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.

July 17, 2009

Don Gordon Bell_Character Actor

Don Gordon Bell


Some have asked me "What is your
real name?" This is because in the days of my youth I had the great opportunity to work in the film business while living in the Philippines. If you have seen my Facebook page under "Don Gordon Bell" or google my name you will see at the Internet Movie Database you will see some of my film history as an extra, bit player, character actor, Main supporting cast, and a few Lead Roles in Filipino and International films. I was disappointed that the TvN program did not mention my humble achievements in the world of B-movies.

From 1975 to 1985 I worked on 25 international films, both large budget and small. Most were action, drama, comedy, even a couple of rather 'seedy' films I hope never see the light of day (that ought to get some people wondering). They were the best and worse years of my life, as a struggling 'actor' and 'stuntman' who learned on the job to develop my skills. I was one of a number of foreigners who were able to make a living from the trade. I eagerly learned many other tasks that would never be possible in other countries. In the business it is common to take on a 'screen name' because of many reasons. Most of my life "Don Bell" was turned into a joke, you know, "Doorbell! Ha ha", "Dingdong Bell", or the worst "Dumb Bell!" So several folks suggested that I switch to "Don Gordon". I had used Don Bell for three years, then told everyone call me Don Gordon from now on. I was not aware however that there WAS a REAL Don Gordon...


Google Don Gordon, he was born in 1926, has a long long film and TV credits. In 1980 or 81, I was working on "American Commandos" (released on DVD 1985) with Christopher Mitchum and John Philip Law. When I met John Philip and Christopher both of them were looking to meet "the real Don Gordon" of Papillion fame! John Philip said, "you ain't Don Gordon!" I replied, "Well, I am really Donald Gordon Bell, I used Don Gordon for a screen name the last five years." They then told me about the "REAL Don Gordon" and I was like "F*ck Me, now what do I do?" Christopher suggested that I use Don Gordon Bell, sort of like John Philip Law. We all thought that had a good ring to it. I announced to one and all that henceforth I was to be called Don Gordon Bell.

Then in sometime late 1981, the Real Don Gordon played the  main assistant of the 'Anti-Christ' Damien Thorn in "Omen III: The Final Conflict". Hell, he had second above the Title Credits and all over Manila was BillBoards/flyers/advertising with Don Gordon. Writers that I actually paid monthly put out
Omen III: The Final ConflictImage via Wikipedia
that it was ME. I tried without success to deny and even had some articles written. But everyone said, "we saw you, with a beard, congradulations...When did you do the filming. I finally just agreed with folks, yeah, that was me. Hey did you notice several of my films were accredited to the REAL DON GORDON. Fair is fair I guess. I wish you could send his agent this story!

Soon after Sid Furie came back to film, "Purple Hearts" (Filming 1982) and Sid knew me in "Boys of Co. C" as DON BELL (1977 filming). So there was all sort of confusion on the Filipino staff, who knew me as Don Gordon, and Sid as Don Bell. I had to make an announcement to one and all AGAIN, that I was to be known as DON GORDON BELL.

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  1. Nick NicholsonJuly 17, 2009

    There ya go! Now how about some more? Finally figured out this thingamabob!

  2. Well it's some kind of a job to leave a comment, it's a real application form, . But I'm glad your coming with stories from your Phil.-life. We need new blood and other points of view so I hope Eric will hammer his key-board as well. Please continue...........