Director: Amanda Lipitz
The story of three American teenage girls-each adopted from China-who discover they are blood-related cousins on 23andMe. Their online meeting inspires the young women to confront the burning questions they have about their lost history. – IMDB
Found is a 2021 Netflix documentary which talks about three Chinese girls that were adopted to US to different families in different states but finds they are blood-related cousins through an ancestry DNA test by 23andMe and through their various conversations decides to reach out to a Chinese genealogist to look for their roots from their orphanage to where they were left and potentially seek their parents to get some answers as they get ready for their trip to China together to get to their own family history more.
Found is a really great topic to explore. As China recently approved their three child policy in 2021, the one child policy may feel like a good while ago but cannot be forgotten as many children were given up during this time due to the hefty penalties for having more than one child. This lead to a lot of families giving up their children leaving them in bustling areas in front of government buildings or streets creating stories like the ones of these three girls. The documentary does a great focus on how detailed the genealogy research is especially the in-depth research and even the emotional burdens as they follow her to meet various potential matches.
The first part plays a lot around the researches and communications from the genealogy while the second part follows the girls as they go through this China trip that leads them to meet the ladies who took care of them at their adoption centers or the places that they were left while also exploring the country itself. Breaking it down, the first part gives a lot of back story primarily as the genealogist follows the different leads and talks to the different potential match. At the same time, being a girl born in China, she also shares some of the mentality behind the gender of a child in the society in certain family structures. At the same time, her research and results also contrast with the mixed emotions behind the adopted girls as they discuss their feelings towards this whole situation.
The documentary plays on a few elements and shows the genealogy and how it is rather hard to find matches especially in face of strong laws that perhaps stop parents from wanting to find the children that they have given up but it does focus on both of sides of the story. While it doesn’t specifically reference the details of the one child policy, the different conversations also sheds some light on the people most affected by this law to its penalty. Its a rather thorough documentary and these three young girls also learn quite a bit from following their roots and doing their trip together and get some kind of closure, the whole situation feels both touching and amazing and perhaps a nice story for others to decide whether they want to try to seek out their own roots and explore their place of origin, whether or not finding their parents is really up to chance.
Genuine human emotions, heartwarming and a decent look at these three adoption stories as well as the genealogy portion of searching for answers and root all culminate together in this documentary. Its well-made and hits the points fairly well. While it doesn’t dive very deep into the one child policy, it still gives enough information to share these girls’ journey and perhaps, the results aren’t so important as the very fact that their one decision brought them each other and gave each other the courage to go get in touch with their roots by simply going back to their homeland and seeing the little bits of what was found.