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.


January 22, 2010

A Note Regarding the Children of Haiti — Adoption.com

 From Adoption.com this note that gives guidelines and links on the cautions being taken to prevent abuses that might take place. DON’T worry folks, there will not be child trafficking or laundering going on there! Seriously it has happened, even in the Tsunami 2004 a few cases were reported but policies are in place to prevent this.
A Note Regarding the Children of Haiti — Adoption Blogs
For more information on Intercountry Adoption, you can visit the International Adoption webpage at Adoption.com or the U.S. State Department’s website on Intercountry Adoption.
Also Note THIS: Center For Adoption Policy blog
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and
Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Overseas Citizens Services Michele Bond

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January 20, 2010
Treaty Room
Washington, D.C.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Good afternoon, everyone, and Michele and Sharon, Lauren. I’m joined today with three of our extraordinary public servants from the federal government who you will hear from in a minute, and I will introduce them.

But first, I want to give you a brief update on developments in Haiti. Today we are closely monitoring the impact of the significant aftershock – it was above 6 on the Richter scale – that struck Port-au-Prince this morning, and we are assessing potential damage from it.

In better news, we saw the arrival of the USNS Comfort, a hospital ship with more than 600 medical personnel, that adds important capacity to our relief efforts….
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One area we are urgently focused on is the plight of Haitian orphans, and I am pleased to have with us today Michele Bond from the State Department, who is heading up our efforts on this issue; Sharon Parrott, who represents Secretary Sebelius from the Department of Health and Human Services; and Lauren Kielsmeier from the Department of Homeland Security, working with Secretary Napolitano.

alg_school-collapse These three dedicated public servants, along with all whom they work with, are leading our efforts on behalf of the children who were orphaned before this earthquake, because children are especially vulnerable in any disaster, especially those without parents or other guardians to look after them. This devastating earthquake has left many in need of assistance, and their welfare is of paramount concern as we move forward with our rescue and relief efforts.


Now, when it comes to children, it is imperative that we closely coordinate with the Haitian Government, the United Nations, and our other international partners such as NGOs and faith communities who are on the ground, who are working to ensure that aid reaches Haiti’s orphanages and that the newly orphaned children are accounted for and cared for.

leogane-haiti-pic-dm-ian-vogler-745564000 But we will also be doing everything we can to unite the many children and families who have been separated in the aftermath of the earthquake and to do all that we can to expedite the travel of children who were in the line for adoption, who have a legal, permanent home, guardianship waiting for them. We will not let red tape stand in the way of helping those in need, but we will ensure that international adoption procedures to protect children and families are followed.
Well, There you go!! as the KWB’s best friend Nick Nicholson would say. We can rest assured that procedures to protect children and families are followed. Amen. Then and only then should more adoptions be processed, because there are folks who can give loving homes to many children. The KWB believes in a diversity of options in “This Thing of Ours-Adoption”.

There are several hundred Americans in the United States who were already in the process of adopting Haitian children before the earthquake. As a mother, I share the anxiety that they must be feeling as they wait for word about their children’s safety, and we are doing everything possible to locate these children and then expedite their arrival in our country.
The State Department is heading up a joint task force with the Departments of Homeland Security and Health and Human Services to streamline the process and ensure that families both get word and get reunited as quickly as we can. We’ve established an interagency working group to focus on the humanitarian needs of highly vulnerable children.
I want to underscore that we are consulting closely with President Preval and his government on this and every facet of this massive relief effort. They are setting the priorities for relief and recovery despite operating under the most difficult circumstances.
The KWB just wants everyone to know that there are ways to do things right, to make sure that abuses do not occur, even in the case of Haiti, which has not signed the Hague Conventions. Yet, as Secretary of State Hilliary Rodham-Clinton assures us, procedures will be followed to make sure the rights of the children are protected and only then to process orphans who are in such great need.

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