THIS THING OF OURS-ADOPTION
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.
August 30, 2010
UPDATE: Google continues to be VERY FRUSTRATING...
August 29, 2010
Every DAY in 2007 twenty-one babies were born to Unwed Mothers, and every day one thousand to FOUR thousand had ABORTIONS. In the six days of the Gathering that is 6,000 to 24,000 human fetus that would have been born were ‘eliminated or terminated’. That makes me MAD AS HELL, how about you?
August 23, 2010
Open Letter to younger brothers and sisters, GOA’L new leaders and staff
Dear Dong Saengs,
I present my thoughts and concerns to those of you in the local KADLinK (Korean ADoptees Living in Korea) and the greater Global/International community to be considered and evaluated. Many of you perhaps have issues with me and my position on fighting against InterCountry Adoptions versus ONLY helping Unwed Mothers. This is the main issue that seems to divide us. Is it the single-minded plan of A.S.K. and T.R.A.C.K. to stop ICA without concern for the children who are NOT WANTED by the Korean people?
Please STATE publicly your position on this matter, clearly and stop talking about “Neutrality and separateness”. These are empty words, HERE IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT, Tell us what do you say on ‘stopping InterCountry Adoptions while Koreans secretly adopt the youngest up to five months AND there are STILL “Left-over babies” Each YEAR.
UPDATE: The KWB requested that A.S.K. and T.R.A.C.K. publicly state their position on the matter to 'Stop ICA without concern for the children'. Leaders from T.R.A.C.K. have assured the KWB that this NOT their agenda. Based on communications between these leaders and their own publications online, the KWB can be fairly certain that the stopping of InterCountry Adoptions is NOT on the agenda, plans, political purposes of T.R.A.C.K.
A.S.K. haven't heard from any of you...What say you to my words, will you not consider them? Will you ignore me forever? Are you waiting for me to die? LOL.
Rev. Kim DoHyun, director of KoRoot, and the KWB spoke face to face on Saturday the 18th of Sept. We enjoyed a meal together and discussed many things. I can say from our talk that Rev. Kim stated that he is NOT against ICA. He is an honorable man, pastoring a church as well, and I completely accept his word. We discussed possible steps towards approaching those in interested in peace and reconciliation with the Korean War Baby.
Of course, it is a long path, fraught with divergent and sometime strong feelings and opinions. I am hoping for sincere and open Face-to-Face meetings with those willing to do so with me. Later on, negotiations and discussions may lead to our continuing to work for the common good. I eagerly await responses from KADLinK members, new leaders of GOA'L, A.S.K., and T.R.A.C.K. and any imput that the International Adoption Community may input.
How about it Yedura? Please have discourse among yourselves and let Rev. Kim know your ideas concerning this. I continue to delete certain last names as my gesture of sincerity. Come, let us reason together, work for the future, with balance as each organization does its own agenda. I could compare to the Armed Forces, each have their specialties and abilities, yet all co-ordinated together. Hey, Marines need the Navy to support them; Army troops need Air Force to support them. Combined forces always get the job done better.
Let’s not forget the thousands of older children left to grow up in 280 institutions until they are kicked out at 19 years old with about 200 dollars on their own. Children with Disabilities are less than 3% adopted by Koreans IN this country, the rest 97% each year, only find homes in foreign lands. WHAT? Can’t hear you, wha’cha gotta say about THEM?What will you do with these abandoned children, unwanted by their people? WHAT SAY YOU TO THAT?
|Not Korean War Orphans-Growing up NOW in Institutions|
Most Adoptees throughout the world have also just dealt with the issues of Transracial/transcultural adoption. NO ONE PROMISED YOU A ROSE GARDEN in life, there is no guarantee of great Adoptive/Bio Parents and family. Allegedly the European KAD’s suffered more prejudice than we USA KAD's, but I have never heard a US KAD say they did NOT have some events of prejudice/ignorance during their life, even we half-breed mixed-blood types got the same crap. YOU JUST DEALT WITH IT. STOP THE WHINING, STAND UP for your personal rights. Put a ROCK IN A SOCK and FIGHT. Don't take crap, like one of my ancestors, Geronimo of the Chiricahua Apaches, resisted thousands of US Army and militia for five years. GROW A PAIR.
Children are still being given up, relinquished by women who cannot face the hardships and prejudices. It is happening still, today, right fricking NOW, and there are valid reasons such as the prejudices against Unwed Mothers from their family, lack of government support, NO paternal responsibilities, few child care facilities in public work places, society’s general disdain, future marriage chances LOW, etc.
We cannot judge women who are under such pressures, when every damn day, one thousand to FOUR thousand Korean women CHOOSE to abort, terminate, their UNWANTED PREGNANCIES. This grieves me but they have the right to do so, and I do not judge these women, where the hell are the men who fathered them?
The Law of the land doesn't even force them to support their own child. THEY GET OFF FREE. HELL with THAT. Most don’t even get involved or go with their girlfriends to clinics, same as the states, they run as fast as they can. No Law in Korea forces paternity tests either, only if they WANT the child. I asked at KWDI meeting earlier this year, "what about bio-logical fathers? You make a law that they CAN reclaim Parental Rights up to 18 years old, thereby leaving children in the Institutions, UNADOPTABLE. How many have done THAT? Reclaimed their uh, parental rights?" Answer NONE, NADA, ZIP, OPSO, not one damn case of it. But they got the law for it.
Yet on the bright side is this: 37.8% of Unwed Mothers in 2009 WANt TO KEPT their babies. THIS IS GOOD but the actual numbers keeping them is closer to 30%. Society is changing, slowly. Twice as many women continue to CHOSE TO GIVE UP or RELINQUISH their child, as those who are Unwed Mothers. This is the Inconvenient Truth, these are the Fricking ungodly FACTS. A.S.K. leaders, can you dispute this? I think not.
WHAT WILL YOU DO- STOP ICA AND DOMESTIC AND CIVIL CODE LAW ADOPTIONS? You have never answered or stated your position, yet in ASK and TRACK published documents you continually state that ICA must stop. IS THIS YOUR POSITION?
UPDATE: T.R.A.C.K. leaders have reassured me that they are NOT pressing to STOP ICA. I am giving them a chance to CLEARLY STATE this position ON THEIR OWN WEBSITE. I will not be satisfied with claims of NEUTRALITY. IF you are reading this please send me a PDF file so no one can claim that I altered the document.
Adoptees Solidarity Korea-I extend the same to you, Answer me, Don't ignore me. I will hammer and rage against any person or organization that would stop InterCountry Adoptions WHILE MY MOTHER'S PEOPLE REJECT, ABANDON, DON'T SUPPORT MOTHERS/FAMILY, GIVE MERE PITTANCE OF FINANCIAL SUPPORT, ETC.
In the past five months we have been at odds, to put it mildly, on these certain issues. Let me clarify, clearly and succinctly to you my position. Let me shed light on the real reasons I have been forced to DO what I have felt compelled to do. Why the “Drama”, as Isaac has put it to me, had to be played out. (You may not have any clue to what I am talking about unless you have heard of the events from January to March 27th at the GOA’L Annual Business Meeting- Go to March 28th onward for full ugly details).
Contrary to erroneous and
THIS IS WHY I FIGHT, for the right of children to have a loving home, IF THE MOTHER CHOOSES TO RELINQUISH HER CHILD. It was determined by this small faction of KADLinKs, that they must have a more legal base for their operations. Thus, since GOA’L is the only Non-Government Organization (NGO) of the Korea based adoptee groups they ‘planned to take over by democratic means’ GOA’L to ensure getting legitimacy and even funding. Adoptee’s Solidary Korea leaders and members now have strong footholds on ‘community committees’, Board of Directors, and the process for APPOINTING the Secretary General and Vice-Secretary General continues as it was done for six years under Jan Wenger (now using KimDae-Won, alias Dae-Won Wenger).
WAS the election last 27th of March, 2010 FOR REAL or was it a total FAKE SHAM, so that the new Board of Directors, loaded with Anti-Adoption Adoptee Associates and progressives, could appoint whom ever they wanted.
Which brings me to the new Secretary General James (Kim Yoo Shin) Rosso and Vice-SG Isaac Tufvessen…PLEASE TELL US-WHO ARE YOU GUYS?? Will you stay hidden. What a marvelous story the former SG has of finding his birth family members. It was posted online, under his Swiss name, Jan Wenger, and tells us of his luckily finding his birth family through a newspaper article, yet he chose for some reason to not divulge it. Though Dae-won Wenger was the public leader for GOA’L some six years. Why? If you are a leader your life is an open book, you are an example and sharing your story helps others to know “where you are coming from”.
Uh, James, what IS your name? It is NOT YET back to original Korean, Yes you may call yourself whatever you want, your perogitive. It is premature to use only your Korean name, Duel Citizenship has NOT yet passed into law. Don’t want trouble with taxes do you? And as leader of GOA’L REAL Koreans might be confused as to who you are, mistaking you as a Korean, not an adoptee or a Kyopo. How about using a composite name James, perhaps James YooShin Kim-Rosso or a shorter version.
In the past ‘election’ candidates were required to submit Letters of recommendations, letters of motivation to why you want to serve,and an extensive self-introduction, all in the presentation to the membership of GOA’L. This was to vet and help members decide who they would vote for as their leaders.
However, after the REALITY of the pretend Election was revealed apparently this was not necessary to do. We have only simple paragraphs of introduction and it seems that no one knows who you guys are or your own personal Adoption Stories.
Might I suggest, wait…may I strongly recommend that to bring legitimacy and Openness to your leadership of GOA’L. Perhaps you could publish on the GOA’L website more than a short blurb. Put your lives on the line, tell us who you are and why YOU should be leaders of GOA’L. The membership of GOA’L are not fools and unless you establish your credentials you both are tainted with the shadow of the unusual way you were appointed…in secret. Talk about DRAMA. Hey, I am just suggesting that to remove the smell of SMOKE from the offices of GOA’L and from the stench of the fake election you might want to have a fresh start, tell us all about yourselves in detail.
Will you continue to disenfranchise their ability to vote electronically in the future, and limit it only to KADLinKs again? Hmmm? Just keeping ya on your toes guys. This old fart Adoptee DOES wants to be friends but you cannot ignore me...I AIN’T DEAD YET. Welcome to my world gentlemen. Deal with me. I will be here long after you leave…I plan to die here.
We who are adopted world-wide salute you both and wish you the best.
Sincerely Welcome to the motherland!!
Tim Holm opening statements for 2nd International Symposium on Adoption Studies
But don't you have to go back to the beginning, WHY did you and I get sent from the land of morning calm? Reasons changed but some are the same, we all just have to sort it out and Deal with it.
|Banners swirling Samsung ladies drummed and danced.|
Several adoptees told the KWB they have accepted their 'Lot' in life, they are composite in that they are ethnically / genetically Korean yet their inner being, their mind and soul is perhaps French, Dutch, Danish, American, etc. For those who have come back several times this realization seems to be more settled, those who are just starting on the 'journey' it is new and exciting.
We are all on different places on this journey, some (only 2,500) have found reunion, and many of us will never have that. Some may not want to even search for biological family. This too is okay ... individuals must make their own choice to search or not. We can rejoice with the happy cases and weep with the disappointing ones.
|KADLinK Team Korea|
Wednesday was filled with presentations from many interesting perspectives, one wished they could be able to attend two or three at the same time.
"Going" Director Jason Hoffman
"Made in Korea: A one-way ticket Seoul-Amsterdam? " Director In-Soo Radstake
"Adopted" the movie Director Barb Lee
"The Woman, The Orphan, and The Tiger " Director Jane Jin Kaisen
"Resilience " Director Tammy Chu
The Film Festival had Five films that were screened with a range of different perspectives, highlighting just some of the spectrum of cases. All will generate spirited discussions and opinions and draw attention to the complexities of This Thing of Ours-Adoption.
Sunday nite was the Black N White Affair! Singers, musicians, and Rappers rocked the house!
For more photo albums check the LEFT COLUMN for FACEBOOK as well as PICASA ALBUMS.
August 15, 2010
Just figured THIS out. Follow link below to my Picasa Web Albums, THEN click on SLIDESHOW:
Sunday Nite- Black and White Affair
Look for other IKAA albums on Picasa 3 Web Albums. Be sure to tag yourself and others you know. KWB
Left Column: FACEBOOK albums have other shots.
August 2, 2010
The Korean War Baby is attending this IKAA Gathering and looking forward to meeting KADs from the GLOBAL community. KADLinKs welcome our brothers and sisters to the motherland. Enjoy all things Korean!!
From IKAA Gathering Website
PROGRAM OF SESSIONS & PRE-REGISTRATION NOW AVAILABLE
Pre-registration for workshops and sessions is now available to Gathering participants registered for the full conference. Register here
IKAA GATHERING 2010 SEOUL KOREA - AUGUST 3-8 - REGISTER NOW!
It is still possible to do a last minute registration by clicking here!
OPTIONAL ACTIVITIES BEFORE & AFTER THE GATHERING
Holt Travel Agency offers a wide variety of optional activities to Gathering participants and their families: read more
The Holm Family and AAAW offers a 7 days Post-Gathering tour to the great sites of Korea: read more
THE RESEARCH SYMPOSIUM OPEN TO EXTERNALS GUESTS
Scholars from around the world will present their Korean Adoption Studies research during the IKAA Gathering 2010 at the Second International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies to be held Tuesday, August 3, 2010 in Seoul, South Korea at the Lotte Hotel Seoul. The Symposium is open for external guests. Read more here
IKAA Gathering 2010 Sponsors
Come to the Gathering if you are currently a KADLinK-Korean Adoptee Living in Seoul!!! See you there!!
Korean War Baby
“Though we may disagree on issues strongly, we must continue to dialogue, study, compare, learn from each other, teach each other, for we ARE a unique GLOBAL COMMUNITY. I welcome a ‘sit-down’ with any fellow adoptee on HOW to DO things better.”
Don Gordon Bell