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.


August 23, 2010

Open Letter to My Younger KAD Brothers/Sisters

Aug 23 2010


Open Letter to younger brothers and sisters, GOA’L new leaders and staff
 
Dear Dong Saengs, 
 
I wish to take this opportunity to reach out in a gesture of peace and reconciliation to all DSC03512 those KADLinKs (Korean ADoptees Living in Korea). Concerning the ‘troubles and drama’ of the past five months, well actually going back to January of this year, I believe we must consider ‘turning the page’, ‘moving on’. So in this spirit, I have approached certain leaders to work out our differences.
No matter how negatively a “few of you” feel about me, WE ARE part of a large ‘family’, we who are called Korean ADoptees, part of the bigger Korean Diaspora, coined by Tobias Hubinette. I have asked Tobias Hubinette to be a liaison to those in the local KADLinK community that have been strongly opposed to me on the issue of continuing InterCountry Adoptions (ICA). I approached him during the IKAA conference, on the hope that peace and harmony could be brought back to the KADLinK community AND the International community of KADs.
 
 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?
 
2010-04-16 13-15-36_0047Please 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
Earlier this year some people wanted to ‘take over GOA’L by democratic means’ because it is the ONLY Adoptee group that is a NON-GOVERNMENT ORGANIZATION. This plot has been exposed! Uncovered in your naked desires to fight against Adoption as though it were the “great evil”. You claim to be NOT Angry, yet your writings in Korean media and on websites show your true feelings. Opposition to ICA does not propose solutions to the thousands left unadopted each year. Your newspaper interviews repeatedly and  falsely suggest that the majority of Korean Adoptees are not happy they were adopted. UH, WRONG.

JUN Yong Soo_'56Passport_CUFormerly known as JUN Yong Soo
Donald Gordon BELL. I am not going back to old identity AND NO ONE CAN LEGALLY USE THEIR OLD NAME. Not until the Dual Citizenship bill is LAW. Hey, call yourself whatever but you are fooling only some people.
Do you think changing your name back to A.K.A. "Korean name" will fool somehow Korean people?
DUDE, get real. 



DON’T SPEAK FOR ME!!! Nor do you speak for thousands of KADs who understand the conditions and situations that caused their abandonment, relinquishment, separation, given up for a better life, and ALL the various reasons that  developed over the years for Korean women/men to give us up.

 I am damn happy that I was not killed on the streets of Seoul by Koreans who hated my MIXED-BLOOD TUIGI non-person being. Ironically, NOW the country is awash with over 120,000 MIX-BLOOD/MULTICULTURAL children. DEAL WITH THAT, Korean Society!!! Because of rampant ABORTIONS, the male/female RATIOs dropped in rural area to 130 males/100 females. Answer? Bring in YOUNG wives from 3rd wold countries, and though 10-15% wind up in divorce, the rest are working out. NO MORE HOMOGENEOUS SOCIETY, hahaha!

You who are "FULL-BLOODED Koreans might want to consider WHY you were "Barida" Abandoned by your people, mother and father, both their families, AND government. YOU might as well face it, YOU ARE BANANAS, persons of Yellow skin on the outside but WHITE culturally, mentally, emotionally...YOU will never be accepted as a REAL KOREA, nor will you lose your 'bad language skills'. Don't give up though, push on, defy the system, just get tough and be prepared for daily rejections. 
YOU'LL be fine, and not want to hit too many Korean people. Many will compliment you on your efforts, but please don't marry my daughter or son.
THIS IS THE UGLY SIDE OF 'BACK TO THE MOTHERLAND'.

 Deal with it, you can survive. 

10011_DealWithThis_Imprint
Well, I just learned to DEAL WITH IT, and Korea now must also deal with US. We are coming back some for only short visits, some for longer stays, a few hardy stubborn types to live here.

 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.   

Everyday in the last 15 years, living in the 'motherland', I am faced with this truth, "REJECTION", OOOH Dear! I boldly proclaim to the Korean people, “I AM BACK, your worst nightmare”, a half-breed orphan, ‘impure by your standards’ who can teach YOUR children that prejudice is WACKED. Welcome to MY nightmare, I am teaching YOUR Children the truth of Korean homogeneous BULL. Got Globalized? Children running off to other countries and STAYING. HAH.


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 somewhat twisted fools jackasses, oops persons, who think and claim that the KWB is “just a sore loser” due to the election, let me be absolutely clear on this. It is all about the PLAN hatched by “intellectual super-brains” who are part of those who have determined that stopping Adoptions within and out of Korea is the ONLY WAY TO GO.

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

New GOA'L Leaders... 

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.
locusofcontrol  ARE YOU LEADERS OR MERE PUPPETS?
Prove to us your mettle, give us your credentials, publish letters from those who know you, tell us how much you KNOW? What made you want to come and serve? Why are you the final choices? People want to know. The Korean War Baby might even re-join the GLOBAL Overseas Adoptees’ PAB1915Link. You may consider my challenge rude but it is the inconvenient truth that your ‘selection was not by election’. Overcome this little incongruence and SHOW US why you would take a job that pays so little and demands so much work. I REALLY do think you are Leaders but you must show us first, then demonstrate by your actions where you will lead Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link.
I will give you the benefit of the doubt but GOA’L members past and present cannot be expected to endorse nor trust leaders who hide their lives from the organization that they are leading. The eyes of the global community are upon you, James and Isaac, so get off to a great start and reveal yourselves to us all. We WANT you both to do well, bring sanity back to GOA’L and to ‘mend fences’ and push onto the future.
 
OH, and Isaac, you only mention the “localcommunity on the website introduction…are you not aware that the 'G' in GOA’L stands for GLOBAL? Just being MELODRAMATIC, DUDE. LOL. Gotta get with the program, you serve more than the KADLinKs here in ROK. Hundreds up to a couple of thousand KADs were served in 2009 from the GLOBAL community. Do you know that THEY are members with NO VOTE for the next Annual General Meeting (which by the way should be Bi-Annual).


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!!

I AM the Korean War Baby- Deal with it.

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