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.


October 29, 2009

BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China rescues kidnapped children

China rescues kidnapped children

Screen grab of "Babies Looking for Home" website
Some of the rescued children were kidnapped years ago.
BBC NEWS | Asia-Pacific | China rescues kidnapped children 
 
“Police in China say they have recovered more than 2,000 children in a six-month campaign against human trafficking.
 
The ministry of public security has set up a website with pictures of some of those kidnapped, in the hope of returning them to their families. 

The ministry website has pictures of 60 children, ranging from babies to young adults, who were kidnapped from their families. 

Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of children go missing in China each year.
Criminal gangs steal the children and sell them to childless couples.
In China's patriarchal society, baby boys are especially prized, sometimes selling for as much as $6,000 (£3,670), says the BBC's Quentin Sommerville in Beijing.
Girls are sometimes sold for just $500 (£305), he says.

Children of poor farmers or migrant workers are often targeted. The parents of such children have complained in the past of official indifference to their plight.
Human trafficking is seen as a growing problem in China.

There have been several high-profile cases of abducted children being rescued from mines and brick kilns.

Increased wealth and freedom of movement in China have made human trafficking both more profitable and easier, analysts say.

Beijing has promised to do more. A national DNA database was set up this year to help trace missing children.”
 
The Korean War Baby reads this and other reports with alarm and hatred for those who are involved. It must be stopped by the authorities of each country and that is why all “Sending and Receiving” countries MUST implement the Hague Convention of on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction (Hague...Child Abduction).

It must also be noted that most of the stealing and trade is WITHIN China. Perhaps some are being processed for InterCountry Adoption BUT in this article and others. In Jan. of 2009 this took place:
 
China busts Baby Sale Gang Jan. 2009
“One official estimate by the US government said between 10,000 and 20,000 people are trafficked within China every year, and that the vast majority are women and children.
The problem is exacerbated by strict birth control policies, which limit many couples to only one child.
Some families want a boy - one of the children seized in Yueyang was abandoned when she was found to be a girl, the Beijing News said.
Families may also buy trafficked women and children to use as extra labour and household servants.”
Diane Wei Lang, an author who has documented some of these stories, spoke on BBC just today. She says that the story has taken years for the government to take action.
The Korean War Baby condemns this practice absolutely. Yet…can one then claim that “all adoptions from China were abducted children?” This does NOT seem to be the case, when you examine the facts. Boys are rarely adopted OUTSIDE China, with some figures claiming 80% or more are female girls for ICA.

Do you have any links on this subject? Send them to the KWB, help stamp out this horror! What are the facts on Korea? The KWB urges the government of Korea to move forward on the process of signing the major Hague Conventions on these issues.



Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

1 comment:

Skype