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.


June 30, 2011

G.O.A.'L - Global Overseas Adoptees' Link

The Korean War Baby is very alarmed at this announcement that affects many NGO’s in the Republic of Korea (South Korea). The KWB endorses GOA’L as the best option for Korean Adoptees looking for help in finding their adoption agencies, help in birth family searches (if they are so inclined), help in living in Korea, and many other short and long term needs. As one of the 12 founding members I totally support the new leadership of GOA’L in their efforts to keep on providing the help that thousands of KADs have found over the years.
Let us support in anyway possible the ability of GOA’L to be able to help not only KADLinKs (Korean ADoptees Living in Korea) community, but the greater GLOBAL community that have yet to make their pilgrimage to the motherland. Every KAD must process for themselves the various levels and degrees from First Visit to beginning a Birth Family search. The government’s decision is a serious blow to us all. Please send any links to articles that may provide more on this alarming situation.

The Korean War Baby
▒▒ G.O.A.'L - Global Overseas Adoptees' Link ▒▒
2011-06-08 State of G.O.A.'L
Webmaster of GOA’L
It is with great disappointment and utmost urgency that I report the current state of G.O.A.’L which has remained the only adoptee non-profit and non-governmental organization in Korea since 1998. For many years G.O.A.’L has operated with the assistance and subsidies from the Ministry of Health and Welfare (보건복지부) for not only programs and services but also for staff. We also rely on corporation and company sponsorship, membership dues, fundraising and donations. G.O.A.’L has exceeded many people’s expectations and provided more with what little amount it receives compared to the other organizations.

Over the past few months the Ministry of Health and Welfare has gone through changes in funding processes, policies and overall direction when it comes to post adoption services here in Korea and abroad. During this time G.O.A.’L worked with the various adoption agencies as well as other adoptee related organizations to participate in defining what the Ministry should fund, how it should be funded, requiring surveys and evaluations on programs and services as well as allowing adoptees to be a part of the decision making process.


Recently the Ministry of Health and Welfare has decided to no longer support G.O.A.’L in certain areas like Birth Family Search, staff wages and certain programs and services. Unlike other organizations, G.O.A.’L does not have a consistent source of revenue to provide for its staff and operating costs. G.O.A.’L requires sufficient planning and notice to prepare for such changes but cannot continue to operate without this year’s subsidy. This was explained to the Ministry of Health and Welfare many times but they claim they cannot continue to support G.O.A.’L in these areas. Ironically funding and support will continue for things like events and program-based services.

As a result, effective immediately G.O.A.’L is forced to temporarily close its doors due to the lack of financial support and economic hardship. G.O.A.’L still believes in having an adoptee organization provide programs and services to adoptees, provide oversight and input to Korean government and adoption agencies, and be a voice on behalf of the community. In the coming days and weeks, G.O.A.’L will be meeting with its Board of Directors, key stakeholders and supporters. We ask for your continued support and understanding. G.O.A.’L will continue to serve the adoptee community in whatever capacity we can as it is our mission and responsibility. Further explanations will be posted on our website, blog, forum, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of communication.


If you are interested in helping G.O.A.’L, please contact me at sg@goal.or.kr or 010-4361-4783.

Sincerely,
James Rosso / Yoo Shin Kim 김유신
Secretary General 사무총장
Global Overseas Adoptees' Link (G.O.A.'L) (사)해외입양인연대 

Summary
• G.O.A.’L NO LONGER receives support for staff from the Ministry of Health and Welfare.
• G.O.A.’L NO LONGER receives support for the Birth Family Search Department.
• G.O.A.’L does NOT receive government funding for operation costs.
• G.O.A.’L will continue to receive funding for program-based services like Living in Korea and Counseling, First Trip Home and special events.
• G.O.A.’L receives LESS government subsidies compared to other organizations.
• G.O.A.’L lacks consistent revenue and income to maintain its cost of operation and staff.
• The G.O.A.’L office will continue to exist in some capacity until further notice.
• Secretary General will continue to maintain G.O.A.’Ls existence and work to serve the community.
G.O.A.’Ls Operations, Programs and Services
• G.O.A.’L will reduce its current services and temporarily close its doors until further notice.
• G.O.A.’L Korean Language Scholarships will continue until further notice.
• No new G.O.A.’L Korean Language Tutoring requests will be taken.
• Annual programs like the G.O.A.’L First Trip Home, Annual G.O.A.’L Conference and Christmas Fundraiser will still be planned.
• Volunteers for translation and interpretation will be limited.
• Birth Family Search services will be limited.
• Response to emails, phone calls and faxes will be limited.
• Program-based services will continue.
• Daily services like F4 Visa, Dual Citizenship, etc. will be limited.

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The Korean War Baby wants all to know that though he has had problems with the past election process and proceedure  (which needs to be revised to include ALL members and supporters to be able to VOTE for leadership by electronic means-This is the 21st century, yes?) the KWB completely endorses the new leadership of GOA’L and the staff that is working for the Global and local community of Korean Adoptees. With even InKas affected by the government’s cutback it is very alarming, but we can help by giving support, all who have had help in the past, present, as a way of thanks and providing the help that future KADs will need in their return to the motherland.
Support G.O.A.’L now, help keep the services going.

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