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 19, 2010

Balance-What is it?

Balance-What is it?

"Military tactics are like unto water; Water shapes its course according to the nature of the ground over which it flows; the soldier works out his victory in relation to the foe whom he is facing. Therefore, just as water retains no constant shape, so in warfare there are no constant conditions. He who can modify his tactics in relation to his opponent and thereby succeed in winning, may be called a heaven-born captain."
Sun Tzu "The Art of War"

Sun Tzu wrote one of the classics on warfare, and his principals are studied by military leaders to this day. Warfare is constantly changing conditions and the commander who is able to modify, and adapt quickly will win the battle. The commander must take all the information of the enemy and his own forces and find the BALANCE then change or TIP the balance in his favor.

In Martial Arts training Balance is a central part of training no matter what style or system one learns. 

The Four Stages of Effective Martial Arts Training From this site

In the martial arts one should learn the concepts of Center of gravity, Balance, Shifting balance to defend or strike, 

No movement. In stillness, you discover the precise location of your center of gravity. You learn to position your limbs and torso such that balance is maintained with minimal effort. The ability to remain upright is a vital skill, both figuratively and literally.

Solo Movement-Graceful movement requires stability and balance. Without these qualities, you must constantly engage your muscles (and your mind) just to keep from falling down. Solo movement training teaches you the exact amount of effort required to move your body from one position to another. To master solo movement is to end the fight between your mind, body, and the force of gravity.

Movement with a partner. This non-competitive training builds sensitivity to your partner’s position and intention.
Without training in this stage, you will often find yourself reacting to what your partner did in the past, or to what they might do in the future, rather than what they are doing in the present.

Combat takes place in the present moment, and nowhere else. Attempting to prevent the past or predict the future is an exercise in futility. Effective self-defense requires calm awareness. Balance has far more layers to it when understood from a kinesthetic perspective.

Horse Stance practice

Chuck Norris & Bruce in "Game of Death"

Balance is Constantly Shifting and Fluid

You are probably wondering "what does the KWB mean Now? What has this got to do with balance in This Thing of Ours-Adoption?" The ability to be "in the present moment" is very important, both in fighting arts, conducting war, and in any changing environment. The issues in adoption are changing, have changed over the years, i.e. reasons for giving up/relinquishing or Policy, Laws, Hague Conventions, and many more are in flux. The entire so called 'industry of adoption' is evolving and to understand it all one must do many things. Balance can come only to those who are constantly AWARE of these changes, adjusting, learning, moving our OWN POSITION as new facts are learned.

If we only focus on US not on THEM, we cannot have balance. Happy Adoptees vs. Angry Adoptees, Adopters vs. Birth/Natural Moms, the divisions are clear and strong many times. The more the KWB studied and learned, the MORE he realized how COMPLEX and DIVERSE, each group feel and believe. He found his Center of Gravity and thus his position shifted slightly, yet he became more aware that many DO NOT listen to the other's views, they have cut off understanding.

They have a Blind Spot, some of them, like Blinders for a horse drawing a buggy to keep it from worrying about distractions. Blinders are put up in front of the horses’ eyes so that they can focus on what lies ahead of them. So that they don’t get scared or distracted by things happening in their periphery vision. This helps horses but we need to we need to Take off OUR BLINDERS and reevaluate the PRESENT Situation. Some people only see their point of view and refuse to see the other sides. They don't even read the books and articles of "THEM" and therefore have a Blind Side or Blinders on, preventing them from hearing the heart and soul of THEM. And Them don't know about US, it is a vicious circle.

A fellow blogger told him recently, "I hate politics, Can't we All just get along?" Only when we open our eyes of our hearts and understanding to the OTHERS can that come to be. Let's open our eyes, stop thinking of "Them" as the enemy. It begins with YOU, then You, and so on, change our heart and mind, take of the blinders,

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