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 18, 2010

Response to OPEN LETTER


THE KOREAN WAR BABY RESPONDS

fromKilseung Seo

to: dgordonbell_2000@yahoo.com, et al, over 520 GOA'L members.)

The Korean War Baby will keep this out of the email bombing and LET US KEEP THIS ON OPEN LETTER format and on my blog. OKAY?


DEAR Kim Su Rasmussen/Kil Seung Seo
A word to the wise, DON'T USE CARBON COPY, YOU are breaking confidentiality by sending everyone's email addresses.

You repeated the mistake of a certain Kim Mee Joo (vsg of GOA'L). PERHAPS you meant to use BLIND CARBON COPY, LOOK IN THE UPPER RIGHT HAND CORNER IN YAHOO EMAIL AND YOU WILL SEE 'Bcc'.

Let's be careful to protect the PRIVACY of GOA'L MEMBERS.


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

Seoul, 18 May 2010


Dear Don Gordon Bell,


I ask you to stop your campaign of character defamation against GOA'L and a wide range of individuals, including but not limited to Daewon Wenger, Nicole Sheppard, Kim Stoker, and myself. Your rhetoric of warfare, brute violence, and religious zeal--backed up by frequent references to your military and religious background--is unacceptable. For example, when you write on your blog a list of names in red and explicitly explain that it means they are dead to you (This is a common phrase that means I don't want anything to do with ME-perhaps not understood by 'dangerousVikings'?), this is easily interpreted as a veiled threat of violence or even murder. (Oh PLEASE, Spare me YOUR hyperbolic exaggerations) Your words have directly and strongly affected a number of individuals by making them feel unsafe and vulnerable to physical assaults. (What say you, Readers? Are THEY feeling unsafe/vulnerable because of ME-OR is it because the election was marred with unsuccessful, undemocratic, European Rules of Order, and just plain baloney stuff?)


That is a fact. Your belated attempts to retract on your statements by explaining it was merely meant in a metaphoric or allegorical sense does not lessen the impact is has and has had on these individuals. You need to stop your writings. Period.

(Most people recognize the style of satire, wit, Saturday Night Live style, WRITING that I employ...I have usually made sure that I made certain that it IS not a "physical bayonet" but MY WORDS that will be used. "Take off the sheath of my bayonet" or "Precision guided munitions". DO I HAVE 'SMART BOMBS'? OR am I not using the idea of precise accurate information aimed at destroying the 'strawman' agrument SOME PEOPLE now use of implied violence. Doesn't wash. This is MY TEA PARTY!!)



Your claims of "excavating" some conspiracy with secret agendas and malicious intentions belong to the realm of pure imagination. There is and never has been any attempt to politicize GOA'L in the sense of swaying the organization against transnational adoption. That is a fact.


(FACT: Most of the Group of 33 {nicer than Gang} were lead by a lead group of Eleven. The leadership group of "Eleven elves"

orchestrated the voting Against, the rest 22 'ronins' including #24 voted WITH or VOTED TO ABSTAIN.

ANSWER MY CHARGE-DID YOU CHANGE THE REPORT?)

What I have proposed, repeatedly and publicly without attempting to hide my views, is for GOA'L to become a stronger advocate for the interests of the adoptee community in Seoul.

DO YOU SEE? KADLinK ONLY, not the GLOBAL community!!!

In order to effectively advocate for the common interests of all the adoptees, however, it is necessary in my view for GOA'L to have democratic legitimacy by obtaining the consent of the majority of the community.


(Which community? LOCAL or Global???)


Currently, no individual or organization has any representative legitimacy to speak on behalf of the community. In other words, in order for GOA'L to effectively represent and advocate for the interests of the adoptee community in Korea, (ONCE MORE "IN KOREA!!! I rest my case.) it needs to become democratic and organize politically.


Start KADLinK (Korean ADoptees Living in Korea)


Here, however, the word "political" has nothing to do with "continuing" or "stopping" transnational adoption. (Why is it that most of the "ELEVEN ELVES" are ALL members of groups actively engaged in STOPPING ICA/Overseas Adoptions, PRAY TELL US?) Your claims of "waging war" against GOA'L in order to redress an allegedly illegitimate election belongs to the realm of some cheap political thriller.


Think you mean "Cheap Political Theater" but I will be a FOOL if necessary to insure that those children who are continuing to be rejected by the Korean People are ALLOWED TO BE Exported to loving families!!!


What you call the "gang of 33" was, as a matter of fact, the simple majority of the constituent members eligible to vote at the general meeting. (TRUE because GLOBAL means nothing if ONLY KADLinK can vote. PERIOD) How is the vote of the majority of the eligible members illegitimate? (They also voted to NOT allow electronic voting in the NEXT election in 2012!!!) Although we might discuss whether the articles of incorporation are appropriate, despite whatever claims you make to the contrary, the election was carried out in a manner consistent with GOAL's articles of incorporation. (WELL, NO, check my facts and evidence instead of spurious charges of "threats of violence and murder") In fact, if there was anything irregular about the general meeting, it was due to you.


Without any authority or legitimacy to do so, you passed out your private slips on which you encouraged the members of GOAL to vote;

(Before the start I showed SG Wenger these 100 numbered ballots that had all the names properly spelled, with Write In empty spaces:

Jan Wenger told me 'sure we can use them' THEN failed to tell the staff. Instead tiny pieces of paper were used for SG candidates and Community (in Korea only) Board candidates. ...SO, I DID HAVE PERMISSION, BUT THAT WAS NOT PASSED ON by the SG to his staff.)


you repeatedly interrupted the general meeting by making irrelevant comments; (Asking for Point of Order on Abstention Votes was NOT allowed but according to Robert's Rules of Order that Korea also follows I was not recognized. One person protested that Guests were also voting! They were asked to stand on the sidelines.) and you--as you proudly boasted--voted for "Mickey Mouse". (Again in America we say "This was so Mickey Mouse" to mean it was like a cartoon!!!) You, more than anybody present at the GM, were causing confusion, wasted everybody's time, and seemingly attempted to sabotage the GM and make a mockery of the election. That is a fact.


I, as a Founding Member of GLOBAL Overseas Adoptees' Link, protested strongly the Undemocratic means that YOU and your other Elves, plus 22 misguided ones, were attempting but FAILED to FOLLOW the RULES.


ANSWER MY CHARGES, WHY WAS THE REPORT ALTERED??


Your claims of attempting to redress a wrong-doing has absolutely no foundation in reality.

Your method of persuasion has little to no connection with rational thinking. Rather, it includes writing a lot of intimidating stuff on a blog that previously nobody was paying attention to; it includes explicit and implicit threats of violence; and it includes public character defamation that seeks to cause scandal, suspicion, and generally hurt the reputation of your targets. Your method of persuasion bear the hallmarks of gangsterism and political terror, which are in direct conflict with the peaceful democratic procedures that you allegedly seek to defend. That is also a fact.


Your so-called demands for this or that can only be interpreted as either veiled threats or complete nonsense. Hitherto, since I have met you in person and talked with you on several occasions, I have interpreted your writings as complete nonsense, the sorry ramblings of the village fool, and therefore I have remained silent with the hope that you would eventually stop. In fact, I hope you will seek professional help in working through your personal traumas. However, you continue your campaign, threaten my friends, and generally create havoc in our small community. Whatever the "larger purpose" of your campaign has been, it needs to stop immediately. My name has been mentioned repeatedly in the posts on your blog, in the emails you have distributed to god knows whom, and the endless ramblings online. It is my guess that your writings would qualify as a clear and undisputed case of "defamation of character" or, in other terms, "slander and libel". Unless you willingly stop writing emails and online posts in which you intimidate people and threaten them with violence, including me, I will have to take legal steps. And, yes, that is also a fact.

Sincerely,





Kim Su Rasmussen


PS. Apologies for cross-posting.

2 comments:

  1. AnonymousMay 19, 2010

    Dear Kim Su Rasmussen,

    Did you go back and read what you wrote? Let me refresh your memory:

    "There is and never has been any attempt to politicize GOA'L"

    "In other words, in order for GOA'L to effectively represent and advocate for the interests of the adoptee community in Korea, it needs to become democratic and organize politically"

    Hmmmm! Perhaps someone is having problems with the English language they grew up with.

    I was under the impression GOA'L was there to serve ALL adoptees hence the name Global Overseas Adoptee Link. It is now my understanding after reading your message that you are there only to serve the adoptees in Korea?

    Well, your fellow American adoptees are furious and hurt by your choice to politicize an organization we thought was there to help us. We thought your efforts were to reach out to the many of us who are longing for a connection to our Homeland. We are outraged you have turned your back on YOUR fellow adoptees and have repeated the sins of your biological parents by treating the adoptees overseas as if we were less than you because we do not live in Korea. It's like being rejected and abandoned all over again.

    You will pay for your crimes of ignorance and abuse. The Lord will see to it when you stand before His throne and receive your final judgement.

    Find your conscience, it used to live inside your heart. Take a walk back in the shoes you were given. Feel some compassion for the people you have now abandoned for you were once one of us.

    ReplyDelete
  2. AnonymousMay 21, 2010

    Why don't the Adoptees living in Korea start their own group? Seems like you wanted to take over GOA'L by democratic means after all!!

    ReplyDelete

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