Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review: A Brand New Life

A reader, who sometimes comments as Chinazhoumom, contacted me after watching this movie, about a Korean orphanage, with her daughter.  I asked her if she'd do a review, and she has! Her daughter has also added a few thoughts.  Enjoy!
Review: A Brand New Life
by Carol Mackoul
It started as a regular night. My 7.5 year old and I were watching tv. Looking for something on “On demand”…

Up pops a commercial for this movie
A BrandNew Life which my daughter says mom can we watch this.

Of course the fibers of mama bear (wanting to always protect and shelter my daughter pop up)....but we are not that house. I believe that knowledge is power. And with the knowledge you can decide how to move forward.

So we had a discussion about what this would be about and that it could or could not be similar to orphanage life in china. (one note my daughter may have only been 14 months old when she came home but she told me , when looking at a picture of the orphanage room...exactly which crib she slept in...(as was later verified by the nanny when we visited her orphanage when she was 4.

I digress but only to point out that our children remember much more than given credit for.

PLEASE NOTE SPOILER ALERT…items from the movie will be mentioned…go watch it…then come back and continue reading…
Although you have an idea of where the film will take you in your minutes that you spend together…you are not sure how you will get there.  I have to say that the story and movie were well done.  I felt that they did not glamorize “orphan” status nor did they “lay it on too thick”.  They showed a window into a slice of her childhood.  Is it better than most, I can’t judge that…is it worse…again that is something that I will never know.
Smiling…that is how you first see Jinhee.  She is happy…so very happy…just as a child should be.  Not a care in the world.  She enjoys the wind in her hair…like flying away and soaring above all the worries of life.

Laughing at the thought of new clothes…made to feel special…loved by her daddy.  Cared for, tucked in bed…staying warm…staying safe…
Until, that day….the day that changes her life’s course forever…gone is her father…to never return…gone is all that she knows and holds dear.  Gone are the bike rides feeling on top of the world. Gone is the family where she knew “who” she was…to a place…a place we cannot imagine…a place without a mama to tuck you in and kiss your cheek…and to love you no matter what.

Thrust into the first “brand new life”.  Learning the rules, learning to live life in a different place and time. Learning to adjust to life in an orphanage.  She truly believes that her father will return for her and even asked the director of the orphanage to check as she knows her address.
He is never coming back.

I felt that the same “ray” I see in so many of the children adopted from China was seen in Jinhee in the film.  Down deep there is a will to survive.  I see it in coping mechanisms portrayed by one of the girls in the movie.  Her character is the “perfect little girl”.  Speaking English to the adoptive parents touring the facility, smiling, saying she wants a family and to become a doctor.

I see it in the main character Jinhee.  Her will kicks in and she realizes that if she continues down the path she is headed, she too may age out and be “placed” with a family as a servant, as one of the older girls was in the film.
I feel like this a great film to view especially if you are adopting an older child.  All children that become part of your family thru adoption have a past, whether they were placed in your arms at birth or as an older child or teenager.  Their life story was written on the sands in the wind before you (their parent) ever came into the picture.  I feel that it is our responsibility to help them weather the changing tides.  As our children get older and understand more about what may have brought them to our arms…we are there to wipe away the tears, and support them as they develop.  Will we have the answers, no.  Will we be able to take away the pain, not always. But maybe, just maybe we can provide them with tools to grow and develop into the best person that they can be.  And to understand that although they were dealt a hand of cards…they are in control and can choose to trade the hand they had for a brand new life.

Watch this film. 
Watch it without your child.  Absorb the tale and realize that this, although Korea, is not the same as most of our children from China (in that a parent took them to the director).  The end result was that they found themselves in an orphanage and eventually left it for A Brand New Life.

Watch it with your child.  Why? It may be a great tool to open discussion if needed. 
You decide what is best for your family. Every child is different.

Will you cry…you bet.  But will you see our children in the eyes looking back at you from the screen? I did.  I was reminded that so many children wait for a family…and governments take too long to find them homes. While they pass bills and change rules…the children grow up…and if not to A Brand New Life, where will they wind up?
The movie will touch you.  It is based on a lady’s real life.  She was adopted by a Canadian couple many years ago…. 

Let me know what you think…even if you don’t agree with me.
Written by my daughter 7.5 yrs old. (I asked her to write whatever she wanted about the movie-this was written a couple of weeks after watching…
I think that Jinhee’s clothes are cute because one has little flowers straps and lots of white ruffles.  Jinhee’s life was a lot like mine! The main difference is when Jinhee was abandoned she must have been five or six.  I was only one. Jinhee’s best friend was Sookee, they are both Korean from Korea, very near China.  Jinhee was always following Sookee around just like when I was young.

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