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.

March 21, 2010

Anti-Abortion Campaign Ignores Doctors' Plight

Anti-Abortion Campaign Ignores Doctors' Plight

By Park Si-soo
Staff Reporter

Wrestling with a chronically low birth rate, the government has begun to tighten its control on illegal abortions. A set of initiatives includes better services for pregnant women and tougher crackdowns on offenders, particularly doctors. A 38-year-old obstetrician recently closed her clinic in Seoul due to snowballing debts. Her consistent refusal to conduct illegal abortions for the past two years was mainly responsible for the closure, she explained.

When she opened the clinic in 2007, she didn't expect her no-abortion policy to affect the bottom line as much as it did.

"Frankly, abortions are very profitable," she said. "Doctors can earn hundreds of dollars, mostly in cash, in one or two hours by conducting an illegal abortion, while other, legal treatments for pregnant women take longer, but are less profitable. That's why many obstetricians running private clinics conduct the illegal act despite the risk of being punished."
According to a study by the Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2005, a total of 342,433 abortions were conducted nationwide, while 435,031 babies were born in the same year.

But activists call these numbers the tip of the iceberg, estimating that the actual number is around 1.5 to 2 million each year.
Despite the penalties, another study in 2005 found that nearly 80 percent of clinics here conducted abortions illegally.

"Abortions are a great temptation to profit-conscious doctors," said Choi Ahn-na, a spokesperson for a group of obstetricians against abortion. "This is apparently an act against morality as a medical doctor but that's the reality."

More than 680 members of Choi's group recently joined the campaign, stressing doctors' original duty of protecting human life and their desire to help Korea move away from what they called its long-standing stigma as a "paradise of abortions."

Again, this is from Dec. 2, 2009. We now know that recently clinics have raised their prices from 300,000 Won ($300 dollars approx.) to 1,000,000 won ($1,000 dollars approx.) and some large hospital are charging "legal coverage" for THE PROCEDURE at 2,000,000 WON

The Korean War Baby wonders where is the government's collective MIND? Why do they allow such "scalping"?

Imagine those who are poor, faced with double and triple the cost to get a PROCEDURE that actually costs about $50 dollars and a doctors visit.

Shocking? Taking advantage of the weak and poor?Raising the cost from 300% to 600%! Profiteering, out right robbery, and NO one SEES this?
"I see nothing, don't see a thing!!"
Here are the Inconvenient Truths

For Emergency Contraception up to 72 hours (3 days) after unprotected sex (no Birth Control or Condoms) Plan B is also called the Morning After Pill. Used to get rid of Unintended Pregnancy is Only 20-70 dollars. Available in Korea only after a Doctor's visit at clinics everywhere and a prescription easily gotten even by foreign guests, because no method of birth control is fool proof 100% :
  "Norlevo is a one step tablet that contains the active ingredient levonorgestrel, which is a synthetic derivative of the naturally occurring female sex hormone, progesterone.

It is not fully understood how this medicine prevents pregnancy. It is thought to work by preventing ovulation and fertilisation and also by altering the lining of the womb, depending on which stage of the menstrual cycle the woman is at.
Levonorgestrel is also thought to alter the lining of the womb, preventing it from being prepared for a fertilised egg. This means that if an egg is released from the ovaries and is fertilised, it cannot implant into the womb and therefore pregnancy is avoided.

The whole process from fertilisation to implantation in the womb can take up to three days, so the morning after pill can only stop a pregnancy for up to 72 hours after unprotected sex. The sooner it is taken after unprotected sex, the more effective it will be.

If one could NOT get to a clinic in 3-5 days then the next step is also available:

Abortion Pill

Planned Abortion Pill 

The abortion pill is a medicine that ends an early pregnancy. In general, it can be used up to 63 days — 9 weeks — after the first day of a woman's last period. Women who need an abortion and are more than 9 weeks pregnant can have an in-clinic abortion.
The name for "the abortion pill" is mifepristone. It was called RU-486 when it was being developed in France. Yes, it can be ordered here in Korea. 

Click to enlarge

What Are the Kinds of In-Clinic Abortion?

There is more than one kind of in-clinic abortion procedure. The most common is called aspiration. It is also known as vacuum aspiration. Aspiration is usually used up to 16 weeks after a woman’s last period.
D&Edilation and evacuation — is another kind of in-clinic abortion. D&E is usually performed later than 16 weeks after a woman's last period.

The Korean War Baby predicted last year Dec. 21 gender-imbalance-to-reach-crisis-point
"The KWB notes that “the proper age for marriage” has gone up and poor single women are being blamed for few births. Many factors are indeed involved causing the government’s policies to reverse course. Watch for ‘drastic measures’ to be announced soon by the Korean authorities! Laws must be made to Force women to get married and have more babies! Maybe enforcing laws on abortion might help? The KWB just shakes his head in dismay!"
THERE IT IS!! The Government Policy will definitely produce more Babies to be born this year...How many will be Kept by the Mothers? How many will be Given up for CIVIL, Domestic, then InterCountry Adoptions? The KWB predicts the numbers will go up at least 30% so based on 2007 MOHWFA figures of 7774 babies born alive with Unwed Mothers, Hmmm, the numbers for 2010 might reach or go over 10,000 by the end of the year. 
Maybe the Government might move to provide more facilities and support for both Unwed mothers and Single divorced mothers. Yes, birthrate should go up with those who are too poor and cannot afford the SOARING PRICES.

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