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 28, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Merry Christmas

Scenes from the winters of the Korean War:

Korean War Memorial in Winter.

Survivors of the US Army 7th Division after Chosin Reservoir.

US troops pulling back towards Seoul, 1950.

One of the worst winters, 1950.


















Troops decorate a Christmas tree, 1952.

We must always remember that "Freedom is not Free".
I salute all those United Nations and Korean people who fought for their freedom, and daily stand ready to protect that freedom from those who would destroy it. Let the young of modern Korea remember the past, and the realities of the dangers of forgetting the past.

December 19, 2010

The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition)U.S.: 'No Justification' for N.Korean Response to S.Korean Exercises

 Will the South actually conduct the “Live-fire drills” or back out, appeasing the North again? Highlights and links to try to understand what IS and Might BE. Diplomats are rushing around trying to prevent escalation. Who will "Blink"?
The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - U.S.: 'No Justification' for N.Korean Response to S.Korean Exercises
north-korea_471386t  kimsjpg-e68299463e828335_2 “BabyFace ready to take over?”
“The United States said Friday there would be no justification for North Korea to take military action if South Korea goes ahead with planned artillery exercises in the next few days. Pyongyang is threatening another attack on South Korean territory, more severe than the one it staged after an exercise by its neighbor on Nov. 23.
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K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer bunker, damaged in Nov. 23 attack.
However, it (US) is defending the right of South Korea to conduct military exercises within its own territory, and says there is no justification for the threats Pyongyang has made in recent days.

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The North does not recognize the Northern Limit Line but the red line above, therefore they cross into the Crab zones with their fishing boats.

surfacetoair
Surface to Air missiles.
North Korea, through its official media, is warning that if the South Korean drills go forward, it will hit back harder than it did on Nov. 23, when it answered a live-fire exercise with an attack on a South Korean island that killed four people.

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ROK Marines march in memory of slain MARINES.
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Vulcan gun.
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ROK Marines are the main force on YeonPyeong Island
                             
South Korea's announced plans for another exercise, sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, has triggered worry in Washington and elsewhere, and a round of diplomatic contacts by concerned governments.
“Game of Chicken” is being played out over the next few days…Notice these articles on the North, some very interesting stuff:
What North Koreans think about 3 Generations of Kims
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From left, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un
“As the third generation of the Kim dynasty prepares to take over power in North Korea, defectors from the reclusive country say the opinion of North Koreans about the family is getting worse with each passing generation. Many see Kim Il-sung as a father figure who enjoyed widespread respect, but his son Kim Jong-il is seen as a dictator and tyrant and his grandson Kim Jong-un as a nobody without experience.
PissedOffInPyongyang
As for Kim Jong-un, defectors say North Koreans feel neither respect nor fear. They view him as a child. One defector who fled the North early this year and gave his name as Song said, "The regime says Kim Jong-un has inherited the 'revolutionary achievements' and traditions from his grandfather, but the public has no illusions about him." Song added, "People are simply speechless at Kim Jong-il's greed in placing his young son on the throne."
 We watch and wait for what will take place. Who knows, but the Korean War Baby is not worried. Trusting in God.

UPDATE: MONDAY afternoon the SOUTH KOREAN military conducted Live-Fire (Real bullets/shells) Drill and the NORTH Koreans DID NOT, again I say, did NOT fire back. Instead, they played the GAME again so well, saying now that Inspectors could come back into the country (and look at only the places THEY want them to see). Special Envoy Richardson played his part and probably gave them all sorts of promises from President Obama's government. Watch for Six-Party Talks (Just what NK wanted where they will demand goodies and GET THEM from stupid governments) to be scheduled. This gives more 'breathing room' for the North and they WIN AGAIN. Sheesh, would think SOMEBODY would get it. 

December 17, 2010

New Advice for Nuclear Attack

 New Advice for Nuclear Attack

As a public service the Korean War Baby posts this article from the International Herald Tribune:

December 15, 2010

U.S. Rethinks Strategy for the Unthinkable

By WILLIAM J. BROAD

Suppose the unthinkable happened, and terrorists struck New York or another big city with an atom bomb. (Like a certain crazy leader north of Seoul, hmmm?) What should people there do? The government has a surprising new message: Do not flee. Get inside any stable building and don’t come out till officials say it’s safe.

The advice is based on recent scientific analyses showing that a nuclear attack is much more survivable if you immediately shield yourself from the lethal radiation that follows a blast, a simple tactic seen as saving hundreds of thousands of lives. Even staying in a car, the studies show, would reduce casualties by more than 50 percent; hunkering down in a basement would be better by far.

But a problem for the Obama administration is how to spread the word without seeming alarmist about a subject that few politicians care to consider, let alone discuss. So officials are proceeding gingerly in a campaign to educate the public.

“We have to get past the mental block that says it’s too terrible to think about,” W. Craig Fugate, administrator of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, said in an interview. “We have to be ready to deal with it” and help people learn how to “best protect themselves.”

(NOTE: the Korean National Emergency Management Agency is working on some ENGLISH on their site, meantime go to FEMA and refresh your mind on what to do…)

For people who survive the initial blast, the main advice is to fight the impulse to run and instead seek shelter from lethal radioactivity. Even a few hours of protection, officials say, can greatly increase survival rates.

“It’s more survivable than most people think,” said an official deeply involved in the planning, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. “The key is avoiding nuclear fallout.”

The administration is making that argument with state and local authorities and has started to do so with the general public as well. Its Citizen Corps Web site says a nuclear detonation is “potentially survivable for thousands, especially with adequate shelter and education.” A color illustration shows which kinds of buildings and rooms offer the best protection from radiation.

image

WELL, seems better than “bend over and kiss it goodbye”. I for one will also assume the position and cry out “Oh, God, Oh GOD!” a few times. SO, take a look, JUST IN CASE, Kim Jong il kicks the bucket and his son REALLY tries to prove himself.

December 16, 2010

Japan’s worrisome approach - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

 

Japan’s worrisome approach - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

“Ominous clouds are hovering over Northeast Asia as North Korea complicates the power game in the region between the United States and China.
A clear-cut division has formed with South Korea, the U.S. and Japan on one side and China backing North Korea on the other. Japan, which is no doubt annoyed and disturbed by China’s newfound power, moved fast to capitalize on the growing tension following North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island.
It appears as though Japan is rapidly moving to strengthen its military, known as the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The country is poised to announce a major realignment of its military structure, which has mainly been confined to a defensive focus. New policy guidelines mapping out a strategy through 2015 allow for more flexibility to address a host of threats in the region amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and China’s growing influence and assertiveness. According to these guidelines, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces could be dispatched beyond the country’s waters.

Against this backdrop, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan recently said officials are exploring the idea of dispatching the Self-Defense Forces to the Korean Peninsula to rescue Japanese nationals if needed.”

WELL, That is NOT what Korean people were hoping for. The thought of Japanese troops ‘dispatched beyond the country’s waters’ to the ‘Korean Peninsula to rescue Japanese nationals’ is a REAL SHOCKER for most.

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WikiLeaks Cables

“South Korean and U.S. officials discussed the future of a unified Korean Peninsula after the collapse of the North Korean regime, according to diplomatic cables unveiled on Sunday by WikiLeaks. And despite international surveillance, North Korea managed to export 19 mid-range missiles to Iran, and U.S. intelligence believes military cooperation between the two countries is far more extensive than previously thought.
They contain information that North Korea exported 19 BM-25 missiles to Iran with a range of 3,000 km, which puts the capital cities of most major West European countries and even Moscow within range.”

Yes, folks it keeps getting worse, not better. Yesterday, the South Korean Civil Defense Forces had a nation-wide alert:

Largest Civil Defense Drill Staged

The government staged a nationwide civil defense drill Wednesday against possible attacks by North Korea as cross-border tensions run high after the North's shelling of a border island last month.
The exercise began at 2 p.m. with all South Koreans asked to flee to nearby air raid shelters, subway stations or other designated underground facilities at the sound of the raid sirens.
Ten mock North Korean aircraft flew over major cities, including Seoul and Busan, and people driving cars were asked to immediately park along roads and go to shelters.
The 15-minute drill was the largest-ever in the country since such drills began in 1975, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.
South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, has been conducting the drills eight times a year. However, they were often largely ignored and not complied with fully by the public.

The drill was held as tensions run high on the Korean Peninsula following the North's Nov. 23 artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense Yellow Sea border that killed four people.
The bombardment also injured 18 people and destroyed dozens of homes, marking the first attack by the North on a civilian area on the South's soil since the end of the Korean War.

At 2 PM I was in a residential area of the Nowondong, area in the northeast part of Seoul. I was told of the air raid sirens from one of the student’s mother, who seemed more embarrassed than concerned. Reports are that very few in the city gave it much thought, and with less than 100 gas masks available inside the subway stations it hardly matters. No, it will take just one shell, one artillery shell or rocket to send a ‘tsunami of shock’ through the good citizens of Korea. God forbid. Hmmm, wonder if I should get a Gas Mask online?

December 13, 2010

Multi-Tiered Plan

Multi-Tiered Plan
"Top to Bottom Priority that
Considers the Rights of Child and
Birth Family
In a Balanced Manner"

By the Korean War Baby
*********************

Best to Worst Case Scenarios

Family
Preservation
Ethnic Korean
Family Adoption
Korean Adoptees/ Or KAD
married to Non-Korean Spouse
Trans-Racial/cultural adoption
Foster Care in Group Homes
Institutional Care
Abandoned and Living on the Streets
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Best to Worst Case Scenarios

This represents a rough idea of the Best for a child (Family Preservation) all the way DOWN to being abandoned and living on the streets. Following are some notes I have thrown together after studying the current situation in the Republic of Korea. 

Please, please feel free to add comments or critics, any suggestions on things I may have forgotten. Let's work together!!
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1. Family Preservation
Family Preservation - When it is POSSIBLE or DESIRED by the MOTHER, there should be support for her decision to KEEP her baby, even if her own family rejects her.
  • Along with single divorced mothers, and widowed mothers, the government should increase Daycare Centers with financial help increased.
  • Educational support must also increase in length of time, in order for single mothers to have assistance through critical years of development. This will benefit any woman who has need and the guidelines must be adjusted to separate from her parent’s responsibility.

    • Families of Birth Father and the Birth Fathers, should be forced by law to provide child support after paternity is determined by DNA testing by the Civil Courts- THIS IS Not done now). 
    ************************
    2. Ethnic Korean Family Adoption

    Ethnic Koreans means both those living as citizens in ROK, and those of the Korean Diaspora even if they have given up their Korean citizenship. Mission to Promote Adoption by Koreans MPAK is a leader in this area. Adoptions should be Adopted Child has the Right to Know that they are adopted. Korean Parents must be encouraged and given guidelines in HOW and WHEN to do this, plus awareness of the possible difficulties that their child may have in possible psychological damage, i.e. Attachment Disorders. Adoption should be Non-Secret but None of this is done now.

    STOP Civil Code Law Adoption in Korea, that does NOT follow the Hague Conventions on Adoption and Rights of the Child. The government MHWFA is reportedly considering joining all three aspects of Adoption under the same legal guidelines. THIS WOULD BE GOOD and protect the child’s rights while giving women who are pregnant outside of marriage.

    However, a woman also must have the option, after being presented with ALL options, done by social workers not directly connected to Adoption Agencies, to Relinquish her child for adoption. AND furthermore she should be able to choose WHERE, Overseas in ICA or Domestic adoption, vetted by the government and Four Adoption Agencies.

    ***************************** .
    3. Korean Adoptee Couple Or KAD
    married to Non-Korean Spouse

    A Korean ADoptee, who is married to another KAD or a spouse of any ethnicity. They HAVE a complex personal understanding of adoption and will be able to help their adopted child in Adoption Identity understanding, even later in the issues of whether to Search for Birth Parents. 

    All Korean Adoptees, KADs who wish to adopt should have some priority over other Non-Korean Korean nationals. OF if the child has NOT been matched with Korean Nations willing and able to adopt a child, on a case to case basis considering age of child and situation of processing of PAPs (Potential Adoptive Parents).
    IF, at time of each individual case, no PAP that is of Korean ethnicity is available THEN the next level should happen.
    ******************************
    4. Trans-Racial/cultural Adoptive Family

    Trans-Racial/cultural adoption to a “Blended” Adoptive Family that is thoroughly vetted and given continuing support on InterCountry Adoptions. Social workers should give priority to families that already have at least one other Adopted child.

    If this is not possible then those Adopting for first first Trans-Racial adoption SHOULD now be considered. Adoption is NOT limited to Race/Ethnicity/Language, etc. 

    Care should be taken to develop a 'training program' and support system on a National or Federal Basis for every State to follow. This would ensure that Adopting Parents have resources for any problems they may face. Vetting of PAPs must be universal and Adoption Professionals have tons of material, but it should be mandatory to take these courses BEFORE adoption takes place.  
    (I KNOW this will get some people but the KWB thinks Gay/lesbian 'single Adoptive Parents', should be last choice, because even though an Adopting family might later go through divorce (this does happen sadly); a child has the right to start off with a complete Family first. Single parent adoptions should be also vetted more to prevent possible abuse. It is almost impossible to prevent sexual abuse if there is no Prior conviction though unfortunately. )

    *************************************

    5. Foster Care in Group Homes

    Foster Care is fairly new in Korea and does allow a better situation than a crowded institution. Foster Care should be made to allow legal adoption easier, as has been done in USA.
    Group homes are now being developed where 4-6 children stay with a Korean family BUT this is still short of having their own family. Too many children are kept in the country, in order to save the SHAME of being a "Baby exporter". What about the Child's RIGHTS? To save embarrassment children are kept in the country.

    Too many children are being prevented from adoption because their birth parents don’t remain in contact. There should be time period that allows “Relinquishment” if they Do Not make contact and sign the Relinquishment papers.

    There are thousands of Korean Orphans trapped by the system because their birth parents have NOT MADE CONTACT. The orphans will grow up in the institutions then be completely on their own when they reach 18 years old. Depending on the city they live in they will receive $2,000 to $5,000 with little help.

    Only 3% will finish university, most will only be able to get low paying Dirty, Dangerous, and Difficult jobs. They have NO support groups, on their own living as third class citizens.

    Group Homes are merely ‘mini-orphanages’ and every effort should be made to allow children to be adopted, even to overseas families.
    ****************************
    6. Institutional Care

    Institutional Care is perhaps the worst thing for children who know that they will never have a family. The only life they experience is the overcrowded conditions and over-worked staff who can only attend to their basic needs. What ‘love’ can they possibly get in such environments? Very limited, yet tens of thousands (around 30,000) presently languish in the 280 institutions of South Korea.

    “Every Child deserves to have a home”!!
    ******************************************
    7. Abandoned and Living on the Streets




On the Streets…In the real world, millions of children are abandoned, destitute, and forced to live on the streets. The UNICEF figures show 13 million ‘double orphans’ who have lost both their parents, and over 132 million who have lost one parent. There is commonly NO welfare system to speak of, period in their countries.

They face a lifetime of begging, thieving, child prostitution, adult prostitution, starvation, suffering, struggling to just survive. Corruption, greed, indifference, children and adults are traded into the sex trade, others into slave conditions. While U.N. and NGO’s attempt to help, the conditions have not improved, such as in Haiti and many other countries.

Those who advocate just helping the children to stay in the country of their birth, disregard that in many cases their own parents DO give them up for a chance at a better future. Should their sacrifice be ignored? Difficult question.
Hague Convention standards should/must be applied to EVERY ‘sending’ country especially by ‘Receiving’ countries like the USA. There is “Better Ways to do it” in This Thing of Ours-Adoption.
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This is a work in Progress, help with your input.



Please send the Korean War Baby any suggestions and critics on this first draft of the Multi-Tiered Plan.@

koreanwarbaby@gmail.com

December 11, 2010

Yearly budget brawl rocks Assembly - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

 “The very Korean tradition of parliamentary mayhem over sensitive bills returned to the National Assembly yesterday as ruling and opposition parties engaged in a chaotic brawl over the passage of next year’s budget.”

Yearly budget brawl rocks Assembly - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

****************************************************************************

Read the whole mess. While the crisis drags on this idiocy takes place because the Communist Sympathizers of the DP party, Liberal Progressives who would kiss the Ass of North Korean leader Kim Jong il continue to demand the Sunshine Policy. They are SO deluded it would almost be funny but they are serious, they would rather see the reunion under Communist rule rather than democracy. The Korean War Baby thinks if they love the North so much, move up there FOOLS.

You won’t believe this but just today a Korean man in his early forties began a conversation with me. He spoke fairly well (English) and out right told me after finding out I was an American that (And I quote him) he made this statement- “I LOVE the DPRK”. Well, I had to make sure I understood THAT. But he made it very clear (he was not drunk). I thought about taking a picture of him, then told him he is a fool. Asked him, “why don’t you go live in North Korea?” The idea of capturing him or just beating him silly also entered my mind, but hey, it is a ‘democracy’ here. Just NEVER had someone so outright PRO-North.

Just goes to show that there are “5 columnists” everywhere. If no, when the shit hits the fan, they will be popping up to raise chaos. I did tell this guy that he is a Communist, but did not say ‘bastard’. (Must be civil). HERE is TODAY’S article in Joong Ang Daily:

"What to do when the shells hit Seoul"

‘To prepare for war, the Park Chung Hee regime asked construction companies to build basements when putting up new buildings.’

December 10, 2010

“A few people wait for the next train at Wangsimni subway station. If a war breaks out, the station will act as a bomb shelter for up to 14,000 people. By Shin In-seop

(Korean War Baby notes: LIKE HELL it will. You couldn’t fit 2,000 on every available space, certainly not 14,000 unless they all stood side by side. HAH)

Like most Seoulites, Hong Jin-ah, a 27-year-old graduate student, had never given a second thought to a North Korean invasion. Despite the rogue country’s close proximity to Seoul, most people here have grown deaf to the threat it poses.
But after Pyongyang leveled Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23 with dozens of artillery blasts, many here are now making contingency plans.
Hong was stumped when she considered where she would go if a war broke out. She turned to her smartphone for an answer. Her search for bomb shelters in Hapjeong-dong, western Seoul, turned up nothing. Next she checked a blog called “Find a Bomb Shelter in Your Town,” which also yielded little help.
Hong then took her search to the Dasan 120 Seoul Call Center, a citywide information hotline. “I live in Hapjeong-dong. Where should I evacuate to if there is a war?” Hong asked the receptionist. The answer she received was what most people already know: Head to the nearest subway station or basement.

Subway as a bomb shelter
The JoongAng Sunday checked Wangsimni Station in Seoul on Dec. 2, which serves lines No. 2 and 5. The station has five basement floors and has more space than City Hall Station.
The facilities in the station were in good shape. Emergency flashlights, emergency lights, communication facilities and water facilities were all well-maintained.
On the fifth basement floor, however, there were only four storage cabinets with oxygen tanks and fire extinguishers. There were only 25 gas masks that were just months away from the end of their five-year lifespan. The masks stored in a warehouse in Jamsil-dong were in worse condition. The masks, which were made in 2001 and 2002, had expired four years ago.
Kim Whan-kyun, head of the Seoul chemical, biological and radiological defense team, blames budget cuts after the government several years ago uncovered corruption and misuse of state funds meant for gas mask maintenance. “It is because the government cut funding after gas mask quality issues were brought to light,” he said.

WE ARE SCREWED…If it hits the fan. Just remember if you DO HEAR LOUD EXPLOSIONS, don’t run outside to look. Slowly, surely move toward inside and DOWN the stairs. You should be safer. If the BOOMS continue stay where you are, away from glass, and PRAY to the God you have forgotten or never believed in before. There usually are “No Atheists in a foxhole” when/if “Shells are hitting”.

“In the case of air raids by North Koreans, those shelters [in Seoul] are good for two to 10 hours.According to the National Emergency Management Agency, there is enough space in Seoul’s underground facilities (subway stations, basements, etc.) for 2.7 times the city’s population.

Seoul’s 4,000 shelters are scored on a 1-4 grading system (with 1 being the most protective shelters), which is determined by landlords and local government offices.

There are no public “grade 1” shelters that can withstand a chemical, biological or nuclear attack in the capital. (OH, that is BAD)
According to guidelines from the National Emergency Management Agency, shelters considered “grade 1” must be equipped with enough food and water for at least two weeks, generators, and communications equipment.
For a list of the nearest underground evacuation shelters, go to http://www.safekorea.go.kr.

Look up or look down?
A general rule of thumb: Go DOWN underground to avoid artillery and conventional bombing runs, but go UP as high as possible in a chemical weapons attack.

In the case of a chemical attack by North Korea, the basement is the worst place to go. Instead, head to the upper floors of tall buildings since chemical gases, which are heavier than air, tend to sink to lower elevations. (KWB adds, watch what happens to OTHER PEOPLE, if you see them fall over like they are being GASSED, RUN UP THE FRICKING STAIRS TO HIGHER FLOORS. IN THE EVENT OF A DIRTY ATOMIC BOMB, bend over quickly, grab your knees, kiss it good bye, say this short prayer, “Help me (fill in with Higher Being of your choice)!” You won’t have too much time. Surviving first ten minutes intact, remember fall out is really nasty.

Packing a “go-bag”

…"It is also not a bad idea to pack a go-bag if your neighboring country is run by a tyrannical dictator who routinely threatens to turn the streets of your capital into “rivers of blood.”

Check your embassy
All countries ask their citizens living abroad to register with their respective embassies.

The Canadian government’s emergency phone number for citizens abroad is (613) 944-1310. The American Embassy’s emergency phone number is (02) 397-4114. The Australian Embassy’s emergency phone number is 61-2-6261-3305. The British Embassy’s emergency phone number is (02) 3210-5553.

(You should get on an email list for emergency messages sent by text to your phone and emails.)

YES FOLKS, Better to prepare than to get caught “wondering should I go DOWN or UP?” Remember EXPLOSION followed by GAS/MIST causing people to fall over dead, GO UP. EXPLOSION with shattered glass, flying body parts, cars, etc. Run for the Basements, assume the position with your knees drawn up, arms protecting your head, begin to mutter out quickly and loudly, “OH, GOD, Help!! HELP me, Dear GOD” (Keep it simple). Don’t you feel better prepared already?

December 9, 2010

Holt International – China Moon » Blog Archive » Sign Up for Next Summer’s Heritage Tours Today!

Holt International – China Moon » Blog Archive » Sign Up for Next Summer’s Heritage Tours Today!
Adoptees discovering their homeland and heritage
by Robin Munro, senior writer
For Shannon Landry – a 16-year-old Nebraskan girl adopted as a baby from China – life so far has mostly revolved around school and soccer, friends and family. Returning to China rarely crossed her mind, though she thought it would be cool, she says, to see where she was born.
But from the time she turned 10, her mother told her that one day, they would go.
That day arrived this past summer, when she embarked on a two-week tour of China. She expected a cool adventure – an adventure that has since become a lifelong journey.
“I just feel like there’s so much more I could learn about me. Before, I never really thought about it,” Shannon says, “but now that I’ve had the experience, I don’t want to lose it.”
Joining 21 other adoptees and their families, Shannon and her mom, Melanie, traveled to China on a Holt heritage tour. The adoptees – all girls from this country of the one-child policy – explored the land of their birth, together. They climbed the Great Wall and toured the Forbidden City. They learned to cook traditional Chinese dishes, studied calligraphy and honed their chopstick skills. On a cruise down the Li River, they saw cormorant fisherman and water buffalo. They traveled to a panda reserve, where some even held these squirmy, soft-furred vegetarians, subdued by honey on the paw. They biked and cruised and climbed through China, ending where they began their adoption journey – at the White Swan Hotel in Guangzhou, the southern city home to the American Consulate, where all adoptive families secure their child’s visa.
But for many of the girls, the most meaningful part of the trip occurred on separate journeys – journeys to their finding places, their orphanages and foster families. Here, they found a connection to their past.
…..
Holt heritage tours are designed for adoptees and their families to experience the customs, culture and history of their birth country. Central to the tour philosophy is the adoptee’s personal story, and personal journey. To recreate this story, Holt strives to coordinate visits to adoptees’ orphanages and reunions with foster families, whenever possible.
Seeing the places and people significant to their adoption story also helps clarify, for many of the girls, why they were adopted. “It hit,” says adoptive mom Colleen Koester. “Wow, this is the building I lived in. This was the kind of situation I was in.”

On a heritage tour to Korea, Holt’s adoptee outreach director, Courtney Rader, had a similarly eye-opening experience. “It made me appreciate being adopted and where I came from,” she says. Growing up, she explains, she heard stories of what her life would have been like had she not been adopted. “Going to historical sites and museums in Korea gives a glimpse of what it was like when adoption was at its peak.”
Led by experienced Holt staff and professional tour guides, these two-week summer trips are open to any adoptee – not just Holt adoptees – ages 8 and older for China. For Korea, all ages are welcome. Adoptees over 18 may also travel on the Korean heritage tour alone, without a guardian.

Even the adoptive parents forge a special bond on the tour. “These other adoptive families have been through the same experience you’ve been through – the same emotions, the same understanding,” says Colleen. “These people can relate.”
For both Melanie and Colleen, another highlight was the chance to learn the little details of their daughters’ early lives in China – to learn that Hannah ran around a lot as a toddler, and Shannon was always “in the know” at the orphanage. And to observe their daughters reconnect with their past. “The highlight for me was how much [Shannon] got out of the experience,” says Melanie. To meet those who cared for her affirms the love and nurture she received before being adopted. “That is a really important connection for a child – to know that they were loved,” she says.
The sights visited, the memories created, the bonds forged, all amount to a monumental experience in the life of both adoptees and their families.
“What I would tell anybody who’s contemplating going is that it’s an absolute must,” says Colleen. “It was so worth it and so much more than I expected.”
Join one of next summer’s heritage tours today!
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The Korean War Baby Notes: This is the other side of the Spectrum of adoption stories, the greater majority of KADs have all sorts of different attitudes on their adoption. Each has to go through the stages of life, like dealing with their discovery finally that:
BadHairDay_ 
“What? I ain’t WHITE?”
Well, most of us have positive outlooks. If you read some of the blobs out in cyberspace you might get the idea that instead there are many WHINERS out there.
KADs who just cannot deal with the fact that THEY WERE NOT WANTED by their “People”, most birth fathers, most bio-families. BUT, though their mother may have wanted them (She did NOT Abort them and that IS the choice of 4,000 Korean Unwed mothers Daily in 2007! I would consider that somehow LUCKY to be ALIVE).

The circumstances our mothers found themselves, in forced them to make the decision to give us up, but the Whiners fiercely accuse the adoption agencies and even Adoptive Parents. Whazzup wid dat? I mean, PLEASE, examine the various causes over the years, decades, and you see ever changing reasons. War Babies, mixed-blood and 'double' orphans, Abandoned babies and children left in public places, children surviving on the streets, these reasons changed to Social rejections of too many girls, broken marriages, some poor families gave up the youngest but financial is NOT the reasons they are given up since the late 1980's. IT CONTINUES to be Social stigmas against single unwed mothers, adoption is considered a black mark of uncertain heritage by 80% of the people. Why every article you read, if you do, on unwed mothers tells of their own families rejecting them, demanding abortion or adoption, though there are more and more cases demonstrating some change. 
Even in the 21st century two out of three Korean women are STILL choosing to give up their babies rather than abort them, unable to make the very difficult decision to raise by themselves. HEY that is good change, but it ain't 100% yet, is it? That might come in another twenty years...



Unwed Mothers who ARE KEEPING their babies are increasing over the last decade from 11% to 37%. The Glass is One Third full.



This is the Inconvenient TRUTHS.


Whaaa! I was adopted from my homeland!!


Some of you Anti-Adoption bloggers distort the truth, scream "crime" because of being transracially adopted, some call yourself “stolen” when you were in fact “Discarded, Abandoned” (Bari Gong Ju- Abandoned Princess) for being a FEMALE, HELLO? Until recently 70% of Overseas adoptions were GIRLS, changing only now to become 65% of Domestic adoptions being female...because Koreans adopt secretly and GIRLS don’t matter on issues of inheritance of the family name. UGLY reality but this is the damn truth. Prof. David Smolin has done scholarly work on the abuses and faults of the International Adoption system and I concur with fixing these. Prof. Smolin encourages that Adoption Discourse be focused not on Pro or Anti Adoption discussions, rather he has stated and published his viewpoint at the IKAA Gathering that he is NOT against continuing InterCountry Adoptions ONLY fixing the loopholes that MAY allow corrupt sending countries in Child-Laundering through adoption. We got to concur with that too!!.

But some PROFESSORS don’t seem to know these facts, and others ignore them. Perhaps we could ask 'soon to arrive in Korea' Prof. Eli Park Sorensen, or Prof. Kim Su Rasmussen, another shining light in the KADLinK community. Please share your profound insights on these weighty matters, hmmm? (The KWB sends them lots of documents from KWDI (Korean Women's Development Institute) to keep them up with the F*cking Truth instead of relying on spurious webblogs. Hey, you both claimed to have had a great plan last January, 2010, that you both presented at the A.S.K. dinner, seems like you wanted to "take over by democratic means GOA'L" or something like that. What was that all about, eh? What exactly ARE you views on adoption?)

I am DO NOT consider myself “lucky” to be adopted, neither am I sobbing about my ‘lost culture and language’. One cannot UNDO the Past, instead The Korean War Baby and many others, fight for the changes that need to happen HERE for the rights of Mother and Child. But reality wacks you upside the head, you cannot change the hearts of the people, only remind them that YES, I AM BACK. I will be in the FACE OF MY MOTHER’S PEOPLE, advocating for both the Unwed mothers and children who NEED A FAMILY and HOME. Whining about it doesn’t help, and blaming your adoption as though you were “stolen from Korea” is about as stupid as wishing you were born something else.
DEAL WITH WHO YOU ARE, FIND YOUR IDENTITY.
STOP THE WHINING.
For all you who WHINE and MOAN on your blogs of doom and gloom, blaming the ills of life on 'being adopted'; those who consider being “Lucky” a horrible thing, you NEED to take a chill pill, look at the reality on THIS END, here in your ‘Motherland’.
You were rejected by your Society, your mother’s family may have thrown her out or threatened her if she did not Abort or Give up for Adoption. This is the TRUTH, the reality we must deal with that our lives were for the most part BETTER than living in this land. Think about that when you consider your life.

Multi-Tiered Plan

 Okay, folks I have no idea if this works. Still learning new tricks.

Link to igoogle/don gordon bell/multi-tiered plan 


This is a "Best to Worst" scenarios listing what the KWB thinks is a descending order or preference but reflecting the realities of life.


1. Family Preservation
2. Ethnic Korean Family Adoption
3. Korean Adoptee Couple Or KAD married to Non-Korean Spouse
4. Trans-Racial/cultural Adoptive Family
5. Foster Care in Group Homes
6. Institutional Care
7. Abandoned and Living on the Streets 

Please check this link out, let me know if you have suggestions, corrections, whatever.  Let's Discourse!!


Connie Kreunen - Arrival Day

Happy Arrival Day!!!
Dec. 8, 1980
Her new Mom, Connie (6 years old), sister.
For more info on this wine expert, pool shark, fun loving young lady, see this previous post:


Connie Kreunen - origins moses baby home

Country girl from Nashville, Tenn.

Connie 'nose' wine.

Her Family

December 8, 2010

“In Defense of Adoption” Stephen Morrison Part 4

Steve Morrison is an adoptee and the founder of the Mission to Promote Adoption in Korea (MPAK), which was created to bring about positive changes in the Korean adoption culture since 1999. For more information, or to contact MPAK, visit: www.mpak.com or mpakusa@gmail.com.
Part 4

Stephen Morrison "In Defense of Adoption" Korean Quarterly, fall, 2010
Birthmothers’ Rights vs. Children’s Rights
“Adoptees are not the only ones voicing opposition to adoption. Korean nationals have also voiced opposition to ICA. One in particular who is heavily involved in the anti-adoption campaign publicly remarked that adoption is a form of child abuse. They do not understand why ICA continues to this day, now that Korea is experiencing the 15th largest economy in the world.”
What they fail to realize is that the size of the economy has very little to do with people’s attitudes and hearts towards homeless children. Koreans can be proud of their riches and economic progress, but that doesn’t mean their hearts are more open to orphans. So it is a baseless argument to advocate for the closure of ICA simply because the country is better off economically.”
(The KWB concurs that changing Laws does not change Hearts, and frequently those who think that Stopping ICA will somehow “solve” the problems and change the attitudes of the Korean Society to more acceptance of Unwed Mothers/Single parenthood. Actually, the increase in financial security in the middle class has led to More domestic adoptions, though again 95% of both Civil Code Law and so-called Domestic adoptions are kept SECRET because of the STIGMA and PREJUDICE of society. “Falling on Deaf Ears” the indignant, scolding, and ‘you ought to be ashamed’ cries DO NOT WORK, plain and simple.)
“Adoption Industry” Accusations

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This is from a SOUTH Korean Orphanage. These tots were Not Adopted by Korean nationals, and may grow up in other facilities until they are 18 years old, then OUT on their own.
“A review of anti-adoption blogs or writings in the media reveals that these writers strongly suspect that adoption agencies are in it for the business or that adoption is promoted by the agencies just to stay in business. The claims are that, to maintain their businesses, the agencies all use the phrases such as “It is better for children to be in homes abroad than to live in the institutions in Korea” to solicit sympathy and support from the Korean public. They claim that this is in opposition to the agencies’ true motive to stay in the business and that if the agencies are truly interested in the children’s welfare, they should make every effort to find ways for birth families to keep their children, and pressure the Korean government to expand the foster care services and group homes using adoption as a last resort.
Some of what they claim is true; I disagree on a couple of key points. While it is true that the agencies and the government should try their best to enable birth families to stay together and look for solutions to enable birthmothers to raise their own children, I disagree that adoption should be a last resort, as they recommend. Adoption should be the second alternative to birth family preservation. Foster care, group homes and institutionalization should be used as a last resort.”

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Older boys that are almost impossible to adopt NOW.
 Quota system prevents older children to escape.
   (The KWB strongly agrees with Mr. Morrison that First should always be Family Preservation if at all possible with strong advocacy for Unwed Mothers support in more facilities such as Daycare and increase in education allotments. Domestic adoption should be Second BUT here the KWB feels that more Adoptive Parents must be made aware that the child has the right to be told later that they were adopted. The Loss and Abandonment that even newborns experience MAY cause developmental problems as the child grows up. Many adoptees who have discovered late in their lives that they had been adopted suffered surprise even shock when they had confirmed what many had suspected all their lives. Late Discovery Adoptees has many stories of the trauma they experience when the truth is hidden from them all their lives. The KWB has met now over 12 Domestic Adoptees, most of which learned by mistakes or overheard from others their origins.)
I also strongly disagree with the contention that adoption agencies are all in adoption work for business purposes only. After having worked very closely with many adoption agencies in Korea as well as in the U.S. for many years, the agencies I know of are in adoption services for humanitarian purposes. They are sincerely interested in the well-being of children. They also know that of all types of social programs available for children; nothing except for adoption can enable children to have families of their own, even if that means a family in another country.
The foster care system in the U.S. has been a failure, with children moving from one home to another on an average of eight moves per child before age 18. Korea is not spared from this. However, foster care can sometimes lead to adoption, and this should be encouraged. (Increasing numbers of Foster Care children in USA are being adopted, as regulations have been eased, enabling more Parents that HAVE been willing to do so.) Group homes are even worse, because there is no commitment of a parent-child relationship in temporary care. Group homes are essentially mini-orphanages with five or six children being cared for by adults who receive funding from the government.
28adoption.533
This is not from North Korea but the SOUTH. Some 280 institutions are crowded with
children that most Real Koreans DON'T WANT because they will only take infants. Those adoptions are
 95% kept SECRET- due to society's continuing prejudices and shame against Adoption.

No one would argue that it is better for children to grow up in institutions than to be adopted. (KWB: Actually though SOME Anti-Adoption Adoptees Associates DO argue this very regretable thing. Some of them are struggling to regain their childhood and become “Korean” again. After several years of language study though, many find continuing rejection by the majority of REAL Koreans, who question their pronunciation, understanding of culture,etc. and simply DO NOT accept them. "Marry my daughter/son? OH ANIO!" REALITY CHECK, they will never find totally the Lost Years, but should just deal with it, accept what CAN be and what CAN NOT BE.) Further, in all of these childcare methods only one, adoption, can supply the child with a child’s most basic right ---- their right to their own family. When a homeless child is barred from an opportunity to have his own home, this is a greater child abuse than any alleged “abuse” that may occur because the child is adopted.
(The KWB notes: Korea has now started Foster Care, oh wonderful, by increasing FOSTER CARE in Group Homes, where 4-5 children stay with a ‘caretaker’ many times a single elderly woman, children are denied a family. So we have orphanages where children grow up because they were NOT adopted in the PRIME time-Under 12 months old. Foster Care in USA has not worked! Often children average 8 different ‘homes’ and never have the sense of being a member of a Family. THIS SUCKS! This System has only recently been started in Korea about 2005. SOME would say ‘how wonderful that the child keeps their Korean heritage and language’…OH, YEAH? To become a second or third class citizen. Oh, GEE, how awesome or rather how awful will their life be with less chance for education as Stephen has pointed out.)
The anti-adoption factions in Korea have used the cause of birthmothers’ rights to speak against ICA, as well as against domestic adoption. Because they claim that adoption causes the separation of a child from the birthmother, they use the phrases such as “Family Preservation over Adoption Promotion to make their points known. However, in their zeal to put an end to adoption by advocating birthmothers’ rights, they have focused more on birthmothers, not on the rights of children.

I believe that, while birthmothers’ rights should be advocated, it is wrong to do so by trampling on children’s rights to their own homes and families. Birthmothers are adults who have voices, and they can make certain choices for themselves, whether good or bad. But the children have no voice. Many adoptees have spoken out to advocate for their own rights and the rights of birthmothers’, but very few have chosen to speak for the rights of children to have their own homes.”
Part 5 coming soon.
The Korean War Baby challenges those in leadership of GOA’L (Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link-SG James Rosso (A.K.A. Kim Yoo Shin) and VSG Isaac Tufvesson), A.S.K. (Adoptees Solidarity Korea- Kim Stoker) and T.R.A.C.K. (Truth and Reconciliation for Adoptees Korea – TRACK HAS made public efforts to say they are NOT against ICA), and KoRoot (Rev. Kim Do Hyun) to make responding comments on these points made by Stephen Morrison.
Please respond by email to answer and state clearly your positions and beliefs. Or reply on your websites and send the KWB the Link. Most leaders have been sent already, by the KWB, the complete PDF files of “In Defense of Adoption”  so they can read in detail.

SO PLEASE, let’s have Adoption Discourse and give us CLARIFICATION on your organization’s positions on these complex issues. Personally, The Korean War Baby has a Multi-Tiered approach to this that follows the Hague Convention guidelines and considers the Rights of the Child and the Birthfamily.
First- He does defend  and promotes Family Preservation WHEN IT IS POSSIBLE or DESIRED BY THE MOTHER;
Second - It should be a priority for Ethnic Koreans in Non-Secret (to the Adopted one) adoptions both here In-Country or among the Korean Diaspora (The Child has the Right to know that they are adopted. Parents must be encouraged and given guidelines in HOW to do this, plus awareness of the possible difficulties that their child may have in Attachment Disorders. None of this is done now.); 
Third - Next group would be any KAD married to another KAD or a spouse of any ethnicity for they HAVE a personal understanding of adoption; 
Fourth -a Transracial/cultural adoption to a family that is throughly vetted and given support on InterCountry Adoptions. (NO Single parent adoptions, or gay/lesbian 'parent', because even though a family might go through divorce, a child has the right to have a Family first.) THAT is my Multi-tiered plan.

Discourse and discussion can be helpful to many involved in This Thing of Ours-Adoption out in cyberspace, to examine the various positions and compare each argument for themselves. Adoptive Parents are also welcome to share their own views and experiences with their blended families. You Adoptees, whether Korean or other TransCultural/ethnic adoptees are also welcome to share.
Speak up, let us hear your voices on these matters, especially I reach out to all members of the community of KADLinks (Korean ADoptees Living in Korea) who are members of some of these groups AND those just Living in Korea. Give us YOUR VOICE.
 "WE CAN’T HEAR YOU…What SAY YOU?"

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