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 29, 2010

Honorary President Paull Shin

 

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Saturday- May 29, 2010
 
OPEN LETTER TO:
 
Honorable Sen. Paull Shin,

 

My name is Donald Gordon BELL, and I wrote you concerning the Global Overseas Adoptees' Link (G.O.A.'L) Annual General Meeting on 27 March, 2010. It has been 8 weeks since this sham fake election was perpetrated upon the international membership of GOA'L. During the last two months I have strived to present in a clear and concise way what I believe was a Clear and Present attempt "to Politicize by taking over by so-called democratic means" GOA'L into an organization that is definitively for the Korean Adoptee Community Living in Korea.

 

This is a FACT as presented publicly in January of this year by certain individuals who by definition are Korean Adoptees who are all opposed to Overseas/InterCountry Adoptions because of their own beliefs and proven by their numerous well written arguments.

 

GOA'L is supposed to be for the GLOBAL community of Korean Adoptees, NOT just for those who are KADLinK (Korean ADoptees Living in Korea), without bias or prejudice on the issues. Open discussion on the issues of This Thing of Ours-Adoption has always been encouraged but officially the leadership has promoted Neutrality.

 

It is a FACT that Some KADLinKs are strongly opposed for the reasons of loss of culture, language, heritage, family ties, etc. when they are adopted out of the land of their birth. It is a FACT that the almost 200,000 Korean children sent abroad for various reasons, did in fact lose these important things and though many had good to wonderful adoptive families, yes, there were some who suffered prejudice in school, society, family, and so forth.

 

Yet despite these challenges in life, a vast majority of the "BELL CURVE" have identified and learned to consider themselves as Korean-"Something", seeking understanding of their Adoption Identity. The Spectrum of different stories are across the board from terrible/shocking all the way to almost miraculous/amazing and the Plethora of commonality binds us together. NO one group represent the whole, differences are great or almost "my story".

 

The Bylaws of Incorporation DO NOT exactly give directions on the specifics of holding elections. Contradicting and vague, many things need to be 'spelled out', leaving huge loopholes such as allowing nominations of candidates on the very day of the election. Perhaps in Communist countries they do that.

 

I have presented on my blog since 27 March for 8 weeks evidence that demands clarification, but instead all the principal people have accused me to spurious threats to violence and even murder. If you look at even some of my postings you will see what Melinda Dionne, your Washington State constituent, wrote to you as well.

 

Did you receive my letter? I had no response but know that you spoke with a constituent of yours just recently, therefore you are aware of my relentless campaign to hold to account those who have now released a AGM report that I openly allege as a Forgery, Sham, Fabricated pack of LIES. Here in my humble public blog, read by so few, I demand an accounting to why the documents presented here DO NOT LINE UP.

 

I demand to know WHO SIGNED OFF on this AGM Report? WHO is it that claims that the FINAL AGM report is true and authorized? I have been accused of Delusion and madness, yet even the Chairman of the Board was not present when it was he that should have presided according to Art. 18. Do they think that those few who were present, and the 6,000 plus who have read my blog, will just accept this PACKAGE of LIES?

 

WELL, I solemnly AFFIRM that the report is in ERROR!! I lived in the state of Missouri, the "SHOW ME" state. SHOW ME the truth of the matter. This is UNACCEPTABLE to me, and I believe many other GOA'L members who were NOT allowed to vote by electronic means, easily verified by scanning photo I.D. to cast a vote. Furthermore the Band of KADLinKs voted to NOT allow members to vote in 2012.

 

WHAT SAY YOU TO THAT, sir? Will you be the "Honorable President" of such an organization? I know that you are one of the most famous KAD of us all. You are our OLDER BROTHER and have served your own multi-ethnic state with great distinction. Some people did not want you to have such a title because it was TOO lofty and many know that you are, in their eyes PRO-Adoption.

 

I believe that you are more balanced in your view, desiring also Family Preservation if possible yet we all know that many cases such was NOT POSSIBLE. Adoption is not the best thing, and ethnic adoption into Korean Families MAY be better.

 

I also believe, as you do I think, that "LOVE is not bound by blood alone", that Adoption itself is "Taking by CHOICE" in the original Latin that which is NOT by blood and making them part of your own family.

 

Thousands of Korean Adoptees have such experiences and the seeking of knowledge of our culture and origins does NOT mean we reject our Adoptive Parents. Korean society feels shame and guilt, though many are accepting us, hopefully one day they will NOT BE ASHAMED of even the Adopted Child of a Korean Family. THIS IS NOT YET A FACT, it is future.

 

On the fateful comedy of an election, the band of 33 did indeed try to use democratic means yet failed in several ways, which I have endeavored to expose. The Fact is that over 87,000 Domestic Adoptions are officially listed by the MOHWFA, yet there is evidence that the PRIVATE CIVIL CODE LAW adoptions are almost DOUBLE. Even the TRACK leader Jane Jeong Trenka has discovered this, yet she continues to only mention Inter-Country Adoptions in recent writings. I challenge her to also update her writing to match her blog.

 

Another young Korean Adoptee, #24 who commented on my blog, has since come to view more favorably what I am protesting. This was a plot to “take over by Democratic means and politicize GOA’L” as presented months ago by leading intellectuals. For what purpose I did not know but GOA'L is the only Adoptee group that has NGO status, therefore it is considered a prize for their agenda. WHAT IS THEIR AGENDA? Perhaps you sir, could ask the new Board of Directors.

 

If the argument is that “Unwed Mothers have a human right to keep their child” then what of the 67% of Unwed Mothers in 2008 who CHOSE to give up their child for adoption, with a 3 to 1 ratio of In-Country to Inter-Country. Does a woman also NOT have a choice to Abort? Though the Korean Law does not support Pro-Choice it is defacto permitted and overlooked. According to government sources ONLY ONE THOUSAND abortion are done every day. The OB-GYN doctors who are protesting claim the numbers up to 4,000 per day because of the known prescriptions issued. These Korean women CHOSE NOT TO BE MOTHERS and though I am against abortion, for I would NOT have lived as a mixed-blood bastard, I believe that if a woman has all counseling information and options presented it is ultimately HER CHOICE.

 

Senator, I believe that Korea is NOT ready for completely stopping adoption overseas, yet a small number of less than 500 world-wide have set themselves as representing almost 200,000 Korean Adoptees.

 

SIR, they do not represent me, nor the 29,950 Abandoned children, nor the 36,276 Disabled (Special Needs but Korea calls them Disabled), nor the 6-10,000 Mixed-Blood children like myself.

 

I am Donald Gordon Bell, formerly named JUN Yong Soo, was born in this country during the Korean War and given up by my Korean mother probably because she could not take care of me. Yes, I was a “War Baby” and the reasons for my adoption to lands Overseas is not currently valid. Reasons have changed over the years, documented by much more educated people than I.

Those who claim “Korea is an advanced nation and SHOULD take care of their own” IGNORE the culture of Korea, and still importance of have a BLOOD-related child. The SHAME and embarrassment of infertility overshadow the so-called “economic” issue. Yet some of the “super-brains” have lived here in-country for years. HOW can they ignore these truths?

 
 
As long as I live and breathe I, will oppose any take over by Anti-Adoption Adoptees Association folks and their PREMATURE political push to STOP Overseas/Inter-Country Adoption WHILE ignoring the FACT that for every child in 2008 (1,250) who were sent overseas, there were THREE Secretly Adopted IN THIS COUNTRY. THIS is the problem that must be addressed.

Shaming the Korean People HAS NOT WORKED!!! Encouragement and telling stories of Unwed Mothers, PROMOTING and URGING all Christians and Buddhists, even non-Religious to Adopt openly (At least tell the child-DOES it NOT HAVE A RIGHT TO KNOW?).

I have tried to work with ASK and TRACK, members and shared information, supported with my physical presence at meeting on the Special Adoption Law Revision, KUMSN, KWDI. I have researched and written blog posts on the current situation in Korea. Korea IS changing but SLOWLY, even our own USA President Obama has learned Change comes slowly.

Yet, Some People want to FORCE the government or the people to change SIMPLY BY PASSING LAWS.
 

LAWS DO NOT CHANGE THE HEARTS OF THE PEOPLE!!!

Honorary President Paull Shin, as I must assume that you have “Accepted” the title. I beg you to settle these issues, I send you the phone number of the Chairman of the Board, honorable Kim Won Woong, to contact him AFTER the local elections on JUNE 2.

It is up to you and the Chairman, with the other Board of Directors to DIRECT. Please review the documents that I have posted for the general Korean Adoptee public to judge, read just some of my blog posts. Call some of the people I have called out.

If you and the GOA’L BoD choose to accept the “Final Annual General Meeting” report then know this, I will not stop my campaign as long as ONE CHILD IS REFUSED A HOME because my mother’s PEOPLE pass over, reject, turn down, don’t want, THAT CHILD. THEN let him or her be sent abroad to find a home, taking the chance that life will be better than growing up as an IBYANGIN saram, a second-class citizen.

 
ALL MAY TAKE MY WORD that I will not falter nor faint, until the day of my death until Korea DOES TAKE CARE OF ITS OWN.

As GOD is my witness, I affirm all that I have posted is true to the best of my knowledge. MAY GOD STRIKE ME DEAD if I LIE.

 
 
Don Gordon BELL

Korean War Baby

Holt Adoptee #A20

 


2 comments:

  1. Hi Don, I'm wishing Nancy healing and hope she will soon be back to 100%. I want to let you and your readers know that my Korean is quite weak and because of that I can do a rough translation, but I do not fully understand the Korean domestic adoption law. Therefore I have not written anything about it yet myself. Also, as you know, I have more pressing things to do these days! Regards --

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes, "Agent 009" We do know that you are tying the knot. Other team members are checking the guest list and will see "who is naughty and doesn't come to the event.

    AGAIN, the Korean War Baby will Boycott the event in order that YOUR REAL friends will be comfortable in coming.

    Please advise us on which 'horrible incantations from the pits of hell' you wish to unleash upon such that do NOT attend.

    ReplyDelete

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