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The Korean War Baby Eviscerates Land of Gazillion Adoptees

Don Gordon Bell, aka, The Korean War Baby, did not like the “Smack” video.


Don and I chatted in the comments section and came to a better understanding.  Additionally, per my request, Don agreed to have LGA post his “two cents” as a standalone piece.  Why did I ask?  As most folks are aware, we here at LGA are all about challenging the traditional adoption narrative.  At the same time, we are all about adoptees challenging each other.  Let’s face it.  If we adoptees can’t have open, honest, constructive, and productive conversations amongst ourselves, how can we expect the rest of the adoption community and the broad general public to engage us in a similar manner, let alone take us seriously?

At any rate, below is Don’s fully unedited evisceration.  Enjoy.

Just my two cents worth. On the point of supporting “families”, what families are you talking, certainly not in South Korea? AKA Rep. of Korea (the free democratic guys not the communist North) is still VERY prejudiced against Unwed Mother (the official term used by NGO’s and the government, and in most cases the man (not a father- only the sperm donor) does not even have to take a paternity test to support his biological child. There is no help for the young woman (approximately 9-10,000 each year who do NOT Abort even though pressured to by their own family, friends, society, etc. The brave women of KUMSN (Korean Unwed Mother’s Support Network/ have no ‘husbands or boyfriends’, they have run away. NO, in these cases the government even fails to give more than one hundred USD worth of support to them. Faced with such circumstances about 75 % of the women who are carrying a child must make critical decision on their own. It is certain that it is a combination of pressures and stark reality of the society’s feelings about ‘bastards/bastardettes’ (over in ROK it is not exactly clique/kosher to be an Orphan). Being Orphaned, even to be Adopted is labelled with SHAME and Derision, one must be flawed to be given away.

SO HOW is there to be SUPPORT for “Families”? There just aren’t any families, get a grip on reality. Focus should be on supporting Unwed Mothers and CHANGING SOCIETY’S attitudes, and must be done from Inside by Koreans. ASK and TRACK are Korean Adoptee organizations that are involved with doing this. I personally agree with 90% of their logic but not completely with their methods.

Can a country’s people be ‘forced’ or shamed to do the right thing? No, but even in ROK change is slowly coming and more people are accepting the Unwed Mother (Single Mother is so much nicer but can also refer to a divorced women, which thanks to the wonders of Divorce now allowed in ROK, there are more and more, thus Unwed Mother is used for the woman who had sex and got pregnant.) Not being judgmental, but this is how Koreans (the majority) feel according to KWDI (Korean Women’s Development Institute/ KWDI also reports that almost double the number of domestic adoptions occur secretly IN-Country because of the growing number of couples that are Infertile (Could that be from all the Abortions that women undergo before they get married? Hmmm). These secret adoptions are done through the Civil Court Law thus avoiding all the background checks of pesky Hague Conventions (Which FYI ROK has not signed yet-that would prevent all the CCL adoptions from happening, SO the adoptions would have to be public, recent laws make it easier to have secret adoption, meaning the child is not even told in over 95% of the cases). These are facts, not emotional dribble, don’t believe me, check the KWDI.

When your video attacks Heritage Tours, what the hell is that about? KADs who want to go back to visit the land of their birth with their Adoptive Families have all the goddamn right to do so. These tours give many of us who are dealing with all the issues of our lives a taste of the Motherland, seeking some physical and emotional touch with our origins. When i visited Scotland, the country of my Adoptive Father, I was welcomed and my name was written in the family records…this will never happen in my Mother’s country. That is my reality that I have accepted. Deal with the reality of each country. YES, let us fight against corruption and greed…but stop making fucking blanket statement that suggest that all adoption is done the same way. THAT IS WACKED. I am for a Multi-leveled solution plan with family preservation (when possible or wanted) at the top, adoption openly within a society if possible, then multi-racial marriage with one spouse being of the ethnic/national of the child, then finally Inter-racial adoption.

SAY, here is a solution…maybe we should all stop having sex before marriage, use condoms, birth control pills, etc. How is THAT working? There is no easy fix is there? GET REAL, some of your assumptions are western based and totally OFF. We can work to make illegal adoptions less, but the horrible reality is that since the Hague Conventions on the Rights of the Child and International Adoptions were passed years have passed and many sending countries have not signed. Stop saying that ALL adoptions are ‘stealing children’ when they are NOT.

The Korean War Baby

Don Gordon Bell

16 Comments on The Korean War Baby Eviscerates Land of Gazillion Adoptees

  1. Thank you Mr. Bell for your very honest response. You articulated very well how I feel about adoption and the need for reform. I recently learned of KUMSN and am looking into ways to support this organization.
    As an adoptive parent I read LGA regularly and appreciate everyones stories, thank you.

  2. Rebecca peacock // March 7, 2012 at 8:59 am // Reply

    Thank you

    Hi Don

    I really appreciate your post On Land of Gazillion Adoptees.
    I am an adoptee from India and just recently became a adoptive parent. I for the most part agree with your post. I just hope that social stigmas will change one day in India also for women.

  3. as a clarification, it is accurate to say that the “brave women of KUMSN” have no husbands or boyfriends. KUMSN (Korean Unwed Mothers’ Support Network) is an organization that supports unwed mothers in korea. it is not run by unwed mothers themselves. although the women that work there are indeed brave, they themselves are not unwed mothers. therefore in this context, it is more accurate to say the “brave women of KUMFA” or Korean Unwed Mothers’ Families Association (formerly Miss Mama Mia) which is a group founded by and run by unwed mothers themselves. for more info on KUMFA: (Korean) or (English)

  4. Mary A. Coyle // March 7, 2012 at 2:22 pm // Reply

    Thanks for your post Don. Thanks to Kevin also for the Smack video–it’s cutting edge and blunt as all get out.

    That being said, I want to add my 2 cents to the birth country tour or homeland tour. I do think that this trip is very important to any family who adopts, or any adoptee who wants to visit the country they were born in. Our family is going on our 3rd trip this summer — wait for it — yes, with CHSFS! We first took our kids when they were around 9 and 10 with the intention to introduce them to the culture and food; and for us as their parents to try to experience Korea and its culture. On our second trip we stayed with a host family and our kids were older around 11 and 12. This trip our kids will be 15 and 16.

    Our intention from the beginning was to get to Korea as many times as we could before they became adults. We wanted them to experience their country of birth; and hopefully, give them some kind of insight into who they are and where they came from. We also wanted them to know that while they were in Korea, people did care for them–from their birth moms to their foster moms to all of the social workers that named them, and helped them find permanent families.

    Another goal that we had was for them to process as much information that they could on their adoption before they got to be teenagers. Some families can only afford to take this trip once in their lifetime, and they choose to travel when their kids are teenagers. I have seen and heard stories from these teenagers who have had to deal with their grief over their adoption, their unique way of blending into this society because they look like all the other Koreans, and all of the experiences that they may have missed out on growing up in Korea because they were adopted outside of their country. My husband and I firmly believed that going as many times as we could may help to lessen some of these feelings, but if not then this trip may help our kids to develop a better sense of who they are and where they came from.

    The cost of these trips are expensive, but the benefits–no matter when you travel–outweigh the cost. It is worth it, and I do believe that it makes a difference in how our children view their country of birth and how this impacts their self esteem.

    Thank you to Kevin and Don for your insightful blog and video.

    Mary Coyle, adoptive mom

    • Thanks for your comment, Mary. I appreciate you taking the time to do this. Also, thanks for your nice comment about the video.

      On the one hand, I appreciate your motivation for taking your kids to SK. Your motivations are sound as far as I’m concerned. On the other hand, I’d like for you to consider a few thoughts. Take them as you will.

      Going to SK may/may not lesson anything or help your kids develop a sense of who they are. You may be making an assumption about the impact of homeland tours. I know adoptees in their very early 20’s who went to SK a handful of times, attended culture camps, hung out with other adoptees, etc., well before they turned 18. They struggled and still do. Some of them are currently living in SK in hopes of finding themselves.
      The cost of going on homeland tours is pretty much double what it would be if your family went on your own. Imagine if you gave half of the money you’ve spent on homeland tours to the Korean Unwed Mothers Families’ Association’s (KUMFA) facility called Heater? For $7,000 p/year, Heater houses 20+ single mothers who want to parent their kids. Imagine talking about this with your kids, letting them know that connecting with their history isn’t just about seeing SK, but also supporting it.
      Homeland tours have become an industry in SK. The people who run them are connected to all of the agencies there, and have strong relationships with a number of US adoption agencies. Koreans who run homeland tours make good money, and hence they want to see things to continue as they are. In other words, they’re all about ongoing intercountry adoption. This type of mentality doesn’t encourage family preservation.

  5. desifrau75 // March 7, 2012 at 6:07 pm // Reply

    Very enlightening article. Love his realistic attitude. 🙂

  6. gravatar21 // March 11, 2012 at 6:22 pm // Reply

    For some reason….he scares me.

  7. I wouldn’t call it an evisceration. It’s more like a lice infestation…his comments can bother the hell out of you! All joke aside, Don is a Korean War orphan and he is highly critical of those who have opposing views on adoption. His cynical banter stems from the horrific ways Koreans have treat “Hon Hyeols”. He believes that he may not have survived if he lived in Korea and often takes a positive stance on adoption. It’s no surprise then to see him believe that there is a place for international adoptions in providing homes for less fortunate children throughout the world. Because of it, he has a base of supporters who lean in the same direction. He is quick to skewer individuals with his articulate tongue if they write an article that is critical of the adoption industry. I often read his blogs to learn from and strengthen my arguments. However, he is hypocritical, as he does the same as those who he opposes: he is often one sided in his argument and dismisses the other side’s point of view. Yet, he does make valid points from time to time and makes me think as I continue to write about the underpinnings of the negative externalities of adoption.

    • Mary A. Coyle // March 17, 2012 at 10:41 am // Reply


      I would be interested in hearing your thoughts on adoption, race and home studies. I am adoptive mom of 2 teenagers. While I see some positive aspects to adoption, I also realize that there are some negative aspects in relation to how adoption impacts a transracial adoptee. I would love to learn your point of view.

      Mary Coyle

      • When we want to save the rain forrest- we don’t start planting palm trees in our back yard, when we want to save the whales- we don’t fill our swimming pools with baby calves. Yet, people when they think of adoption- often do NOT have the childs best interest in mind. They do not realize that the child needs to thrive in their own culture, their bio family and in their own language. The option of helping the bio-family is never tabled, to make the transaction transparent and all documents accessible to the child is never a goal and at the end adoption through many study cases have shown adoption is much harmful than what most people realize. Yet- these facts are dismissed by many as twisted lies, half truths or misleading. Many studies have shown that adoptees have a much higher chance of using drugs, going to jail and entering a mental institution (some studies show levels as high as 25-30%). There are also the high number of deaths, sexual abuse, violence and emotional torture of children in adopted homes. There are many sites that compile thousands of known cases from news stories, personal accounts,and police records. Lastly there is the issue of human trafficking- kids make companies billions of dollars each year with government adding to the cost through subsidization and tax breaks. If this isn’t bad enough- many of hte kids that are orphans, lost or unloved are actually stolen from their families- with a growing number of countries permenantly banning adoption altogether (like Russia, Guatemala, and Vietnam to name a few. Yet advocates of adoption largely ignore these issues and all the rules like the hague and other international law makers have placed…all to have their “own” child. When adoptees speak out against this as they grow older- people assume they are angry and never take into consideration of all the lies they have been told to assimilate, lose their heritage. lose their medical history, not being able to share their frustrations on racial and other issues… the list goes on and on…and this is just a small taste of the many issues of adoption

  8. There may be positive aspects in all things- in all situations but that doesn’t make it right nor a reason for the issue to continue. Eugenics taught us that colored people were inferior and that was based on the latest science at the time. One could argue that slavery reduced costs on the production costs or the sex industry allow more income to women in developing countries. Some things in life, no matter how one paints and coats how wonderful it was…doesn’t make it right. Adoption is no different. You can never understand because you have never stood in my shoes. I have worked in several orphanages, I have met hundreds of adoptees and have read countless stories. The most compelling argument against to adoption has been my own life. Simple but hard lessons: Look at the cohort group. Understand what we are saying. Understand outside what you feel or believe.

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