adopted and stayed in Korea, and struggled through their lives. While I was driven to study in a major university to become an Aerospace Engineer, half way across the ocean were my two friends, as they lived at one time as homeless in the streets.

Today Sunup owns and operates small sign making business nearby Il-San City, where he is able to make ends meet.

I met up with Kim Sunup at Seoul Station in Korea two weeks ago.
Here is the interview content with my friend Kim Sunup

Interview with Mr. Kim, Sunup

An Orphan Who Never Got Adopted

(Interviewed by Steve Morrison at the IKAA Session, Aug 4, 2010)


Q: Please introduce yourself

   본인 소개를 주십시요.

A: 저는 나이가 56 이며, 현재 일산에서 인쇄/도장 사업을 하고 있습니다. 결혼을 해서 아내랑 어려움 없이 살고 있습니다.

   I am 56 years old and live in Il-San and I have a printing and stamp carving business.  I am married and live comfortably with my wife.

Q: Did you live in an orphanage as a child?

   김선업씨 께서는 어렸을때에 고아원에서 사셨지요?

A: 그렇습니다.

   Yes, I did.

Q: At what age were you admitted to the orphanage, and how long did you live in that facility?

   몇살때에 고아원에 들어가게 되었고, 또한 몇년동안 시설에서 자라야 했는지요?

A: 저는 _7살때에 고아원에 들어갔습니다. 그리고 저는 11년동안 그곳에서 살았지요.

  I was admitted to the orphanage at 7 years old.  I lived there for 11 years.  

Q: How was your experience in living in the orphanage?

   고아원에서의 삶은 어떴나요?

A: 지금 기억해 보면 좋은점도 있었고 않좋은점도 있었다고 봅니다. 좋은점은 많은 친구들과 살면서 재미있는 시간을 많이 가졌던 기억이 납니다. 반면에 저는 가정을 그리워 하면서 살아왔는데 그때당시 친구들 한분 한분씩 미국으로 입양을 가는것을 보면 무척 부러웠지요.

   When I think about it now there were some good memories as well as bad memories.  The good memories are the times when I spent with my friends having lots of fun.  But the bad memories were the times when I sincerely wished that I had a family of my own, and I still remember watching my friends get adopted abroad one by one and remember feelings of envy in my heart.

Q: When did you come out of the orphanage?

   고아원에서 언제 나오시게 되었나요?

A: 제가 18 되었는데 하루는 저희를 담당하는 원장님이 와서 갑자기 저보고 나가라고 하셨지요. 18세가 되었으니 이제 나가야한다고 그래습니다. 저는 그때 말을 듣고 너무나 당황했습니다.

When I turned 18, my orphanage director who was in charge of us came to me suddenly and said that I must leave the facility.  Because I have just turned 18 the director said that I had to leave. When I heard those words I was very shocked.

Q: Did the orphanage provide any preparation for you to leave?

   그럼 고아원에서 퇴소할때에 어느정도의 준비를 하고 나가셨나요?

A: 전혀 준비가 없었습니다. 저를 내보내면서 제게 10만원 원을 주셨습니다. 그러나 그것은 몇일가지 않았지요.  또한 제가 어떤 기술을 배운것도 없고 취직을 없는 상태에 그냥 저보고 나라가 해가지고 몹시 불안했습니다.

    Absolutely none.  The director gave me $100 when he sent me out.  But that lasted only a few days.  It was very upsetting to hear that I had to leave since the orphanage had taught me no special skills and I could not be employed.

Q: So it must have been very difficult for you to survive day to day.

시설에서 나온후 하루 하루 살아가기가 너무도 힘들었겠네요.

A: 그럼요. 하루 하루 살면서 식사가 언제 어디서 올지도 모른 상태였죠.  그때 정말로 힘들었습니다.

   That’s right.  Every day I had to survive not knowing where my next meal would be coming from.  It was the most difficult time of my life.

Q: Was it typical at the time that when an orphan turns 18 he had to leave the orphanage?  Was this practice applied to just your orphanage or was it applied to all the other orphanages in Korea?

   그당시에는 고아들이 18세가 되면 그렇게 나와야 했나요?  김선생님께서 계신 고아원만 그랬나요 아니면 한국에 모든 고아원이 비슷하게 아이들을 퇴소 시켰나요?

A: 제가 기억하기로는 대부분의 고아들이 그런 상태로 퇴소 당했지요.

   As far as I know that was typical of how the orphans were forced out.

Q: Mr. Kim, you have my deepest admiration and respect that despite all the incredible sufferings that were dealt to you and you still did not give up and have raised yourself up to where you are today.

   엄청난 고통과 역경을 겪으면서 그래도 포기하지 않으시고 열심히 살아온 결과 오늘 이렇게 당당하게 계시는 김선업씨를 존경합니다.

Q: However, do the orphanages still require children to leave institutions when they turn 18?

   그런데 지금도 고원에서는 아이들을 18세가 되면 내보내나요?

A: 지금도 그렇게 하고 있는것으로 알고 있습니다. 다만 요새는 퇴소하는 아이들을 위한 준비를 많이 해주고 있는것 같습니다. 많은 생활비를 주고 또한 기술도 가르쳐서 보낸다고 들었는데, 그래도 너무나 부족합니다. 그래서 시설을 퇴소하는 아이들은 사회에 나가서 힘들게 살고있는것은 아직도 사실입니다.

   I believe that is still the case.  But nowadays they are doing more to prepare the outgoing orphans.  I believe they give more money and teach them some skills, but that is still not enough.  So it is still very challenging for them to survive in the real world once they leave the orphanages

Q: If you had a wish in the past what would that have been?

   김선생님께서 과거에 바램이 있었다면 그것은 어떤것이었을까요?

A: 저는 공부를 하기 좋아했습니다. 공부를 열심히 해서 훌륭한 사람이 되기를 꿈을 가진적이 있었지요. 그래서 저는 미국으로 입양을 가기 원했습니다. 그러나 저에게는 그런 기회가 없었지요.  고아로서 한국에서 대학을 간다는것은 그때당시 괭장히 힘들었습니다.

   I enjoyed studying.  I had a dream of becoming someone and have a successful life.  I had hoped that I would be adopted to America. But I wasn’t given that choice.  At the time it was almost impossible for an orphan to go to a college.

Q: As I listen to your story, I feel so sorry that you weren’t given that opportunity.  Do you have anything to say to all the visiting adoptees here?

, 김선생님의 말을 들으니 정말로 아쉬운 마음이 앞서네요.  그럼 이시간 이자리에 계시는 해외입양인들에게 하시고 싶은 말씀은 무엇일까요?

A: 해외입양인들이 건강하게 자라서 한국을 나오게 된것을 볼때에 너무나 자랑스럽습니다. 제가 갖고 싶은 기회를 여러분들은 입양을 통해서 갖게 되었습니다.   하시는 일에 혹은 공부하는 일에 열심히 하셔서 보다 훌륭한 사람들이 되기를 진심으로 바랍니다.

   I am very proud of the fact that all of you have grown healthy and that you have returned to visit Korea.  You were given the opportunity that I so desired to have.  But I sincerely wish that all of you will do your best in your profession or your studies and strive to be a greater person.