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 10, 2011

New York City Reports 41% Pregnancies Result in Abortion!

Someone sent me an email that ‘questions your facts on abortion numbers’ in South Korea.  They could not believe that Abortions were as high as 4,000 PER DAY, and practically accused the KWB of, well inflating the numbers, claiming that they had only seen ONE THOUSAND PER DAY.
WELL, being an unlettered simple person, I DO try to get several sources for facts and still don’t put faith completely in just 2, and I have copies of dozens of articles from the net on Abortion/Korea. Doesn’t take a ‘rocket scientist to factcheck. HOWEVER, anyone can check on GOOGLE or other Search Engines for themselves- “abortion korea 1,000 4,000” and you would get the many results in nanoseconds.
FIRST Check THIS:  NYC 41% NY City Pregnancies Result in Abortion
“Like it or not, the legality of abortion is a settled question in New York for the time being,” said Greg Pfundstein, executive director of the Chiaroscuro Foundation. “That doesn’t mean we have to accept the fact that in parts of the city nearly half of all pregnancies end in abortion.
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 Illegal abortion, South Korea's open secret
“At a clinic in a fashionable area of Seoul, young women sit in plush leather couches waiting for a doctor to give them an illegal abortion. By the hundreds of thousands each year South Korean women have gone to clinics like this, which operate in the open.
Abortions have been illegal for almost as long as South Korea has existed but, in an uneasy compromise, law enforcement officials have been willing to look the other way as long as qualified doctors perform the operation.
The law allows for abortion only in cases where the mother's health is at risk, the baby is to be born with severe birth defects or the pregnancy was caused by a sexual crime (Rape/Incest).
"Most abortions are for pregnancies out of wedlock and not for health reasons," Park said.  According to the most recent figures, an estimated 350,000 abortions were performed in 2005. That is equivalent to about 43.7 percent of the total number of babies born that year. (450,000 Births PLUS the 350,000 = 800,000 total Pregnancies SO, help my math here, 350,000 equals 43.7 percent.)
Korean War Baby notes: SO, SOUTH KOREA has MORE than the New York City percentage, according to the Ministry of Health, Welfare, and Family Affairs there are about ONE THOUSAND abortions PER DAY... BUT, READ ON, dear reader for the whole SAD truth...not one but FOUR Thousand per DAY.

First, this:
When is Abortion LEGAL in South Korea? (found on a T.R.A.C.K. posting online)
Thanks to Korean Unwed Mothers Support Network for posting this image from MBC on their site.
It says that according to the mothers and children’s health law Article 15 put into force July 8, 2009, abortion is allowed in South Korea within 24 weeks of pregnancy in the following cases:
  • Sexual assault, incest
  • Danger to mother’s health
  • Hereditary disease (including psychiatric disease, hemophilia, epilepsy, etc.)
  • Contagious disease (including AIDS and hepatitis)
All other abortions are illegal.”
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South Korea looks at Legalizing Abortions
SEOUL, July 28, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Early-term abortion may be legalized in South Korea, according to a Ministry of Justice committee considering changes to the law, reports the Korean journal JoongAng Daily.
Official data from the Ministry of Health indicates that doctors perform about 350,000 abortions per year, while they deliver on average just 450,000 babies, meaning 43.7 percent of pregnancies end in abortion.
However, the actual number of abortions may be at least five times the official estimate, with a spokesman from the ruling Grand National Party saying that a National Assembly inspection last October found that the number of illegal abortions in Korea exceeds 1.5 million a year or roughly 4,000 babies aborted per day. (KWB notes: This is also the 700+ OBGYNs of Pro-Life Doctors who know the medications {RU-486 and Plan B} that are considered Medical Proceedures to eliminate 'Unexpected' pregnancies)

The move by the Ministry of Justice to look at legalization of abortion seems to fly in the face of the government's "Increase Koreans" project, aimed at increasing the birth rate and persuading more women to carry their pregnancies to term. (GEE, How's that working? Uh, not too well it seems!!!)
Korean pro-life groups have warned that legalizing early-term abortion will only increase the number of abortions.
 One group, Pro-Life Doctors, has been formed to encourage women to carry their pregnancies to birth and to encourage doctors to abandon the practice of abortion. The organization runs a hotline to report practitioners of illegal abortion to the police.
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OBGYN_ProLifeDoc
Dr. Shim Sang-duk is an obstetrician who changed his mind about performing abortions. (Jean Chung / For The Times / November 20, 2009)






“For nearly two decades, obstetrician Shim Sang-duk aborted as many babies as he delivered -- on average, one a day, month after month. "Over time, I became emotionless," the physician said. "I came to see the results of my work as just a chunk of blood. During the operation, I felt the same as though I was treating scars or curing diseases." Shim, 42, eventually came to despise himself, despite the money he earned from the procedures. So, two months ago, he founded an activist group of physicians who refuse to perform abortions and advocate prosecution for doctors who continue to do so. The group's stand has brought a tidal wave of criticism from the Korean Assn. of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, which represents more than 4,000 physicians in this country where abortions, although technically illegal, are so prevalent it has been tagged as "the Abortion Republic."
But Shim's campaign has triggered a rare public debate on abortion. Lawmakers now call for tougher enforcement of existing laws, and are asking parents to reassess the cultural value of childbirth. Beginning in the 1970s, officials advocated fewer births as a way to fuel economic productivity. The policy was perhaps too successful: Birthrates in South Korea plummeted. A decade ago, officials reversed their stand, calling for residents to have more babies. Yet the declining fertility trend has proved difficult to reverse. The country's birthrate is now among the lowest worldwide, with just 1.19 live births per woman. Meanwhile, abortion rates have kept their pace, many say.
For years, Shim rarely, if ever, even used the word "abortion." Rather, he said, he sought to "erase" or "prevent" the fetus. "I bought into the government's argument that it was OK to do this," he said. "It was good for the country. It boosted the economy." Still, Shim was often baffled by his patients' behavior: After receiving their abortions, he said, most women cried. "Many patients cry when they give birth," he said, "but these were a different kind of tears."
Korean War Baby notes: The Pro-Life group of OBGYNs has grown in size to first 700, then during the year 2010 surpassed 25% of the estimated 4,000 practicing OBGYNs.
This SITE below, has excellent research on this complex issue:

Korean Gender Reader CHECK this out!!
south-korea-abortion-pro-choice-protestors
The Marmot's Hole Blog has also done many postings on the subject.
“This year, however, the Korean government has sworn to resolve the ever decreasing birthrate and one way of doing this is to get tough on abortions.  But have abortions disappeared in South Korea? Apparently not: According to the AP article, a Mrs. Kim became pregnant with her third child and, already struggling to get by, decided to terminate the pregnancy.
It took Mrs. Kim 10 tries to find a doctor willing to perform an abortion, and he’s demanding nearly $1,000 in cash. To scrape together the money, the six-weeks pregnant woman took a second job cleaning an office building overnight for a few weeks.
“I can barely afford to have an abortion. How can I afford to raise and put a kid through college?” the 31-year-old secretary said, dunking a rag into a bucket of water.
As she sacrifices sleep to save up for her abortion, Mrs. Kim says she is trying to safeguard her family’s well-being by terminating the pregnancy.
“Our current income is just enough to feed four and educate the two,” she said. “Activists and policymakers can debate all they want, but I’m the one sweeping floors to kill my baby.”
Apparently some of the doctors she had approached were similar to these doctors we discussed in an earlier thread:  Dr. Choi Anna and Shim Sang-duk who basically sold their souls for $340 dollars performing abortions but later had a change of heart.  It is also interesting to note that Mrs. Kim’s abortion was for $1,000 dollars, which, even though it is nearly three times what Drs. Choi and Shim charged, it is still cheaper than the going price.  According to this AFP article (March 9, 2010):
Byun Hea-Joung, a counsellor and professor at Sogang University, said the cost of an abortion had risen from 300,000 won (264 dollars) to three million won and would continue to increase.
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The KWB notes: This Abortion cost increase happened throughout the year of 2010, with up to TEN TIMES at major hospitals, as the government continued to try to INCREASE birthrate numbers. We are waiting to see what effect this had on the year’s numbers of LIVE Births to Unwed Mothers Stats, for instance. The KWB thinks the numbers of LIVE BIRTHS to Unwed Mothers will significantly INCREASE for the year. (Again, based on Korean Women’s Development Institute’s reports 2 out of 3 will be Given up for Adoption.)
Getting back to the Ratio figures. IF the numbers given by OBGYNs of 1.5 million or 4,000 PER DAY- what are the percentages then, “Somebody” help me with the math!
 450,000 BIRTHS and 1,500,000 ABORTIONS
Totals = 1,950,000 Pregnancies/Year
450,000/1,950,000 = 23%
1,500,000/1,950,000 = 77%
Hmm, WELL check my numbers:
 A Korean “FETUS” has approximately ONE in FOUR or
23% chance to LIVE outside the WOMB.
fetus-at-five-weeks
OR
Sadly, a 77% CHANCE of the decision,

 “TERMINATE WITH EXTREME PREJUDICE.”
vlcsnap1847665
THREE TIMES more “Chances” to be Aborted, is that Right? Double check me, now, Please.
It seems that South Korea has New York City
beat all to hell, BIG TIME in the Stats,
YAH THINK? My people perish for lack of knowledge and hardened hearts! One is “lucky to be Born alive” in the land of the MOURNING Calm.
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