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.


April 13, 2010

Inconvenient FACTS

Inconvenient FACTS

Every day in the Republic of Korea 1,000 to 4,000 women chose to Abort. Some close advisers have cautioned the KWB, "don't get into THAT, too emotional of a subject", well, I disagree.

Abortion is directly related to the issues such as lack of sexual education, sexual violence against women, Foster Care in Korea, over-crowded institutions, Teenage runaways who are sexual exploited into prostitution mainly for Korean men...

ALL these social ILLS of Korea ARE relevant and interlock. Listen to this expert on Sexual Violence:


Kim-Min Hye Jung of "Korea Sexual Violence Relief Center" spoke on "Patriarcy, Normality, and their Implications in Women's Sexuality".

"Overseas adoption was a foreign subject to me when ASK asked me to speak at their symposium (May 2009 "Alternatives to Adoption: Building a Movement for Change"). However, when I heard of the various problems relating to overseas adoption and the causes as well as the need for solution, I came to realize that the issue was much alike that of anti-sexual violence."


Now most people would have said, "What does sexual violence HAVE to do with overseas adoptions?" Ms. Kim-Min presented many facts on how the issues DO interlink.

In fact the entire ENGLISH report of the May 2009 Symposium by ASK (Adoptees Solidarity Korea) will be posted soon by the Korean War Baby for "inquiring minds" that TAKE THE DAMN TIME TO LEARN. Oops, TAKE THE DARN TIME TO LEARN...

I remind you of these


DAILY FACTS CONCERNING "Unborn" and BABIES BORN TO UNWED MOTHERS

EACH DAY- According to Government figures 1,000 women chose to terminate/abort. Doctors from Pro-Life groups claim that they know the numbers are higher based on the drugs issued...They claim the number is a staggering 4,000 per DAY. Recent activities promoted by the government policy shift has driven the cost of a "procedure that cost 300,000 won (

270 USD) to over 1,000,000 won (899 USD) in Clinics and up to 2 million won (1,798 USD) in major hospitals. AND that is NOT exactly good since the level of medical care in China is WAY below Republic of Korea, sorry my Chinese friend but keeping it real.


They are taking advantage of the "legal risks" from being reported of doing "illegal abortions" has driven the MARKET PRICE up and some reports are that Korean women are going to China for the abortions. Hospitals, Clinics, and some doctors are "making a Killing" in just the last two months.

Korean women who had 'unexpected' and 'unwanted' pregancies can choose solutions from the period of time just after "unprotected sex" using Morning After pills NoReBoWon or Plan B meaning that plan A birth control measures were not used...Let it be said for the record, again, the KWB does not hold anger towards these women, though he hates abortion he does feel anything but sorrow for the 50% of child bearing women of Korea who have had at least ONE or MORE "procedures".

**********************************************************************


*DAILY RECORDS*


Every DAY in 2007, 21 babies were born to Unwed Mothers (7,774)

Seven (7) were kept by the mothers (32%);

3.4 babies & children were sent Overseas/ICA;

3.6 babies were DOMESTIC adoptions (meaning through thru the Four Adoption Agencies approved by government).

THIS account for 14 babies

What happened to the other 7 babies under a year old? They are not accounted for...Korean couples have FIRST choice up to FIVE months before a baby can be considered for adoption OVERSEAS or InterCountry Adoptions.

Why, if I speak like a fool (many times I DO), "THESE ARE PRIME PRODUCTS!! Highly prized by Prospective Adopters (phrase used by those Anti-Adoption Associates), the YOUNGER the BETTER, RIGHT?"

Forgive me for ranting, or being passionate,
Lord forbid that I get EMOTIONAL...BUT

Where did these SEVEN BABIES GO?


*CIVIL COURT ADOPTION*

Many have heard of the Dutch government official who adopted a Korean girl, then after two Natural SONS were born the couple abandoned the child in Hong Kong. No? well go here or here TIME magazine. This was a CIVIL court adoption where a Jeong Mae or Matchmaker usually for marriage also KNOWS women who are pregnant and for a big fee finds a couple wanting a more DISCRETE way to adopt, not through the FOUR Adoption Agencies with their pesky 'background checks' and forms to fill out. IT HAS BEEN WELL DOCUMENTED but the numbers are hidden, lamented many experts at the last Korean Women's Development Institute's FORUM in February, 2010. Why no one knows, they all said, even Census questions need to ferret out the Unwed Mothers from Single Divorced Head of Household women. WHEW, see how everything RELATES to each other?

These are the daily number of 7 babies that the Korean War Baby believes were adopted through CIVIL Court Adoption by Korean families who can now make them as Natural children...SECRETLY and on the family Hojuk (Family Registry) were allowed by LAW to put them as NATURAL BORN. Recently, the Hojuk system has been changed again to allow INDIVIDUAL Registration, but in the FAMILY RECORDS the Adoption is KEPT TOTALLY well almost totally secret. It is Known by most of the older family members of the extended relatives.

In both Domestic (3.6 babies per day and the 7 babies per day in CIVIL Adoptions the SECRECY is 97%, they are NOT told they were adopted. THIS IS WRONG on many levels.


In light of these facts the notion that by merely stopping the 1,250 children sent in 2008 to Overseas adoption, which are composed of Special Needs, older children, and Left-Overs from Civil and Domestic adoptions, DOES NOT SOLVE THE PROBLEMS at all.

THE QUESTION THEN MUST BE, IF YOU STOP INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTION,

WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE CHILDREN?







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