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 29, 2010

Lucky or Not?

Korean women and children search the rubble of...Image via Wikipedia

For every child saved through adoption, over ten died of starvation or illness or froze to death...or simply were eliminated as despicable by passersby. But the real tragedy is that they died alone, cast aside like the garbage they dug through and fought for as food (there even is a word in Korean for “garbage soup”), utterly alone and forsaken with no one to care.





"Abandon in Korean language is PaRi Da 바리 다. it means to literally throw away, abandon as useless. Many of us were considered useless, whether you were mixed-blood or full blood, the Korean society and the families of you mothers and fathers pressured them to abort or give up for adoption. Some seem to think that only OVERSEAS or INTERNATIONAL or INTERCOUNTRY adoption occured. The KWB has found and posted the Ministry of Health Welfare and Family Affairs (MOHFA) figures that over 87,000 domestic adoptions have been placed. The Private CIVIL adoptions may number double the figure of domestic, and both domestic and civil adoptions are 97% Secretly done. Ask people from here Late Discovery Adoptees if finding out that you were adopted late in your life was agreeable to them. Thousands in Korea are walking around NOT knowing that they were adopted. THIS IS WRONG.




Lucky or Not?
Some distain the term "Lucky", "Saved", or "Fortunate to be adopted" and get angry, don't blame them for it is not something that most of us, adoptees want to hear, but many of us take with 'a grain of salt'. For many people still may think that way. Certainly for those of us from the Korean War, (born during or soon after) from 1950 to 53 then until the early 1960 Korea was a devastated land. As the economy improved the number of orphans decreased, yet something else began to happen.
SEX, of course they had it before but we are talking about openly among Koreans, outside of marriage. The relationships between UN troops continued until this day as US and other UN forces in Korea had liaison with Korean women (not all were War Brides) and left behind children. But as the sixties and seventies progressed women continued to give up their babies, for different reasons, such as female that were 3rd or 4th children born in a home with NO SON. Poverty became less of a reason yet it continued.
In 1973 the miracle of "modern medical science" and the Korean law allowed more Family Planning to help the country move ahead. Slogans encouraged "Two or Three is wonderful" when the average family was 6 at the end of the sixties. Abortion was allowed for 5 reasons: Rape, Incest, Physical deformity, Mental illness, risk to the mother. This produced a sudden drop in certain "Disabilities" 

Characteristics of International Adoptees, 1953-2007
Year              

       Male
Mixed-Blood
1972
3,490

212

1973
4,688

154

1974
5,302

??

1975
5,077

??
Well, what happened in 1974. OH, Mixed-Blood babies were no longer a problem, solved by Abortion...
Now look at this chart from my headline tag AdoptionStat_OAK:

Types of Disabilities, 1958-2007
Year
Abandoned
Split family
Single mother
Total
Male
Mixed
Disability
Total
연도
기 아
결혼가정
미혼모
남 자
혼 혈
장 애
1958~60
1,675
630
227
2,532
734
1,159
1,588
3,481
1961~70
4,013
1,958
1,304
7,275
2,254
2,659
2,064
6,977
1971-80
17,260
13,360
17,627
48,247
17,320

4,598
21,918
1981-90
6,769
11,399
47,153
65,321
30,460

16,378
46,838
1991-2000
225
1,444
20,460
22,129
12,009

8,987
20,996
2001
1
1
2,434
2,436
1,364

743
2,107
2002
1

2,364
2,365
1,679

827
2,506
2003
2
2
2,283
2,287
1,367

649
2,016
2004

1
2,257
2,258
1,385

705
2,090
2005
4
28
2,069
2,101
1,353

737
2,090
Total
29,950
28,823
98,178
156,951
69,925
3,818
37,276
111,019

Notice that Abandoned is 29,950 then add Disabilities 37,276 what does that tell us? Uh, calulator (calculator-sp ck)  is needed by KWB:
67,226 Korean Adoptees that WERE DEFINITELY NOT WANTED BY KOREANS. Were THEY "ALL"stolen from their mothers, child-laundered then adopted? Don't Think so!!!
 They were Abandoned, Pari da 바리다, thrown away by the Korean people. Mothers were left with little choice, We cannot blame them, instead forgive them, let them know we hold no hate for them BUT some, some of us DO WANT TO MEET THEM.

Only 2,450 or so have reconnected, with various levels and degrees 'success'. A few have faced rejection again, when family does not want to publicly announce "Who is that? You have a sister who was adopted overseas?" Go ask MAYA W.


Types of Disabilities, 1958-2007


Category
Total
Children without disability
Children with disability
Types of disabilities
Cleft Lip
Deformed hands feet
Premature baby
Mental disorder
Mixed blood children
Heart Disease
Etc.
구분
정상아동
장애아동
언청이
손발기형
미숙아
정신장애
혼혈아
심장병
기타
1958~60
4,120
944
1,588




1,588


1961~70
9,339
5,211
2,064
94
23
24
13
1,829
66
15
1971-80
52,845
43,649
4,598
361
634
1,532
54
1,292
312
413
1981-90
81,699
48,943
16,378
989
796
7,295
134
694
703
5,767
1991
3,188
1,206
991
74
41
506
16
23
24
307
1992
2,882
1,208
837
51
90
500
37
16
47
96
1993
3,322
1,258
1,032
59
56
543
61
12
78
223
1994
3,249
1,275
987
64
27
528
8
7
64
289
1995
3,225
1,135
1,045
77
29
568
7
7
58
299
1996
3,015
1,145
935
54
43
493
43
2
59
241
1997
2,841
1,273
784
40
30
422
19
7
57
209
1998
3,360
1,526
917
39
30
459
10
3
79
297
1999
3,234
1,584
825
29
30
354
8
3
82
319
2000
2,994
1,726
634
27
25
274
5

60
243
2001
3,179
1,693
743
13
26
367
50
1
71
215
2002
3,192
1,538
827
14
35
400
34

110
234
2003
2,936
1,638
649
5
21
338
28
3
107
147
2004
2,963
1,553
705
11
16
346
23

78
231
2005
2,838
1,364
737
4
18
301
29

106
279
Total
194,421
119,869
37,276
2,005
1,970
15,250
579
5,487
2,161
9,824

From Overseas Adopted Koreans http://oaks.korean.net/
Statistics-Stats on Adoptees
  
WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THESE FACTS?What shall we do with these Undesirable Unwanted children? The Korean War Baby DEMANDS ANSWERS!  Publicly you attacked a woman who has served since 1956 and she spoke not in defense. 

BUT THE KOREAN WAR BABY SHALL CALL YOU TO ACCOUNT FOR YOUR ACTIONS!!! WHAT IS YOUR PLAN FOR GOA'L, PROCLAIM YOUR AGENDA, PLEASE TELL OF YOUR REASONING AND LOGIC.
Kim Su R.
Kim S.
Jenny N.
Tammy C.
Eli Park S.
ALL OTHER MEMBERS OF THE GANG OF 33

YOU  WANTED THIS WAR, I BEGGED YOU TO REASON, TO FIND COMPROMISES AND UNDERSTANDING. INSTEAD YOU ARE TAKING OVER GOA'L. 
WHY, TELL US.
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1 comment:

  1. Fellow Founding Member of GOA'L Nolin Han Stratton thank you for your bringing me to Ami Nafzger back in 1997. I saw such a need for GOA'L, an group of adoptees helping others from the many countries that we have been sent to over the years.
    To create a Hub a point of contact, a starting place for KAD coming to Korea. Returning KADs looking for connection to their ethnic homeland, learning of their roots, eating Korean food, discovering their ROOTS.
    For some a chance to visit the orphanges and even meet foster mothers and families that took care of them.
    This group Global Overseas Adoptee's Link has become such a place, thousands have come here and been helped.
    Yes, and leaders, staff, and volunteers have supported us over the years.

    BUT GOA'L HAS BEEN PENETRATED BY DECEIT AND SKULDUGGERY. The KOREAN WAR BABY has unlocked the key...more to come.

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