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.


July 2, 2010

Welcome to Pact, An Adoption Alliance

The Korean War Baby recently came across this site that has excellent resources for understanding This Thing of Ours-Adoption, from every part of the Adoption Triad and Adoption Professionals. Check it out, just one of many that gives the various Spectrum of diverse experiences, stories, lessons learned, etc.

Welcome to Pact, An Adoption Alliance

Pact-logo-new

What is Pact?

Pact's name was chosen because of its meaning: a "pact" is a solemn agreement; to be of one mind; a covenant. At Pact, we believe that in making an adoption plan, birth parents and adoptive parents enter into an agreement to recognize and protect the best interests of the child. Essential to that agreement is a lifelong commitment to recognize, respect and address the dual heritages - both personal and cultural - that are the child's birth right. Our goal is for every child to feel wanted, honored and loved, a cherished member of a strong family with proud connection to his or her rich heritages.

A nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization begun by two adoptive parents in 1991, Pact has developed a national reputation for excellence in serving all members of the adoption triad. Each year, Pact offers educational events attended by more than 1500 individuals, provides - free of charge - over 1000 crisis consultations to expectant parents, and consults with hundreds of potential adoptive parents. Top priority is given to programs especially designed to support and inform adopted children and adopted adults of color. As Pact's national prominence grows, our ability to meet the needs of all members of the triad increases.

Since 1991, Pact's founders and small staff have dedicated themselves to the mission of providing the highest quality adoption-related services to children of color, their birth parents and their adoptive parents. Despite its limited budget, Pact has helped place over 1200 children in permanent, loving families and has counseled thousands of adopted adults, expectant parents, foster parents and pre- and post- adoptive parents. Pact also works with adoption professionals to facilitate adoptions and to initiate programs that better serve clients raising children of color. Importantly, Pact goes beyond traditional adoption services by offering extensive post-placement opportunities for all families raising children of color (same-race, transracial, international, transcultural, etc.), providing informative and essential education, connection and support.

What Does Pact's Internet Site Offer?

Pact's goal is to create and maintain the internet's most comprehensive site addressing issues for adopted children of color, offering informative articles on related topics as well as profiles of triad members and their families, links to other internet resources, and a book reference guide with a searchable database. The site provides reprints of past Pact Press issues, as well as opportunities to interact with other triad members and to ask questions of birth parents, adopted people, adoptive parents and adoption professionals.

Table of Contents

Adopted People                                Adoptive Parents

More About Pact                              Pact's Online Store

Upcoming Events                             Birth Parents

Foster Parents                                  Membership Services

Ask a Question                                 Directions to the Pact Office


This website was funded in part by Federal Grant #90-CO-0793,
awarded by the Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families.

Copyright © 1998-2009 by Pact, An Adoption Alliance
http://www.pactadopt.org
info@pactadopt.org

This site was created by
adopting.com

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