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 17, 2010

I do NOT Approve {X}

This was sent to over 500 paid-up members of GOA’L, Now I ask you, Adoptees worldwide, members of Adoptee families, prospective adoptive parents, anyone married to a Korean Adoptee, etc. YOU ARE ALL MEMBERS OF This Thing of Ours-Adoption. You have a valid VOICE!!! Read and you too may sign and send back to the GOA’L office your Approval or Disapproval of the Election of 27 March, 2010.

Master and Commander

Broadside “firing as she bares” then closing in Hand-to-Hand fighting. NOTE Disclaimer: Video is for entertainment value only, we have NO CANNON nor does the KWB propagate “love of violence”.

Dear GOA'L Member,
My name is Don Gordon Bell, a founding member of GOA'L, who must take advantage of a mistaken email sent to you recently. Several days ago you received two emails from GOA'L, the first was sent by mistake from someone on staff, a volunteer perhaps, as a CC or Carbon Copy revealing to all your private email addresses on a list of over 500 paid-up members of GOA'L.

The staff, those few who are still left, asked you to 'disregard' the first email and then sent the letter with Blind Carbon Copy or BCC. The Vice SG herself is working diligently and practically alone nowadays.


LET ME BE CLEAR, this IS NOT FROM GOA'L, but from me personally The Korean War Baby, a concerned founding member from 1997.


Perhaps you know that I was one of the (Fooled) Candidates for the position of Secretary General last 27 March, 2010. If you know my blog

http://www.koreanwarbaby.com/ I have been outraged that a small band have tried to "politicize" GOA'L as per a Mr. Kim Su Rasmussen, who’s bold plan was presented to A.S.K. members in January. His aim is apparently to cause GOA'L to become more active in stopping Adoptions overseas.

It appears that they thought that they could take over GOA'L by "democratic means", however failed in several ways. Since 27 March I have exposed what I believe is a latent attempt at putting in place leadership and Community Members who's agenda is directly against InterCountry Adoption. I have tried to work with some of these leaders on a more practical plan that encourages rather than tries to just STOP overseas adoptions. This would cause many children that are NOT wanted to NOT have a home.


The Report, that you were sent has some unusual anomalies. I think you may draw your own conclusions when you view pages 18 to 21 on both reports and you may ask for clarification from the Board of Directors list found on GOA’L website.

Please compare the draft document of the AGM report, attached in this email, with the document you received several days ago. The TRACK CHANGES format is seen with comments and notes for you to see what was changed. When the mouse hovers over the WORD document curious boxes appear with the commenter and time/date.


AGAIN let me be perfectly CLEAR, I am not merely angry about the election nor do I personally seek nor will I accept a position with GOA'L. I believe that the election was flawed and the Chairman of the Board (Who according to Article 18 of the Bylaws SHOULD HAVE BEEN PRESIDING OVER THE meeting) should take a close look at the circumstances.

I am for true neutrality of GOA'L not empty promises from those who have shown that they are for stopping InterCountry Adoptions. GOA’L is NOT Only for the members of the Adoption community that reside in Korea ONLY for they are but 200 or so in number. It should be for the entire SPECTRUM of people involved in This Thing of Ours-Adoption. If a one is married to an adoptee from Korea they also have a voice for their children may be part Korean and have to deal with multicultural issues.

I DO NOT want to destroy what GOA'L has done, but too many questions are raised for me to stop and just ‘back off’. I must be faithful to my beliefs and I will continue to speak out loudly against the Anti-Adoption Adoptee Association of so few in number. They apparently wish to use the Non-Government Status of GOA'L for their own political designs.

I ask you to view briefly the files I have attached and decide if this is what YOU want GOA'L to become. I ask you to look over these documents, (2010AGM_Report(edit NS 2010-04-21) and compare it with the document you received as a final report.

WHAT SAY YOU? Years before (2007) members were asked to return an answer if THEY DID NOT APPROVE OF THE REPORT:

Sent in 2007

:

Dear G.O.A.’L members,
As required under the Articles of Incorporation, G.O.A.’L holds a General Meeting to present the previous year’s Annual Report and Financial Statements. This meeting is open to members, the Board of Directors, volunteers, sponsors, and anyone interested in the activities of the organization. As a current paid member, you are reserved the benefit and right to vote at the meeting.

This year, however, as a courtesy to our members residing overseas, instead of an actual meeting G.O.A.’L presents the 2006 Annual Report and Financial Statements by sending the documents directly by email. We ask that you review the documents from the comfort of your own home and vote for or against approval of the 2006 Annual Report and Financial Statements by no later than 30th May 2007. If you approve, no response to this letter is necessary.

If you disapprove, please check the box below and return via email to office@goal.or.kr (subject line: Annual Report).

[ ] I do not approve

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

WELL, Now I ask YOU out is CYBERSPACE, right now, to return your answers!!

If you disapprove, please check the box below, COPY and Paste, and return via email to

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

office@goal.or.kr (subject line: Annual Report).

{ } I do not approve!!

__________________________date ____________________

(sign your name/put photo id next to it, then SCAN and save as a .jpg file-See electronic means can be done for voting).
******************************************

Please pass this on to other members you know, who were disenfranchised and disallowed to vote by electronic means, even in the next "election" in 2012.

Sincerely,
Don Gordon Bell
Korean War Baby

2 comments:

  1. To receive copies of both reports please send a self-addressed envelope...Oh, that is so OLD SCHOOL. Simply send an email and you will be sent BOTH reports and can compare the Cooked and Uncooked versions.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AnonymousMay 21, 2010

    What are you trying to do? It is a fact that you consider only the community in Korea. How many is that? Are you special or something?

    This is an Elitism that defies LOGIC. Let GO of GOA'L!!

    ReplyDelete

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