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 22, 2011

Hines Ward REAL first visit NOT so Nice

Hines Ward Jeju
Hines Ward's real first visit to Korea was in 1998
“After Ward was named the Super Bowl MVP and South Korea rushed to try and embrace him as its own. He was heralded a national hero and came to be cast as a symbol of shifting attitudes toward biracial children, though at the time people were proud of him more for being Korean than for being an agent of social change. His mother famously told the Chosun Ilbo in 2006, in response to the question “What does Hines think about the Korean blood that runs though his veins?
“What does Hines think about the Korean blood that runs though his veins? WELL, his mother respond:

“…Since he was young, he always got along well with the other Korean and Vietnamese kids. It seems like he does have some pride in his Korean blood. But we've also been hurt as Koreans. When Hines was in high school, there was an inter-school friendship match for the Korean students. Since he was good at baseball, a school invited him to play. But after the game, when the kids went out to eat, the person who put together the event only took the Korean kids, leaving Hines behind (Ward is of mixed parentage, his father an African-American). After that I told Hines to never hang out with Korean kids. Yet when we went to Korea in '98, even Korean people who looked educated spat when we walked by. Koreans judge others based on their appearance and their age. Those kinds of Koreans think that they are so special."

The Korean War Baby notes: Hines Ward has done much to help Biracial children in Korea. The Pearl S. Buck foundation has also been involved in helping him to help bring attention to the thousands of Biracial and Multicultural children, especially those of Black American fathers (Called TuiGi but applied to all Mixed-Bloods). Prejudice against them is much higher it seems. Read more on this from THIS:


Mixed-blood fighter

Mixed-Blood Fighter
Posted by urbanara on April 3, 2006
"Who's the mixed-blood fighter having achieved three consecutive wins in Pride Musado?"
(Pride Musado may be one of K-1 fighting championship i guess.) The bluntness of using the word 'mixed-blood' to describe a person made me taken aback. Connecting "Mixed-blood" with "fighter" had especially some dramatic effect. Saying 'Who's the fighter having achieved three consecutive wins in Pride Musado?" must have been able to convey the meaning perfectly. There are not many people who achieved such things lately and the photo was kindly there to enlighten people. Saying "Who's the Korean-Canadian fighter…." could be better than that, if the author really wanted to make clear his "mixedness". (As fas as I know, he was born between Korean father and Canadian mother.)
The Korean War Baby made comments on this to explain that for Korean media using the term “Mixed-Blood” is simply the way they translate, HonHyulah, literally “Mixed-Blood”. Political Correctness has a long way to go in the Land of Morning Calm.
*******************************************************************
Then this:

Glimmer of hope for `forgotten ones`

The Korea Herald. 2005.07.04

”They have for long been the "forgotten ones" - ostracized by their peers and largely ignored by the authorities - but this week may herald a new beginning and a better future for the nation`s approximately 15,000 Amerasians.
The Korea League Association of International Family, is poised to be established this Thursday and will become the first legal advocate group for people of mixed race after being authorized by the government.
The group`s president, Bae Ki-chul, himself a mixed-race person whose father was an Italian-American GI, has hopes of changing the lot of the Amerasians - a term coined for offspring of an Asian and a Westerner, more often than not an American serviceman. Amerasians are mostly an unwanted legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War and relationships, forcible and otherwise, between Korean women and servicemen which did not work out.
"It is not an individual problem, but a social problem, but the government has never been serious about biracial people. It tries to hide the problem," Bae said in an interview The Korea Herald.


About 30 percent of 184 children of mixed blood surveyed in 2002, had dropped out of school before completing a junior high due to their unusual look and lack of government support, according to the Pearl S. Buck International, a group set up by the famous American author Pearl Buck in 1964 to assist biracial people in not only Korea but also other countries.
…Bae said biracial people suffer heartburn when they hear stereotyped comments that their mothers were either impoverished war brides or even prostitutes servicing U.S. troops.
He said this country, which prides itself on the homogeneity of its population, should abandon its long-standing prejudice toward biracial people.


"Biracial people are heartbroken because of those who are obsessed with pure blood. But throughout Korean history, Korea has been invaded tons of times, meaning that few of us have pure blood. Why not get along well with one another?" he asked.
By Jin Hyun-joo.(hjjin@heraldm.com)

********************************************
Prejudice will always be with us, though laws can help give people of MultiRacial/multicultural etnicity at least a legal platform. Changing laws does not change hearts, but as the thousands of multicultural children grow up in the rural countryside the next generation of Koreans will HAVE to deal with this new dynamic.

2 comments:

  1. Hey i've most much info from this site regarding my querries,
    and i am thankful..

    http://www.mumzone.com.au/baby-names.php

    ReplyDelete
  2. I am surprised that the national haven't embraced BJ Penn as a national hero yet, he is also half Korean.

    ReplyDelete

Skype