Kim came to the US at the age of 5 months. She was born in South Korea during the time of the Korean war (also known as the Silent War). In Korea her birthparents didn't have the resources to take care of her, so the y relinquished her to an adoption agency that sought out kids from war stricken countries. She was adopted at the age of 4 months, abandoned, transferred to Alaksa, and finally adopted by a family in Oklahoma.
Her mother was a seamstress and her father was a coal miner. Her parents were both Caucasian, in which they could not put a name on it. Growing up she would read the encyclopedia and excelled in school. She worked multiple jobs to fund her schooling activities. Upon making a college decision, her parents didn't support her choice to go to college. Though they never actively blocked her from going to college, they wouldn't financially help her. She had a high GPA, but it wasn't high enough to get scholarships.
All throughout her life, people assumed that she was any race except Korean. They even assumed that she was an international student in college. The notion of Asians as being the model minority also effected her in her college experience. "The notion of [Asian Americans] being rich was invented in the 1980s by Time Magazine. She has now obtained her college education and in her opinion she feels that it is deeply immoral for US to hold capable undocumented students back. In her last words on the panel she claimed, "The land of opportunity is the land of glass ceilings.