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 9, 2010

SOLD/OUT Michael Arnold

SOLD/OUT Michael Arnold

“The Korean War Baby met Michael on Facebook and just tried to help connect him to people who could help. Michael sent me a first Draft of the script and I was impressed. Surprised when he asked me to play a part, (So, secret…If I told you, then I would have to kill you. LOL). Well, I had such a good time I stayed until late that night and helped the next day.

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

Michael Arnold returns to Korea on his final ‘Escapade’

Story by Charlie Parker

Filmmaker, writer, agent, actor, video blogger and event organizer, Michael Arnold, walks around Seoul like some modern day technological explosion of a one-man band.  His Sony Cybershot W-270 acts as his bass drum, thumping out videos for his popular YouTube site, a mini DV recorder his guitar, strumming stories of love lost, and his laptop his piano, with each depression of the keys a variation of octave and timbre, situating him at the forefront of indie filmmaking in Korea.

Michael's YouTube site, which has amassed over 1300 subscribers, is a significant cause to his success and recognition. His supporters follow him as he journeys within Seoul’s subway, eats his way through Korea’s menus, and carries out guerilla styled interviews with unsuspecting actors and friends, whose eyes bulge as they quickly rack their brains to reply.

Mr. Arnold has returned to South Korea to film his first feature length movie ‘Escapade’, a love story about “how there is no good love without pain and complication.”  Michael writes, acts and directs the action, helped by a merry troupe of expats and Koreans who are either looking for a taste of independent filmmaking or trying to build up their own experience. Reminiscent of Steve Zissou and his band of filmmakers and adventurers in Wes Anderson’s ‘Life Aquatic’, Michael appears to be somewhat of a lost soul who is looking for himself (as much as his movie)

amongst the streets of Seoul. 

Muttering through the smoke of a lit cigarette, Michael reflects, “all filmmakers want to tell stories through their eyes so the world can understand them better, maybe compensation for that chronic sense of being alone or the only person on this mortal coil that feels or thinks like we do.”

As filming got underway in the first weekend of February, Michael continued to document the entire process via YouTube with a bevy of footage. The recorded uploads consist of Michael invading the personal space of unwilling interviewees, asking routine questions of where they’re from and what they’re doing. As the unwitting subject answers, he allows the camera to wander, oftentimes overdubbing narration, throwing in the odd cheesy gag and giving the lowdown on Seoul’s downtown. It ends with a close up of the Canadian filmmaker delivering a final reflection about the day, before the camera spins and the action ends.

Justifying his reasoning for the excessive YouTube uploading, Michael explains, “As a kid I was always the one to try different things to explore and invent.  I still do that, just I'm no longer a kid.  But I still have that curiosity, this time with a camera in tow.”
It’s the quantity of videos which create the interesting spectacle. The audience is able to follow Michael throughout his adventure with almost ‘Truman Show’ like access, except of course he knows the camera is there.

Though Michael is full of confidence, he doesn’t come across as someone on an ego trip.  To the contrary, he surfaces as the lonely child collecting insects in hope of having something to talk to. Michael reasons that perhaps it was compensation for the sense of being alone, though possibly it’s not the movies which are the reward, but instead the YouTube videos he creates.  Whatever the case, the online channel provides an interesting account of one man’s journey in search of his dreams.

Highlighted here are two such examples from a database of over 1400 videos. While the first is typical of Michael’s personal space invasion and running commentary (it’s the first upload from the making of ‘Escapade’), the second is a unique example, encapsulating random moments of bizarre circumstance while highlighting the inherent beauty of urban life.

With the filming of 'Escapade' underway, Sold/Out wishes Michael all the best for the project.  However, we can't help but wonder…even if the film hits the right notes at the film festivals, will it be his video upload addiction that will serve as his most complete song?

Check out Michael’s You Tube channel here

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Arnold 마이클 아놀드
Hello
First Came To Korea in 1994. Then back and forth many times until January 2002 and didnt go back. Shortly after coming back I was asked to do some extra parts in Some TV Dramas. One thing lead to another and i found myself very involved in the foreign entertainment business. I did acting from when I was young but never thought it would end up here in Korea some years later so active. I now run a Foreign Talent agent as well as I'm an
Independent Film Maker and act as much as I can I will continue to follow my Passion and Dreams. By Acting and Making Indie Movies. Until maybe one day I get recognition for my work.
Thank you all the subscribers and viewers for the kindness and support
Michael Arnold
★Passion Vision Love and Ambition★
My Homepages:
http://www.facebook.com/mic...
http://twitter.com/mikeinkorea
http://www.youtube.com/mich...
http://www.youtube.com/mike...
http://myspace.com/mikeinkorea
http://www.cyworld.com/mich...
http://www.flickr.com/photo...

Hometown: Vancouver

Country: South Korea

Occupation: Actor,Independent Film Maker,Casting Director,wroter,producer

Companies: XP Talent

Hobbies: Seeking,Searching,Curious,Adventure Gypsy ^^


#6 - Most Subscribed (All Time) - Reporters - South Korea
#7 - Most Viewed (This Week) - Reporters - South Korea
#16 - Most Viewed (This Month) - Reporters - South Korea
#6 - Most Subscribed (All Time) - Reporters - South Korea
#7 - Most Viewed (This Week) - Reporters - South Korea
#16 - Most Viewed (This Month) - Reporters - South Korea
#12 - Most Viewed (All Time) - Reporters - South Korea

 

This was my 5th and 6th shooting day to help as Continuity/Clapper Board/Still photographer/Craft Service/ etc. What a blast to the past. Wish I could earn money doing this! Ready to more on from teaching, back to MY love film making. Michael and I will be looking at some future projects related to This Thing of Ours-Adoption.

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