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.


July 1, 2011

Reunion Search Myths - Search & Reunion E-Magazine. July 2011 Adoption Month E-mag

One of the resources one can find for all those in the adoption community (extended members of birth and adoptive families and professions, social workers, etc) is this Adoption Month E-mag. Add it to your list of sites that will help you to better understanding to process your own life, or just to ‘do it better’. We can all grow by listening to many voices.

Reunion Search Myths - Search & Reunion E-Magazine. July 2011 Adoption Month E-mag

Reunion Search Myths

If you're a part of the adoption community or a member of the adoption triad, you have probably heard some reunion search myths. They are shared as if they are fact or common knowledge. These myths may cause you hesitation in beginning or continuing your search. But you should never let these myths stop you. The first step is to research the roots and truths to these myths. Then you'll be well on your way to finding that person or those people for whom you're searching.

Searching is Expensive. Searching can be expensive, but it doesn't have to be. There are so many options when it comes to searching, that you should never feel limited in your choices or because of your finances. One great resource to consider is an online adoption registry. While some of them have a fee, many are free; you just have to know where to look. Free online adoption registries allow you to create your own profile, visible to those also searching, and you can search existing profiles. You never know; this could be all it takes to reunite and reconnect.

Receiving help from search angels is another great option to consider. Some charge, but many search angels assist you for free. They can help you track down birth records, important papers and files, and find the person for whom you're looking. Many search angels have amazing connections that can really help your search move forward quickly and efficiently.

Another great resource available to you is social networking. People from around the world create profiles on the popular social networking sites, and many of these sites are free. Use the information you have to search through profiles and bring yourself one step closer to reconnection. It's quick, easy, and free; it's worth a try.

Searchers are Miserable. Some believe that the only reason adoptees or birth families search is because the searchers are miserable. This isn't always the case. Yes, there are some who search who are unhappy with life, but this isn't true for all searchers. Many searchers are happy with their lives, but they want to find out about their past or about biological family--whether that's for health reasons or just wanting an update.

Being miserable has nothing to do with wanting to search. For some searchers it's about finding that missing piece or searching for medical information. For others it's about finding out where they came from and why they were placed. It could also be because they just want to solve the mystery or find out if they have brothers and sisters.

It's Unfair to the Adoptive Parents. While adoptive parents may be hurt by a child searching for biological information, it isn't really about the parents. It's about what the adoptee needs. However, if you, as the adoptee, are concerned about hurting your parents, it is best to sit down with them and fully discuss it. This will show respect and appreciation for what they've done for you. Discuss why you want to search and what you're hoping to get out of this journey. Make sure you let them know that this isn't to hurt them or it's because they are bad parents. It's for your own needs to know where you came from, for medical information, or for any other reason. Be honest and open.

Don't let these reunion search myths scare you from beginning or continuing your search. If you have any concerns, talk with adoption professionals, search angels, support group members, or with a counselor. These people can help you more fully understand the reunion process and what that will mean for you and how it can affect your life and your relationships. The search journey is a great time to learn more about yourself. It's more than just finding that person for whom you're searching. It's about finding yourself and discovering your own worth and spot in the world. It can be a journey of self; you just have to have the right perspective. Remember, this journey is all in what you make of it. Start your journey with hope, happiness, and love.

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