Live Chat with Faith and Donna Sadowsky

POV: Thanks for joining us for this live chat! Faith and Donna Sadowsky (via webcam), Dr. Amanda Baden, expert in transnational adoption, and filmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal will be here at 2:00 to answer your questions!

POV: Please note that your questions are being held in a queue, and will be published by the moderator as the session goes on!

Comment From
Comment- We have a 7 yr oldgrand child who has been here for 13 months & is wonderful!

Comment From Guest
going thru channels i just happen to stop pn PBS..... wonderful documentary!

POV: Hi Donna and Faith!

POV: Do you want to say something?

Comment From JonD
Hi Donna and Faith

POV: Hi Everyone. Donna and Faith are trying to get on by webcam, but are experiencing some technical difficulties! Thanks for your patience. Hopefully we'll get started in a few minutes.

POV: Donna and Faith are on! Welcome guys!

POV: Can everyone hear?

POV: We hear you Donna and Faith!

POV: (but we can't talk 😉

POV: because we're text only!

POV: Uh oh... we lost you again.

POV: Sorry everyone. It looks like we're experiencing some challenges.

Comment From Jenny
We are in the process of adopting a 6, (almost 7). We are thinking of homeschooling her. We also have a 9 year old daughter (also adopted from China)who we are currently homeschooling. We were wondering if she would benefit from being in public or private school for a year or more to promote her language skills? What are your thoughts on this? Thanks so much for your input!

POV: Hi Everyone - Donna and Faith are trying the webcam one more time!

POV: If it doesn't work, then we might switch to a text-only chat.

Comment From tracy gavigan
ok were patient... ; )

Comment From john yang
So touching. I watched it yesterday. It was amazing that how love can break the interntional barrier. Please excuse my english. I am not a native English speaker.

POV: On the phone with Donna! Our test chat went so well yesterday but today we're having problems! Isn't that the way it always works?

Comment From tracy gavigan
yes for sure...

POV: Filmmaker Stephanie Wang-Breal and Dr. Amanda Baden will also be here (via text) to answer questions.

Stephanie Wang-Breal: Hi Everyone, Stephanie, the filmmaker here to answer any questions!

POV: Okay, we're back on!

Comment From Phyllis
Faith how is your cantonese these days?

Amanda Baden: Hi everyone, I've made it online. This is Amanda Baden.

Comment From tracy gavigan
My Question is...Is it better to home school them the first yr they are home with you? or send them directly to school, when you adopt the older child?

POV: And Amanda, please feel free to chime in on that.

Amanda Baden: Thanks. It's a good question. I don't think there's a single right answer for every child. It would be so much easier if that were the case, right! I think it depends on the support the family has.

Comment From AF
I'm curious about the experience of the older brothers in the process

Comment From Eileen
Faith.. how did you hurt your arm..

Amanda Baden: When I met with the Sadowskys, we talked about the changes that everyone had to make but how having the Sadowskys learn some Mandarin and how engaging the community of Chinese speakers in the NYC area might have eased the transition and helped both the family and Faith make similar efforts.

Comment From Phyllis
Stephanie were you an adoption as well?

Stephanie Wang-Breal: Phyllis, I was not adopted. Prior to meeting Amanda and the Sadowsky's I had no personal relationship to adoption. Now that they are both dear friends, I have real close-ties to adoption!

Comment From Jonni
Hi, I was just wondering if you could redo this experience would you choose to have the video camera there? Also, I am very thankful for you and your family allowing us to be part of Faith's adoption. I am also a mother of 2 wonderful daughters from China and I know that the time in China is not always the easiest time. Thank you.

Comment From Guest
she still have contact with her mei mei in china?

Comment From Cathy
Question for Amanda Baden about Mandarin lessons for our 4 year old who was adopted from China whne she was 14 months old. Just want to hear your thoughts

POV: Again, a reminder: Donna, Faith, Dr. Baden and Stephanie might not have time to answer all your questions. Please note that your questions are being held in a queue, and will be published by the moderator as the session goes on!

Comment From Eileen
Faith... you are making us all smile today ! You are a brave girl!

Comment From john yang
that is a good news to hear her mei mei will be in USA soon

Comment From Brian O
For Ms. Wang-Breal - do you have any plans to continue documenting the Sadowsky's?

Comment From Marsha
Faith, how old are you now? What are some of your favorite things to do? Do you get along well with your little sister?

Comment From Susie
Hi, it is so nice to see you both! Just enjoying this interaction!

Amanda Baden: Your question is a good one. Many families ask about Mandarin lessons for their daughters. I think there are a few different issues here. With Faith, she was already fully fluent and maintaining language is a different proposition than learning it after having been raised in a monolingual (English only) house. Many times children don't want to be the "only one" who has to take the language classes and rarely does the language become fluent unless all are taking it and immersion within the language is made possible (like with a Chinese speaking nanny or in a bilingual school). I encourage families to take the language classes together so everyone is engaged in the process and all can practice together. It doesn't just have to be the domain of the child.

Comment From MarthaO
I'm coming in late, but just want to chime in and say how fantastic Wo Ai Ni, Mommy was

POV: So Faith, could you say that again?

Amanda Baden: By the way, I don't have audio from Donna and Faith so my apologies for not responding to what they're saying. We're working on it now.

Stephanie Wang-Breal: No, right now I do not plan to continue to document the Sadowskys. they have already been so generous with their time and space! If Faith does want to continue this project at an older age, I will teach and help her make her own personal documentary.

POV: Donna, Faith, you guys are still very low on the volume.

POV: Some of our chatters are having trouble hearing.

POV: Thank you!

Comment From randi takaoka
stephanie and donna, how do you view international adoption as different than domestic adoption, and what helped you make that choice?

Comment From randi
hi faith! hi donna! how has the film impacted your lives?

Stephanie Wang-Breal: randi - we have been posting on our facebook fan page a lot of interesting facts about domestic and international adoption and we have learned from comments from our fans the differences/ difficulties involved in both.

Comment From donna r
Dr. Baden, for internationally adopted children who the feeling of loss is not as obvious as it was with Faith (perhaps the child was younger at time of adoption), how do you recommend addressing that loss?

Comment From Guest
Do you think you will visit China again together sometime when Faith is a bit older?

Comment From Guest
Faith, do you have many memories of your early life in China?

Comment From Jonni
I agree, this was wonderful! Thak you to everyone involved in making this wonderful film. I can;t wait to share it with my daughters when they are old enough to understand.

Comment From tracy gavigan
do you feel people were judging you as a parent

Comment From Matt
Can Stephanie talk about how these girls (adopted since the 90's and raised by anglo parents0 are viewed by Chinese Americans? (I know you can't make a general statement)

POV: And Donna and Faith - you guys should fee free to chime in on this question as well.

Amanda Baden: I think that loss is inherent in adoption. Most adopted people know that for them to have gained what they did through adoption, they also had to lose something else. However, everyone reacts to that loss in different ways. Some are much more vocal about the loss and others do not talk about it. I think parents need to support their children and give them opportunities to talk about the loss and the all of the other emotions (there are many others) that go with adoption, but parents also don't have to force children to see loss when they might not ready to talk about it or deal with it.

Comment From Gina
Thank you, Donna, for agreeing to participate in this project. Your parenting skills are best represented by the lovely, smiling daughter sitting next to you.

Comment From Karen
I think it was very brave of you to share your family's story with others. I can't imagine my mom ever doing that.

Comment From Phyllis
Dr. Baden, the Russian adoption a few months back that did don't go well and the child was sent back home. How often does this happen?

Comment From DeeDee
How did you feel watching Faith change into an American child? Were you excited, nervous, worried?

Amanda Baden: I agree that Donna and Jeff were incredibly brave and clearly want the best for their children. I think all parents would have a tough time being viewed under such stressful circumstances!

Stephanie Wang-Breal: I think some working class, first-generation Chinese-Americans might view this generation of adoptees as "lucky." Lucky to have a loving family/home, comfortable social class, etc. I think other Chinese-Americans are curious as to what their life is like. But, again, these are gross generalizations.

Comment From Guest
Do you feel that you were adequately prepared beforehand for adopting an older child? Were you educated about the effects of PSTD and how Faith might be affected in that way? What other prep would you recommend to others adopting older children from abroad. Amanda please add your comments as well.

Comment From Guest
Faith, what do you want to be when you grow up?

Comment From Guest
Faith.. we can see you are happy and that is what we all wanted to know..Donna, we should not judge.. I am sure we all would do some things over.. you are a Mom who does love her children.. and that is a gift

Comment From michael
what grade is Faith in right now?

Comment From randi
faith whats your favorite part of life with your family?

Comment From Mary McKee
Hi Donna, I saw a lot of love in your family. I think you are doing a fine job! Wow - how would any of us look if a camera followed us around all day for many days? I have a Chinese adopted daughter and it has not always been easy. But we love her so much! Thank you for sharing yourself and your family and for being so real!

Comment From Karen
What is your favorite part of Chinese culture? Are there holidays or traditions you like?

POV: yes for Faith

POV: Or for Donna!

POV: Faith - we can't quite hear you!

POV: But we heard you say something was "SO big!"

Comment From Guest
Faith should talk closer to th emic

Amanda Baden: Regarding the Russian adoption, that was a very rare and poorly handled situation. In the adoption field, when a family can no longer parent or feels the match is problematic, they may seek to disrupt the adoption and no longer parent the child. However, as with any person having troubling parenting a child, adopted or not, there are many options for parents. Going to the adoption agency or calling family services (ACS in NYC, for example) are two viable, legal, and responsible ways of handling it. This story was a bit sensationalized and got a lot of press coverage, but typically families are so closely screened that very few disruptions and dissolutions occur like the Russian adopted boy case. Unfortunately, when something like that makes the news, people might generalize it to all international adoption and that's inaccurate.

Comment From Bonniee
Very touching to see how open, loving and accepting your sons and Dara were in the first instance of meeting Faith -- speaks volumes about your family!

Comment From tracy gavigan

Donna,how long did your adoption process take adopting Faith?

Comment From Guest
Faith, is your Dad still the cutest man in the entire world? (that was such a precious moment on the film!)

Comment From DeeDee
Dr. Baden how should you talk to your children about the subject of race especially if you have not had a similar experience?

Comment From Guest
Will Faith have a bat-mitzvah? Is she excited about that?

Comment From Teen Chinese Adoptee
faith, do you go by sui yong anymore?

Comment From Guest
faith do you want more siblings?

Comment From Cathy
Great answer Faith nmd Donna!

Comment From Kim
Hi Faith! Do you get to meet up and be around other adoptees from China or other countries?(I'm adopted from Korea)

Comment From Kelly
Faith, you are a very brave little girl. Thank you for sharing your story.

POV: Hi Everyone. So we have about 5 minutes left for this chat!

POV: Please send in your questions now and we'll try to answer them!

Comment From tracy gavigan
i truely loved this story and laughed & cried!

Comment From Kim
Faith, how do you like school?

Amanda Baden: Given that I can't hear what Donna and Faith are sharing, I can't speak to the preparation they received, but there are definitely different issues that families have when adopting older children. Some adoption agencies do a great job of this and others do less preparation. In any case, good post-adoption services and counseling are, in my opinion, invaluable for families going through the process.

Comment From Guest
stephanie what's your next project?

Comment From Jonni
Thank you so much Donna and Faith. Have a great afternoon! 🙂

Comment From Cindy
There is so much love in your family!

Comment From D.
Donna, what led to your calling Dr. Baden in the film for the discussion you had in your backyard? Was there an incident which triggered it?

Comment From guest
Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!!

Comment From Eileen
Faith, what is your favorite subject?

Comment From Eileen
Faith.. keep smiling! Be an actress.. you are a star to us!

Comment From Wesley Sasaki-Uemura
I'll ask this again. How long did you live with your foster family in China and are you in touch with your brother there?

Stephanie Wang-Breal: I'm researching and writing a narrative about an adoption where all the roles are flipped! ie. an American boy is adopted by a Chinese family living in China.

Comment From Bonniee
stephanie: can you tell us how you first approched donna with this project?

Comment From Mary McKee
Awesome film! God bless you!

Comment From hannah
Faith, you are truly an intelligent and independent girl!

Comment From Guest
Donna, thank you so much for sharing your story. I had the pleasure of meeting you at the SFAAFF and you are such a warm, caring and loving mother. Thanks to you and Faith for sharing your story. Stephanie made a beautiful film and I wish you nothing but the best.

Comment From Cindy
Regarding the language issue: it's commendable that Faith is going to Chinese school. Even with immigrant families where no adoption is involved, language loss is inevitable for the children. Good for you for encouraging Chinese school with Faith and Dara.

Comment From Katy
Donna - As an adoptive parent, I appreciate very much your comment about the film being ony a collection of snippets, as our lives are very complex. Thank you and Faith, and your family, for being so generous with your experience.

Comment From Eileen
Thank you Faith.. we learned so much from you !!!! XOXOXO

Comment From AK
Just curious, do you know if your Guanzhou sister was adopted? If so are you still in touch?

Comment From AK
Terrific, thanks!

Comment From tracy gavigan
thats wonderful news!!!!

Comment From hannah
Faith, I have faith in you! Please try to learn to speak Chinese fluent again!

POV: Thank you everyone!

POV: That wraps up our chat.

Stephanie Wang-Breal: I had sent out an email query to the fcc ny group asking to meet and talk to families who were about to go adopt an older child. that's how I met the Sadowskys. After meeting with Donna and Jeff a few times, I told them that I really enjoyed meeting and talking to them and that, if they are wiling, I would love to follow and document them on their trip to China. And they took a few months to figure out if this was the right move for them. Donna do you want to add anything?

Amanda Baden: Great question about how to talk to your children about race. First, I think adoptive parents have to recognize that they themselves have racial and a cultural experience. Often, White adoptive parents see their own race as the norm and other racial groups as different. They might also not recognize that being White has an impact on their every day experience. Essentially , families have to see that they must first understand their own racial experiences (for example, times when they've been treated differently than a person of color, either better or worse) and that they have an impact.

Comment From Eileen
Thank you

POV: Thank you to Stephanie, Amanda, Donna and Faith!

Amanda Baden: Clearly, there's a lot more to it than this, but this is the start. It also helps to make friends of color with whom you can have these conversations so you can practice this. Good luck!

POV: Have a great afternoon, everyone!

Comment From Nat B.
Thanks everyone!

Comment From Bonniee
Heartfelt thanks!!

Stephanie Wang-Breal: thanks every one for tuning in. please spread word about this film and the other two films featured in POV's adoption stories!

Comment From Cathy
Yes thank you!!

POV: Don't forget that you can watch Wo Ai Ni Mommy online in its entirety and find out more about adoption on the POV website

POV: And next Tuesday on POV, the 2nd of our 3 adoption stories: Off and Running

POV: You can replay this chat on the POV website too!

Comment From Bonniee
Will definitely spread the word!

Comment From tracy gavigan
bye guys!!