Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family (MP3 CD)
Award-winning journalist Erika Hayasaki's deeply reported, intimate story of twin sisters--born in Vietnam and raised on opposite sides of the world--whose discovery of one another's existence upends common conceptions of adoption, family, and identity. The twins were born in Nha Trang, Vietnam in 1998. Their birth mother couldn't afford to care for them, so one sister, Ha, was adopted by her biological aunt and her partner in rural Vietnam. Ha grew up walking to the local school, helping her moms take care of their chickens, and cooking outside over a firepit. They had sporadic electricity and frequent monsoons. Ha's twin, once called Loan, was adopted by a wealthy white family, who renamed her Isabella, in a predominantly white suburb of Chicago. She attended private Catholic schools, played soccer, and started preparing for college. When Isabella's mother Keely Solimene learned that Isabella had a twin sister, likely still in Vietnam, she turned all of their lives upside down to find Ha and reunite the girls. Hayasaki brilliantly pieces together each family member's perspective, painting a picture of the girls' distinct childhoods, educations, and experiences of race, family, and friendship, weaving in the fascinating, and often dark, history of transnational and transracial adoption in America, twin genetics and epigenetics studies, and the never-ending nature v. nurture debate among scientists and psychologists. Somewhere Sisters illuminates and grapples with pressing issues within the American and intercountry adoption systems today, but it is fundamentally a moving portrait of sisterhood and the family bonds that shape us, perhaps more than social scientists or any research method can begin to untangle.
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