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 16, 2010

Japan’s worrisome approach - INSIDE JoongAng Daily


Japan’s worrisome approach - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

“Ominous clouds are hovering over Northeast Asia as North Korea complicates the power game in the region between the United States and China.
A clear-cut division has formed with South Korea, the U.S. and Japan on one side and China backing North Korea on the other. Japan, which is no doubt annoyed and disturbed by China’s newfound power, moved fast to capitalize on the growing tension following North Korea’s shelling of a South Korean island.
It appears as though Japan is rapidly moving to strengthen its military, known as the Japan Self-Defense Forces. The country is poised to announce a major realignment of its military structure, which has mainly been confined to a defensive focus. New policy guidelines mapping out a strategy through 2015 allow for more flexibility to address a host of threats in the region amid heightened tensions on the Korean Peninsula and China’s growing influence and assertiveness. According to these guidelines, Japan’s Self-Defense Forces could be dispatched beyond the country’s waters.

Against this backdrop, Japanese Prime Minister Naoto Kan recently said officials are exploring the idea of dispatching the Self-Defense Forces to the Korean Peninsula to rescue Japanese nationals if needed.”

WELL, That is NOT what Korean people were hoping for. The thought of Japanese troops ‘dispatched beyond the country’s waters’ to the ‘Korean Peninsula to rescue Japanese nationals’ is a REAL SHOCKER for most.


WikiLeaks Cables

“South Korean and U.S. officials discussed the future of a unified Korean Peninsula after the collapse of the North Korean regime, according to diplomatic cables unveiled on Sunday by WikiLeaks. And despite international surveillance, North Korea managed to export 19 mid-range missiles to Iran, and U.S. intelligence believes military cooperation between the two countries is far more extensive than previously thought.
They contain information that North Korea exported 19 BM-25 missiles to Iran with a range of 3,000 km, which puts the capital cities of most major West European countries and even Moscow within range.”

Yes, folks it keeps getting worse, not better. Yesterday, the South Korean Civil Defense Forces had a nation-wide alert:

Largest Civil Defense Drill Staged

The government staged a nationwide civil defense drill Wednesday against possible attacks by North Korea as cross-border tensions run high after the North's shelling of a border island last month.
The exercise began at 2 p.m. with all South Koreans asked to flee to nearby air raid shelters, subway stations or other designated underground facilities at the sound of the raid sirens.
Ten mock North Korean aircraft flew over major cities, including Seoul and Busan, and people driving cars were asked to immediately park along roads and go to shelters.
The 15-minute drill was the largest-ever in the country since such drills began in 1975, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.
South Korea, which remains technically at war with the North because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty, has been conducting the drills eight times a year. However, they were often largely ignored and not complied with fully by the public.

The drill was held as tensions run high on the Korean Peninsula following the North's Nov. 23 artillery attack on Yeonpyeong Island near the tense Yellow Sea border that killed four people.
The bombardment also injured 18 people and destroyed dozens of homes, marking the first attack by the North on a civilian area on the South's soil since the end of the Korean War.

At 2 PM I was in a residential area of the Nowondong, area in the northeast part of Seoul. I was told of the air raid sirens from one of the student’s mother, who seemed more embarrassed than concerned. Reports are that very few in the city gave it much thought, and with less than 100 gas masks available inside the subway stations it hardly matters. No, it will take just one shell, one artillery shell or rocket to send a ‘tsunami of shock’ through the good citizens of Korea. God forbid. Hmmm, wonder if I should get a Gas Mask online?


  1. I fondly recall one air raid drill where I was forced to remain in a shelter for about 20 minutes with a pretty girl!

  2. Nowadays you might find many people crowded in there with you instead. I know you did not 'take advantage of the situation'.