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 24, 2010

"Resilience"-A film by Tammy Chu


ResilienceHomeImage
 "A Minor Critique"

The Korean War Baby has always endorsed this film directed and produced by Tammy Chu, a young Korean Adoptee who put several years into making this engaging film on This Thing of Ours-Adoption. The KWB is listed as one of the many many folks who are listed as sponsoring the Post-Production last year just before the debut at the prestigious Pusan International Film Festival in 2009.


If one uses the SEARCH device on the left column (LIGIT SEARCH) and input Resilience, one would find many posts and an advertisement for the film also on the left column.
Recently Tammy Chu and co-producer Rev. Kim appeared at the IKAA Gathering Film Festival  (which one will notice the KWB totally endorses) for questions and answers. One question was when would the film be presented to Korean audiences. We were told that soon it will be released with Korean subtitles and narration. This is excellent, for ‘preaching to the choir’ the KADs is not enough but the story needs to be told to Korean society as well. Hopefully even on Korean Television, wouldn’t THAT be great?
Here is the IKAA synopsis of the films:

_0001 (2) Resilience_Synopsis_IKAA Film Festival












“Resilience” 









Resilience_Synopsis_IKAA Film Festival_CU
A reminder the color Purple is used for the KWB thoughts. Please note this sentence (line 4)
“A single story among thousands of stories untold,”
This statement is far better than the website page synopsis found here:
Resilience
Resilience_SynopsisCU
Now please note the sentence after this:
“Despite being one of the world’s strongest economies, it (Korea) continues to do so. With every new family created by adoption, another family gets torn apart.”
The Korean War Baby takes annoyance, offense, even umbrage at such an outrageous statement.
 
“With every new family created by adoption, another family gets torn apart”.

This is just NOT TRUE, sorry, I am moved to protest this erroneous/grievous “HOLLYWOOD HYPE” for that is what it is, a catchy phrase that sounds good but even this story does not support this. I am loath to spoil the story of the film, however, BUT the story of Resilience is ONLY:
“A single story among thousands
of stories untold,”
An email REQUEST has been sent to Tammy Chu and Rev. Kim DoHyun asking them respectfully to change the website synopsis to match the better statement above, because it IS A single story among thousands. There are also thousands of abandoned children by mothers and fathers, the reasons are important but to simply state that the child was 'TORN from another Family' is NOT completely true. Misleading at best.
**************************************************
Please note this Facebook notice of a Showing and Q&A with Dir. Tammy Chu set for 5 Oct. 2010 next month.

InterCountry Adoptee Support Network
ICASN_ResilienceQ&A_Australia
Now look at this Close Up, “A single story among the thousands of stories untold,” SEE? This has been altered/amended to leave OUT the slightly, well, very inaccurate line about "Every" in the paragraph before.

ICASN_ResilienceQ&A_Australia_CUSynopsis
************************************************

Then in Minnesota we find THIS:
Minnesota TransRacial Film Festival
Well HERE we see again the line:
"With every new family created by adoption, another family gets torn apart."

Where is the consistency, sometimes included sometimes excluded. The Korean War Baby DOES NOT “demand/command/insist/pontificate/etc” what has already been written in the IKAA Film Festival or the promotion for the ICASN showing. This is acceptable and very true. “A single story among the thousands of stories untold,”

What is my only request/urging/reasoning/how about considering/longing to have balance/etc. etc. is that the website be in line with current modifications already done. It would take only 15-20 minutes by the Webmaster and would be SO much better. Which statement reflects ALL the truth?

It is because of Statistical Data like this below, that I am compelled and must speak out, imploring not cajoling, suggesting not demanding, requesting not commanding, seeking Balance not Pro or Con anything. 

Overseas Adopted Koreans website taken from MOHWFA (Ministry of Health Welfare and Family Affairs). OKFs_OverseasAdoptedKoreans_Statistics_Backgrd1958-2007
Note: Abandoned (29,950), Split Family (28,823), Single Mother (98,178), mixed (3,818), then Disability (37,276) where only 3% are adopted by Korean people...HELLO?!

WERE THESE CHILDREN TORN FROM THEIR ‘FAMILIES’? NO, Nyet, ANIO, Non!!! Many reasons for relinquishment/giving up but these were not “torn from their families”. 
The Korean War Baby implores/begs/proposes/suggests/puts forth, etc that the producers and director of Resilience make this minor change to standardize the synopsis. He will CONTINUOUSLY urge the producers/director to CONSIDER that Hollywood Hype is NOT NECESSARY for their film promotion. It will stand on it’s own merit and excellence.

The Korean War Baby

1 comment:

Skype