Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage
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Irrepressible memories. Vacant eyes. A child being dangled from a third story window. A boy tied to a chair. Children sleeping in layers of clothing to fight off the bitter cold. An infant dying from starvation. Some things your mind will never allow you to forget.
Silent Tears is the true story of the adversity and triumphs one woman faced as she fought against the Chinese bureaucracy to help that country’s orphaned children.
In 2003, Kay Bratt’s life changed dramatically. A wife and mother of two girls in South Carolina, Bratt relocated her family to rural China to support her husband as he took on a new management position for his American employer. Seeking a way to fill her days and overcome the isolation she experienced upon arriving in a foreign country, Bratt began volunteering at the local orphanage. Within months, her simple desire to make use of her time transformed into a heroic crusade to improve the living conditions and minimize the unnecessary deaths of Chinese orphans.
Silent Tears traces the emotional hurdles and daily frustrations faced by Ms. Bratt as she tried to change the social conditions for these marginalized children. The memoir vividly illustrates how she was able to pull from reservoirs of inner strength to pursue her mission day after day, leaving the reader with the resounding message that everyone really can make a difference.
accustomed to seeing on healthy babies. Once she settled into my arms, however, I knew in my soul that she was my daughter—she was the child I had prayed daily for since I’d first seen her precious face. With her somber eyes looking at me and her fingers clutching her name tag as if it were a lifeline, I looked into the eyes of my daughter and began the process of getting to know her. I feel a bit guilty, four months later, putting those first, fleeting thoughts of mine in writing, for all to
deformity, these babies have a difficult time sucking. It is heartbreaking to see the effort it takes them to drink milk without it coming out their noses or spilling over their faces. They often go hungry because the workers don’t have enough time to spend on properly feeding them. That’s where we volunteers can make a difference; we take the pressure off the workers by being there to help care for these special-needs babies. At our orphanage, we now have four babies currently in need of this
up with her. I see a child thriving who would otherwise be languishing in the unemotional environment of an institution. The doctor has said Xiao Gou will not need any further surgeries; furthermore, they say she will never be able to wear a prosthetic leg because of the lack of bone structure on her side. However, I firmly believe that another doctor in another country could figure out some way to make this happen. She wasn’t given the colostomy either, which I think was a mistake. The
They tugged at many heartstrings in the audience as they sang a series of songs onstage. We gave them tickets for games, but it was overwhelming for the usually isolated children to be surrounded by so many people. To calm them before the performances, we took them to the basketball court to release their energy. I kept some of them busy playing Duck Duck Goose and Ring Around the Rosie and giving piggyback rides. When it was time to perform, we headed upstairs and had fun watching all the
thick muscles on his small frame; I suppose massaging people hour after hour is an effective way to tone one’s biceps. In his hands, my feet began to feel weightless. Listening to my husband in an all-out snore, I wished I had his capacity to simply shut off thoughts, but the distraction of a stranger working on my feet cut into my usual mental rambling and wouldn’t allow me to ponder one subject at a time—instead they came flying at me all at once. I wonder if he thinks my feet are big. I