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 18, 2010

YouTube - MIRACLE BABY

Ezekiel 16:4-6
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.
Eze 16:6 And when I passed by you and saw you squirming in your blood, I said to you in your blood, Live! Yes, I said to you in your blood, Live!

This baby LIVES and may be living in a RICH WHITE PRIVELEGED HOME near you. GEE, the KWB wonders if the Mother’s Rights were abused when her baby was lost to adoption…(Of course Some/many mothers did get pressured, some even 'forced' by the facts of life to relinquish/give up their babies...Not talking about these, folks. THIS IS ABANDONMENT.)
The Korean War Baby does NOT judge the Haitian woman who left her baby in a latrine, crying out for life, struggling to breath. Even for a country as poor as Haiti this was shocking for them, but notice that people stood around looking on without helping, just curious for the longest time. Finally some begin to try cleaning the shit from it’s tiny body. What circumstances could bring a human being to do this? We can never understand unless we were in her place, because we do not know what she herself has gone through. Perhaps she is mentally ill, had a total breakdown, under drugs, driven by circumstances we will never know. We cannot condemn her or even blame her without knowing WHY.


This is an EXTREME but not isolated incident. It represents only a FEW cases of Abandonment in the worse kind. In South Africa in 2002 there were estimated 3,500 cases of Infanticide and Abandonment by parents. This is why groups of NGO’s and churches have set up “Safe-Haven Baby-Drops” where newborn babies can be left with no questions asked. Many women DO give up their rights as a mother, without SIGNING PAPERS. This just IS what it IS, Life sucks sometimes.
Links:


300px-Babyklappe A baby hatch is a place where mothers can bring their babies, usually newborn, and leave them anonymously in a safe place to be found and cared for. This kind of arrangement was common in mediaeval times and in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, when the device was known as a foundling wheel. FoundlingWheel_BabyHatch
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ASafeHavenForNewborns
Baby hatches as such are not known in the United States; however, all 50 states have introduced "Safe-haven laws"[10] since Texas began on September 1, 1999. These allow parents to legally give up their newborn child (younger than 72 hours) anonymously to certain places known as "safe havens", such as fire stations and hospitals.
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IMFCrisis_KoreanMoneyWoesBreakUpFamilies
In this article it highlights what happened after the so called IMF crisis in late 1997-98.

Korean Money Woes Break Up Families

By Sang-hun Choe, AP, Saturday 9 January 1999

In the first half of this year, 2,348 children were sent to the nation’s 272 welfare facilities, up from 826 in the same period of 1997.
But abandoned or orphaned children looking for homes face two hurdles in South Korea—a Confucian society that values strong family ties and sees them as different blood, and a government that actively discourages adoptions by foreigners.
That leaves the nation overflowing with children waiting for adoption, often in crowded facilities. The government’s quota does not reflect reality, said Kim Young-bok at the Eastern Child Welfare Society, one of four agencies licensed to handle foreign adoptions. The quota has forced the agency to reject new applicants.
The government introduced the quota system two years ago after news media and politicians began calling overseas adoptions a disgrace to then affluent South Korea. From a high of 8,000 a year during the 1980s, only 2,057 Korean children were adopted abroad last year.
We are in a dilemma, said Lee Chang-june of the Health and Welfare Ministry. We must get rid of our image as a major exporter of orphans. But people are not adopting children at home.
Despite a government campaign to make adoptions more socially acceptable, the number of children adopted by South Korean families has remained at around 1,200 annually for several years.”
CAN YOU SAY, “UNWANTED BY MY MOTHER’S PEOPLE!”
BUT  some say rich white priveleged Adopters apparently STOLE us so they could have/save a cute little Asian kid. OH, the horror. What a bunch of CRAP.
In the years since the ‘98 crisis Korea has recovered and yet every year 10,000 children are ABANDONED into the system. The main reasons to cut the numbers of ICA/Overseas adoptions each year is to
SAVE FACE
The next time some idiot tells you that your adoptive parents ‘stole’ you from your mother, remember this: That’s not the stats. The ungodly truth that we who were LUCKY to be sent OUT of this country must deal with is that Korea is a society that boasts that is it the 11th or 13th in the world, BUT does not take care of its own.  Our Western Minds think “how can they NOT take care of their own?” or “Why do Koreans send their children away? You are poor, no more”
HELLO!!! It is NOT about the economy being good. The excuse of poverty does NOT apply. Maybe in the 50’s and until early 1970’s but the REAL reasons go to the BLOOD.
1sm Only its own Blood relatived/Genetically matched relatives are important to the Majority of the Korean people. TIK-This IS Korea.
This is why 97% of Domestic and CIVIL adoption is SECRET. Nothing to do with Having money…People are having only ONE child because it costs so much to raise them.
This is the Language of Blood that OUR mother’s people continue to hold onto godless Neo-Confucian belief that society is still centered around.
Even large numbers of Christians who should NOTcharles_finney think that way, DO. If the KWB had just 60 minutes on Korean Christian television…the sermon he would preach would burn some ears off, ala fiery 19th evangelist and abolitionist preacher, Charles Grandison Finney known for the 2nd Great Awakening Revival.
Maybe if the Christians of Korea got revival they would support natural/birth mothers more in their own families, and society might actually wipe out the need for the 300 institutions and Foster Care, etc. etc.
Until that day, fellow Adoptees and friends, all of you in This Thing of Ours-Adoption let us work together. 

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