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 14, 2010

Unwanted

UNWANTED

The Definition of Unwanted is best illustrated in this diagram from Dictionary.com Theasus Word Chart



Look at the Theasuarus word list: Unwanted

Undesirable, cast-off, discarded, throwaway,friendless, unasked, Unpleasant, not nice, insufferable, intolerable, loathsome, opprobrious, regrettable, reprehensible, repugnant, repulsive, revolting, unacceptable, undesirable, unfit, unsatisfactory, unseemly, unsuitable, unwelcome, abhorrent, ensurable, deplorable, disagreeable, displeasing, ill-favored, inadmissible, won't do.


WHEW!! If you are like the Korean War Baby, you must be feeling a Plethora (love this word) of emotions, ranging from shock and awe; Unbelief, surprise, resentment, anger, deep seated pain, sadness, insecurity, self-loathing, madness, rage, hated. etc.





Or maybe not, perhaps most of you are happy or consider adoption just part of your identity. At different times in HIS LONG life, the KWB has experienced many of these different emotions at various times. Some of us may have different levels of these FEELINGS; many may not feel them much, because they have grown up with a loving Adoptive Family. Perhaps you have gone through Inner Healing of the Small Child. Or you "walk through life with a Chip on your shoulder, daring ANYONE to knock it off" to vent your rage...OR, perhaps like most of you, find yourselves somewhere in between. Adoption is just a part of Who you are for many; some have no desire to "Find my Koreanness, aren't interested in Searching for birth family". For others it grows from a curious 'wanting to know what happened' to a driving force, but there are many degrees between the extremes. Look at this chart:




The SPECTRUM of GRADATIONS of Adoption stories go from Wonderful, very good, good, okay, not very nice, poor, bad, horrible, 'wish I were not born' (The KWB must note that one Korean adoptee actually forlornly told the KWB that "I wish I HAD been aborted" yet just months after such a declaration he opened a business...What happened to him? Did he get saved or was he really serious?)

Again the stories Range from one end to the other. Where YOU are does not make it right or wrong, it just "IS Where you be". Stay at your comfort level, one adopted sibling may have absolutely NO desire to visit the 'motherland'- for the another it can grows in intensity and desire. Let each one respect the other.


"Alleged" Horrors of Adoptions
It is alleged, by a relatively small group, not just Korean Adoptees but again by a relatively small group numerically, of AdopteesBirth mothers/actists in both Domestic and Trans-National adoptions, that ALL adoption is Horrible.  They WHINE and MOAN that Adoption is Completely awful, Bad, harmful to birth/natural mothers (bio-fathers are rarely heard from it seems), this international group claims that ALL adoption is damaging to children. (The KWB MUST acknowledge that LEGITIMATE complaints should be addressed and "whine and moan" does not apply to "B*tching, demanding justice, or the seeking answers, to find the truth".


In many cases though, such as Abandonment, there is ONLY GUESSWORK on birthdate (estimated by perhaps several people). Children of all ages have been Abandoned (see future post-Abandoned) not just during the war and post-war decade. Even in the 21st century.

THIS IS TRUE to a degree, but only for a few cases, NOT ALL. SOME have cases that SHOULD be exposed, SOME have legitimate horror stories. They are NOT guilty of Whining/moaning. NO they should BITCH and COMPLAIN, rightly so. Every instance must be published and exposed as it.
It is the Language of Some, that the KWB points out is WRONG. NEITHER is it true that ALL Adoption is Lucky, Blessed, Fortunate, God sent, etc. EXTREMES do NOT tell the WHOLE story.

All is a huge word-Total, Completely, Entire, it means ALL. But there is "NO ALL in "all"-of the spectrum of stories in This Thing of Ours-Adoption". There ARE many stories of Happy successful lives, yes there ARE many out there who have dealt with their life, come to accept the circumstances of their "Blended family"; some have religious beliefs that upset and rile others. FINE, we have similar yet unique experiences that do not cancel out the validity of others. Let us be BALANCED and respectful of others view, experience, opinions, religious beliefs, etc.

Some out in Cyberspace "ALLEGE" that supposedly MOST or ALL of us Adoptees Must have had horrible lives because of A D O P T I O N !!! They blame Adoption Agencies, governments, Child-Kidnapping gangs, "Rich White Privileged Infertile Adoptive Parents, the list goes on and on.

YES, there are documented cases of Child Laundering and Kidnapping. Prof. David Smolin tells of his own discovery concerning his adopted children from India. He was able to find their birth family, and has written extensively on the subject. The KWB has read, no studied, the full PDF files listed. Links and website

List of Internation Adoption Scandals Trafficking of Children Child Laundering 

THIS IS WHAT the KWB thinks SHOULD BE DONE WITH CONVICTED PERSONS REALLY GUILTY OF THE CRIME: Give them Death!!


Put them away for the rest of their lives, NO, too much cost, DEATH. Measures must be taken to prevent the possibilities of these heinous crimes, such as enforcing the Hague Conventions and International agreements to Protect children/birth mothers/birth fathers/even prospective adoptive parents.


BUT LET ME SHOUT- IT IS NOT ALL of the cases.

Some people, have tried and convicted through the media the Ten Americans who DID make SO MANY mistakes. CNN has certainly come up with damning "evidence" BUT they should get their DAY IN COURT. Facts are twisted and Labels given that are NOT TRUE. They are NOT Missionaries, NOT an Accredited Orphanage or NGO, NOT CONVICTED of ChildKidnapping or Laundering...yet. So far the leader of the group seems to have had her life upside down, certainly not trained, experienced, NOR accredited as an NGO, NOT financially funded, NOT ignorant of the law. She has unfortunately become the "POSTER CHILD" for label of Child-Launderers. 

BUT those who LUMP all who want to Adopt as just HORRID People, selfish, infertile, Child-Kidnappers, Launders, etc. 


PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK!!!

The KWB does not discount, deny, make light of, any of these cases, that have been Proven in International Court...HOWEVER, when certain groups out there IMPLY in their language that ALL "Overseas Adoptions" "TransRacial/Cultural Adoptions" and now the new Politically Correct term, "InterCountry Adoptions" are ALL Child-Laundering, Kidnapping, and will be BAD Adoptions. SOME bloggers are screaming about the "Ten Evangelical missionaries" as Religious Right Extremists (and maybe the adults are guilty, but we don't know yet). But it is when they APPLY THE ALL Label, that the The Korean War Baby SHOUTS THAT is a BIG steaming,



Pile of Dung-(India)


THE ROOT OF THE ISSUE IS NOT ADOPTION IN ITSELF
  
The ROOT of the issue is that for various reasons, Most of our Birth/Natural Mothers gave us up. In SOME extreme cases they literally left their children ON THE STREET or MARKET. Yes, SOME were kidnapped by relatives, SOME actually were kidnapped and sold and money exchanged, SOME mothers were pushed/encouraged/forced to get rid of GIRLS because a SON was WANTED, SOME young women DID NOT Abort their unborn, Many women were Pushed, Forced, Urged- by FAMILY, SOCIETY, LACK OF GOVERNMENT SUPPORT, to give up their flesh and blood for adoption. SOME of us were babies, toddlers, young children, teenagers, abandoned in many different ways.

No matter the reason, WE WERE UNWANTED!! Sad to say, hard to stomach, difficult to even speak of, causing deep pain and sorrow, trauma in our soul and spirit, unspeakable wounding even for a tiny baby. Psychologists have found that the bonding between mother and her developing FETUS/Baby begins much earlier than thought of before. Dr. Joe Soll and Dr. Nancy Verrier are two authors of excellent works on the effects of the TRAUMA of LOSS and ABANDONMENT felt by a newborn when it is SEPARATED from it's mother.

UNWANTED-Facing the cold hard facts
(Warning some religious stuff  from the bible coming)
Isaiah 49:15  "Can a woman forget her suckling child, that she
should not have compassion on the son of her womb? Yes, they may forget...."
Psa 27:10 When my father and my
mother forsake me
, then..."


Eze 16:4  And as for your birth, in the day you
were born your navel was not cut, nor were you washed with water to cleanse you. And you were not salted, nor swaddled at all.
Eze 16:5  No eye pitied you, to do any of these to you,
to have compassion on you. But you were thrown out into the open field, because
your life was despised in the day that you were born.
Don't these passages speak of our lives? Read the full passages for more.
Psa 69:8 
I have become a stranger to My brothers, and a foreigner to My mother's children.

This one really became clear to the KWB after just a few months living in Korea, back in 1995-96. "I have become a stranger to My brothers, and a foreigner to My mother's children', HOW TRUE is THAT? For many who do come back it can be at first disappointing and frustrating, the Western Mind clashes with the Eastern Mind and Culture. Stories abound of such encounters and it is another part of the journey that only a few have walked.

What can be done? First we must face the facts, then work out how to deal with it. There is Hope...coming in a future post.

2 comments:

  1. Hi Don,

    Where did you find the picture of the cat spraying bullets? It's hilarious. lol.

    I for one enjoyed reading your post (your pictures are great for comic relief), and although I feel a little differently about the international adoption debate, I find your candidness about the issue refreshing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Solim,
    I came across the "crazy killer cat" looking for Emocons (sp). I do hope that "Comic relief" is what I am attempting to get across. On ICA, (you must use the latest PC term, LOL) you will find that I have a HIERARCHY of Preference. Please send me more on your perspective by Email. The KWB will NOT shoot you...Thanks for the comment. Will visit yours.

    ReplyDelete

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