My daughter's name is Ruby Goldstein Knowlton. She’s seven. When my husband and I adopted her from China, we had no idea what lay ahead. We became a family in an instant. But as I began to think about Ruby's future, I started to wonder how her coming of age would differ from mine. I began talking to older girls who had been adopted from China and brought to the U.S., and plunged into a world not just of identity but of what it means to be who we are.
This film, SOMEWHERE BETWEEN, was born.
The primary themes of SOMEWHERE BETWEEN are identity formation, family, adoption, and race. The film focuses on the intersection of all of these themes through the coming-of-age stories of four girls. As they discover who they are, so do we. Through their specific stories, we as viewers come to understand more fully the meaning of family and the ever prevalent cultural disconnect between stereotyping and race—whether we are adoptive families or not.
I hope the film will create an emotional experience for viewers, and in the process educate and help create a language that helps describe what it means to be “other” in the U.S. I also hope the film will inspire reflection on how we all form our identities, and on our growing global and personal interconnections, especially those networks of women and girls that have been formed due to this large wave of adoptions.
In the years since I began work on this film, Chinese adoption has changed significantly—more boys are now being adopted, and the rate of adoption has slowed. Today, most Chinese adoptees are children with special needs, of both genders. While all adoptees face similar feelings and challenges, the film’s focus on that first, relatively new wave of Chinese girls remains relevant; female Chinese adoptees remain in a category all their own due to the sheer number of children involved, and because those adoptions—and abandonments—were then based solely on gender. These personal, social, and cultural ramifications are significant.
Nevertheless, I am making this film for everyone. For the girls, so they can see their experiences in connection with each other, and for everyone who grapples with issues of race, culture, identity, and being “different.” By necessity, we must all try to comprehend the experience of being “other” in America, to see how each individual finds his or her own way in society. This film explores the emotional and psychological fallout on our daughters and our selves, and our cultural experience when stereotypes and assumptions collide.
Through the voices of these four young women in the film, we begin to understand what they face, and understand more deeply our own complex relationships and culture.
I hope SOMEWHERE BETWEEN will start a dialogue about what we see, who we are, and the changing face of the American family. This film is about these four girls, and the 79,562 girls growing up in America. Right now.
-- Linda Goldstein Knowlton