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Found in China


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Found in China + Somewhere Between + Message from an Unknown Chinese Mother: Stories of Loss and Love
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Product Details

  • Actors: Danling Cai, Angela Lau, Mark Hagland, Melissa Urbanski, others Sara Dorow
  • Directors: Carolyn Stanek
  • Producers: Carolyn Stanek
  • Format: NTSC
  • Language: English
  • Region: All Regions
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: PG (Parental Guidance Suggested)
  • Studio: Tai-Kai Productions
  • DVD Release Date: October 22, 2007
  • Run Time: 82 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B000XPXUQ8
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #60,949 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)

Special Features

None.

Editorial Reviews

Since the early '90s, Americans have adopted more than 80,000 Chinese children. With thousands of them now at an age to appreciate returning to the homeland, heritage tours have brought adoptees and their families to China, presenting an unequaled opportunity for bonding and sharing identity issues.
"Found in China" follows six Midwestern families as they observe contemporary trends and ancient Asian traditions in both urban and rural contexts.
The 80-minute documentary focuses on the 9- to 13-year-old girls and how they attempt to fit together the puzzle pieces of their pasts.
The impact that this trip makes on the children and their parents cannot be underestimated. It provides a foundation for additional dialogue and emotional development.
Because Chinese adoptions are not "open"--birthparent records are not kept because it is a crime to abandon one's child--few details can be found about an adoptee's background. Occasionally an adoptee can visit with foster parents or the person who discovered the child and took her to an orphanage. But most find little in their orphanage files.
"Found in China" captures the spontaneity of the children seeing China for the first time since leaving the country as infants or toddlers. The documentary reveals their thoughts about their orphanages, caregivers and the foster families.
The possibilities of searching for birthparents is explored by tour participants, with insights from older Korean adoptees and adoption specialists including Sara Dorow, PhD, best known for her book, "When You Were Born in China."
Filmmaker Carolyn Stanek adopted two Chinese daughters in the early 1990s and thus the documentary includes scenes from their orphanage, Jiande, in Zhejiang province. Other stops on the tour included Beijing, Xi'an, Chengdu, Hangzhou, and Shanghai for Stanek's family. Scenes from Nanchang and Changsha were also contributed by another family.
Stanek's background includes being a reporter for the Champaign-Urbana News-Gazette, a journalism instructor, and author of a book about Title IX (Contemporary Books). She then switched careers, becoming a stock market analyst for a couple decades.
"Found in China" was winner of a best documentary award at the East Lansing Film Festivial in 2008 at Michigan State U and was screened at a more than 15 other festivals.

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Customer Reviews

I was stunned to see a family I know well in part of the DVD, which made it extra special.
Mom
For me, the most poignant moment in the film was when Carolyn's oldest daughter visits her finding place, now an empty and abandoned movie theater in a small village.
Joann Stringer
Overall, the film was very positive and leaves viewers with a deep appreciation for the powerful impact that this trip had on all who were involved.
momofeandc

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

78 of 78 people found the following review helpful By Joann Stringer on November 15, 2007
I was first introduced to Carolyn Stanek's work in 1997 while waiting for a referral from China for our oldest daughter. Carolyn was one of the China adoption pioneers and filmed extensively during the trip she made in 1994 to adopt her daughter Tai Li. It was a window to an exotic and unknown world of Chinese adoption, and I hung on her every word, every description, every scene. It was not a polished piece of work but it was intensely personal and from the heart.

Fast forward a dozen years: Carolyn took her family back to China for a homeland tour so her two daughters could see, hear, feel, touch and taste the land of their birth. They traveled with a group of other families with pre-teens that had been adopted as infants and a young Asian-American social worker. The first part of the film is pure giggling girl power as the young women play tourist at Beijing's most famous landmarks. But the film turns more serious and somber as the reality of why they are there sinks in. Carolyn's daughters visit their orphanage and finding places under the guidance of their social worker and the homeland tour leader.

For me, the most poignant moment in the film was when Carolyn's oldest daughter visits her finding place, now an empty and abandoned movie theater in a small village. The young social worker put her arm around young Tai Li in front of the theater and painted for her a picture of how the theater must have looked on that day: a lighted marquee, people scurrying by, surely a place for a child to be found quickly. Every parent of a child who was abandoned at one time must watch that scene with a pang in their heart but with hope their child would someday understand their beginnings and what might have driven the decisions of their birthfamily.
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34 of 34 people found the following review helpful By momofeandc on February 15, 2008
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I ordered this documentary and watched it the same day it arrived in the mail. The film follows a group of adolescent girls as they return to China for a heritage tour, but it's relevance and application extend well beyond the bounds of China adoption; it was beautifully done and touched on many important issues.

The film captured countless wonderful moments. One scene I found especially touching was a foster father who took the day off from work when he learned that his former foster daughter would be visiting his village... he and his wife were overjoyed to see her again. Another memorable scene shows an orphanage Director and her staff as they warmly welcome the girls back- sharing personal stories, photos, and memories of the girls' lives a decade earlier. The film illustrates how much the foster families & nannies cared for and remembered these children, long after the girls' departure from China with their forever families.

The documentary also discusses birth parents- how the girls feel about them, how the birth parents might feel about the choices they have made, and how impact of choice ripples throughout many lives. One of things I appreciated about the film was the sensitive and honest way it addressed loss in adoption; which is not to suggest that adoption is defined only by loss, but the film acknowledges that adoption- like much in life- can be filled with a diverse range of emotions, perspectives, and experiences. The film also explores how the many people involved in adoption- children, adoptive families, foster families, birthparents, and others- might experience a sense of loss in their own unique way. Sara Dorow's comments greatly added to the film as well.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Pennsylvania reader on January 7, 2008
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Every parent with an adopted Chinese daughter should own a copy of "Found in China." The film follows a group of "older" girls -- adolescents and pre-adolescents -- as they return to China and visit their orphanages and "finding places." What could have been a standard account of a Homeland Tour is instead a moving, thoughtful and informative documentary. The best parts are the interviews with the girls themselves -- their resilience and wisdom shines through.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Mom on March 30, 2008
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This DVD was exactly what I was looking for. As the parent of a child adopted from China, it was wonderful to see other adopted Chinese children the age of my daughter visiting their homeland eight or ten years after coming home to the US. I was stunned to see a family I know well in part of the DVD, which made it extra special. I plan to watch this multiple times and hope my daughter will learn to love it as well. Found in China. It was very well done. Thank you for this excellent documentary.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Donna Marie on March 31, 2008
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As a parent of a 10 year old chinese daughter I would highly recommend this dvd. I previewed it and then decided it was completely appropriate for her to see. After the video she was full of questions and we had a great conversation about the trip that I want to take her on when she is 12. I had actually been planning on waiting until she was 15-17 but have since changed my mind after watching the video. A MUST see for anyone with an adopted Chinese child thinking of visiting China. Well done.
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16 of 19 people found the following review helpful By C. Rangel on July 17, 2008
Thank goodness we watched this movie before our adopted 5y/o saw it.We purchased this movie thinking it was going to be a "travelogue" for kids returning to China. It was much more intense. I think it should be just seen for the adults in her life contemplating on whether or not to return to China and if we do what should we expect from ourselves and our child. The movie shows the girls and their families on a return trip to China on a group trip with an agency specializing in trips for adopted children returning to China. The questions the movie helps parents to consider are 1) whether or not you and your child are ready to take the trip to china 2) what issues may you and she have to deal with when you are in China such as: a) transracial adoption b) China's one child policy c) idea of "abandonment".etc
This travel agency took with them an asian social worker who help the girls deal with their issues they faced on their return trip to china
as some girls a) visited there finding place b) met with their caregivers/foster parent/nanny c) met the person who found them d) visited the orphanage to see other children waiting for forever families e) how internal their connection with China really is f) would they be able to find their birthmom while in China etc.
Be ready to think about these issues prior to making this visit to China as the movie goes on to show the parents and their children at home in the USA after their visit from China. This movie get you thinking about good topics to help you make a decision on that return trip to China.
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