American RadioWorks |
Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

King's Last March

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that's not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life.

Recent Posts

  • 01.22.15

    Free Community College for All

    President Barack Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free for what he calls “responsible students” who are “willing to work for it.” It’s being called “America’s College Promise.” This week on the podcast we examine the prospect of free community college for all.
  • 01.14.15

    What’s in a number?

    Our guest this week has a message for high school seniors and their parents who are poring over the latest college rankings lists: Put ‘em down.
  • 01.05.15

    Following the Money in Education Philanthropy

    Philanthropic foundations have been giving money to public education for years. But our guest this week argues that philanthropies are increasingly pushing specific educational agendas.
  • 12.23.14

    Who’s missing from the achievement gap debate?

    The achievement gap refers to the disparities in academic success between lower-income students of color and their more affluent white counterparts. But according to Quyen Dinh, executive director of the national advocacy organization Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), one group often left out of the conversation is Southeast Asian American students.

American RadioWorks |
Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

King's Last March

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that's not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life.

Recent Posts

  • 01.22.15

    Free Community College for All

    President Barack Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free for what he calls “responsible students” who are “willing to work for it.” It’s being called “America’s College Promise.” This week on the podcast we examine the prospect of free community college for all.
  • 01.14.15

    What’s in a number?

    Our guest this week has a message for high school seniors and their parents who are poring over the latest college rankings lists: Put ‘em down.
  • 01.05.15

    Following the Money in Education Philanthropy

    Philanthropic foundations have been giving money to public education for years. But our guest this week argues that philanthropies are increasingly pushing specific educational agendas.
  • 12.23.14

    Who’s missing from the achievement gap debate?

    The achievement gap refers to the disparities in academic success between lower-income students of color and their more affluent white counterparts. But according to Quyen Dinh, executive director of the national advocacy organization Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), one group often left out of the conversation is Southeast Asian American students.


Adoption stories


Rebecca Hammer
San Jose, CA

Birth Country: South Korea
Decade of adoption: 1950s

My name is Rebecca Hammer, and I am 53 years old. I live in San Jose, California with my husband, a retired English teacher. We share four grown children and four grandchildren. I work as an administrative assistant for Pathways Health and Hospice in Sunnyvale, California.

I came to America 49 years ago from Seoul, Korea. My Korean name was Mi Rae Kim, though I was called Mita. It was 1956, and I was 3 years old. My adoption was sponsored by Christian missionaries who took me from the orphanage because I weighed only 14 pounds and was suffering from severe malnutrition. From time to time, I am still in contact with the American missionary with whom I lived for one year before coming to the United States. I know nothing of my birth parents except that my mother was Korean and my father was an American soldier.

Even though there is so much I do not know about my beginnings, I do have much to share: letters, photos and documents (many in Korean) from the orphanage in Seoul, from my adoption process through the International Social Service and from both the Korean and American governments. I was the first Korean orphan to come to Iowa in 1956 and have photos and newspaper clippings of my arrival there.

I have been so energized since looking at your Web site and now better understand why I know virtually nothing of my motherland. Many people never even guess that I am half-Korean. I think that, due to American sentiments at that time, my adoptive parents were more focused on "Americanizing" me than keeping me connected to my Korean heritage. In fact, except for liking Kim Chee, which I adore, I have absolutely no knowledge of Korea, its history, its culture or its language. I was told that my birth mother, for my survival, dropped me off at the Eden Orphanage in Seoul and walked away.

Becuase of your radio program, I suddenly feel as though a whole new opportunity to understand my past has opened before me. You have given me the impetus to do what I have before only thought about. I want to gather my documents and photos, piece as many details together as I can, and tell you my story with the dignity it deserves.

I have always felt the dichotomy of my existence. The keys to my past may remain forever unknown. I very likely could have died in Korea before my third birthday, but in being transported to America, I have thus far lived a rich, full life. I am lucky to be here.



Back to Adoption Stories


American RadioWorks |
Martin Luther King Jr. is jostled in Memphis as the march he's leading on March 28, 1968 turns violent. Photo courtesy University of Memphis Libraries.

King's Last March

Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968. Four decades later, King remains one of the most vivid symbols of hope for racial unity in America. But that's not the way he was viewed in the last year of his life.

Recent Posts

  • 01.22.15

    Free Community College for All

    President Barack Obama wants to make the first two years of community college free for what he calls “responsible students” who are “willing to work for it.” It’s being called “America’s College Promise.” This week on the podcast we examine the prospect of free community college for all.
  • 01.14.15

    What’s in a number?

    Our guest this week has a message for high school seniors and their parents who are poring over the latest college rankings lists: Put ‘em down.
  • 01.05.15

    Following the Money in Education Philanthropy

    Philanthropic foundations have been giving money to public education for years. But our guest this week argues that philanthropies are increasingly pushing specific educational agendas.
  • 12.23.14

    Who’s missing from the achievement gap debate?

    The achievement gap refers to the disparities in academic success between lower-income students of color and their more affluent white counterparts. But according to Quyen Dinh, executive director of the national advocacy organization Southeast Asia Resource Action Center (SEARAC), one group often left out of the conversation is Southeast Asian American students.