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 26, 2011

Rejoice!! Muzik Has Been Found!

In the bible there is a story of the Prodigal Son, who when he finally came to his senses went back home. His father received him with open arms, but one of his brothers complained bitterly. The father told him basically 'get over it' just rejoice for the one who was thought dead has been found. Go read the story for yourself.


Your Blood Is My Blood on blogspot

My friend Jessenia Arias was my inspiration for blogging on the Korean War Baby. Muzik, her nickname, has just reported that her family (okay, use 'birth family') has found her!! Listen to Muzik telling her story, and check out her blog/Facebook for more of this amazing person who has put her own life out on the www to help so many hear from her own life and to give other a chance to tell their own story.

Early post by Jessenia: 2010/01/loud-whispers-of-adoptee-voice

I was first impressed with her own blog "My Blood is Your Blood" because it really blessed me, especially after reading Jane Trenka's own book "The Language of Blood".

Jessenia Aria "Voice of the Adoptees" is FOUND by her Family!!!

November 22, 2011

DEPORTATION???!!! Happening Already. GET MAD AS HELL!!!

The Korean War Baby Angerly NOTES:
I AM MAD AS HELL
AND I AM NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!



No matter where one sits on the Spectrum of being For or Against Intercountry Adoption (ICA, formerly known by TransCultural/transracial/etc) the outrageous NONSENSE that is happening with Deportation of those who were adopted INTO another country raises the Korean War Baby’s blood pressure.
The issue at hand is that an number of Adoptees some with NO CITIZENSHIP at all (many early KADs were never even documented as born in Korea because they had not been put into a family registry, not just ‘mixed-blood’ but also out of wedlock children). Over time adjustments were made and laws changed in “Sending” countries.
PLEASE read carefully and add YOUR VOICE (It will only take a few precious minutes in your life-PLAY THE FARM GAME LATER) to help correct this. For you who give a damn, pass this link to your FACEBOOK, TWITTER, Myspace, LINKEDIN, other Social Media Networks.
MY FELLOW ADOPTEES, ADOPTIVE FAMILIES, EVEN BIRTH FAMILIES, LET’S GO VIRAL ON THIS!! IT AFFECTS ALL.
I WANT YOU TO GET FUCKING MAD!!! WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS, GOD DAMN IT, OUR LIVES HAVE MEANING.
IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHINING ABOUT BEING ADOPTED FROM WHEREEVER…WE SHOULD BECOME US CITIZEN IMMEDIATELY!!!! All of us MUST BE INCLUDED.
COME ON, GET OFF YOUR BUTTS, COPY AND PASTE THE LINK.
Human Rights Petition: Citizenship for All US Intercountry Adoptees | Change.org
Why This Is Important
Thank you for supporting the petition for CITIZENSHIP FOR ALL US INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTEES. Korean Focus urges you to also sign the petition to STOP THE DEPORTATION OF RUSSELL GREEN AND OTHER ADOPTEE IMMIGRANTS.
Start of petition for CITIZENSHIP FOR ALL US INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTEES:
"The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of American citizens to acquire American citizenship automatically. These children did not acquire American citizenship at birth, but they are granted citizenship when they enter the United States as lawful permanent residents (LPRs)." U.S. Department of State
One of the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA 2000) was that the adoptee be under the age of 18 on its effective date, February 27, 2001. International adoptees 18 and older were not granted citizenship under its provisions. Some, but not all, obtained citizenship through their own efforts or those of their adoptive parents. Of those who did not, many were unaware that they lacked this legal protection. Being without citizenship while believing they possessed it placed these intercountry adoptees at risk of violating U.S Federal law through no fault of their own by representing themselves as citizens upon return to the United States at any port of entry (including Canada and Mexico), applying for public benefits (including Federal education aid), or voting in Federal or other elections.
Further, strict immigration policies under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 increased the risk of deportation. This law does not provide for “discretionary relief,” which would allow the unique circumstances that led to an adoptee's lack of citizenship to be taken into consideration in determining outcomes. Adoptees have faced deportation and have been deported to countries in Asia, Latin America and Europe - countries unknown to them in every way: language, culture, family or friends. Additionally, adoptees without citizenship who travel to their countries of birth may be subject to laws there that prevent their return to the United States.
Reliable statistics for adoptee deportation do not exist, but individual cases demonstrate the complexity of the issue and the staggering emotional impact to adoptees and their families, as demonstrated by these examples, which are just a few of the cases that have occurred:
Joao Herbert was adopted from Brazil at the age of eight by a family in Ohio. A charge for attempting to sell marijuana, although a first offense, landed him in immigration detention, after which he was deported to Brazil in 2000. Joao Herbert was murdered in Brazil in May 2004.
Korean adoptee Matthew Scherer learned he lacked citizenship when he applied for a U.S. passport. He subsequently obtained permanent resident status, but upon traveling to Korea was identified by the Korean government by his original Korean name and now is blocked by Korean law from returning to the U.S. and threatened with conscription into the Korean army.
Jennifer Haynes was adopted at eight from India and sexually abused by her adoptive father, after which she passed through 50 foster homes on her way to adulthood. Married to a U.S. citizen and mother of two young children, Haynes was nonetheless deported to India in 2008.
Adopted as a toddler from Thailand in 1979 by a family in Florida, John Gaul completed a sentence for theft and check fraud in 1996 after the new immigration law went into effect. A judge was prevented under the new law from acknowledging adoption as an extenuating circumstance, and he was deported to Thailand in 1999.
Tatiana Mitrohina was born in Russia in 1978 with physical deformities that led to her adoption at fourteen to California. She suffered from childhood-related PTSD and postpartum depression. Following a charge of abuse of her son, the court recommended counseling and medication, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement have detained her in preparation for deportation.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 21(c):
"States Parties that recognize and/or permit the system of adoption shall ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration and they shall:
(c) Ensure that the child concerned by inter-country adoption enjoys safeguards and standards equivalent to those existing in the case of national adoption;"
The legal protection of citizenship in the country to which an adoptee was brought and in which he or she was raised is the most important such safeguard, as it is the only safeguard that provides lifelong legal status. It should be enjoyed by all intercountry adoptees, just as it is enjoyed by adoptees born as U.S. citizens and adopted within the United States.
We the undersigned therefore demand that the United States Congress:
1. Take appropriate acton to immediately grant U.S. citizenship to all intercountry adoptees not included in its provisions.
2. Following the granting of citizenship, direct appropriate U.S. government agencies to:
a) Assist intercountry adoptees with obtaining proof of citizenship.
b) Provide intercountry adoptees traveling overseas with the permits required to allow their reentry into the United States.
c) Return all deported intercountry adoptees to the United States, regardless of the cause of deportation.
We look to the co-chairs (Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator James M. Inhofe, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman Karen Bass) and members of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, who promote adoption in the United States and therefore bear a particular responsibility to ensure that U.S. adoption laws protect their primary constituency, to lead the effort to correct the denial of this important safeguard.

November 19, 2011

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November 17, 2011

Taste of Kimchi

Elle's Blog "Tast of Kimchi"

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Orphan Girl

When I was born the only people that once knew about me were my birth parents and one other person. Nobody else knew that I was to be born, I don't even know if they even expected me to be alive when I was born to start with let alone survive and continue to live on. But I did, although I did spend my first 100 days in an orphanage so my birth parents never had a chance to bond with me, or create memories with me. All they had was blurred memories and hope...
Therefore it might seem strange that I feel so strongly about my birth family since we logically have nothing else in common other then a last name and some unknown DNA. Some days I still wonder if the parents and the siblings that I meet truely are my birth family, it's sometimes hard for me accept it as the truth... I don't know exactly why, could be because I never had the slightest memory or recollection of them but what do you expect from a newborn baby.
I guess that I managed to turn things around, seeing that my birth parents might not even have been aware of my health status.But I wasn't stillborn or dying or seriously sick, I was fine. I guess I was born as an underdog but now I'm pretty pleased with my life.
Now I appreciate the little things in life and I try to approach every day with a smile.
(c) Taste of Kimchi, Elle

Taste of Kimchi

Korean War Baby: Everyone has their own story, we can learn from ready other’s and find where our OWN story might be similar or different. The KWB has found that he cannot judge them, THAT is THEIR experience and they own it. Each of us though should respect and learn what we can from others, recognize that we are different yet have similarities. Take what we can and help improve our own life and those we have contact with. Thank you Elle for sharing your story.

The Korean War Baby

KOREAN QUARTERLY

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November 16, 2011

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October 4, 2011

I'm BACK!!!

Special Report Exposing Sham Fake Election 

 Okay, this is the Korean War Baby, alive and well. I am now in Angeles City, Pampanga Province, Rep. of the Philippines. Starting new adventures in life, business and personal changes, I have returned to the Philippines to meet new challenges and WRITE my book.

After much time off due to traveling since May to July, barely getting a post in or two. I came across this very well written comment on the Sham Fake Election of Global Overseas Adoptee's Link (known as GOA'L). The Anonymous commenter has some great points that need to be addressed. I put his comment here with mine.


I have to focus on new job, new location, new life...whew. And I AM trying to be more gentle, peaceful, NICE person. Really!

*************************************************

Special Report Exposing Sham Fake Election

2 comments on Link Above:



Anonymous said...
you need to chill out dude. you're going to get yourself sick. just do your thing and help yourself and others. this whole site is sounding like this rant most of the time, by some old guy who happened to be adopted, and has a chip on his shoulder, of the size of China. On a separate note, you realize why there have been such stigma regarding foreigners in korea, right? The war itself was already a proxy war. Korea was torn apart, by greed, political backgammon, and manipulation. Of course, this is not to say that it is fair or right, especially directed toward children.  But considering there are generations who witnessed Korea under horrific Japanese colonial rule, have families they will never see before they die, and a history of wrong doings by foreign countries (eg France - see re: recent return of royal books etc from France, whose army had looted them) on Korea, you've got to give it time for full adjustment, right? Let's not even get started why American history books have only relatively recently started saying Korean WAR instead of Korean Conflict (everything to do with US politics, how they got into the war, and why it was necessary). You've been to Vietnam, and see this election discord of one, relatively small, organization (though I understand it's important to you) to lead you to approach this like a "war" - as a metaphor, it's poor and demeaning to your own history and people who have lived through and are living through real wars. Yes, I know how that phrase is used in America. And, yes. It's still inappropriate in your usage, and the fact you find it necessary to approach this whole situation this way. Still, I get the sense from your other posts, that this is how you approach many things on this web. But who am I to really say anything to you? Just a reader who happened to pass by today. I guess I just wanted to say my piece and be at peace?
Korean War Baby said...
Sorry Anonymous, I have been very busy, traveling around USA, back to Korea then onto the Philippines. I am looking into new business venture in teaching Online. As for "chill out"...At the time of the election and that post, back in 2010 right after the Fake Election, yes I was livid with anger. You perhaps don't know the entire story, but basically a very small minority of the 300 odd KADLINKs (those living in Korea) took it upon themselves (some but not all members of ASK and TRACK- which for the record I agree with about 70% on issues such as Family Preservation FIRST PLACE...if possible). I intimately know the individuals who openly boasted that it would be a great idea to 'democratically takeover' GOA'L for their belief that ALL overseas adoptions be just stopped cold-turkey. They believe that Koreans should just 'take care of their own' and 'they are a rich nation' and other arguments that well, are based on 80% WRONG thinking. It is Korean Society that pressures/forces mostly (95%) Single Unwed Mothers to give up their children. If you read more of my posts you will see that I DO try to be more civil and less uh, combative in the times since August of 2010. As a US Marine veteran of Vietnam I do suppose that I have some, well many, issues with anger management...to say the least. I chose to use HYPERBOLIC language to get my points across in a somewhat LOUD and CLEAR voice. My usage of WAR language, is nothing more than American style Sports type slang in comparison. You may notice that for the past year my commentary has been much more, peaceful. What I will not apologize for is the Blatant, messed up, lying crap that was done by some leadership, now in the 'background', to fake the election of officials. I was sent by GOA'L staff and former members the two different reports, some members of GOA'L were fired for their actions. In an International membership of almost 4,000 members in 2010, but over 20,000 have been helped by them...ONLY 47 souls able to come to the meeting were permitted to vote. Misquoting the ByLaws, which do not restrict Electronic voting, the band of 33 malcontents took over and have set forth their agenda. They work to stop all foreign adoptions, though if I am correct that you are indeed a Korean national, the Korean people as a whole certainly a majority, do NOT want children who have any defect (97% of 'disabled' children are adopted OUT of the country. This is just one reason why InterCountry Adoptions/Overseas should continue until the Korean people ARE ready to 'take care of their own.' So WILL I GET A WEE BIT ANGRY AND WARLIKE? You better believe it! I will kick ass until my OLD GUY ass is dead and gone. And my writing will not be altered. I fight for the rights of some to BE adopted. I do not think adoption is the best thing, extremes do not work in life, does it?  I approach life with respect for others...but those who fuck with the weak, poor, defenseless, orphans, widows, unwed mother, etc I will NOT HOLD BACK. Now for all your other comments on history, well, I know much about these things and agree with your comments 85%. I am SO sorry that I could not monitor your comments until now. AND I appreciate your efforts and your very well stated points. Few take the time to comment, so YES PEACE TO YOU. Thanks for giving us, your pieces of wisdom. Korean War Baby is not all about "war", he is for peace. In the last year many attempts were made to make peace with those involved...but demands for the KWB to apologize, delete everything, and kiss THEIR butts...Well, they can kiss my A****. OH, dear Lord, help me. Did it again. "Let them be Wrong...as long as they fear me" NOOOOOOOO. My bad....  "When we can meet halfway, then we can move on in peace...the olive branch is still alive and offered from my end."
Olive Branch of Peace and Arrows of WAR
That is all the Korean War Baby has to say for now. With one hand I hold the Olive Branch, the other has a fistful of Arrows.   October 04, 2011

August 5, 2011

Aein Hope / oki tokki

Interview from HalfKorean.com

IMG_3656

David Sanders of HalfKorean.com at recent picnic for anyone of MixKor heritage and interest in things Korean.

LINK Here to HalfKorean interview:    Aein Hope / oki tokki

Oki tokki (오키토끼) is a Los Angeles, California-based handmade jewelry and accessory line by Aein Hope.

Founded in 2010, oki tokki specializes in making products that represent a love for the Korean language and culture.

HalfKorean.com had a chance to discuss with Aein about her background and oki tokki.

Hey Aein, so what is your mix?
My mother is Korean and what we know of my father’s heritage is that he’s Scottish/German, but my sister and I want to one day really map our family tree to find out more.

Where you born, raised and currently live?
I was born and raised in Georgia! I lived there for pretty much my entire life, living on biscuits & gravy, fried chicken, BBQ and delicious Korean food made by my mother. I moved out to Los Angeles six years ago and I’m still here, loving every minute of it… but the search for LA’s perfect biscuits & gravy is still ongoing.

Do you speak Korean?
My mother taught me the basics of Korean and sent me to Saturday Korean school for awhile. I learned how to read and write 한글 (Hangul) and I had a basic understanding of commands- I definitely understood when she wanted me to eat, close the windows or sleep, but I didn’t really know how to make my own sentences. After I moved out to LA I started looking around for Korean classes and began studying at the Korean Cultural Center. I also ended up studying in the Korean program at CSU-LA and abroad for a summer at Korea University. I will always be studying and learning more, but yes, I can speak Korean!

What was your mixed Korean experience like?
As a person of mixed descent, I understand what it’s like not being able to reach both sides of my heritage. There are always those few sentences that relatives tell you when they haven’t seen you in awhile, from, “Oh, you look just like your mother!” to “Ah, you are shaping up just like your father.” From an outsider’s point of view, I may only resemble my mother because of my dark hair, slightly slanted eyes, or perhaps even my button nose. However, I feel within myself a sort of indifference as to what I look like, or to whom I resemble the most. What kind of importance does this have on who I am inside? Why must people look towards outside appearances?

I remember the time when I applied for my driver’s permit when I was 16 and filling the “Race” box proved difficult. I put both of my heritages down and handed the lady my paper. She gave it back to me and instructed me to list only one answer. One answer? Am I not both? “Write down what you look like the most,” she told me. I then went into contemplation of a mental image of myself. People on average consider a person’s ethnicity by what he looks like and ‘hapas’ are usually more difficult to solve. Asians think I look more white, Caucasians think I look more Asian. What am I supposed to think of myself?

Growing up in the South (within the “Bible Belt”), even in my small town there were numerous Korean churches that my mother took me to. There was an immediate, yet unconscious, segregation of us all, between the ‘hapas’ and the full Koreans. The full Koreans never accepted us hapas and we would just huddle amongst ourselves, unwanted by the rest of the community. It saddened me to a point where I made sure I never attended again.

To this day, it continues to amaze me how often I get the question “What are you?” or “Where are you from?” I don’t think people understand how the question “What are you?” can be so hurtful. I was born in the U.S., I grew up here. My sister and I faced a lot of racism and prejudice from all races in our hometown. We’ve heard the “ching chong” thing way too many times as well as probably every racist term created for Asians.

I think it took me a long time to become comfortable with myself and grow out of the hurt, pain and rejection from my youth. It is still a work in progress, but learning the Korean language and more about my heritage has helped me slowly overcome it.

oki tokki:

What is oki tokki and when was it founded/created?
oki tokki is a cute & eco-friendly shop featuring handcrafted, one a kind items designed & made solely be one girl: me, Aein! My goal is to capture one’s love of language & culture and translate it into wearable, shareable art. In 2009, I started scrounging money together for supplies and began to work out my ideas into designs. I officially launched oki tokki in July 2010, but because of extenuating circumstances I had to close the shop for most of 2010 and reopened in January 2011.

How did you come up with the name?
I love trying to think of bilingual puns- I guess it’s like a game for me! I once said “oki dokie” to someone, and then thought- are there any Korean words that would sound similar? The closest I found was “tokki” for the “dokie” so I started saying “oki tokki” instead. I wanted the name for my business to be something related to both of my heritages and decided that funny phrase I came up with earlier would be a perfect fit.

Why did you decide to start oki tokki? Was it a hobby that you decided to turn into a business?
When I was younger, I always wanted things with Hangul on them. Every time my mom took me to a Korean store, I would look around for stickers or anything with Hangul. Later when I went to Korea for study abroad, I looked again for t-shirts or jewelry with Hangul or something distinctively Korean on it, but found mostly t-shirts with Engrish on them! I realized that apparel and accessories featuring 한글 (hangul, Korean writing) were severely lacking–especially ones that are design-oriented and cute, but also eco-friendly & handmade as well. I’ve always thought that art is a great way to learn and teach others about culture & language, so I strive to maintain a positive, educational approach to all of my designs. I love that somewhere else in the world people can not only like my designs, but maybe learn little tidbits about Korean culture or language as well.

Which product/design are you most proud of?
The Sarang Earrings are one of the first earrings I designed from start to finish and it was a very rewarding experience for me as a designer. Also, I love taking traditional Korean folk tales and creating my own spin on it, like the Flower Foxes. Before I wanted to be a designer, I wanted to be a story teller and I get a chance to do both by writing background stories and personalities for my characters!

Which of your products would you consider your most popular?
“Of Course! It’s the Carrot!” tote bags always go very fast and a lot of Sarang Earrings are often bought to be given as gifts for anniversaries or birthdays.

What kind of feedback have you received from your customers?
I think one of my favorite messages was from this lady who bought the Sarang Earrings to wear on a Valentine’s Day date with her husband. Another one would be from a girl who bought the tote bag–she told me that using her bag was a great way to find more people who were interested in Korea as well. I’m so glad that people send in their photos or messages about the products because since I only sell online, I don’t have many chances to actually see people wearing or using the things I’ve made.

Are most of your customers Korean-Americans or is it fairly diverse?
My first customer was actually a woman who adopted a Korean girl; she bought the “Of Course! It’s the Carrot!” tote bag for her child to carry her books for Korean class in, which I think is such a sweet story. I would say that the customers range from Korean Americans to simply people interested in Korean culture or language. I usually receive messages from half Koreans saying that they’re half Korean, too–I think that meeting another half Korean is just so exciting that we always have to let each other know.

What are some of your goals for oki tokki (both short and long term)?
Short term: I want to release more products (especially tees!) and find the time to paint more.
Long term: I would like to reach and interact with more half Koreans. I also want to continue to find new ways to improve my products and find new & better ways to become more eco-friendly with products, packaging and the like.

Okay, got to ask… is Aein Hope your real name?
Most Americans think that my last name is fake, but I’m very proud to be a Hope child. :) As for Aein, most Koreans think it’s fake because it’s 애인, which means lover or darling, however it is my “official” Korean name– however odd it may be. I spell it as 에인 though, to avoid confusion.

Any final words or anything you would like to share with the mixed Korean community?
I am always comforted (and yet, saddened) by the fact that there are so many of us with similar experiences. I love that HalfKorean.com has become an easy and accessible gateway to meet kindred souls. I think we can become stronger through these connections with each other, sharing our stories and finding solace from our friendships. These common bonds will help support us to look past the ignorance we have faced and accept our identity–however we may perceive it.

Thank you to Aein for her time and HalfKorean.com would like to wish her and oki tokki all the best and much success!

For more information, please check out the oki tokki website, Facebook and/or Twitter.

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(Images courtesy of Aein Hope / oki tokki)

oki tokki

 

August 3, 2011

HalfKorean.com Hosts Event for MixKor

MixKor Picnic_Dinner_Karaoke

HalfKorean.com had another event where Mixed Koreans came together to celebrate their differences and commonalities. Check out their FaceBook pages and websites. http://www.halfkorean.com/









July 20, 2011

Korean Music Star Insooni Reunites With Former USFK Servicemember | ROK Drop

» by GI Korea in: USFK

Below is a really good story in the Stars & Stripes about a former USFK servicemember that was reunited with the young girl he mentored in the 1970′s who went on to bigger and better things:

Despite the decades that have passed since he was a U.S. soldier stationed in South Korea, Ronald Lewis never stopped wondering what had become of the troubled teenage girl he and a few of his Army buddies befriended while they were here.

The girl wanted to become a nurse, but the odds were stacked against her. The child of a Korean woman and a black U.S. soldier who abandoned the family, the girl was born into a culture that shuns mixed-race people.

“My prayers have always been that she wouldn’t end up on the street,” Lewis said. “I prayed for her continuously.”

Then, a few months ago, the Delaware man was contacted by a 2nd Infantry Division representative who was helping the woman track down the guys she credits with helping set her life on the right course. Suspicious, Lewis did a Web search using the name by which she is now known — Insooni — and found that the girl has been a famous R&B singer here for more than 30 years, known as “the Tina Turner of South Korea.”

She has even performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

“I said, ‘Oh my god, it is her,’ ” Lewis said, his voice filling with pride. “I couldn’t believe it. We spent a lot of time together back then, and I never heard her sing, or even hum, anything.”

Insooni and Lewis have since talked by telephone and regularly exchange emails, and they plan to reunite this weekend while the singer is visiting the U.S. to check out colleges with her 17-year-old daughter.

Insooni said that Lewis and his friends “acted sort of like big brothers and surrogate fathers” to her in the early 1970s.

“Before I met them, I had repulsion about Americans because my family background and home environment were difficult,” she said. “But, after getting along with them, I came to feel all human beings are the same, and Americans are good.” [Stars & Stripes]

Korean Music Star Insooni Reunites With Former USFK Servicemember | ROK Drop

THIS is what the Korean War Baby is talking about!! Great wonderful story of success, rags to riches type tale that everyone loves to hear…However, what about the hundreds and thousands of others who lived in the shadows of society, with no national identification at all. The only work the other Bi-Racial Black American/Korean children could get was connected with entertainment or the bars, serving the foreign troops. These TUIGI, dust of the streets, fell through the cracks of Korean society. Read more about InSooni’s struggle to become accepted in her mother’s own country and you will see how far she has come in her own life. Things are changing as thousands of Multicultural marriages and BiRacial children (now called HoNurRah) or Mixed-Blood children fill the rural areas with the new reality, Korea is learning to accept the fact: They are NOT homogenous anymore. Welcome to Globalization.

July 14, 2011


OOPS! This link above is no longer active since Sunny Jo unfortunately "Unfriended" me. sigh...

·         Don Gordon Bell · Answered Pro and Necessary Option

There will always be a necessity to allow ICA from Rep. of Korea (South Korea) because the Korean people will only adopt those it secretly wants and reject any child premature, with physical or mental defects, abandoned by both parents, and those whose mothers are unwed and unsupported by the government. WHEN Korean so...ciety changes their attitudes on Orphans/Adoption to be more open and accepting then the number of ICA would almost stop. That is another generation away. Don't use the "Korean should or ought to because they are well off" because they don't 'buy it'. It is NOT the economy but social prejudices and lack of government support for the unwed mothers by their OWN families who may demand abortion or adoption as the options.
Support Family Preservation yes, but the reality is that still 66% of Unwed Mothers (agreed upon term by all) DO choose to give up their children. Can we demand that they keep their children? Of Course not. To just stop ICA adoptions is not the solution. The number each year of babies born to Unwed Mother that are Civil Code Law Adoptions are 50% (Which by the way cannot be done IF ROK signed the Hague Conventions-they would have to stop all of the CCLA if they really wanted to sign); so called Domestic (by the four main adoption agencies) account for 25%; and the last 25% are in fact the only ICA from ROK. That again is breaking the MYTH that Koreans don't adopt, THEY DO but secretly because of the social pressures. Even among Christian families only 5-10 percent tell the child later that they were adopted.
Keep working on bringing more support for Unwed Mothers, prevention programs for teens/university students, promotion of adoption Openly, persuading the Korean people to accept us Adoptees both Domestic (including the unknown Adoptees) and Foreign. CHANGE comes SLOWLY but it is happening with the society. In 1999 only 5% of Unwed Mothers kept their babies, but by 2009 over 37% kept their babies. BUT each year only 3% of the Disabled are adopted by the Korean people. WHERE THE FUCK DO THEY GO, people? TO FOREIGNERS thru InterCountry Adoption. Now tell me again why all ICA should be stopped...I will tell you to go jump into a lake.

The Korean War Baby

READ THE REST OF THE LIVELY REBUTTAL BETWEEN SUNNY JO AND MYSELF on her link.
  
WELL, Sunny Jo has complained that her Facebook Wall is private...I find this unusual in that she is asking for others to vote on a survey and comment on A PUBLIC FORUM. Now communication between Wall-to-Wall that is more personal, almost email/chat. However, if anyone comments on an issue on someone's WALL they must want others to read it. 

HOWEVER, wanting good relations and good will, I invite all to use the link and go to Sunny Jo's Survey for Adoptees (Korean Adoptees), read all the comments, leave your own comments if you wish to (remembering that everyone CAN read what you write).
I have no personal agenda other than encouraging others to partake of this survey that Sunny Jo has put on her PUBLIC WALL of her FaceBook page. Please post your comments on this complex issue on Sunny Jo's link.
The Korean War Baby encourages all adoption discourse. A Multi-tiered approach may be the best even now in this day and age. Adoption is not the perfect solution, each individual may have different life experiences. Abortion is sadly a fact used for 'birth control' in South Korea (ROK), yet women have the Right to Choice. He strongly disagrees with some principles of those who oppose continuing InterCountry Adoptions from Korea based on the conditions of the Korean society.

The  Korean War Baby strongly believes in open discussions, keeping respect for individuals and their opinions. Get involved and state your opinions. Only you can bring about changes to improve the way adoptions are done, or not done.
************************************************************************************

6 comments:


Sunny Jo said...
you do NOT have (and have not asked for) permission to x-post my or other ppl's replies! you have taken content from my private FB account, overruling my privacy settings, and published in another forum without my knowledge or permission. this is NOT ok! plz remove all references to my or other ppl's replies immediately.
Korean War Baby said...
Dear Sunny Jo, I am sorry but I did not consider your FB WALL as a privacy issue. Help me here, you ask people to make comments that others can see and read, comment on and agree or disagree with. I did not think that I needed permission from you or anyone, since I linked back to your survey and encourage other KAD's to VOTE on your survey. I am not piggybacking and will consider removing your comments if you so desire. WALL comments are public not private, however Chat, email, and Wall-to-Wall I would consider PRIVATE since they are between two persons OR a GROUP of 20.
Sunny Jo said...
my wall is NOT public! only my friends can see it. regarding the survey, it might be open for everyone to vote and comment, but it is still not ok to x-post, paraphrase or in other ways redistribute. your lack of understanding this disgusts me. you are no longer my friend.
Korean War Baby said...
Dear Sunny Jo, As you see on my blog I have respected your request to take off your 'private' survey. Sorry, but again I do not believe that I violated your privacy but in the interests of civility took yours and my comments off. Please don't be offended, I am attempting to understand you in this matter. Let's try to work out our differences and continue to discourse on this thing of ours-adoption, in OPEN debate. We don't have to be friends but I don't consider you less than a prominent and respected voice in these matters. I DO respect your views, and only thought that by posting on my blog it would help others to take part in your survey. My humble apologies.
Sunny Jo said...
if you have all this 'respect' for me, i think it is really disrespectful to throw out all these 'claims' about my life, to support your own POVs. e.g. "I was led to understand that was after DNA confirmation and that you were meeting for the first time" - we never did any DNA-tests and never claimed we did. "I am not lying but you have written that you were kidnapped, as per your posting on the web. BUT then WHO kidnapped you?" - grandma kidnapped me, and she admits to it. i know koreans do not consider it a kidnapping when it is done by a relative, but IMO it's no less of a kidnapping. i could go on and on about claims you have made about me, my life and my story which have no basis in reality. my book is available from www.truepeny.com or by contacting thomas park clement. if it had 'only' been this last x-posting, i wouldn't mind. but i've seen your witch hunt and attacks of everyone who disagrees with you, of GOAL and other KADs who try to make a difference, and i do not in any way shape or form condone such behaviour. you have a right to your own opinion, but you have no right trying to stuff it down other ppl's throats by refusing to listening to their POVs and arguments.
Korean War Baby said...
dear Sunny Jo, I do have respect for you personally. The so called 'claims' I have been careful to say are my recollections of the events. Your Grandma (Paternal who I never met either of them) got rid of you and your brother. I do consider it kidnapping, similar to what happened to Bret of "Resilience" when his mother (see I don't call her 'birthmother' due to the circimstances) found out that her own family had left him at the home of the biological 'father'. It was his family that abandoned or arranged for someone to pretend that he had been abandoned. These stories MUST be published and in the Korean language to show them what has happened on some cases. The Civil Code Law Adoptions do number about double of the Domestic adoptions (Domestic is about 90,000 through the four adoption agencies-HoltKorea, KSS, Eastern, SWS). When and IF the country adopts the Hague Conventions then abuses such as your situation will be stopped. I do not refuse to listen to other POV's and arguments, in fact I joined ASK and TRACK and diligently studied their positions. As for GOA'L and their fake election process I had to speak out against the mockery I saw. Persons who DO hold your position of stopping ICA and In-country Adoptions (Both Domestic and Civil Code Law)planned to take over GOA'L by their deceit and European NGO laws of order. I have addressed these in my blog and brought them to the light of day. Those in leadership were selected not elected, and board members who are AGAINST all adoption run the show. GOA'L's neutrality is no longer a reality. I have read much of that which is out online. I seek to find a Balanced position and reject extremism on both sides, such as a few Adoptive Families or Prospective Adoptive Families that hurl abuse at those who oppose continuing ICA. My points are that Korea is not yet THERE yet. The society is slowly changing and it must be the Korean people to complete that themselves. I am not racist, just a pragmatist and observer that it will take more time. Women's rights are still way behind, No? Attitudes concerning Adoption, Orphan, Blood-lines, Single Parenting, and many other things ARE slowly evolving. YES, I agree with you Koreans can do it. BUT I disagree strongly with some of the outrageous statements made by a few of those who think by just shutting down InterCountry Adoptions that the country will then change. Acceptance of change must be a combination of Laws and Attitudes. In the USA more and more Multicultural marriages/relationships are accepted but there will ALWAYS be some who are prejudiced. At the present time Korean is NOT willing nor able to take care of the babies born each year and give up by Unwed Mothers (gov. term) or abandoned by their parents. Don't they deserve a chance to have a HOME, even in a foreign land? I believe that many KAD's agree with me. I don't believe that any 'Online Survey' captures the real numbers. Even "Evan B. Donaldson's Adoption Institute" recorded only 167 KADs to take their survey in 2008. The ones who are active on the internet do not represent accurately the total because is is not scientifically done. So the Korean War Baby will not do a survey either.


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Thanks to host families who open up their homes for a few weeks each summer, children growing up in New York City’s toughest neighborhoods have experienced the joys of Fresh Air experiences.

More than 65% of all children are reinvited to stay with their host family, year after year.

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