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.

April 2, 2010

Dongari - Programm

The Korean War Baby has in the past asked Daewon Wenger Secretary General of GOA’L, tell me about your Adoption Story. I mean sharing and knowing each others experience helps to bond, right? Daewon told me that he prefers to keep his own story personal, so I assumed it was a Swiss kind of thing. I even asked him about Rev. Kim DoHyun and how long have you known him. Daewon told me, since he became SG of GOA’L, so I was surprised when these documents were sent to members just recently. I resigned my membership in GOA’L this week.


From the “Board of Directors List”


Reverend Kim Do Hyun – KoRoot

김도현 목사 뿌리의 집

1981 - 1984 Presbyterian Theological College & Seminary (M.Div)

1987 - 1989 새문안교회 Assistant Pastor

1992 - 2001 Federation of Swiss Reformed Church, responsible for Korea

1992 – 2001 Korean Church of Berne, Pastor

1993 – 1998 Korean Church of Geneva Pastor

1994.1 Cofounder of Dongari Switzerland

1995 – 2001 스위스에큐메니칼청소년교육기구 상임교육위원

2001 – 2004 MPhil: “A preliminary theological exploration on the matter of

intercultural adoption and Korean birth mothers”, University of Birmingham, Department

of Theology

2004 – today KoRoot, Director

2004 – today 명성교회 교육목사




Dae-won Wenger 김대원

Born in 1967

1984 - 1988 Gymnasium am Kohlenberg (neo-linguistic high school)

1988 - 1991 Commercial School of the Mercantile Society of Basle

1991 – 1993 Schneider Intl Freight Forwarding, Inc., New York, Freight Agent

1993 – 1996 Schneider & Cie. AG, Basle, IT Assistant

1994 Cofounder of Dongari Switzerland

1994 – 1999 Head Editor, Dongari News

1995 Cofounder of EKN, Euro-Korean Network (CCEJ)

1996 – 2003 University of Zurich, Japan Studies, Computer Science & Economy

1999 – 2000 SSD Manager Dept. Fotography (Non-Profit Foundation)

2001 – 2003 SSD General Manager (Non-Profit Foundation)

2004.2 Elected Secretary General, Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link


Dongari_Switzerland website Dongari - Programm

click to enlarge:clip_image006

Dongari_Switzerland a Swiss Korean Adoptee group,


Rev. Kim DoHyun &

Daewon Wenger김대원(Kim Daewon)


Please NOTE: 30.03.2003

In the 3rd Paragraph it is noted that the old version of this site was published in Englishseveral changes inside the Dongari associationthis association is primary for Adoptees living in Switzerland


Jan Wenger, the former Administrator of this Site left the Organisation. We would like to thank him very much for supporting our interests on the web.

The Korean War Baby just wonders if this is the person who said he did not know Rev. Kim DoHyun until 2004. WHO IS Jan Wenger? I don’t know…could be a brother of Daewon. But how “interesting” (Nicole and Kim Jong Eh 김종예 must think so, eh) that “Jan Wenger left the association of Dongari March 30, 2003 seven years ago.

Daewon Wenger- 2004.2 Elected Secretary General, Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link

Jan Wenger (Administrator of this site)

Daewon Wenger- now known as 김대원(Kim Daewon)

Are they the Same Person??

If SO, then what is the relationship of Rev. Kim DoHyun and Jan Daewon Kim-Wenger?

Now BOTH on the Board of Directors of

Global Overseas Adoptee’s Link




No comments:

Post a Comment