Don Gordon Bell / Korean War Baby

Korean War Baby is a personal blog by Don Gordon Bell that discusses various topics and issues related to Korean adoptees as well as his own personal life journey as an adopted Korean War Baby. Two central themes that the Korean War Baby focuses on are the discussion of “This Thing Of Ours-Adoption” and “Adoption Identity is a Lifetime Journey.”

Don has lived in Korea since 1995 and is currently an English instructor and tutor.

HalfKorean.com had a chance to catch up with Don and ask a few questions to find out a little more about himself and the Korean War Baby blog.

Who is Don Gordon Bell and what is the Korean War Baby blog?
My name is Don Gordon Bell, and I am the Korean War Baby. I was born during the war, almost exactly in the middle of the three years that Korea suffered. The United Nations sent thousands of troops, and soon babies were born from the liaisons, and they were called “war babies.” “Korean War” and “War Baby” seems to fit nicely so I called it Korean War Baby.

What inspired you to create Korean War Baby and when was it created?
A couple of years ago, when I decided to start writing about my life and my own adoption, I began to really research the history and current events of this complex thing of ours. I call it “This Thing of Ours-Adoption” because it is full of strong relationships similar to the Mafia with different levels of association beyond the so called Adoption Triad.

The reason I began to blog the Korean War Baby is because several years ago I met a Domestic Korean adoptee, who had been secretly placed into a Korean family. She had been shocked to discover late in life that her parents had adopted her. She later had a reunion with her birth family but, due to circumstances, she chooses to keep her story secret. Adoption is still considered taboo or something to be ashamed of, ‘something must have been wrong’ to be abandoned. I discovered that Korea is where the Western culture was at least 30 years ago.

I was one of the first Korean Adoptees to leave our mother’s country just three years after the Korean War had ended. I knew that I was on the first flight from Holt, but some adoptees had gone abroad through Civil Code Law adoption. The numbers are not clear but Harry and Bertha Holt are credited, or blamed by some, for the first war orphans to be sent to homes in the USA and European countries who had troops serving in the Korean War.

Have you been able to network with fellow Korean adoptees and mixed people via the blog site?
Yes, I have networked with quite a few Korean Adoptees. Almost all of my Facebook friends are KADs. Many mixed-bloods have noted to me that they were also from that time up to the early 70’s. Did you know that when the Korean government allowed abortions for five reasons the number of mixed-blood children stopped? Gee, the year before was couple of hundred then zero. That is why I say, “Koreans fixed that problem big time.”

What kind of feedback have you received from visitors to your site?
Most of the feedback from adoptees has been positive towards me and I also have engaged with those who differed with continuing ICA (Inter-Country Adoptions) or having Molly Holt on the Board of GOA’L. I have found that many KADs are influenced on the internet’s mostly negative views on adoption. What part of my goals are is to counter that with the truth of history and the culture of the Korean people then and now. It is my belief that Koreans are only now beginning to be a little bit open. Pressure to put Civil Code Law adoptions under the same process as Domestic adoptions AND Inter-Country adoptions may be just around the corner.

This is huge, because the country is moving forward with addressing the Hague Conventions and perhaps in the next 10 to 15 years it will be in force. Remember that USA signed the Hague Conventions in 2000 but it was ratified only in early 2008. It takes time for the process to be fulfilled.

Any particular goals you have with the blog?
In the short term, I will continue to oppose those who blindly want to stop ICA adoptions or Domestic adoptions, and only supporting the unwed mothers. I am totally for supporting unwed mothers, but the facts are it is the choice of two out of three women to still give up their child. This is the inconvenient truth of the matter based on Government figures. Until the day that unwed mothers all choose to keep their child, then they must have the choice to raise them or to give them up, first to Koreans, emigrant Koreans, Korean Adoptees, KADs married to non-Koreans and, finally, also to other ethnic families with experience with other International adoptees. This is a descending scale of family preservation down each level, with the best interest of the child. This is my idea of a multi-tiered option plan and actually is being partially used right now.

Any words you’d like to pass on to fellow mixed Koreans and adoptees?
Last words, I would want all those who are involved in “This Thing of Ours-Adoption” to try and keep a balanced view on the issue of Inter-Country adoptions. It is not about whether our adoption was “happy” or “bad” nor is it about the many reasons that Koreans have given up their children for adoptions. Each of us must travel on our own journey of self-discovery and help others to understand.

I hope that I have another ten or more years to be on this Earth. I have determined that I will stay involved in the complex issues and to be a strong voice crying out for reasonable solutions. As in the film “Adopted” there are better ways to do things and together we can find the best for everyone involved.

Thank you for giving me a chance to share my humble offerings. I may sound gruff and hard-nosed at times but I am deeply concerned that decisions are made to benefit, not harm, children who are being born and left in institutions with no loving family. I am for a multi-tiered plan for all, one that is fair and balanced.

Thank you to Don for his time and sharing more about himself and his Korean War Baby blog.

Please check out Don’s Korean War Baby Blog for more information.

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Donald Gordon Bell
Korean War Baby Blogger
Don Gordon Bell

Donald Gordon Bell

Holt Adoptee A-20
Jun Yong Soo/ 전용수/ Donald Gordon Bell

 
(Images courtesy of Don Gordon Bell)
 
Korean War Baby Blog

3 Comments

  1. conley mcanally
    Posted April 26, 2011 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    My dad served in the Army between Dec. 1952 and Dec. 1954, 18 months of which he was stationed in Korea. He left me over 300 letters and I have been painstakenly been putting them on a blog called Korea: A World Away. He was a member of the 5th RCT, Company G, 2nd Bn. In the last few letters he mentined that his unit was helping Korean orphans celebrate Christmas and had written home for my grandmother to send some clothes that I had out grown. He also said that the 5th RCT helped establish Boy’s Town there in Korea. Just tought you might be interested.

  2. John
    Posted July 10, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    I am having difficultys adjusting to this as I wait till I turn 46… Ive tried and was told “I would disrupt the family”, the amount of money just to find out who my family is is completely unfair, I have no idea what types of benefits I have due to this… Some times in life you hit that point, never really cared before… Differant today

  3. Posted June 25, 2013 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Were and are the Korean War babies accepted in Korean society? And, if not, why? They are accepted without reservation in the States.

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