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 67, 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/given up 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 Search function to check for Posts on various topics, TransRacial, Tran-Cultural, Multi-Cultural 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.

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. I have continued to act in Independent and international films and in many projects worked as Stills/Bts Photographer. I cover film festivals, events, and continue to try to improve my Game. Semi-retired but love to keep active, now exploring mirrorless 4K cameras but still a Canon Guy.

Adoption Discourse needs to hear YOUR VOICES. 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. Join social media sites and you will help yourself and others as you share your life.

#20 Holt Adoptee/First Dozen on Flight departing Seoul on 21 May, 1956 to USA.

July 27, 2019

WOW, Blogspot finally unlocked my blog!

For more than a year I have not been able to access my blogspot but recently it seemed to work (*Content Blocked setting seems to work in OPERA Browser now) SO...I will attempt to update after many years living back in Manila, Philippines, where I have gotten back into film-making for local Indie films and international film projects done here. I have continued in both acting and Stills/BTS photographer for the last 7 years. I should be retired but enjoy doing work (*though not paid much, and doing most for gratis or love of the arts).

I continue to follow events and developments through social media and news concerning on This Thing of Ours-Adoption. The insane policy of deporting some of the failed adoptees has brought to light the fact that thousands of Adoptive Parents never got their Inter-Country Adopted children Naturalization to be come actual US Citizens. I totally support the push for amendments to the law to include all those who have been adopted from outside the US. I am not aware of any problems in other E.U. countries on this issue.

Well, I will see if this actually posts. lol

Old Dogs have to relearn tricks again!

The Koreanwarbaby from his second adoptive country, the Philippines.

For all who are discovering or pursuing their own self-identity or healing, understanding and just curiosity about #adoption #koreanadoptee #koreanness #iamabanana #yellowoutsidewhiteinside

February 2, 2018

Latest from Steven Morrison

From Facebook: Steven Morrison of MPAK
02 Feb, 2018
This is a great news that Korea may finally be adopting a law to protect unwed mothers the rights to choose to give births and stay anonymous, as the current law does not allow. The current law requires unwed mothers to register their babies in order to give them up for adoption. This caused thousands of babies being abandoned in the Baby Box, and many instances of abandoning them in the streets, trash bins, abandoned buildings, and many have been killed. All this because the unwed mothers did not want to have the birth history recorded in their family registry. This law, thanks to pastor JongRak Lee, who has championed for years for this to happen, will bring a great relief to unwed mothers that wish to stay anonymous. And this will reduce the number of babies coming to the Baby Box as the babies will be redirected to the adoption agencies for adoptions, hopefully. But despite this many will continue to be admitted to institutions if they are not adopted.

The Korean War Baby is very pleased about this development as it recognizes the situation of the reality in present day Rep. of Korea (The South Korean democracy not the commie bastards of North Korea). Adoption is NOT the best, but the realities of life bring about hard choices for mothers. In a perfect world, there would be no need, but pregnancy happens and at least a few women DAILY chose to NOT TERMINATE UNWANTED pregnancies. Daily about 4,000 plus Korean women chose to have abortions but around 25 children are born to Unwed Mothers. Good news, more of them are able to keep and try to raise their babies...but WOMEN should also have the Choice to Stay UNKNOWN...Hopefully, later they will make contact or leave a message for their child. We cannot "force them" to do such things or we will continue to have abandoned newborn infants left in dangerous circumstances.  

January 21, 2018

Protest Statement on current adoption law in Korea

The Protest Statement by the Adoptive Families in Korea, in response to the Forum to amend the current adoption law in Korea to undermine the good adoptive families and the attempt to reduce/close adoption, thus forcing more children into institutions.
Please spread this widely to all the adoptees and adoptive families.
The Protest Statement -
From the Members of the Emergency Adoptive Family Task Force Against the Amendments to the Special Adoption Law Initiative
The Forum Organized by the Anti-Adoption Groups is Invalid.
The forum on ‘The Policy Change and Response After the Adopted Children Abuse and Death, Centered on The Daegu-Pochun Adoptee Abuse and Death Case’ was held on Tuesday, January 16, 2018. The main panels in the forum consisted mainly by the anti-adoption advocates that have long campaigned against adoption.
The forum missed the greater perspective of adoption, which should have included a greater diversity of experiences or opinions or values, but was designed to give greater platform to the people that centered on the negative aspects of adoption based on a couple of exceptional cases.
Within the word ‘Adoption’ there is a life and rights of a person. We as adoptive families acknowledge that no matter what the reason is, for a lone child who has no one to care for, the best solution is to give the child a family through adoption. The Hague Convention of Adoption considers the institutionalized care as the last option for such a child.
However, the forum was mainly centered on the people and the organizations that totally disregarded the intent and the spirit of Hague.
By proposing a set of surprise amendments, this was not a forum but an announcement of an agenda that was already planned and decided by the organizers.
The forum should be about bringing people with diverse opinions and backgrounds, and hopefully come to an agreeable and unified conclusion for good. To do this effectively, it is a general rule that a forum organizer must provide the forum materials to the public well ahead of the meeting.
However, the forum organizers provided only a select portion of the proposed special adoption law amendments, which came to the full light on the day of the forum. The organizer was not transparent with the forum agenda nor make it public, and with the few information they provided ahead of the meeting, they surprised all of us with the other materials.
The forum went against the common sense and against the values that are typically held at such an event. And the forum was conducted in a manner that gave advantages to the individuals or organizations that were against adoption, and did not give equal footing to the others that had the different opinions, and in fact even blocked others from making comments. Thus, the forum that was supposed to be about a frank discussion on a certain topic turned out to be a one-sided affair.
The Proposed Amendments to the Special Adoption Law Goes Against the Human Rights and Life.
The forum in question was held three days ago. We did not have enough time to digest the proposed amendments to the special adoption law that was made public on the day of the Forum. However, there were some very disturbing contents in the proposed amendments that stood out.
First, it was on the Article 30 on the Rights of Adoption Information. This law would require the adoptive parents to release all adoption information when a birth parent a birth relative demands it. All the adoptive parents in attendance were alarmed at this. This law would give the rights to the people who ‘willingly’ gave up their parental rights to later approach the adoptive parents anytime and demand the information from the parents that now hold the true legal parental rights. This is a gross violation of human rights.
The amendment states that the Rights of Adoption Information will be applied to all intercountry adoptions, but our concern is that there is no clear language that this will not be applied to all the domestic adoption cases.
Second, the proposed amendments to the special adoption law is also designed to block and reduce the number of adoptions significantly, thus this is an anti-adoption bill. The proposed law is evil in that has stripped down all languages that give positive supports to adoption and proposed that it should be run by public system, and make the adoption process more difficult, and if possible discourage adoption altogether. However, it was interesting to hear that a representative from the Ministry of Health and Welfare at the forum comment that even if the adoption was run by a public system there is simply no infrastructure or capability to operate such system by the government.
Therefore, we the adoptive parent representatives from all the regions of Korea have gathered and discussed the contents of the one-sided proposed amendments to the special adoption laws on Thursday, January 18, 2018, and view the proposed amendments goes against our human rights and threatens the lives of the children and their rights to homes.
Our Demands
We have therefore established ourselves “The Emergency Adoptive Family Task Force Against the Amendments to the Special Adoption Law Initiative” on that day and have decided to provide a collective response to the Rep. Nam Insoon as follows:
1. We demand an apology for holding a forum that was centered on anti-adoption agenda on January 16, 2018.
2. We demand an apology for completely and deliberately ignoring and excluding adoptive parents during the process to develop the amendments to the special adoption law.
3. We demand the immediate stop to push the Amendments to the Special Adoption Law Initiative.
4. We demand an open forum to include the adoptive parents, domestic and intercountry adoptees, and the adoption agencies to come together to discuss and develop the amendments together, rather than a forum that excludes the other important groups.
We the adoptive parents declare that if you do not comply with our demands as stated above, the collective forces of all adoptive families from all corners of Korea will join in a unified protest on the streets to voice against the inhumane amendments proposition to the special adoption law.
From the Members of the Emergency Adoptive Family Task Force Against the Amendment to the Special Adoption Law Initiative
Friday, January 19, 2018


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January 20, 2018

"Just when I thought I was out......they pulled me back in"

Yes, folks, the Korean War Baby has been dormant for several years since returning to the Philippines and focusing on his film-making activities. I have not kept up on my blog but recent concerns on the This Thing of Ours-Adoption pull me back in.

I am Compelled to speak out against the issue of banning ALL ADOPTIONS IN KOREA...It seems that the laws have been twisted to virtually make even adoption in-country BY Koreans to be rendered de-facto useless.

I am spending the next few weeks to update myself on the facts before release my own analysis. First I must refresh on current happenings and touch base with those still very deeply involved.

I feel a stirring in the Force, the shit is about to hit the fan.

Out for now,

The Korean War Baby

Formerly known Alia, JUN Yong Soo

February 15, 2014

Back in Show Business-in the Philippines.

Update: 15 Feb. 2014

This is Don Gordon Bell, and well... for a Long long time, I have not touched my blog nor even been part of the discourse on This Thing of Ours-Adoption...I have been living in the Philippines, focusing on just getting established and well, getting ready for the last chapters of my life. I found much has changed, much has stayed the same, population has exploded in the Philippines since I left in 1985. Poverty is worse than ever, though the economy is growing at a high rate the trickle-down effect is not providing jobs.

Yet children born to unwed mothers in the Philippines for the most part, perhaps due to being one of the largest Catholic Christian communities in the world, STAY with their Mothers. Society in the Philippines tends to overlook a person's personal parentage with acceptance, unlike in Korea (Rep of Korea or South Korea not the communist run North Korea) where any hint of Taintedness or being Not perfect can kill a career before it begins. Confucian thinking pollutes the mindset of even Catholic and Protestant Christian in Korea in general with the idea that to be Orphaned, or even Adopted...proved that you were tainted according to this non-religious social structure that controls still a large majority of modern Korean society...But I digress.

Since my unfortunate divorce from a Korean national in 2010 it has been challenging to adjust back to living no longer in my birth mother's land, to 'making it' in Manila. I lived almost ten years back in '75 to '85 working in the film making business, starting with "Apocalypse Now". It was contact with Andrew Leavold, that crazy Aussie whose passion for B-movies lead him and I to do interviews on skype back in 2008, awakening memories of my adventures as a B-Movie Character Actor. I returned several times, met Nick Nicholson, Henry Strzalkowski, Steve Rogers, David Light, and FB contact with many other foreigners that I once worked in both International and Filipino action/drama genre films.

Over the last 18 months I 're-invented myself' with my hobby as an amatuer photographer, developing the 'eye' for what looks good on a scene in a film or even with a persons face. I understood from working with John Silao, a Filipino who emigrated to the states as a teenager, in our college days at Mt. San Antonio College. We have known each other since 1973 after both of us got out of the armed forces and through common high school friends shared a house in West Covina, Cal. and in 1975 came to Manila for a 3 week vacation that for John lasted for 3 months before he returned to Cal. to continue to study photography. 

I was caught up in the APOCALYPSE NOW film, the first major production on the Vietnam War. My 'tour of duty' was to last ten years, as I became involved in the Casting Dept. under Ken Metcalfe...teaching foreigners from many lands who had arrived in the P.I. (Philippine Islands) to be extras in this great war epic. I was in my element, and worked to coordinate all the extras, Vietnamese Boat Refugees, D'Ifugao tribe of the Mountain Provinces who played the Montagnards or Mountain Men of the Central Highlands of Vietnam, plus all the Foreign Background extras playing US troops. It was a glorious adventure and healing at the same time for myself.

Hollywood had come to the Philippines big time and for 16 months I worked on the filming. One film led to another during this Golden Age of the cinema in the Philippines, as one by one, foreign productions came to film on location, in the P.I. 

(To be continued)