Dae Doo’s Story
Age: 34.(Korean age)
Occupation: Insurance planner
Dae Doo’s father was an advanced age when Dae Doo was born, and he divorced Dae Doo’s mother soon thereafter. His grandmother raised him for a period, but she passed away. So at the age of six, his father placed him in an orphanage because there was no one to care for him while his father was at work.
He grew up in the orphanage. Then when he was 19, he got a job on an assembly line. He quit this job two years later and began work as a dormitory teacher for the orphanage where he grew up, and then as a housefather for almost eight years. During that time he studied social welfare and graduated from college.
After college, he tried to open a small restaurant, but it was not successful, so he began his current employment as an insurance planner, a position he was lucky to obtain through a friend.
He describes his and his friends’ growing up in the orphanage in Korea without a family as a lonely time, especially at times such as national holidays and when they became ill. And since there was no one to turn to for advice on general life questions, he faced many difficulties addressing issues such as learning how to rent a home. It was difficult for him to form a strong attachment to those he met outside the orphanage, and his lack of experience and social support made him an easy target for people who sought to take advantage of him.
He felt discrimination at work or applying for a job when asked about his family background. Fearing that people would form a negative preconception about him as an orphan, he did not disclose any more about his history than necessary. Due to his orphan status, he was not able to enlist in the military, and without military service on one’s resume (which is expected in Korean society), this in turn created a circumstance where one earns less.
Growing up in an orphanage also leads to the disadvantage of lacking certain social skills and learning how to live independently. People in mainstream Korean society assume orphans have problems due to their lack of parents, and do not think of them as suitable for marriage.
He has expressed an interest in helping those who are aging out of orphanages because he understands the difficulties they face. He states a need for a place where adult orphans to go to obtain rest and support.