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.

September 21, 2009

Facebook Friends-Robert Johnson, UK

Robert Johnson

Networking on FaceBook is amazing as it has led me to people all over the panorama of “This Thing of Ours-Adoption”. In keeping with my goal of listening to ALL voices I present my first GUEST POST, Pastor Robert Johnson who is from the UK and presents some of the ‘darker side of Adoption’. A man of God who experienced ‘an adoption gone 'disastrously wrong’ he shares this tragic story on FaceBook.

Robert Johnson September 14, 2009

My name is Robert Johnson and I live in Selby in the UK.
I run a group on Facebook called the Anti Adoption Alliance, which is a social group for all people, young or old, who have been affected in a negative fashion by the terror that is known as adoption.

The aim of this cause/group is to raise awareness of the issues, share stories, assist where families are torn apart by Social Services [otherwise known as the SS] and to bring people together under one umbrella and to formulate change in Government policy regarding adoption at all costs.

Robert Johnson

Robert Johnson as a cute toddler.

It is something that came about because of our story of an adoption that went disastrously wrong. (In the UK) 33% of them end in disaster and as a result, we were left childless, accused of being bad parents by people who did not take the time to get to know us and left to rot in jobs that are below our station in life.

I was a teacher of English, still am really, but can I find work because of what happened to us? No. Any prospective employer takes one look at the government paperwork on me and thinks otherwise; even though there is absolutely no proof anything ever happened.

Visit our little, growing group. And when I have finished with the website, please join there too. You will find our story on the Facebook group, but here are two links to let you know why adoption is wrong at all costs.”

”I am now going on record as saying I adopted two children, but completely disagree with the idea and notion of adoption in every single way nowadays. I used to think ‘free the child/baby but now, I would sooner someone have an abortion if they are not ready to be a parent, for that is the single most difficult ‘job’ in the entire world and those that are successful at it, you have my blessing and admiration.”

God bless you all.
Robert Johnson

The Korean War Baby comments:

In reading Pastor Johnson’s story I realized that yes, indeed there are many stories in “This Thing of Ours-Adoption”. The two adopted children a boy and a girl, were taken from them by the Social Services of UK, based on some accusations that you will have to look into on Robert’s FB to understand.

Painful stories and wonderful stories, all are valid and represent the wide array of the human drama of adoption. One must hear from every part of the spectrum, every story is intense, complex, of merit, the good, the bad, beautiful and ugly. What is truly amazing is how Robert Johnson has helped so many find peace through their own difficult experiences. Ask to become his friend on FaceBook to find out more.

The challenge for us all is to find the Best solutions, using wisdom gained from hearing ALL the stories. “Adoption is wrong at all costs” is a cry to be understood…yet to be also compared to others, those who see their adoption as ‘good’ for them. Does one outweigh the other? NO, but lessons must be learned to try to eliminate the wrongs, do the right things for all involved.

Next: The next GUEST POST will be from ALLIE, a Late Discovery Adoptee, who despite incredible pressures in life, works as a child advocate in court.

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1 comment:

  1. It is amazing to me, how nearly 5 years later after being asked to send this information, both ideas pertaining to adoption and my own sense of easing of pain has differed over time.

    I read these words with interest now, more on a historical bent than anything else, because I saw this blog advertised on facebook once again and wondered if brother Don had still got it posted. And I realise now the pain that I was still enduring because of the adoption breakdown. It has taken me ten years to get over it and the intervention of Facebook in the relocation of my little family back to something of what it was before.

    I made some very strong statements before which I know now, were too strong. For about 5 or 6 years, I was completely anti-adoption. In a way, I still am, but I see, like Don, the need for it at times and where it works, I say God bless. I also recognize that the figures I have mentioned earlier have increased here in the UK. Now, it is 40 percent that fail, where a young one over 3 is adopted. And the numbers are rising each year.

    Adoption - I always was led to believe it was the final option in someone's desire to be a father or mother, but nowadays, there is a growing sense of people saying that they neither want children, or want to get married [usually with a "thank you very much" after it] which in itself is making for more single people. Where this does not lead to unwanted pregnancy, I applaud people who make a conscious decision, as we did years ago, to not have children. But the desire in the heart over rules the logic of the head at times, so I worry for this modern trend and what it might mean to adoption per se.

    Don, thanks for keeping this up - it is a timely reminder that all views change over time and also is a view of how much I have grown with the Lord's help [and all my FB chums too - love you all] over the years since it was posted.

    As I prepare today to preach the gospel at a Mother's Day service tomorrow morning, may I understand more of how desire and logic can be used as a parent and may God bless all mothers, adoptive and those who gave birth to our loved ones, wherever they are in the world.

    Rob Johnson