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 6, 2010

Harry Holt-Born April 06, 1905

Harry Holt-Stars and Stripes articles
clip_image002
What ever you think of International Adoption Mr. Harry Holt and his wife Bertha had a huge impact on bringing tens of thousands of Children into Adoptive families in the USA and Europe.
After the Korean War had ended  thousands of children roamed the streets of Korea, abandoned, or separated, left bereft of family by war, or poverty. Many were full blood Korean children caught up in the madness of war. Some were guilty of “Being mixed-blooded”, Tuigi, children born of the Korean women and Foreign troops from liaisons that produced WAR BABIES. They were the “Dust of the Streets”.





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I am Don Gordon Bell, known as
the
“Korean War Baby”
JUN Yong Soo_'56Passport_CU   HoltMuseum_Logbook
Logbook entry- #A-20 Received in March of 1956
Reflections 
JUN Yong Soo - 전 용 수 – 全容秀
Holt Adoptee #A-20
Departed Korea on May 21, 1956
arrival in Hawaii, June 11, Los Angeles on June 12, 1956
I call on all to HONOR with RESPECT
Mr. Harry Spenser Holt
Born on this day- April 6, 1905
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Harry Holt: "Opportunity knocked"


clip_image004Stars and Stripes, Oct. 7, 1955
HANDS FULL - Harry S. Holt, farmer and sawmill operator, has his hands full trying to line up 12 Korean orphans for Stars and Stripes portrait in Seoul. The father of six children, Holt will adopt eight himself and (.?...) the four others to the States for adoption by other families. At left is Kathleen Cowan, a nurse who is accompanying him on the trip. A special act of Congress was passed to permit entry of the orphans who all have American fathers.
(S&S Photo by SP2 Charles P. Taylor)
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Pacific Stars and Stripes, Oct. 15, 1955

FARMER HOLT, 12 ORPHANS LAND IN US

Portland, OR (INS)- Twelve little foundlings from Korea-eight of them arrival.picadopted by Harry Holt, Creswell, Oregon farmer-arrived safely with Holt in the U.S. from the Far East in a Pan American stratocruiser, Friday.
The "stork plane" landed at Portland International Airport at 12:37p.m. (PST) (5:37 a.m. JST). The airliner was nearly seven hours late due to technical difficulties which caused a return to Wake Island for repairs.
New Relatives
A big crowd, including anxious relatives of the babies, reporters, radio, television and cameramen eagerly waited to catch a glimpse of the widely publicized waifs as they arrived in the land of their adoption 7,000 miles out of Seoul, Korea.
After initial greetings by the Holts, they and other new parents were grouped in the airport waiting room holding their children while cameras and television men worked.

Holt, who easily qualifies as the No. 1 mass-adoption father in the U.S. was glad to turn eight of the 12 tots over to his wife and their own six children who eagerly looked over their new brothers and sisters.

Four Go to Others

The remaining four youngsters were taken by three other American families. Holt came from the plane carrying one of the children while his wife paused long enough to take some pictures before entering the plane herself. She told her husband "you look wonderful."
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Farmer with Bumper Crop of Kids Takes Off for America with 12
holtfamily Pacific Stars and Stripes, Oct. 14, 1955



Tokyo (S&S)- Harry Holt flew into Tokyo International Airport Thursday night with planeload of angels in damp diapers.

The 50-year-old Oregon farmer and sawmill operator arrived from Seoul on a CAT airliner, shepherding his cargo of 12 sleepy orphans en route from unwanted loneliness to the warmth of American foster homes.

Holt is adopting eight of the mixed-blood Korean-American orphans. The other four will find homes with families in Oregon, Michigan, and Texas.

Unaware of Fame

As the air liner's door swung open, the graying, stocky Holt stepped out to blink into a glare of popping flashbulbs and newsmen's questions. He seemed unawares of the extent to which his act has fired the imagination of the world.

"Mr. Holt, this is a fantastic thing you're dong," a newsman said.

"Oh, I don't know," he drawled in a northwoods voice.

As the twelve children leaving the plane in the arms of stewards, stewardesses, pilots, mechanics and assorted well-wishers, Holt counted them softly under his breath as they filed by.


"I tried to retire a couple of years ago," he said with a grin, "but it wasn't much fun."

Interest by Film
bobpierce-wide_20060714142857

Dr. Bob Pierce of World Vision
Last December he became interested in the plight of mixed-blood Korean orphans after seeing a lecture and film sponsored by the World Vision organization of evangelist Bob Pierce.
 who_we_are_DrBobPierce_pic02

So he said to his wife, "Let's see if we can raise another family."
"All right," said Mrs. Holt, "we have room for eight."
First, Holt had to have special legislation passed in Congress to allow the children to be brought to the States.




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Stars & Stripes, March 10, 1956

Farmer to Seek 500 More ROK Orphans

CRESWELL, Ore. (UP)-Harry Holt, the Creswell farmer who last year brought 12 Korean War orphans to the U.S. and adopted eight of them himself, is going back for 500 more. Holt said he hoped to get American couples to adopt the children. Working with Holt is a religious organization which maintains orphanages in Korea. It was the organization which helped Holt cut through red tape to bring the 12 children to the U.S. last year.



Holt has less than 10 months to complete his rescue operation. The Refugee Relief Act under which the orphans may enter the U.S. expires at the end of the year. Holt said he will leave for his second trip to Korea in May, "maybe sooner."
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historical.side “My Adoptive Mom, Nadine Hortense BELL, heard the story of the Holts on radio while ironing clothes. She was one of the first to call and spoke with Bertha Holt, called by THOUSANDS of Adoptees and Adoptive Families as “GrandMa Holt”.




My Mom was told by Grandma that she was the first to call after the radio interview broadcast on AM radio, in 1955 just after they had landed with the 12 children, 8 of whom were adopted by Harry and Bertha Holt.”




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thestandardshockface
There is NOTHING SECRET OR PRIVATE ON FACEBOOK, MYSPACE, or PUBLIC FORUMS!! THEY ARE JUST THAT – PUBLIC, silly stupid fools. Group of 33 and Anti-Adoption Associates


Luke 12:3  “Therefore whatever you have spoken in darkness shall be heard in the light. And that which you have spoken in the ear in secret rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops.” 
I will spare and protect the ignorant or the innocent, BUT the suspicious AND snide remarks and mutterings of “interesting weekend” and other spurious comments SHALL BE PROCLAIMED for all to see. Friends and fellow Adoptees are watching you, “Group of 33”.
The Korean War Baby is still at WAR…but he must be Kinder, gentler, more loving…as he attacks- “What you say to each other”, nothing personal… TOO LATE already, some of your “comments on Facebook to each other” have been “Print Screened”, sent to me, and await later posting. Oh, some awful things you have so foolishly been said.
Though you have clicked “Remove from Friends” and “Hide and cast me out, it is nothing personal to ME.

BUT you cannot escape with impunity, Your words shall come back to haunt you. FYI, your Cell phone text messages are recorded for ONE YEAR. 

YOU should have listened, Group of 33, when I said this in my “Introduction sent to all (some) GOA’L members.
“Molly actually took care of my sister, she arrived after I left the country on May 21, 1956. So I will not take kindly to stupid ignorant slander against her. I will be your best friend OR your worst enemy. Be warned.”
GOD has forbidden that I resort to violence. YOU DON’T realize how close some of you have come to pushing me into the deepest MADNESS and BLACK thoughts of What I WANTED TO DO TO SOME OF YOU. But I have been chastened by my Father.
My zeal and passion is not quenched, I AM A MAN ON FIRE with a MISSION. I will live for that every moment.
WHO IS OUT THERE, WHO WILL STAND UP WITH ME?
SHOW ME YOUR HOW YOU FEEL, WHAT YOU BELIEVE,
TAKE ACTION, OR GET OUT OF THE WAY.
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holt1
Give respect to Harry Holt as a person, a simple man,
who did what he and his wife Bertha thought was
necessary. He only felt that
“Every Child deserves a Home”.

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DGordonBell_Jun YongSoo
6YrsOld_KindergardenPic_DGBell 
“Every Child deserves a Home”



“Not Abortion; nor Shameful Secret adoption by non-related Koreans; nor a Foster Home; nor an Institution until adulthood then out on your own!!! THIS is unacceptable.”
HoltMuseum_Logbook_A-20

 Don Gordon Bell
known as the
Korean War Baby says:
“Adoption is not the best solution, an original family that stays together would be best. But life is not always fair, “stuff” happens, families divorce, children are sometimes abused by natural parents as well as adoptive families.
In This Thing of Ours-Adoption, Domestic or International, there are a complex spectrum of stories and cases of individuals, over a period of over 60 years and with every conceivable experience recorded.
Each ONE of us Should/Must TRY to listen and hear without judgment to other’s stories and not generalize. No one wants to hear “You should feel Lucky” or “I was stolen and kidnapped, so ALL of you were too”. These are extremes! There is NO ALLL in this…No, EVERY.
We who were adopted from Korea
DO HAVE A BOND OF COMMON yet UNIQUE EXPERIENCES.
There is a Plethora (love that word) of differences yet similarities.
LET US AGREE TO RESPECT EACH
OTHER AT LEAST.
If you cannot do that even…IT CONTINUES.
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1 comment:

  1. Was a post-Korean war baby by GI Joe, and have never really felt at home anywhere. How's that for problems?

    ReplyDelete

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