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 emotional journey took the film crew across America where they documented the girls in their hometowns, facing racism and struggling with stereotypes. Their journeys were also documented as they traveled to Europe to meet other transracial adoptees and back to China, where they witnessed China’s gender gap resulting from its One Child Policy.
The film also witnesses their emotional coming-of-age. As the girls discover who they are, viewers—no matter their color, gender, or culture—will find themselves exploring their own sense of identity and their feelings about family and belonging. Through their experiences, we will also see our still-prevalent cultural disconnects around stereotyping and race.
As Somewhere Between plunges the viewer into the ordinary and extraordinary days of these four girls lives, we, too, are forced to pause and consider who we are—both as individuals and as a nation of immigrants.