August 30, 2010

Set the DVR

Beginning tomorrow evening, the PBS series POV is airing three documentaries looking at transracial/transcultural/transnational adoption. I'm tuning in!

I had the chance to preview Off and Running (which airs next week) this past winter and definitely recommend it. Not just to those involved in transracial adoptions, but anyone thinking about the complicated topic of identity formation (which should be all adoptive parents!).

I've read mixed reviews of Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy, so it will be interesting to watch it for myself. The full slate is (synopses from the POV website):

Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy (8/31)
What is it like to be torn from your Chinese foster family, put on a plane with strangers and wake up in a new country, family and culture? Stephanie Wang-Breal’s Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy is the story of Fang Sui Yong, an 8-year-old orphan, and the Sadowskys, the Long Island Jewish family that travels to China to adopt her. Sui Yong is one of 70,000 Chinese children now being raised in the United States. Through her eyes, we witness her struggle with a new identity as she transforms from a timid child into someone that no one — neither her new family nor she — could have imagined.
Off and Running (9/7)
Off and Running tells the story of Brooklyn teenager Avery, a track star with a bright future. She is the adopted African-American child of white Jewish lesbians. Her older brother is black and Puerto Rican and her younger brother is Korean. Though it may not look typical, Avery’s household is like most American homes — until Avery writes to her birth mother and the response throws her into crisis. She struggles over her “true” identity, the circumstances of her adoption and her estrangement from black culture. Just when it seems as if her life is unraveling, Avery decides to pick up the pieces and make sense of her identity, with inspiring results.
In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee (9/14)
Her passport said she was Cha Jung Hee. She knew she was not. So began a 40-year deception for a Korean adoptee who came to the United States in 1966. Told to keep her true identity secret from her new American family, the 8-year-old girl quickly forgot she had ever been anyone else. But why had her identity been switched? And who was the real Cha Jung Hee? In the Matter of Cha Jung Hee is the search to find the answers, as acclaimed filmmaker Deann Borshay Liem returns to her native Korea to find her “double,” the mysterious girl whose place she took in America.
You can also watch them online for a limited time, using the show links above. Off and Running is now on Netflix, too. Are you planning on watching any or all of them? Do adoption documentaries interest you?

10 comments:

Waiting Lisa said...

Thank you so much for the head's up! I will be sure to set my DVR!!

Jess said...

Tried to set my DVR and my PBS station isn't showing them! What the bunny? Boo!

The other PBS, which we don't get, is, but of course...little help since we don't get it!

JC said...

Just set my DVR for the first film. Up and Running isn't up on the schedule yet, so i am going to write my self an old-fashioned note to remember to DVR it. :) Thanks for the heads up!

DrSpouse said...

Would love to watch all or some of these - bet they won't be shown in the UK though. Hulu maybe?

J. said...

wishing I had cable or lived in the us so i could watch them online. thanks for the info though, I will watch for them elsewhere.

Jess said...

Dude. I'm watching the first one, and I am completely crying at the meeting with their little girl. She's so old, and she has to be so scared, it's awful in so many ways. Oh my gosh. It breaks your heart!! You can't help but wish she could stay in China with a foster family even. I can't imagine leaving your EVERYTHING. Oh my goodness.

It's just heartbreaking! And it hurts me a lot that they're changing her name....she's SO old...I know they think that it'll help her, and maybe it will, and at least they're keeping her name as her middle, but....oh dear, it just seems ill advised in a country like ours where plenty of Chinese people live!

As for the orphanage situation...it's just...oh my. They don't even know her birthdate and the place where she was found was her surname. It's so, so sad. Oh...dear, the poor child(ren).

Brenna said...

Wow, those sound like they would be incredible to watch. I am sorry to have missed them...

Lavonne said...

i just watching "off and running" this weekend and thought it was well done. a bit slow but so definitely worth watching and it leaves some meat for discussion at the end.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting these; otherwise I would have missed them. I just watched the first one. I found it very painful. (I'm not trying to be anonymous; it wouldn't let me use my name.)~ Mia

JC said...

Wow. Just finished watching "In the Matter...". I am left heart-broken for that little girl. What I find so frustrating with transracial adoption is that so many families go into it thinking "I don't see race, it's not an issue". But it IS an issue for the child of a different race. I cannot imagine how this child is basically being asked to suppress her Chinese-ness so that she can fit in with her white, American family.

Her father's obvious defensiveness when faced with the issue of race was revolting. Like watching some Bruce Lee movies and going down to the China Buffet is really going to make his little girl feel better. I think also, when the mother laughed with relish how Faith now doesn't like her Chinese sister, I felt a little sick.

Two things I can say positively about this couple is that they at least made an attempt to see a therapist (albeit some 18 months AFTER the kid was home) and that they let her still talk to her foster family.

When are agencies going to get on the ball and teach their adoptive families something about transracial adoption?? Gotta say, that film just touched a VERY sore spot in this new mama of a transracial baby. Grrrrrrrr.

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