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 14, 2009

Korean Single Women Key Factor for Low Birthrate!

Korean Times: Single women to Blame for Low Birthrate
By Yoon Ja-young
Staff Reporter
The surging numbers of single women are the key factor behind the country's low birthrate, research showed Sunday.
The Statistical Research Institute reported that one out of five females aged between 30 and 34 were single as of 2005, compared with one in 10 in 2000.

Korea suffers the lowest birthrate ― 1.19 children per woman ― among OECD member countries. It suggested that more families are settling for only one child, and preference for boys also seems to be decreasing.
Before, many families with three children had two daughters first and later a son in the wake of pressure for a male heir to continue the family name. Among mothers with more than two children and aged between 45 and 49, 48.9 percent had a son after having two daughters.
In the age bracket between 25 and 29, however, only 21.6 percent did so. The birthrate was especially low in mega cities and metropolitan areas. Gangnam in southern Seoul and a central district in Busan had the lowest in the country.
The ratio of females remaining single was high in these regions, and married women there had only a small number of children.

The Korean War Baby notes that Korean Single women are getting blamed for staying single too long, then not having enough children. Now they are blamed for the Low Birthrate. The Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs has for several years reversed Slogans to push for 2 children rather than only 1 because of the fear that population is dropping and the ‘over 60’ age group is increasing. I guess the PPFK Planned Population Federation of Korea has done TOO WELL in controlling the Population!
Diverse Women for Diverse Society Looks at how women have seen changes. “It's interesting to see women taking more diverse roles in the largely uniform society that Korea is. The low birth rate may mean something. The National Statistical Office recently announced that the birthrate in Korea stood at 1.26 last year, a large decrease from the 1970s when the birthrate stood at 4.53. Perhaps this is in line with the increase in alpha girls or that we are seeing more ``worldy women,'' as Mark Penn identified in his book ``Micro Trends.''
Single Women Numbers Increase The population of unmarried women in their 20s and 30s has grown rapidly in Korea, a government report showed Sunday, underpinning concerns that delaying marriage is contributing to the country's declining birthrate.
The Korean War Baby comments:
Women are finally getting more freedom, well, surprise, shock and awe! They don’t want to get married too soon; they don’t want to ‘work on the farm’ so Korean farmers have to ‘import foreign wives’; they don’t want more than one child.
Don’t be surprised if the government comes up with ‘only two Abortions per single women’ law, or ‘forced marriages’. SAY! Here’s a good idea, make dead-beat “bio-Dads” take responsibility and Marry when they ‘knock up a young woman’.  They could also make revisions to loosen up the Adultery laws, just say yes to give birth.
Where is the Balance? What’s the answer? As you can see sometimes solutions produce new problems. The campaign to “Walk RIGHT” is now being launched in all schools, with the reasons given for the changes. The KWB sees very few actually following, or even aware of the CHANGE. In the mean time Korean Society is caught up in a dilemma, hopefully the Balance will be found…stay tuned.
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