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Archive for May, 2006

Movie Alert

I was watching tv the other night and a commercial for the movie "Broken Trail" broke my tv-trance. Summary:

Set in 1897, Print Ritter (Robert Duvall) and his estranged nephew Tom Harte (Thomas Haden Church) become the reluctant guardians of five abused and abandoned Chinese girls (introducing Caroline Chan, Olivia Cheng, Jadyn Wong, Valerie Tian, and Gwendoline Yeo). Ritter and Harte's attempts to care for the girls are complicated by their responsibility to deliver a herd of horses while avoiding a group of bitter rivals intent on kidnapping the girls for their own purposes. Directed by Walter Hill

Basically big, hero cowboys save helpless, abused and abandoned Chinese girls. It's due to come out on AMC, June 25-26. I wonder if they'll end up being adopted. *smack

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Protected: I’m Asian, too.

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Protected: Ethnically Incorrect

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By: Associated Press

MANASSAS, Va. — A North Carolina woman was sentenced to 25 years in prison Thursday for fatally beating a 2-year-old girl she had adopted from a Siberian orphanage.

Peggy Sue Hilt, 34, of Wake Forest, N.C., repeatedly punched and stepped on her daughter, Nina, in July. Nina died from her injuries the next day.

Hilt told investigators that she had become frustrated about her failure to bond with the child.

Calling Hilt's actions "inexplicable," Prince William Circuit Court Judge William Hamblen imposed a 25-year sentence, above the sentencing guideline range of 12 to 21 years.

Prosecutor Paul Ebert said the stiff sentence was warranted given the horrific injuries that Nina suffered. Ebert also pointed out that Nina's death caused a backlash in Russia against foreign adoptions, hurting families' efforts to adopt children.

Hilt's lawyer said his client was an alcoholic who suffered from mental health problems that went untreated.

Shit. So much for better off. That just goes to show that you just never know. The first question that comes to mind is, "Who the hell screened this woman?" And what's the deal with the 25 year sentence even if it's above the 12 to 21 year guideline. What? You only get 12 to 21 years for ruthlessly beating a child to death?!

I'm seriously itching to bring up racial discrepancies when it comes to screening and how social services looks at parents "of color" as opposed to white parents. I don't think it's appropriate here, though and will save it for another day. I know Jae Ran touched on this subject in her Myth of Motherhood post which was one of those "hmmm…I never considered it" things for me. Since then, I've been thinking more about this. Anyway, will save that one for another day.

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Protected: The packrat

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Protected: The unexpected

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Thought this might interest some of you out there. I'm still feeling lazy. I'll get my head out of my butt one of these days, just not today.

An adoptive father writes an essay for a seminar in the form of a letter to his Korean daughter, Caitlin. Here are a couple of snippets:

"It's been 20 years now, but I still remember the meetings with case workers from Catholic Social Services, and their questions about why your Mom and I wanted to adopt a baby from Korea. And I remember saying that we simply wanted to adopt a child, that we were not worried about creating an interracial family, and that I even wanted to believe that families like ours might help other people get over their hang-ups about racial differences.Today I realize that my answer overlooked someone important, Cait. It overlooked you. I wanted to adopt a child; I wasn't worried about our differences; I hoped other people could change.But what about you? What do you want, Caitlin? What do you need? Talk with me.

This week, Cait, I think I remembered something that time and my insecurities had obscured: There is a difference between empathy and shared experience.

As much as I love you, I can never share your experience of being Asian. And as much as you love me, you will never share my experience of being white.

Before this week, I realize, that reality scared me. It dissuaded me from talking with you about our differences, because I saw it as something that separates us — and I don't want anything to come between us.

At times this week, I thought the fact that I will never share the experience of being Black or Asian or Latino or Native stood like a great canyon between me and the people of color in my life. And I began to worry that maybe the canyon could exist one day between you and me, too. "

In turn she replies:

"In the past twenty years, you and I have been through a lot — all of the soccer games and tournaments, the shows I have been in that you came to see, looking at colleges and so much more. But through all of that time I have never really thought about how different you and I are, and for that matter, how different I am from almost everyone in my life. Reading your letter helped me to crystallize moments in my life where my difference played a role.

All of my life I have known that I am different from others because I am Asian and adopted, but I have never really thought much about it. There have been a few instances in which my race was brought to light during my adolescence, but my friends were there to help me deal with the racist actions or words, and they have helped me to forget about them. Though I am sure there have been more, there are only two instances that still, to this day, stick out in my mind."

I'm not sure if I want to scream at the guy, "NOW, you think about all this!" or hug him because he thought about it at all. The angry side of me pops up screaming, "Do you think it's easy for an adoptee to share that kind of pain with you after you've avoided it for so long?" Sometimes adoptees bury it so deep that even they don't realize it's there, at least that was the case with me. That's just one of the things I don't think I'd ever be able to share with my parents for reasons I've written about before.

Something in the tone of his letter brought a tear to my eye. By the time I'd gotten to the end, I was bawling like a baby. Maybe it was the almost beseeching tone of his letter or maybe the old romantic, sentimental softee side of me was clawing its way to the surface. Or..was it because it was an exchange I'd like to have with my own father but never could? Was I reading his words, my mind inserting my own father's voice?

Still, there was something that bothered me about his daughter's response. She seems to almost dismiss the racism she experienced and seems more intent on comforting and reassuring her father than anything else. Then again, maybe I'm being too judgemental and who am I anyway? The gentler side of my being tells me she's just being positive and what's wrong with that? We all handle things our own way and my response to my own adoptive father wouldn't be much different.

Sometimes, I hate my own duality. Okay, most of the time, I hate it. Seems I'm always at war with myself in one way or another. I live in between two worlds, existing as two different people. The lines are blurred, not exactly separate, not really unified. One of the few constants is the love I have for my parents. Even though I exist in a constant state of duality and inbetweeness, I still love with only one heart. Perhaps at the end of the day, that is where the war must end or at least come to some kind of truce.

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