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 6, 2012

Jae Sun Says This-Swedish KAD blog on Reunion

Reunion with one's Birth/Natural/Bio Family...For Adoptees it is just one of the many thoughts that MAY cross their minds when they are growing up. It may be in a culturally mixed family, where one KNOWS that they were adopted, or when in domestic adoption the adoptee discovers or is told that they were adopted. No matter, when thoughts develop such as "who am I?" and "why was I given up?" We find sometimes fantasy thinking and wondering "WHAT IF".

It is said that 75,000 visits to Korea by Korean Adoptees, some as children with their adoptive parents/family members, many as adults, have taken place. The first visits usually include the processing adoption agencies, foster parents, and even the first orphanage (if it is still open). A 'taste of Korea',  experiencing the land of our birth, and for most it is a re-connection that opens up many questions with few answers. 

For fifteen years I lived in Korea, teaching English, as a half-breed, mixed-blooded Korean-American. It was my opportunity to be involved with Global Overseas Adoptee's Link, from the beginning in the coffee shops of Seoul, circa 1997 with the founder Ami Natzger. Ami saw the need for an organization to help KADs find their way around and get some help. Nolin and about a dozen of us continued to meet but it was Ami who did the 'heavy lifting'. 

Reunion has happened with only 2,600 approximately, and the stories are a range from total rejection by the Birth mother to a developing relationship with both families of the adult adoptee. We must realize that the past cannot be undone, cultural differences are huge, the reasons for relinquishment are vast, and each story is unique. We can though learn what some have gone through and are dealing with on day to day basis. This blog is by Elle, a Swedish Korean Adult Adoptee, and I encourage you to go back before 2010 when reunion took place. Follow her journey from the beginning, give encouragement and comments. This could be your story, it will help you to know her's. 

The Korean War Baby


Jaesun says this

Heavy Me Stuff

This is my latest attempt of a blog, I write about my life as a Korean raised in Europe, living and being raised in Sweden, about Korea, adoption, my Korean family, reunion. And also about my daily life, opinions and values.
I look upon my life in different stages:
  1. Stage I. The Ignorant/Oblivouis State (my arrival in Sweden til my 5th birthday). As I was not yet fully aware of ethnicity.
  2. Stage II. The Awakening. (from my 5th birthday til my 12  birthday). I begun to realize that I was different since I was adopted.
  3. Stage III. The Time for Impugnation. (12th birthday til 18th birthday). The teen years, time for questions and finding identity.
  4. Stage IV. The Honemoon Phase. (18th birthday til 25th birthday) Around the time I found and meet my Korean family.
  5. Stage V. Age Of Realism. (25th birthday and ongoing.) The time after my second trip, I realized and accepted many things…
As for the future stages( Stage VI and onwords ) I’m not sure what they exactly will entail but I’m more than happy to share my daily experience with anyone who might be willing to listen.
I’m fairly confident and convinced that Korea will be a part of my life just as adoption always be. The two simply wouldn’t function together…


  1. Hi Don, I was positively surprised to find entries from my blog here. Thanks.


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