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.


April 3, 2011

Amy Mihyang

 

"Dear....mother." How do you write a letter to the woman who gave you away 20 years ago? Combining adapted work by Asian and adoptee writers and Amy Mihyang's original writing, "between" encapsulates her experiences as a Korean American woman, a New Yorker, and most of all, a transracial adoptee. Bringing the audience with her on the plane en route from NYC to Korea, the author contrasts her journey with the echoes of other adoptees and those touched by the act of adoption. Mihyang makes us ask ourselves, “Do we need to know where we came from in order to know where we're going?”

between-fb-map-1

 

(additional text credit: "Kira" adapted from “China Doll” by Alaina Wong. Used with permission. All rights reserved. Additional adapted text from Yun Jin Carson)

Directed by Song Kim (감독: 김 송)
“...어머니에게...” 20년 후, 입양의 운명을 가진 아이는 어머니에게 편지를 씁니다. 그런데 무슨 말을 하지요? 1인극 ‘비트윈’에서는 에이미 미향씨의 사실적인 경험을 바탕으로 이야기를 전개합니다. 그는 뉴욕에서 한국인, 여자 그리고 무엇 보다 입양아로서의 정체성을 찾기 위해 끊임없는 도전을 펼쳐왔습니다. 지난 세월 동안 겪은 개인의 문제와 입양의 문제를 진지하게 생각하며, 고찰하는 내용으로 관객에게 다가갑니다. 그리고 마지막에 의미심장한 질문을 던지죠. “과연 우리가 어디서 왔는지 알아야만 앞으로 나아갈 수 있는 건가요?”

Fridays at 8pm 금요일 오후 8시
Saturdays at 4pm and 8pm 오후 4시, 오후 8시 토요일
Sundays at 4pm and 6pm 오후 4시, 오후 6시 일요일

Tickets: 15,000 KRW. All proceeds will go to KUMFA
Booking(예매):
ticketing@seoulplayers.com
More info(자세한 사항): www.seoulplayers.com

There will be talk-back sessions with the audience following the 4pm Saturday performances.
토요일 오후 4시 공연 이후에는 ‘관객-배우와의 만남’ 시간을 가집니다.
All proceeds will go to the Korean Unwed Mothers & Families Association (KUMFA), the only Korean group and network solely created and run by unwed mothers. It provides financial assistance, guidance, and resources for unwed mothers and their families.
http://cafe.naver.com/missmammamia
모든 수익은 한국미혼모가족협회인 ‘KUMFA’ 에게 돌아갑니다. 한국 최초의 온라인 공동체에서는 미혼모로써 겪는 어려움을 함께 고민하고 해결하려고 노력하고 있습니다.
~~~~~~
here's the link to the fb event:
FaceBook Page Link

“Hope to see you at the show!”
Amy

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