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 24, 2010

Horrifying Story of Vanessa Pierce

UPDATED VIDEO from Indian Television show Times Now:

http://www.timesnow.tv/videoshow/4341102.cms

Vanessa searching for her Biological Parents

Click here to listen to her interview dated 14th September 2008

Vanessa in 1970sAround the age of four I was sleeping and during the night I remember a woman picking me up and running with me. She ran through a garden with me and I remember the smell of pepper plants and other vegetables as she ran with me through the night. This woman travelled mostly with me at night except in areas were there were no people or if it was a big city then it would be day time. I do not know which part of India I actually came from just that she travelled a long way with me. I remember going through a very dry and desert area and then we would arrive at small villages as well as cities through our travels.

I knew that this woman was not my mother and I really did not like her and yet I had to depend on her for my very survival. This was in the very early 1970s. I am figuring because I was brought to Holy Angels convent in Trivandrum in 1974. The woman that stole me had very dark almost black skin and greying hair with prominent teeth. I have none of those similarities.

During our travels she told me that my older brother that I do remember having had been murdered by a group of men when he went to have a meeting with them and she told me that my uncle had hung himself. I do not know if any of this was true. They could both be alive and she was probably lying to me.
I remember travelling with her by bus at times as well as being rowed across a boat on a river. There seemed to be a lot of turmoil going on in India during this time because I remember a lot of people houses being burned down as well as people being killed and riots by groups of people. The terrain changed a lot in our travels from dry desert to lush rice fields.

 
The woman seemed to finally arrive at her destination with me. She took me into a large building and then into a very nice private office. In this office the woman met with a group of five or six wealthy very well dressed men all wearing white clothes with beards and mustaches. I sat on a chair a little away from the men and the woman as they talked. Sometimes there voices would rise and then they would look over and smile at me as to console me. In their conversation they were very angry with my father.

During the conversation the woman abruptly got up and grabbed me took off from the room and out of the building. I could tell that she was very upset and as she walked with me out the building we crossed a bridge. Just as we had crossed the bridge a messenger boy was sent after the woman and the boy told her that she had to bring me back to the men. The woman refused to do that and then she continued on her way with me. That evening we stayed at a woman's house and the two women seemed to know each other.

I remember having fish for supper that night and as it began to get dusk the two women went outside and built a fire and then sat a distance away from the fire to talk. I was close by the fire staring into it when I all of a sudden sensed something dreadful then I do not remember anything else.

The next thing I remember is that it is becoming morning and the woman that had stolen me was laying dead on a road with me there and the house that we had been staying at is no where in sight.

From records I have been told some passerby people seeing me sit by the woman's dead body called the police. I do remember a policeman showing up and then I was put into the care of a woman named Miriam Isidora. I realized when I looked at Miriam Isidora that she was the same woman whose house we had been at.
Miraim then took me to a convent in Nyatinkara, Kerala. I stayed at this convent for about two days and then one of the nuns took me by car a days drive away. I was taken to a woman's house where I stayed for about a month. This woman had a sari shop outside her house and one day I went out there and a customer saw me and started asking questions about me. I was moved right away from there and taken to another house.

At this house I remember a little girl living there who I played with as well as her grandfather being there. I was probably there about a month as well when a person selling fish noticed me and enquired after me. I was moved right away back to the first house and Miriam came and picked me up right away. I was then taken by car to another place.

This new place had walls around and there was two houses there. In one house lived a young couple and the other had an old couple living there. they were very kind to me and I lived there for about a year or a year and a half. I never saw anyone during this time except for these people that took care of me. When I looked over the wall I never saw anything except coconut trees.

Miriam Isidora then came and picked me up one day and then took me to another convent called Holy Angels Convent in Trivandrum, Kerala. I lived and went to school there until I was adopted into Canada in April 1978.

 

Vanessa

VanessaClick to Enlarge

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VanessaClick to enlarge Click to Enlarge

Vanessa is in red dancing dress


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Two identical marks are on both the calves.

 

 

I do have some markings on me that are all identical they seemed to have been branded on me. Someone who looked at it said that it looks like the marks were made with a hot ruby when I was very young. I will send you photos of that as well. The two identical marks are on both the calves of my legs and the other one on the middle of my forehead.
I am desperate to find my family and I really hope that someone out there knows something that will solve this mystery.

If you have Indian friends or contacts in major Indian media, please pass these links along to them. Vanessa is still hopeful that her family will actually see this video and be reunited. THIS is truly a case of Child Kidnapping that does occur in many countries. The KWB has known her for several months and joins with many friends for the impossible to be possible.

Watch this space for updates!!  

2 comments:

  1. When I first met Vanessa Pierce on Facebook and I heard her story I was in tears. She gave me a link to listen to as well as the printed version online. Listening to her words on the audio was unforgettable as she explained her wounds and her life. The horrific things she had to encounter were so sad. She is definitely a strong woman of great character. I hope she will one day find the answers she has been looking for. She is a honorary woman. Thanks for doing this post on such an amazing woman.

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  2. Korean War BabyMarch 24, 2010

    Jae, what makes Vanessa's story more incredible is that she is such a forgiving person! That is what amazed me. I long greatly that she has a miracle because even getting on Indian media was her dream. Let us hope and pray to the God of our choice that her relatives reconnect with her. Vanessa certainly deserves to have such a miracle happen to her.

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