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 2, 2010

Open Letter to Mr. Wenger



"Open Letter to Mr. Wenger" Dear Mr. Wenger, or Kim?

I don't mean to be disrespectful, but not sure what name to call you so I shall use Mr. Wenger-Kim. I spoke recently with the Rev. KIM Do Hyun together with his wife, on the 22nd of May. We enjoyed a pleasant meal and discussed certain matters pertaining to the events that led up to the election. He has made clear to me that he doesn't know anything of the going on with Dr. Rasmussen's plan/plot and I have accepted his explanations. I did decline to apologize to him because I have been careful to only question his and your relationship and not accuse outright that he KNEW what was being done. As a new Board of Director of GOA'L perhaps he can work with you, Mr. Wenger, since you know each other since 1984 in co-founding the Dongari_Switzerland Korean Adoptee organization. As fellow BoD members you two have the ability to sort all this out.

I requested that a translator be available to make certain that everything was understood as well as possible. I had a friend as witness to the meeting attend. Of course, I have complete faith in a man of God such as Rev. Kim, and starting off I made that very clear at the beginning of our discussion.
I do NOT question his devotion to Korean Adoptees and service to hundreds, perhaps thousands have benefited from KoRoot's house for Adoptees.
The work that the Reverend and his wife are doing is admirable and I would in NO way disparage nor question the principals that KoRoot has established. I also explained that I am ready to hear exactly what is the truth from all individuals involved. Face to face with moderators as witnesses on both sides. Let us meet and work this all out.

Perhaps you aren't aware but on that same night, totally unconnected, a drunk 'ajosshi' drove his car smack into my wife's car. It was raining hard and visibility was bad and driving conditions dangerous even if sober. Apparently, he knocked her small car across the intersection. She did not have major injuries, thank God, but then an operation was performed on Tuesday and complications occurred that almost took her life, again. I inform you of all this since you, Mr. Wenger, have met her and Nancy has told me that you seem to be a "rather decent fellow" (Brit humor influenced by Nancy's British English Language studies).

I concur with that you ARE a "decent fellow" and this is what has perplexed me all the more. All along you have claimed to defend GOA'L as Neutral yet I have uncovered such things as THIS on GOA'L website:

#2 "Share the anguishing experiences of unmarried mothers, adoptive families and adoptees."

Are you implying that ALL are 'anguishing experiences'? Do all unmarried mothers have anguish? How about the adoptive families and adoptees, do we ALL have anguish? I don't think this represents the entire SPECTRUM of stories.

It also seems that more and more the voices heard from GOA'L conferences seems ONLY to come from those of discontent, as though we all are in 'anguish' over our adoption. I have been approached by many adoptees that questioned the Neutrality of GOA'L.
COULD YOU ANSWER THESE VALID QUESTIONS AS WELL?


YOU continue to ignore me and many members who want to know WHAT IS GOING ON?
You now call for support in asking for Candidates for Secretary General AGAIN?
Please, stop ignoring us and tell us the TRUTH.

GIVE US YOUR VERSION of the debacle of the SHAM/FAKE election on 27 March.


DID YOU COLLUDE WITH DR. RASMUSSEN TO 'TAKE OVER BY DEMOCRATIC MEANS' in order insure that the Anti-Adoption Adoptees Association would virtually control all levels of GLOBAL Overseas Adoptees' Link?

WERE YOU BAMBOOZLED BY HIM and the gang of 33, who voted 11 FOR and 22 ABSTENTION? WHERE IS THAT ON THE FINAL REPORT?

Did you NOT CALL FOR VOTES TO ABSTAIN?

DID I GET YOUR PERMISSION TO USE THE VOTING FORMS that I had made up then YOU DID NOT PASS ON TO YOUR STAFF?


You NOW call for more "FAKE CANDIDATES"!!
A totally hopeless move for anyone, as the Position of SG is APPOINTED solely by the Chairman of the Board and "newly appointed" Board Members according to your interpretation of the Bylaws of Incorporation, the Korean version also not being very clear on these matters and NOT available for members or public to check...

DO YOU CONTINUE THE CHARADE!?

Is this Saturday Nite LIVE...Adoption Comedy-Central?

GIVE US THE TRUTH-BEFORE YOU DESTROY
GLOBAL Overseas Adoptees' Link
Once and for All.
It is on YOUR HEAD, not mine.


Korean War Baby

No comments:

Post a Comment

Skype