All posts by kaomig

A journalist and podcaster living in Seoul.

Episode 20: Robert Ogburn

Robert Ogburn, 57, is a Korean-American adoptee who has returned to the country he was born in — as a diplomat. Raised an only child, Ogburn’s story includes an unexpected adoption twist and insights on how Korea and its perception about adoptees has changed over the years. And like so many other adoptees, Ogburn talks about a quest to know more about his past, and of the all-too common realities of an elusive paper trail.

Episode 19: Austin Johnson

Austin Johnson, 28, is a Korean-American adoptee and Seoul resident. He’s been living here with his wife, Janetta, for the past two years. They came to Korea together and ironically it was Janetta who has been his bridge to Korea: cooking authentic Korean food and being an anchor when life back in his native country got tough.

Episode 18: Laura Wachs

Not every adoption story is the same. Some adoptees struggle within their adoptive families out of neglect, lack of love or a sense of belonging. Adoptees who return to Korea to live often face other issues too: of confronting their relinquishment and feelings of loss. Korean-American adoptee Laura Wachs, 28, shares her story, and of how her love of spoken word poetry has helped her find her voice and create a family she can call her own.

Episode 17: Rachel Smith

Rachel Smith, 23, lives in Cheongju, Korea. She’s spending two years teaching English on the Fulbright program. Smith talks to us about growing up in Kentucky, what got her interested in coming back to Korea, searching for her Korean mother and how all of this has helped her firmly grasp who she is.

Episode 16: Richard Peterson

Richard Peterson, 31, reflects on moving back to Korea nearly nine years ago, armed with both advanced Korean language skills and a solid knowledge base of Korean history. But instead of looking back, Richard reflects on his opportunities in Korea today and of building a life on his terms.

Richard Peterson is at home with his wife Emily and their dog Rudy in Seoul. 

Episode 15: Julien Brulé

Julien Brulé, 31, is a Korean adoptee from France. Last year, he quit his job and his life in western France to come to Korea to meet his biological mother. Then he took the unusual step to move in with her, despite a language and cultural gulf. For more than half a year, he’s been learning more about her and himself as they attempt to write a new story together.

[In FRENCH, with ENGLISH introduction]

Episode 14: Leo Chung


Korean adoptee Leo Chung, 44, was raised in The Netherlands but now makes his origin country his home. Chung talks about his experience in the Dutch military and of developing an interest in Korea from an early age, especially its martial arts. That, and a reunion with his birth family at the age of 20, motivated him to make repeated trips back over his life. But while his reunion with this biological family has far from a storybook ending, Chung has come to embrace his Korean identity on his own terms, including becoming a dual citizen.