A documentary on four teenage girls living in different parts of the US and united by one thing: all four were adopted from China due to family situations colliding with the country's "One Child Policy".
SOMEWHERE BETWEEN tells the intimate stories of four teenaged girls. They live in different parts of the US, in different kinds of families and are united by one thing: all four were adopted from China because all four had birth parents who could not keep them, due to personal circumstances colliding with China's "One Child Policy". These strong young women allow us to grasp what it is like to come-of-age in today's America as trans-racial adoptees. At the same time, we see them as typical American teenagers doing what teenagers everywhere do...struggling to make sense of their lives. Through these young women, and their explorations of who they are, we ourselves pause to consider who we are - both as individuals and as a nation of immigrants. Identity, racism, and gender...these far-reaching issues are explored in the documentary. And with great honesty and courage, these four girls open their hearts to experience love, compassion, and self-acceptance.Written by
Linda Goldstein Knowlton
In 2005, my wife and I adopted our daughter from Hunan, China. We were (and are) perfectly aware that there would be a lot of questions for her (and us) to deal with as the years went by. Right now, at age 8, our daughter's a pretty typical Canadian girl who knows that she was born in China and left outside a school, sent to an orphanage, raised by a foster family and then adopted by us. She's not expressed great interest in China, but we're not going to be surprised if one day she does.
"Somewhere Between" was a documentary that we had to watch. It traces the journey of several now teenaged girls born in China but adopted by Americans and raised in the United States. For us, there are some tug at your heart strings moments - especially the shot of the "adoption room" in Changsha, Hunan, where we first held our little girl. The girls whose stories are being told are remarkably eloquent about their experience and about the challenge of being in some ways torn between two worlds - with Chinese skin but American culture. They respond in different ways to this, and it's interesting to watch. The film stresses the importance of having connections with other Chinese adoptees,and pulls no punches about the presence of racism (even sometimes benign racism) in society.
Most interesting is the story of Haley, who returns to China with her adoptive parents and - defying the odds - manages to track down her birth family. The reunion was touching, but it left me with a lot of questions, especially wondering where the relationship goes from there? It was fascinating that, in her case at least, her father wanted to keep her and it was her mother who actually abandoned her. That's the reverse of what my perception of the situation is. In the midst of the film there are questions raised about whether international adoption should be allowed. I have no answer for that; I'm simply grateful to have my daughter.
This is what I would describe as a "niche" film. It has a definite audience - the Chinese adoption community, if I can refer to myself and others who have adopted from or who have been adopted from China, and their friends/family. Outside that community, this might be of limited appeal. (8/10)
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