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 8, 2011

North Korea Plays the Game

N. Korea Asks for Rice

N.Korea Asks for Rice, Cement, Heavy Equipment

North Korea wants rice and materials to repair flood damage such as cement and heavy equipment from South Korea, it was said in a message Saturday. The Unification Ministry on Tuesday said the message came from the North Korean Red Cross and was sent to its South Korean counterpart after the South offered some W10 billion in flood relief (US$1=W1,179). (This was offered back in August of 2010 BEFORE the September shelling attack that killed two civilians and two ROK Marines, wounded 16 ROK Marines, and 28 civilians on the border island of YeonPyong.)

The North asked for rice, cement, vehicles and bulldozers if the South is willing to help. The message was a belated response to the South Korean Red Cross's offer on Aug. 26 of emergency food supplies and medicines.
But Seoul is less keen to provide rice and building materials since such aid has been put on hold as part of sanctions after the North sank the South Korean Navy corvette Cheonan since the North has a history of diverting such aid to the military. Heavy equipment, cement and iron bars proved controversial when the South gave flood aid to the North in 2006 and 2007.

BUT THEN THIS:

NIS Agrees NK has Massive Rice Stores for Military

NK Military Sitting on ONE MILLION TONS of Rice

Seoul Mulls ways to Insure Aid get to Needy in NK

“The underprivileged never benefited from the aid provided by the Kim Dae-jung and Roh Moo-hyun administrations. They only fled the country in even greater numbers. Instead, the aid went to those in power and the military. It may seem implausible that nothing at all reached the underprivileged, but the fact is that almost no foreign aid was distributed to the people for free.  

A senior North Korean defector said, "The entire food shipment from one foreign aid organization was shipped to the 11th Hospital for the People's Army, from which it was distributed to be administered to undernourished soldiers." A foreign aid official who accompanied the shipment to the North, uncertain if the medicines of nutrition were properly distributed, made an abrupt request to visit a kindergarten in the area, which was accepted. That evening, the military hospital rushed food to the kindergarten to satisfy the inspector, and later it took it all back, according to the defector.

A South Korean pastor who helped children in North Hamgyong Province by having a bread factory built, stayed there for three months to make sure the children were well fed. When he visited six months later, he was dismayed to find that the children were just skin and bones.”

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Yes, Reality SUCKS. The truth is that North Korea is now Playing the Game to get what it wants, and the stupid politicians of USA, South Korea, etc are falling over themselves to get a seat at the Comedy Theater. “I’ve SEEN this film before!!” Will we never learn? US Pres. Obama is pulling the armlock against the South to join the game and ‘give them something or the mean Northern bullies will really throw a temper tantrum. Lord, help us.

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