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.


November 22, 2011

DEPORTATION???!!! Happening Already. GET MAD AS HELL!!!

The Korean War Baby Angerly NOTES:
I AM MAD AS HELL
AND I AM NOT GONNA TAKE IT ANYMORE!!!



No matter where one sits on the Spectrum of being For or Against Intercountry Adoption (ICA, formerly known by TransCultural/transracial/etc) the outrageous NONSENSE that is happening with Deportation of those who were adopted INTO another country raises the Korean War Baby’s blood pressure.
The issue at hand is that an number of Adoptees some with NO CITIZENSHIP at all (many early KADs were never even documented as born in Korea because they had not been put into a family registry, not just ‘mixed-blood’ but also out of wedlock children). Over time adjustments were made and laws changed in “Sending” countries.
PLEASE read carefully and add YOUR VOICE (It will only take a few precious minutes in your life-PLAY THE FARM GAME LATER) to help correct this. For you who give a damn, pass this link to your FACEBOOK, TWITTER, Myspace, LINKEDIN, other Social Media Networks.
MY FELLOW ADOPTEES, ADOPTIVE FAMILIES, EVEN BIRTH FAMILIES, LET’S GO VIRAL ON THIS!! IT AFFECTS ALL.
I WANT YOU TO GET FUCKING MAD!!! WE ARE HUMAN BEINGS, GOD DAMN IT, OUR LIVES HAVE MEANING.
IT HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH WHINING ABOUT BEING ADOPTED FROM WHEREEVER…WE SHOULD BECOME US CITIZEN IMMEDIATELY!!!! All of us MUST BE INCLUDED.
COME ON, GET OFF YOUR BUTTS, COPY AND PASTE THE LINK.
Human Rights Petition: Citizenship for All US Intercountry Adoptees | Change.org
Why This Is Important
Thank you for supporting the petition for CITIZENSHIP FOR ALL US INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTEES. Korean Focus urges you to also sign the petition to STOP THE DEPORTATION OF RUSSELL GREEN AND OTHER ADOPTEE IMMIGRANTS.
Start of petition for CITIZENSHIP FOR ALL US INTERCOUNTRY ADOPTEES:
"The Child Citizenship Act of 2000 allows certain foreign-born, biological and adopted children of American citizens to acquire American citizenship automatically. These children did not acquire American citizenship at birth, but they are granted citizenship when they enter the United States as lawful permanent residents (LPRs)." U.S. Department of State
One of the requirements of the Child Citizenship Act of 2000 (CCA 2000) was that the adoptee be under the age of 18 on its effective date, February 27, 2001. International adoptees 18 and older were not granted citizenship under its provisions. Some, but not all, obtained citizenship through their own efforts or those of their adoptive parents. Of those who did not, many were unaware that they lacked this legal protection. Being without citizenship while believing they possessed it placed these intercountry adoptees at risk of violating U.S Federal law through no fault of their own by representing themselves as citizens upon return to the United States at any port of entry (including Canada and Mexico), applying for public benefits (including Federal education aid), or voting in Federal or other elections.
Further, strict immigration policies under the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 increased the risk of deportation. This law does not provide for “discretionary relief,” which would allow the unique circumstances that led to an adoptee's lack of citizenship to be taken into consideration in determining outcomes. Adoptees have faced deportation and have been deported to countries in Asia, Latin America and Europe - countries unknown to them in every way: language, culture, family or friends. Additionally, adoptees without citizenship who travel to their countries of birth may be subject to laws there that prevent their return to the United States.
Reliable statistics for adoptee deportation do not exist, but individual cases demonstrate the complexity of the issue and the staggering emotional impact to adoptees and their families, as demonstrated by these examples, which are just a few of the cases that have occurred:
Joao Herbert was adopted from Brazil at the age of eight by a family in Ohio. A charge for attempting to sell marijuana, although a first offense, landed him in immigration detention, after which he was deported to Brazil in 2000. Joao Herbert was murdered in Brazil in May 2004.
Korean adoptee Matthew Scherer learned he lacked citizenship when he applied for a U.S. passport. He subsequently obtained permanent resident status, but upon traveling to Korea was identified by the Korean government by his original Korean name and now is blocked by Korean law from returning to the U.S. and threatened with conscription into the Korean army.
Jennifer Haynes was adopted at eight from India and sexually abused by her adoptive father, after which she passed through 50 foster homes on her way to adulthood. Married to a U.S. citizen and mother of two young children, Haynes was nonetheless deported to India in 2008.
Adopted as a toddler from Thailand in 1979 by a family in Florida, John Gaul completed a sentence for theft and check fraud in 1996 after the new immigration law went into effect. A judge was prevented under the new law from acknowledging adoption as an extenuating circumstance, and he was deported to Thailand in 1999.
Tatiana Mitrohina was born in Russia in 1978 with physical deformities that led to her adoption at fourteen to California. She suffered from childhood-related PTSD and postpartum depression. Following a charge of abuse of her son, the court recommended counseling and medication, but Immigration and Customs Enforcement have detained her in preparation for deportation.
The United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child states in Article 21(c):
"States Parties that recognize and/or permit the system of adoption shall ensure that the best interests of the child shall be the paramount consideration and they shall:
(c) Ensure that the child concerned by inter-country adoption enjoys safeguards and standards equivalent to those existing in the case of national adoption;"
The legal protection of citizenship in the country to which an adoptee was brought and in which he or she was raised is the most important such safeguard, as it is the only safeguard that provides lifelong legal status. It should be enjoyed by all intercountry adoptees, just as it is enjoyed by adoptees born as U.S. citizens and adopted within the United States.
We the undersigned therefore demand that the United States Congress:
1. Take appropriate acton to immediately grant U.S. citizenship to all intercountry adoptees not included in its provisions.
2. Following the granting of citizenship, direct appropriate U.S. government agencies to:
a) Assist intercountry adoptees with obtaining proof of citizenship.
b) Provide intercountry adoptees traveling overseas with the permits required to allow their reentry into the United States.
c) Return all deported intercountry adoptees to the United States, regardless of the cause of deportation.
We look to the co-chairs (Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator James M. Inhofe, Congresswoman Michele Bachmann, Congresswoman Karen Bass) and members of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption, who promote adoption in the United States and therefore bear a particular responsibility to ensure that U.S. adoption laws protect their primary constituency, to lead the effort to correct the denial of this important safeguard.

November 19, 2011

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November 17, 2011

Taste of Kimchi

Elle's Blog "Tast of Kimchi"

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Orphan Girl

When I was born the only people that once knew about me were my birth parents and one other person. Nobody else knew that I was to be born, I don't even know if they even expected me to be alive when I was born to start with let alone survive and continue to live on. But I did, although I did spend my first 100 days in an orphanage so my birth parents never had a chance to bond with me, or create memories with me. All they had was blurred memories and hope...
Therefore it might seem strange that I feel so strongly about my birth family since we logically have nothing else in common other then a last name and some unknown DNA. Some days I still wonder if the parents and the siblings that I meet truely are my birth family, it's sometimes hard for me accept it as the truth... I don't know exactly why, could be because I never had the slightest memory or recollection of them but what do you expect from a newborn baby.
I guess that I managed to turn things around, seeing that my birth parents might not even have been aware of my health status.But I wasn't stillborn or dying or seriously sick, I was fine. I guess I was born as an underdog but now I'm pretty pleased with my life.
Now I appreciate the little things in life and I try to approach every day with a smile.
(c) Taste of Kimchi, Elle

Taste of Kimchi

Korean War Baby: Everyone has their own story, we can learn from ready other’s and find where our OWN story might be similar or different. The KWB has found that he cannot judge them, THAT is THEIR experience and they own it. Each of us though should respect and learn what we can from others, recognize that we are different yet have similarities. Take what we can and help improve our own life and those we have contact with. Thank you Elle for sharing your story.

The Korean War Baby

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