The Netflix documentary, “Found,” reveals what it’s truly like to be adopted.
Growing up with an adopted older sister, I never thought much about the fact that she was adopted, as it’s always been a normal part of my life.
But whenever I tell people she’s adopted, I can tell they don’t truly understand what it’s like. Even I couldn’t fully comprehend all of the feelings and complications that went into being adopted.
Fortunately, after watching “Found,” I was able to understand and appreciate the process of adoption on a deeper level.
“Found” features the journeys of three Chinese teenage girls — Chloe, Sadie and Lily — who were adopted by American parents and want to discover their family histories.
The documentary starts with a background on the three girls, which shows how they live their lives just like anyone else, despite having a messier infancy.
Early into the film, Chloe does a 23andMe DNA test. She discovers that she has two blood cousins living in the United States, Sadie and Lily.
The three of them attempt to discover more about their identities by traveling to China in hopes of uncovering all of the pieces of their life, pre-adoption.
They meet with a genealogist, Liu Hao, who guides them through this difficult task of finding not only their biological parents, but also everyone who appeared in their early lives, such as their nannies.
Not only do the girls have Liu by their sides, they also have their adoptive parents. Even when the girls are searching for their past family, they keep their parents close by, who are there purely to support the girls through this emotional journey.
As exciting as it may seem for the girls to possibly reunite with their biological parents, the girls must also deal with the intruding thought of why their parents left them to begin with.
Throughout the documentary, it’s a mystery whether any of the girls will be matched with their biological parents. They meet with a few potential parents, whom Liu is simultaneously trying to help find their biological children.
“Found” is a roller coaster of emotions, as I found myself uncontrollably grinning at times and holding back tears at others.
When the three girls met for the first time via a video call, I couldn’t help but smile at their exuberant and hopeful attitudes toward the whole situation.
But, later into the documentary, there are many instances when the harsh realities of their search come to light.
For example, when the girls first travel to China, they meet Mr. Chen, a potential biological father of Lily.
Unfortunately, Liu must later break the news to him that they are not a match. Seeing the look on his face go from hopeful to despairing was the hardest thing to watch throughout the entire documentary.
Following the story of three teenage girls close to my age also just made “Found” relatable and down-to-earth.
However, I never really thought much about myself while watching it. There are a few people in my life who are adopted, the most important being my sister, who was adopted from Korea.
A few years ago, we traveled to Korea so she could briefly reunite with her foster parents, who took care of her before my parents adopted her.
“Found” brought to light all of the feelings and thoughts my sister had during our trip that she hasn’t been able to put into words, and she and I greatly appreciate the documentary for that.
Although the ending of the documentary may not seem to literally live up to its title, it does in a sense that the girls found the truth — the people who matter most in their lives are their family and others who stand by their side.
Not only is “Found” satisfying subject-wise, but the cinematography is also very pleasing.
The documentary truly did the sensitive subject of adoption justice by putting obvious effort into the scene transitions, interview environment, and filming the most heart-warming moments.
Despite “Found” not being as well known as many other Netflix movies, I strongly recommend giving it a try in order to gain a better understanding of what it truly means to be adopted.
Even if you don’t know anyone who is adopted, I believe it’s still important to understand what life and family are like from a different perspective.
— By Ava Eberhart