THIS THING OF OURS-ADOPTION
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.
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#20 Holt Adoptee/First Dozen on Flight departing Seoul on 21 May, 1956 to USA.
July 27, 2019
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
From Facebook: Steven Morrison of MPAK
January 21, 2018
Protest Statement on current adoption law in Korea
From the Members of the Emergency Adoptive Family Task Force Against the Amendments to the Special Adoption Law Initiative
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.
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 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.
Friday, January 19, 2018
January 20, 2018
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,
Formerly known Alia, JUN Yong Soo