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.


December 7, 2009

Every Marine is a Rifleman



The Marine Corps Silent Drill Team








Every Marine is a Rifleman

 
United States Rifle, Caliber 7.62mm, M14

"My Rifle: The Creed of a United States Marine."

"This is my rifle.  There are many like it, but this one is mine.  It is my life.  I must master it as I must master my life.  Without me my rifle is useless.  Without my rifle, I am useless.

        I must fire my rifle true.  I must shoot straighter than the enemy who is trying to kill me.  I must shoot him before he shoots me.  I will.  My rifle and I know that what counts in war is not the rounds we fire, the noise of our burst, or the smoke we make.  We know that it is the hits that count.  We will hit.


      My rifle is human, even as I am human, because it is my life.  Thus, I will learn it as a brother.  I will learn its weaknesses, its strengths, its parts, its accessories, its sights and its barrel.  I will keep my rifle clean and ready, even as I am clean and ready.  We will become part of each other.

      Before God I swear this creed.  My rifle and I are the defenders of my country.  We are the masters of our enemy. 
We are the saviors of my life.
      So be it, until victory is America's and there is no enemy."



“Get Up Off Yer Ass, Private Bell!!!”

Platoon 3084 was marching at ‘quick step’ up the hills of Camp Pendleton, towards Edson Range. My former 'Recon Marine' Drill Instructor SSgt. Moyer was passing by with his slightly evil grin that made most of my fellow recruits be on total guard. SSgt. Moyer was of the ‘old Corps,’ who thought it best to inspire us ‘wannabe’ Marines with his boots, fists, rifle butt, clipboard, or whatever was handy at the moment. He was most adept at using a ‘finger in the pit of the throat’, and various other Oriental techniques striking pressure points with lightning speed and painful but only temporary paralyzing effects.

SSgt. Moyer looked up at the ‘slight hill’ ahead and growled out, “PlaaaaTooooon…Double Time….MARCH”.  We all knew that the most sadistic of our D.I. always looked for a chance to run, not walk. On the command ‘March!’ we broke into a run, jostling and bumping into the recruit in front and behind until we got strung out. As one of the shorter recruits in 1st squad, I was one of the last.

The recruit behind me elbowed me aside roughly unexpectedly and sent me rolling down a small gully. I clutched my M-14 rifle to my chest and tumbled head over heels. Somehow I ended up on my back, my pack wedged tightly in the crook of a very small tree. I struggled to get up but was unable move. I looked up and saw my Platoon Commander SSgt. McAllister passing by on the road, several yards up.

I shouted as loud as I could, “Sir, Private Bell, requests permission to speak to the Platoon Commander…Sir!!” Well, you can imagine the surprised look on his face to hear a voice calling from below the dirt road. He stood looking down curiously, recognized me then a look of puzzlement crossed his face. “Private Bell…what the hell are you doing down there?

Sir, The Private is stuck,” I shouted back, my legs and arms flailing about like a tortoise on its back. SSgt. McAllister made his way down to me and analyzed my situation. “Stop moving Private...How did you get in this here predicament?” Before I could answer he grabbed the shoulder straps of my backpack and jerked me free. I landed on my back and lay there panting to catch my breath still clutching my rifle.

Is your rifle okay, Private?” Grabbing my M-14 he examined it to see if my front or rear sights were damaged. “Yes, Sir. Platoon Commander. I…the Private’s weapon is okay. Sir.Satisfied that it was okay, he then looked down, surprised to see me still laying on my back. Scowling, he barked at me:

Well…Get up off yer ass, Private Bell! You DO want to qualify today, don’t you?” The Platoon Commander was having trouble to keep a straight face and not break out laughing. I took back my “United States Rifle, caliber 7.62 mm, M-14”, and clamored up the ravine  and ran like hell to catch up with my platoon. I did qualify that day, earning the Sharpshooter badge and just one point from Expert Rifleman. I liked the ‘Iron Cross’ of a Sharpshooter better anyway.

The Platoon Commander made a point of calling me out, in front of the platoon, informing them that ‘little Private Bell’ had qualified as a Sharpshooter. From then on, he would call me out as “Private ‘SharpshooterBELL” and I felt extremely proud. We all knew that ‘almost every swinging d#*k’ of our series were going to the ‘Nam. About 90% of us wound up there, the last series consisting of four platoons to go as a group.

A Marine must be first of all a Rifleman and in our platoon almost everyone qualified as Marksman, Sharpshooter, or Expert Rifleman. It is one of our creeds that every Marine is able to rely on his fellow Marine to shoot any weapon in our arsenal or the enemy’s. The United States Marines are one of the elite fighting forces of the world, because “every Marine a Rifleman” is more than a simple motto it is a fact.

Semper Fidelis, Always Faithful!
 







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