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 14, 2010

Ego Trip?


MONDAY 10 May, Showing "RESILIENCE" at the ArtSonje Center

Certain folks seem to think that the Korean War Baby is Whining about losing the election, you know the Fake Sham of an election where the votes don't matter. Where the whole thing of VOTING for Candidates was B.S. because the Board of Directors are actually the ones to APPOINT whoever the hell THEY want.

Arrived late from my class and a certain Adoptee guy shakes my hand face to face, then tells me later on Facebook that I am on some kind of EGO trip. Hey, "D" next time, I just might forget and "Have an ego trip and challenge you to arm wrestling. But wouldn't want to injure your wrists or hands, would we? You make your living with them."

Messieur, use my Google translator gadget and READ my BLOG- in the language of choice. Perhaps you will understand WHY I protest the SHAM FAKE election that was done.


Je ne veux pas le putain job!!
Jeg ønsker ikke fucking job!!
Ich will nicht die fucking Job!!

Jag vill inte det jävla jobbet.
I don't want the fucking job!

Anyone who has read my blog must know that It is for the Children who are rejected by Korean people RIGHT NOW. THIS VERY DAY, THIS MONTH, THIS YEAR!!! Dear GOD, most of the male Adoptees who live in Korea have NO IDEA of the numbers. Even in the states it is Femail, oops Female Adoptees who answer 75-85% of the surveys, get involved yet were only 65% of InterCountry Adoptees.

Go figure out why hardly NONE of the males come to the meetings for Unwed Mothers, but are always there for beer and soju. Go ahead and bust my Bollocks on that one, boys. This old Jarhead will out-drink, out-fight, out anything any of you can do (Except play the guitar like Denis)...because I do have PRIDE in Who I am, IT IS not an "ego thing" about "winning or losing an election for Secretary General" of Global (NOT) Only-in-Korea Adoptee's LIES.

GO Ahead and just ask them (male adoptees) some of the numbers involving Unwed Mothers, or domestic or CIVIL, or InterCountry Adoptions. THEY DON'T KNOW...WHY NOT? I cannot figure out why...they read a few newspaper articles. DON'T come to meeting, or read about it. YET, through some 'sources' other adoptees are accusing ME of an EGO trip.

Please, You are 'Killing me'!!!
Snälla, du dödar mig!
Bitte sind Sie bringt mich um!
Please, er du dræbe mig!

Пожалуйста, вы убиваете меня!
ביטע, איר זענט מאָרד מיר!


What are these actresses doing?
Adopting Korean babies that were given up?

















These Actresses are only posing (albeit for free-not accepting talent fees) for the government program to promote Domestic Adoption of the "HEALTHY ONLY BABIES". Well, how is that program working? According to government figure MORE children are adopted by Domestic Adoption, yeah!!!

However, these numbers are FALSE. They only represent that in the first FIVE months a child can/should/will only be available for so called DOMESTIC adoption.

Only then is the baby or older child "allowed" to be adopted to InterCountry Adoption/formerly known as Overseas/Trans-cultural/etc.



WHAT IS 'DOMESTIC ADOPTION' we must ask? Well, the four Adoption Agencies are charged with placing in Domestic Korean Families a certain quota of c
hildren. "SOME people" like to demonize the Holt family as great villains who started the whole thing, you know the "Adoption Industry".


"Der Furrier"
They claim that the Big Four, operate 'child laundering/kidnapping' Adoption Industry, for 'rich white folks' and 'steal the poor children of the third world countries, robbing them of Culture, language, family'.

I am not kidding you. Read their blogs, much better written than mine but rather Snarky, SO Liberal and far left Der Furrier would hiss. But the stuff they believe about Adoption, would astound you.






Das is gud! Chllin' like a villain. (Just working as an Actor for you know who's birthday on April 20th couple of years ago).

Don't be Afraid of ME!

Vær ikke bange for mig.
Не бойся меня.
Ne pas avoir peur de moi.
Var inte rädd för mig.



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

Monday afternoon, ArtSonje Center, Insadong, Seoul. There was a gala event of the proposed bill being put before the Korean Assembly on their own Adoption Revision Law. Later, a special showing of Director/Producer Tammy Chu's sensational "Resilience" Actually I told one of the event sponsors that I STILL agree with 80% of the proposals. It is the 20% THAT OF STOPPING ALL ADOPTIONS OUT OF THE COUNTRY that I adamantly Oppose. In my blog, Denis, you will find that EGO has nothing to do with the issue of Unwanted, rejected as not quite perfect enough for Korean people after 63% of Unwed Mothers in 2009 Decided/Chose/were forced to Give up/Relinquished babies for adoption.

HOW MANY? Good question for Denis, who plays the guitar like a virtuoso. World reknown and throughout Korea has performed in many venues. Please click on his name and check out his busy schedule. Denis has another album coming out.

Question for you Denis...did you learn to play as a child in Korea, NO? Oh, you learned in your Adoptive Country...Hmm, Wonder if you would have played a Gayagum instead of the Spanish Guitar had you stayed here in Korea. Perhaps in your genes you have the musical gifts and would have mastered Korean Instruments.



I would love to hear you do something like Yo-Yo Ma, sort of a Korean
fusions of instruments together with your Acoustic guitar. You could call it "The Diaspora Road" and I am not being sarcastic here. We adoptees are part of the Korean Diaspora and imagine the musical talents of Korean musician with western instruments and Korean artists. Why not consider that for the 2nd Annual Art Forum?





These are the kinds of questions we all might ask of ourselves, yet we cannot go backwards in time. One thing I hear is the loss of time can never be recovered, never be regained totally. Language barriers and cultural understandings must begin at early levels.

Best case scenario is that both Adoptive Family and Birth Family can find mutual understanding and "share" the Adoptee. I have read of a few cases of reunion and even they are across the SPECTRUM of Great to Horrible.

Yet, how many of us would BE who we are? Our Adoption Identity is ever changing evolving, how many of us DO GO BEYOND Culture Camp? If we had stayed in KOREA, how many would have died, or been living as third rate outcasts.

How many of us would have been educated beyond high school? Only 3% of Institutionalized children make it to graduate from University or College, according to government stats (which few know about) and Steve Morrison of Mission to Promote Adoption by Koreans.

BUT I DIGRESS: Testing my new Sony CyberShot DSC-HX1 with 20x zoom and ten megapixel format is interesting. Found out that it even has a feature that captures VIDEO, and AUDIO conversations. But of course I would have to get permission to post anyone's private conversations with me, right? But fun to capture for reference and such...

Our own resilient Korean Mothers!


Director/Producer Tammy Chu, translator and Rev. Kim Do Hyun




Viewing "Resilience" was wonderful to see Korean Adoptee's story being told but terribly sad tale of a young mother who's family took it upon themselves to send her son away without her knowledge. Yes, her relatives decided that the baby boy and mother would be better off and sent him far away.
Is this the story of ALL adoption? WELL, NO. But a powerful story, full of the difficulties of Reunion and the tensions that Sometimes results, though again some reunions have happy ending. This story of Resilience shows the never ending story of woe.

Other than some "Hollywood publicity Hype" the Korean War Baby endorses this movie by up and coming Director Tammy Chu. Wonder if she would do the "Korean War Baby" film, before this dinosaur of the first generation passes from the scene.




Who is this and why is she UPSET and afraid of the Korean War Baby? People fear moi? Don't they understand hyperbole, rhetoric, bombastic metaphors, allegorical speech, malapropism, and such are weapons of the WRITTEN or spoken WORD?
Dear me, don't want folks worried or frightened...

"Unsheathing the bayonet of my words" UH, HELLO, I don't think that I have an M-14 rifle with bayonet IN MIND. DO YOU?

The Korean War Baby wages WAR on the ideas that are not 'completely correct', not entirely accurate, like STOPPING OVERSEAS ADOPTION as a way to FIX the Korean society.
Changing Laws do not change the Hearts of the Korean People.
More time is necessary for that. Be patient, oh, Western minded KADs. Think like the Asians a few of you aspire to be, going Native, if possible.

The KWB is not a bully, nor does he physically strike women, (not even if they like that sort of kinky stuff). He does not go about hitting children, or women, oh, occasionally a jerk or person who is bothering others. The Korean War Baby is Hidalgo Don Quixote, though on steroids, and would almost never strike a woman.


Come let us argue our cases before the entire Korean Adoptee worldwide. Present your case in debate! I will "
eviscerate your reasoning with words of my mouth, like a sharp double-edged sword of a Roman Centurion"
(Hyperbole alert!!)

FEAR MY WORDS INSTEAD OF ME!!

I wish we could all just get along but This Thing of Ours-Adoption must be dealt with in an even handed manner, respecting all points of view not just one side of the issues.

6 comments:

  1. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    They need show evidence that Korean adoptive parents are better than other adoptive parents. I talking, this has to be like a twenty year research project. Once they provide positive data that Korean adoptive parents provide a better living environment, maybe then will I buy into what they are preaching. If they did this I think that they would be surprised from the findings. Until then keep over-seas adoption going.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AnonymousMay 15, 2010

    Furthermore I think that they should make a documentary called "F**K Yeah!" where they compare the life of a socially and economically poor family in Korea and my life in the States. Show that to the people, maybe then they might not think over-seas adoption is such a bad thing.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Here, Here, Anonymous. I totally agree. Joe Soll and other professionals all agree that even an infant knows loss from separation at birth. The baby/fetus in the woman's Womb is able to recognize the voice of its father and responds to the voice of its mother played over a speaker.

    Late Discovery Adoptees are those who discovered in their teens and up even to 50's that they had been adopted. The Late Discovery Adoptee's website has many personal stories of the shock, pain, confusion, anger, frustration, etc. of discovering that they were "a dirty secret" and frequently feel a sense of betrayal that they were NOT told.

    Thousands of Civil Court and "Domestic" adoptions are NOT told that they were adopted. This is totally wrong and done because of the prejudice of the people.

    Thank you for your comments.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Anonymous-

    The problem of overseas adoption as I've seen is that most of the adoptees are brought into a WHITE experience. Now, I'm not speaking of color, but of culture. When a person of color (culture) is grown up within a culture that has a history of colonization, racism, etc., the sociological mind is of a different quality than of a community of culture.

    Personally, I've struggled with not always being cognizant of why I loved and hated being/thinking "white." It wasn't until I came into the family of African Americans, Lao&Hmong refugees, and others, that I realized the real disease of the white mind. I'd much rather be a poor n'th worlder, than a rich white phd.

    So, NO, unless you were adopted by some REAL people, the States isn't at all an ideal place of inter-adoption.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Yeong-Soo,
    You are absolutely correct that "the States isn't all an ideal place of inter-(Country)Adoption. Prejudice in societies all over the world are still strong. More studies could help Adoptive Parents perhaps with their blended families. Certainly things are not "White or Black" but shades of Grey and This Thing of Ours-Adoption is so COMPLEX.
    I don't consider that ALL 'white adoptive parents' are the same, some were better able to raise their families. What do you think about SINGLE parents adopting, in some cases like the Russian boy with a 'bio-older brother' and single mother it seems a very bad case BUT then we can find cases where it turned out okay. Look at how many divorced/single parents there are in our USA society.
    Have you read Evan B. Donaldson's Adoption Instititute's study of last Nov. 09 (on my blog search for it) "Beyond Cultural Camp". The Executive summary is well worth taking a look at. Many Korean Adoptees DO not go much beyond "Cultural Camps" but that is okay for them.
    Thank you for your comments, please feel free to disagree, every opinion is valid!!

    ReplyDelete
  6. AnonymousMay 24, 2010

    Yeong-soo,

    I am not trying to say that America is the ideal place, honestly I don't think it matters where you are brought up as long as you have caring parents. Some people make good parents, some don't.

    I don't necessarily agree with you about the "white" mind, it is the human mind that allows us to hate and discriminate. The great thing about being human is that we can make choices. If you choose to dislike somebody because they are different that is your choice, don't blame it on others.

    There is hatred, racism, and discrimination all over the world, it is not just a "white" thing. I am not sure if you are living in Korea right now but if you talk to a lot of Koreans they don't like, black people, the don't like the military for the most part (they tolerate them because they spend money), Korean Americans, and the list goes on.

    As far as being rich or poor, in one country or another, I don't think that matters as well as long as you are happy. So I hope that you are happy wherever you are. This may seem like a pretty simple thought but life is too short to dwell on things that you do not have the ability to change.

    Keep in mind that there are many of us that are happy and thankful that we were adopted to different countries and are very content with their life's. I just feel that most of the things that you read about are negative and paint the adoption experience in a bad light. Each experience is unique, while there are things that bond us, there are many things that set us apart as well. Stopping out of country adoption is not going to solve the social shortcomings Korea has. You can change laws to change a person's heart, sorry.

    ReplyDelete

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