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 25, 2010

Jan's Story-Dongari Switzerland



Dae-won Wenger

Kim Dae-Won - 김대원

Alias - Jan Wenger (???)

1994 Cofounder of Dongari Switzerland (with REV. Kim DoHyun)

1994 – 1999 Head Editor, Dongari News

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http://www.dongari.ch/english.htm





Dongari Switzerland is an association for Korean adoptees in Switzerland. It was founded in January 1994 and has steadily grown from 8 members to around 150 members in 1997. There are about 1200 Korean adoptees living in Switzerland which is a rather small group compared to the official number of 132'000 all over the world. There are even estimates from 150'000 to 200'000.

We organize several activities such as picnic, ski-weekend, panel-discussions etc. Many of our members have found their birthparents or relatives in Korea (some even through the help of Dongari) and have since visited their motherland. Dongari tries to support its members by offering a platform where everything about Korea and adoption can be discussed. We do have several connections to the Korean community in Switzerland and to Korea. Dongari's official publication is the "Dongari News" that appears twice a year.

After a longer period, the Dongari homepage is arisen. We know that the old version of this site was published in english. In the mean time, there have been several changes inside the Dongari association. In the matter of fact this association is primary for Adoptees living in Switzerland and we have restricted resources and human manpower. We decided to publish this site in the future only in german.

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. We wish him a good time and hope to hear from him.

Don't worry. The most important information concerning adoption, family search and links to other organisations and adoption agencies are also available in english.

http://www.dongari.ch/adoption.htm

At the bottom under this banner we find:


(Many different stories of Swiss Adoptees with various experiences are shared.)

At the bottom of the page we find THIS:


AHA, “Jan’s Geschichte” (Jan's Story) Hmmmm. Who is Jan? Let’s click on it and find out:

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http://www.dongari.ch/content/adoption/stories/jan.htm


My name is Jan and I was adopted at age 4 1/2 to a family in Switzerland - along with my older brother.Korea and the first year in Switzerland I knew pretty soon that I will search for my birthmother. Although I do not have any memories of the time in

I started in 1984 or 1985 by sending some letters. At first I wrote to the Korean Embassy in Berne but all I received were some promotional material about Korea. That was not the information I was looking for. The next step was the adoption agency. Here in Switzerland this agency is called "Terre des Homme". There I had more success. I received a file from the agency with some details about me and my brother.

Unfortunately the details on the files were pretty the same. We were told by the agency and by our parents that we were full orphans. But my brother and I knew and never talked about it. We had a birthmother... With those files on hand I thought that the search might be easier than I ever thought. I continued my efforts and put a lot of strength into this search.

In 1990 I participated at the YWCA summerschool and there I met Korean adoptees for the first time. There were so many from the Netherlands. During that stay (three weeks only) I got my paperwork with me and one day we went to the K.S.S. (Korea Social Service).

But we were hardly in the building when I had some really bad feelings. And when it was my turn the director himself told me what was more of less.

How I found her

In 1994 I participated at the CCEJ World Conference For Young Koreans Living Abroad. It took place in August 1994 and started in Tokyo, Japan. There were delegations from many countries all over the world and the group of Swiss participants were the only Korean adoptees at this conference.

After Tokyo we went to Osaka, travelled then back to Seoul where we took some coaches and went down to Kyung-ju. We went on a sight-seeing tour through Korea, stayed overnight in a small village with traditional houses (it was very hot...) and watched some traditional Korean folkdances.

Back in Seoul we stayed at first at the National Reunification Center where we held some conferences and panel-discussions about how the reunification could be supported and how it should work. Later we also went on a trip to the DMZ (De-militarised Zone) at the border to North Korea. That time Kim Sung-Il just died and for that reason we were not allowed to go into Panmunjom. But I knew that place from a previous visit (YWCA 1990).

During that stay in the National Reunification Center I was interviewed by a journalist of the Chosun-Ilbo, which is one of the national newspapers. And on August 16, 1999 the following article appeared:

(NOTE: Written in Chinese style RIGHT to Bottom, then Right column to LEFT columns. 金대완 – Mr. Kim Dae-Won just before #26 on the RIGHT side under 색연필

And the very day my family contacted me over the phone. I was almost paralyzed and after three hours of waiting I was there with my family. My birthmother came along with my two aunts and some cousins. I left the conference (it was the night before the last day...) and went to my aunt's flat in Seoul. We talked a lot (with the help of my small dictionary) and since I only knew a little bit Korean I was only able to get some information. The next day we went to the Chosun-Ilbo building in Seoul (thank god that my uncle owns a taxi...) and we met the journalist to thank him for his article. I was interviewed again and another article about my reunion appeared on August 19, 1999.

Jan Wenger

Last updated: 17.05.2003
www.dongari.ch - © Copyright 2003 by Dongari - alle Rechte vorbehalten.

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This is a wonderful story of reunion despite the roadblocks and red tape that tried to block a persistent adoptee from finding he and his brother's roots and birth/natural mother. We do not know the relationship with the Adoptive Parents and other family members, what was their feelings or did they ‘help’ with the searching process, this would help Adoptive families DEAL with this sensitive but necessary issue. This was published in Chosun Daily, Korea on AUG. 1999, and posted on Dongari Switzerland’s website.



It SEEMS that Kim Dae-Won and Jan Wenger are the same person…But why is the story TOO PERSONAL to share with the Korean War Baby when he simply asked “Dae-Won Wenger” what his Adoption Story was just last November, 2010?

Dae-Won or JAN! Why did you not share this very PUBLIC story to me personally, when I asked you? You told me at that time, "it is too personal" and I accepted that with respect, as it seems that some Europeans sometimes are more closed, unlike most Americans. I did though, think it a little strange that you as leader of GOA’L would not share your own personal story to GOA'L members who would benefit from your PERSONAL STORY.

WELL, seems that you DID SHARE IT...under your SWISS NAME. Since it IS PUBLICLY OUT THERE ON THE INTERNET, I thought others could learn and benefit from your own personal story.

I believe that your story is very important and some of the MISINFORMATION, possible LIES and PROBLEMS that happened when Jan Wenger/Kim Dae-Won/Dae-Won Wenger tried to find his birth mother SHOULD BE TOLD.

YES, when there are problems with government and Adoption Agencies then hold their FEET TO THE FIRE. In such cases, by all the gods you may believe in, this must be corrected.

金대완 – Mr. Kim Dae-Won/

Jan Wenger /

Dae-Won Wenger

So perhaps JAN’S STORY explains somethings about MR. JAN WENGER, formerly known as DAE-WON WENGER, and now back to KIM Dae-Won (well legally not until he can DO that after Duel Citizenship is signed into LAW in 2011).

Do you REALLY expect us to believe that YOU are NEUTRAL on the issues of adoption? Seems to me that you might be a bit upset about it...do you really, really feel neutral after such problems that you faced with government and Adoption Agencies?

"we went to the K.S.S. (Korea Social Service).

But we were hardly in the building when I had some really bad feelings."

Do your bad feelings still persist? Do you want to stop others from "losing their culture, language, family". It would seem likely, and who could blame you. WHY did she give up TWO fine SONS, we surely would like to know more of the story.

Why did you hide from me and others your own story? Did you think your relationship with Rev. KIM DoHyun as CO-FOUNDERS of Dongari_Switzerland in 1994 would not be understood. This causes some concern of your real neutrality in the issues of Stopping Adoption to other countries. You have not published to GOA'L members YOUR STORY for members. Please let them know the WHOLE story someday, now that you are a Board of Director and will CHOOSE THE NEXT Secretary General along with your "friend/mentor?" Rev. Kim DoHyun.

What IS exactly IS your relationship with Rev. Kim DoHyun, who has done marvelous work for adoptees over the years, during the time of his stay in Switzerland. His founding of KoRoot as a place of refuge and base for visiting Korean Adoptees has benefited hundreds. The Korean War Baby has talked with him many times on the issues.

Rev. Kim, Please let us know exactly what you think about STOPPING ALL OVERSEAS ADOPTIONS as the FIRST STEP. Is this your OWN idea of the perfect solution? ASK co-founder KIM STOKER has expressed to me many times- "stopping overseas adoption will force Korean people to take care of their own?" I have argued that some of their reasons seem slightly flawed, such as "Korea is now a well off country, number 13th economy, they should take care of their children." THIS IS NOT logical, only from a WESTERN mindset that ignored the reality of BLOODLINES that perhaps a majority of Korean still consider strongly. The shame of NOT being able to have a child especially a SON is also very very strong in the majority of cases, thus the reasons that 97 to 98% of the 11 babies adopted each DAY are SECRETLY DONE.

REV. KIM, you hold a very strong influence on the ASK membership, Kim Su Rasmussen and many of the Group of 33. Would you publicly state your position on this matter? Are you also pledged to claim "Neutrality" but want to "POLITICIZE" GOA'L with your close friend Jan Wenger, alias Dae-Won Wenger, now known as Kim Dae-Won?

TO Jan Wenger, alias Dae-Won Wenger, now known as Kim Dae-Won-Did the Rev. KIM DoHyun actually help you find your birth mother in August 16, 1999? That would be a wonderful story to share with GOA’L members. Are you uncomfortable with your close relationship, why did you tell ME, the KWB, you only knew each other since you became Secretary General of GOA’L in 2004? I am curious about that.

PERHAPS you could share these things before you and the other Board of Directors meet and CHOOSE the NEXT Anti-Adoption Adoptee Associate as the Secretary General of “Neutral

Global (NOT) Only-members-in-Korea Adoptees’ Lies

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