From Guangzhou to Long Island: One Eight-Year-Old Girl's Journey to America

Documentary fillmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal discusses international adoption with Donna and Faith Sadowsky, subjects of her film Wo Ai Ni Mommy. (11 min., 10 sec.)
NEW YORK, May 14, 2010 - Asian American film director Stephanie Wang-Breal spoke at the Asia Society following the New York premiere of her feature debut Wo Ai Ni Mommy [I Love You Mommy] (2010) in a conversation with La Frances Hui, Senior Program Officer of Cultural Programs. Wo Ai Ni Mommy follows a Long Island Jewish American family's journey to China to adopt an eight year-old girl. The subjects of the documentary, Donna and Faith Sadowsky, mother and daughter, joined the discussion at the Asia Society to share their experiences.

Since China opened its door for international adoption, more than 70,000 Chinese children have found new homes in the United States. According to official US immigration figures (2006), 44% of children adopted were under the age of one and 52% between the ages of one and four. A small number of American families choose to adopt older children. During the on-stage discussion, Wang-Breal revealed the inception of this film and why she chose to focus on the adoption journey of an eight-year-old girl: "I really wanted to tell the story from the child's perspective."

Despite the deeply emotional and personal nature of the adoption experience, Donna Sadowsky allowed the presence of a camera, explaining, "If one person saw this film and said, 'I could do that. I could adopt an older child, welcome an older child into my home,' then for me it's worth it." During the discussion, Donna Sadowsky also revealed the process that led to the family's second adoption from China and talked about the importance for her daughters to be connected to their heritage.

Faith Sadowsky, now 11 years old, lightened the conversation with her charm and humor. Despite the early struggles to adapt documented in the film, she is now a confident and cheerful American girl. Faith is learning Chinese and hopes to visit China one day. She even revealed her secret aspiration to the audience during the discussion.

Interview video edited by Sebastien Haizet, La Frances Hui, and Tian Deng.

This program is part of Citi Series on Asian Arts and Culture and was co-presented with Families with Children From China.