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 2, 2010

Latest on Korean Crisis

 Satelite photos show damage to North Korean base
Satellite photos show S. Korea's counterfire hit N. Korean barracks
SEOUL, Dec. 2 (Yonhap) -- Satellite images showed that counterfire by South Korea's military in response to North Korea's Nov. 23 artillery attack hit hard one of the North's barracks near the tense Yellow Sea border, indicating "severe human casualties," a lawmaker said Thursday.
   The North's daylight artillery bombardment left four people dead, including two civilians, on Yeonpyeong Island, the first strike on a civilian area since the 1950-53 Korean War. South Korean marines on the island shot back with some 80 rounds minutes after the North's shelling.

Mudo is actually South of this North Korean land mass. The numbers 1-4 show Four Multiple Rocket Launch batteries positions two days later.

   "About 10 artillery shells fired by our military (South Korean Marines firing K9 self-propelled howitzers) landed onto a military unit compound in Mu-do (in North Korea) and one of them directly hit a barrack," said Rep. Kwon Young-se of the ruling Grand National Party, citing two satellite images provided by the nation's spy agency. Kwon is the head of the National Assembly's intelligence committee.
   "There might have been severe human casualties," Kwon told reporters after a parliament committee meeting with officials from the National Intelligence Service (NIS). Mu-do is a small island situated north of the Yellow Sea border where an North Korean artillery battalion launched the attack.
   The NIS told lawmakers that, out of the 80 rounds, 15 shells fell onto Mu-do and another 30 landed onto Kaemori, another North Korean area where the artillery attack was also launched, Kwon said.
   South Korea's military has said it presumed to have inflicted "severe damage" on North Korea when it returned fire.


North Korea's military base on Mu-do, seen from S. Korea's Yeonpyeong Island, reveals signs of damage from the South's counterfire inflicted during the Nov. 23 gunfire exchanges. (Yonhap)
The KWB Notes: I seriously doubt that striking the barracks would have caused casualties SINCE they were all busy firing shells at US at the time…

UPDATE: See next post, the artillery counter-fire missed them by 'that much'. Considering the distances, different target areas, only THREE K-9 able to fire back, targeting radar system not linked to the K-9's system we were lucky to get close enough (150 meters) to cause the B-21 122mm Multiple Rocket Launch battery of six vehicles to cease firing and 'bug out'. Delays in 'permission to fire' for 13 min. from higher command due to the Rules of Engagement, also added to the ability of the North MRL battery to relocate, probably after the near misses. 

The ROK Marines did outstanding, considering they were under fire for an hour, and exposure to heavy incoming lead to 16 Marines NOT soldiers being wounded, 2 Killed-In-Action as they rushed back to their post.

UPDATE: Wounded Civilians are not mentioned in most articles but 28 civilians suffered injury from flying shrapnel, pieces of debris, and burns from thermobaric or fuel-air type of blasts. Over 70 houses completely or heavily damaged. About 200 have returned to the homes but most come back then quickly leave back to mainland. They are still staying in large bathhouses or Gym Jil Bangs in Incheon city.  
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Incheon Mayor Misspeaks
Rival parties embarrassed by blunders on Yeonpyeong Island
SEOUL, Dec. 1 (Yonhap) -- Even a national tragedy like North Korea's deadly attack AEN20101129000300315_03_i on a South Korean island last week couldn't stop rival political parties from embarrassment and heaping blame.

   This time, the bitter criticisms started with a faux pas committed by Incheon Mayor Song Young-gil of the main opposition Democratic Party (DP) during a visit to the devastated island of Yeonpyeong on Nov. 24, one day after it was bombarded by North Korean artillery shells. The unprecedented attack across the Yellow Sea border dividing the two Koreas left four people dead, including two civilians, and 18 others wounded. Dozens of houses caught fire and collapsed, while nearly 70 percent of the island's forests and fields were wiped out.
   The mayor, whose jurisdiction includes the attacked island, pulled a joke when he picked up a soot-covered bottle of the Korean alcoholic beverage soju from the ground and called it "real poktanju," according to witnesses, referring to a popular after-hours drink that mixes beer with soju and roughly translates to "bomb shot."
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Korean Women Rethink Military Service
AEN20101129000300315_04_i
According to a 2008 survey conducted on 4,355 teenagers nationwide, 56.3 percent viewed North Korean civilians as "brothers," while 12.8 percent called them "enemies."
   But observers say there is a changing attitude toward the communist neighbor among the post-war generations who grew up in abundance and considered the horrors of the three-year war something from a distant past.
   "While serving in the military near the demilitarized zone, I got a very clear understanding of why we fight: We have an enemy across the border. It is sad that people who were once brothers have to fight each other, but that is what we are facing here now," said Baek Jeong-hwan, 28, who served in a battalion in northern Gangwon Province, near the border with North Korea.

The KWB Notes: Well, after the attack on the 23rd of November the numbers most likely have changed. Everyone of the KWB’s students are angry and ‘hate’ the Commie North NOW. They have awakened the youth to reality.

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