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 1, 2010

Letter from a Brother-in-arms


Hello Brother,

I thought I would send an email, as I have read your blog (part of my daily ritual) and, having conversed with you often via our fantastic Skype connection, I see that you are having difficulties with your organization/s (particularly the European contingent).

Let me start by saying that I have known you since 1976 when we were shooting the now epic “Apocalypse Now”. We had only been out of the military and Vietnam for a mere 3 years. I remember a wiry dude with glasses who thought nothing about getting in a “face” and setting that person on the right path. Most people knew that they had better just shut up as they were dealing with the real thing and to continue to debate would end up badly for them. I was often amused watched this, hoping the “person” in the Hot Seat would keep flapping his gums so I could see a good ass kicking. We called him Crazy Don for that and other reason best left unsaid.

Through the years Don, you and I became more than just good friends. We became brothers! I have never met a person with more conviction and passion as you. A man who, if given half a chance, would show you that he had a heart of gold! A man who always had your back!

Further, I know, what many people don’t, your passion of being an adoptee and your life long mission of finding your birth mother. I also know your passion of “Right To Life”, and helping other adoptees cope with being an “Adoptee”.

If these other adoptees, had been through what you have, seen what you have, perhaps they wouldn’t be trying to derail all that, that what you have put into your organization/s. But they haven’t.  At this point I must point out to these silly Europeans, that they have their heads up their respective assholes and don’t know shit from shinola. I can already see that they are just so full of themselves as the Europeans usually are. They are all opinionated and think only “they” have the right answers. Well the keyword here is “Opinions”. Let me be blunt. Opinions are like assholes. Everybody has one, except that like assholes, some smell worse than others. So my advice to these morons’ keep your mouth shut and you might learn something.

I guess what these idiots don’t realize is that Korea has adopted voting and election policy from the United States. This also goes for companies and private organizations. The “European Way” has no bearing in Korea whatsoever. Taking this even further, I can say with certainty that the European way is idiotic and moronic and is the main reason Nazi Germany was able to take over Europe years ago. It is time for a wake up call for you people.

Now, before anybody calls me homophobic, a word to the wise, don’t! But, I do have this to say. Why is it that gays in general are so outspoken? Let me just point out this fact. You aren’t clear about which gender you really are. Having said that, how can you be so sure that what you are talking about is so right? I rest my case!

Brother it is time for you to lay out the facts and figures. Speak well and speak loud! The rest of you, it is time to quit acting like a bunch of little girls and listen. Oh, before I forget, those of you who aren’t even an adoptee. Shut the fuck up and mind your own Goddamned business.

Well, I guess this is all for now. I just wish I was there so I could crack some heads for you!

Your Brother,


Nick Nicholson
***************************************************************
I knew the first time I met Nicholson and we 'sized each other up' after being introduced, that we would become better than brothers, because we were comrades-in-arms. We never had to share many details, you know..."went out on a rescue, got the pilot, got shot down...". 'Nuff said, nothing more needed to be said. There might be some ignorant type who would always ask, "Well, what happend?" Nick would just look at the guy, shake his head and walk away.

Hey, by the way, some of my other best friends are in the gay/lesbian/Extreme Liberal Socialists and The Korean War Baby makes no excuses for his friends. I have always sought relationships with persons of all color, creed, race, ethnicity, sexual preferences (Um Hmm... learned a lot from lesbian friends- but I digress.).

No one in Korea can accuse me of being prejudice. But the one thing I cannot stand is a backstabber, cry baby or a liar. I want only great friends, the lackluster passionless may go off to their "life's pleasures" but I don't have time for them.  I would rather tangle with Kim Su Rasmussen on the issues of This Thing of Ours-Adoption because as much as I HATE his logic, he can express his wrong ideas with such immensely grandiose eloquence that makes my head spin, my brain take a couple of moments to digest it all. 

KIM SU (SilSeung) Rasmussen I challenge you to debate the issues, in any forum just me and four of your Gang of 33. Bring your theories, facts, charts, and impressive awe inspiring rhetoric and I will bring my simple minded brain with clear understandable logic and put my HEART on the table. Will you take up the challenge or continue to be at WAR.

Tell us the truth of your plans, I have exposed you, now defend your Purpose. Better to give voice and admit your plan. For I am challenging you, I am formerly JUN Yong Soo, of a Korean woman and an American of Spanish/Mexican/Chiricahua Apache blood and through adoption a Don Gordon Bell of the "Bloody Bells" of Middlebie Parrish, Dumfriesshire County, West Marches of the Lowlands of Scotland. The Bells were one of the Unruly Clans that raided across the border, Border Reivers of the riding clans. My name was written into the Bell family register, but that will never happen over here in Korea. 

Time is a precious commodity, Someone once said, "Where you put your TIME, Energy, and Money tells WHO you are and what you believe." So Show us the MONEY, give me your TIME, give your Energy to intellectual battle of words!!! 

Face me in debate with a team, I will meet you with any others who will be with me on the issues. I throw down the gauntlet, I will 'slap your face as a gentleman with my glove' and we can get down with it, rhetoric vs. rhetoric, pitting your logic against yours.

  Bring it on.

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