At Eight Years Old, New Family, New Country, New . . . Everything

I missed Wo Ai Ni Mommy when it aired on PBS in 2010. Neither did I see it while it was still being streamed on the internet. But there are plenty of pieces online that give insight into this documentary of an adoption story.

Wo ai ni is Mandarin for “I love you,” and the film is about the adoption of an eight-year-old Chinese girl by Jeff and Donna Sadowsky, from Long Island. While comments about the film show that many have been inspired by the story, others are troubled by seeing the process of how Fang Sui Yong quickly became “Faith” and lost her Chinese heritage. If for nothing else, Wo Ai Ni Mommy is a thought-provoking look at adopting an older child internationally and shows the difficult transition, warts and all.

The DVD for the full film is available here, as well as a downloadable discussion guide and a lesson plan for grades 9-12, “Assimilation or Acculturation?” In introducing the lesson plan, PBS calls the documentary

an honest and intimate portrait of loss and gain. As an outreach tool it raises important questions about cultural preservation, transracial and international adoption, parenting, family and what it means to be an American, what it means to be Chinese and what it means to be white.

The lesson plan includes links to several short clips from the film:

Other clips available at PBS are

There are also two interviews with Amanda Baden, the counselor from the last clip, “Being Foreign Forever” and “Choosing between International and Domestic Adoption“; a Q & A session at the New York City Asia Society with Donna, Faith, and Stephanie Wang-Breal, the film’s director; and an update with the Sadowsky’s following the making of the documentary.

And finally, here are two more interviews, one with Donna Sadowsky and one with Stephanie Wang-Breal: