Linda Goldstein Knowlton is in New York City promoting her new documentary, “Somewhere Between,” and Skyping with her daughter, Ruby, who is in California, when a telephone call interrupts.
She asks the caller to hang on; sending Ruby off to school is clearly more important than promoting her film — especially since Ruby was, in a way, the genesis of the project. “Somewhere Between” is about children like Ruby, who were adopted from China.
Since 1979, when China introduced its one child policy, there has been a plethora of children — mostly girls — abandoned there. About 175,000 of them have been adopted worldwide; 80,000 have found homes in the U.S.
“Somewhere Between” is centered on four teenagers from around the country who, as one describes herself, are bananas: yellow outside, white inside. It is also about wonderfully caring and giving parents. After witnessing the conditions in some orphanages, the mother of one child makes it her mission to raise funds and send supplies there, which she personally delivers. While the children’s lives are almost certainly better than they would have been in China, they suffer identity crises. One bursts into tears when she describes how she was abandoned by an older step-brother, who left her sitting on the sidewalk, though he promised to return.
The film is intelligent, poignant and likely to provoke tears. After kissing Ruby goodbye, Goldstein Knowlton spoke to The Arty Semite about adopting Ruby, what she learned from the film, and her own “Jewish cred.”
Curt Schleier: What prompted you to adopt a daughter?