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.


November 15, 2010

YouTube - 1885 - 1908 Old KOREA photos before Japanese Annexation


Download:
FLVMP43GP

It is interesting to see the old Korea in these photos before the Japanese Annexation started in 1910 until Liberation in 1945. This is not meant to represent all that Korea was at that time, but rather gives us a glimpse at how far Korea has come since then. Some have claimed that Korea was ‘helped’ by the occupation but this comes mainly from conservative Japanese politicians who try to make this justification for their imperial attempts in Asia.
Despite the years under foreign rule and the war between the communist North and the Democratic South, the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has transformed into the 14th largest country based on GDP. Meanwhile, Communist run DPRK (North Korea) remains mired in poverty and hunger even now, demanding more food aid in trade for brief family reunions and continuing denials of sinking the ROKS Cheonan, a patrol ship that was sunk with lose of 46 sailors.
cat-watches-you-give-a-cheeseburger-to-the-dog    Yet, some very badly informed and misguided KAD’s continue to claim that US and UN troops presence in the South are “Occupation” forces. Don’t they understand that the two Liberal Presidents of ROK could have easily asked the US and UN troops to LEAVE.

Are they ignoring FACTS that 22 UN countries have treaties still in place to send MORE troops to protect the sovereignty of the democratic Southern part of the peninsular if the Commie Jackasses attack again? Yet they use loosely the terms ‘Occupation forces’ and “Imperial” when referring to United States Armed Forces, serving at the invitation of the democratically elected government. Even President Roh Moo Hyun, who claimed that he would not ‘kow-tow’ to the US, DID NOT ASK them to leave. HELLO, US troops are here to protect the interests of the country.
Do terrible things happen? Has there been some incidents with violence by individual US Troops? YES, and there has been Korean women who fell in love and married US and UN troops. (Warning: extreme SARCASM coming)-

"Oh,No!The Horror!"


These same ill informed KADs WHINE and MOAN that "Korean women are being taken advantage as sex slaves by the US troops"?! BUT THE FACTS are that most Cross-Cultural marriages today are in fact now FOREIGN NATIONALS, mostly women, coming into the country for Korean MEN. ALSO, Foreign English Teachers from many countries both Male and Female are also “Falling in Love and getting married”. Businessmen and women from foreign lands are also ‘taking advantage of Korean women’?

Oh, stop it! You are killing me! Are all these foreign devils working in the country, “OCCUPATION IMPERIAL FORCES”?!!! HAHAHAHA, PLEASE GIVE ME A BREAK!!! Get the Damn Facts right. Sorry to rant but such idiotic and prejudicial statements in recent films screened at IKAA made such claims. I sure would like to let the Korean Wives of the members of “VKW” know that they were alleged to be “Prostitutes, sluts, women of low class” as is implied in some extreme quarters of the Anti-Adoption Adoptees Association (This is my own term for them, they don't really have a group formed in name-KWB). Why it might be a good idea to post their names so that the Korean Wives of VKW, can set them straight on their 'former occupations' before marriage. Can you say "CATFIGHT"? Watch out, don't mess with Korean Ajuhmahs married to Foreign Devils!

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