Thursday, August 23, 2012

Bananas: Transracial Adoptees Speak in Documentary

Somewhere Between: A Documentary
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.  Trailer here.


Robin said...

It really disturbs me the way feminists are so pro-adoption and yet the reason so many children are available is simply because they are girls. This seems to me the epitome of gender-based discrimination that a child has to lose her family, her ancestry, her homeland, etc. solely because she was born female. I thought the purpose of the feminist movement was to ensure that girls and women are valued as highly and treated as well as males. It certainly seems like the height of hypocrisy for feminist leadership to support and encourage gender-based adoption practices.

Mirah Riben said...

Adoption also exploits single mothers, young mothers and poor mothers...yet NOW has never stood up against it becuase they are on the receiving end. Google my article: "Reverse Robinhoodism" about how adoption takes from the poor to give to the wealthy pitting women against one another. Where's the solidarity?

Feminism - most of it - is for, by, about the elite academics.

The ONLY femisnists who ever got how exploitive of women adoption is is Phyllis Chesler and Rickie Solinger (the later of which does not identify as a feminist writer but a historian).

Lorraine Dusky said...

As a feminist myself, let me add that the reason feminists are so damn pro-adoption is that many if not most focus on a career and not on procreation until their child-bearing years come to an end. Then they turn to adoption to "build a family." I am ill whenever I read that reasoning, and it can be found in places such as the New York Times followups to the wedding stories, on NPR, in every woman's magazine.

trying the 3rd time now to get past word verification!

Mirah Riben said...

Thanks for your persistence and thoughtful comment.

yeah, i HATE catcha! Didn't know I had it set on here, but guess it's a necessity to avoid spam.

Robin said...

Do you know in which book Ms.Chesler writes about her views on adoption? I see she has published several books and I would like to read further about her viewpoints on the topic.

Mirah Riben said...

she touches on it very tangentially in "Sacred Bond: The Legacy of Baby M" (1988) about the surrogacy case in NJ. She quoted me. Can't remember what i said. But that was about it. She does "get it" as I said, AND GOT IT IN RELATION TO SURROGACY, but has noT focused any work on it per se. I was pissed that after knowing of me and my work, she omitted in "Woman's Inhumanity to Woman" (2002) how adoption pits wealthy women against poor women. Her major "thing" is custody after divorce which she feels should always go to mothers and not fathers. See I fell out of her favor when I refused to be one of her many adoring goffer sycophants.

pam said...

Mirah, I just wanted to mention Xinran's book "Message From An Unknown Chinese Mother : Stories Of Loss And Love" as a moving, thought-provoking exploration into the stories behind all those 'abandoned' babies.

Mirah Riben said...

Thank you.

You might be intersted to see:

Universality of grief experienced by mothers who lose children to adoption

RussiaToday Apr 29, 2010 on Russian Adoption Freeze

Russi Today: America television Interview 4/16/10 Regarding the Return of Artyem, 7, to Russia alone

RT: Russia-America TV Interview 3/10

Korean Birthmothers Protest to End Adoption

Motherhood, Adoption, Surrender, & Loss

Who Am I?

Bitter Winds

Adoption and Truth Video

Adoption Truth

Birthparents Never Forget