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

Who is Jan Wenger?

D. March 29 at 11:31pm
Hi Don Gordon,
How are you?
Sorry to ask, what’s happened there, I mean in GOAL, I am in Europe now...
Denis
D. March 30 at 6:28pm
HI Don,
I am so sorry, I read your blog but I dont get it.
Could you explain more? My english is not so good...what is Sham election?
So, there was an election? And you were elected? I mean regarding the vote?
Who is Jan Wenger? what is the gang 33?
I am very sorry to read there is so much trubble in the same history people, as we are.
Best,
D.

********************************************
Don Gordon Bell March 31 at 5:11pm
D., You know that Kim Su Rasmussen and I have differing opinions  but have tried to respect him. We have opinions on causes, solutions to This Thing of Ours-Adoption. But I respect his learning and writing but disagree with his idea of stopping InterCountry Adoption in order to help Unwed Mothers keep their babies. I attended an event for ASK Adoptees Solidarity Korea dinner last Jan. 2010. At the end Kim Su Rasmussen (jkas.goal@gmail.com) and Dr. Eli Park Sorensen (eps27@cam.ac.uk)   started a plan to "take over by democratic means" GOA'L to make it MORE Political than ASK or TRACK.

Sham means a FAKE, there was a fake election. Kim Su and Eli Park Sorensen planned this since last summer. They wanted to Politicize GOA'L because it has Non-Government Organization or NGO status, ASK and TRACK both do NOT have a Korean NGO recognized official status.

Gang of 33 were persons who voted to override first to NOT re-elect Molly Holt, then they added a girl, Julie Jong Koch, who just came to Korea 3 months ago was allowed to become a candidate and they voted for NO ONE. Now Daewon (Jan Wenger) Wenger is Now on the Board of Directors, together with Rev. Kim DoHyun of KoRoot as a Board of Director.
They together with other Board Members can appoint a Secretary General when they get together. Vice-SG Katie MeeJoo Kim Putes is the Interim Secretary General. But don’t worry everything will still sound Neutral as before.
GOA’L will soon change to Anti-Overseas/International Adoptions, but hundreds of Special Needs children and others Not adopted by Korean couples will then go WHERE? 



This is one hell of a scene, brutal yet agonizingly real. A man ‘gutshot’ takes a long time to die. It is a God Damn shame, when folks I thought were truthfully working together for common good have revealed their underhanded intentions.
You see certain intellectuals have plotted this since last summer. They don’t have Non-Government Organization status in A.S.K. or TRACK the other organization over here.
ONLY the NGO status of GOA’L is the way to do their politics. Here is my next sniper shot, I am sorry at those who have become my enemy. I wish it was a ‘quick kill’ (speaking only as an analogy- symbolically for those of us who need to K.I.S.S.) but IS just as the scene above, slow and painful to watch. “It is a hell of a thing…to kill the Organization that I have supported 13 years. But I was rejected along with Molly Holt by the Gang of 33. Hammer back, next shots coming.

3 comments:

  1. I love the media. You talk advocate neutrality yet you seem to only tell one side of the story.

    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.

    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) 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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    To all the other adoptee's we are just letting ourselves down. If there is a leader among us, you cares 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.

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

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you shithead, wondered when you would come out of the hole you guys crawled into and disappeared.

    I gave you a full page.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Be sure folks to read #24 comments in the next posting. He comes to his senses.

    ReplyDelete

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