When Shin Song Hyuk was 3 years old, an American couple in Detroit adopted him and moved him from South Korea to the United States. His new family changed his name to Adam, but they didn’t fill out the forms guaranteeing citizenship for international adoptees. This meant Adam was in effect an undocumented immigrant.
Nobody knows how many international adoptees grow up undocumented due to negligence or clerical errors, but given the difficulties adopted children often have, many of them end up in trouble with the law, which can in turn lead to deportation to homelands they do not remember and cultures that are completely foreign to them.
VICE News follows Adam from a detention center in Washington state to a small studio apartment in Seoul, South Korea.
This segment originally aired May 31, 2017, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.