Binitay (Teaser Video)
By: James Beni Wilson
“Binitay” will be a documentary film about James Beni Wilson, a Filipino adoptee, who was born in the Philippines. It’ll highlight his journey through his struggles of culture identity, healing, and reconciliation with his past.
This is only a tentative opener for the video documentary. Filming progress will be an approximate eight month or longer process and its final release will be in the late summer or early fall of 2013.
Kadtong dili molingi sa gigikanan, dili makaabot sa gipadulongan. (Cebuano Version)
“He who does not look back from where he came will never reach his destination.” -Jose Rizal
Here is my interpretation of looking back at where I came from. I edited in and faded my passport picture. This is the earliest picture of me before my adoption. Thank you everyone who has wished me birthday wishes. Love you all. Mahal ko kayong lahat. Gihigugma kaninyo tanan.
Habang may buhay, may pag-asa.
“While there is life, there is hope.”
Made in the Philippines 1.24.90
I am blessed with two fathers.
Although I may not have ever met my biological father, I do not remain angry at him since I do not know about the situation my biological parents were in.
My foster father who I have reconnected with was a Jeepney driver in Cebu City in the Philippines. My adoptive mother got to meet him when she adopted me. Although there was a language barrier she always told me she sensed a warm and softness to his personality and well being. After four years of my search for looking for him and my foster family we’ve finally reconnected and keep in touch.
I love and appreciate my adoptive father. He’s very caring and always misunderstood for who he is. I’m glad to have a father who goes out of his way for me when I don’t ask for it.
I’m very fortunate to have these fathers in my life to care and be there for me.
Happy Fathers’ Day! Gihigugma ko ikaw Tatay Pepeng and I love you Dad!
Let’s talk about race, culture, and a brief background about me as well as other adoptees.
Hi! My name is James, some people call me Jay, or JB, and also Beni. Um, usually my close friends call me Beni. Anyways, I am going to talk about race, and cultural identity in this video. The reason I’m talking about cultural identity is because, well, I’m adopted. I’m Filipino and I’m adopted. Um, I’ve made a vlog before, but not everyone has seen it, this is going to be, maybe, my second vlog, because my other one is Vlog 1.5.
So um, I’m going to talk about questions that adoptees usually are asked, like, “What is it like, what is it like to be adopted?” Um, sorry, my Filipino - not my Filipino, my - Oh my god. [laughs] My Michigan accent pops out now and then. Anyways: what it is like to be adopted. Well I actually looked up on this one site a whole list of questions that people who are adopted go through. And so um, such as “do you know your real parents” and “what are their names” and “have you ever met them,” very touchy topics like that. And not every adoptee is actually able to actually answer questions that are like that. And it’s pretty personal and, also, to keep in mind, adoptees and non-adopted people need to learn the proper terminologies that comes with being, um, adopted or encountering someone who is adopted. For example, in that question, “real parents.” The technical word is, um, “biological parents.” Mostly because it’s to honor that your “real” parents are the parents who did take care of you, and did love you and care for you as an adoptee. While your biological parents just gave birth to you and have a genetic relationship.
[looking at the list of questions adoptees commonly encounter] Other place - other things such as where - well first I should answer that question. I never met my biological parents, I never met my biological family. I was born in Tabogon Cebu and it’s - it’s a small village, it’s a small village on the island of Cebu in the philippines. And I was taken - well first I was found hanging in a plastic bag on a banana tree, and then I was to a orphanage, it’s known - called uh, DSW - Department of Services and - something. I can’t remember. [laughs] DSW, it should be DSW. If I’m wrong, you can correct me. And then, I was in the foster home, which was a research and study center for children for about two years. Later I was put in a foster home in Labangon in Cebu City in the island of Cebu in the Philippines. And I lived with the Torres family for about a year until I was three and a half years old and after I was three and a half years old I was adopted by a white American family who wanted a child, and they didn’t - I don’t think they specifically chose the Philippines as some - as I’ve been told by many other people “Oh you’re so lucky, you won the lottery, you must be so grateful,” but anyways. Um, that’s how I came to be adopted by this white family who is right now my family and my parents. Um, time I was born, I was born in the morning, mostly likely, because of the state I was found in, I was found around seven o’clock in the morning. Um, let’s see, other questions.
[looking at the list of questions adoptees commonly encounter] Where did my- what did my birth mother name me, what did my - I can’t - some of these questions don’t apply to me, such as - any questions about my birth parents, or biological parents. And it doesn’t say, I can’t really answer anything about wedlock. And some of these questions are just weird. Such as, “do my birth parents love me,” but I can just - answer a few things about being a Filipino in a white American family. I grew up - it was a natural thing for me to be growing up in a white American family, but then as soon I hit about my teenage years, eleven twelve thirteen, when kids start noticing the differences of how I look between my mother and father and everyone else in the family: Why am I brown? Why am I Chinese-looking? Why am I Asian? Small, short? All of those things. And, I would tell them “Oh, I’m adopted.” And then they started going through the stereotypes of the adopted children go through. As “Oh, you’re adopted, you must be a problem child,” “Oh you’re adopted, um, because you’re a - we think you’re a problem child, you must have gone from foster family to foster family.” And so, not many people really think about, um, what adopted children go through. Like, “oh he seemed to have grown up well.” Yeah, you’ve grown up well. But it’s like - it’s a blessing, it can be a blessing but it can be a curse at the same time. It’s never one thing, it’s a bunch of mixed feelings that - an adopted children - or an adopted person feel at many points of their life. Or just time of day. Um, where could I go with that…
Like when people say “Oh you must be so lucky,” and one of the instances is when - it’s hard to deal with when you don’t look like your parents. And some people wish they don’t look like their parents because they probably just want to dissociate with their parents. But, such as, “Oh um, you’re lucky in, uh” - what was I about to say? [laughs] What was - what I wanted to say was that, um, let’s say you’re with your parent. You’re with your parent who adopted you. And so you look different than your family. And then you also have - a friend with you who is just chilling along with your adopted family. Like, example. I went bowling with my adopted parents and I brought my, one of my best friends who is white also. And, they, my parents had a few friends at the bowling alley and they said “Oh is this white child” - they didn’t say that blatantly but just a example, - “Is this - is this child your son? He’s a very good bowler!” And they, um, it just - it like - it hurts a lot when people jump to those conclusions because they don’t think outside of the box of that, um, this child who is a different color skin is this white person’s child. And um, it’s just, it’s - you have to be in that position. Um - I don’t want to talk about this anymore. [shuts off video]
Thank you @dancingonembers for providing a transcript!
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.
This the first time I heard any information about my foster parents…