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 28, 2010

Facebook Comments Addressed (name withheld)

The Korean War Baby posts this exchange from FaceBook withholding names for privacy. (don't check I deleted it)


(name withheld by my desire to keep her public comments on Facebook, uh, ah, private...)


April 26, Monday

“oh Don, C'MON and be the big MAN you say you are and stop whining!! D#@-w&% can call himself by his Korean or Swiss or Swiss Korean or any other name he damn well pleases- and he doesn't have to have anyone's *$%! approval to do so; and if he any other adoptee, or person chooses to disclose his/her personal reunion story,or past life or personal that is their RIGHT to CHOOSE and not for anyone else to post or publish without their consent!!

And Don, as a leader of any organization, respecting people's privacy and personal information is NUMBER 1 on the list of professional abilites....and damn it soldier,you fail in that regard BIG TIME.
I get your anger and rage and cursing and hate but invasion of other people's right to privacy and using your wall as to do this bs is WRONG,so WRONG.”


The Korean War Baby responds:

First of all, dear, I’m a Goddamn MARINE, THE United States Marine Corps...not a soldier, though I respect ALL branches of our armed forces. I don't go in for petty inter-service rivalry but by GOD, dear Lord, call me a Marine not a soldier, okay? Just have to get that out there. NOW,

When someone publishes their story on the internet, under any name it is no longer PRIVATE, but public domain. As for "people's right to privacy" that does not fit this situation, Mr. Wenger published his story on the internet, how is that PRIVATE, my dear? Don't think anyone needs "permission". UH, Jan Wenger did publish his story online, just did not share his story to ME, certainly don't know why, it is a wonderful example of how fortunate it was to have been read by his birth mother or family.

I think his story is indicative of how important it is to get a chance to get into the newspapers or on television. It is one of the services that GOA'L has done a steady job on, and perhaps greatly influenced by Mr. Wenger's own PERSONAL experience, but one he felt was "too personal".

BUT Mr. Wenger definitely lied to me about having any relationship with Rev. Kim DoHyun, and I cannot understand why? Rev. Kim DoHyun is very involved in helping adoptees in many ways, he and his wife founded KoRoot that provides a place to stay and get help on living in Korea:

"
KoRoot is basically founded upon this need to resolve the challenges that the prospective returnees face, providing them with accomodation and assistance to ease them into Korean society, and to help them enjoy their visit by conducting a number of special events and having necessary resources available during their stay in Korea."

Many hundreds, perhaps thousands have come and stayed in KoRoot during brief or long periods of stay in the motherland.

BUT on matters such as stopping Inter-Country Adoptions it is no secret that Rev. Kim strongly believes that International Adoptions should stop. I believe that he also is against local, civil or domestic adoption, preferring only "Family Preservation" or supporting Unwed Mothers to be able to raise their child. The Korean War Baby agrees on these principals but with the understanding that at the current time 63% of Unwed Mothers in 2008 CHOSE to relinquish/give up for adoption. Yes, according to the Korean Women's Development Institutes KWDI 37% of Unwed Mothers DID keep their babies, but shall we demand the 63% to take care of their babies? Of course NOT, they by law have the Right to relinquish. NO ONE IS FORCING them to give up their babies. It is just the REALITY that an Unwed Mother with NO SUPPORT from her family, or bio-Sperm donor (not a father) nor his family, SOCIAL PREJUDICE against her and her Illegitimate child, and little government financial support...THIS IS THE MOUNTAIN SHE MUST FACE.

So with all this, it is amazing that some 37% of women ARE keeping their children. I marvel at their bravery and determination. OF THE REMAINING 63% of mothers, I hold absolutely NO bad feelings, Nada, Nyet, Opsoyo. These woman will wonder all their lives "How is my child doing? Where did they go? I hope they can forgive me...will I ever see them again?" I am not making this up.

For every child sent overseas last year, THREE, yes (3) were adopted (out of the 63% given up for adoption) IN THIS COUNTRY. Jane Jeong TRENKA and I are currently comparing notes on the CIVIL COURT Adoptions allowed and privately done. The adoption numbers, based on the MOHWFA and KWDI figures are roughly 75% of the babies GIVEN UP FOR ADOPTION, wind up in SECRET adoptions. This is so wrong on many levels, both for the relinquishing mother, who may expect that the child will go abroad to USA, or EU. but most importantly for the child who may discover LATE IN LIFE by 'accident' that they were Ipyangin, adopted.

(KOREA can NEVER SIGN THE HAGUE CONVENTIONS if this is so...checking with SNU LAW professor Suk Kwang Hyun, at Seoul National University School of Law. He is working on the Hague Convention matter for Korea. Keep you posted on this.)

Does the "RIGHT OF THE MOTHER" to keep override the rights of a woman to NOT RAISE her child? Certainly, more effort must be made to give all women TIME to decide, more than 72 hours as proposed in the Adoption Revision Law to be decided this year. Some women cannot stand emotionally to be with "her child". Shall we "FORCE" mothers to take care of the infant for a week, THEN maybe she will change her mind and remember her RIGHTS of motherhood? That sounds absurd, doesn't it?

Mr. Wenger why did you not want to tell me that you CO-Founded Dongari_Switzerland with Rev. Kim DoHyun, uh, why not? Was that 'too personal', or were you playing me? Oh, I was beginning to smell the "Stench of a dead rat" back in February.
My beef with Mr. Jan Wenger is that he seems to have lied to ME about many things, he would not tell me his story when I asked, saying he did not want to pubicly let it out. I respected his wishes, thinking "must be a European or Swiss thing, you know Swiss neutrality (during the World Wars making money from all sides, hmmm, banking, etc."

Mr. Wenger presented himself as wanting "GOA'L to be Neutral" and fighting to keep it that way, but I find that hard to believe after what happened at the elections. I am waiting for his explanation of the events and why after telling me, "Don't worry about those two guys (Kim Su Rasmussen and Eli Park Sorensen) I spoke with them and they won't be a problem."

But many irregularities in the election rules and allowing candidates to be nominated at the last minute, change of membership regulations, voting procedures, etc. WARRANT public answers. But most of YOU don't give a rat's ass, you cannot take five minutes to write an email demanding answers. Some could not take off the half day from drinking soju with your friends to come and cast your vote. OH, I know over 2,000 "Current Paid-up Members" from 2009, WELL, wait, the rules on THAT changed as well, only from DEC. to March 27, 2010 members LIVING IN KOREA could VOTE. Can you say "Disenfranchised"?

AS OF TODAY WED. THE 28TH OF APRIL, 32 DAYS after the election no minutes of the election results have been emailed or posted in any forum, do you know what happened? Where is the official report? You are not a member according to the new rules yet, some staff of GOA'L told me that I am a member until July of 2010. WHY THE CONFUSION? Go and check, see if you are or are NOT a paid up member. Check the WEBSITE:
RIGHT NOW, go see if the STAFF or Board of Directors has been changed. DO IT NOW, it only takes a minute folks.

Kim Su Rasmussen announced, in Jan. 2010 at the ASK dinner, PUBICLY 'proposed to take over GOA'L by democratic means to Politicize' it, because it is a Korean Non-Government Organization that can give them more leverage to stop InterCountry Adoptions. ASK and TRACK are NOT Korean NGO's. Adoptee's Solidarity Korea does not represent ALL adoptees from Korea but only has a membership of less than 400 KAD's on Facebook, check and you will see that perhaps 50 are NOT even Korean Adoptees. Do they represent ALL KAD's or just a small minority? Yet they would present themselves as such and have tried to influence Korean people that they represent the 'NEW generation of Korean Adoptees'. The HELL I say!! You Do NOT RESPRESENT ME, nor thousands of those in the middle of the BELL CURVE.


TRACK has demonstrated publicly and personally to me that they took action to separate themselves from the plan of the so called 'dangerous danes'. Their request to publish a Memorandum of Understanding was ignored by Kim Stoker and leaders of ASK, and by GOA'L.


Get your facts straight, this is not about my own anger but the blatant lies by leaders of ASK and GOA'L in league with the Politicizing of so called Neutral GOA'L to become used as an Anti-Adoption Adoptees' Association. I FIGHT THEIR IDEAS of STOPPING ICA, for the children, who though unwanted by KOREANS still need a loving home, even in a Trans-cultural or Trans-racial family that would give them a chance. Notice I don't use the term "lucky or grateful to be adopted", ADOPTION IS THE NEXT BEST OPTION. For those who grow up in an Orphanage less than 3% will graduate from a university.


You may call yourself any name you want but it is NOT a LEGAL NAME to take your old name, is it? He is NOT legally recognized as KIM DAE-WON, period by Swiss or Korean authorities. Even your name is just what you want to call yourself as a way of identifying with your ethnicity. I have no problem with this but IT IS NOT YOUR LEGAL NAME. Perhaps after 2011 when the Duel citizenship law is passed and goes into effect some adoptees may chose to do so. Not clear on the name change aspects. Some may decide to “go native” and that is their prerogative but it is NOT LEGAL YET.


Mr. Wenger told me that "don't worry about those two guys, Kim Su Rasmussen and Eli Park Sorensen. I told them they cannot take over GOA'L".... Then HE basically allowed them to nominate candidates on the very day of the election? Limited voting to only those present at the General Meeting.


The Annual General Meeting should be presided over by the Chairman of the Board, according to Article 18 of the Bylaws of the Incorporation. HE was not present. I know most of you are too busy to check but it can be found HERE


A vote to decide how to vote for Board of Directors (in Corpore As a Group) or Individually was first presented. The number of members present forming a quorum:

A quorum is the total members present. A simple majority is one more than half of the quorum. Total members were 49, so a simple majority was 25 votes.

The motion to vote Individually was counted by me and others as only “20”, twenty is NOT A DAMN simple majority, is it? But they went ahead and voted Individually.

THIS IS MY BEEF, Illegal procedures.

Counting Abstentions as NAY.

The College of Denver notes on a page on Robert's Rules:

http://studentactivities.mscd.edu/org/resources/13.html

"...Abstentions do not count in tallying the vote; when members abstain, they are in effect only attending the meeting to aid in constituting a quorum..." From Washington University:http://cialab.ee.washington.edu/Marks/P/IEEE/RobertsRules/RobertsRules/Majority.htm



"A Majority Vote consists of over 50% YES's of all the YES and NO ballots counted."

EXAMPLE: A tie is not a majority.

EXAMPLE: 23 votes are yes, 21 votes are NO and 345 votes are ABSTAIN.

This is a majority and the motion passes."

So, it would seem that the abstained votes are not counted at all and

a 3-3-5 vote as you asked would indeed, be a tie.

Abstentions do not count in tallying the vote negatively or positively; when members abstain, they are in effect attending only to contribute to a quorum." A Quorum is the TOTAL members PRESENT at a General Meeting. On the vote (illegally done since not passed by simple majority) to ‘re-elect Ms. Molly Holt’ the vote was tied twice so then Mr. Wenger was urged to count the Abstentions, he then announced that Abstention votes were counted as NAY votes. THIS IS DONE in European NGO’s but NOT IN KOREA.

“Stop whining?” I AM BITCHING NOT whining, dear. I am Hitting back with TRUTH, FACTS, LAWs OF THE LAND, KOREA not European Rules of Order.

This is NOT for me personally, it is for those children who will NOT BE ADOPTED by Koreans and NEED A FAMILY if the Anti-Adoption Adoptees Association have their way.

Insert ASK postcard here:

Minister Rhyu Si-min has moved on, Minister Jeon Jae-Hee is currently at the Ministry of Health & Welfare, Republic of Korea
Perhaps we need another Postcard campaign made up...Hmmm, gives the Korean War Baby some food for thought.

LOVE IS NOT LIMITED TO BIOLOGY. Thousands of adoptees in the world do NOT think that way. Adoption is not the perfect solution but it was the best thing for tens of thousands of us. So sorry that the 400 members of ASK (with many Non-Korean members by the way) think that by stopping ICA will somehow change the hearts of Korean people. Can you say CONFUCIOUS? Learn more about him and the effect of his society structure that still controls the majority of Koreans until today. BLOOD matters to most of them.
Change takes time, Give more time for Korean Society to change. Be Patient, 2nd and 3rd generation of KAD's.
Let the Unwanted have a HOME even if it means in a foreign land,
Every Child Deserves a Home!

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