Benjamin Yung Phillips

Name

Benjamin Yung Phillips

Age

29

Location

Dallas, TX

Occupation

Admin, student

Own Words

I’m married and starting a family. I used to play the drums and I’m into cycling. I’m a car guy, I love taking things apart and I’m kind of a nerd. I’m currently earning a degree in Computer Aided Drafting and Design.

I was born in the winter of 1982 and found on the doorstep of a 55 year old man in central Daegu with whom I share my Korean family name. After five months at a nearby orphanage I was adopted through the Holt International Adoption Agency by a family with two children. My parents later adopted more children, two siblings who were African American/Native American. At the time we lived in a small town in Iowa so we stood out, everyone knew who we were. There just happened to be a Korean cultural program right down the street that people would travel from all over the country to attend so I was fortunate enough be exposed to our culture at an early age. When I was little my parents would ask, “Who’s proud to be Korean American?” and I would say, “MEEEEEE!!” I learned some of the language and history while I was studying to receive my first dan in Tae Kwon Do.

On New Years Day I had the opportunity to go back to Korea for the first time. I stayed in Busan but I also got to see Seoul and the parts of the DMZ. I also took a day and went to Daegu to visit the orphanage that I stayed at. The orphanage as an entity had ceased to exist but the Catholic church that operated it still had my records on file. One of the sisters offered to take me to the Police station I was brought to after I was found, and one of the officers on duty offered to take me to the address I was found at. The house had been demolished some time between 2007 and 2009, a small hospital now stands in its place. It wasn’t the doorstep I had pictured in my mind for so many years, but the symbolism wasn’t wasted.

It’s sad that there are so many other people with stories like mine, but it’s good to know that we’re not alone.

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