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 11, 2010

Yearly budget brawl rocks Assembly - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

 “The very Korean tradition of parliamentary mayhem over sensitive bills returned to the National Assembly yesterday as ruling and opposition parties engaged in a chaotic brawl over the passage of next year’s budget.”

Yearly budget brawl rocks Assembly - INSIDE JoongAng Daily

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Read the whole mess. While the crisis drags on this idiocy takes place because the Communist Sympathizers of the DP party, Liberal Progressives who would kiss the Ass of North Korean leader Kim Jong il continue to demand the Sunshine Policy. They are SO deluded it would almost be funny but they are serious, they would rather see the reunion under Communist rule rather than democracy. The Korean War Baby thinks if they love the North so much, move up there FOOLS.

You won’t believe this but just today a Korean man in his early forties began a conversation with me. He spoke fairly well (English) and out right told me after finding out I was an American that (And I quote him) he made this statement- “I LOVE the DPRK”. Well, I had to make sure I understood THAT. But he made it very clear (he was not drunk). I thought about taking a picture of him, then told him he is a fool. Asked him, “why don’t you go live in North Korea?” The idea of capturing him or just beating him silly also entered my mind, but hey, it is a ‘democracy’ here. Just NEVER had someone so outright PRO-North.

Just goes to show that there are “5 columnists” everywhere. If no, when the shit hits the fan, they will be popping up to raise chaos. I did tell this guy that he is a Communist, but did not say ‘bastard’. (Must be civil). HERE is TODAY’S article in Joong Ang Daily:

"What to do when the shells hit Seoul"

‘To prepare for war, the Park Chung Hee regime asked construction companies to build basements when putting up new buildings.’

December 10, 2010

“A few people wait for the next train at Wangsimni subway station. If a war breaks out, the station will act as a bomb shelter for up to 14,000 people. By Shin In-seop

(Korean War Baby notes: LIKE HELL it will. You couldn’t fit 2,000 on every available space, certainly not 14,000 unless they all stood side by side. HAH)

Like most Seoulites, Hong Jin-ah, a 27-year-old graduate student, had never given a second thought to a North Korean invasion. Despite the rogue country’s close proximity to Seoul, most people here have grown deaf to the threat it poses.
But after Pyongyang leveled Yeonpyeong Island on Nov. 23 with dozens of artillery blasts, many here are now making contingency plans.
Hong was stumped when she considered where she would go if a war broke out. She turned to her smartphone for an answer. Her search for bomb shelters in Hapjeong-dong, western Seoul, turned up nothing. Next she checked a blog called “Find a Bomb Shelter in Your Town,” which also yielded little help.
Hong then took her search to the Dasan 120 Seoul Call Center, a citywide information hotline. “I live in Hapjeong-dong. Where should I evacuate to if there is a war?” Hong asked the receptionist. The answer she received was what most people already know: Head to the nearest subway station or basement.

Subway as a bomb shelter
The JoongAng Sunday checked Wangsimni Station in Seoul on Dec. 2, which serves lines No. 2 and 5. The station has five basement floors and has more space than City Hall Station.
The facilities in the station were in good shape. Emergency flashlights, emergency lights, communication facilities and water facilities were all well-maintained.
On the fifth basement floor, however, there were only four storage cabinets with oxygen tanks and fire extinguishers. There were only 25 gas masks that were just months away from the end of their five-year lifespan. The masks stored in a warehouse in Jamsil-dong were in worse condition. The masks, which were made in 2001 and 2002, had expired four years ago.
Kim Whan-kyun, head of the Seoul chemical, biological and radiological defense team, blames budget cuts after the government several years ago uncovered corruption and misuse of state funds meant for gas mask maintenance. “It is because the government cut funding after gas mask quality issues were brought to light,” he said.

WE ARE SCREWED…If it hits the fan. Just remember if you DO HEAR LOUD EXPLOSIONS, don’t run outside to look. Slowly, surely move toward inside and DOWN the stairs. You should be safer. If the BOOMS continue stay where you are, away from glass, and PRAY to the God you have forgotten or never believed in before. There usually are “No Atheists in a foxhole” when/if “Shells are hitting”.

“In the case of air raids by North Koreans, those shelters [in Seoul] are good for two to 10 hours.According to the National Emergency Management Agency, there is enough space in Seoul’s underground facilities (subway stations, basements, etc.) for 2.7 times the city’s population.

Seoul’s 4,000 shelters are scored on a 1-4 grading system (with 1 being the most protective shelters), which is determined by landlords and local government offices.

There are no public “grade 1” shelters that can withstand a chemical, biological or nuclear attack in the capital. (OH, that is BAD)
According to guidelines from the National Emergency Management Agency, shelters considered “grade 1” must be equipped with enough food and water for at least two weeks, generators, and communications equipment.
For a list of the nearest underground evacuation shelters, go to http://www.safekorea.go.kr.

Look up or look down?
A general rule of thumb: Go DOWN underground to avoid artillery and conventional bombing runs, but go UP as high as possible in a chemical weapons attack.

In the case of a chemical attack by North Korea, the basement is the worst place to go. Instead, head to the upper floors of tall buildings since chemical gases, which are heavier than air, tend to sink to lower elevations. (KWB adds, watch what happens to OTHER PEOPLE, if you see them fall over like they are being GASSED, RUN UP THE FRICKING STAIRS TO HIGHER FLOORS. IN THE EVENT OF A DIRTY ATOMIC BOMB, bend over quickly, grab your knees, kiss it good bye, say this short prayer, “Help me (fill in with Higher Being of your choice)!” You won’t have too much time. Surviving first ten minutes intact, remember fall out is really nasty.

Packing a “go-bag”

…"It is also not a bad idea to pack a go-bag if your neighboring country is run by a tyrannical dictator who routinely threatens to turn the streets of your capital into “rivers of blood.”

Check your embassy
All countries ask their citizens living abroad to register with their respective embassies.

The Canadian government’s emergency phone number for citizens abroad is (613) 944-1310. The American Embassy’s emergency phone number is (02) 397-4114. The Australian Embassy’s emergency phone number is 61-2-6261-3305. The British Embassy’s emergency phone number is (02) 3210-5553.

(You should get on an email list for emergency messages sent by text to your phone and emails.)

YES FOLKS, Better to prepare than to get caught “wondering should I go DOWN or UP?” Remember EXPLOSION followed by GAS/MIST causing people to fall over dead, GO UP. EXPLOSION with shattered glass, flying body parts, cars, etc. Run for the Basements, assume the position with your knees drawn up, arms protecting your head, begin to mutter out quickly and loudly, “OH, GOD, Help!! HELP me, Dear GOD” (Keep it simple). Don’t you feel better prepared already?

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