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 22, 2010

The Korea Herald : Korea gears up toward multiculturalism

The Korea Herald : The Nation's No.1 English Newspaper
When the sounds of a choir comprising 33 kids from diverse ethnic backgrounds filled the halls of the National Assembly last week, 27-year-old mother Mun Valeriya was drawing another picture in her head. "I dreamed of having my own three-year-old child Hanna take part in the choir in the near future," she said.
The singing of the Rainbow Korea Chorus was part of an event held at the Assembly last Wednesday to draw attention to increasing multiculturalism in Korean society.
The chorus, affiliated with a corporation aggregate called the Center for Multicultural Korea, is the first of its kind, which is an indication that multicultural families are currently receiving growing attention here.
As part of the effort, a ruling Grand National Party lawmaker Chin Young is most likely to submit a bill proposing a basic law on nurturing multiculturalism sometime this week.

******************************************************************
Center for Multiculturalism
MulticulturalKids
Cha Bong-kwon, Chun So-hee and Kim Eun-joo represent a new generation of Koreans. The youthful students, eagerly awaiting the start of their freshman year at Dongguk University next month, are like any other Korean teens their age.
Cha is set to embark on an undergraduate program in electro-mechanical engineering. Kim is working part-time and preparing to study philosophy, culture and ethics. And Chun has her sights set on international commerce.

What sets these three apart from thousands of other recent high school graduates is that they come from multicultural homes, and are about to become the first from that background to help multicultural elementary school students in one of a growing number of mentoring programs.

Chun and Kim were born to Korean fathers and Japanese mothers, while Cha was born to a Korean father and a Filipino mother. The online mentoring program in which the three will participate is run by the Center for Multicultural Korea (CMCK).
First Steps but a journey of a thousand miles begins with ‘first steps’.
Multicultural Kids hit Langauge Wall
Hong Ju-min, 7, the child of a Korean father and Filipino mother, took a vocabulary examination at a Multicultural Family Support Center in Ansan, Gyeonggi after attending an entrance ceremony at an elementary school on Tuesday. The results were not pretty.
Nearly four out of 10 multicultural children raised mostly by women from Northeast and Southeast Asia and Korean men suffer language barriers by the time they reach elementary school. By the time multicultural children reach the age of 6, only 32.8 percent were in the normal range. This compares to the 81.4 percent of 2-year-olds who were in that range. Language experts said it’s crucial that multicultural children do their best to obtain a language development level equal to their peers born from Korean parents before they enter elementary school.
These are the kinds of issues that Korea must face and deal with after they had invited Foreign workers then Foreign brides it was only a matter of time…The KWB needs to connect with this group of children, teach them some “rock in a sock” techniques…hmmm?
These are issues that pertain to Korean society’s SLOOOOWLY changing attitudes toward “Globalization” and a rejection of the Homogenous “WE are one Blood” false claims that are now only history.
With over 100,000 documented children of  164,000 Multicultural and MultiEthnic families, and One Million Foreign residents living in the Land of the Morning Calm, Korea must accept the Facts that they are becoming a nation with HonHyulAh, mixed-blood citizens.
And THIS MultiEthnic person SMILES…Welcome to the World, hopefully you will embrace them as Korean citizens. There is hope for his mother’s people as they move forward.
Dogmeat soup, called BoShinTang restaurants have steadily lost customers as in the 1990’s more and more Koreans began to keep pets, which led them to reject Eating them. But 20,000  restaurants continue to beat and eat, “for their health”.



In  the Law it is “illegal” but it simply states that no English signs are allowed and no regulations exists for safety standards on consumption of Kae Go Gi (dog meat). For if laws were made to regulate safety, then it would be ‘legal’ to consume. Loopholes everywhere…
Yet, like many other things in life, it takes time to bring CHANGE. Some say it is only a certain breed of dogs that are used, but you can see many breeds of stolen or abandoned pets in the cages. The dog markets still stand to this day. The KWB understand “traditions” but refuses to accept the cruel treatment, overcrowded cages, and inhuman method of slaughter.


In another generation the owners of pets may abolish this traditional food, that is done with cruelty that now Korean PET OWNERS cannot condone. As the children grow up into adults it is they who may stop the practice.

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