In the age of Angelina Jolie and Madonna, transnational adoption has become a highly publicized issue, whether it’s being lauded or criticized. Stephanie Wang-Breal’s engrossing documentary seeks to push past that debate and show the transnational adoption process in the raw by following the transition of 8-year-old Fang Sui Yong of Guangzhou, China, as she becomes Faith Sadowsky of Long Island, NY, over the course of 17 months. The long takes in many scenes are purposeful; everything is captured, from Faith’s deer-in-headlights expression when meeting new mother Donna to her gradual assimilation into American culture. One particularly brilliant moment shows the adoptive parents struggling to understand Faith’s questions of “Why adopt?” and “Why China?” They are equally perplexed by a transnational adoption counselor’s explanation that race and culture are entirely different things. The film is a slice of the Sadowskys’ life, and though it may seem to end abruptly, it is a deft move on Wang-Breal’s part to show that no one can know how Faith will feel about her identity in the future. The DVD includes deleted scenes, interview outtakes with a psychologist, a Q-and-A and an update on the Sadowsky family.
Directed by Stephanie Wang-Breal