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 forher (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 wasborn in China and left outside a school, sent to an orphanage, raisedby a foster family and then adopted by us. She's not expressed greatinterest in China, but we're not going to be surprised if one day shedoes.<br><br>"Somewhere Between" was a documentary that we had to watch. It tracesthe journey of several now teenaged girls born in China but adopted byAmericans and raised in the United States. For us, there are some tugat your heart strings moments - especially the shot of the "adoptionroom" in Changsha, Hunan, where we first held our little girl. Thegirls whose stories are being told are remarkably eloquent about theirexperience and about the challenge of being in some ways torn betweentwo worlds - with Chinese skin but American culture. They respond indifferent ways to this, and it's interesting to watch. The filmstresses the importance of having connections with other Chineseadoptees,and pulls no punches about the presence of racism (evensometimes benign racism) in society.<br><br>Most interesting is the story of Haley, who returns to China with heradoptive parents and - defying the odds - manages to track down herbirth family. The reunion was touching, but it left me with a lot ofquestions, especially wondering where the relationship goes from there?It was fascinating that, in her case at least, her father wanted tokeep her and it was her mother who actually abandoned her. That's thereverse of what my perception of the situation is. In the midst of thefilm there are questions raised about whether international adoptionshould be allowed. I have no answer for that; I'm simply grateful tohave my daughter.<br><br>This is what I would describe as a "niche" film. It has a definiteaudience - the Chinese adoption community, if I can refer to myself andothers who have adopted from or who have been adopted from China, andtheir friends/family. Outside that community, this might be of limitedappeal. (8/10)
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.
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