The first time Yoon Hee was abandoned, she was an infant.
She was born in a village near North Korea's sacred Mount Baekdu, where the country's lore claims its founder, Kim Il Sung, led the fight for independence and his oldest son, Kim Jong Il, was born.
But the similarities between Yoon Hee and her homeland's rulers end there.
Six months after her birth, her parents divorced and left Yoon Hee in the care of a friend.
The second time she was abandoned, Yoon Hee was 8 and had gone back to live with her mother.
One day, her mother told her she had somewhere to go. "She never came back," Yoon Hee said.
Yoon Hee had no choice but to live alone in North Korea. So she did what many abandoned North Korean children do -- living on the streets, nearly freezing to death in the winters, begging for mercy, plucking grass for food and crying so hard at night only the pain in her face could stifle her tears.
Yoon Hee stayed in the same neighborhood as her mother in the city of Hyesan, hoping they could live together again.
"I sometimes ran into her on the streets," Yoon Hee said, "but I couldn't ever get a warm feeling from her."
One time when they met, Yoon Hee said, "she told me she was already having a hard time living by herself, so she couldn't live with me."
But Yoon Hee was undeterred.
"I had a hope."
Death by electrocution
Amid tensions in the Korean peninsula, much of the focus has fallen on deciphering the next moves of Pyongyang's new leader, Kim Jong Un.
But all this belies a humanitarian crisis in North Korea, a country that boasts of its military strength and nuclear capabilities and yet has no place for homeless orphans.
"There are many children like me who die," said Hyuk Kim, who fled North Korea in 2011, nearly a decade after becoming an orphan.
In the punishing winters, Hyuk and other orphans would break into sheds containing electric transformers near factories and markets to find a warm place to sleep.
"Many children accidentally end up touching the transformers while sleeping and die," said Hyuk, who asked that his real name not be used for the safety of family members still in North Korea.
As Hyuk dozed off each night curled next to a transformer, he would try to stay as still as possible -- willing himself not to move in his sleep.
"I thought I would live forever this way," he said.
Glimpse into the underbelly
The plight of orphans who've escaped North Korea caught the attention of U.S. humanitarian groups, who've lobbied for years to pave the way for their adoption by Americans and others.
In January, President Obama signed the North Korean Child Welfare Act of 2012, which instructs the U.S. State Department to "advocate for the best interests of these children" -- including helping to reunite families and facilitate adoptions.
The law is aimed primarily at those orphans hiding in China and other countries. Those who make it to South Korea are provided an education, a path to citizenship and even a chance at adoption.
Gwak Jong-Moon knows the pain orphans suffer. He's the principal of Hangyeore Middle-High School, a South Korean transitional facility open only to North Korean children and teenagers.