What is amazing is how quickly Faith becomes fluent in English and embraces her adoptive family while also sadly losing her ability to speak Mandarin and Cantonese, so much that the filmmaker’s Cantonese speaking friend is brought over during a visit when Faith speaks to her foster family in China via Skype. We discover that Faith has little opportunity to speak her native language, except for the weekends where she studies at a Chinese language school. This reminded me of my own youth, when I first spoke Mandarin as a baby and little kid, but quickly forgot the language when I entered elementary school (and attended Chinese school on the weekends until high school).
The film reveals a part of Faith who is sad to lose her Mandarin and Cantonese fluency as she becomes more fluent in English, because it makes her feel less “Chinese.” She also has a hard time understanding why a white American family would want to adopt a Chinese girl, subconsciously tackling the issues about race and identity as a Chinese American. I think many of Faith’s struggles are some of the same issues that all Asian Americans growing up in the U.S. have come had to
understand in varying degrees. I personally was surprised to find how much I could relate to Faith’s dilemmas brought up in this film even though I was not adopted.
* * *
But Wo Ai Ni [I love you] Mommy is more than a film about adoption; it is also an amazing story of love and family from both Faith and Donna’s point of view.
If you’re unable to catch the film at other screenings throughout the country, you can catch it on PBS this Fall, as the documentary has been picked up by POV: Documentaries with a point of view. Like others, I highly recommend this film and have become a fan on Facebook! Go see the film!
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