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 20, 2010

Kimchi Mamas: Research study on Korean adoptees

Hey out there, Yes…You who are Adopted from Korea. Please take 15 minutes out of your busy schedule and DO THIS SURVEY. It is SO necessary for understanding THIS THING OF OURS-ADOPTION,  that as many take these surveys to get a more accurate picture. Even the Evan B. Donaldson’s Adoption Institute Survey had less than 200 Korean Adoptees nation-wide.
And DUDES, wassup with yah all? Got time to Facebook, play computer games, but MALE ADOPTEES are woefully lacking in taking part in surveys. Only 25% take part, We NEED your input. Get off your butts and take the survey. Ladies, get on Facebook, My Space, Twitter, etc. and encourage the Male Korean Adoptees to DO something.
LET’S GO VIRAL on this Survey!!!
Kimchi Mamas: Research study on Korean adoptees
Research study on Korean adoptees
I recently received an email from my friend Saebom, who is a Korean adoptee doing a research study on the experiences of Korean adoptees.  This is such an under-studied topic, and I think it's so important that Korea adoptees are starting this research.  Please help out if you can, and feel free to pass this information along!

We need your help if you are a Korean adoptee who is:
* Currently 20 years or older
* Went to Korea at age 20 or older
* Went to Korea and RETURNED to pre-Korea life

Please respond to our independent research study!
There are only 49 questions, and it should take 20-30 minutes.
Email us for the password  at,

and then proceed to this link: KwikSurvey
BY Special Permission- Password is imakad 

Be sure to enable cookies before you start so you can go back  later on if you need to.
Some of these questions might seem personal, but the more open and honest you can be the more helpful your responses will be for other adoptees. Please know that your responses are generated anonymously.

"Here’s some info on us. We are Korean adoptees, 32 and 35 years old, who've been Korea 2-3 times. After we returned from Korea last year we felt isolated. Displaced. Confused. Unable to ease back into our pre-Korea lives. We wondered if other adoptees felt the same way. More importantly, if they didn't, what had they done to prevent these feelings from manifesting? What sort of foundations, behaviors, life circumstances did they have in place that enabled them to feel rooted and connected when they returned? And how could this information offer support to other adoptees?
This is where you come in. If we get enough responses we will develop the results into a presentation for the IKAA Gathering in Seoul this summer so that your responses will help others just like you.
Much appreciation,
Rae Anne and Saebom

The KWB took the Survey and IT DID NOT TAKE BUT 30 MIN. 

Really folks, please pass this link along and take TIME OUT. You may find the questions helpful in sorting out YOUR FEELINGS, eh! Thank you Rae Anne and Saebom for putting this together. The Korean War Baby salutes you both!!!

1 comment:

  1. Korean War BabyFebruary 23, 2010

    The KWB took the time to do the survey. For him it took more time than for most folks because it is geared to Adoptees living outside the country. He had to explain why on earth he is still here!

    After finishing, you may be prompted to fill in answers so SCAN the questions and "Please Respond" on blank places. You will get a "Thank you for participating in this survey" message when you are through.