The Struggles of Adoption Portrayed through the Parent’s Perspective vs. the Child’s

by shannonnye1 on November 20, 2013 - 5:35pm

In the movie Somewhere Between (Linda Goldstein Knowlton, 2011) Linda Goldstein Knowlton portrays the life of adoption through the eyes of four teenage girls struggling to know their past. As Haley searches for her parents Linda follows her experience to understand each and every struggle she faces and how she will overcome them, in order to  provide answers for her daughter Ruby who will eventually face the same struggles. I feel that as Haley’s struggle is the major focus point it is important to experience the struggles portrayed through the eyes of both the adoptive parents and the birth parents.

When Haley first found her birth parents both sets of parents may have felt a sense of pressure. The adoptive parents may have felt that they were in a way losing their daughter because she will have all of these connections with her birth parents that they cannot share with her. However the birth parents may have felt as though they have no meaning to her because they are not in fact the parents that have sacrificed so much to have raised her, and they also are not the parents that have made Haley who she truly is. Haley expresses how she does not want either set of parents to feel a sense of unwantedness, however, as much as she tries to prevent this, the parents may still have this sense of feeling. When Haley first meets her father he reacts much different towards her than she does towards him. Her father is constantly holding her hand and touching her. Portrayed through the eyes of Haley there is a sense of uncomfortableness because she does not feel as if she really knows her father. Portrayed through the eyes of the father however, it is much different. He feels as though this is a normal reaction upon meeting his daughter for the first time. It would be interesting to know how he felt when he realized she was not comfortable yet with his reaction. There was a very similar instance with Halley's birth mother. When Haley first met her birth mother the mother cried of happiness however Haley expressed happiness but did not seem as overjoyed. This reaction may have caused the mother to feel a sense of unwantedness.

Haley’s adoptive mother expresses how even though it was hard for her to ask many of the questions she did, she felt it was her responsibility to ask them for Haley. She recognized that her daughter may have felt uncomfortable asking why she was abandoned and in order for her mother to protect her she asked the question for Haley. Haley’s birth mother appeared to be comfortable with expressing why they made the decision to give her up however it would be interesting to see whether or not that question offended her or if she felt it was her responsibility to give Haley answers. During this time Haley’s birth father did not give much of a response. Haley’s mother expressed how she had been the one to make the decision to give Haley up and how her father was not consulted. I feel that this must have been a very great struggle for Haley’s father to deal with especially since when he went searching for her he found out she was in an orphanage. However the video does not express the pain that he must have felt.

Throughout the movie the word abandonment really seemed to stick out. There was a point during an interview when one of the girls cried because it was an emotional topic while another one of the girls expressed how she simply corrected the word to placed. Throughout these four girls lives they all have at some point felt they were abandoned and even though they try to say they were placed there is always that 1% of them that still feels they were abandon. The video shows abandonment portrayed through the girls eyes however one might wonder whether this would be the word used through the perspective of the parents. The adoptive parents may feel it is a blessing they were given this child and therefor might say it is not abandonment but more being placed into a better home. However it would be interesting to see how the birth parents feel towards this word. One of the girls decided that she may not have an interest in finding her birth parents. Some adopted children find their birth parents however do not want to have a relationship with them. I feel it would be different to understand how this may cause the birth parents to feel and whether they would feel a sense of abandonment also.




Knowlton, L. (Director). (2011). Somewhere Between. [Motion Picture] Long Shot Factory Ladylike Films: United States



I was tempted to use this same movie because of how much it relates to my life and my family. I have a 30 year old aunt who was adopted from Korea. I never really understood that she was adopted when I was younger, I always thought that she just looked different from the rest of the family. And what caught my eye about your report was the term “Abandonment.” I never thought that my aunt was abandoned by her biological family but more of a giving to a better home like you said. But as I have been getting older the piecing of how she feels has been falling into place. I recall arguments that have occurred in front of me of my aunt saying that she isn’t part of this family and that she is nothing like us. Also her saying that she is so thankful that she doesn’t have the family genes that my grandmother has passed down to us. And to be honest it makes me angry because she is appreciative towards what she has unlike the girls in the movie. My grandparents have given her everything from trips around the world to buying her cars and apartments just to make her happy. They have even offered up chances for her to look for her biological parents in Korea which she went to but I don’t think that the search really played out to her liking. She is 30 years old, she might still be holding onto the fact that she was abandoned and she might hold onto it for the rest of her life but she should be grateful that there are people in this world who are willing to adopt and take children out of the crappy circumstances that they might have ended up in.

Abandonment is definitely the perfect word to describe the social constrains on the girls’ lives and how they adjust to finding or neglecting their birth parents. It is very interesting how you explained that the adoptive parents feel lucky to have been given a child while the birth parents do not feel they have abandoned theirs. I come from a big family and I am not adopted so I do not know how it feels to have those questions lingering at all times. I do, however, have two half brothers. Although we are blood related I consider them to be my full brothers and I never have considered them “half.” Therefore, it makes sense to me that it is what you make of it. In other words, depending on how the girls wanted to live their lives they reacted to their birth parents differently. Since many of them were adopted at early life stages it seems they have conformed to their adopted ways of life. It is a very touchy topic and I feel as though you had an interesting approach to the idea of abandonment.

I find your point of view of the parent’s to be very interesting. It has changed my view of thinking of the movie in a sense. Most people often think about how the adopted child must feel and how they feel a sense of “abandonment”, but the birth parents or adopted parents may also feel this. When the birth parents try to reconnect with their child, the child may not want them in their lives and they will never get to see them again. If a child looks for their birth parents, their adoptive parents may also feel abandoned because they have given a new life to their child and raised them when their birth parents gave them up. My friend’s parents adopted a baby girl from China a few years ago. Fortunately in Lila’s situation (the adopted girl), she is able to communicate with her mother in China. Both sets of parents feel comfortable with the situation and neither the parents nor Lila feel abandoned. I think this is the best possible outcome and think communication is important. Lila is able to balance her relationship with her parents and understand her adoption while her birth mother knows she made the right decision to give her to my friend’s parents.

Growing up with three biological siblings, I can't even begin to say I know how it feels or experienced the feeling of abandonment. My cousin on the other hand is an only child. He was adopted at age 4, and it African American with two white parents. Unlike Haley or any of the other girls in this movie my cousin has always known his biological mom. His mother was 17 when he was born and his father was 22. Two years after he was born is father died in a car accident and his mother started using drugs heavily. He was given up for adoption at age four because his mother could not care for him financially or physically. When my aunt and uncle adopted him they agreed to let Tyler's (my cousin) see him if she had gone to rehab and got her life straight. Tyler who is my age explains to me all the time how he was abandoned by his mother, but he knows it was for his own good. He loves my aunt and uncle and sees them as his mother and father. He sees his biological mother almost every weekend and is holding a good relationship with her. Abandonment in this case could be the reason I know my cousin Tyler, and the reason he is alive today. We may not be biologically related but I consider him my blood, and so does the rest of my family. I'm sure it was hard for my aunt and uncle to let Tyler see his mother after she left him but they knew it was the right thing to do. When it comes to adoption the kids face a lot of struggles along with the parents who adopted and the parents who gave that particular child up for adoption.

I really enjoyed reading your blog about this movie. In the movie, Somewhere Between, it is important to see through the perspective of the adoptive and biological parent’s eyes. It’s obvious to see what the four girls are feeling and expressing through out the movie. This blog made think about two boys that I know that were adopted from Gabon, Africa. They grew up in a very unproductive household, with little educations, a scarce amount of food, and no fatherly influence on them. They moved into a household that was extremely wealthy and to say that they were spoiled is a understatement at the least. Since the boys were adopted in their teen years they are aware of where their mother lived and who their other siblings were. I have also wondered how their mother feels now seeing her two boys living in America, getting a good education, having a bed to sleep in, and having new parents. I’m sure she wants the best for sons but it must be hard not to become jealous of the adoptive parents and envy what they can give her kids, but she cannot. After reading your blog I wonder now if Haley’s parents were jealous or envious of Haley’s adoptive parents in America. I liked though how you looked into the movie with your own point of view and if questioned if situations were different, how reactions or feelings would be different. Overall, this is a great film review.

From reading your article I can tell that you noticed the main points that stood out in the movie. I think you did a good job elaborating the main points too. I like how in your article you don't just talk about one perspective, but the parent's and the child's. It is obvious that you understood the scenario well sense you explained both perspectives. After reading your article it made me realize the situation of one of my friends who is adopted. Even though he was adopted though, it didn't end up affecting his life in who he has become. There is other people that I know from my hometown though who are adopted and you can tell it has affected their life, actions, and the type of person they are. Like you mentioned in the article about there being a variety of ways people handle being adopted, I feel like the adopted child's perspective affects the outcome of their life the most.

It was really interesting to see your perspective of how you thought the biological parents and the adoptive parents felt. It was a very emotional moment when Haley was reunited with her biological parents. My cousin was adopted from China and I know that she has gone back to visit her orphanage. She has never met her biological parents, but there was a group of little girls that were brought to the orphanage around the same time she was. Every few summers they all go back to their orphanage to visit. They call each other sisters and it is always very emotional when they are all reunited. I agree with you that the word “abandonment” was used a lot throughout the movie. Each girl felt differently about her situation and I think that was all based on how their adoptive parents raised them. Nice review!

This topic caught my attention because many people have different opinions on this issue. Putting a child up for adoption must be a terribly difficult choice that I feel BOTH parents must make together. The fact that Haley's father had no say whether Haley went to the orphanage is heart-breaking. I can't even imagine the pain and confusion he felt all of those years, although Haley had every right to feel uncomfortable with how quickly he got attached to her. Although I have no personal experience with adoption, I feel that both the birth parents and child should be 100% comfortable with meeting each other before actually coming together. I also agree that "abandoned" is not the correct word to use when describing how an adopted child should feel. Overall, I really enjoyed reading this review and I completely agree with the reviews argument!

As to what you said, many people do have diverse opinions on adaption and they ask most of them ask themselves what's going to happen when the kid grows up - this is is a great challenge people face when going through this process. Recently I heard that adopted parents are obliged to tell their kids about their situation - and if at one point they consider meeting up with them they have the right to do so. I have a cousin who is 18, and her parents told her she was adopted in her early teens - she didn't seem too happy about it, she started wondering what her life would be like..but at the same time she was angry - she felt abandoned at one point. But as you said, abandoned shouldn't be the word to describe any adoption situation. It shouldn't be seen as abandonment, when someone contemplates this idea perhaps the parents were too young or an issue came up that the baby would benefit in being with a family who can give them more than they can - perhaps a better education, a better living - they sacrificed this newborn to make her life better. Maybe todays society should be more aware of the causes why people give babies up for adoption, therefore making adopted kids more aware that its not a sign of abandonment.

I think you did a great job at analyzing and expressing your view of this film. It was great to see you analyze every person's actions and relate them back to how the affected the other people involved. When i was doing my blog film review (same film) i didn't think of how the birth parents and the adoptive parents felt, i mostly focused on how the girl adopted felt and what she dealt with. It was great to hear your view on how both the adoptive parents and birth parents felt through your observations and sociological analysis and application. It makes me think of how things would be like if i ever adopted a child, which i want to when I'm older. It really helps me to put into perspective the feeling and obstacles i may encounter, for example when you said that 'Haley’s adoptive mother expresses how even though it was hard for her to ask many of the questions she did, she felt it was her responsibility to ask them for Haley", that one day i may be put into those same shoes, and have to do what is best for my daughter even though it is an emotionally difficult situation for all involved.

There were several struggles both parents had to go through. Personally, I could never give my child up no matter what law I broke. Being a parent isn't easy, and being abandoned and adopted by a new family is no easier. I could understand how both parents may feel unwanted by the common factor that unites them, Haley, but she loves both parents just the same. It's understandable how Haley may have felt uncomfortable around her birth parents when they first met, but I'm sure if there was a Somewhere Between 2 that they would have become much closer. Haley was raised by one family and brought into this world by another, but that doesn't change the love both parents have for her and her love for both of them.

Adoption is a very touchy topic for a lot of people. There are a multitude of reasons why a parent would give up their child. In this case, like many others, Haley’s birth parents gave her up because they did not have the means to care for her in the many ways necessary. However, they did not give her away to the orphanage, she was supposed to be given to a family that would be able to provide better for her. This did not happen and upon trying to tell, their daughter this; there was a communication barrier in that the two parties spoke different languages. Also, the translator did not translate exactly what was being said. As viewers, we must understand that not everything is capable of being translated. The vast variation in the expression of emotion and how much emotion one felt had a great deal to do with the separate cultures. This proves why it is important to be familiar with not just your culture, but to be sensitive and aware of someone else’s. A lot of the discomfort could have probably been avoided or at least lessened had Haley known a little bit more about her parents culture and vice versa.

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