Where would we be without the adopted?

by rbrad44 on November 18, 2013 - 11:27pm

China is a very over-populated place that is desperately trying to control the number of people in its nation. With this being the case, it is very common for families to put their children, especially girls, up for adoption. In America, it is very rare for people to give their children up for adoption, no matter how many kids they have. Some people even travel around the world and adopt children from different countries and raise them in America to give them a better life than what they would have had.  The documentary “Somewhere Between,” directed and produced by Linda Goldstein Knowlton, shows the perspectives of four girls that were adopted by parents that reside in the United States from China. Relating to the sociology world, this documentary shows social border crossing scenarios that happen in everyday life. The main goal of this documentary is to show that even though you were born in a certain place, where you are raised is what really helps shape you as a person. 


One of the girls being documented, Haley, travels back to China with her adopted parents to meet her biological parents. During the first encounter, her biological parents constantly touch Haley’s hair and hold her very tightly against them. Her biological father also holds Haley’s hand throughout the whole conversation centered around why exactly they gave Haley up. It is obvious that Haley is uncomfortable in her situation. In America, it is not normal to be very touchy-feely with someone you have just met. But in China, it is a normal thing to do. The social interactions between the two places are extremely different in regards to first meetings. Haley also offers to take her biological mother’s coat after they sit down, but she is told no because in China they leave on their jackets. Even little things like this show the cultural differences between the two nations. Haley being raised in America has taught her different beliefs and ways to act than what she would have been taught if she had been raised by her biological family in China.


Being Asian has also set a precedent that these girls are minorities to the dominantly white nation of America and that they need to prove their intelligence and abilities. Jenna is a girl who was also adopted from China, just like Haley. The documentary comments on how she plays sports, instruments, and is very intelligent. However, Jenna fears rejection if she does not live up to her idea of perfection. Jenna is crossing racial divisions with her successes in all the aspects of her life. She is at the same level as the most intelligent of her school despite her being from a different background. It is always difficult to do something that is not expected of you, but it is even harder when you are of a minority race. Jenna does not let that stop her, though. This also deals with the social structures in America. Whites are viewed as being at the top of the social structure, and then everyone else is below them. It is seen as odd if anyone tries to move up to the supposed superior level of whites, so Jenna fearing rejection is extremely understandable. 


In all honesty, America would not be the way it is today without people like these girls that were adopted. Immigrants, the adopted, and any other people who were born in different countries that now reside in the United States have helped create the blended culture we have today. Many aspects of our culture have come from outside forces; thus these people are important to our society. 


Knowlton, L. G. (Director/Producer). Somewhere between [Motion picture]. United States: 

Ladylike Films.

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