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.


January 1, 2011

2010 Year in Review

Half-FULL perspective

WHAT A YEAR!!! Just a short review of my yearly blogging, since I decided to submit myself to serve the KAD International community by running for the leadership of GOA'L and the shock of the Sham Election. I have instead become the Pariah of the KADLinK community (some of them) because I exposed their duplicity and Anti-Adoption bent. I continued to blog on the complex issues of Adoption in this country, our motherland, South Korea. We looked into related issues such as Abortion, Civil Code Law adoptions vs. Domestic Adoptions, increasing numbers of Multi-Cultural marriages and Mixed-Bloods children effecting the views of the Korean Society and their still strong rejection of Unwed motherhood. I have documented evidence from government ministries and NGO, women's studies groups, etc. Here are just some of the early posts:
January:
Half-Korean Girl Struggles to Find Herself
Donaldson's Adoption Institute Report on "Beyond Culture Camp" -Do some moan and whine about it?
Haiti Earthquake-Issue of Orphans - Need to follow accepted international guidelines so important.
"SUCK IT UP"  -  “means to stop whining, bitching, complaining, moaning, etc. Just deal with it, move on, endure mental, physical, or emotional hardship with no complaining.”
Happy 58th Birthday to ME
February:
Reflecting on being Down and Out in Manila -Blast to the past.
Balanced? Who Me? -Trying to be Balanced
Doctors Performing Fewer Abortions-Prices go UP -Effects on abortion/adoptions
Miracle Baby Left in Trench-Toilet- SOME mothers just Don't want to be Mothers
Drums of Shame-Aborted Lives
Just When I Thought I was Out –I give the reasons that I became involved again in Adoption affairs, in Korea.
March:
By late February, I had decided that I would throw my hat into the ring. The only way to insure that Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link would remain truly neutral and BE for ALL adoptees not just for the ones living in Korea, which I have coined KADLinK (Korean ADoptee Living in Korea),  was for me to run for Secretary General. Then I began to see signs of the Fake Election that Jan Wenger, alias Dae-Won Wenger now using KIM Dae-Won was planning. WHY was it Fake, just a SHAM you ask? Because rules were created that subverted the 'deadlines for submitting application/letters of recommendation/etc.' to meaningless dribble. Jan allowed the group led by Rasmussen/A.S.K. to lock up the election with European rules of NGO's instead of the Korean/USA Rules of Order that DO NOT count 'Abstention votes'.
Motivation to Serve GOA'LThis was one of the letters that candidates were to write and was sent to all present membership of GOA’L. Unfortunately, rules were sent out in early March, allowing Julie Jong Koch to run as a candidate WITH NO LETTERS/Recommendations/etc.) DO YOU SMELL FAKE ELECTION?
SHAME Election and Gang of 33 What a Horror! A gang of 33 KADLinKs who were all Whiney crybabies who want to stop adoptions from Korea, have effectively taken over GOA’L, with the help of Jan Wenger, alias Dae-Won Wenger now using KIM Dae-Won. By voting with ABSTENTIONS ( Curiously missing from the Annual General Report) they locked up the vote for SG, made sure no one could vote from OUTSIDE the country in future elections. Illegally they voted out Board Members INDIVIDUALLY, when they did NOT have the Simple Majority to do so.  There were many outright lies in the finished Annual General Meeting report. It was 60 days later that they released the spurious report that OMITTED many facts, and in many posts I have presented the evidence. Documents were sent to me by former GOA’L staff, who would not follow the abomination of the truth and some were pushed out. 
I had over the next few months, been compelled to expose the Plot to take over GOA’L, which I learned was because of the three KAD groups in South Korea, only Global Overseas Adoptees’ Link is an official NGO, Non-Government Organization. Those who OPPOSE Adoption have set their agenda to use the NGO status of GOA'L for their own means, never mind members past and present who differ with their whiney and piney narrative.


The Plot to Take Over GOA'L
Plot? What Plot?
Let them Hate Me
Bamboozled- Sham Election of GOAL
You've Been Bamboozled!
Annual General Meeting Report COOKED
************************************************
WELL, throughout the rest of the year, KWB has exposed the lies and chicanery that has taken over Global (NOT) Overseas Adoptees’ Link. Hundreds have seen for themselves that the election process was faked. The former SG, now elected to a “Board Member” but still running the show, helped SELECT two new “LEADERS?” OR are they just his PUPPETS?
Since August, during the IKAA Gathering, the Korean War Baby tried in vain to reach out to the new leaders by an Open Letter.
I met with Rev. Kim of KoRoot and tried to begin the long road to reconciliation. YET, even with personal emails and text messages to those involved, even the newly Selected Leaders of GOA’L, NO ONE RESPONDED.

image SO, THE OLIVE BRANCH HAS WILTED, THE DOVE OF PEACE HAS FLOWN THE COOP.



James Rosso_SGGOAL
James Russo- Are you
Real Korean or KAD?
 Frequent attempts by the KWB, to have dialogue for peacefully working together with KADs (FROM ALL OVER THE GLOBE not just KADLinKs) have been IGNORED by the present “SG by Selection not ElectionJames Russo (Now using his Korean name, illegally and foolishly confusing people as to his identity-“JAMES, you AIN’T considered Korean, by REAL KOREANS”, in case you did not know. Uh, DUH). WHERE ARE YOU? Why don’t YOU respond to emails sent to the Secretary General...or are you really the Secretary General of GOA’L? HMMM?







Isaac Tufvesson_VSG GOAL
Issac Tufvesson, VSG thinks
 it was all a "drama".

 His “Also Selected Not Elected” Vice Secretary General Issac Tufvesson also seems to think that GOA’L’s main purpose is to cater to ONLY THOSE LIVING IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY, not the members of KADs who come each year and have need of the services that GOA’L staff have provided. His ignorance of all the election facade was displayed when he spoke of “all the drama”.
Neither has posted their own stories of adoption on the membership, we know little of them. I get reports from members and know.

Perhaps we cannot expect too much from PUPPETS.


Why are Board Members calling all the shots at GOA'L?
Who IS the leader? IS Jan Wenger still SG?
 ‘OH, how the mighty have fallen’…Well, I for one will highly recommend that Korean Adoptees to other sources for help, such as InKas, the International Korean Adoptees Services, group that is also helping KADs in most of the things they need help with. I have found them to be very competent and actually they are serving almost the equal number of KADs as GOA’L each year. MORE ON INKAS soon.

So yes, it was a crazy year for the KWB, but I will continue to promote the issues of Unwed Mothers, Domestic and Civil Code Law Adoptions, and the continuing of InterCountry Adoptions. As long as This Thing of Ours-Adoption continues to be such a complex issue open Adoption Discourse must continue. Korean IS changing slowly but prejudices and stigmas continue to this day against Adoption and single unwed motherhood. The KWB is open to work with all, on promoting a Balanced Multi-tiered Plan to do what is best from Family Preservation, open domestic adoption, then if need be International adoption. LAST should be Institutional Care/Foster Care because, dear friend,
Every child deserves a home”!!! 

Mothers should be helped to keep their babies, IF they are willing to do so. More Unwed Mothers are trying to keep their children but they need to be given more help from government, changes will have to occur in Korean Society by encouraging NOT by condemnation but by telling the Mother's side.

BUT, if the natural/biological/birth parents are not capable, nor are wanting or able to "Parent", then Adoption must be considered next. Perhaps then by ethnic Koreans both in-country but openly no more SECRET adoptions; then all others must be considered.


Love can be found in Adoption, those who claim otherwise must deal with all those who HAVE found loving families. They are not all 'happy adoptees' but most are working through the issues of their lives, discovering that their Adoption Identity is not just based on genes but many factors that must be DEALT with.


“The Cart before the Horse Syndrome”



2newhangon
Many complain about Adoption (Cart) as though it is the reason for all of life’s problems for Adoptees.
 Isn’t it the REJECTION/ABANDONNMENT/SEPARATION that is the HORSE?
I mean WHAT COMES FIRST?
 
What Was First, Abandonment or Adoption?


cart_b4_horse
Circumstances of Life, rejection and
pressure from women’s own family, and stigmas of Society may cause Abandonment and Relinquishment. BUT Adoption did not tear families apart in most cases, and all of life’s ills were not BECAUSE of Adoption. Rather, one who was adopted HAS these issues in their lives because of the loss and separation. It is clear that First one who was Adopted must face the FIRST issues of their Abandonment.

Whatever the reasons, the deep emotional, psychological, mental issues arise from the beginnings. To blame Adoption as the Reason is wacked! Backwards, like the Cart before the Horse.

Let’s put things in their proper prospective. I am amazed at all the writers, some very 'gifted' out in cyberspace who get it totally WRONG. You know the ones, who lament, whine, and moan about how Adoptees have all these PROBLEMS and seem to blame the “Cart” or Adoption. It is the HORSE (Loss/abandonment/separation) that is the source of the problems later in life. These writers continually put blame on 'being adopted' as the problem. WHAT RUBBISH! What a pile of Horseshit!


If you are an Adoptee, healing must begin with the basic understanding of where and how your life began and what led to your being adopted. Yes, we Adoptees have Rights but what of the rights of Birth/Natural mothers/fathers who DO NOT WANT contact because of the circumstances? What of their right of privacy? It is complex and multi-faceted and must be approached with open-minded Discourse, respect for others, facing the ugly realities of life. As we use to say in Vietnam "There it is..." 

THIS is the beginning of understanding This Thing of Ours-Adoption.
Happy New Year, to all involved in the Adoption Triad-Plus (including Adoption Professionals/government officials), hoping we can all learn from each one another, respect and honor each other.

Let's try to get the Horse in front of the Cart first!

2 comments:

  1. Thanks for your thoughtful, very fair-minded blog. I just discovered it today.I'm a parent by birth and by adoption and write about adoption issues. I look forward to coming back and spending even more time on your site.
    Happy New Year!
    Best regards,
    Jennifer Grant
    loveyoumorebook.com

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thank you Jennifer, I will also read your blog because more than anything, I believe that we can learn from ALL perspectives. A few folks act like they speak for most or even all of one group but they DO NOT. To hear from Adoptive Parents is very very important. I would love to hear more from your own experience as an example of an important part of the Adoption Triad. Best to you this coming year.

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