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 31, 2010

“Hunter’s Crossing” Silver Star Films

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As some of you know, the Korean War Baby, in a past life back in the late 70’s to mid ‘80’s, as Don Gordon Bell, was living in the Philippines. I worked on local Filipino films and on many foreign International films, from big block busters like “Apocalypse Now” to small budget B-movies produced by the king of B-movies Roger Corman and quite a few Filipino film production companies. It was glorious, fun, hard work, feast or famine at times, but never a dull moment. Best years of my life, but some of the worst things I committed during my years of living only for myself, well, you will have to read my E-Book.
“Hunter’s Crossing” a B-movie film released by Silver Star Films was also released as “EinSatzkommando WildGanse” which I think means something Commando Wild Geese. My Facebook friend filmmaker Tony Li posted some photos from the DVD release in Germany. Thanks Tony.
Bruce Baron was the lead, an ex-Vietnam Vet who gets together a few buddies to rescue a rich man’s son who had been kidnapped by Filipino pirates. Philip Gamboa was the main Filipino lead, also one of the rescue team members who knew Bruce’s character when they served in an elite unit in the ‘Nam.75751_169473423078690_100000480990918_557759_474771_n Bruce Baron, Don Gordon Bell, and Jim Gaines
Jim Gaines and I played fellow Vietnam ‘war buddies’ of Bruce Baron, living in the Philippines, living the good life, whoring with beautiful (and some not quite so but very willing!) Filipina women, drinking San Miguel beer and ESQ Tanduay Rhum and cokes everyday (Playing REAL life- ourselves in REEL LIFE). We agree to join our old team leader on this crazy adventure for money and just plain boredom.
Richard Harrison 
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First we go through a bit of training and conditioning, to get our soft bodies in shape for a rescue mission.









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Don, sliding along a rope requires a ‘cup protector’ to prevent injury!





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“HOW much are we getting? Why not, got nothing better to do.”HuntersCrossing_DGBell3
This was a VERY low budget B-movie that had a simplistic story, made up by lots of big booms, tons of special effects, gasoline blasts, dozens of pirates killed, and ‘all the usual schlock factors’ that one pundit claims makes these films “so bad they are good”. My dialog in the whole films could be on 3 pages of script, no wait, I don’t think we even HAD a script, just a basic storyline.
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David Light played the pirate leader of the gang. Philip Gamboa was the Filipino who served with us together in the ‘Nam. He knows the island stronghold, where the pirates are since he is a native.
David Light, pirate leader.
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Years later, “life imitated art”, when Filipino pirates actually kidnapped tourists, beheading one of them on their own island stronghold in Jolo, off Mindinao in the southern part of the Philippine Islands.
PhilipGamboa_JimGaines Team members Philip Gamboa, Jim Gaines.
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Yes, I died again…going down fighting to the bitter end. I think the rest survive, rescue the boy and remember me in a toast to fallen comrades. Ah, ‘show biz’…

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