Somewhere Sisters: A Story of Adoption, Identity, and the Meaning of Family

Hachette Audio. Oct. 2022. 8:03 hrs. ISBN 9781649041227. $23.95. SOC SCI
Journalist Hayasaki (literary journalism, Univ. of California, Irvine; The Death Class) offers a riveting examination of transracial and transnational adoption, highlighted by the experiences of three adopted Vietnamese girls. Hayasaki’s story focuses on identical twins Hà and Loan, born in 1998, and Đinh Khánh Nhú, who was born in 1999. Unable to care for the girls, Hà and Loan’s mother Lien placed Loan in an orphanage; she eventually gave Hà to her sister Ro and her partner Tuyet, who raised her in a lower-income but loving home. Meanwhile, Americans Keely and Mick Solimene adopted Loan, whom they renamed Isabella, along with Đinh Khánh Nhú (renamed Olivia), another Vietnamese girl at the orphanage. Hayasaki, herself a mother of twins, interweaves all three girls’ stories, gleaned from hundreds of hours of interviews with them and their birth and adoptive families, with insight into the history and complexities of transracial and transnational adoptions. Vietnamese American VyVy Nguyen’s energetic narration of the material, along with her authentic pronunciation of Vietnamese words and names, honors the experiences of the girls and their families.
VERDICT A gripping and thought-provoking study of adoption, identity, and the challenging ways in which culture, politics, and economics intersect.
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