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.


February 2, 2010

HalfKorean.com - An online community for mixed-race Koreans

The Korean War Baby was contacted recently by this group that have been around for many years. Full of articles, links, stories of famous and not famous persons of Mixed-Race Koreans.
HalfKorean.com - An online community for mixed-race Koreans

Hurrah, for all of us Tuigi 튀기 a Korean word that means literally “child of a foreign devil” and nowadays the Politically Correct term is HonHyolAh (혼혈아) which is translated as “mixed-blood”.

*Note: the pictures are from a Korean website with google translation, remember that the terms are from direct translation and does not represent the KWB terminology but only the Korean, Real Korean way of putting the different types of Mixed-Bloods.


whitemixed_mstarcom1





Left top to right →:
Moon Bloodgood,
Soe Ru,
Amanda Seuteu Raeng,
(bottom Row)
Ur Shula Mays, Kristin Kreuk






White - Half Asian (Korea and other Asian)
Moon Bloodgood (Actor), born in 1975. Korean mother - an American (white) half-breed father, former U.S. Forces Korea
Soeru (Singer), born in 1982. Japanese father - Japanese / Irish mother, half-breed
Amanda seuteuraeng (Model), born in 1980. Chinese mother - his father a half-breed French
Ur Shula Mace (Model), born in 1979. Korean mother - German-American (white) half-breed father, former U.S. Forces Korea
Kristin Kreuk (Actor), born in 1982. father is Dutch – mother is Chinese
whitemixed2_mstarcom1






Left top to right→:
Daniel Henney, Denis Eu Gang, Denis Eu Oh,
(bottom row L to R)
Ricky Kim, Keanu Reeves




Daniel Henney (Actor) born in 1979. Korean mother - an American (white) father
Denis Eu Kang (Rugby), born in 1977. Korean father - French (white) mother, half-breed
Dennis Eu Oh (Actor), born in 1981. Korean mother - an American (white) half-breed father, former U.S. Forces Korea
Ricky Kim (Actor), born in 1981. Korean mother - an American (white) father racial
Keanu Reeves (Actor) born in 1964. China / Hawaii biracial father - a British mother, half-breed

*Note translation is exactly Literally “Half-breed” but don’t hold it against them, word is HonHyulAh (혼혈아)
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SplitPersonalityYes throughout his life, the KWB felt like he had a Split-Personality. A Japanese pastor Joe Ozawa once called out to him, “Are you the one who is kinda, sorta, Asian?” EVERYONE in the church laughed since most of them knew him, he maintained his composure and did NOT go ballistic with rage as was his usual practice…but deep inside he was in turmoil with conflicting emotions. The KWB stood up and when the laughter finally died down, told him, “Yes, I am Half-Korean, my mother is Korean…don't know about my father. I was born during the Korean War and adopted to the US.”

The pastor then told him. All your life you have lived with being a ‘divided person’, you’ve been divided since the day you were born, despised from birth by your mother’s people and unaccepted by your father’s countrymen. Your mind has been divided, between good and evil, hate and love, torn between two cultures, you have searched desperately for love and acceptance.

But today the Lord is healing you of your Dividedness! You will no longer be a man divided, you will be whole and complete, you are one, says the Lord. You are NO longer a child of the devil- YOU are a Son of the Living GOD. You will no longer walk in shame but proudly as His child…And the Lord is telling me that He has healed your mother, of the shame and guilt that she has lived with all these years. Today the Lord sets you free from your dividedness…”

WELL, the KWB does not understand what happened and luckily it was recorded on tape and given to him later to ponder on. He was overcome with emotions that he had never felt so powerfully. But from that day forward he has felt change, from the defiance and anger about being a Half-Breed he began to see himself in a new way, taking pride in himself. You might think that he is always talking about his being a Half-breed in a negative way, but that is part of the ‘tongue in cheek’, ‘in your face’ style that he is attempting as a comic relief. He is proud of every part of his Ethnic and Adoptive Identities.

blackmixed_mstarcom1









Left top to right →: Amerie, Crystal Kay, kimora simmons,
(Bottom L to R)
Tomika Scarborough Nezu,
Howell Dempeuseu,
Hines Ward


Amerie (singer), born in 1980. Korean mother - American (black) father racial
Crystal Kay (Singer) Born in 1986. Korean mother - American (black) father mixed race.
Kimora Lee Simmons (the model). Born in 1975. Korea / Japan biracial mother - American (black) father
Tomika Scarborough Nezu (model). Born in 1978. Korean mother - American (black) father
Will dempeuseu (football player). Born in 1979. Korean mother - American (black) father
Hines Ward (football player), born in 1976. Korean mother - American (black) father

n1474091515_30249399_3525589_CU My blog Sister, Jae Arias, the ‘Voice of the Adoptees’ a domestic adoptee of Multi-Ethnic heritage and who inspired the KWB to ‘get real and be Down with the truth’. Check out this Spoken Artist who speaks from her heart
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One thing the KWB has discovered is that all people of mixed-blood have  similar experiences, even those who have natural parents of a Multi-Ethnic marriage. In a way, many immigrants like the 1.5 or 2nd generation of Korean Immigrants also face a Split-Personality. The KWB thinks that many Korean Adoptees also face this dividedness, you know the “Banana or Twinkie” “yellow on the outside, white on the inside”. Truth is that being Korean is more than just the blood quantum factor (hey google that one), being considered by many with diverse definitions of what a REAL Korean is, can be vastly different even over here in the motherland.

The Korean War Baby has discarded the title given to him by some prejudicial Koreans, Tuigi or HonHyolAh. For he has become aware that he is also now an adopted child of God. He stands proudly and proclaims his Koreanness because every cell of his (now way too fat, LOL) body has the genetic ‘blueprint’ of his BOTH his Korean mother and American father. We each have the ‘blueprint’ of each of our biological parents, and their parents and on and generation after generation.

It is amazing some the things genealogists are learning about our origins,  as Man. Since breaking the Human Genome in 2003 genetic scientists have discovered haplogroups/types/subtypes/ in the man’s “y” Chromosome and the Mito-Chondrial DNA within every cell of our bodies. They believe that there were two original humans, ‘Adam’ and ‘Eve’, a “y” Chromosome Adam and a Mitochondrial Eve that all mankind is descended from some 60,000 or 70,000 years ago.

Genealogical DNA tests 
DNA info        or    DNA glossary

Way too much science for the KWB to understand!
OH, another wonderful site on the subject…HalfKorean.com If you are Half-Korean or Half-anything go to their site and check out other LINKS for sites listed, for research or just plain finding yourself.

The Korean War Baby salutes all those with part Korean, whole Korean, or even if you like Korean food/culture. Let us celebrate our heritage and discover every part of Who we are.

“Who we are” is not just the genetic parts, nor the nationalities of our parents, someone said it best, “the Sum is greater than the Parts added together?” Never was good at mathematics (Low grade on Geomatrics no, Geothermal, NO, oh, Geometry, lost him college entrance and Uncle Sam sent him a birthday card, a draft notice-this led him to join the Marines).The KWB would be hopeless without Spell Checker and Google. Don’t know what to do about his memory…he get up, goes to the kitchen and forgets what he went there for, Aaiigoo.

Yes, we are unique individuals. There is only ONE of Me (and my sister would say, ‘thank the Lord for that!’) Make the best of who you are, find yourself, in all the madness of life, hopefully you will find peace and love. Keep striving forward on you own journey of Self-Discovery. Good luck, and God Bless in the coming of the Year of the Tiger. 
 

Thanks to Jane Jeong Trenka for this link and if you use igoogle translation you will get English:
InternationalLove_MixedBloodKoreans

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3 comments:

  1. It was in grade-school when I saw my first half blood person. I was 9 years old, so was she, and she was chocolate. OMG, she was chocolate. I loved chocolate and she looked like it... It was the most beautiful creation I'd ever seen, with her shiny black hair, white teeth and light brown eyes. Her father was Dutch, her mom from Curaçao, an island from the Dutch Antils (Caribbeans). In the classroom she was sitting right in front of me and I almost had to double my school year 'cos my eyes were more on her then on the blackboard. I found out there were more half breeds in my hometown, they had their roots in Indonesia ( a Dutch colony till the late 1940's). And all of a sudden I had several friends with a dark mother and a white dad...I had chocolate friends. I never forget the great smells when their ma was working their eastern kitchen...
    Discrimination ?? Never heard of during my youth. Calling names ? Yes, when we were mad I would call them 'coffee-beans' or 'pinda's'(peanuts) on the other hand they called me 'blind', cos I had eye-glasses or 'bleekscheet'(white-ass). And of course the red-haired were 'tail-lights' or 'gingers'.. It were just nicknames, not meant to hurt or hate. The way they looked only added to their status, I mean, who doesn't want to look like the gorgeous people you're showing up here...

    Don,you're chocolate...:)

    Bert

    ReplyDelete
  2. Bert,
    Well, yes I guess I am. And chocolate comes in different hues, heck there is Milk, Dark, even White Chocolate. I do know that nicknames can be just that, or have a meaner aspect to them. I got the four-eyes all the time too. In the Carribean, the Coloureds were usually free and many, not all were children of the Colonizers of different countries. In many places that were a group between the others. I will be posting on Half-Breeds soon.

    ReplyDelete
  3. It doesn't matter where you're coming from, all that matters is where you're going ...

    ReplyDelete

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