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

YouTube - Denis Sungho plays 'Prelude' from Suite Compostelana by Federico Mompou














I had the pleasure of meeting briefly with Denis the other night in my usual ‘watering hole’ the 3 Alley Pub. Several friends recognized Denis from appearances on Korean television. Too bad they don’t have “open mic nite”, Denis and I could jam together. Denis welcomed Richard Menard to the Community of Korean Adoptees, since Richards wife Melissa and their two sons will be arriving next month. Melissa is one of the founding members of HANA-

“HANA is the Korean word for one. Although we represent three states (New Jersey, Pennsylvania & Delaware), we are one in our vision to create a community where Korean adult adoptees will be working to help other adoptees.”

The Korean War Baby celebrates new and old members of BOTH LOCAL Community of Korean Adoptees and the Greater Worldwide members of the Community of Korean Adoptees. Every individual connected by marriage, adoption, family both birth and adoptive, and all the different groups have their place and are part of the Whole. We can all function to develop helpful relationships and we all belong to the larger Entity of the numerous Spectrum of This Thing of Ours-Adoption.


Don’t Forget to look for IKAA’s AUGUST GATHERING!!!


IKAA Gathering Korea 2010    August 3-8


Watch for Denis coming album here:
Current Location:
Belgium, Korea
Mahler, Shumann, Piazzolla, Ferré, Sosa, Bowie, Gismonti, de Lucia, Berio,
Argerich, Assad, Cortot, Horrowitz, Callas...

Praised by the Les cahiers de la guitare as "inspired" and Koelner Stadt Anzeiger as "genius," Denis Sungho made his 2005 Carnegie Hall debut in New York as a "Rising Star" of the European Concert Hall Organization (ECHO).

Since winning first prize at the age of 14 in Belgium's national "Young Talent" competition, Denis Sung-ho has appeared on the main stages of the world, including Concertgebouw in Amsterdam, Musikverein in Vienna, Mozarteum in Salzburg, Symphony Hall in Birmingham, Konserthuset in Stockholm, Megaron in Athenes, Palais des Beaux Arts in Brussels, Cite de la Musique in Paris, and the Cologne Philharmonie.

He has appeared in festivals such as the Musik Triennale in Koeln, and with ensembles such as Ensemble Intercontemporain and Oxalys. French and Belgian radio, as well as South Korean television and print media, have covered his international career.

Denis Sungho has made several recordings. Klassik magazine of Germany praised his most recent recording - Leo Brouwer's Concerto Elegiaco, Tres Dansas, and quintet accompanied by the Chapelle de Tournai orchestra and the Alfama String Quartet - as "historic."

His other critically acclaimed recordings include a duo album with Boris Gaquere (Piazzolla, Assad, Gaquere); a solo album of virtuosic pieces (Bach, Ponce, Turina, Ginastera, Assad); another with the Soledad ensemble (Piazzolla); and a recording of Leo Brouwer's Elegiaco Concerto for Belgian Classical Radio musique3.

As music laureate of the Fondation Belge de la vocation and a passionate advocate of contemporary music, Denis Sungho has premiered several works by young composers such as Jean-Michel Gillard, Santiago Abadia, Jean-Marie Rens and so on.

Denis Sungho's main teacher was Odair Assad at the Conservatoire of Mons. He also studied with Alberto Ponce at the Ecole Normale Afred Cortot in Paris and Sergio Assad at the Conservatory of Bruxelles.
Denis Sungho plays a Thomas Humphrey guitar.

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