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 25, 2009

States That Allow Access To Original Birth Certificates - Search & Reunion E-Magazine. 2010

Korean War Baby Blog
Korean War Memorial, Washington D.C.
Search or Not?

To Search or not to search that is sometimes a question for Adoptees as they get older. As an Old Guy Adoptee from the earliest wave of Korean adoptees, the Korean War Baby experienced this year the question of searching for natural/birth/1st mother-father-family, etc.

Reflections Dec. 2009

Especially during the teenage years we begin to realize that we aren’t “White”. All Trans-Racial/Cultural adoptees (Adopted across Race and Culture lines) face these issues. Adoptive parents are learning better ways to deal with the issues than in the past. More information is available from Adoption Specialists, studies, blogs, books, articles, and the Internet.

‘Bad Hair Day’ after blogging!

This Thing of Ours-Adoption, includes many people and each have their own stories. The Korean War Baby urges all to listen to each other’s views with respect to find a balance to finding solutions. By hearing each other perhaps better understanding will lead to the best for all involved. is an excellent source of information, forums, viewpoints, etc. Join and browse this Hub and other websites to know all sides of This Thing of Ours-Adoption. No matter where or who you, this website is full of many different views.

States That Allow Access To Original Birth Certificates - Search & Reunion E-Magazine. 2010 Adoption
"States That Allow Access To Original Birth Certificates
A brand new year is here. It is a time to re-evaluate the previous year and look forward to a new one. January is about new beginnings and taking the next few steps to accomplishing your goals and becoming who you want to be. The new year is a fresh start-one that holds ample opportunity for learning, growth, and achievement.

The new year is also a great time to begin your search and reunion journey or revamp your previous search efforts. One place to start is obtaining your original birth certificate. This can be a little tricky because each state has different law, regulations, and guidelines pertaining to accessing original birth certificates or birth records.

Here is a basic outline of laws and regulations:
There are five areas in the United States that will grant permission of original birth certificates at the request of an adult adoptee: Oregon, the Virgin Islands, Maine, Alabama, and Alaska. If you were born in any one of these areas, just put in your formal request, and you shouldn't have too many problems.
Many more states will allow the adoptee to request and obtain records, unless one of the birth parents has denied releasing the information through a formal affidavit. Here are the specifics:
  • Delaware and Montana (for adoptions finalized on or after 10/1/1997)
  • Maryland (for adoptions finalized on or after 1/1/2000)
  • Minnesota (for adoptions finalized on or after 8/1/1997)
  • Nebraska (for adoptions finalized on or after 7/20/2002)
  • Ohio and Oklahoma (for adoptions finalized on or after 11/1/1997, but only when all birth siblings, who have been adopted, are 18 years old or older)
  • Washington (for adoptions finalized on or after 10/1/1993)
The following states will allow access to original birth certificates if consent from the birth parents is on file:
  • Colorado (effective 1/1/2006)
  • Nebraska (for adoptions finalized on or after 9/1/1998)
  • Pennsylvania
  • Wisconsin
And these states allow access when eligibility to receive the information is established by a State adoption agency:
  • Illinois (for adoptions finalized after 1/1/2000)
  • Indiana (for adoptions finalized after 12/31/1993)
  • Michigan
  • Rhode Island
  • Tennessee
  • Utah
  • Vermont
Start this new year with increased fervor for establishing contact. Use the information above to reach that next step. Soon you'll have accomplished your goal in reconnecting with your birth family."

If you are an Adoptee/Adoptee Parent-family/Birth Parent/ etc. there are many sources to read of others journeys in searching. The KWB encourages all to read and dialog with loved ones on your feelings to avoid misunderstandings. We need to hear from others their thoughts and it will help you to be prepared.
Seek the truth, from every side, for there exists a spectrum of stories, experiences, opinions, etc. You might ‘fit’ some stories partially or completely or not at all. Searching does not mean that you are rejecting your Adoptive Parents-Family, and some do feel torn or guilty. Others have no desire to search, some feel angry at the one’s who gave them up, not wanting to find ‘them’.
Our views change over the years, importance fades or grows, according to our own lives. It is a Never Ending Story for many or not a big thing for others. What is most important is to know who you are, a question the KWB is still asking himself.
“Who AM I”
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1 comment:

  1. GREAT POST! thanks for all the info, i am sure many adoptee can benefit from this. the first thing about searching for your birth parents as an adoptee is to know your rights and to know the laws in the state you were adopted in. us def an amazing site, i have been able to get a lot of resourceful information out of there.