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.

May 12, 2012


The Korean War Baby has found this site as a great resource for adoptees who are dealing realistically with the issues. It is also a resource for the Adoptive families.

'via Blog this'

To view this email as a web page, go here.

Let's Hear It for the Moms!Adoptive Families Circle Contest
Upload a cherished mom-and-child moment for a chance to win a necklace that celebrates adoption. Enter the Mommy and Me Photo Contest >>
Happy Mother's Day
personal letter, to all the moms I know...."

Becoming a Mother
n this personal essay, the author reflects on the surprising fierceness of feeling like a mom.

AF's 2012 Cover Photo Contest is underway. Send us your absolute best photos for a chance to be featured on the cover of the magazine! Great prizes and a giveaway for all contest entrants.  Enter online, it's so easy! >> 
Upload photo

When Did You Know...
"...that adoption was your first choice? I remember being little and telling my mom I was going to adopt my kids. Now as an adult, that decision feels more right than ever."
-- posted by m4kidz | 12 comments 
"This past week, the agency called us to say that our son's birthmother wants to meet him. I said No, that was not the agreement, but it's been bothering me since."
-- posted by brenda35 | 15 comments 

Telling Their Story -- One Adoptee's POV 
"The reasons why the child was relinquished and the reasons why you adopted him are two separate things. When a child asks, 'Why was I adopted,' he is asking 'Why was I relinquished,' not why you adopted him."
-- posted by areyouserious | 21 comments 

No Longer Waiting!
"We had an amazing four days in the hospital. We expected to fall in love with the baby but we never expected to fall in love with our birth mom."
-- posted by dcmom | 13 comments 

Adopting Gender Specific
"We adopted two boys and are considering adopting one more -- a little girl. Wondering if anyone has gone gender-specific and how the process differed?"
-- posted by Bo&Jay | 10 comments

Kids and Pets Photo Contest

See the "Kids and Pets" Photo Contest Winners >>
Subscribe to Adoptive Families - special offer
Plus, get "Growing Up Adopted," a free booklet packed with parenting advice, available immediately as a download when you subscribe! »

America's Christian Credit Union

Ask the AF Experts
Have a question? Ask AF.

Truth Be Told
"When I adopted my twin daughters domestically, we spent the first week of our life as a family in a hotel."

Person I Wish
"Isabel turned six this year. Inevitably, I spend my kids' birthdays thinking about the birthmom."

Our Busy Wait
"What started as casual talks about growing our family turned into research on adoption through foster care."

That's Our Girl
"My daughter, with her mass of curls, fair skin, and big hazel eyes, looks nothing like my husband or me.
Adoptive Families Facebook Page       Adoptive Families Twitter Page       Adoptive Families Adoption Guide

Forward to a Friend

No comments:

Post a Comment