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 19, 2010

Psychological Warfare



BicycleAceOfSpades

In Jan. 1966 the "Tropic Lightning’s" 3rd Brigade had established a base camp on a hill just outside the town of Pleiku, South Vietnam. The story begins there in the rear of Co. C, 2/35th’s orderly room. Naturally a card table had its place in the center of the room.

While sitting around that table one of the platoon leaders called our attention to an article in the Stars and Stripes about remarks made by Congressman Craig Hosmer of California to the House of Representatives in Washington D. C. Those remarks, made on Feb.7th, pertained to the superstitions of the Vietcong. The article stated that two of their bad luck symbols were pictures of women and the ace of spades. Later that evening, someone in the group noticed that the ace of spades from a deck of "Bicycle" playing cards contained a picture of a woman that just happened to be a representation of the Goddess of Freedom or Liberty on the dome of our nation’s capitol building. In her right hand she held a sheathed sword; in her left hand an olive branch.

118503997v17_480x480_Front Vietnam_helmet-framed

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Sun Tsu, recognized as one of the greatest military tacticians of all times, strongly advocated the use of psychological warfare as a force multiplier. Sun Tsu wrote that:

To capture the enemy's entire army is better than to destroy it; to take intact a regiment, a company, or a squad is better than to destroy them. For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill.

To subdue the enemy without fighting is the supreme excellence.

Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy. Next best is to disrupt his alliances by diplomacy. The next best is to attack his army.

Sun Tzu understood that given the opportunity, an adversary will surrender to a superior commander prior to conflict. In order to have a chance to be that superior leader, PSYOP must be coordinated and included in initial planning and implemented prior to conflict. If hostilities begin, proper PSYOP implementation can end the conflict earlier than otherwise expected. PSYOP is a force multiplier and resource saver.

Psychological Warfare

2-701-70.monam.m

Name written in RED INK

Korean Andong City Mask Festival-Demon Mask, notice the Name WRITTEN IN RED? It is quite known in Asian countries that if a name is written in RED they person has DIED (meaning in the past tense). To write someone’s name in RED LETTERS/ or on the FAN in RED brush strokes means “THE PERSON IS DEAD” it does not have the meaning that you wish to threaten them with death or murder. THEY ARE ALREADY…DEAD. Past Tense NOT FUTURE…

New Zealand Country Brief

*doing business with South Korea

Cultural and Business Tips

Business cards are essential. Have your card ready when you meet people. Give and receive business cards with both hands or with the right hand. Never use the left hand alone.

Never write a person’s name in red ink. Koreans do not use red ink unless the person is dead. The only exception is when red ink is used in a tojang (name seal).

http://www.nzte.govt.nz/explore-export-markets/North-Asia/Doing-business-in-South-Korea/Documents/South-Korea-complete-country-brief.pdf

Combining this main meaning for the Western ‘saying’, “He is Dead to me” is an old english saying that was used to announce that the person in question was disowned or would never be "seen, or heard" again.

WHEN THE KOREAN WAR BABY says “someone is dead to me” it simply is a fusion of West and East symbolism, meaning that that person is now considered as DEAD, As in Chinese when they consider a relationship is now dead or finished.

IT IS NOT Threatening DEATH nor Murder.

IT is however, the highest level of INSULTS.

south_korean_traditional_mask_culture

SO, with that all in mind, to those who claim I am

threatening them with RED INK,

As we say in the United States…

“Kiss my Proverbial Ass”

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