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 14, 2009


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, and leave everything in God's hands. What more can we do?

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1 comment:

  1. Well it took me some hours to read your whole blog, and do not regret I did. A fascinating story Don, I am so curious what's going to happen next... I follow you dude.


    ps. Did you get any of my e-mails?