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.


March 6, 2010

Bill Renamed Pro-Multiculturalism Scheme

A lawmaker said he will continue his push for legislation that would protect foreigners in Korea against discrimination based on race.
Rep. Jun Byung-hun of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) said that he has recently urged his party to adopt his revised anti-racism bill as an official party platform before he submits it to the National Assembly. 


It has been almost half a year since he made public the draft bill, one of the first legal attempts in Korea to define racism and set punishments for racist acts.
"I have renamed the bill as the pro-multiculturalism bill as many Koreans perceive racism is too blunt of a word," Jun told The Korea Times Thursday.


Criticism on the Bill
The proposed legislation triggered an avalanche of criticism when Jun posted the draft of the racial discrimination bill on his Web site on Sept. 6 last year to gather public opinion.


The Korea Times has analyzed 210 comments posted on the lawmaker's Web site with regard to his original proposal. The vast majority (94 percent) of the online commentators were adamantly against it. Only five percent, 11 people, welcomed it.

They pointed out that the number of crimes committed by non-Koreans has nearly tripled over the past five years, citing statistics released by the Ministry of Justice. As of 2008, the crime rate of foreigners were slightly lower at 3.9 percent, compared to 4.1 percent for Koreans.

Reverse Discrimination
The second-biggest concern was reverse discrimination against Koreans. Thirty-seven bloggers, or 17.6 percent, said the bill would put Korean citizens at a disadvantage at work places and generally in society.



Some even suggested the bill would make an increasing number of innocent Korean nationals falsely accused of racial discrimination.
Another 19 bloggers, or 9 percent, also claimed that discrimination is acceptable as it helps Koreans secure their citizens' rights.
 

"If the legislation is enacted, we will have to treat foreigners as equally as Koreans, even though they do not have to fulfill compulsory military service," a blogger named "How come?" said.
Another blogger also claimed that foreigners should not have equal rights as Koreans in education and workplaces.
 

"What is the point of having a government here if everyone is provided with all the rights that Koreans have," another blogger, called "I," said.

Demand for Homogeneous Society
Fifteen of the respondents answered that Korea should maintain a maximum number of foreigners because multicultural society is destined to be a failure. "We must not throw away the greatest competitive edge that Korea has been bestowed by being a homogeneous nation," a blogger said.


Bill Renamed Pro-Multiculturalism Scheme
Read the whole article, the KWB is being careful on his comments. One wonders what the 103,000 Mixed-Blood children will face coming of age in the next ten years plus. (Better learn to fight for your rights, because they are TUIGI 튀기, children of foreign devils). Hello, out there Real Koreans, it ain’t homogeneous anymore!
WELCOME TO GLOBALIZATION KOREA!

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it amazing how a modern industrialized wealthy country can still be so lagging with equality? Darn them for taking confucianism to the extreme. Are you going to the IKAA gathering this summer? Unfortunately I'm unable to attend this time. I only got to stay for 10 days! It was not long enough.

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