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.


May 23, 2010

Drunk Driver Rear-Ended Wife's Car

Drunk Driver Rear-Ended wife's Car

FLASH:
I just received a call this Sunday morning from Nancy's sister that last night a drunk driver struck her car. I expected that Nancy was going to her Kunsan city house with her sister today and stayed overnight with them. I have no idea of the severity of her condition, but checking my phone there were no calls made to me. I arrived home at midnight from an important meeting in Seoul, found a note about her trip to Kunsan.

All I could get from my Sister-in-Law was "okay, Nancy okay", and that a "drunk driver her back", "Neck brace", "Hospital name...pick up you". I am must wait for them to pick me up in a few minutes. Nancy was coming from Incheon city where her uncle lives. I think the hospital is somewhere in that direction.

I have a sense of peace, prepared for whatever. Update later, please keep us in your prayers. We never know what may befall us. I can only trust in God and leave it in His hands.

UpDate:

Sunday afternoon we arrived and found Nancy in the lobby waiting for us. She is NOT seriously injured but will have to see specialist Monday. Her x-rays show nothing wrong with spinal column but with neck whiplash you many times have pain several days later. Only emergency doctors checked her, and SUNDAYS the others are not on duty.

I will be there in the morning and perhaps transfer her to a better hospital for proper MRI or other specialists as this is just a small hospital. I cannot get this stubborn Korean woman (not all Korean woman ARE stubborn BUT my Nancy IS) to stop moving her neck around, so I tightened the brace. She complained, "I can't move my head!" "UH, DUUHH. THAT'S THE IDEA".
The Drunk ajosshi driver behind her approached the intersection and was WAY drunk and did not stop in time (tested by the police when they arrived). From the amount of damage to HER car I would estimate that he was slowing down but misjudged and hit her doing under 20 mph. Even that can be a big jolt and cause whiplash. But in the land of the morning calm, drunk drivers are able to frequently get away with vehicle murder and simply pay a fine. Nancy said the police officer's attitude about everything changed when she identified herself as a Lieutenant in the Ansan City police dept (She far outranks them, though men don't like it of course).

They were thinking of letting the drunk idiot drive on home!! With a "YAH Pabo YA" she let them know she wanted his butt held in the slammer, and that was an order. I asked if she had to show them ID and she said no, they could believe it because no Korean ajumma would speak the way she did. Frequently Korean men DO slap around, curse at, and totally disrespect Police officers who cannot respond or they will be accused of police brutality by the liberal elements who have gone a bit far. So drunk ajosshi was Chillin' like a villian overnight. She got his id information herself to make sure that he would be held. Don't mess with a Woman officer in THIS country. (They DO have a pair, like G.I. Jane. LOL)

Now some would say "Thank God, she's okay." I don't say so, because I have seen folks who "Thanked God EVEN when tragic things happened". THEIR faith in GOD is far superior to mine. It does remind me that anything can happen. As they say S#@t happens but nothing happens without GOD knowing it. We live in a world where it is NOT perfect, yet. There are evil people and good people, death is all around us, when one has seen some of that the reality of death becomes real. Somewhere in JOB, you know the guy who had everything, Devil said to GOD if he loses it all he will curse GOD. GOD allowed things to happen to Job and though he questioned WHY and heard from his 'friends' all the reasons that Job must have done something to upset GOD. The theme is basically that of Soloman's book called Ecclesiastes or Book of Wisdom,

Ecc 9:1 I thought about these things. Then I understood that God has power over everyone, even those of us who are wise and live right. Anything can happen to any of us, and so we never know if life will be good or bad.
Ecc 9:2 But exactly the same thing will finally happen to all of us, whether we live right and respect God or sin and don't respect God. Yes, the same thing will happen if we offer sacrifices to God or if we don't, if we keep our promises or break them.

Job said in Job 13:15 "Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him".

Now that is faith that amazes me. I don't dare ask for it, one might be given the chance. My faith is simple, and I pray that he keeps me from failing. Some say to me, "OH, you use some bad words on your blog!!!"

WELL, excuse me. I don't answer to your image of a Christian. It is only the Spirit of God living in me that restrains me from slapping some people silly. People who think Christians don't get angry or shouldn't do this or shouldn't do that are full of it! We are all so quick to judge how each and give some kind of PASS or FAIL on them. SOME PEOPLE just don't get it. If I were not restrained by GOD, I would have come down on them like a raging banshee from the pit.


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