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 29, 2011

Facebook Reunion now in Korean Language!


GookMinIlbo_KoreanDaily has Hangul translation of Steve Inman's article!

[쿠키 지구촌] 그리워하고 애타게 찾으면 그리운 사람을 만날 수 있을까. 예전 같으면 생각 속에서만 가능하던 일이 소셜 네트워크 서비스 '페이스북'에 올린 빛바랜 아기 사진 몇장으로 이뤄졌다.미국 일간 로스앤젤레스 타임스(LAT)는 28일 주한미군 아버지와 한국인 어머니 사이에서 태어난 한국계 미국인 남매의 사연을 보도했다.

사연의
주인공은 스티브 이만(33). 그에게는 낡은 사진(사진) 속에만 존재하는 누나가 있다. 이름은 샐리 블루(37).

주한 미군이었던 아버지는 한국인 여성과
결혼해 딸 샐리를 낳았다. 부모는 8개월 동안 유모의 도움을 받아가며 샐리를 길렀다. 아버지의 복무기간이 끝나가자 가족은 미국으로 들어가기로 했다. 그러나 가족 관계를 증명하는 서류가 관계 당국으로부터 승인이 나지 않았다. 비행 시간에 쫓긴 부모는 샐리를 외할머니에게 맡기고 미국으로 떠났다.

곧 미국으로 데려올 수 있을 것이라 생각했던 샐리의 운명은 여기서 갈리고 말았다. 유모가 외할머니를 찾아와 샐리가 보고 싶다며 며칠 데려가겠다고 하곤 샐리를 돌려보내지 않았다.

미국 정착에 급급하던 부모는 없어진 샐리를 찾을 여력이 없었다. 그사이 샐리의 여동생인 코니(36)와 스티브가 태어났다. 하지만 부모에게 샐리의 빈자리는 쉽게 채워지지 않았다.
전화번호로 전화를 걸었다.

스티브도 어안이 벙벙했다. 진짜인지 가짜인지 확인하고 싶었다. 전화를 건 누나에게 친자 확인을 요구했지만 누나 샐리는 거절했다. 자신이 누군지 잘 알기 때문이었다.

샐리가 전한 이야기도 기구했다. 유모에게 간 뒤 9살에 입양됐다는 것이다. 샐리는 "의붓어머니는 당시 유모의 딸"이라며 "유모로부터 샐리의 부모가 미국으로 떠나면서 자신을 맡게 됐다는 이야기를 들었다"고 전했다.

소식을 전해 들은 이들 남매의 어머니는 "미안하다"고 말하며 한참을 흐느껴 울었고, 이들 가족은 웹캠을 이용해 못다 한 이야기를 풀어놓았다.


이국만리 한국에 있는 누나. 그렇다고 쉽게 찾아나설 수도 없는 처지 속에서 그렇게 세월만 흘렀다. 그러던 지난해 8월 SNS가 활성화 되면서 스티브는 페이스북에 '샐리 이만'이라는 이름으로 계정을 등록하고 고이 간직하던 누나 사진 12장을 올렸다.

4개월이 지날 즈음 기적이 일어났다. 샐리는 페이스북을 돌아다니다 자신의 어릴 적 사진을 발견했다. 남동생의 존재를 모르던 샐리는 어안이 벙벙했다. 하지만 용기를 내 페이스북에 남겨진 스티브의

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The Korean War Baby will send the links to every reporter he knows, but if some of you out there know Korean websites and friends PASS THIS ON. Let's make it Virtual, uh wait...OH, I mean "Let's Make it go Viral"!!!

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