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 19, 2010

Foreign Wives need more Protection

President Lee Myung-bak said Saturday that the central government should work out programs to better protect the human rights of foreign wives married to Korean men.

As a solution to the increasing incidents of abuse of foreign wives, particularly those from Southeast Asian countries and China, Lee proposed having Korean men undergo mandatory education prior to their interracial marriages.

``Human beings are entitled to a certain minimum level of happiness, wherever they live. It is one of the obligations of the state to guarantee happiness,'' Lee said in an apparent reference to violence in multicultural families.

According to police, sexual assaults on children aged under 13 rose to 1,081 in 2007 from 980 in 2006.

The KWB deplores the Failure of the lawmakers to enact harsher laws against Sexual assaults on women, children, even boys. NGO's report that abuse of all kinds are being reported, exposing the long hidden truths that were festering like boils in the Korean society. It has been more than 12 years since the execution of those well deserving the death penalty. These multiple-convicted murderers, rapists, serial killers, etc. are not afraid nor respect the Law of the land. In case after case the liberal judges of the land release them to do immediately seek more victims.

Where is the cry for justice? The Death Penalty has NOT been abolished, they just have not done it. This writer says it best:

Thoughts of The Times-Another Victim of Irresponsible Action 
By Yoon Sung-min

Recently, a 13-year old girl, soon-to-be a middle school student was found dead in a water tank on top of a house in a neighborhood of Busan. While she was registered missing for about 10 days, we all hoped that nothing bad would happen to her, such as kidnapping, relentless rape and/or death. These thoughts came in vain. Yes, this is another case that a child is abducted and found dead after being raped by a sexual perpetrator.

In my previous article in The Korea Times, I pointed out that child abuse and neglect is one of the most problematic social issues in South Korea. Children are not properly protected due to lack of adequate laws and services. Since the last heinous rape incident, which an 8-year-old girl was relentlessly raped in a restroom, South Korea drastically appeared poised toward symbolic actions to revamp laws and regulations to protect children from such crime and abuse. However, I have constantly worried that this is not persisting and not enough.

The suspect, Kim Kil-tae, over the past years was arrested and jailed many times for sexual crimes. He was released from prison in 2008. Each time his actions became worse and crueler, his sentences were lowered for some reason. (Surprisingly, we don't know why. I feel his prison sentences should have been elevated.) A newly enacted law in 2008 requires sex offenders to wear electric tracking devices. This law was not applicable to the suspect of this case since his crimes were committed before the new law took effect. This law should have included his past felonies. 
In order to protect our children effectively, South Korea needs to adopt comprehensive child protection laws and regulations, as well as preventive services and programs.
In the United States, crimes against children, especially sexual acts and/or violence, most likely carry a maximum federal sentence depending on the jurisdiction. There is no chance for these suspects to walk the streets looking for the next potential victims.

Secondly, if released, this suspect would have been registered, tracked and monitored by electronic tracking devices. The suspect would register his presence in the local community, and his residency would be restricted. In some states, he would be confined to a mental health institution after he completed his sentence. These measures would prevent him from committing any future crimes

The writer is an assistant project director, psychotherapist, alcohol and drug counselor, and play therapist-supervisor of the Child Center of New York Asian Clinic. 

The KWB thinks from the first instance of conviction of sexual abuse a microchip should be embedded deep into their 'body cavity' where it cannot be taken out without surgery. An offense against a child under 18 years old then the perpetrator should never see the light of day. Death to these scum, rid the earth of them.Oh, some will say "what about forgiveness? God, of many religions, can forgive but God also demandsthat justice must be paid for the crime."

Foreign Nationals increase in Number since 1998

The survey shows that foreigners numbered some 255,000, or 2.4 percent of the Seoul's total population of 10.45 million. The figure represents about 10-fold increase from the 51,000 registered in 1998.

Chinese took the largest share of 75.5 percent of the foreign population in Seoul with 192,618 people, followed by Americans with 5 percent (12,821) and Taiwan(8,818) with 3.5 percent. Japan stood at 2.7 percent with 6,840 and Vietnam 1.8 percent with 4,652..

Happy Lives of Foreign Wives

A work by photographer Huh Hyun-joo, which is part of her exhibition on foreign wives and their Korean husbands, currently on display at Gallery Now, Gwanhoon-dong, Jongno, Seoul. / Courtesy of the artist

By Cathy Rose A. Garcia
Staff Reporter

When it comes to interracial marriage in Korea, much of the media attention has been focused on the problems and conflicts between foreign wives and their Korean husbands.

But photographer Huh Hyun-joo has taken a look at a more positive, happier side of interracial marriages for her exhibition ``Yes, we are … 우리도 행복한 한국인입니다" at Gallery Now, Gwanhoon-dong, Jongno.

Her photographs capture the daily lives of immigrant women trying to raise their families while adapting to Korean culture. There are poignant images of mothers and their children, as well as the women happily interacting with the community.

Huh hopes the exhibition will provide an opportunity for Korean society to embrace multiculturalism and live in harmony.

``Immigrant wives have now become a group we can come across in every corner of the country. Reflecting on our history, we have long digressed from remaining a radically homogenous nation, but we often find ourselves saying that we are no longer homogenous thanks to the influx of immigrant women," Huh said. 

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