Growing Up Different

by Ckay1 on November 18, 2013 - 11:52pm

Linda Goldstein directed a very touching documentary called Somewhere Between, which touches on many social issues we see around the world today. This documentary focuses on adopted Chinese girls who were put into orphanages because their parents could not take care of them. This film shows the struggles of being an adopted child in American culture. The girls in the documentary face many emotional struggles; they all know they were adopted because their family could not afford to take care of them, they wanted only sons, and China has a one-child policy, which makes it even harder for their parents to keep them. The girls face many feelings of abandonment, confusion, and identity issues.


            One of the key things this film portrays is the social issues that these girls must over come. It has to be difficult knowing that your mother is not you biological mother and you can see that every day. These girls wake up each morning wondering what their life would be like if they were never given up for adoption. How confusing is that? When the girls are interview you can see on their faces that they are determined to find answers about their family and where they truly came from. Not knowing who you really are is something that no girls should ever have to face.


            Feeling abandoned is one of the worst feelings ever. Being so young and not knowing truly why you were left is very hard to understand. Even though these girls have very caring and nurturing families now, it is difficult to overcome feelings of abandonment. This can cause these girls problems mentally, emotionally and sometimes socially. Social issues come into play here because the girls know their families didn’t want them and it is hard for them because people of different ethnicities are not always accepted. Feeling abandoned comes into play once again. 


            This documentary also portrays social interactions.  There is a very heart wrenching, yet touching scene when 13-year-old Haley goes to China and is reunited with her birth family. This is a lot to handle at once, especially because she is so young. You can see the struggle on all of their faces when they meet due to language barriers and cultural differences. The pain and struggles in this scene are truly heart breaking, but it gives us a real-life example of how hard this can be on adopted children. Plus, on top of that the translator was not giving Haley and her parents the full truthful story on how Haley made it to the orphanage. On the Brightside of this segment, there is still joy in their eyes, and a sense of hope in the air. Haley finds out she has sisters and a brother, and is treated to a feast that her family made just for her. Seeing this happen for the first time brings a tear to your eye knowing that she hasn’t known any of this for thirteen years. Some of us don’t realize how lucky we are to know who are parents are, and that we are with our biological family. My seven year old cousin was adopted from China when she was a baby and I can see that she struggles with this issues. The thing that breaks my heart the most when I see her is that she always asks me this, “Were you born in your family? Because I wasn’t, I don’t know my real mommy and daddy. Are yours your real mommy and daddy?” It kills me inside to hear her say that. I can only imagine what these girls are dealing with the same things.


            Somewhere Between is an excellent documentary that does a wonderful job at showing the issues that young adopted girls face regularly. Viewers get a first hand viewing experience on what it is like to be adopted. These four girls managed to stay positive through a situation that is very difficult through many, while keeping close with their adopted families and reaching out to the ones that abandoned them, even though it my be difficult.


Goldstein, L. (Director). 2011. Somewhere Between (DVD).


United States: Ladylike Films


I really liked reading your post about the documentary. I agree that the scene between Haley and her biological family was very touching and emotional, even for the viewers. Growing up, my neighborhood has a family where the kids are adopted. I am sure it was hard for them to grow up knowing that they were adopted, however I believe my particular neighborhood and school district put very little emphasis on their adoption, and to be 100% honest, I do not think most children realized that they were adopted until they were much older.
Reading about your younger cousin made this post much more sincere. It is really easy to tell that this issue means a lot to you. Your writing was very clear and the post flowed nicely throughout. I think you did a great job refraining from summarizing the plot and incorporating ideas from Sociology. Very nice job!

After reading your post, I agree with you 100% and you gave a clear summary about the documentary and the struggles that many of the adopted children go through such as Haley for example. Before this documentary, I was unaware of China’s one child policy and this type of adoption. This documentary truly portray how lucky and fortune children like me are where we know our biological parents and the chance to not experience the struggles adopted children from other countries goes through. Your post explains issues that I never thought about before when it comes to this adoption. Not only the child has to struggle with pressures from society when it comes to culture, but also, the pressure of finding or wanting to know about their biologically family. I believe more people especially people that grew up with their biologically family should see this documentary and should get more attention in society because more people should know about and should be aware of this type of adoption.

I really enjoyed reading your post about Somewhere Between because it gave a clear summary about the struggles of growing up as an adopted child. It has to be very difficult being an adopted child because they most likely always ask themselves, "why do I look so different from my parents?" and "why did my real parents give me up?" Those are some of the questions adopted children have to face while growing up. It has to be hard for your cousin to adapt to this difference but she is not alone in this. My Step-Father was also adopted at a very young age, along with his twin sister. He always tells me stories of how different it was growing up and all the questions he had about his biological parents. About two years ago he found his other brothers and sisters, who had not been adopted, through Facebook. He communicates with them weekly and they both share their life stories. Its amazing what technology can do and all adopted children out there need to know that they're not alone in this struggle.

This article drew my attention because I know a few adopted children that went to my school. Although they were adopted from India, they had similar thoughts as the girls did in the documentary Somewhere Between. The girl I got to know most closely is named Taylor. Sometimes we would talk about if she wanted to know where she came from and who her real parents were. She talked about how strange a feeling it was to know that her birth parents were out there somewhere and she just wanted to know what they were doing and if they had other children. Like one of the girls in the film who spoke her native language, Taylor kept part of where she was from while growing up in American culture. Taylor had an Indian name before she was adopted, and she used it as her middle name. Taylor’s story matches up similarly with the adopted children in the documentary and it was interesting to see how you interpreted the film. I personally did not see all the girls struggling with abandonment but I respect your view of the film. Also I agree that the documentary was successful in showing some of the struggles adopted children face later in life. If you are interested in this topic, I watched a decent video clip on YouTube that may interest you as well. This is the link: