Somewhere Between Explores Transracial Adoption And Identity

TRAILER: Somewhere Between – A Feature Documentary from Linda Knowlton on Vimeo.

 

Check out the synopsis:

Four baby girls are born in China to families who are unable to keep them, largely because of China’s “One Child Policy.” Instead of being raised by their biological parents, the baby girls are raised in orphanages, and then eventually adopted by American families to be whisked halfway around the world to the United States. There, they grow up with Sesame Street, hip-hop, and Twitter. They describe themselves as “bananas”: white on the inside and yellow on the outside. All is well, until they hit their teen years, when their pasts pull at them, and they begin to wonder, “Who am I?”

All four know they were probably “given up” because they were girls (they are understandably uncomfortable with the word “abandoned”), and grapple with issues of race, gender, and identity more acutely than most their age.

Documentaries have been made before about international adoption, but they have always been from the point of view of the adoptive, Caucasian parents, or the adult adoptee. Young women’s voices are rarely heard—especially young women of color. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN lets four teenaged girls—Fang, Haley, Ann, and Jenna—tell their own stories, letting the film unfold from their points of view and shedding light on their deepest thoughts: about their families, their feelings of being “other,” and their powerful connections to a past that most of them cannot recall.

The film captures nearly three years in the lives of these four dynamic young women.

The screening schedule is here.

  • Montclair Mommy

    Okay the “white savior adoptERS” thing (which is what I assume you meant, RJ13) is always, always relevant in a discussion about transracial adoption. Period. Always relevant. I am interested in seeing this documentary, and JaeRan and Kim did not say they were NOT interested. JaeRan merely said she would be “more interested” when the adoptees themselves are the filmmakers….and then you kind of pounced with a “HOW DARE YOU SUGGEST THAT ADOPTERS WOULD HAVE A SAVIOR COMPLEX!!!” tone. Unless you have seen the documentary, you can’t say what it actually discusses or whether the biases inherent in being a white adoptive parent are apparent. I feel like you are being really defensive and you don’t seem to have any reason to be defensive in this situation. Suggesting that the film itself might be influenced by the maker is completely reasonable and its disingenuous to suggest otherwise.

  • RJ13

    I am really not getting the people who are bringing up the ‘white savior adoptees’ here. Would it be great to have a adoptee be the filmmaker? Yeah. But to act like this documentary is worthless or isn’t breaking ground is kinda redonkulous. Of course adoptive parents are going to be concerned about the struggles their kids go through, and I didn’t catch a whiff of any “and our parents saved us!” dialogue here- it seems to be focusing on what the girls themselves are experiencing!

    Just because it’s not breaking as much ground as you want, doesn’t mean it isn’t breaking ground. And I don’t mind (and in fact love) discussions about getting more representation in front and behind the process. But when every comment is reading something into it that isn’t there (at least as far as I can see), it’s ridiculous. Let’s talk about the positives too! Like, this is actually discussing and focusing the sticky areas of adoption that all my friends who were adopted from overseas have gone through and still go through. It focuses on the issues inherent in inter-racial adoption, rather than framing it as a savior situation. Just because the filmmaker is white doesn’t mean it is going to not hit the right notes, especially when it is letting the girls tell the story.

    • kim

      RJ13 – I’m transracially adopted myself and have multiple family members and close friends who also are, both boys and girls, of various races and from various countries including the US. Trust me when I say these discussions are not breaking any ground. But you’re right this is just a preview and I shouldn’t judge until I’ve seen the whole film.

      Four baby girls are born in China to families who are unable to keep them, largely because of China’s “One Child Policy.” …. They describe themselves as “bananas”: white on the inside and yellow on the outside….This immediately raised a flag for me as did the fact that the film maker ONLY chose girls from China.

      • RJ13

        I admit the banana part bothered me too- I just didn’t feel qualified to comment on it as I am white myself and haven’t had the experiences, and I know some people who refer to themselves in a similar way. And my friends, though they are active about their adoption status, aren’t as addicted to documentaries as I am so I freely admit that I am pretty ignorant about what has been extensively talked about before on specific topics- I tend to take advirtisement a little too much at face value. >.< Only choosing girls from china could simply be trying to focus a extensive topic- but I see your point there as well. Personally, I would love to see a documentary on the topic produced by someone who has been adopted and has that older hindsight, as the thing that bothered me about the preview is that teenagers are still under their parent's wing and have yet to leave the nest and develope their individual sense of identity yet.

  • JaeRan

    “Documentaries have been made before about international adoption, but they have always been from the point of view of the adoptive, Caucasian parents, or the adult adoptee. Young women’s voices are rarely heard—especially young women of color. SOMEWHERE BETWEEN lets four teenaged girls—Fang, Haley, Ann, and Jenna—tell their own stories, letting the film unfold from their points of view and shedding light on their deepest thoughts: about their families, their feelings of being “other,” and their powerful connections to a past that most of them cannot recall.”

    Except that the filmmaker is an adoptive parent. I’ll be more interested when Chinese adoptees themselves are the filmmakers.