Photo courtesy of Sarah Savidakis
Sarah Savidakis, 55, lived in South Korea until she was nine years old, at which time she was adopted by a Connecticut family.
For Savidakis, who says she has grappled with the effects of early childhood trauma, memories of her life in Korea — including those of her birth mother — vanished around the time she arrived in the United States in 1970.
“I have some flashbacks here and there,” Savidakis, who lives in Tarpon Springs, Florida, told NBC News. “But to this day, my mother is [like] a ghost or a silhouette.”
Savidakis is among the thousands of mixed-race children born in the aftermath of the Korean War to American or U.N. soldier fathers and Korean mothers — many of whom were adopted into American families.
Seeking information about her birth parents, Savidakis in September tested her DNA through a commercial genealogy service and identified a first cousin, once removed. The relative helped her identify and connect with a half-brother and half-sister. She learned that her father — who was of Scottish and Irish descent — had passed away in 2014.
After conducting research about mixed-race Korean adoptees, she learned that her mother likely worked in a camptown outside a U.S. base — areas where soldiers could drink and purchase sex.
Read the full story at NBC Asian America.