I Am, But I'm Not

Born as one, raised as another; Transracial adoptees have to navigate their multiple identities.



I Am, But I’m Not follows six people from the same orphanage in India who were raised separately by white Americans in the Western United States. Though they share common experiences, each of these Indian American adoptees choose a different way to grapple with the tug-of-war between their birth heritage and the culture in which they were raised. Their stories speak to the hundreds of thousands of adopted children struggling to understand who they are as transracial adoptees. 

Co-Directors Shalisa and Barry Thornburg

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Shalisa is an Indo-American adoptee advocating for acknowledgement and education regarding birth heritage. As an international and transracial adoptee herself, she felt compelled to make this film to express the unique hardships and confusion that stems from international identity development in the United States.

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Barry has the skills to bring the portraits of adoptees like Shalisa to the screen. Specializing in character-centric stories with social impact, Barry is an award-winning cinematographer, designer, and creative with a heart for sharing the lives of misunderstood, unconventional, and underrepresented people.