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.


September 21, 2010

PBS-POV Adoption Fact Sheet

PBS Adoption Fact Sheet

Facts About Adoption
  • In 2001, there were 1.5 million adopted children in the United States, representing 2.5 percent of all U.S. children.
  • The Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute's 1997 public opinion benchmark survey found that 58 percent of Americans know someone who has been adopted, has adopted a child or has relinquished a child for adoption.
  • The Hague Convention, passed in 1993 and implemented in the U.S. in 2008, seeks to prevent human trafficking and protect children's safety, promote transparency in the process by requiring agencies to disclose fees and expenses in writing, and provide adoptive parents with adoption certificates and other paperwork that eases children's entries into their new homelands.
  • Though U.S. citizens adopted nearly 13,000 children from 106 different countries in 2009, a little more than two-thirds of all children came from only five sending countries: China (23 percent), Ethiopia (18 percent), Russia (12 percent), South Korea (8 percent) and Guatemala (6 percent).
  • South Korea has placed over 100,000 children in the United States since 1958. China has placed more than 70,000 children, 91 percent female, with families abroad, 70 percent of those American. While the exact number of U.S. children placed for adoption in other countries is not reliably reported, a decade ago adoption experts estimated the number at 500 annually.
  • In 2006, the Chinese government proposed a new set of rules requiring that adoptive parents must meet certain educational and financial requirements, be married, be under 50, not be clinically obese, not have taken antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication in the previous two years and not have any facial deformities.
  • The organization Families With Children from China provides a network of support for families who have adopted in China and to provide information to prospective parents. There are currently more than 100 chapters of the group throughout the United States.
  • The estimated cost of adopting from China is $20,000 to 25,000.
  • While inter-country adoption may be the most visible category, the majority of American adoptions actually involve children adopted out of foster care. About 135,000 children are adopted in the United States each year. Of non-stepparent adoptions, about 59 percent are from the child welfare (or foster) system, 26 percent are from other countries, and 15 percent are voluntarily relinquished American babies.
  • Domestically, the percentage of infants given up for adoption has declined from 9 percent of those born before 1973 to 1 percent of those born between 1996 and 2002.
  • Adoption costs tend to differ according to the origin, race, sex and age of the child, as do waiting times involved, with white American-born baby girls costing the most and older black boys the least.
  • Adoptive mothers tend to be older than mothers who have not adopted children. Fifty-one percent of adoptive mothers are between 40 to 44 years of age compared with 27 percent of non-adoptive. Eighty-one percent of adoptive mothers are 35 to 44 years of age compared to 52 percent of non-adoptive mothers.
  • Although never-married persons aged 18 to 44 years are less likely to have adopted children compared with those who have been married, about 100,000 never-married women and 73,000 never-married men adopted children in 2002.
  • Currently Florida is the only state that bans adoption by lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. Some states, such as Mississippi, allow a man or woman to adopt alone but will not allow second-parent adoption by a same gender partner. The state of Utah prevents any unmarried couples from adopting.
  • Same-sex couples raising adopted children are older, more educated and have more economic resources than other adoptive parents. An estimated 65,500 adopted American children are living with a lesbian or gay parent.

For Your Information.

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