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In profiling Chinese adoptees in contemporary America, this deeply moving documentary from Linda Goldstein Knowlton (The World According to Sesame Street) illustrates that even the most specific of experiences can be universally relatable. Of the roughly 80,000 girls who have been adopted from China since 1989 a decade after China implemented its One Child Policy the film intimately follows four teenagers: Haley, Jenna, Ann and Fang.
These four wise-beyond-their-years yet typical American teens reveal a heartbreaking sense of self-awareness as they attempt to answer the uniquely human question, "Who am I?" They meet and bond with other adoptees, some journey back to China to reconnect with the culture, and some reach out to the orphaned girls left behind. In their own ways, all attempt to make sense of their complex identities. Issues of belonging, race and gender are brought to life through these articulate subjects, who approach life with honesty and open hearts.
Delicately wrought, deeply felt --Variety
Interesting, heartfelt look at the lives and cultural awakening of Chinese girls adopted into the U.S. --New York Magazine
Top Customer Reviews
The movie follows four real teenage girls who connect with each other through an on-line community for adoptees from China. The film weaves together several adventures the girls have, showing them meeting and traveling together, often with one of the girls narrating the experience. The two main trips I remember were one to Barcelona where one of the girls participates in a panel discussion on adoption and addresses the very raw topic of abandonment, and a trip to China where another girl, incredibly, locates her birth parents and meets them. Both of these are things that most teenagers could not and would not do. We do see the parents of the girl who finds her birth parents actively engaged, but otherwise, the girls appear to be doing all of this on their own.
The girls in the film are impressive - accomplished, thoughtful, kind, independent, and above all, brave. My overwhelming impression was of pride in the girls, who are seeking out these difficult experiences and sharing their most painful, private feelings with each other and, of course the movie audience.
It is highly unrealistic for a child adopted from a Chinese orphanage to expect that they can just post an advertisement on the wall of their hometown and find their birth parents.Read more ›
In 1979, China, faced with forecasts of severe over-population, implemented a strict one-child policy in an attempt to limit its population growth. Since traditionally Chinese families favored boys over girls, many families wanted their one child to be a boy. The result was large numbers of infant girls being either given up for adoption or simply abandoned. Over the ensuing years some 175,000 children from China - overwhelmingly girls - have been placed in adopted homes in 26 countries. Of these, about 80,000 ended up in the United States. Knowlton picked four of these now-teenage girls as the subjects of her documentary and ended up spending three years following and interviewing them about their lives, particularly their experiences of and thoughts on being "somewhere between" Chinese and American.
The four girls - aged 13 through 15 - whom Knowlton selected to interview and follow proved to be excellent choices for the documentary. All are personable, highly articulate and self-aware, particularly when it comes to the issue of knowing that they belong to two very different cultures.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Very important stories. It moved my daughter, adopted from China over 19 years ago, to tears.Published 4 months ago by C. Benbassat
Amazing 1st hand insight to what the adoptees actually go through.Published 7 months ago by ArmyAviation
Wonderful overall with many families followed who adopted from China with language and cultural changes and even one person who believes international adoption should stop. Read morePublished 7 months ago by L. Doget
Beautiful film, beautiful girls, a must-see for anyone who has been in the foster care system or been through the adoption process.Published 10 months ago by Cassie Stevens
A must see movie, detailing the lives of four adoptees, from various parts of the USA. It touches upon the most sensitive, yet meaningful discussion that must be had by anyone... Read morePublished 11 months ago by Ming Foxweldon
Really well done documentary. My family (including adopted teen daughter from China ) was in tears -and it sparked some profound discussion!Published 11 months ago by Jane L. Taylor