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.


October 19, 2010

Jon Huston's Third Meeting with his Birthmother

Minnesota man Jon Huston, left, was connected via webcam to his birth mother in Korea. She gave him up for adoption when he was 6 because she was too poor to take care of him.
(ABC News)
Jon Huston meets his Korean birthmother for Third time. 


"The search for his birth mother took a Minnesota man more than 6,000 miles to Korea, where he was given up for adoption 37 years ago (2008). Jon Huston never imagined he'd find his way back to Korea.
"I was very nervous," he said. "I didn't know what was going to happen. It was the most nerve-racking thing to know if I would be accepted or rejected."

Huston's birth father was an American soldier who met his birth mother in Korea while stationed there. He died in combat in Vietnam. Huston's birth mother couldn't raise him on her own, so she gave him up for adoption when he was 6. Huston was adopted by a family in Buffalo, Minn. He's one of more than 20,000 (correct number) Korean adoptees living in Minnesota."

Read all the article:

ABC News story on Jon Huston (2008)
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MORE PHOTOS HERE:
Picasaweb.google.com/JonHuston#
Jon point to the photo of last visit, asking about relatives.


In 2008, after Jon had spoken on Webcam to her on live Korean TV, the KBS investigators saw Jon's photo hanging on the wall. This was conclusive proof that their story was confirmed.


 KBS2 "The Person I am Longing to Find" will air in Korea next Tuesday, the 26th of Oct. They filmed and interviewed Jon in Minnesota before he arrived last week in Seoul. His mother was brought there to meet and they taped the show of their third meeting. Nancy, my wife and I, had the honor and pleasure of meeting Jon and driving him down to visit at his mother's home in Kunsan City.
Jon Huston and his birthmother outside her home.



I met Jon in Seoul then brought him back home in Ansan City, 90 min. southwest from Seoul. We left in the wee hours of Sunday morning the day after I came back from Pusan Intl. Film Festival. We arrived at his mother' home on the north part of Kunsan City, and Nancy was born just outside in a village nearby, so she and his mother bonded quickly. Jon has been there twice before, in 2008 after they had been reunited through the KBS2 television show, "The Person I am Longing to Find". Last year, in 2009 he came again for a short visit. Read more of Jon's story on his Facebook account or Google him for videos.
























Looking at photo albums. With Nancy being from her hometown and knowing the local accent, spending the day we were able to ask many things and Jon learned some vital new information. 
 
Jon Huston, his Korean mother, Nancy Chae-Bell, and the Korean War Baby.
 
Eating Dok Soup, Sticky-rice tubes sliced into oblong pieces with Seaweed.

Later on in the day, Jon treated us to Korean Beef top sirloin. It was absolutely delicious!!!




Jon Huston has started a website "Korean Bridge.org" especially for Korean Adoptees who have reunited with Birth Family. Watch for it and add your own story if you have been reunited, or are thinking of Searching.

This site is just starting so visit often and give suggestions by emailing them.

The Korean War Baby.


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