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.


June 1, 2010

Adoption Crossroads

Adoption Crossroads, Adoption Healing,

Baby Scoop Era Research Initiative,

Origins Inc. Australia, Origins Canada

are proud to announce:
(Rates go up after 6/15)

Shedding Light on the

Adoption Experience VI

an Educational Conference About Realities:
The Lifelong Effects of Adoption and
the Need for Family Preservation

September 24-25, 2010
Park Central Hotel
New York City

Speakers of Note:

Ann Fessler, René Hoksbergen, Rickie Solinger, Nancy Verrier, Leslie Wagner, Betty Jean Lifton, Joe Soll, Karen W. Buterbaugh

Five keynote presentations and 40 workshops - speakers from Australia, Canada, Holland, New Zealand and the United States

Click below for conference program and registration form.
Shedding Light on the Adoption Experience VI

** Note: Volunteers will be needed for registration, hospitality, etc.
Volunteers will receive 1 morning or afternoon conference session
for each half day of volunteer work.
Please email us for information if you wish to volunteer.
If you are talented and are interested in being part of the
entertainment at our Saturday evening banquet, please let us know.
A discount is offered to full time students
in a degree-granting program in the mental health field.


We hope to see you in September.
Shedding Light on the Adoption Experience VI
Joe Soll, LCSW, conference coordinator

Adoption Crossroads
74 Lakewood Drive
Congers, NY 10920-1710
845-268-0283
Adoption Healing Visa Card

noname



The Korean War Baby believes in Family Preservation, Ethnic adoption, Korean Adoptee Adopters, AND Cross-cultural/Trans-Racial Adoptions. There is a place for each, because that is the FACTS of LIFE in This Thing of Ours-Adoption.

So while Adoption Healing is valid for almost/many Adoptees, The KWB does KNOW that in Many many cases Adoption was the Next best thing to happen.

Anyone who says that Adoption is “inherently bad” must consider that in comparison to the alternatives of being abandoned from bio-family THEIR willingness to give up a child for ‘a better life’. Poverty CANNOT be wiped out, and encouraging the Preservation of Family is a good thing. YET the NAKED TRUTH is that children ARE GIVEN UP for many reasons. Until the world authorities FORCE bad leadership in countries to BEHAVE and do certain things…we will have oversupply of children available for adoption. It is about Supply and Demand, as ugly as that sounds and is, that IS A FACT.


If the Anti-Adoption Adoptees Association (AAAA) that bemoan their adoption OUT of Korea, could also look at ANOTHER FACT:

Government figures are over 90,000 DOMESTIC adoptions, processed through the Four Adoption Agencies. Their Mothers/Fathers also CHOSE to GIVE THEM UP for Adoption.

CIVIL CODE LAW permits Private Adoptions that ARE NOT REPORTED, yet Jane Jeong Trenka ONLY RECENTLY posted what the Korean War Baby (One year ago) discovered. We both have found some interesting things in Korean Women’s Development Institute May 2009 Report. (Or see my blog’s ‘Pages’-UNDER Heading of blog KWB for Executive Summary).

What TRACK co-founder Ms. Trenka has translated are sections from the 200-plus page report in Korean that the KWB was unable to get. Civil Code Law Adoptions ARE Recorded in COURTS. The total number LESS the Domestic Adoptions (Judiciously recorded) are almost DOUBLE the number each year.

WHY do those who want to STOP Inter-Country AdoptionsForgedda ‘bout” the OTHER WOMEN who are giving up their Babies for Adoption IN 97.8 PERCENT SECRET ADOPTIONS???!!!



They out number the mothers of ICA adoption to In-Korea (But are ASHAMED to admit, Adoption status is hidden from the child, but SOME are finding out).

THREE to ONE.

Some People need to answer THAT ONE!!!

WHY are THE UNWED MOTHERS of ALL babies not MENTIONED BY A.S.K. OR T.R.A.C.K. in most of their news articles and documents??? They only refer to the Overseas/Inter-national/Inter-country Adoptions, ARE WE SO SPECIAL?

Remember, in 2008, 67% of the Unwed Mothers Chose to GIVE UP FOR ADOPTION due to the family and social Stigmas, Prejudices, and lack of Financial support from the Government).

The same arguments SHOULD apply to THE Mother and Child of ALL. Doesn’t THAT make sense?

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HAPPY ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY

OF

KOREAN WAR BABY BLOG

May 30, 2009



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