THIS THING OF OURS-ADOPTION

THE KOREAN WAR BABY

My name is Don Gordon BELL and I am one of the earliest of the first generation of KAD's (Korean ADoptees). The Korean War had been settled by Armistice three years before I left war-torn Seoul, Korea, on May 21, 1956. It was the first plane of twelve 'war babies' processed thru the Harry Holt Adoption Program. Read more of MY STORY on My Pages.
I grew up in a typical middle-class family of English-Scottish roots in greater Los Angeles, Ca, USA. Memories faded, Korean language was 'lost' and I did not know anything about the country of my birth until I met Korean Marines in Vietnam while serving with the US Marines. It was my first exposure to real Korean people. I was not completely aware of how prejudiced most Koreans thought towards a Half-Breed like me. I learned what "Tuigi" meant, a Korean word for a "Child of a Foreign devil". Oh, wonderful.


All my life I always had to answer the question: "What ARE you?" and I simply would tell 'my story'. It was not a big deal for me, for my Adoptive Parents had taught me that being an American meant that WE were from many countries. I never 'wished to be White' and just learned to stand up for my own identity. MY Identity was as an American, with mixed heritage. I did not know what being "Korean" meant but often wondered about my roots, and what my birth father's ethnicity. Mexican, Native Americans, and Spanish people would tell me that I had their 'genes' for sure. Little did I know they were right!

After college, I traveled to Manila and for ten years I lived in the Philippines. I was excepted as a 'mestizo' and fit into the former Spanish colony. I was a B-movie Character Actor,
working on international and local films, enjoying a 'crazy and wild' abandonment. Then a life changing experience gave me faith in a personal Higher Being. After walking away from the film business, I lived back in the USA, not sure of my direction in life finding work in construction, finish carpentry, door hanging, and many other jobs I'd like to forget.

In 1991, at 38, I attended a Holt Heritage Camp that was a great experience and really began my own journey of Adoption Identity search. I had never thought much of my Korean culture, though I always felt proud of being "HALF-Korean" and "half-Something".

In 1994 I came back to Seoul, Korea, with my church Vineyard Christian Fellowship, and was invited to stay with a church in East Seoul, for one year. I have lived here since late 1995- re-discovering my "Korean-ness", teaching English and telling my Adoption Story to thousands of Korean students of all ages, helping their understanding of Korean Adoptees. It is one of the issues that Korea is now facing, even for its own secretly adopted children, those who were adopted IN-Country by Koreans who desired a family but due to problems with Infertility secretly adopt.

I was a charter member in 1997 (first dozen members) of GOA'L (Global Overseas Adoptees' Link, founded by Ami Nafzger) and continue to be involved with the complex issues of This Thing of Ours-Adoption. Thousands of KADs have visited Korea over the years, searching for their culture and Some search for birth family. Seventy-five thousand have come, yet only 2,400 plus have found Reunion with Birth family, often with varying results. There are many complexities, many don't want to search concerned about offending their Adoptive Families. Each KAD must decide what they want to do, when to do it, etc.


At 61, I am still 'working thru' my Adoption Identity. Each of YOU need to 'work through' your own understanding and hopefully find forgiveness and healing. Read many different accounts and compare before coming to conclusions. I hope that you will learn what IS happening NOW, in the land of your birth, the Rep. of Korea (South Korea). (See Report Links).

Times are changing, the reasons for 'relinquishment for adoption' have shifted, but there continues to be a need for a multi-tiered approach and understanding of Adoption issues. Slowly, attitudes of Korean society ARE changing for the better. But, the majority continue to feel embarrassment and shame. Thus, Adoption is still shrouded in secrecy even for those who are adopted In-country. There ARE positive signs and movements of NGO's and KAD groups are advocating for the Unwed Mothers. However, two-thirds of pregnant women each year, continue to give up their babies for adoption. One out of four are sent overseas, YET three are secretly adopted in-country. The Myth that "Koreans don't adopt" is false, but they need to open up and hopefully change their shame to pride.


This blog is for EVERYONE, whether you are an Adoptee, Adoptive Family, Birth Family or involved in Adoption in ANY way as a professional, social worker, official, etc, from Korea or the world. We examine the complex issues and personal journeys that we, domestic and overseas adoptees, have to face and sort out in This Thing of Ours-Adoption. (Use the Ligit Search function (Left Column) to check for Posts on various topics, TransRacial, TranCultural, MultiCultural families, Domestic, Civil Code Law Adoptions, InterCountry Adoption, etc.)
I personally have come to a compromised, nuanced position on this thing of ours-adoption. I advocate a Multi-tiered Plan that tries to be balanced, realistic, fair to all.

UPDATE: Living in the Philippines since 2010, at first teaching students from several countries as an Online Tutor, based in Makati, Metro Manila. I was working on a Digital Library for Online Tutoring or ELearning; developing an agritourism farm; and Overseas Retirement Care for foreigners needing 24/7 health care.

Then some 18 months ago, in July of 2012 I met with Andrew Leavold, a crazy film obsessed Aussie who helped "pull me back into film making".

WHEW! Lot on my plate. I have also been learning much about the Filipino society's very different viewpoints on unwed motherhood and adoption.

Latest: As of Sept. 2012, I worked on an Indie Film, "Baybayin, the Palawan Script", directed by Auraeus Solito, and international award winning Filipino director. I had a role in the film and explored my hobby as a STILLS Photographer. Currently I have quit all teaching, co-writing on an international film that will be done in 3D and CGI effects. I am back in the film-making business and I love it.

Adoption Discourse needs to hear YOUR VOICE. Every opinion, even opposing viewpoints will be posted and interaction invited by email and Comments have been activated again with spam filters!)
. Welcome, come learn, and share your thoughts.


June 28, 2009

The Forgotten War



The "Korean War Museum" {http://www.kwnm.org//index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=25&Itemid=50} and "Korean War Educator" {http://www.koreanwar-educator.org/topics/casualties/index.htm} are great sites to learn about the “Forgotten War” that occurred when Communist North Korea launched its invasion of the South. The effort to create the Korean War National Museum began in 1997 when a small group of veterans and friends recognized that no museum devoted exclusively to the Korean War existed in this country.


The war is sometimes called The Forgotten War or The Unknown War because it is a major conflict of the 20th century that gets far less attention than World War II, which preceded it, and the Vietnam War, which succeeded it.


KOREAN WAR STATISTICS
VETERANS OF THE KOREAN WAR
(Re-Published from VA Web Site)
June 27, 1950 to January 31, 1955.
Historical Facts

Actual hostilities occurred from June 27, 1950 to July 27, 1953. However, the war period was extended to January 31, 1955 by Congress to define a period of benefit eligibility in the wake of uneasy peace negotiations after July 27, 1953.
There were 6.8 million American men and women who served during the Korean War period, June 27,1950 to January 31, 1955.
There were 54,200 deaths to Americans in service during the period of hostilities, June 27,1950 to July 27, 1953. Of these, 33,700 were actual battle deaths.
There were 7,140 POW’s during the Korean War. Of these, 4,418 returned to the United States, 2,701 died, and 21 refused repatriation.

Casualty Figures - United Nations Forces


Australia - 265 dead; 1,387 wounded & missing
Belgium - 97 dead; 355 wounded & missing
Canada - 516 dead; 1,235 wounded & missing
Colombia - 140 dead; 517 wounded & missing
Ethiopia - 120 dead; 536 wounded & missing
France - 288 dead; 836 wounded & missing
Greece - 169 dead; 545 wounded & missing
Netherlands - 111 dead; 593 wounded & missing
New Zealand - 31 dead; 78 wounded & missing
Philippines - 92 dead; 356 wounded & missing
South Africa - 20 dead; 16 wounded & missing
Thailand - 114 dead; 799 wounded & missing
Turkey - 717 dead
United States – 36,913 dead; 106,978 wounded & missing
United Kingdom - 1,078 dead; 2,674 wounded & missing; pow 729
Republic of Korea - 416,004 dead; 428,568 wounded & missing
KATUSA - 7,140 21,630 wounded 1,718 MIA 1,512 POW

Casualty Figures - Communist Forces
China - 1,000,000 (plus) killed, wounded & missing
North Korea - 520,000 Killed, wounded & missing
Civilian Casualties North and South:
Estimates vary from two to three million killed on both sides, caught in the middle, killed by both sides.

See also this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Korean_War

'Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it'----George Santayana From his work; Life of Reason, Reason in Common Sense 1905.

Let us Hope that history is NOT repeated by the North...









June 25, 2009

TvN program, "Exorcist"


"The Korean War Baby searches for his natural mother on 59th Anniversary of beginning of Korean War, June 25, 1950."

Donald Gordon Bell a.k.a. JUN Yong Soo/전  용 수 Korean /全  容 秀Chinese Characters used by all Korean names (Until recently).



Well, the TVN show was on early this morning Midnite 00:00 am, actually funny because it became the 25th of June. My Korean wife noted that it was fitting that my show was on this day, because this is the 59th anniversary of the beginning of the Korean War, June 25, 1950. I was focused on Wed. June 24, and had not actually thought of the actual date being the Infamous invasion of the South by Communist North Korea. Korea Times noted this headline today:

57% of 20-Somethings Ignorant of Korean War By Jung Sung-ki
Staff Reporter, Korea Times at:
http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/include/print.asp?newsIdx=47393

"Fifty-nine years after the outbreak of the 1950-53 Korean War, nearly four in 10 South Koreans aren't familiar with the tragic fratricidal war, according to a recent survey. A survey of 1,000 adults over 19, conducted by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security (MPAS) in April, showed that 36.9 percent of respondents said they didn't know when the Korean War had broken out. By age, 56.6 percent of those in their 20s said they didn't know when the war had occurred, while 28.7 percent of those in their 30s and 23 percent of those in their 40s said the same thing, it said. ``This is a very serious problem that more and more people, especially youngsters, are not well aware of or not interested in the Korean War, where millions of South Koreans were killed,'' an official of the Ministry of National Defense said. ``Pan-governmental efforts are required to make people understand properly about the Korean War and, in particular, educate youngsters about the war and history.''

Read the rest of the article. In the next couple of days Korean War Baby will post some Stats on the "Forgotten War" or as they call it here 6-2-5 (literally the numbers for 6, 2, 5-this is a Chinese way of remembering a significant day by the "Month/Day" method).

I was frustrated that most of the scenes were in Korean language with no (Subtitles in English). I will have to learn how to link to the TVN website.

This is a Preview of "Exorcist" program, TVN cable channel:
http://www.chtvn.com/Player/tvnPlayer.asp?prgID=10970


The Korean War Baby must withhold commenting on the program until some of his students can explain it. Apparently the show will be posted on the website of TVN next week. Now we wait again and see if someone calls in...

June 19, 2009

Postponed? Again!

SORRY, I GOT PUSHED BACK!
Postponed!!! Yes, they did NOT even tell me that my episode on TVN Korean Cable channel was NOT this week but will be NEXT week...AaiiGooo Cham! Wed. the 17 at midnight (Korean time) was to be the first of several broadcasts but apparently it will be on Wed. 24th that it will start.

New (Possible Schedule): TVN Cable 270 on Skylife

Wed (24th) 00:00 Midnight
Sat. (27th) 22:00 PM
Sun. (28th) 05:00 am/ 6:50 am/ 15:50 pm
Mon. (29th) 22:00 pm

As I wait patiently to see how they present my case (Who knows what or how they will edit all the scenes) I worry about many things. Will I look 'too fat', 'too old', will they make me look stupid, etc. All vain worries, but valid for sure, then I began to think, "this is all worthless", "why did I do THIS program", "I will look foolish", "There is no way SHE will see this", "This was all for naught", etc.

Then I started to ask myself, "What will you SAY to her, what if it turns out to be the Wrong woman like some cases." I then realized that part of me, an ugly deep set part of me came up...I saw the other day a Korean mother with a boy about five and a baby in a stroller. She was struggling to get up the stairs at the subway, where there is no elevator. Many people were just passing her by, (this is the Confucian way "if you don't know someone, don't help them" though the younger generation under 40 some of them do help). Well, my Adoptive mother did teach us some good things, like chasing stray dogs through traffic to 'rescue' them. One of my favorite books in Middle school was "Don Quixote" by Miguel de Cervantes...well, you get the gist.

Well, I offered to help and when she nodded in assent, I picked up carriage with baby and took it up the stairs (slowly because I am an old fart now), set it down at the top and hurried away. I did not want her to be embarrassed because some people 'might' think we were a family, horrors. I was bowing back to her bow of thanks when IT struck me. IT was a thought that came out of nowhere, a voice within that came from deep within me. Was this "MY" thought? A thought from my deepest soul? I have to say these things first before I even write it down, for you, dear readers (all seven of you), for you to understand how utterly shocked I was to comprehend this, this weird thought that flashed in my mind:

"Just like my F*CKing mother! She gave us away, though!!!"

WHAT WAS THAT?!! Well, I was shocked, just shocked, to "FEEL" this emotion and couldn't believe this was even my thoughts. I turned away, wanting to get away from this place, trying to sort out "What was THAT?! That was not me...was it?" I struggled to think, "was this my thoughts or a thought planted by satan?" Theology students argue that some thoughts we have are from outside our minds, you know little demons sitting on our shoulders, speaking into our minds "just do it!", while an 'angel' hovers on the other side saying "no, don't do that!" But I have read a great deal about all that, unfortunately most of our horrible thoughts of murder, revenge, hatred, hurt, pain, sorrow, etc come from our experience and pain within. All day and since I have pondered this strange reaction to a woman, a Korean mother who sort of represents my own mother with two Half-Breed children of a Foreign Devil. (See my first post).

I have come to a conclusion. This astonishing thought is from deep within my mind, it is a combination of my "Five-year old mind, juxaposing (Overlaying) the Pain of rejection and abandonment, with the Anger that grew out of it." It is the only logical way for me to understand that I, I have deep, deep anger towards my birth mother who disappeared, abandoned me, left me to be flown away to another world. As an adult I can look at everything in rational and logical ways, but in my Inner Child is the Five-Year old mind confused and in pain. I knew in my mind, in cold logical ways all these things but was given an insight into the ugliness, the utter Darkness in my heart. "That stuff is in me? Yes...Wow, now what God? How can I meet my birth mother with THIS in me?"

Now some of my dear Adoptee brethern (male and female) might think to use this as a reason against InterCountry Adoption, how horrible adoption is for children. DON'T. I have made it clear that of course having both parents in a wonderful world is BEST. Anything less than that is progressively worse but certainly better than some of the options. Unwanted pregnancy without a willing husband is bad enough, but Abortion really sucks! Being abandoned by our birth mothers and fathers is the main issue.

(For those who talk about Cultural and Societal purity of being raised Korean rather than in a TransRacial society may have a point. I also agree with the idea that being raised by Ethnic Koreans for a "Pure-Blood" is preferable to a Trans-Racial Adoption. However, the facts remain that currently every year the number of available babies born and given up for adoption ONLY 50% of them are adopted by Ethnic Koreans. BUT the 90% of Korean Adoptee raised in SECRET in a Korean family will still have the Spirit of Abandonment in its spirit, they will KNOW inside that something is wrong, they know they don't LOOK like Korean parents and many find out someday, what they KNEW. "You were adopted" and they share what 20% of American Domestic adoptee also were never told, "you were adopted, you are not really our child". Late Discovery Adoptees website gives just some Americans stories of the shock of Late Discovery - Home ). Openness in Korean Adoptions are slowly growing. Trans-Racial adoptees have social adjustments of course, even for the Korean War Baby and other "Breeds". These are the Levels of Preference that I see in the Multi-tierred pyramid of Life that I am working on for a future post.

For NOW, I must deal with myself, try to understand what is going on inside myself. "Know thyself" is easier said than done. The Journey continues...God help me, and you.

June 14, 2009

Updates

The Prophet Balaam and the Ass, by Rembrandt v...Balaam on donkey- via Wikipedia

Update: I wanted to include these photos from the famous Republic Caffe, where I did my interview for TVN. As you might recognize these two famous talents from a popular program on Korean TV, Republic Caffe has been the scene of several television dramas.

Located next door to the GOA'L office, near the Hongik University, Shinchon, Seoul. The owner, Paul, recently came back to Korea just last year. Paul is developing an excellent reputation for his creative presentations and customer relations par excellence. If you drop by the GOA'L office from Europe or the Americas, or anywhere else, check out Republic Caffe for a great place to unwind or meet friends.

The past snowfall in December of 2008 just after Republic Caffe started business. Special thanks to Paul for his support and understanding of my own personal search.
Speaking of searching for our birth mother/father/family...TVN has informed me that nothing else has turned up from their search of possible names, but they are still checking. I will post the Days/Times that the program will air soon. Wed. June 17th at MIDNIGHT is the first airing, but there are more over the next few days. I have still mixed feelings about doing the program but must trust that God will sort it all out. If I meet birth family it will only be the Lord that I give the glory and thanks to, not any hypnotist or mudang.
I read the other day in Numbers 22-24, Old Testament just by 'chance' where some guy named Balak (Not to be confused with our President), Balak the son of Zippor was the King of Moab, he had seen what happened to the Amorites when they opposed God's Chosen people the Israelites. King Balak paid a powerful sorcerer called Balaam to Curse the Israelites. Three times Balaam followed the Lord God's instructions to BLESS the people instead, invoking Balak's frustration for sure, because Balaam was a man gifted with spiritual powers, though not a prophet of God like Moses, Balaam knew that he could not go against God's command to bless the people instead.
I tell this story because in essence I felt that doing the program with a hypnotist and a mudang (spiritualist who has an 'insight' into spiritual realm) was okay, that somehow the Lord would protect me from falling victim to the influences that the 'Dark Side' has on the unsuspecting. I say this for those Christians who may feel that I received counsel from the enemy, satan and his followers. Balaam was a son of Peor, one who was like a seer for the false god, Baal-peor, (Google that). My Christian brethern please note:
"Num 23:16 And Jehovah met Balaam and put a word in his mouth, and said, Go again to Balak and say this. Num 23:17 And when he came to him, behold, he stood by his burnt offering, and the leaders of Moab were with him. And Balak said to him, What has Jehovah spoken? Num 23:18 And he took up his parable and said, Rise up, Balak, and hear. Listen to me, son of Zippor. Num 23:19 God is not a man that He should lie, neither the son of man that He should repent. Has He said, and shall He not do it? Or has He spoken, and shall He not make it good? Num 23:20 Behold, I have received word to bless. And He has blessed, and I cannot reverse it. Num 23:25 And Balak said to Balaam, Neither curse them at all nor bless them at all. Num 23:26 But Balaam answered and said to Balak, Did I not tell you, saying, All that Jehovah speaks, that I must do?"








For my non-religious readers, both of you, might wonder "why all the fuss?" I have received several emails from those who question my faith or urged me not to do this show. I just want them to know that I gave very, very serious consideration to this matter. I called my adoptive father in L.A. who has studied and taught the bible, written two books on Prophecy, for his guidance. In the end, I put myself in the Lord's capable Hands, and in the same way told the mudang that I would pray, which I did, that they would only give me what GOD, my God would allow them to give. I prayed that NO 'familiar spirits' which most mediums hear from or 'spirits of the dead' would be able to speak to the mudang, in the Name of Jesus Christ the Lord. Remember, I too am a son of God, adopted son of the Father, 'Dongsang' to Jesus. I do not fear the enemies of God lightly but, "No weapon forged against me will prosper", no spiritualist can touch me, lest the Lord allows it. I am not ignorant of the enemies ways, but I do appreciate their concern and prayers.
SO, now I wait...rest, and leave everything in God's hands. What more can we do?


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June 6, 2009

Tale of Two Women




After Vietnam fell in 1975 to the Communists, Vietnamese from the South fled into the South China Sea. They were called Boat People and they risked life and limb to escape from the Communists. Anyone who had worked with the US were rounded up and put into “re-education camps”. They were attacked by pirates, raped, robbed, and left adrift at sea in overcrowded leaking craft. Thousands found themselves in the Vietnamese Refugee camps in the Philippines, Thailand, even Hong Kong. They were hired as extras on “Apocalypse Now”, earning $25 for children under 12 and $50 for above per day. They were protraying usually the victorious communists. It would be like people from the defeated South, acting like the Union soldiers in a documentary on the Civil War.

I worked on the Local Casting under Ken Metcalfe, at that time I was in charge of all the many Foreigners who were from all over the world. I had to get them up in the morning, get them to the set, into uniforms, issued gear, props, weapons, even watch over them during the night. I worked under 2nd Assistant Director Larry Franco to set up all extras for the various shots, giving each person guidelines for 'crisscrossing the background' or activities to do during each "Shot". A Vietnamese leader, a full Colonel in the Vietnamese Air Force, was my main translator for the Vietnamese extras. The Colonel related to me over some drinks how incredible it was to him, how life was treating him. I agreed and told him how much I regretted how our government had shamefully left the Vietnamese people cut off from support.

Then I reminded him that each day, seven days a week, each of his twenty-odd family members earned cold hard cash, in dollars. I told him that America would be difficult but they would have a chance there. I suggested that his wife start a noodle shop since she was such as good cook. He did, called it Pho Hoa, which actually started in a Food Court near the Intercontinental Hotel, Makati, Metro Manila back in 1977. They made it in the land of opportunity. We even have many Pho Hoa's now in Korea.

One of those beautiful Vietnamese women, Quan, lived with me for three months and I planned to marry her. While I was ‘on location’, on a new film, “Boys of Company C”, she finally got through by phone to tell me that she had suddenly received her visa to Paris, France. She was told that she must leave right away. I rushed back to Manila but too late, she had left the day before. I found her letter promising to write from France. Quan’s first letter gave me a shock, she was pregnant with my child. I had to decide if I would ‘do the right thing and go to France’.

I wrote her that I would be willing to do that, then her next letter arrived the day after I put mine in the mailbox. Quan had found a job with the French government helping other Vietnamese. Oh, and by the way, she had met a rich French businessman who spoke perfect Vietnamese…Yes, they married and the last letter I received contained a photo, asking my written permission for monsieur to adopt my son! I wrote back back, “Oui, oui, but of course”, with mixed feelings of relief and guilt. I have unfortunately lost contact with my Vietnamese son over the years but Quan promised that he would grow up knowing my name. My hope is that one day he will search for me on the internet and make contact.

This was not the first ‘mistake of my life’ you see. Indeed, almost a year before Quan, I had met a struggling beautiful Filipina actress. I played her boyfriend in a movie and enjoyed a fun filled Christmas holiday in her hotel room. Foolishly I ran out of ‘protection’ and did not resupply. Later, she realized she was ‘late’ and knew that I was the culprit. Then a former American who had met her before came back to Manila. He proposed to marry her, even after hearing that she had just learned that she was pregnant. I saw her at three months as she was preparing a fiancée visa for America. Obviously with child, I immediately asked her “Uh, is it mine”. "No, uh, NO", she said, trying to think. She convinced me that her boyfriend, had come back after her menstruation, so I wasn’t possibly the father. I breathed a sign of relief because I had not know my own biological father, I did not want the same thing happening to "my child".

Six months later, I was ‘shocked, yes shocked’, when I received a letter with a picture of ‘my daughter’ and a feeble explanation. The mother of our child had lied to me because she had a better deal with him, a sure thing rather than with me, a younger struggling artist and ‘we were just casual lovers, right?’ Don’t worry your daughter will know your name she promised. I had committed the very offense my ‘birth father’ had done; regardless of my attempts to ‘be careful’, I had ‘sired’ first a daughter, then a son.

Punishment to fit the Crime
Three years later I ‘punished’ myself by having a vasectomy at the age of 28 in order to prevent another bastard child by my acts of self-indulgence. Now I wouldn’t worry when a woman told me that she was pregnant, I would tell her “Not by me, I shoot blanks”. Oh, the follies of my youth! Many times I woke up after drinking all night, looked at a cute woman curled up in my bed, “Hello, uh…what’s your name? Oh Teressa! Of course, I remember”.

I actually felt a certain pride that I contracted STDs so many times the Filipino doctor warned me I would require stronger drugs. I was one of his best customers, once bringing in ‘three casual weekend lovers’ for testing, separately, throughout the day. You see three nights, three different ‘lovers’, then like a thunder clap, the symptoms hit me on the 5th day. I did not know which one had given it to me, number 1, 2, or 3. It could be anyone of them, but the others might also be infected. Now, some guys would not even tell them but I had at least some scruples. It turned out that the first two were clean but they were now all mad at me. I tell this not to boast.

As a character actor I was somewhat recognized in the Philippines, I even paid journalists monthly stipends to keep my name in the tabloids. I had a great come-on line and took advantage of that shamelessly. I confess now in order to expose my total lack of conscience back then. I was also utterly stupid, for even when early reports in the 1980’s came out on HIV/AIDS I did not take notice. Not until my surrender to God could I see how wrong I had been all my life. For years I tested my blood fearing that God was going to punish me with AIDS. Thankfully my Heavenly Father forgives sin but I know not to tempt him again! I learned that my way of seeking love was in desperation, and left behind a bitter trail of unrequited love and empty promises. I was a Jerk, big time. Women’s Lib would make me the poster boy of Jerks. I began to see women as real people, not ‘body parts’, which was Really a challenge. Still working on understanding them, though…


“You must be my Bio-Dad”
‘Life is stranger than fiction’ they say. Seven years later in 1985, as I sat in the coffee shop of Peninsula Hotel, Manila, I heard someone call my name. I was well known by then but as Don Gordon Bell when I heard “Don Bell! Is that you?” I knew that voice! Turned around and there was the Filipina mother of my 'daughter', who I recognized immediately, and beside her a seven year old girl. OUR daughter looked curiously at me and back at her mother...then smiled, “You must be my Bio-Dad” which is funny, strange but true. As you can imagine I stood there speechless and then met her adoptive father and her younger brother as they entered. Their ‘composite’ family was visiting the Philippines and staying in the hotel. OMG! I spent several days with them, making excuses and trying to explain why I had ‘not been there for her’. I explained about myself being adopted and see seemed to understand. We all agreed perhaps we could stay in touch through letters, which we have done. My daughter was mature for her 7 years, knew all about her mother and I, and she looked just like her mother, thank God. I have been fortunate in maintaining contact with my daughter. We kept in touch, at first through letters (written by hand!), now by internet. My daughter, who wants to remain anonymous until later, is now married and I am now a ‘biological granddad’ of two lovely children. Some day I hope to meet them but for now I know they are doing well.

I have made attempts through Vietnamese adoption groups to post my story on their websites and forums in the hope that my half-Vietnamese son might someday find me. That would be wonderful for me, though I think about him frequently I have to hope that HE is not angry at me. Life is full of difficulties and challenges, the mistakes we make continue to have consequences for other. Hopefully, we can learn or show others Not to make our mistakes as well. The last chapters have not yet been written...

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