A Journey To Find Their Way Home

by jdegr1 on November 18, 2013 - 11:53pm

 

Linda Knowlton has done yet another excellent job bringing and portraying the struggling, heart breaking, yet moving stories of the daily lives of 4 Chinese adoptees in Somewhere Between, as they continuously face the social and cultural norms, as well as the discrimation that continues to exist in the United States against adopted children. Taking on the girls point’s of view, Knowlton follows the lives of Haley, Jenna, Fang Lee and Ann, and the struggles they have had to face since being adopted and moving to America, while trying to build their own life, despite the many factors of looking different than everyone else. Being called names such as Twinkies, and bananas, they have learned to ignore, but one thing that these four girls will have to continue to struggle with is the fact that when they look at their parents or are with their parents in public, they won’t be looking at a physically familiar face. That instead, they will have to continuously be faced with the question, “Why don’t you look like your parents?” Despite the hurtful nicknames, the rude glares and the whispered words, these four girls have learned to embrace their nationality and where they come from.

Throughout this documentary, Knowlton finds a way to reel you in as she tells us the girl’s inner battles as they conflict with two different identities, American and Chinese, from two completely different worlds. One thing this documentary does an excellent job of is giving the audience an emotional impact while watching the film. I can say for myself that this documentary affected me emotionally, physically, and mentally. Like these four girls, I am also an adoptee from Vietnam and can relate to the stories and struggles these girls have had to face in their everyday lives, whether it be in their neighborhood, the grocery store or walking through the halls of school, on a more personal level than most can say. The lives of these girls and the experiences they’ve faced just to get America are all seemingly different and drastically eye opening. One of the four adoptees in particular, Haley, decides to go through the difficult processes of finding her birth parents. Most of us are fortunate enough to know and live with their birth parents since the day their born, however for Haley this isn’t the case. Haley makes the difficult decision of deciding to search for her birth parents, and unlike most hopeful girls, she is lucky and gets the opportunity to meet her birth parents and family. I may be one to talk, considering I have a deep connection with her story, but being able to watch Haley meet her parents for the first time hit me emotionally, as I’m sure it would anyone Most of us are fortunate enough to have loving parents who have been with us our entire lives, and being able to see another girl be reunited with her parents, is truly inspiring.

Fang Lee, from Berkley hasn’t had the perfect life to say the least as well. In the film, we follow the story of her being abandoned by her mother when she was just a young child. As she becomes older, she decides to arrange the adoption of a little Chinese girl with cerebral palsy, which is unforgettable and powerful. Being an abandoned child herself, she wants to be able to put the lives of other orphan children in the homes of loving parents, like she was blessed to have had. Being abandoned is possibly one of the most horrible things a person could face, and listening to Fang’s story of being abandoned by her own mother, was simply heartbreaking.

We all take advantage of the things we have closest to us, including the ones we love. These four girls stories are simply inspiring and teach us to take a moment to be thankful for the opportunities and family in our lives. It amazed me on how well Knowlton portrayed the lives of these girls, not only showing us their daily lives, but also bringing such an emotional feeling to the camera screen. The documentary not only gives you an emotional impact, but also teaches you about life in China and life for adoptees living in China. It shows us how difficult it can be for one to find their roots because orphanages lack the amount of records on their family and when they were born. A powerful and promising documentary, Somewhere Between is worth the watch.  

 

Knowlton, L. (Director), (2011), Somewhere Between [DVD], United States. Ladylike Films. 

Comments

I really enjoyed reading your post. The style of writing and language that you chose made me feel like I was reading something that would be found on a "real blog" somewhere. I think it was nice that you added your own personal story to your review because I know that adoption is something that is hard for adoptees to discuss as well as difficult for non-adoptees to understand. The only thing I could really suggest to possibly improve your post is to talk more about what the four girls did/did not do in response to the discrimination they faced and the cultural norms they were compared to, or maybe you could talk about how it relates to you (if you feel comfortable discussing that). I think you did a good job describing the types of discrimination they faced and gave multiple examples.

I personally enjoyed watching this movie and would like to watch the rest of it at some point. What I found to be most upsetting was the scene where Haley is reunited with her Father. You could just tell from the way he was holding her hand and the way he said goodbye to her that he just truly did NOT want to "abandon" her and the love he felt for her despite the fact that she was literally a stranger to him. It was interesting to see her reaction, or lack thereof, but it is possible that she just isn't an emotional person and was truly happy inside as well. I think you were brave for talking about being an adoptee as well, did you finish watching the entire movie? Did you find that parts of the movie were upsetting as well? Overall I think you did a fantastic job and this was one of the best blogs that I have read this semester.

I think I have only met one person (that I am AWARE of) that has been adopted and you could not even tell that she did not “belong” to her family because she is the same race. I cannot even imagine how hard it would be to be adopted into a family where you look like an outcast and it is obvious that you were adopted. Even though it is hard for me to imagine being in the footsteps of the girls in the film, it still had an impact on me.

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