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.


September 2, 2009

“Home After Marine Boot Camp Training”



WARNING…THIS Post WILL Offend most decent people, PLEASE Remember that the author of this Blog was or rather IS a UNITED STATES MARINE, who must be given some major leeway, since Marines are by ‘design and training’ turned into the finest, craziest, pumped-up on adrenalin, PROUD, S.O.B’s that ever graced America’s fighting forces. “The FEW. The PROUD. The MARINES!” Please forgive me.




http://www.youtube.com/watch?gl=US&v=BzccgMy0P6s (Hey this is what it means to ‘embed’):





Donald comes home after 4 months of U.S. Marine training!
“I had just sat down to a typical Sunday afternoon meal with my Adoptive Parents (hereafter referred to as Mom and Dad). My sister Lorelei was still at home, it would be a couple of years before I secretly helped her to elope with…yes, a Marine. My adopted brother David, born of a Thailand woman studying for her Ph. D and a French Foreign Exchange student, was about six years old. Dinner was Southern Fried Steak, mashed potatoes (sp?) and gravy, creamed yellow corn, a salad on the side, Apple pie for dessert…after four months plus at Marine Boot Camp and Infantry Training Regiment combined, I WAS READY for a home cooked meal!!



I had taken off my Marine Dress Green uniform with the National Defense Medal above my left breast pocket. Dangling beneath, was the ‘iron cross’ of a Sharpshooter Rifleman’s badge, though I had earned the ‘Expert Badge’ I preferred the look of the Iron Cross with USMC Emblem. On my sleeve was the single stripe of PFC, Private First Class. No other badges, name tags, ornaments or ropes, or unit patches are worn by Marines. Simplicity.




image


I was getting something from the kitchen cabinet for the dining table, just on the other side of the room, when I looked out the window and saw THEM. ‘Them’ were two middle-school boys walking NOT on the sidewalk in front of our suburban middle-class home, BUT ON the manicured lawn. THE lawn that must be watered daily, weeded of pesky milkweed and other foreign plant elements that were NOT DICONDRA, Mom’s grass of choice. Now let me tell you about Dicondra. MY MOM’s grass cover, “dense high quality ground cover with low growth, beautiful color Dicondra” (This here is military jargon/slang way of cataloguing ‘Everything that is necessary’. It is then ‘ISSUED’ to your Marine. If it is not important, it will not be issued. period).

Dicondra

Dicondra is a dense high quality ground cover, but not a true lawn grass. Dicondra is low growing with with beautiful color. Dicondra is a warm season plant with oval shaped leaves. Used for low maintenance and erosion control areas. Can be mowed.


Dichondra is best adapted for cool coastal conditions. It will grow in partial shade, but does best in full sun. Because dichondra does not tolerate heavy traffic, it is better adapted for smaller areas rather than large lawns or where mowing is difficult. Broadleaf weed invasions are common and can be difficult to manage. I am NOT making this UP! I toiled everyday after school on this lawn, pulling out sticky, stinking milkweed; other grasses that would dare to try growing; watered BY Hand so that it was not Under-watered nor Over-watered. I had Time, energy, sweat, etc invested in This Dicondra lawn cover, dense high quality, low growing, beautiful color, with oval-shaped leaves.


Dichondra does not tolerate heavy traffic and there, right before my eyes, ‘THEM’ two middle-school boys were treading, kicking and tromping upon my Mom’s “dicondra-ground cover, oval shaped Tender leaves that does not tolerate heavy traffic”, WITH NO respect!! Without thinking, acting instantaneously at this most grievous insult, I pulled open the sliding window and let loose.

“Hey!!! Get yer F*#kin’ Asses OFF the Grass!!!” I then bolted out of the front door and continued to rave like a madman at these two from our front porch, at them, two now terrified middle-school thugs who had dared damage MY MOM’s Dicondra (etc, etc.). “What the F*#Kin’ HELL you think you are DOING?! Are you Morons? Use imagethe GOD DAMN sidewalk, or I’ll break your legs!! Move it!!” My face must have been contorted into a demoniac rage or certainly Linda Blair lookalike but I still felt absolutely RIGHT about my explosion of displeasure at the outrage done by these two hooligans. I instantly composed myself and calmly walked back into the kitchen and sat down like nothing untoward had occurred.




Dad, Lorelei, and David sat in stunned silence…Oddly, Mom had a slight smirk on her face, which my sister can attest could drive one batty. Mom looked at Dad and remarked quite calmly, considering my actions, “Well! Donald is a Marine now. Honey, why don’t you say grace.” With nothing more said, we bowed our heads, I at the position of attention of course- shoulders back, head bowed at 45 degree angle. Dad spoke nonchalantly, “Let’s bow our heads…Heavenly Father, we thank you for this meal which you have provided….



Instead of my Dad’s words I could hear vividly, the Marine Drill Instructor on the first ‘breakfast,morning meal’, after arrival at San Diego Recruit Depot in the wee hours of the morning.


“Ladies! Listen up! You WILL bow your heads before eating your meals. There will be no F*#king Atheists in MY Marine Corps!! I don’t care if you pray to Jesus Christ, Mohammed, Buddha, or your God Damn Aunt Sally…YOU WILL Bow your heads and Silently ask imageSOMEONE to bless your F*#King FOOD. Do you maggots understand me?”
A chorus came from the 95 in my training platoon #3086, (only 35 of these finished the 13 grueling weeks to Graduation Day).
Sir, yes Sir!”
“WHAT?!! I CAN’T HEAR YOU!!!”
SIR! YES, SIR!!”





Hmmm…Lightning had not struck me, Mom and Dad did not freak out. I was no longer a boy, I was a *#@!!! United States Marine.

1 comment:

  1. I love it! It made me smile and laugh at the same time! And I am kind of partial to Marines and oh the stories...my husband was in 10 yrs..got out after Iraq War when I was pregnant. Thanks!

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