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.


AdoptionStats_OAK_MOHWFA


 The Korean War Baby got this from the Overseas Adopted Koreans OAK 
under the Statistics for Adopted Koreans.





International Adoptions, 1953-2007


Year
Total
USA
France
Den.
Swe.
Nor.
Neth.
연도별
미국
프랑스
덴마크
스웨덴
노르웨이
네덜란드
58~68
6,677
6,002
12
13
491
83

69~75
24,404
12,661
818
2,136
3,213
1,199
1,090
1976
6,597
4,008
376
419
266
247
300
1977
6,159
3,711
571
460
355
302
282
1978
5,917
2,942
972
417
312
269
348
1979
4,148
2,347
560
406
169
112
171
1980
4,144
2,404
522
403
156
173
198
1981
4,628
2,684
484
402
279
246
198
1982
6,434
3,862
827
483
315
285
257
1983
7,263
4,854
859
347
278
287
172
1984
7,924
5,348
942
295
288
287
118
1985
8,837
6,021
975
402
301
234
159
1986
8,680
6,138
703
401
367
198
166
1987
7,947
5,707
589
336
280
212
108
1988
6,463
4,710
417
270
240
149
112
1989
4,191
3,343
204
109
83
147
6
1990
2,962
2,315
161
136
88
124
5
1991
2,197
1,744
89
115
83
91
8
1992
2,045
1,563
79
101
97
103
11
1993
2,290
1,807
85
139
60
104
4
1994
2,262
1,696
97
105
102
122
27
1995
2,180
1,614
86
120
110
126
15
1996
2,080
1,546
73
80
137
108
24
1997
2,057
1,620
66
65
66
112
36
1998
2,443
1,854
115
63
111
131
54
1999
2,409
1,786
107
65
136
128
65
2000
2,360
1,752
73
68
116
118
60
2001
2,436
1,798
61
61
123
109
62
2002
2,365
1,797
66
45
98
106
35
2003
2,287
1,748
53
56
110
81
8
2004
2,258
1,713
48
53
123
87

2005
2,101
1,623
34
46
98
80

2006
1,899
1,503
19
43
90
70

2007
1,203
924
12
19
80
44

Total
160,247
107,145
11,155
8,679
9,221
6,274
4,099

Year
Bel.
Aus.
Ger.
Can.
Swiss.
Italy.
Lux.
UK.
Etc.
연도별
벨기에
호주
독일
캐나다
스위스
이태리
룩셈
영국
기타
58~68
0
0
1
11
34
3
0
12
15
69~75
1,510
0
534
129
831
225
0
25
33
1976
388
5
194
107
171
94
0
18
4
1977
269
26
119
7
53
0
0
1
3
1978
364
60
121
48
8
43
0
13
0
1979
146
53
136
33
1
13
0
0
1
1980
98
19
137
28
1
2
0
0
3
1981
93
25
140
77
0
0
0
0
0
1982
93
67
144
98
1
0
0
2
0
1983
81
155
148
81
1
0
0
0
0
1984
112
275
137
117
1
0
2
0
2
1985
151
278
164
125
4
1
22
0
0
1986
118
303
128
137
1
0
20
0
0
1987
114
306
110
151
1
1
32
0
0
1988
82
216
75
175
0
0
17
0
0
1989
43
156
35
45
0
0
20
0
0
1990
24
62
16
9
0
0
21
1
0
1991
9
32
10
2
0
0
14
0
0
1992
0
72
0
0
1
0
18
0
0
1993
1
69
0
0
0
0
21
0
0
1994
0
83
0
0
1
0
29
0
0
1995
1
72
1
0
0
0
34
0
1
1996
0
77
1
2
0
0
32
0
0
1997
0
61
0
5
1
0
25
0
0
1998
0
84
0
0
0
0
31
0
0
1999
0
73
0
17
0
0
32
0
0
2000
0
93
0
49
0
0
31
0
0
2001
0
115
0
90
0
0
17
0
0
2002
0
94
1
98
0
0
25
0
0
2003
0
108
0
98
0
0
25
0
0
2004
0
108
0
102
0
0
24
0
0
2005
0
96
0
98
0
0
26
0
0
2006
0
54
0
96
0
0
24
0
0
2007
0
44
0
68
0
0
12
0
0
Total
3,697
3,341
2,352
2,103
1,111
382
554
72
62






Background of Adopted Koreans, 1958-2007


Year
Abandoned
Split family
Single mother
Total
Male
Mixed
Disability
Total
연도
기아
결손가정
미혼모
남자
혼혈
장애
1958~60
1,675
630
227
2,532
734
1,159
1,588
3,481
1961~70
4,013
1,958
1,304
7,275
2,254
2,659
2,064
6,977
1971-80
17,260
13,360
17,627
48,247
17,320

4,598
21,918
1981-90
6,769
11,399
47,153
65,321
30,460

16,378
46,838
1991-2000
225
1,444
20,460
22,129
12,009

8,987
20,996
2001
1
1
2,434
2,436
1,364

743
2,107
2002
1

2,364
2,365
1,679

827
2,506
2003
2
2
2,283
2,287
1,367

649
2,016
2004

1
2,257
2,258
1,385

705
2,090
2005
4
28
2,069
2,101
1,353

737
2,090
Total
29,950
28,823
98,178
156,951
69,925
3,818
37,276
111,019

Source: Ministry of Health and Welfare





Characteristics of International Adoptees, 1953-2007


Year
Number
Male
Mixed-Blood
Disability
1953
4



1954
8



1955
59

52

1956
671

618

1957
486

411

1958
930

623

1959
741

291

1960
638

245

1961
660

361

1962
254

158

1963
442

196

1964
462

232

1965
451

201

1966
494

249

1968
949

317

1967
626

276

1969
1,190

308

1970
1,932

361

1971
2,725

281

1972
3,490

212

1973
4,688

154

1974
5,302



1975
5,077



1976
6,597



1977
5,302



1978
5,917



1979
4,148



1980
4,144



1981
4,628



1982
6,434



1983
7,263



1984
7,924



1985
8,837



1986
8,680
4,044

2,527
1987
7,947
3,874

2,354
1988
6,463
3,199

1,821
1989
4,191
1,970

1,486
1990
2,962
1,460

1,132
1991
2,197
1,007

991
1992
2,045
1,018

837
1993
2,290
1,161

1,032
1994
2,262
1,135
987

1995
2,180
1,180

1,045
1996
2,080
1,180

935
1997
2,057
1,124

784
1998
2,443
1,408

917
1999
2,409
1,374

825
2000
2,360
1,422

934
2001
2,436
1,364

743
2002
2,365
1,379

827
2003
2,287
1,367

649
2004
2,258
1,385

705
2005
2,101
1,353

737
Total
22,776,359
32,269
6,533
21,281




Adoption Status in Korea, 1939-2007


Year
International
Domestic
Institution
Abandonment
연도
해외입양
국내입양
시설수용
기아
1939~61

4,491


1940


1,717

1945


3,000

1947


6,881

1950


24,945

1958-60

168


1953
4



1954
8



1955
59

45,260
715
1956
671

46,481
1,425
1957
486

48,594
2,506
1958
930

51,630
2,113
1959
741

53,016
2,415
1960
638

56,042
2,537
1961
660

55,383
4,453
1962
254
833
51,815
4,646
1963
442
849
56,494
8,207
1964
462
918
61,963
11,319
1965
451
903
69,487
7,866
1966
494
943
71,709
7,284
1967
626
1,011
71,816
6,526
1968
949
1,237
66,211
5,976
1969
1,190
1,553
61,380
5,743
1970
1,932
1,724
58,281
5,788
1971
2,725
1,732
54,047
5,525
1972
3,490
2,151
47,657
6,211
1973
4,688
3,072
43,528
5,941
1974
5,302
1,069
43,071
5,935
1975
5,077
1,877
42,215
7,347
1976
6,597
1,386
39,844
6,631
1977
6,159
3,079
37,724
7,115
1978
5,917
3,522
35,207
6,239
1979
4,148
3,660
33,541
7,763
1980
4,144
3,657
33,098
8,250
1981
4,628
3,267
33,706
9,117
1982
6,434
3,298
33,770
11,585
1983
7,263
3,004
33,301
12,114
1984
7,924
3,000
33,796
13,430
1985
8,837
2,885
25,424
14,230
1986
8,680
2,854

13,887
1987
7,947
2,382
26,422
13,304
1988
6,463
2,324
27,384
9,136
1989
4,191
1,872
25,424

1990
2,962
1,647
23,450

1991
2,197
1,241
22,327

1992
2,045
1,190
21,293

1993
2,290
1,154
20,194

1994
2,262
1,207
19,214

1995
2,180
1,025
18,074

1996
2,080
1,229
17,432

1997
2,057
1,142
16,936

1998
2,443
1,426
17,820

1999
2,409
1,726
17,840

2000
2,360
1,686
17,720

2001
2,436
1,770
18,808

2002
2,365
1,649


2003
2,287
1,564
18,810

2004
2,258
1,641


2005
2,101
1,461


2006




Total
158,343
87,479
1,861,182
243,279

Source: Ministry of Health and Welfare




Adoption by Gender, 1995-2007



Domestic Adoptions
Overseas Adoptions
Year
Applications
Actual
Percentage
Male
Female
Total
Male
Female
연도별
입양신청
입양실적
%
남자
여자
Total
남자
여자
1995
2,000
1,025
51.3%
426
599
1,180
1,000
2,180
1996
2,453
1,229
50.1%
538
691
1,180
9,000
10,180
1997
2,400
1,412
58.8%
616
796
1,124
933
2,057
1998
2,289
1,426
62.3%
634
792
1,408
1,035
2,443
1999
2,492
1,726
69.3%
714
1,012
1,374
1,035
2,409
2000
2,397
1,686
70.3%
715
971
1,422
938
2,360
2001
2,329
1,770
76.0%
743
1,027
1,364
1,072
2,436
2002
2,104
1,694
80.5%
632
1,062
1,379
986
2,365
2003
1,931
1,564
81.0%
543
1,021
1,367
920
2,287
2004
2,086
1,641
78.7%
494
1,147
1,385
873
2,258
2005
1,175
1,461
124.3%
482
979
1,353
748
2,101
Total
23,656
16,634
72.96%
6,537
10,097
14,536
18,540
33,076

Note the Stats predominately show much more Female Adoptees-reflecting the preference for Sons. KWB


Circumstances of Adoption, 1995-2007



Domestic Adoptions
Overseas Adoptions
Year
Reason for Relinquishment
Condition of Child
Reason for Relinquishment
Condition of Child
연도
Unwed
Mother
Institution
Poverty
Normal
Disabled*
Unwed
Mother
Abandoned
Poverty
Normal
Disabled*

미혼모
시설
극빈가정
정상
장애*
미혼모
기아
극빈가정
정상
장애*
1995
680
297
48
997
28
2,019
21
140
1,135
1,045
1996
906
271
52
1,212
17
1,916
26
138
1,145
935
1997
1,064
258
90
1,400
12
2,018
8
31
1,273
784
1998
1,067
287
72
1,420
6
2,271
9
163
1,526
917
1999
1,369
199
158
1,712
14
2,253
5
151
1,584
825
2000
1,350
234
102
4,668
18
2,356
2
2
1,726
634
2001
1,428
221
131
1,756
14
2,434
1
1
1,693
743
2002
1,344
203
60
1,678
16
2,364
1

1,538
827
2003
1,181
210
173
1,544
20
2,283
2
2
1,638
649
2004
1,250
236
155
1,634
7
2,257

1
1,553
705
2005
1,095
172
194
1,434
27
2,069
4
28
1,364
737
Total
12,734
2,588
1,235
19,455
179
24,240
79
657
16,175
8,801

Note: Special Needs was 179 Domestic adoptions compared to 8,801 for ICA. That is roughly 1 to 50 ratio...Just for 1995-2005, why this disparity? Hmm, could it be that Korean people don't want Disabled or Mixed-Blood children in society. Who can blame a Korean woman faced with such a decision? She gave the gift of life by not aborting, then made the Choice to give up for adoption, not knowing if it would be here or overseas adoption. She perhaps was hoping that in another country a family would "Take by Choice" her child.



Types of Disabilities, 1958-2007


Category
Total
Children without disability
Children with disability
Types of disabilities
Cleft Lip
Deformed hands feet
Premature baby
Mental disorder
Mixed blood children
Heart Disease
Etc.
구분
정상아동
장애아동
언청이
손발기형
미숙아
정신장애
혼혈아
심장병
기타
1958~60
4,120
944
1,588




1,588


1961~70
9,339
5,211
2,064
94
23
24
13
1,829
66
15
1971-80
52,845
43,649
4,598
361
634
1,532
54
1,292
312
413
1981-90
81,699
48,943
16,378
989
796
7,295
134
694
703
5,767
1991
3,188
1,206
991
74
41
506
16
23
24
307
1992
2,882
1,208
837
51
90
500
37
16
47
96
1993
3,322
1,258
1,032
59
56
543
61
12
78
223
1994
3,249
1,275
987
64
27
528
8
7
64
289
1995
3,225
1,135
1,045
77
29
568
7
7
58
299
1996
3,015
1,145
935
54
43
493
43
2
59
241
1997
2,841
1,273
784
40
30
422
19
7
57
209
1998
3,360
1,526
917
39
30
459
10
3
79
297
1999
3,234
1,584
825
29
30
354
8
3
82
319
2000
2,994
1,726
634
27
25
274
5

60
243
2001
3,179
1,693
743
13
26
367
50
1
71
215
2002
3,192
1,538
827
14
35
400
34

110
234
2003
2,936
1,638
649
5
21
338
28
3
107
147
2004
2,963
1,553
705
11
16
346
23

78
231
2005
2,838
1,364
737
4
18
301
29

106
279
Total
194,421
119,869
37,276
2,005
1,970
15,250
579
5,487
2,161
9,824

From Overseas Adopted Koreans http://oaks.korean.net/
Statistics-Stats on Adoptees

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