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 15, 2010

Surveys help us to Process our Adoption Identity!

Hello-

My name is Colleen Colaner and I am a doctoral candidate in the Department of Communication Studies at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. I am doing research on how adoptive parents talked to their children about adoption, and I’m looking for people who would be interested in filling out a survey for me. 

I have a new study underway, and I am looking for some individuals who would be willing to fill out another online survey for me. If you are interested in filling out another survey for me, I would be very appreciative.

Let me give you a little information about the study. According to the National Survey of Children’s Health, there are about 1.8 million adoptees in the United States. Even though adoption is a relatively common thing, there is still a lot that is unknown about adoptive families. In my research, I am trying to find out how adoptive parents have talked to their children about their adoption, and how these conversations may relate to the way that individuals think about their adoption.

To do this, I am asking individuals who were adopted to think back on their upbringing and answer some questions about their parents’ communication. Your experience, represented in your answers in this survey, will help researchers and people in everyday life to have a more realistic understanding of adoption and will shed light on the role that adoptive parents play in their children’s upbringing. In other words, I really want to hear from you because I think that we need better information about adoptive families!

Many of the questions may seem familiar, and some of the questions are exactly the same as in previous studies you may have completed. This is intentional – I’m sorry for the redundancy, but feel free to use the same answers as before. This survey is an extension of my previous studies, and I need to get new responses.

Follow this link to the Survey:
Take the Survey

Or copy and paste the URL below into your internet browser:
http://ssp.qualtrics.com/WRQualtricsSurveyEngine?Q_SS=3HKf8QtEID5g4Ic_6eSN205UWIkrDMg&SVID=Prod

Thank you so much for considering to be part of this study. Your perspective is very important to me, and I look forward to hearing from you. Best, 
Colleen Colaner
University of Nebraska-Lincoln

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For the love of GOD people, take 20 minutes out of your Gaming, Playing Farmland, tiddlywinks online, and other mindless time consuming entertainment. YOU  CAN ACTUALLY BENEFIT from taking a survey! REALLY, take it for YOURSELF.

There are people who COMPLAIN and MOAN about their Adoption as they it was the START? of their problems in life. BULL, you have to go back to the beginning and understand WHY YOU WERE GIVEN UP!!

BY Taking a Survey, Maybe, just MAYBE you will find some answers. Now if you have no need to think about your beginning and are well adjusted, unlike many of us, then just go and play your games. BUT if you are reading this MAYBE you are searching for

ADOPTION IDENTITY

THESE SURVEYS can help you. SO SUCK IT UP and TAKE A SURVEY. DO it for YOU.

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