This is for day 27 of National Adoption Awareness Month, so this is my daily post to amplify the voices of adoptees, posted on day 28.
“Found” is a new documentary on Netflix about Sadie, Chloe, and Lily, three adoptees from China raised in the United States. They connected via DNA testing because they turned out to be cousins, and then went to China together, along with their adoptive families, to see if they could make deeper connections.
I always worry a bit about documentaries like this that feature adopted minors going through a complicated part of life. My understanding is that these young women were teens when the film was made. According to a Newsweek article, Lily is a senior in college now, and Sadie and Chloe are high school seniors. That’s pretty young for exposure like this. Chloe is the niece of the film’s producer, Amanda Lipitz.
The three girls are wonderful—insightful, funny, bright, empathetic. They clearly have a tight bond; traveling together and sharing the bond of being adopted was vital. It’s poignant to watch them with their families—the scene where Sadie’s adoptive mom is showing her old family photos is powerful. Equally poignant and powerful is the Chinese genealogist, Liu Hao, who aims to help the girls find their birth families by posting their photos in websites, responding to leads, getting DNA samples, traveling to rural areas, and showing remarkable empathy.
And the nannies who cared for the girls when they were babies in the orphanage: in “Found,” these women are shown to be loving and deeply connected to the children in their care. That is of course not always the case in orphanages around the world,
Also poignant are the scenes of the Chinese families who are not matched with their never-forgotten daughters via Liu Hao’s efforts. Reading the English subtitles is important, but the looks on their faces are stunningly revealing.
There is no tidy resolution to the film, which will not surprise anyone who has been involved in adoption and in birth parent searches. China is especially difficult that way, as baby girls are abandoned and few records are available. There are some “successful” matches, and that is just the beginning of a complicated journey.
I am struck by the film’s title: “Found.” The opposite of Lost, but who was found? Who remains lost? Who cannot be found, and yet remains present?
The documentary is both emotional and pragmatic. I wish Sadie, Chloe, and Lily all the best.