Where Are the Children- Patricia Garcia

Korea, 1959

no orphan no baby box
no baby box no mother’s

hair no mother’s hair no
small fist rounded into

snail shell rounded into
weapon no orphanage no

orphan no mother only
speaks words of forgetting

does not remember the
time she spent in the baby

box in the orphanage no
tongue proper no proper

word for no father only
soldiers that used umma

each night at night she does
not have a daughter did not

orphan her child for
the sake of her country

filled out the right forms
left the section blank

In the Care Of: no
umma can save you now

child you’ll have a new

mother by christmas her

face is as white as your
bedsheets you think

maybe if i cover myself
they will not take me from

my country my country




These two poems were inspired by my mother and her experience as a Amerasian adoptee from South Korea. In the years following the Korean War there was an effort to expel mixed race children from the country. Many of these children were born out of military camptowns where poor Korean women worked in bars and brothels set up for American troops. At the time, the country’s president endorsed politics of racial purity and thousands of these children were left at orphanages while many were left to die on mountainsides or in the sea. To this day, Amerasians from Korea, Vietnam, The Philippines and other countries with heavy military presence are still searching for their birth families.

Submit a comment