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.

July 20, 2011

Korean Music Star Insooni Reunites With Former USFK Servicemember | ROK Drop

» by GI Korea in: USFK

Below is a really good story in the Stars & Stripes about a former USFK servicemember that was reunited with the young girl he mentored in the 1970′s who went on to bigger and better things:

Despite the decades that have passed since he was a U.S. soldier stationed in South Korea, Ronald Lewis never stopped wondering what had become of the troubled teenage girl he and a few of his Army buddies befriended while they were here.

The girl wanted to become a nurse, but the odds were stacked against her. The child of a Korean woman and a black U.S. soldier who abandoned the family, the girl was born into a culture that shuns mixed-race people.

“My prayers have always been that she wouldn’t end up on the street,” Lewis said. “I prayed for her continuously.”

Then, a few months ago, the Delaware man was contacted by a 2nd Infantry Division representative who was helping the woman track down the guys she credits with helping set her life on the right course. Suspicious, Lewis did a Web search using the name by which she is now known — Insooni — and found that the girl has been a famous R&B singer here for more than 30 years, known as “the Tina Turner of South Korea.”

She has even performed at New York’s Carnegie Hall.

“I said, ‘Oh my god, it is her,’ ” Lewis said, his voice filling with pride. “I couldn’t believe it. We spent a lot of time together back then, and I never heard her sing, or even hum, anything.”

Insooni and Lewis have since talked by telephone and regularly exchange emails, and they plan to reunite this weekend while the singer is visiting the U.S. to check out colleges with her 17-year-old daughter.

Insooni said that Lewis and his friends “acted sort of like big brothers and surrogate fathers” to her in the early 1970s.

“Before I met them, I had repulsion about Americans because my family background and home environment were difficult,” she said. “But, after getting along with them, I came to feel all human beings are the same, and Americans are good.” [Stars & Stripes]

Korean Music Star Insooni Reunites With Former USFK Servicemember | ROK Drop

THIS is what the Korean War Baby is talking about!! Great wonderful story of success, rags to riches type tale that everyone loves to hear…However, what about the hundreds and thousands of others who lived in the shadows of society, with no national identification at all. The only work the other Bi-Racial Black American/Korean children could get was connected with entertainment or the bars, serving the foreign troops. These TUIGI, dust of the streets, fell through the cracks of Korean society. Read more about InSooni’s struggle to become accepted in her mother’s own country and you will see how far she has come in her own life. Things are changing as thousands of Multicultural marriages and BiRacial children (now called HoNurRah) or Mixed-Blood children fill the rural areas with the new reality, Korea is learning to accept the fact: They are NOT homogenous anymore. Welcome to Globalization.


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