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.


December 19, 2010

The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition)U.S.: 'No Justification' for N.Korean Response to S.Korean Exercises

 Will the South actually conduct the “Live-fire drills” or back out, appeasing the North again? Highlights and links to try to understand what IS and Might BE. Diplomats are rushing around trying to prevent escalation. Who will "Blink"?
The Chosun Ilbo (English Edition): Daily News from Korea - U.S.: 'No Justification' for N.Korean Response to S.Korean Exercises
north-korea_471386t  kimsjpg-e68299463e828335_2 “BabyFace ready to take over?”
“The United States said Friday there would be no justification for North Korea to take military action if South Korea goes ahead with planned artillery exercises in the next few days. Pyongyang is threatening another attack on South Korean territory, more severe than the one it staged after an exercise by its neighbor on Nov. 23.
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K9 Self-Propelled Howitzer bunker, damaged in Nov. 23 attack.
However, it (US) is defending the right of South Korea to conduct military exercises within its own territory, and says there is no justification for the threats Pyongyang has made in recent days.

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The North does not recognize the Northern Limit Line but the red line above, therefore they cross into the Crab zones with their fishing boats.

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Surface to Air missiles.
North Korea, through its official media, is warning that if the South Korean drills go forward, it will hit back harder than it did on Nov. 23, when it answered a live-fire exercise with an attack on a South Korean island that killed four people.

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ROK Marines march in memory of slain MARINES.
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Vulcan gun.
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ROK Marines are the main force on YeonPyeong Island
                             
South Korea's announced plans for another exercise, sometime between Saturday and Tuesday, has triggered worry in Washington and elsewhere, and a round of diplomatic contacts by concerned governments.
“Game of Chicken” is being played out over the next few days…Notice these articles on the North, some very interesting stuff:
What North Koreans think about 3 Generations of Kims
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From left, Kim Il-sung, Kim Jong-il and Kim Jong-un
“As the third generation of the Kim dynasty prepares to take over power in North Korea, defectors from the reclusive country say the opinion of North Koreans about the family is getting worse with each passing generation. Many see Kim Il-sung as a father figure who enjoyed widespread respect, but his son Kim Jong-il is seen as a dictator and tyrant and his grandson Kim Jong-un as a nobody without experience.
PissedOffInPyongyang
As for Kim Jong-un, defectors say North Koreans feel neither respect nor fear. They view him as a child. One defector who fled the North early this year and gave his name as Song said, "The regime says Kim Jong-un has inherited the 'revolutionary achievements' and traditions from his grandfather, but the public has no illusions about him." Song added, "People are simply speechless at Kim Jong-il's greed in placing his young son on the throne."
 We watch and wait for what will take place. Who knows, but the Korean War Baby is not worried. Trusting in God.

UPDATE: MONDAY afternoon the SOUTH KOREAN military conducted Live-Fire (Real bullets/shells) Drill and the NORTH Koreans DID NOT, again I say, did NOT fire back. Instead, they played the GAME again so well, saying now that Inspectors could come back into the country (and look at only the places THEY want them to see). Special Envoy Richardson played his part and probably gave them all sorts of promises from President Obama's government. Watch for Six-Party Talks (Just what NK wanted where they will demand goodies and GET THEM from stupid governments) to be scheduled. This gives more 'breathing room' for the North and they WIN AGAIN. Sheesh, would think SOMEBODY would get it. 

2 comments:

  1. Hi Don...I wanted to drop by and send you greetings from NJ! Wishing you the best this season & New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you KyungMee, all the best to you and your loved ones in the coming year.

    ReplyDelete

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