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

Gang of 33- member #24 Comments


#24 said...
I love the media. You talk advocate neutrality yet you seem to only tell one side of the story.
I have asked for even demanded that your side answer. I know how Your side thinks. Not you, personally. So let me thank you for this opportunity to dialogue and we may engage in reasonable debate. I do think you mean the “media Hype”. Oh course, I use this hype to ‘preach to the choir’ to those who have taken the time to look at all the facts involved.

Greetings, I am, hmm, just a random number, member 24 of the gang of 33.


You talk about how
we were the voice for that made decisions for the adopted yet it seems that you have become our voice so what does that make you? I am not sure how you can generalize what people were thinking when they voted or in some cases didn't vote. I have never talked or have shared my thoughts with you so I am not sure how you can isolate me in a group and verbally lash out at me. Wait a second, you did tell me that the upper left button was coffee and sugar. So unless you can read minds, in that case you are in the business, you should also quit generalizing.
I have not become your voice but I know your leaders thinking. How well do you know Kim Stoker, Jenny Na, Kim Su Rasmussen and their writings. How about Tobias Hubbinette, Prof. Smolin, Jane Jeong Trenka, Jennifer Kwon Dobbs. I don’t recognize you having been here for long in Korea. At least at ASK or TRACK meetings. BUT NO, I don’t know you, perhaps but you all did have a plan of action.

When a group does not allow all members to vote(by electronic means hey this is the 21st century-or did you vote willy nilly with the signals) this is what happens. I have studied the voices of both Korean and International writers far more brilliant than I, that address the woes of adoption. I lash out at the collective ideas that THEY generalize because their logic is flawed, it assumes that Allness the Everyness of their speech is wrong.

As for Ms. Holt, you got your numbers totally wrong, there were only 11 people that voted her back in. There were 49 voters there (which is still up for debate) so that means a gang of 38 (give or take a few) (WRONG, he is counting GUESTS.) voted her out. Me personally I didn't vote for or against because I don't know anything about her, or about anybody else except Pastor Kim which I voted for.

WTF, you don't know anything about Molly Holt? Say What? Pleeeease, are you for real? As you say, Numbers were up for debate, nothing was organized again, lists of members were incomplete, non members (Yeah, who knew, a few of them just signed up as members that day), votes were taken with raised hands and some "guests" were raising their hands until they were asked to step to the side.


The staff had no idea if "newly signed up members" they were even Adoptees there was no passport check. One guy I spoke to remained quiet, Hmmm, I have never met an Adoptee from anywhere who could not speak English.  


It was a complete fuck up prior, during, and after. Where are you Nicole Sheppard when we need you? (Nicole was there, but had nothing to do with organizing the event, she always ran a well organized tight ship, but I digress.

There were always on certain matter 11 for and 11 against but the 22 that were counted over and over consistently showed a block of 33. Thus I get the catchy phrase Gang of 33. I guess that some got tired but most votes were planned to be 22 Abstentions. EUROPEAN rules, don't count in KOREA. It is not a legal election.
 
I have more distain by the way, for the lazy members who did not come to vote, as you may have noted. Rev. Kim DoHyun I respect but his views are clearly known. Do you know? Come back to me with what YOU think he feels on Civil and Domestic, (Not being flippant with you, since we have not had a beer or sojo together,  I must ask, do you know the difference) for we know he wants to stop ICA (Intercountry Adoptions). He is against adoption period even domestic and Civil adoptions. 

He only wants to promote mothers keeping their children. He and I discussed during the showing of Resilience how I think I have uncovered figures that show the number of Civil adoptions. As long as Korea has CIVIL adoptions by the way, it CANNOT sign the Hague Convention on Adoption.
For everybody else, the meeting was ugly. I am not going to lie. There is a lack of leadership, which became evident, but I think Don paints it in a somewhat extreme way.
Extreme way? Younger Brother, and I would note that I respect all branches of the service, as serving OUR country. The extremeness to me was the way I saw Jan Wenger alias Daewon Wenger alias Daewon Kim, show his true colors. In my next post I will show the next part of the picture that fell into piece on that night. Do you know that Wenger would never tell me his adoption story, I only knew he was Swiss, said his story was personal that he did not want it published even. Hey to each their own some want to search some don’t.

In January, 2010, we discussed the ASK dinner meeting of 23 Jan. near KoRoot and JAN WENGER told me that he had announced that he was getting out to the GOA’L staff the week prior. That made sense because the staff did not look like they were surprised. But how much of this do you know about?Apparently NONE.

I love how passionate you are
, but the 180 you just made is a little dis concerning. You claim to be part of the Jar Head clan yet it seems you have given up when the organization might need you the most. Were you a Sierra Tango or a Blue Falcon? Because that is how you are coming off.

Jan Wenger, Do you know who I am talking about? I once believed he WAS NEUTRAL, HE is the one to flip 180, I believe he is showing his true colors.This ignorant bastard who doesn't know jack about Molly Holt, now calls me names? A soldier even does not speak to a Marine like you do, ASSHOLE.  You say to me, "you claim to be part of the Jar Head clan". Hey, I got great respect for the other services but folks, THIS is an Army soldier #24 Shit Talking to ME?

Where the fucking hell are you at meetings for UNWED MOTHERS, JackASS? Are you too busy? I don't think I have ever seen you before. Love to meet with weapon of your choice, knives, clubs, boken, staff, you name it I will beat your fucking ass. Fighting with words and knowledge is impossible for you are unarmed. Young punk ass, piece of shit. Bring it on, name a place, I will teach you a lesson, then send you back to Chile where you must have been adopted.
 
Please keep reading because the details are coming. I HAVE NOT GIVEN UP Rather I am fighting to overturn the election for wrongly using European Rules of Order, when Korea follows the US. Robert’ Rules of Order, which mind you I sorta remembered but that night I was flummoxed, because they counted the ABSTENTIONS. That is done in European NGO and some organizations. BUT GOA’L is a KOREAN NGO.


Do you see, I am fighting to prevent the faction that I DO know many of them fairly well, sorry I remember you but we never have sat down and compared knowledge or opinions.
One of the plans I mentioned, you recall, is a sort of Virtual Wall that would have a way of putting a each person’s story with as much as he/she/other want to put in. We all rarely get a chance in big meetings.

HEY, I’ll buy you dinner at 3 Alley Pub, Itaewon on some Tuesday night for Ribs or wings. ON ME. Soldier who can't seem to make the time to be involved to do anything. just talk your shit. Most of the male adoptees come here and run a round making babies, drinking soju. I don't recall ever seeing you before, you sure could not read the Korean coffee machine.

Because perhaps as you DO read more and between the “Rush Limbaugh” stuff you will see more interesting facts.

I WILL NOT LET THIS ORGANIZATION BE FUCKED OVER. Why do you think I am at War? With non involved punks like you.
 
As for the SG voting, there wasn't a clear candidate. Seth, you probably should have been there, you want to represent an organization but you can't show up to speak, no love, no sympathy. Courtney, really never answered any of the questions directly, but she did talk a lot. Julie, she wasn't able to make a complete statement let alone answer the question. You could see she was nervous. And Don don't you think if we put her in that position she would have won? Not to mention she left the dinner before even ordering with her fellow crew. Way to stay classy, but she looked the most professional. And you Don, most passionate, but you and I know you lack some of the skills it will take to manage an organization.
SG, “there wasn’t a clear candidate.” WELL, DUH. Seth was promised a Sykpe connection but suddenly it could not be done. Computers were working at the back of the room and I was told, no technicians available. He was my best hope.  

Apparently you don’t know that it was NOT INTENDED for anyone to win? Please read the later posts you will see why. Weren’t you briefed about this? Or did you just follow along, soldier, without asking? Another thing Cunt, you don't know me, do you. I could run that office much better than it has been. For one thing I would be kicking some butts to get things DONE, get order.
Certainly not Ms. Courtney, for she is considered an enemy just because she works with Holt Intl. considered anathema by most of you. Except you, because I don’t know what you do believe. Shall I refer to you as Gang member #24?  (I have the lists though, checking it twice.) Don't Know Molly Holt, Oh, this is killing me, where do you come from? Were you adopted at all?
 
Julie Jong KOCH (Facebook 'friend' her and ask her how in 3 MONTHS she has the audacity to insult us to apply for the Secretary General). GET OUT OF SEOUL, JULIE. She did the job she was supposed to do, be a “straw person candidate” I do not fault her as much as the “leaders”.

I, the passionate dumb fucker who believed in Daewon’s desire for neutrality, intended to pull out and run for a BoD. AS Daewon tried to get me to do. He even told me “you would have to stop blogging, too sensitive if you won SG.

So I applied for both. DiD you see my name on nominations for BOD? NO!! What happened, ask Jan-Daewon. I know that I could manage the organization better than the two ladies. I know more about Korea and adoption that YOU and 90% of the people in that room last Saturday, in my pinky finger.
Seth was my hope and mature enough to do the job. Terry was good too but he could not commit to full time so had to withdraw. Courney had all the chips stacked against her as she worked for Holt. You see, I wanted to know the personal feelings of the person on all matters but none of the questions addressed them clearly and members did not get enough time to read the EMAILS SENT ON FRIDAY THE 26th of March. Please inform me what do you say on these weighty matters?

What your Leaders wanted, Gang member #24, was a deadlock, which of course happened. The next step is that the New Board of Directors will meet, perhaps after local elections are finished in two months. Meanwhile, I believe that the Vice-SG was appointed Interim SG, but she is not clear on this.
Your answers show me that you did not know exactly the purposes of the leadership. Thus I can not blame you too much. You were perhaps unaware of the plans of Kim Su Rasmussen and Rev. Kim DoHyun? 

People told me that you were a good guy and I needed to meet you. And I was excited to do so until I started reading your blog for the first time. But I will have to assume that you really don't care.

 
Don’t CARE?  surely you jest or are you trying to Jack us all off? Read more my fiend, it may be you buying the first round. Go back before, on my posts and you will read how much I have been involved.You KNOW little my friend.

I have given more time and energy to this than most in Korea. I will not just walk away, I am fighting. Keep reading, you seem like someone who need more information and you will be getting it from a Me. Maybe YOU will be on my side or YOU will step up into leadership. Hell, I am 58 thought I would just be a BOD and help get more money raised.
BUT DO YOU THINK I WOULD HAVE BEEN ELECTED A Board member? Hell no.

To all the other adoptee's we are just letting ourselves down.
If there is a leader among us, you care about the future, then you need to step up. It is too easy to point the finger at others.

I would also like a name for our gang. Maybe you can come up with a couple names and we can vote on it. We also need a gang sign.


Well, I will ask my other readers for them to give you a name. BUT see this is what I tried to avoid for so long, US and THEM. For now I will continue to call you the "Gang of 33 who don't know shit" who do not seem to know all that their leaders REALLY believe. I am certain after your diligent research and digesting the facts you will come to change your mind. Do keep engaging and try to learn who you are voting for before raising your hand next time.

At least you are keepin' it real, well at least from your perspective.

I am the most motherfucking Real bastard you will met over here. My perspective has always been recorded as the middle, what I will not allow are under-informed people like yourself who demand the majority of adoptees to follow ANY one group. I have over 200 posts on what I believe, and where I stand...show me what you believe. I am fightin' MAD, bitch! come on down to test my mettle any GOD Damn day of the week. 

"Don't like my language, so what, look at the facts"
**************************************
I will NOT change anything I have written as far as profanity is concerned, only excuse is that I went TOO Far into the Darkness of my Soul, AGAIN. But the GRACE of GOD, his unmerited unearned Mercy has been extended to me, AGAIN. "Though he slay me, I will trust in Him."

Will Wonders Never Cease!!!

UPDATE April 2 : Received this email (But have agreed to keep secret identity - since HE is the ONLY one with guts to contact the Korean War Baby.

Oh, also his initial is NOT "T" but I digress...here are selected outtakes, without clues identifying "The only one of the Group of 33 that has some guts:

From Group of 33, #24 wrote:

"Don,
First I would like to apologize about the Jar Head clan comment.  I would actually like to thank you for your service to the United States, it is people like you that make it possible for people like me to also have the opportunity to serve our great nation.  I do write this with all sincerity.  I do not want to start a verbal war with you, I do not consider you an enemy.

Like I mentioned this was the first time that I have ever read your blog, and I guess I was kind of surprised.  I could definitely see your distaste for the events that unfolded last Saturday. 
I am a Korean Adoptee
, and I just happened to be in town because I met my birth mother for the first time. 

 
I accept your apology, and will honor my pledge to keep your identity discrete. We all would love to hear more of your journey and re-union with your Natural/birth mother. Some of us have still hope to make contact. My cell is 010-4224-0773 and you have my email address.
Hey, I would love to introduce you and your mother, extended family to the Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network for THEY could help you when you return to live here even with translation and of course with the emotional issues that SHE has gone through. 

They are mothers who despite the rejection of their own families, Korean Society, and still lack of government financial help, have KEPT their babies. You see they of all women in Korea can empathize with YOUR Natural Mother who was probably faced with the same situation BUT 20 or more years BEFORE. DO YOU UNDERSTAND THIS, Dong Saeng? Little Brother?

Korean society has changed but slowly, and even in the late 80's and 90's when perhaps you were born. Sorry, don't remember how old you are but the situation was even worse.


Oh, and do get back to me on your employment plans, I can give you some advice on the possibilities. Also you should apply for an F-4 visa before coming back from (UKNOWN). You should take it easy for a few months first, how long will you stay for, etc. I can hook you up with 3rd tier teaching jobs, (because if you are a full blood Korean you will be discriminated by Korean Mothers who want a Caucasian Teacher (1st tier), TIK-This is Korea.

Anyways there is a lot that I don't know about adoption and the people and organizations behind it.  Sorry about not knowing who Molly Holt was (it seems like it might have the same severity if I told you I didn't know who the president was) but I guess I would appreciate it more if you educated me instead of verbally assault my ignorance on the subject.  People were surprise when I said I didn't know who you were as well.

All is forgiven, as long as The Korean War Baby has exclusive first rights to your story in my blog. You may continue to educate yourself by reading and backlinking my facts, never trust anyone, but factcheck and seek out all sides. 

So I guess my original post was just my concern for such a generalization of the voters or at least the gang of 33 (POS).  I was caught up in the moment and probably said some things that I shouldn't of.  The adoption is something that has recently sparked my interest, and that is why you haven't seen me active in any other discussions.  And the fact that I don't live in Korea probably has something to do with that as well. I like to consider myself open minded but sometimes I let my emotions get the best of me, and I hope you understand that.


This crisis is a TEACHING MOMENT my friends.

Dong Saeng, look at this small tidbit of facts from Korean Women's Development Institute-2010, Feb. report. from my blog.
Unwed Mothers who Kept their Babies
  5.8% - 1984
  7.2% - 1998
  8.3% - 1999
  8.6% - 2000
11% - 2001
31.7% - 2005
37% - 2009 *Latest Figures from KWDI
This means that of the hundreds, even thousands of Unwed Korean Mothers only a small percent KEPT their Babies. 
YOUR MOTHER FACED OVERWHELMING PRESSURES. YOU COULD HAVE BEEN ABORTED EASILY. YET SHE BORE YOU FULL TERM.

What sorrows has she lived through? Do you think she FORGOT YOU? NO, everyday she lived with this silent HAN. 

Han is the collective suffering of the people. You will hear people cry out and beat their chest over their heart, AaaaiiiiGooo!! It is the same as the Jewish cry of Collective ALL suffering over all generations "OouuVay!!
It is the cry of her hearts anguish. AND of many/some of the women who have had Abortions know this HAN, for one out of two, yes, 50% of the women of childbearing age 16-50 have had at least ONE ABORTION. I have personally met women who had 4-5-6 abortions JUST TO HAVE A SON.
THIS IS WHY THE KOREAN WAR BABY IS PASSIONATE!! I am consumed by the enormity of the numbers, I have heard broken women tear their hair out and wail in inconsolable grief for the children they have NOT.
I have met women who also have given up their baby, we as men cannot understand it fully. That which grew inside her womb, moving knowing her voice. YOU WERE THAT BABY inside her. 
YOU ARE THE FLESH AND BLOOD THAT YOUR MOTHER HAD TO GIVE UP!!!
SHE GAVE YOU UP IN HER OWN LOVE AND HOPE THAT YOU WOULD FIND A LOVING HOME. MANY OF THE MOTHERS DID HOPE THAT THEY WOULD SEE US AGAIN.
I am ashamed that for many years I 'joked that my mother was a whore and my father was the entire 1st Marine Division'!!! To my SHAME I admit this. I Came to realize this was wrong, my Mother kept me and my younger sister as long as she could after he left Korea.
We are from the same father, of the same Genes. 
I will probably never meet her, but I trust in God for a Japanese-American Pastor, who I did not know, came to our church and he asked me to stand up in a meeting. He asked if I was the guy who was Kinda, Sorta, Asian. Everyone in the place LAUGHED, people who knew only the nice Don. 
BUT in the depth of my being, in the mind of a young child who was fighting for survival in KOREA, I WANTED TO LASH OUT WITH A SAMURAI SWORD AND KILL EVERY FUCKING PERSON WHO LAUGHED.  
What is this Rage, this darkness, that is MY OLD FRIEND? It is the survival mode of a wounded child, what many of you may at times feel, to hopefully lesser degrees. In a microsecond RAGE AND MURDEROUS thoughts would FLASH in my mind and I would go berserk, bent on hurting the object of my supposed torment with total rage. THIS IS MY DARKNESS something that must be reined in or I would physically harm others or break my bones, again.
Just talking about it tightens my gut and I must settle down. Do some of you have this Madness and Rage in you? Know many of you do, some turn it inward and punish themselves.
WHEW, WELL, time for a break. Thank you #24 for a 'Teaching Moment".

  



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1 comment:

  1. #24 has moved to Seoul and is currently re-establishing relationship with birth family.

    ReplyDelete

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