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 22, 2010

Supply and Demand in Adoptions

Supply and Demand in Adoptions-Washington Post

Adoption's Numbers Mystery

By Jeff Katz
Saturday, November 8, 2008

Tens of thousands of children in foster care nationwide grow older each year waiting to be adopted, yet a government agency has found that there are far more women seeking to adopt children than there are children awaiting adoption. So why aren't the laws of supply and demand working in U.S. adoptions?

There are three primary sources of "supply" for adoption -- newborns, foreign-born children and children in foster care. The first two groups are small and shrinking. Because most women giving birth out of wedlock now raise their children, fewer newborns are available for adoption. Indeed, the study reported, "Relinquishment of infants at birth is extremely rare." Meanwhile, recent changes in international law are likely to reduce the number of international adoptions. Even without those changes, adopting a child internationally is complicated and beyond the financial reach of most Americans.

In 2007, there were fewer than 19,000 international adoptions.

Currently, the greatest number of children in need of adoptive families are in foster care. The Department of Health and Human Services reported on Sept. 30, 2006, the latest date for which figures are available, that 129,000 foster children were waiting to be adopted.

Here is where the data become interesting. Each woman in the National Survey of Family Growth who is seeking to adopt was asked about the characteristics of the child she would "prefer" to adopt or would "accept." The answers are eye-opening when compared with the facts that Health and Human Services has made public about the children waiting to be adopted. Consider:

· 521,400 survey respondents said they would adopt a black child. In fact, there were 41,591 black children in foster care waiting to be adopted -- or, 12.5 prospective parents for each waiting child.

· 351,600 respondents said they would adopt children ages 6 to 12. There were 46,136 children ages 6 to 12 in foster care -- or, 7.6 prospective parents for each waiting child.

· 185,400 said they would adopt a child age 13 or older. There were 30,654 children age 13 or older in foster care -- or, six prospective parents for each waiting child.

Additionally, 181,800 respondents said they would adopt children with severe disabilities, and 447,000 said they would adopt two or more siblings at once.

The numbers do not add up. If 600,000 women are seeking to adopt and many of them are willing to adopt children with the profile of those in foster care (older children, minorities, children with disabilities), why do so few women actually adopt children from foster care?

Last year, Health and Human Services reported, fewer than 8,000 children were adopted by parents with whom they did not already have a relationship.

Sadly, the gap between supply and demand in adoption isn't surprising. The Listening to Parents project, which I founded, has studied the experience of people adopting children from foster care since 2002. We have found that for every 1,000 people who call a public child welfare agency seeking to adopt, only 36 do so. Far too many parents we have interviewed describe the agencies they dealt with as bureaucratic and unwelcoming. Far too many agencies view their primary response in adoption as screening out "bad" parents rather than recruiting good ones.

foster_care_stay Contrast two of the locations we studied for a 2005 report: In San Jose, everyone calling to inquire about adoption was invited to a meeting designed to inform prospective parents about the children available and to get parents into the training program. In Miami, everyone calling to inquire about adoption was required to fill out a two-page questionnaire, over the phone, that included sensitive personal and financial information. Those who "passed" the call were invited to an information meeting that began with an announcement that all attendees would be fingerprinted at the front of the room. Is it any wonder that a prospective parent in San Jose was 12 times more likely to adopt than a prospective parent in Miami?

It is, of course, important that those responsible for arranging adoptions secure safe, appropriate homes for children. And many agencies have improved their procedures. But too many public child welfare agencies still serve as barriers rather than as roads to adoption. If we could remove the barriers, the demand for adoption would better match the supply -- and every waiting child in America could have a family.

Jeff Katz is founder of the Listening to Parents project. This column appeared in an early edition of The Post on Nov. 5.

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

This Report is astounding yet gives us reasons for the GAP and the possible causes. Perhaps the restrictions are just too much and need to be re-evaluated.

All you who advocate "Just stop the trade and the people will HAVE to do something need to understand How KOREANS feel about adoption period. The number of CIVIL PRIVATE adoptions (such as the Dutch Couple who abandoned their Korean "daughter") are nearly DOUBLE the so called "domestic" adoptions sanctioned through the government and the four "evil adoption agencies".

The number of children in 2007 born to unwed mothers was 7774, and breaks down to about 21 each day. Seven were kept by their mothers (this is a great improvement from 1984 when it was less than 5.7% now it is 37% in 2009); then 3.4 were ICA/Overseas/Transnational exports-I was one of Korea's first exports in 1956; then 3.6 were Domestic adoptions sorry but the government loves to show that Domestic is finally larger in numbers (dom-1308 and ICA-1250 in 2008 according to MOHWFA); we have accounted for 14 babies under one year old.

Where did the seven go? I have uncovered the information that the 7 were probably adopted in CIVIL adoptions. This together with the 3.6 equals 10 or 11 children EACH DAY and of these adopted into Korean society, how many do you think are told that they were adopted?


Bet you don't know, come on over to the korean war baby Search the blog with Lijit search wigit. You will find that 97% even 98% are SECRETLY adopted and NEVER TOLD, but some do find out.

Then tell me that Korea will take care of its own, disabled children, children over 5 months old, and just plain LEFT-Over from the “Demand from Korean couples”. Korean couples overseas are not given the chance to adopt because the AGE restrictions are 45 years for both husband and wife, but in KOREA it has been extended to 60!! HOW IS THAT WORKING? Not to darn well, each year there are children under one year left-over.

What about women will they have no choice to GIVE UP if they DON"T want to take care of their child.

20 Oh, and 1,000 to 4,000 women (government vs. Doctors figures) CHOSE to ABORT each day in the land of the morning calm.


Korea allow “procedures to eliminate unwanted pregnancies” up to 24 weeks.

10_weeks-10 WE NEED TO RECONCILE THE FACTS WITH THE MINDSET of the  Korean people. While Abortion continues up until the 24th week for Rape, Incest, Mental disease, Physical deformities, and health of the woman. Many women simply tell the doctor that they took cold medicine and worry about the fetus being ‘perfect’. In reality, Doctors with Pro-Life OB/GYNs claim that most of the 4,000 abortions done EVERY DAY, and they know the prescriptions numbers. Abortion has been used as a form of Contraception. Few women realize the size of their ‘fetal matter’ as they are told.

Recently in this year, the government made a ‘wonderful’ plan and cause the price of abortions to soar upwards to over 3 times the normal cost. From 300,000 KWon to 1,000,000 KWon in small clinics and from 1 million to 2 million in large hospitals. The butchers have raised their fees, some women are going to China.

When the supply is dried up, as in Australia unwed mothers now rarely give up for adoption because the system supports them.

Only then will the Supply of babies, perhaps later the Special Needs and older children may also ‘dry up’. DEMAND have to shift to another country.


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LAST YEAR, 1,250 babies and children were UNWANTED BY Korean people, WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO THEM? Soon the KWB will document with stories and on film the conditions of the institutes that children grow up in ALL THEIR LIVES.

No!! My friends and all you younger Adoptee brethren- Overseas or InterCountry Adoptions must continue until that future time when Korean people will see and feel the need to take care of its own. It is yet future.

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