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 9, 2010

NOW WHAT? GOA’L calls for more Candidates?

Dear G.O.A.’L members, supporters and friends:

This announcement is to inform the adoptee community – both in Korea and abroad – of the current status of G.O.A.’L. Over the last several months G.O.A.’L has been operating at a limited capacity as a result of staff changes, including the position of Secretary General (SG). Though Vice Secretary General Katie Mee Joo Putes has assumed the responsibilities of SG during this transition period, the position of SG remains vacant.
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KWB-Though Vice SG Putes has done outstanding service SHE DID NOT assume officially the post of “Interim SG”. Any one checking the GOA’L website or email address would know that. SG was left vacant for the last ten weeks.
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Recently, Vice Secretary General Putes announced her resignation, effective June 30, 2010. Although she will continue to support G.O.A.'L, she is moving on to pursue other goals. Prior to her departure, the position of SG must be filled in order for G.O.A.’L to continue operating. If the position of SG remains vacant, G.O.A.’L may be forced to close – it is no understatement to say that the very survival of G.O.A.’L is at stake.
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KWB-Katie Mee Joo Kim-Putes has shown true grit and morality by NOT signing off on the false Final Report of the Annual General Meeting. Her name is NOT ON THE FINAL REPORT, proving to us all that she remained unwilling to dishonor herself. The KWB salutes her and wishes her well in future endeavors. In all meetings with Ms. Kim-Putes he has found honest and deeply committed to helping the GLOBAL community of Korean Adoptees.
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We are making a second call for eligible candidates for the position of Secretary General. Interested persons are requested to submit a resume and cover letter by June 23, 2010. The Board of Directors, as per the Articles of Incorporation, can then select an eligible person for the position of Secretary General. G.O.A.’L will not be organizing a second election. Please visit the G.O.A.'L website for more information: www.goal.or.kr.
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Oh, DO submit a resume and a cover letter BUT don’t expect much. The Board of Directors have probably already selected their choice!! This is just another ploy to “seem democratic”. Deadlines don’t mean anything.
GOA’L should acknowledge improprieties in the Election and THEN take the next steps forward. WHO SIGNED OFF ON THE FALSE REPORT of the AGM? CLEAR THE AIR of the STENCH of LIES, dishonesty, ADMIT the TRUTH. What say you Dr. Rasmussen? Mr. Wenger? Will you continue to deceive us?
Why doesn’t the BoD chose either Ms. Courtney Rader or Mr. Seth Hammontree? They would both be excellent choices and have been ‘vetted’. Julie Jong Koch, here is your chance to try again with a real resume and cover letter. Hurry up people, save GOA’L!!! Don’t worry about the taint of the Sham Election, this will be your chance to bribe, beg, or bamboozle the BoD to get appointed. YES, NO need for a silly election that was B.S. from the beginning. Send your Application in now!!!
As the very existence of G.O.A.’L is dependent on both the support and involvement of adoptees, we at G.O.A.’L are asking members of our community to stand behind G.O.A.’L at this difficult time. We appreciate your understanding and continued belief in what G.O.A.’L does and represents for adoptees.

Sincerely,
G.O.A.’L
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WASSUP WID DAT?!!
Recently the KWB was asked by “Jack”, in one of numerous emails, “to offer the AK community the next steps” after exposing the “lack of unity, leadership, and vision” of GOA’L. “Jack” also asked me to step up and “run our thing or start defining the qualities of people who should represent us all”.
Well, Jack, I define the quality of a leader for GOA’L to be truthful and represent ALL, Korean Adoptees NOT JUST THE KADLinK adoptees in Korea. PERIOD.
I demand that before GOA’L can have ‘continued belief’ that the former Secretary General Dae-Won Wenger, alias Jan Wenger, come out and defend himself on this accusation:
What did you know and when did you know it? Did you, Mr. Wenger, work together with Dr. Rasmussen to “politicize by democratic means” and put into office at all levels KADLinKs who are opposed to future Overseas Adoption? Despite the FACTS that Korean Society is NOT yet ready to TAKE CARE OF ALL ITS CHILDREN?
KimSuRasmussen KimSuRasmussen_SideView
Dr. Kim Su Rasmussen/formerly known as Seo Kil Seung
In January, 2010, the plot dreamed up and hatched by Dr. Kim Su Rasmussen and Dr. Eli Park Sorensen (who does NOT live in Korea) was announced publicly at the A.S.K. dinner party near KoRoot. Nicole Sheppard, VSG Katie Mee Joo Kim-Putes, and two other GOA’L staff members were present. Rev. Kim Do Hyun was also present along with about 25 people. Some had never heard of GOA’L, A.S.K., and were staying at KoRoot at the time.
A.S.K. founder and leader Kim Stoker allowed them to speak, claiming  later to me that she had “NO idea” what they would present. Jane Jeong Trenka and Jennifer Kwon Dobbs also attended. I can’t call Ms. Stoker a liar, but other information provided by ‘sources’ indicated that the ‘dangerous danes’ had contacted leaders in the KADLinK (Korean ADoptees Living in Korea) community MONTHS before in 2009, on “taking over by democratic means” GOA’L. (Remember if you are NOT living in Korea you just don’t count-according to the opinion of Dr. Rasmussen).
I have not wanted to "dismantle GOA'L" or destroy it, but the denials continued and my own personal questions and requests for explanations went unanswered. There was nothing else to do but to expose bits and pieces of information that was very suspicious in nature.

(THE KWB HAD A FACE TO FACE MEETING WITH REV. KIM and hisRev. KimDoHyun wife recently. We had a pleasant dinner near KoRoot in the very restaurant that the January A.S.K. dinner took place. We discussed the current situation and the PLAN. The Rev. Kim IS a man of God and has been a hard working servant to the Adoptee community both locally and internationally for many years.
I DO believe him, when the Reverend says that he was NOT FULLY AWARE of the plan of Dr. Rasmussen and Sorensen to “take over GOA’L”. Certainly we must accept his word on that and hope that as a newly appointed Board of Director with Mr. Jan Wenger, uh- or is it Mr. KIM Dae-Won. that they will work for the benefit of the GLOBAL Community of Korean Adoptees.)





Jan Wenger
As March unfolded I became more convinced that the election would be FIXED. Oddly Mr. Wenger constantly asked if I was going to WITHDRAW my candidacy for SG and run only as a Board of Director candidate. I told him I would not withdraw until I knew that the other candidates would truly be NEUTRAL. (I was aware that “candidates could be announced on the very day of the election” and sure enough a Ms. Julie Jong Koch, with 3 months experience as a KADLinK, was announced as a last minute candidate for Secretary General. Ms. Koch was just a FAKE Pretend candidate, who could have been easily voted in by the gang of 33 but it was intended to be part of the PRETEND ELECTION.)



‘FLAWED’ from the moment they voted on “Voting Separately” and DID NOT PASS BY SIMPLE MAJORITY. The FACT is that the election was NOT DONE in accordance with ANY RULES OF ORDER followed. There WAS call to vote to Abstain, yet that is NOT recorded in the final report.
I have received many anonymous Sources that provided information that showed that Dr. Kim Su Rasmussen/Seo KilSeung was 'successful' in his plan and that Mr. Wenger APPEARED either unable to prevent...or was in collusion with him and the KADLinK’s (Korean ADoptees Living in Korea). 


In his OPEN LETTER TO DON GORDON BELL, Dr. Kim Su Rasmussen/Seo KilSeung (Black okay?) revealed his plan to "politicize GOA'L and take over by democratic means" for the KADLinK ONLY community. I had to expose what I believe was a plan to focus GOA'L into Mainly for Those Living in Korea, which again is a SPECTRUM of Korean Adoptees, for not all adoptees even use GOA'L.

Many KAD’s are living here because they have come to discover their Korean Heritage on their own, using their Adoption Agencies, InKAS, KCARE and others to search for records, meet foster care families, seek reunion, etc. GOA'L has helped about 50% of the returning Adoptees it is estimated. There ARE other sources helping KADs but what was always unique about GOA'L was that the staff were always a MIX of Korean Adoptees from abroad AND local Koreans who have worked side by side with us.

My hope is that the Peace Feelers that I had put out to all the various leaders would lead to Face to Face confrontation between us to find compromise…Instead SOME PEOPLE continue in their outrageous lies and deceit that the final report of the Annual General Meeting was legitimate. BOGUS!!

YOU, DEAR READERS MAY DO WHAT YOU WISH.
FOR ME GOA’L HAS BEEN TAKEN OVER BY KADLinKs dominated by whining Anti-Adoption Adoptees Association types who think that by stopping Overseas Adoption overnight that the Korean society will suddenly just take care of all the children LEFT-OVER from “Civil Code Law” and “Domestic Adoption” cases that are 3 to 1 ratio to Overseas adoption cases. It will take awhile before THAT happens.
HAS GOA’L BAMBOOZLED YOU? OR WILL YOU DEMAND AN ACCOUNTING OF THE QUESTIONABLE ELECTION?
YOU AS MEMBERS OF GOA’L MUST DECIDE. 

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