A Reunion 20 Years in the Making
By: Mindy Jensen
The BBC recently aired a short film about a young woman named Kati who was adopted by an American couple from China. In this film, she is traveling back to China to meet her biological parents. This is a reunion 20 years in the making and the emotions are strong. Grab a tissue and watch!
This is the amazing story of one daughter, two families a world apart, and a reunion 20 years in the making.
Posted by BBC News on Friday, December 8, 2017
I wanted to point out some key points about adoption in this short film.
- I thought it was interesting that in one clip we hear the adoptive mother saying that, as a child, Kati was satisfied with her short answer of, “you came from a lady’s tummy in China. But you came from my heart. You were born in my heart.” This seemed to be the response she was given when she wondered where she came from. However, in the next clip, we hear from Kati who says there were times that she was curious but it was never brought up. At AdoptionLife.org we feel strongly about helping adoptive families create an atmosphere in their home where adoption can organically come up in conversation with their kids, where questions can be asked and answered in an age appropriate way, and where transparency and honesty are in their communication. Every person who was adopted deserves to know as much about their story as they can. Later on in the video, when Kati’s biological parents “reveal” to her that there is a letter from her biological family, my heart broke a little. Could this information have helped her while she was growing up? I believe it would have.
- Hearing Fenxiang, the biological father, talk about the decision to place their daughter for adoption was so raw and moving. After two decades, he recalls such detail about those events. The heartache that you can see in his face is so real. I’ve seen it so many times as we have worked with expectant mother and fathers who are thinking about an adoption plan for their baby. It is always heartbreaking for the biological parents. Even when they feel like they are making the best choice for their child. There is loss and there is pain. I think, sometimes, the world looks at adoption as an “easy way out” of a difficult situation. I promise you, there is nothing easy about this choice. No matter if you are here in the United States or across the globe in China.
- Let’s talk about that letter! Oh what trust birth parents have in adoptive parents! That they will keep their promises! That they will be remembered with love and compassion. That they will be talked about with respect in their home. The best part of this film for me, personally, was that these adoptive parents kept their promise to Kati’s biological parents and helped Kati get to the meeting place…with their blessing!
- Have you ever heard someone tell a birth parent to “just get over it”? So heartless. Birth parents may move forward with their lives and plans, but they never forget. I think this is represented perfectly when Fenxiang talks about visiting the bridge he references in the letter every year since 2004.
- The emotions involved in adoption are complex. We clearly see feelings of loss and love as well as sorrow, fears of failing biological parents, the need to apologize and beg for forgiveness, feeling like you aren’t enough or that a thousand apologies wouldn’t be enough, and intense unconditional love that time or miles could not dim.
- As an advocate of ethical open adoptions, I loved it when the adoptive father says, “We haven’t lost anything today. We haven’t lost anything at all. We are just happy for her.” This is the beauty of open adoption. The family tree just grows larger and one branch isn’t diminished by the existence of another branch–it just adds to the beauty of the tree!
Open adoption requires people to think about adoption in a new way. Rather than “subtracting” children from their birth family and “adding” them to their adoptive family, open adoption means that the family has been transformed and extended to form what we call an “adoptive kinship network.” Family members find themselves entering a more complicated set of relationships, but one that is usually rewarding for everyone (Grotevant, 2015).
For more information about open adoption, check out our Open Adoption Quick Facts section.