This post was originally published on AdoptionBlogs.com on September 8, 2010. Republished here with permission.
I’m not sure where I first heard about the documentary Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy. I knew it was going to be on PBS, and Heather at Production, Not Reproduction posted the day it was to air, August 31. Since then, I’ve seen many reviews, but I’ve only read one. I wanted to see the movie first before I saw what other people were saying.
The one review I read was at Creating a Family. Dawn Davenport notes that we’re only seeing what the filmmaker wanted us to see. Even in a written memoir, we get most of the story from one point of view. In a documentary, we see bits and pieces. Who knows what ended up on the cutting room floor?
I was prepared to be saddened and angered by this movie. I read that the adoptive parents, Donna and Jeff Sadowsky, are being eviscerated on the Internet. I thought that this would be an anti-adoption film. I was wrong.
I can see why the Sadowskys are unpopular. Most of what ends up in the movie is them rejoicing at their daughter becoming more American. I had a lot of “really?” moments. Why did Faith have to learn English so fast? Why didn’t her parents and siblings learn more of her dialect of Chinese? How was Faith supposed to tell her new mother what was wrong when she didn’t have the words?
Towards the end of the movie, when Faith has been in the country for 8 months, Donna Sadowsky takes pleasure in recounting a phone conversation between Faith and her Guangzhou Mommy and Mei Mei (foster mother and sister). Faith can no longer speak Chinese very well, and ends the conversation saying, “I don’t like Guangzhou Mei Mei. I like Darah! Darah is my sister!” Donna is so incredibly pleased, and all I could think was, “Wow. How selfish can you really get?”
The film is not a condemnation of adoption. It’s not adoption propaganda either. I think it’s a straightforward piece about a small piece of one child’s adoption journey. No one comes out smelling like a rose. There are a lot of unanswered questions. I definitely think that adoptive parents and prospective adoptive parents should see this film. Most of what the Sadowskys did could probably be put in the “What Not To Do When You Adopt a Child From Another Country” bucket. However, they truly do love Faith. They did enroll her in Chinese school, and belong to a group of families who have adopted from China.
You know – if anyone comes out as the “good guy” here, it’s Jared, the Sadowskys’ 13-year old son. He really relishes his role as big brother. It’s endearing.
You can read more reviews at:
I haven’t read them all yet, but I plan to. I feel that there may be at least one more post based on all of the comments.