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.


October 4, 2011

I'm BACK!!!

Special Report Exposing Sham Fake Election 

 Okay, this is the Korean War Baby, alive and well. I am now in Angeles City, Pampanga Province, Rep. of the Philippines. Starting new adventures in life, business and personal changes, I have returned to the Philippines to meet new challenges and WRITE my book.

After much time off due to traveling since May to July, barely getting a post in or two. I came across this very well written comment on the Sham Fake Election of Global Overseas Adoptee's Link (known as GOA'L). The Anonymous commenter has some great points that need to be addressed. I put his comment here with mine.


I have to focus on new job, new location, new life...whew. And I AM trying to be more gentle, peaceful, NICE person. Really!

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Special Report Exposing Sham Fake Election

2 comments on Link Above:



Anonymous said...
you need to chill out dude. you're going to get yourself sick. just do your thing and help yourself and others. this whole site is sounding like this rant most of the time, by some old guy who happened to be adopted, and has a chip on his shoulder, of the size of China. On a separate note, you realize why there have been such stigma regarding foreigners in korea, right? The war itself was already a proxy war. Korea was torn apart, by greed, political backgammon, and manipulation. Of course, this is not to say that it is fair or right, especially directed toward children.  But considering there are generations who witnessed Korea under horrific Japanese colonial rule, have families they will never see before they die, and a history of wrong doings by foreign countries (eg France - see re: recent return of royal books etc from France, whose army had looted them) on Korea, you've got to give it time for full adjustment, right? Let's not even get started why American history books have only relatively recently started saying Korean WAR instead of Korean Conflict (everything to do with US politics, how they got into the war, and why it was necessary). You've been to Vietnam, and see this election discord of one, relatively small, organization (though I understand it's important to you) to lead you to approach this like a "war" - as a metaphor, it's poor and demeaning to your own history and people who have lived through and are living through real wars. Yes, I know how that phrase is used in America. And, yes. It's still inappropriate in your usage, and the fact you find it necessary to approach this whole situation this way. Still, I get the sense from your other posts, that this is how you approach many things on this web. But who am I to really say anything to you? Just a reader who happened to pass by today. I guess I just wanted to say my piece and be at peace?
Korean War Baby said...
Sorry Anonymous, I have been very busy, traveling around USA, back to Korea then onto the Philippines. I am looking into new business venture in teaching Online. As for "chill out"...At the time of the election and that post, back in 2010 right after the Fake Election, yes I was livid with anger. You perhaps don't know the entire story, but basically a very small minority of the 300 odd KADLINKs (those living in Korea) took it upon themselves (some but not all members of ASK and TRACK- which for the record I agree with about 70% on issues such as Family Preservation FIRST PLACE...if possible). I intimately know the individuals who openly boasted that it would be a great idea to 'democratically takeover' GOA'L for their belief that ALL overseas adoptions be just stopped cold-turkey. They believe that Koreans should just 'take care of their own' and 'they are a rich nation' and other arguments that well, are based on 80% WRONG thinking. It is Korean Society that pressures/forces mostly (95%) Single Unwed Mothers to give up their children. If you read more of my posts you will see that I DO try to be more civil and less uh, combative in the times since August of 2010. As a US Marine veteran of Vietnam I do suppose that I have some, well many, issues with anger management...to say the least. I chose to use HYPERBOLIC language to get my points across in a somewhat LOUD and CLEAR voice. My usage of WAR language, is nothing more than American style Sports type slang in comparison. You may notice that for the past year my commentary has been much more, peaceful. What I will not apologize for is the Blatant, messed up, lying crap that was done by some leadership, now in the 'background', to fake the election of officials. I was sent by GOA'L staff and former members the two different reports, some members of GOA'L were fired for their actions. In an International membership of almost 4,000 members in 2010, but over 20,000 have been helped by them...ONLY 47 souls able to come to the meeting were permitted to vote. Misquoting the ByLaws, which do not restrict Electronic voting, the band of 33 malcontents took over and have set forth their agenda. They work to stop all foreign adoptions, though if I am correct that you are indeed a Korean national, the Korean people as a whole certainly a majority, do NOT want children who have any defect (97% of 'disabled' children are adopted OUT of the country. This is just one reason why InterCountry Adoptions/Overseas should continue until the Korean people ARE ready to 'take care of their own.' So WILL I GET A WEE BIT ANGRY AND WARLIKE? You better believe it! I will kick ass until my OLD GUY ass is dead and gone. And my writing will not be altered. I fight for the rights of some to BE adopted. I do not think adoption is the best thing, extremes do not work in life, does it?  I approach life with respect for others...but those who fuck with the weak, poor, defenseless, orphans, widows, unwed mother, etc I will NOT HOLD BACK. Now for all your other comments on history, well, I know much about these things and agree with your comments 85%. I am SO sorry that I could not monitor your comments until now. AND I appreciate your efforts and your very well stated points. Few take the time to comment, so YES PEACE TO YOU. Thanks for giving us, your pieces of wisdom. Korean War Baby is not all about "war", he is for peace. In the last year many attempts were made to make peace with those involved...but demands for the KWB to apologize, delete everything, and kiss THEIR butts...Well, they can kiss my A****. OH, dear Lord, help me. Did it again. "Let them be Wrong...as long as they fear me" NOOOOOOOO. My bad....  "When we can meet halfway, then we can move on in peace...the olive branch is still alive and offered from my end."
Olive Branch of Peace and Arrows of WAR
That is all the Korean War Baby has to say for now. With one hand I hold the Olive Branch, the other has a fistful of Arrows.   October 04, 2011

4 comments:

  1. Welcome back! You are needed...

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  2. Thank you Dawn. So are You!

    KWB

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  3. Hi Don, just stumbled across your blog and found it interesting as I am a "War Baby" too. Adopted a year after you and thru the Holts. I grew up in Orange, Ca. All white and ultra conservative. Pretty interesting childhood, but always proud of who I was. I now have kids and grandkids and they too are proud of who they are. They love the fact they their story is different than everyone else they know. Just wish all adoptees could have had the great opportunites that I had. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

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  4. CJ,

    Wow, you must be in the low hundreds then. I can identify with the "interesting" story and being proud of who you are...not all adoptees have the same story, of course not, because parents come in all sizes. I try to be respectful to all views, and recognize that each person's life is different with similarities. Thanks for commenting.

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