Opening The Bird Cage
This is an experimental short documentary about my adoption and reunion in the Philippines. I made a lot of it poetic, as I use my mixed media as a metaphor of a “cathedral” I built inside myself when I felt broken in the past, with a placement of facts of my adoption, photos of my baby files/photo albums, and personal comments before and after the reunion.
Hi there. My name is Princess Daniele Claveria. As far as my adopted parents know, I am 100% Filipino and this is my story.
According to my adopted parents, and grandmother, my biological mother was poor and obviously couldn’t take care of me. Biologically I have about four or five other siblings, but again as far as my parents know I was the only one to be given away. Sometimes I wonder why was I the only one, but at the same time I’m glad that my life is the way it is.
I was adopted straight out of the hospital, I don’t think there were any adoption papers though. My biological mother gave me to my grandmother. At the time my parents were in the United States and then returned to the Philippines to come see me. I don’t know how long it took, they never said anything to me. My parents are Filipino and as far as they know they too are full Filipino. (: Less then a year later I head off to the United States with my grandmother and my cousin.
My family treats me as if I really was their own blood. I was with them you could almost say since the day I was born. Actually in my family, there are three of us who are adopted, including me as well. As for my friends I say majority of my closest friends know I’m adopted and don’t treat me any differently.
Sometimes though I do wonder who would I be if I wasn’t me? Then I’d stop and think that it doesn’t matter who I WOULD of been. All that matters is who I am now and what I could become.
This is me and my story (:
Winter Park, Colorado
Just this past weekend I spent my first time in Colorado. It was amazing getting to meet other Filipino adoptees from a span of ages and being given the opportunity to be a camp counselor. The deepest part was not only that we were all learning about our cultural heritage is that we had this automatic connection and deep emotional bond.
The most beautiful part, aside from Colorado’s natural beauty, was that even the adoptive parents got to experience with their children who were learning about their identities culturally, spiritually and emotionally.
The Adoptee Panel discussion was great for adoptive parents, speculators and the panelists. The questions helped not only the adoptive parents but it also helped the panelists emotionally in being more open and comfortable with expressing things that they typically might not talk about but want to help the parents
I would like to thank the Filipino American Community of Colorado (FACC), Filipino Adoptees Network, counselors, volunteers, the cooks (of course!), and the many campers and their families and everyone else who helped make this trip happen.
Maraming Salamat, thank you very much,
~ James Beni Wilson
Finally found them. I didn’t think I would ever be able to find them. It’s been 18 years since I’ve left the Philippines.