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 29, 2011

Candlelight Vigils-Coming Again Soon?

 candlelightBack in 2008 the Korean society went absolutely nuts about American Beef coming into the country after FALSE REPORTING on a major network erroneously claimed that thousands of people in the USA actually had MAD COW DISEASE. The MBC program claimed that 200,000 people who had Alzheimer's were infected with MAD COW, this came from another ‘infamous’ wacko who has made outrageous claims in his spurious books. With little proof and with inadequate response by the Korean government, citizens took to the streets, students cried out “I am too young to die, don’t make me eat US Beef!”
Here are some links to the Madness of those days:

Korean respond to Mad Cow Disease
Why Are Korean Students at Candlelight Vigils??
Pres. Lee Denounces 2008 Candlelight Vigils
Wikipedia Mad Cow Candlelight Vigils Korea
From WikiPedia-
“2008 US beef protest in South Korea was an importation issue in South Korea – United States relations after the closure of the South Korean market to US beef imports upon the discovery of a US case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy in 2003.[1] President of South Korea Lee Myung-bak's attempt to reopen the Korean market to US beef in 2008 led protests due to the threat of mad cow disease. The demonstrations were the country's largest anti-government protests in 20 years.[2] 
No case of mad cow disease in humans, or vCJD has been linked to consumption of US beef.[5]
The Government of South Korea banned imports of US beef in 2003 when a case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, or mad cow disease was discovered in a cow in Washington.[7] By 2006, the United States Department of Agriculture would confirm a total of three cases of BSE-infected cattle, two raised domestically, and one imported from Canada.[8] At the time, South Korea was the third-largest purchaser of US beef exports, with an estimated market value of $815 million.
Protests began shortly after the Korean channel MBC aired an episode of its news program PD Notebook, (alternately "PD Note," "PD Diary," and" PD Journal") called "Is American Beef Really Safe from Mad Cow Disease?" The program alleged that reopening the Korean market to American beef would expose Koreans to the threat of mad cow disease, and featured some footage of sick cattle being led to slaughter.
Aretha Vinson, a deceased Virginian woman, was described as having likely died from vCJD , or "mad cow disease", rather than CJD.[22] Subtitles from Vinson's mother were intentionally altered to make it appear as if Vinson had died of "vCJD" rather than "CJD".[23] Vinson did not in fact die of mad cow disease.[24][25] The program contained many other mistranslations and apparently deliberate omissions,[22] all of which created the impression of an imminent and severe threat of mad cow disease if markets were reopened.[26] According to MBC's translator, the translations were originally correct. "Mistranslations" were added post facto, and against the translator's express wishes.[27] 
Korea pigs fmd
Meanwhile, the Korea Times reports on a curious phenomenon with, it says, potentially deadly consequences:
Residents of a village hit by food-and-mouth disease (FMD) in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, have seen their faucets start to deliver water mixed with blood since the beginning of the New Year.

Korea pig burial

“This eerie situation, first reported last Saturday, came just one day after some of nearly 1,000 pigs within a 500-meter radius of an FMD-hit livestock farm were buried alive in the village’s vicinity to prevent further spread of the deadly animal disease.”*
The KWB Notes: *The report above does not say that ‘water mixed with blood’ has been TESTED and proven yet.
_42729043_skoreatrade_ap416BUT WHERE ARE THE CANDLELIGHT VIGILS? PRAY TELL US? Where is the OUTCRY from Animal Rights activists…they Do have a small group over in Korea.

WELL, folks…TIK-This Is Korea, just one of those Asian things, how they look at expediency, cost, speed, etc imagesCAF1BZN1before animal rights. Not all Koreans feel this way. The last fifteen years has seen more PETS especially DOGS kept…thus the Dog Meat Soup restaurants have gone down in number from 25,000 in 1988 (Olympics held in Seoul and French actress did a documentary that embarrassed Korea) why they are down to 20,000 BoShinTang restaurants. Still with NO legal guidelines on humane way to slaughter dogs (that would then make it a “LEGAL” meat) they are beaten to death. Dog meat is considered more tender because beating causes release of substances that supposedly make it “healthy and powerful” for men.
TIK-This Is Korea, what can you do? When the current generation grows up with their pet dogs THEY mostly, will not eat at the BoShinTang restaurants. It will be a few years before THAT happens. MEANWHILE, Foreign beef is increasing imports, and even USDA Beef Imports are increasing each month (along with price increases), as Korean Cows are being slaughtered for Foot and Mouth Disease-that is not supposed to be dangerous to humans. Not ONE CANDLE has been lit to protest the culling of Pigs, Cattle, Deer, and other livestock. Na Da, Zip, Zero, Non, how sad. Where are the children crying out, “I am too young to die from US Beef!?

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