At first, they meet

For the next few weeks (begining Tuesday evening), the American PBS stations that carry the POV (Point of View) documentary series will take a peak at adoptions, and surprisingly, both the selected films will be of keen interest to Jewlicious readers, since they both deal with adoptions into Jewish (and Israeli) families.

They are Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy, and Off And Running.

In the first documentary, a Jewish family adopts an eight year old girl from China. They already have two biologically born sons, (one of whom is prepping for his Bar Mitzvah) and one daughter that they adopted from China a couple years earlier.

In “Off And Running,” a Jewish couple in Park Slope / Brooklyn have several adopted children of various backgrounds. In the documentary, their daughter, an African American young woman, who had attended a Jewish day school, decides to search for her birth mother.

Wo Ai Ni (I Love You) Mommy by Stephanie Wang-Breal will be broadcast on Tuesday, Aug. 31 at 10 p.m. on PBS; and will stream online from Sept. 1 – Nov. 30 at this link.

What is it like to be torn from your Chinese foster family, put on a jet with strangers and wake up in a new country, family and culture? Not only that, but you are on Long Island! Wo Ai Ni Mommy is the story of Fang Sui Yong, an 8-year-old orphan, and the Sadowskys, the Long Island Jewish family that travels to China to adopt her.

Sui Yong (now Faith) is one of 70,000 Chinese children now being raised in the United States, many of them in Jewish families as young Jewish boys and girls. Through her eyes, we witness her struggle with a new identity as she transforms from a timid child into someone that no one ­ neither her new family nor she ­ could have imagined.

Meeting her mother, Donna, for the very first time and learning that her new name will be Faith Sui Yong Sadowsky, she­ reacts as any self-respecting little girl would. She is alternately shy, withdrawn, timid, petulant, cute, rude, demanding, endearing, needy, manipulative, tragic, happy, loving, not so loving, ANNOYED, confused, surprisingly perceptive about her situation ­ and a natural in front of the camera. Arriving in New York, and meeting her new family, including Jason, 15, Jared, 12, and Darah, 3, is quite interesting as well. And more importantly, will she allowed to wear makeup?

To further explore the issues in the film, there will host a live chat
with filmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal and Donna (mother) and Faith (child) Sadowsky on Wednesday, Sept. 1 at 2 p.m. ET (USA) at this link.

Fides, Spes, Caritas, et Darah?

I spoke with Stephanie Wang-Breal and Donna Sadowsky earlier this Summer, as well as one of their producers, the award winning filmmaker, Judith Helfand. Stephanie specifically selected this story of an eight year old, because in most adoption cases, the child is pre-verbal and we can’t know what s/he is thinking. In this story, Faith is quite verbal about her feelings, and we get to know her joys and pains (usually in subtitles). Stephanie, who grew up as one of the only Asians in her town, dreamed of being White. Will race be an issue for Faith and what will she aspire to be?

Here is a secret for Jewlicious readers. At the start of the film, when Donna flies to Guangzhou to meet Faith, Faith and the adoption agency leaders are speaking in Cantonese. The audience can read the subtitles. But actually, Donna did not know what was being said at the time; and the filmmaker and crew only spoke Mandarin, and so they also did not know what Faith was really saying, nor what her caregivers were telling her to say or do. This will add to your insights while watching what unfolds.

It truly is a must see, and I highly recommend it. Plus, it includes
a Bar Mitzvah. Click here for the bar mitzvah video. Hehe.

At meet, will she be first?

Off and Running by Nicole Opper will be broadcast Tuesday, Sept. 7 at 10 p.m. on PBS and also stream live til Hanukkah. (More on this film next week)

About the author

larry

7 Comments

  • My niece was adopted from China. I’ll be up at the Bima this weekend for her Bat Mitzvah. She wasn’t torn away from “foster family” when they went to get her. She was torn away from an orphanage full of a lot of other Chinese girls whose parents threw them out because of China’s disgusting 1 child law that rewards boys over girls in rural parts of China. They chose to deal with China because they were advised to avoid adopting Russian children from another disgusting country that throws away their weak and “damaged” children or hides them away from society if they choose to keep them.

  • Great. Well, I hope you watch it on your local PBS station or online. The documentary will highlight more about her Chinese family than I typed above.

  • while i believe that adoption is beautiful, there are thousands of children here in the states who need to be adopted.

    i understand that the bureaucracy here is more convoluted, but i have heard many horror stories connected with international adoptions…mostly due to poor screening.

    please, if you are looking to adopt…look locally

  • Beautiful story about the journey of child from China to USA and the great love of Donna (Jewish family) and interaction of them, it is much more than the adoption;

  • Carmel Fishman of Karmiel, Israel is NOT for Sale

    The message you are receiving is going to be sent to adoption agencies the world over by various people.

    I’m sure that you represent a reputable adoption agency. That is why I am writing you.

    Unfortunately, Social Workers in Israel have become extremely aggressive about locating babies that they consider adoptable. Sometimes the families are poor and the poverty is remediable. No attempt is made to relieve the poverty. If there is a baby in the house, it is often taken and sold on the adoption market. Older children of the remediably poor are typically institutionalized.

    The case of Carmel Fishman is more extreme still. His father was wrongly institutionalized in the Mazra Psychiatric Facility in order to seize his baby son, Carmel. This has been reported to the Israeli Embassy by both Americans and British citizens in their respective countries. It’s not very difficult to terrify a person by placing them in a psychiatric facility (the Mazra facility has not general hospital facilities), drug them and then say they are too disturbed to care for their families. Unfortunately, this is done in Israel by the greedy and the ruthless.

    Although the case of the Fishman family is extreme, it is not unheard of in Israel. As “child welfare” becomes privatized in Israel, more and more aggressive and extreme measures are taken by Social Workers to tap into the potential institutionalization and adoption markets.

    Social Workers’ salaries in Israel are very low. They get bonuses for every child they put in some sort of placement. Of course, the most lucrative market, bringing in the biggest bonuses for Social Work bounty hunters, is adoption.

    If you understand Hebrew, I suggest you watch the videos on the RonitEmerald channel on You Tube to get an idea of the horrors being perpetrated upon families by “Social Services” in Israel.

    Israeli law, putatively to protect “children at risk” actually gags information about the 10,000 children per year in Israel who are ripped out of homes that can be helped.

    With the advent of the internet, information that could not get out of Israel formerly, now can.

    Luckily for Carmel Fishman, whom we have reason to believe has been slated for adoption, his father, Arye, is fighting mightily for him and there are ways of getting his story to the outside world. Most parents break under the relentless and cruel pressure placed on them by Social Workers, often involving true threat. Arye Fishman is standing up to cruel and unusual punishment inflicted upon him because he will not give up his children.

    The links on this page, one coming out of the US, the other from Britain, are being circulated all over the net. It’s all perfectly legal, as the people producing and posting the videos not Israeli citizens.

    The upshot of all this is: Carmel Fishman will be known to the countries in which he might be marketed. So, it won’t be worthwhile trying to put him up for adoption.

    Carmel Fishman has not been abandoned by his family. His father is perfectly able to care for him. His father receives a very nice pension from the Israeli Air Force. Carmel has been provided with everything he may need or want by his family. Carmel is loved profoundly. Carmel is well-developed for his age and clearly very healthy.

    CARMEL FISHMAN IS NOT FOR SALE.

    CARMEL FISHMAN of Karmiel, Israel – KIDNAPPED

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TZqaSQbaPUA

    http://alisonsgypt.wordpress.com/2011/06/04/baby-wrongly-taken-by-social-workers-in-israel/

    Doreen Ellen Bell-Dotan, Tzfat, Israel

  • I’d like to get a copy of the video… We just came back on Thanksgiving with our little 2 year old girl, also from Guangzhou (and I recognize the couch and pillows!). I can guess as to some of the emotions and thoughts going through her head. We’re planning for her naming.

    She’s really starting to blossom here, and I am thankful that for her situation, her orphanage and foster home, did take good care of her.

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