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.

May 9, 2011

YouTube - Gowe - I Wonder (Official Music Video) Ft. Erin Kim - Mother's Day 2011


GOWE is from Seattle, Washington. He discovered at 18 that he had been adopted. His song is a ‘message in a bottle’ to her.


Ever since I discovered that I was adopted (at the age of 18), I've always wanted to write a song that captured my experience and gratitude toward my biological mother.
After performing this song for the first time at Kollaboration Seattle I was able to partner with key individuals to turn the song into a music video.
My hope is that this will one day reach my biological mother so that I could meet her. In a way, I feel like this is symbolically my 'message in a bottle' that I am casting into the ocean. Any help in sharing the video with your friends & family would be amazing.
Thank you to everyone who was involved in the making of this video, God is good and I am truly blessed!”

- Gowe
Credits -
Artist - Gowe Feat. Erin Kim
Beat produced by - Nitro Fresh
Directed by - Moses Olson
Director of Photography & Post Production - Ed Park (
Assistant DP - Dan Fisher (
Post Audio - Derrick Espino
Song Engineered by - Travis-Atreo
Lead Talent - Esther Lee
Talent - John Wu, Narae Kang, Paulina Laurant, Henry Mark, Toyoko Kanari
Set Designer - Jennifer Asmundson
Make Up Artist - Janice Pak

“I Wonder”

Lyrics -
Verse 1
Her mind was confused with a plus at the tip of the tube
Sick as she threw up with a cup take a sip of abuse
So she gets nervous cause her man left her
After the sex and he jets she thought that he loved her
You see she’s 18, and she’s a bit conscious
About her dress and the reflection of her own image
Timid in speech, she’s limited given a week
With her tummy blowing up so that people can see
But she decides to keep it, said no to abortion
The feet kicks in her stomach comes without a warning
She feels the pain though, cause her parents cry
And the shame eats her alive when she closed her eyes
Then the day comes, she gives birth to a son
Kim Sung-Hoon, soon she holds and kisses her love
Wishing it never ended, taking a mental picture
Hoping through her tears that her son would have a better future

I wonder if there’s a smile on your face
Sometimes I miss you and long for your embrace
I never could thank you, enough for holding on
Dear mama mama mama, forever, I'll hold you in my heart

Verse 2 -
So she wonders, what happened to her son next
Is there clothes on his back, food on his plate whats the context
The recollection of the day replays in her mindset
And the ways she would try but just never could forget
Well he's okay, and he resides in the states
A needle in space in which rain makes it a beautiful place
Embraced by the culture and he's loved by all the members
Until he turns 18 and his world get flipped
He hears that his mom is not actually his and that complications
Prevented her from having any kids and his real mom
Is actually Korean and she had, to give him up for adoption
Cause she was young and was a student
Lost and was confused and, wrestling in the moment
Am I Chinese or Korean? Am I destined in this union?
And if I am what's the purpose? I jot it in my verses
So I replay it in my mind as I think about you
I wonder if theres a smile on your face
Sometimes I miss you and long for your embrace
I never could thank you, enough for holding on
Dear mama mama mama, forever, I'll hold you in my heart
Verse 3
If I could write a letter, and know that you would read it
I would tell you that I never once in my heart felt hatred
Reinstated I would play a song and dance with you
Hold your hand as I thank the Lord for creating you
As strong as you are cause in my mind I can't fathom
The pain and the guilt when all you heard was their gossip
And still you stuck through it, when they called you foolish
And with this gift that I possess your probably loved music
I hope you're doing well, I hope some day you'll see this
I hope I mean I really hope that you know Jesus on a deeper level
Seeking just to know Him better, I hope in perfect timing we can
See the reason clearer, I hope you're smiling now
I hope I cross your mind, I hope you never second guess
If what you did was right, cause I'm so proud of you
I love and admire you, so after all these years this is my way of telling you
Chorus (x2)
I wonder if theres a smile on your face
Sometimes I miss you and long for your embrace
I never could thank you, enough for holding on
Dear mama mama mama, forever, I'll hold you in my heart

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousMay 22, 2011

    Hello, i am seeking some information regarding war babies and and the korean war. In particular, i am looking for what the estimated number of war babies from the korean war actually is. More importantly, what is the ratio (or percentage) of white/korean mix compared to that of black/korean mix. Many thanks. I will check back regularly to see if there is any response.