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.

September 14, 2010

Are We Working?

Corporal Bell, Junior Drill Instructor in "Boys of Company C", directed by Sid Furie.

"Are We Working Yet?"

The Korean War Baby has had quite a busy time these last six weeks. IKAA Conference came in 3-8 August with fantastic meetings, symposiums, fun things, building relationships, etc. Then one of my best friends from the past as a B-Movie character actor, Nick Nicholson passed away on 17 August.

Two days later another best friend from Philippines, who just does not "DO Facebook", Romano Kristoff made contact with his sister in Spain and she gave him my email address.

About this time, another friend who taught me everything I needed to know about teaching English to Korean children arraigned for me to meet him in Manila. It was a combining of Interlinking Cycles of Friendships in reunions, burial at sea, meeting new life partners of one friend, Hong Kong reunions. NOW I can post on it.

My thanks to the Google Support teams that bore with this old fart who was completely baffled by DNS files, resetting this or that, NOW gotta make up for the past month of silence.

I beir the bel

"I Beir the Bel"

"I Beir the Bel"- The clarion village alarm system that was rung to sound the call to arms, or to announce an event. This is the coat of arms for the Bells of Middlebie, known as the Bloody Bells of the Western Marches. They were one of the 8 Riding Clans that gave the English such problems that King James listed them under the "Unruly Clans" list for destruction and scattered them to Ireland and forced many to escape the Scottish Lowlands or also known as the Borderlands, where they were known as the Border Reivers (raiders) against England and each other.

Scottish Border Reivers of the Borderlands

Well, by adoption, YES ADOPTION! I be Scottie as I was told by historians who explained that the Roman laws of adoption made me every bit a Scotsman. I was shown that my name had been added to the books being documented under my father's family line. This would NEVER happen in Korea, where I am a NON-PERSON, because I am considered a Half-Korean Bastard Mixed-Blood. Well, I am here to demand from my mother's people recognition and I beir witness in their face that they must acknowledge the many Mixed-Blood children who like me were sent away, and the one hundred thousand plus who NOW live in the ONCE Homogenous country. 

Korea must DEAL with the Multicultural Marriages and Mixed-Blood Children, plus the one million Foreigners living in the country, Wake up Korea, Deal with Globalization, Deal with your Prejudices! Deal with your lack of support for Unwed Mothers, for the Special Needs Children, Korean Adoptees both INTERNATIONAL and DOMESTIC. DEAL WITH THESE ISSUES!!!

I'm BACK!!!

Hear ye, hear ye!!! I will be your best friend, buy you a drink, always have your back, but IF YOU FUCK with me, I will be your worse Enemy. This is MY TRUTH, this is my promise. I uphold the weak, downtrodden, will drink with any man or woman, whether they be 'straight or gay/lesbian/transgender/etc.', I give respect to all but expect mutual respect. To the bully- I will beat your ass, 'while I have breath and the ability to stand. To those of honor I bow to you, to the common man I am one of you.

I have lots to catch up on but later on. Just want to make sure Korean War Baby is back online. Crossing my fingers.