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.


August 30, 2009

They’re Gonna Put Me in a Movie”

“Is that a United States Marine tattoo?”

Late in November, 1975, I had just arrived in the Philippines with a good friend of mine, John Silao, who was my college roommate. I had gotten discharged from the apocalypse now redux wallpaperMarines because it just seemed to me that they wanted everyone who had served in ‘Nam out. The ‘Old Corps’ was cutting down in size and crusty ‘old salts’ were welcomed to leave. The New Corps wanted new blood, men and women who they could mold, troops who did not have the ‘bad habits’ learned in the war.

Our plan was to stay for a year, but John soon realized that he should go back to USA and finish his studies in Photography in order to ‘make it’ in his homeland. I was determined to find a way to make money and stay for a while. A cousin of John told me about the movie Apocalypse Now, a Vietnam War movie was casting extras. I thought that sounded like a great thing to do so I went with him to the place they were signing up extras.

In 1975, early in April, the communists had finally captured Saigon. I was in college at Mount San Antonio, not really knowing what I was doing, smoking a lot of marijuana and without direction. I watched the news and felt terrible that the United States had abandoned the Vietnamese people. I had read and seen the news articles about the T039813A Vietnamese Boat People who were escaping everyday from communist tyranny, many subjected to attacks by pirates. The pirates would board their ships, which were usually overcrowded and rob, rape, terrorize, those who had managed to escape from their land. Many made their way to Thailand, some of them reached Hong Kong, others were picked up by merchant ships and taken to the Philippines.

John’s cousin took me to the casting office where I signed up as an extra. The casting director noticed my tattoo, the U.S. Marine Corps emblem on my right forearm. His name was Ken MetcaRescueTeamHippielfe and he was the local casting director who had a lot of experience in film work in the Philippines. Ken asked me, “Is that a U.S. Marine tattoo?” I answered, “yes sir, it is”, well, he invited me into his office. Ken found out that I had served with 1st Recon Battalion, in-country Vietnam. Ten minutes later he took me to see the director Francis Coppola, who was very excited to meet me. He offered me the job of an unofficial military adviser, working as an assistant in the casting department directly under Ken Metcalf. I would handle all the foreign extras, teaching them how to act like soldiers, look like soldiers.

Ken Metcalfe, http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0582465/ who became like a mentor to me, took me back to his office asked me when I could start, I told him I could start today. “Oh, by the way I asked, how much do I get?” I was absolutely shocked when he told me $100.00…per day, six days a week! He wanted me to start right now helping him to sort out the hundreds who had come to sign up as extras. So I grabbed a clipboard, a stack of applications, and a loud hailer and went outside to take care of the mob outside.

I found that the loud speaker of the hailer did not work very well so I just raise my voice, speaking like a drill instructor. “Yoo…Listen UP! May I have your attention?” Some wiseass called out, “Who the fuck are you?” Keeping my cool, I responded with, “I am the One who gives YOU the WORD. The WORD from the Production, the WORD that YOU need to know if you want to work…NOW listen up, here is THE WORD.

I then asked for anyone with the U.S. military experience to come forward and a dozen men came forward. One was to become a great friend and go on to be quite well known, R. Lee Ermey, a former US Marine Drill Instructor and combat vet. Ermey and I would work together in "Boys of Company C" directed by Sid Fury (who also directed "Purple Hearts"). I then asked them to be my assistants, promising them some extra pay, and very soon all the people had filled out forms. Thus began my work with the movie which was to greatly affect my life for the better.

The next fourteen months I worked as the Set Production Assistant, managing not only the foreign extras but all extras, Filipino, Vietnamese, and the Ifugao tribe, while on the set. I worked under 2nd Assistant Director Larry Franco, who was the main 2nd AD under 1st Assistant Director Jerry Zeismer.

August 26, 2009

Resilience - Documentary Film on MySpace Films - New Films & Documenteries




BUSAN, SOUTH KOREA - OCTOBER 08:  An  tourist ...Image by Getty Images via Daylife
Friday, August 07, 2009
Nearing the home stretch....
“After 3 years of production, we are excited to announce the film is almost complete. A lot has happened since filming began in the lives of the people we've followed that has changed the course of the film. What started with stories of three Korean birth mothers has emerged into a story of one birth mother and her son. We meet Myung-ja and Brent after they reunite on Korean television and have followed them ever since to find out if a bond between mother and child stays strong after decades and oceans apart.
RESILIENCE strives to shed light on a side of transnational adoption that is largely overlooked and misunderstood - the relationship between birth mother and adoptee. It's a story about love, loss, and family.
The deadline to finish the film is September 20, 2009 for a world premiere at the Pusan International Film Festival (http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LnBpZmYub3Jn) in South Korea this October! It is being edited now and almost done, however we are short of funds to pay for final expenses, like sound mixing and subtitles, to get the film ready for the big screen.


To raise the money, we are launching a viral funding drive with a goal of $10,000 (USD) by September 1, 2009. To be successful this funding drive is reliant on donations from individuals like you. Please consider making a donation by going to our website: http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LnJlc2lsaWVuY2VmaWxtLmNvbS9TdXBwb3J0Lmh0bWw=. Any amount counts and is greatly appreciated!! If you unable to donate, we encourage everyone to share this message with friends and family.
Anyone who contributes $100 or more, will receive a complimentary DVD when the film is released. And remember, donations made by US residents are 100% tax deductible. Donate now and spread the word!!
For more information about RESILIENCE, watch the trailer, learn about the crew visit our new website: http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LnJlc2lsaWVuY2VmaWxtLmNvbQ==
Resilience - Documentary Film on MySpace Films - New Films & Documenteries
The Korean War Baby Comments:
If you are part of the Triad of Adoption, know someone who is, or just a sympathetic person concerned with the issues surrounding Adoption. Please donate whatever you can, come on sacrifice ‘one night of partying’ and send in your bit. Even the Korean War Baby figured out how to open a Paypal account. There are several ways to donate. Every film or book that gives part of the massively complex multi-level “This Thing of Ours-Adoption” helps towards improving and informing everyone.

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August 21, 2009

TvnExorcistShow


Finally, This is the video of the Korean show, "Exorcist" where I met a Hypnotherapist, two of four Mudangs. Mudangs are Shaman spiritualists (an ancient religion of Korea) who 'see' into the spiritual realm. I am not convinced about Mudang ability, and had qualms as a Christian to take part in the program. But to get 'air time' I prayed about it and decided to do it for the sake of getting 'face time' and the small chance that "SHE" might see it.

This is a test, I hope it works. I am using Picasa Albums, (Another new trick), which can be downloaded as Picasa 3. It is part of iGoogle and I have just uploaded (?) some of my albums. Now I have to 'Link' to it from my blog.
WELL, SO MUCH FOR THAT IDEA!!! Link did NOT work, Oh, I never knew that blogging would drive me crazier than before....
Posted by Picasa

Resilience: Coming Fall 2009

 
Resilience: Coming Fall 2009
HomeV3Each year, Asian countries send thousands of children to the west for adoption. South Korea has sent more of its own children than any other country, nearly 200,000 over the past 55 years, and despite being one of the world's strongest economies, it continues to do so.
Resilience is a documentary film that takes a rare look at international adoption from the perspectives of natural birth mothers and their children--adoptees. This moving film follows the journey of a Korean birth mother and her son. From the road to relinquishment to the aftermath of reunion, their stories reveal the complexity of separation, family, and the attempts to reconnect and reconcile a lost past.”
“WE NEED YOUR HELP
Resilience is tentatively scheduled to premiere this fall at the 2009 Pusan International Film Festival in South Korea.
Resilience is nearing completion but in order to finish the film in time we need your help.  We need to raise at least $10,000 (USD) by September 1 to pay for final post-production expenses, such as sound mixing, subtitling, and tape copies.
Please consider supporting Resilience by making a contribution. Contributions of any amount are appreciated. If 200 people donate $50, we can make our goal. If you are unable to make a donation, there are other ways you can help. We encourage everyone to forward this message to others, post it on Facebook, your blog, etc. and spread the word!
By contributing to the making of this film, you are helping to create awareness and a deeper understanding about a side of adoption that is rarely looked at.”
To See Clips:
http://www.resiliencefilm.com/Clips.html
Donate to help defray Post-Production costs:
http://www.resiliencefilm.com/Support.html

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung dies at 85 | Mail Online

KimDaeJung_85

 

“Former President Kim Dae-jung, a towering figure in South Korea's struggle for democracy who won the 2000 Nobel Peace Prize for seeking reconciliation with the communist North, died today at the age of 85.

An official at a Seoul hospital treating Kim for pneumonia confirmed the death. Local media reports said he died of heart failure.

In his final year, Kim saw his efforts unravel as relations with the North headed back into the freezer under the South's current conservative President Lee Myung-bak.

The former political prisoner, popularly referred to by his initials 'DJ', was elected South Korea's president in December 1997, a victory that marked the first time in South Korea that power had shifted from a ruling party president to a president from the opposition.

93016-004-45CDBC28

Internationally, Kim is best known for his historic handshake and embrace of North Korean leader Kim Jong-il in June 2000, at the first summit meeting of the leaders of the two countries on the divided peninsula.

The meeting was the culmination of the 'Sunshine Policy' that won Kim the Nobel prize - his idea of prodding the North forward with the promise of incentives and reducing the strain of eventual unification through economic integration.

 

kim_dae_jung_human_rightsBut at home, it was Kim's life-long struggle against South Korea's  early repressive authoritarian leaders that defined him and made his name a household word and inspiration for generations.”

LINK:

Former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung dies at 85 | Mail Online

 

His Mother was an ‘Unwed Mother’

“The exact date of Kim's birth is uncertain, but several biographies have it listed as January 6, 1924.

He spent his early years on a small island called Hawi to an unwed mother who ran a small shop and tavern serving workers who extracted salt from sea water.

The family later moved to Mokpo, on the southwest part of the mainland, where Kim excelled at school. He did not go to college, and instead worked at a shipping company to support his family.”

Korean War Baby Comments:

Former President Kim Dae Jung was the first Korean President to really address the issues of Adoption. (See Tobias Hubinette’s excellent reference, “Comforting An Orphaned Nation”). He invited a group of 29 Adoptees to the Blue House  actually apologizing for the fact that at that time over 150,000 had been sent to other countries(http://www.tobiashubinette.se/kim_dae_jung_and_adoption.pdf). Moved by his own  realization that “HIS” unwed mother might have sent him away, his motives represent many of today’s Korean people. One wonders how the history of South Korea would have been very very different without his presence in the Political scene.

No matter what your view on Adoption Issues or Conservative or Liberal, the passing of former President Kim Dae Jung represents
‘how the mighty have fallen’. Korea has lost one of its truly great statesmen, the Nobel Peace Prize winner who in his dynamic life almost brought peace to the Korean people. Will his death help bring the divided people closer? That would be a fitting legacy to the architect of the Sunshine Policy.  Rest in Peace.

August 16, 2009

Adoption History::Pearl Buck, "The Children Waiting: The Shocking Scandal of Adoption," 1955

Part Four: Pearl S. Buck

Adoption History::Pearl Buck, "The Children Waiting: The Shocking Scandal of Adoption," 1955

Source:  Courtesy of Pearl S. Buck International

Buck with a Welcome House child, late 1960s

Because of Buck’s popularity, her article criticizing agency social workers, sectarian institutions, and the reigning matching paradigm attracted a great deal of attention, including a letter of protest from Joseph Reid, the Executive Director of the Child Welfare League of America.

Two babies came [to me] from adoption agencies, where they were considered unadoptable because it was difficult to find adoptive parents to “match” them. I was sure that there must be good families, matching or not, who could love these babies and indeed there were. . . .

Yet I continue acutely and constantly aware of the thousands of children waiting. . . . These are the citizens of my new world, the children without parents and the parents without children, pressing eagerly toward each other, and yet unable to reach each other. A barrier stands between, a high wall, and in the middle of the wall is a narrow gate, kept locked until a social agency unlocks it a little way and lets one child through at a time. . . .

Nobody knows truthfully how many children are in our orphanages. There are many kinds of orphanages but the largest number belong to religious groups. It was once necessary, I do not doubt, for religious orders to care for orphans, but certainly that day is past. Parents are waiting to adopt them. True, it would be very difficult to close these orphanages, not because of the children but because of vested interests. . . .

The rights of natural parents over children must be defined. Children are not property, but they are considered so under our laws. . . . There is no magic in blood relationship when parents alienate their children by neglect or desertion. Yet under our laws and our customs blood still takes precedence, blood instead of the reality of love. . . . The human qualities of love and understanding and acceptance alone should decide the fate of a child rather than race and religion.

Where all else is equal, of course similarity in race and religion is good but human destiny should not be based on these two elements. . . . I venture to say, were the dead hands of neglectful relatives removed, were the divisive and possessive jealousies of religious groups replaced by the spirit of true religion. . .that nearly all children, at least up to the age of 12, would be easily adoptable. No, when I think of teen-age boys and girls I see children still hungry for home and parents and I withdraw the age limitation.

And how. . .could we ever get so many children adopted when our social agencies cannot cope with what we have? I submit a controversial answer. It could be done if the red tape of adoption procedures were eliminated and only essentials kept. There are, I am sure, sincere and unselfish social workers and religious persons in the field of child welfare and adoption who honestly believe that they are doing the best that can be done, unaware that they themselves are the hindrances because they are faithful to red tape and encrusted in tradition. . . .

There is a surplus of children but the parents who are waiting are prevented from adopting them. . . . Let no small arguments be raised here. It is idle to retort, for example, that adoptive parents usually want a perfect child, that most children are not perfect, and so on. They can be helped to want a handicapped children, a child of mixed origin, or any child at all. . . . We can tear down the walls that keep them prisoners of red tape, prejudice and religious division. . . . We can refuse to accept the excuse that there are not enough children to satisfy adoptive parents.

Source: Pearl S. Buck, “The Children Waiting: The Shocking Scandal of Adoption,” Woman's Home Companion, September 1955, 33, 129-132.

The Korean War Baby comments:

Well, knock me over with a forklift, seems that this woman might have influenced Harry Holt a bit. We will have to consult Molly Holt on this, did Pearl influence Harry or the other way around. Some have mocked the “Christian ideology that inspired Holt” to start the Holt Adoption Program and go against Social Welfare standards in the USA against adopting what is known today as “TransRacial Adoption.”

Some have put the blame on Harry Holt for TransRacial Adoptions becoming the norm. It is true that Harry Holt received TV and Newspaper massive coverage that seemed to give him most of the credit. However, there were many other organizations in Korea before Harry Holt came in 1955 to adopt eight Korean Orphans. In “Seed from the East” Bertha Holt tells how Harry was given credit for bringing a group from Child Placement Agency, a quasi-government organization that later became privatized as Social Welfare Society (SWS) in 1970.

CPA actually helped process the Holt’s first group of 12, that left on May 21, 1956 but spent until the 11th of June in Toyko, Japan because of chicken pox quarantine.

DepartureMay21_56_ArrivalJun11_56Honolulu

Departure May 21,1956 (on left side) Admitted Jun 11, 1956 in Honolulu, T. H. (Territory of Hawaii)

From the Korean War Baby’s Passport, I was Holt Adoptee #A-20, Jun Yong Soo, soon to become Donald Gordon BELL.

Harry Holt has been ‘demonized’ by a few who do not quite understand the WHOLE history of those times. Holt became the scourge of some who are seemingly completely against TransRacial Adoptions.

Not Angry Adoptees vs. Happy Adoptees

We must stop comparing Angry vs. Happy Adoptees. We are all victims of life and suffer abandonment, separation, attachment difficulty, personal problems of lack of trust, etc. It is NOT US and THEM.

Those who had ‘bad experiences’ in adoption are not all “angry adoptees”, something that the Korean War Baby has learned personally, because he joined groups such as ASK (Adoptee’s Solidarity Korea) and TRACK (Truth and Reconciliation for the Adoption Community of Korea). He found ASK and TRACK adoptees and Koreans as honest, diligent, sincere people. Hey, they were NOT even Angry, well most of them, but even the ones who are angry have SO much to be angry about, it is from the roots of deep sorrow, pain, wounding of their spirit.

Some have had huge problems seeking answers and getting complete files from Adoption Agencies. These are issues that are being addressed by improving the Post-Adoption Services. Western minds understanding the Korean ways of doing and thinking can often clash.

The Korean War Baby found ASK and TRACK members seeking answers on a wide range of issues that he also agreed with to certain degrees. Such as helping prevent pregnancy, increasing support from the Korean government for Unwed Mothers, promoting Domestic adoptions in Korea.

In seeking truth and viewpoints from all, we must know what each other believes. There is much common ground that we can all stand on and accept on putting the welfare of the child first. I believe that only small issues exist where disagreement may compel us all to seek better answers and possible compromise.

Again, the Korean War Baby feels that as long as children are born and given up by mothers willingly, they should be then adopted by if possible ethnic Koreans, both domestic or living abroad Koreans, then part Koreans, then Korean Adoptees, then by families of “other ethnicity”. Whew! There is a pyramid or tower of order of what is “idea” to the next best thing. That is life, yes?

Mothers must NOT be not pushed, tricked, coerced in any way, etc. The Hague Convention should and must be signed by Korea and strictly enforced. By working together, perhaps fewer children will be parentless, fatherless, abandoned by divorce (OH, there is another huge problem here in Korea in the recent years). The world is not perfect but we can work to improve it. Can anyone disagree with that?

Pearl S. Buck- “The Child Who Never Grew”

http://www.offenburger.com/carlapaper.asp?link=20050805

“The Child Who Never Grew,” by Pearl S. Buck (1952, and a second edition in 1992)

“…And yet, almost more powerful and fascinating was the “Foreword” written by James A. Michener, author of “South Pacific” and so many other classics.
Michener writes of Pearl S. Buck as his neighbor in eastern Pennsylvania at the close of World War II. And another well-known neighbor there was Oscar Hammerstein, the famous lyricist.

Michener and Hammerstein help found “Welcome House”

Michener tells how Buck convinced both Hammerstein and himself to help her with an adoption program for Asian-American orphans – born of American military fathers and Southeast Asian mothers.

The three of them founded “Welcome House,” which Michener describes as “a meticulously run orphanage for ‘unadoptable’ Asian-American children,” and Buck funded much of the cost of its operation with her book royalties.


That’s an inspiring story, one that makes “The Child Who Never Grew” worth reading, just to be able to read Michener’s “Foreword.”
But you won’t stop there. And when you begin reading Pearl Buck’s story about her mentally challenged daughter, the insights Michener has provided about his neighbor become even more profound.

Pearl’s daugther

“The Child Who Never Grew” is a mere 107 pages long. And when it begins on page 25 – after the foreword and introduction – Buck writes, “I have been a long time making up my mind to write this story. It is a true one, and that makes it hard to tell. Several reasons have helped me to reach the point this morning, after an hour or so of walking through the winter woods, when I have finally resolved that the time has come for the story to be told. Some of the reasons are in the many letters which I have received over the years from parents with a child like mine. They write to ask me what to do. When I answer, I can only tell them what I have done. They ask two things of me: First, what they shall do for their children, and, second, how shall they bear the sorrow of having such a child?”

Buck explains how she can answer the first question, but the second one is more difficult “…for endurance of inescapable sorrow is something which has to be learned alone,” she writes.
Another reason she says she decided to write “The Child Who Never Grew” was because “I want my child’s life to be of use in her generation. She is one who has never grown mentally beyond her early childhood, therefore she is forever a child, although in years she is old enough now to have been married and to have children of her own – my grandchildren who will never be.”
She continues, “When I knew at last that there could never be an answer, my own resolve shaped into the determination to make meaning out of the meaningless, and so provide the answer, though it was of my own making.”
And Buck’s answer to the meaninglessness is in “The Child Who Never Grew.” It’s well worth the read.

- Carla Offenburger

Korean War Baby comments:

Pearl S. Buck actually had a hereditary disease that caused her first and only daughter to be institutionalized all of her life. Ms. Buck had a hysterectomy to prevent her from having natural children, thus leading her to adopting six children. Perhaps her forced infertility led her to desire even more so to adopt the “unadoptable”.

Brief Biography of Pearl S. Buck

Part Two: Pearl established Welcome House

Brief Biography of Pearl S. Buck

In 1934, because of conditions in China, and also to be closer to Richard Walsh and her daughter Carol, whom she had placed in an institution in New Jersey, Pearl moved permanently to the US. She bought an old farmhouse, Green Hills Farm, in Bucks County, PA. She and Richard adopted six more children over the following years. Green Hills Farm is now on the Registry of Historic Buildings; fifteen thousand people visit each year.

From the day of her move to the US, Pearl was active in American civil rights and women's rights activities. She published essays in both Crisis, the journal of the NAACP, and Opportunity, the magazine of the Urban League; she was a trustee of Howard University for twenty years, beginning in the early 1940s. In 1942, Pearl and Richard founded the East and West Association, dedicated to cultural exchange and understanding between Asia and the West.

In 1949, outraged that existing adoption services considered Asian and mixed-race children unadoptable, Pearl established Welcome House, the first international, inter-racial adoption agency; in the nearly five decades of its work, Welcome House has assisted in the placement of over five thousand children. In 1964, to provide support for Amerasian children who were not eligible for adoption, Pearl also established the Pearl S. Buck Foundation, which provides sponsorship funding for thousands of children in half-a-dozen Asian countries.

Pearl Buck died in March, 1973, just two months before her eighty-first birthday. She is buried at Green Hills Farm.”

Korean War Baby comments:

As a Mixed-Race, Half-Breed HonHyolA (혼혈아) naturally the Korean War Baby feel strongly that TransRacial Adoption is okay. We who are Mixed-Blooded are obviously different and if Adopted by Rich White Folks (What happened to me, my parents were not even comfortably well off?) we ‘stand out’.

Now those who are of ‘Full or Pure’ blood, have different issues that shout out, “Hey, look at me, I am Asian”. (Please don’t get the idea that I am angry at my brothers/sisters who ARE Racially pure Korean…Okay, okay, I am just a tiny bit jealous. Even my good friends Nolin and David looks more Korean than I do, though they are also of mixed blood).

Both Mixed and Full ethnic Koreans have though common issues to deal with in life. I believe the issues are very similar.

Part Three of Pearl S. Buck will examine her writings on why she thought Transracial Adoptions were ‘Okay’.

Brief Biography of Pearl S. Buck

Brief Biography of Pearl S. Buck

TransRacial Adoptions were just not done before Pearl S. Buck got involved. Before Harry Holt even thought of adopting the dynamic woman broke the racial barriers that led to TransRacial Adoptions. Her writings may have influenced the Holts to consider adoptions. The Korean War Baby will post several times on Pearl S. Buck and her views on Adoption.

The Korean War Baby

Pearl S. Buck family 1894

“Pearl Comfort Sydenstricker was born on June 26, 1892, in Hillsboro, West Virginia. Her parents, Absalom and Caroline Sydenstricker, were Southern Presbyterian missionaries, stationed in China. Pearl was the fourth of seven children (and one of only three who would survive to adulthood). She was born when her parents were near the end of a furlough in the United States; when she was three months old, she was taken back to China, where she spent most of the first forty years of her life.”

From childhood, Pearl spoke both English and Chinese. She was taught principally by her mother and by a Chinese tutor, Mr. Kung. In 1900, during the Boxer Uprising, Caroline and the children evacuated to Shanghai, where they spent several anxious months waiting for word of Absalom's fate.

In 1910, Pearl enrolled in Randolph-Macon Woman's College, in Lynchburg, Virginia, from which she graduated in 1914. Although she had intended to remain in the US, she returned to China shortly after graduation when she received word that her mother was gravely ill. In 1915, she met a young Cornell graduate, an agricultural economist named John Lossing Buck. They married in 1917, and immediately moved to Nanhsuchou (Nanxuzhou) in rural Anhwei (Anhui) province. In this impoverished community, Pearl Buck gathered the material that she would later use in The Good Earth and other stories of China.

The Bucks' first child, Carol, was born in 1921; a victim of PKU, she proved to be profoundly retarded. Furthermore, because of a uterine tumor discovered during the delivery, Pearl underwent a hysterectomy. In 1925, she and Lossing adopted a baby girl, Janice. The Buck marriage was unhappy almost from the beginning, but would last for eighteen years.

Pearl had begun to publish stories and essays in the 1920s, in magazines such as Nation, The Chinese Recorder, Asia, and Atlantic Monthly. Her first novel, East Wind, West Wind, was published by the John Day Company in 1930. John Day's publisher, Richard Walsh, would eventually become Pearl's second husband, in 1935, after both received divorces.

In 1931, John Day published Pearl's second novel, The Good Earth. This became the best-selling book of both 1931 and 1932, won the Pulitzer Prize and the Howells Medal in 1935, and would be adapted as a major MGM film in 1937. Other novels and books of non-fiction quickly followed. In 1938, less than a decade after her first book had appeared, Pearl won the Nobel Prize in literature, the first American woman to do so. By the time of her death in 1973, Pearl would publish over seventy books: novels, collections of stories, biography and autobiography, poetry, drama, children's literature, and translations from the Chinese.”

Coming: Part Two

Pearl S. Buck on Adopting across Racial divides!!

Adult Adoptee Blog, Adopted Adult Blog - Adoption is not Doom and Gloom

This is very interesting point of view:
Posted by : Abby in Adoptee Blog at 08:15 pm  

“At times it seems like adoption is all doom and gloom for a whole number of reasons. You will have gloom in adoption just as everything else in this life. But gloom does not fill adoption as some would like others to believe. There are plenty of adoptees that have lived a happy and fulfilled life even with being adopted.

Is Adoption Bad for All?
While there are a few adoptees that are scarred, wounded through adoption, this is not the case for most adoptees. Granted it is easy to wonder what kind of impact adoption will have on an adoptee when there seems to be so much negativity concerning adoption.

I had a conversation awhile back about why there only seemed to be adoptees blogging and speaking out that had great issues with adoption. The question was asked why do people look for things on the internet and the reasons are: the need of information, struggling with issues, looking to make sense of their own adoption, finding others with the same feelings to relate to, etc.. This means there is not necessarily a lot of unhappy adoptees out there but maybe some that struggle with adoption find themselves needing the outlet to write about their feelings.
Most Do NOT think Adoption is Negative
Most adoptees I know do not think adoption is a negative thing or a focus in their lives, which means they are living life. To them adoption is just a part of their lives not the source of their issues or pain, so they do not need to live with adoption as the focus.
My parents did not raise me as being adopted (meaning I was raised just as other children) nor was it the central theme of my childhood. I was raised as any other child that was loved it just happened to be through adoption. I believe with adoptees the main thing should be providing them a loving family and allowing the too become the person they are. My childhood is not fulfilled with thoughts of adoption but normal childhood memories. When I think and remember things from my childhood it is about family times we had together, the holidays we celebrated, and the bonds that grew over the years. When I talk about my life I talk about my children, husband, family, pets, friends, childhood….my life which is not all about adoption.
This is one of my last adoption blogs here so I wanted to leave one last voice that adoption can be an amazing gift and experience when you are blessed with great adoptive parents. Do not believe all the gloom and doom about adoption.
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Adult Adoptee Blog, Adopted Adult Blog - Adoption is not Doom and Gloom
The Korean War Baby acknowledges that in TransRacial adoption there is the obvious situation that the child adoptee “Stands out” because of their not looking like the parents. If you are a Korean Adoptee please send me comments or send an email at koreanwarbaby@gmail.com to give your views on TransRacial Adoption. “Are you a Happy Adoptee?”

August 15, 2009

Korean Liberation Day-Surrender Of Japan

Korean Liberation Day-Surrender of Japan
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

August 15, 1945


Victory over Japan Day (V-J Day, also known as Victory in the Pacific Day, or V-P Day) is a name chosen for the day on which the Surrender of Japan occurred, effectively ending World War II, and subsequent anniversaries of that event. The term has been applied to both the day on which the initial announcement of Japan's surrender was made in the afternoon of August 15, 1945 (August 14 North American date), as well as the date the formal surrender ceremony was performed in Tokyo Bay, aboard the battleship U.S.S. Missouri on September 2, 1945.


Japanese foreign affairs minister Mamoru Shigemitsu signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender on board USS Missouri and General Richard K. Sutherland watches, September 2, 1945.


The surrender of Japan in August 1945 brought World War II to a close. By August 1945, the Imperial Japanese Navy effectively ceased to exist, and an Allied invasion of Japan was imminent. While publicly stating their intent to fight on to the bitter end, Japan's leaders at the Supreme War Council (the "Big Six") were privately making entreaties to the Soviet Union to mediate peace on terms favorable to the Japanese. The Soviets, meanwhile, were preparing to attack the Japanese, in fulfillment of their promise to the Americans and the British made at the Yalta Conference.


On August 6 and 9, the Americans dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, respectively. Also on August 9, the Soviet Union launched a surprise invasion of the Japanese colony in Manchuria (Manchukuo), in violation of the Soviet–Japanese Neutrality Pact. These twin shocks caused Emperor Hirohito to intervene and order the Big Six to accept the terms the Allies had set down for ending the war in the Potsdam Declaration. After several more days of behind-the-scenes negotiations and a failed coup d'état, Hirohito gave a recorded radio address to the nation on August 15. In the radio address, called the Gyokuon-hōsō (Jewel Voice Broadcast), he read the Imperial Rescript on surrender, announcing to the Japanese populace the surrender of Japan.


On August 28, the occupation of Japan by the Supreme Commander of the Allied Powers began. The surrender ceremony was held on September 2 aboard the U.S. battleship Missouri, at which officials from the Japanese government signed the Japanese Instrument of Surrender, officially ending World War II."



This is what August 15 means for Korea, the end of the Japanese rule over Korea as a colony. In Korea they have a National holiday for this event. Most Korean children have little understanding of these events and only get a few facts like a paragraph or two. History is not a big thing over here, sadly.

August 8, 2009

Orphan Movie Details from Spill.com

Well, this horror suspense film has all the usual “Bad Child from Hell” aspects. In the Western countries most will see it as just an entertaining piece of fiction, but what about here in Korea? Could Korean people see it as a really good idea AGAINST Domestic Adoption?

The Korean War Baby would like to hear from Adoptees both in other countries and living in-country right here in Seoul, Republic of Korea (ROK) for your views:

“Will this movie, ‘Orphan’ being released in Seoul this August have an impact on Koreans concerning Adoption?” Send a comment, please.

Orphan Movie Details from Spill.com

August 5, 2009

“Why Won't My Mother Meet Me?"

Post-Search Blues

I continue to sort out my feelings after hearing nothing from the TvN show. Several Korean people have noticed me on the subway and acted like they recognized me, and my hairstylist told me that she had seen it. Now, if only the One who matters most, has seen it, that is what matters. Yet, my real motive in the first place was to be 'recognized' in order to help others, younger adoptees, to sort out their lives. I am concerned about the Domestic Adoptees, our brethren who do don't even know why they have an emptiness in their hearts and spirits. As I got into the search process though I had to face the possibility that I might actually meet 'HER' .

This is from Joe Soll's Adoption Crossroads, a site full of great healing articles. Check out Joe's site and his books on "Adoption Healing: A Path to Recovery" one for Adoptees and the other is for Birth/Natural mothers. We need to understand all parties in "This Thing of Ours-Adoption".
**************************************************

For Adoptees:
Why Won't My Mother Meet Me?"

by Carole Anderson
Copyright 1982 by Concerned United Birthparents, Inc.
2000 Walker Street, Des Moines, IA 50317

Why did your natural mother refuse to meet you? There are probably as many answers as there are natural mothers. From some of my own feelings and those of other natural mothers, though, I do have a few possible themes to suggest
Your natural mother lost a great deal when she surrendered you. She lost the chance to give you all of the love she felt for you, that all mothers feel.
She lost the opportunity to share in the important and the humdrum events of your life. She lost all the joys and problems of raising you, of guiding you from infancy to adulthood.

She may feel guilty that she was not there. She may feel cheated because she was not allowed to be there. Either way, loss is both painful and unnatural.
In addition to the pain of the losses themselves, there is the additional pain of feeling different from other people, outcast from society. Often there is the pain of feeling that the loss was unnecessary and that the separation need not have occurred "if only..." If only her parents had helped her. If only the social worker had told her what adoption would really be like for you and for her. If only society had supported single parenthood at the time you were born. If only she had not believed she was unworthy of you. If only she had had the money to support you. If only she had somehow found a way to keep you. If only she had believed in her own feelings instead of in what others told her would be best for you. The list of "if onlies" is endless.

Knowing you could make her losses more real to her, and thus more painful. She may have worked very hard at denying her feelings, at convincing herself that your adoption was necessary, at telling herself that giving birth does not make a woman a mother, at pretending that she was not a mother and so did not lose anything. She may have denied to herself that it ever happened.

If she has succeeded at numbing herself to the pain by clinging to such beliefs, knowing you would remove the blinders from her eyes, exposing her to the full impact of all the years of loss and pain.

She may have coped with losing you through fantasizing about what might have been. She may see you over and over in her mind just as you were when she last saw you, see herself raising you, see what you would be like at different ages.

If your natural mother has other children, she may be terrified of losing them, too, if she had not told them about you. Many natural mothers were rejected by their children's natural fathers and by their own parents during their pregnancies. If the people she loved and trusted and whom she though would always love and help abandoned her when she most needed them, she may be unable to trust anyone now. She may regard all relationships as fragile, and fear that she will be abandoned again if she disappoints the people who are now important to her. Having already suffered the pain of losing one child, the fear of losing her other children and suffering that same pain again may overwhelm her. She may also fear losing you a second time around, if you want to see her only once. Many natural mothers have internalized others' rejection of them and believe they are unlovable. Not loving or respecting herself, she cannot believe that others could care about her if they really knew her.

Suspecting that adoptees who search will ask about their fathers after they have satisfied their curiosity about their mothers, her rejection may be tied to her feelings about your natural father. If she love him, accepting you could mean reopening the deep wounds she suffered in being rejected by him. IF she did not love him, she may dread having to admit that fact to you. She may not want to explain her relationship with your natural father or her feelings about it, and fear that you will reject her if she does not answer your questions about him. She may fear that you would prefer him to her and she could not bear to lose you to the very person whose abandonment made your surrender unavoidable. She may believe that your natural father is a terrible person and feel shame at having had a relation with him, fear that you hat her if you knew him. She may fear that you would be upset or would think less of her or of yourself if you knew him.

Mothers want their children to be happy, but they also want to feel needed and important to their children. They want to be the ones who make their children happy. Generally, a mother's needs and her child's compliment each other, so that both are satisfied by her raising her child, with each needing and receiving the other's love. The special situation of adoption, though, assures that the natural mother cannot win. If she believes your adoption was the best for you, she may feel worthless or useless as a mother because you did not need her. If your adoption was not the best, she may feel guilty that she did not protect you from whatever happened and she may therefore feel she failed as a mother and as a woman.

Your natural mother's image of herself as a mother, a woman, and a human being may be at stake. If she has internalized society's judgments that "nice girls don't" or that only an "unnatural woman" could surrender her child or that "any animal can give birth but that doesn't make her a mother", it will be difficult for her to acknowledge to herself that it is she who is that bad girl, the unnatural woman, or only an animal in society's eyes.

Subconsciously, some mothers feel that their babies abandoned them. Mothers were often repeatedly told that their babies needed or wanted more than they could give them, and that surrender was necessary for the child. Many mothers were told that to keep their children would be selfish, that they had no right to satisfy their need to love and nurture by raising their children, because the children deserve and need more. Other people spoke for you, telling your natural mother you wanted more than she could give. To your natural mother, this may have been experience deep within as a rejection by you, as her baby's deserting her for other people. Even though she knows on an intellectual level that this feeling is not rational and she may feel guilty for it, on an emotional level what she feels may be that, although she needed and wanted her child, her child was not there for her.

Closely related are the problems of competition and sacrifice. Just as she may have felt that she was in competition with unknown couples for the right to raise you, a contest in which she was the loser, she was also placed in the position of being in competition with you. She may have been told that it was her life or yours, her needs or yours. Because you were not aided as a family but instead treated as individuals whose needs were in conflict, she may have felt that she was choosing between her own happiness and yours.

If she wanted to raise you but believed that your surrender was necessary for you happiness, she may feel that she has sacrificed her life for yours, her happiness for yours. All people want happiness, everyone wants her own needs to be met, and there is usually anger toward injustice. She, however, cannot allow herself to feel or express her anger and resentment, because it was your natural mother herself who decided that you were more important and mattered more than she did, she herself who chose your needs above her own.

If that choice was made by others such as her parents or by her situation instead of by your natural mother, there may be even more anger. There can be tremendous guilt involved for feeling anger, because we have been taught that parents gladly sacrifice for their children. Her anger may therefore be threatening to her, for what kind of person can she be that she could feel anger toward her child?

Yet other parents, other people, do not make sacrifices of this magnitude. What society usually calls parental sacrifice is really more like an investment or a trade-off of some current comfort in exchange for other regards. To give up a full night's sleep in order to tend a sick child carries with it the benefits of holding and comforting that child, feeling necessary to the child, receiving the child's love and gaining society's approval. What most parents think of as sacrifices are small and temporary inconveniences for which they receive personal satisfaction, the child's loyalty and affection and societal sanctions. The sacrifice of a natural mother's life for her child's in unique.

Rather than compensations, the sacrifice is generally answered with guilt, pain and emptiness. Society's reaction is most often condemnation rather than approval. The natural mother's sacrifice is unnatural, unrecognized and unrewarded.
Some natural mothers felt less than human during the pregnancy and surrender experience, and may have felt they were regarded as subhuman by society. Just as infants have a need to be nurtured, so every mother has a need to give nurture to her child. You were placed with people who could meet your infant need for nurture, but your natural mother was given no substitute for you. Her need to nurture was not met.

Understandably, many adoptees explain that their adoptive parents are their only real parents and they love them dearly, but that they searched to gain information about themselves. Newspapers are full of articles about adoptees saying that they are not looking for a mother, but for themselves or their own identity.

Your natural mother may feel she is again being reduced to a data bank. Just as she once surrendered you to others while her own needs went unmet, she may feel she is now being asked for information but that again her feelings and needs will be ignored. She may feel she has given everything without receiving anything in return, and will be reluctant to give still more if she fears that you too, will take what you want from her and then abandon her with no thought for her needs.

Even if she is able to struggle through the many pains and losses that have already occurred, your natural mother may fear that there are more to come if she accepts you now. It may hurt her terribly that she could not mother you.
Opening her heart to you would make your natural mother vulnerable to a later rejection by you. If she welcomed you as the beloved daughter or son she lost, how would she feel at being only a friend or acquaintance to you? To what extent would you accept her? Would she be asked to your graduation or wedding? Would you want to spend Christmas or Passover with her? Would you regard her as the grandmother of your children, including her in events in their lives? Or would you want to see her on rare and secret occasions, carefully hiding the relationship from others? She may feel that not only have adoptive parents taken her place in your life as a child and in raising you, but that by accepting you now she would lose you again, this time by inches, by being relegated to a lowly and insignificant place in your life, if she were included at all.

As an adult, you are unlikely to want your natural mother to be the mother she may, on some level, still want to be. Your image of motherhood will always be that of your adoptive mother, not your natural mother. You cannot relate to your natural mother in the same way you would have if she had raised you, nor can she relate to you in the same way. Neither of you are the people you would be if she had raised you. Although the similarities you are likely to share would make her keenly aware that you are her child, the differences resulting from your growing up in your adoptive home would make her painfully aware of the distance between you as well.
Because meeting you requires facing all her feelings about your surrender and loss, it may also challenge your natural mother's beliefs about the value and meaning of life, the importance of family ties, religion and other basic concepts on which she has built her life. Many people want to believe that the world is fair, that everything comes out even, that people get what they deserve out of life. Adoption issues do not fit into such tidy categories.

If the world is fair, what has she done that is so terrible she deserve such pain? If life is equal why did other people who expressed their sexuality before marriage pay not price for it? If this is justice why did her subsequent children have to grow up in an incomplete family, without their brother or sister. IF families are of primary importance and should be kept together why was her family separated? How could her church have told her God wanted her child to be adopted or that God created her child for other parents? How could a loving God want this pain for her? If she allows herself to acknowledge her experience, how can she reconcile it with what she believes about life? If the foundations on which she has build her life do not match her experience, it will be difficult for her to face her feelings and risk losing those foundations. Facing you may mean reconstructing her entire view of life, rethinking all of her values.

The issues a natural mother must face before she can accept her adult child are not simple ones, nor are they obvious to her. Often there are conflicts between what she thinks and what she feels or between her feelings and those of the people around her. Few natural mothers were told to expect these problems or prepared to deal with them. Since little or no hope of a future reunion was offered to surrendering mothers, there was little motivation for attempting to deal with them. Many were told that they would be abnormal if they did not forget about their children, that they should go on with their lives as if they had never had their children.

Most natural mothers, despite the enormity of these issues, do face most of them in the years following surrender. Most people cannot sustain the fantasy that their loss was a nightmare and not a reality. Most people find the strength to face the truth of their own lives, but growth can be a slow and painful process with uneven progress characterized by temporary regression back to suppressed feelings.
To some people, it might seem pointless to attempt reunions when so much pain, conflict and confusion seem to be involved.

Reunion, though, does not cause these difficulties. Their source is the natural mother's unnatural separation from her child. The feelings already exist, and leaving them buried beneath denials and fantasies cannot resolve or eliminate them. However painful the separation experience may be, it is her experience, her life. Attempting to suppress the most profound experience of her life separates the natural mother from herself as well as from her child and is not healthy for anyone. It requires that much emotional energy be spent on denying or numbing feelings, limiting emotional growth in all areas.

Your natural mother's fear and dread are evidence of the intensity of her feelings for you. If she had no feeling for you, you would be no more frightening to her than a store clerk or a stranger asking for directions.

What she feels may be an overwhelmingly intense but undifferentiated fear and she herself may not understand the reasons for it. Her reasons are her deepest emotions, hidden under so may layers of intellect, rationaliztion and denial that she is unaware of them. She may try to give sensible reasons why she cannot see, understand or articulate the real reasons without much self analysis.

You are offering the opportunity for your natural mother to grow by facing herself and becoming reconciled with her feelings about herself. You are offering the gift of knowing the person her surrendered child has become. These are enormous gifts and you should be proud for offering them to her.

In order to accept them, though, your natural mother must climb a painfully steep and rocky path through her many feelings about your surrender before she can move forward to reconciliation. Her ability to walk a part of that path or all of it is not a reflection on you or on your worth or on your importance to her but on how well she herself can deal with the fears and pains that your loss and society's attitudes about the surrender have caused her. With time and support your natural mother may grow to accept the gifts you offer.

by Carole Anderson
Copyright 1982 by Concerned United Birthparents, Inc.
2000 Walker Street, Des Moines, IA 50317

August 3, 2009

Post Search Blues

Huangshan, China (YELLOW MOUNTAIN/LANDSCAPE)Stairway to the peak-Image by Chi King via Flickr

The Conference for GOA'L "Crossing Borders" has finished. I was invited to speak at the session on Post Search Panel. One speaker from Germany, a young woman of 25, reported that she had not really been thinking of searching. She reflects some adoptees who do not feel a strong need at a certain time to search for Birth Family. Many adoptees also may feel this way. My friend Frank waited until both his Adoptive Parents had passed away before he begain his search.

The third adoptee, from France or Belgium, sorry I don't remember but he is a great photographer, related in his words a funny ending. "Funny" was not the best word but perhaps his way of dealing with it. Seems the search turned up three women with the same name. The one who might have been most likely to be his mother, due to age, strongly DENIED that she had given up a child for adoption. We just don't know if she is really NOT or doesn't want to reveal the truth. We have to understand that many Birth Mothers may NOT want to make contact in Korea.

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/opinon/2009/07/137_48629.html

"...Since 1953, South Korea has sent over 160,000 Korean children abroad to 14 Western countries. It is the oldest and largest adoption program in the world, despite South Korea's economic miracle.

Reunion with birth families is a primary reason for adoptees to return to South Korea. From 1995-2005, the ministry reported that 78,000 adoptees came to South Korea to search for their families. Yet only 2.7 percent were reunited."

I think the 2.7 percent or 2,100 plus is very low. Please read the rest of the article.*

Sebastian, moderator and GOA'L staff of the Birth Family Search section, also gave his reasons for not searching. Sebastian's Adoptive family includes three siblings also adopted, also told of how he did not want to search because if he DID find HIS parents he would feel guilty. This I can understand as well, and I admire his attitude in sacrificing or at least putting off his own search. All for one, one for all.


I had a chance to speak, probably too much as usual, giving my history, how long I have been in Korea. I related the newspaper and magazine articles that I had done only after one year in Korea. I too was not eager to search, for reasons I really don't know for sure. It just was not that strong for me, even after seeing the logbook in the museum at Holt Ilsan compound. I got my story in print but never really WANTED or expected any results.


Only in the past seven months have I really considered, "What if SHE responds? Then what?" This made me think over all the possibilities and ponder all sorts of things. I think the most important was the whole process helped me examine myself. That is good for the soul, but also nerve wracking and as some have said, "an emotional rollercoaster".


Well, I got the Post-Search Blues, don't know what to do...Feeling kind of down, waiting for a call that may never come. Yeah, expectations fade away, the post search is very difficult to go through. Now my hope has faded, coming back down to reality...the mind wonders, what was all that about? I must move on, yet as I told the twenty people in our session, "Don't give up, search when you are ready, look at other folks experiences online, examine yourself, most of all don't loose sight of yourself." I reminded everyone that Numero Uno is still the main person we have to focus on.


In some ways even this Goal Conference, which focused on Searching, was perfect timing for my life.

Oh, I had a chance to meet with some of the group of "First Trip Home", 40 adoptees from European countries and the USA. GOA'L is sponsoring them first to the Conference then to various tourist sites, then to the Adoption Agency that they were processed through. They are being guided through the pitfalls and general things to know about Search and Reunions. They will appear on the TV show "The Person I am Longing For". (I think they gave up one me! Which I can understand because every week adoptees are coming back to visit and many look into finding out more information from the Adoption Agencies.

Some have said that Holt and other adoption agencies never expected adoptees to return, but Molly Holt told me and the audience that Harry Holt always said that keeping records was very important for that very reason. In the mid-70's all the records were sent to Eugene, Ore. USA for safe keeping. I can personally testify to this as when I went to the 1990 Holt Heritage Camp I was given copies of myself and my sister Lorelei. They even had negatives of the photos. So anyone born prior to that period DOES have the records in USA, not in Holt Korea. There are facts on both side that need to be learned by all. More on this later.

I will soon post some other historical facts that seem to escape some who blame Holt for 'evil inter-country adoptions'. It has to do with Western versus Eastern minds think about many things. Bet you won't believe it, so I will wait for link to newspaper articles to confirm one of the reasons people should lay off the Holt FAMILY, once and for all.

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August 2, 2009

Crossing Borders-GOA'L Annual Conference

We just finished the conference for GOA'L (Global Overseas Adoptee's Link). Please check our site here:

http://www.goal.or.kr/eng/?slms=for&lsms=2&sl=5&ls=4

GOA'L was created by adoptees who wanted to find a way to help other adoptees who were coming to visit our homeland, find places to stay, work, etc. Ami Nafzger was the founder and you can read about her

At GOA'L homepage:

http://www.goal.or.kr/eng/?slms=info&lsms=1&sl=1&ls=1

Anyway, had a great time, spoke to a huge crowd of 25 adoptees on a panel discussion of Adoptees who had "Unsuccessful, incomplete, no response, on Searching for Birth family" and even why some do NOT want to search. I hope that the media team that video taped our session sends me their edited file. (Hope I know how to do that soon-hahaha)

I will post more on the conference later tonight.

SPECIAL THANKS TO GOA'L STAFF WHO WORKED SO HARD!!! They have also been for the last week handling a group for "First Trip Home" sponsored by GOA'L, a BIrth Family Search Tour to Korea for Overseas Korean Adoptees. They must be very tired. Thanks to all of your for your help.

This post will be updated in 12 hours. (For all six of my readers)

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