A Journey of Hope In A Chinese Orphanage

September 19, 2008

One night while blog hopping, I stumbled upon THIS blog. Within minutes of reading, I knew I had to order her book….Silent Tears.

The book came on Monday night and I could not wait to dive right in…..

Nothing could have prepared me for what I was about to read, for what Kay and her team of volunteers witnessed on a daily basis was beyond my wildest dreams. The very fact that they had the stamina and perseverance to continue to return day after day speaks volumes about the kind of people that they were.
During her years in China, she witnessed many tragedies, but as time went on, through her dedication and leadership of the volunteer group, they were able to turn some of these sad situations into success stories. It is amazing to me that they were able to accomplish what they did given the circumstances they were forced to deal with.

In a way, this book has educated me about what we should be prepared to deal with as a result of our child having spent most of his/her life in an institution. I know if my child had been in the orphanage Kay and her group volunteered and advocated for, I would be forever grateful that their encounters with the children gave them some affection and comfort…although brief at times, in some cases the only sense of compassion the child has ever experienced.

As we continue to wait for our child assignment, my mind races with thought and worry.
I have spent close to three years dreaming about our “Family Day”….we all want it to be a joyful day, but that is not always the case. We will be taking this child away from the only surroundings they know….

I recently corresponded with Kay Bratt and asked for her permission to include some excerpts from Silent Tears. Please make note that in her book, she changed the names of people, cities, and the orphanage, to ensure the future volunteer efforts would not be compromised.

Author, Kay Bratt

October 30, 2003

Today we had no choice but to dress the babies in clean but wet diapers after their baths. Perhaps the laundry is taking longer to dry now that the weather has cooled. Next week they will likely all be sick from wearing wet diapers. I desperately want to show these ayis better ways of doing things, but if I do, I’ll be denied any chance of returning. I just have to be meek—which isn’t like me at all—and do things their way.

When I go home to South Carolina next summer, I plan to buy cloth diapers in all sizes for the babies. Ben is going to speak with someone at his company to see if they might be interested in sponsoring the shipping if we buy or get donations of the needed items. We also plan to collect donations of other items such as wipes, diaper rash medications, and so on. I’d like to be able to start a supply cabinet and keep it stocked with everyday necessities.

The two toddlers were particularly overjoyed by our visit. One of them, Yue Hua, is the child whom I taught to walk. She was desperately attached to Yoli and now her affection has transferred to me. She loves it when I pick her up, but when I try to put her down, she clings to me, wrapping her little arms around my legs and staring up at me wistfully. Yue Hua has adopted the American way of hugging and any time I sit down, she flies into my arms. Fine with me—she is so huggably sweet. Yue Hua is supposedly in the process of adoption to America, but I don’t know where we stand on that. She has the most solemn eyes I’ve ever seen on a child; so full of a sadness that I can’t reach. She rarely smiles but when she does, she makes it worth the wait. I pray the paperwork will be hurried along so she can get to her new family as soon as possible.

November 4, 2003

When I arrived today and headed for my special baby, Squirt, I found his little bed empty and all his blankets gone. A dreadful feeling washed over me. I didn’t want to ask; I was afraid to know and I was afraid not to know. My hands began to shake. I glanced around and caught the workers turning from me. I could tell from their downcast, guilty expressions that it was bad news. My eyes finally met Xiao Annie’s and then I knew. She made the sign over her eyes to indicate someone had died.

I stumbled over to the small stools we sit on while holding the babies. My legs lost all strength as I lowered myself and covered my face with my hands. Mercifully, no one tried to patronize me by attempting words of comfort.

I was in shock. I couldn’t understand. Three days ago, Squirt had been fine; he was not sick, and he was eating with a hearty appetite. I was certain he was going to make it. Every time I fed him, I stared into his eyes and willed him to survive. Sure, he still looked like a shriveled up old man, but it seemed his hunger to live was sustaining him and helping him to become stronger each week.

Squirt is gone. He never had the chance to get well and to have a family. I can’t stop thinking of his last moments. I wasn’t there for him.

I wasn’t there. I did not get to hold him as he left this world. He had to die alone. I wasn’t there. I can’t do this anymore.

For details on purchasing this book, click HERE.


Lisa said...

Wow! My heart is breaking for those babies! I think it is great that you were able to read that book before you travel and get a perspective of what you child may have gone through.

My Ellie was in a foster program and only went to the orphanage during the day and came home with her caretakers. Maybe your daughter or son will be in foster care too!

I just may have to get that book!!! Thanks for letting me know about it!!

Our Complete Family said...

Oh Lisa. How sad the story is. I will put this on my 'to read' list so I can gain knowledge and understanding. It will undoubtedly break my heart though. Thinking of you and wishing you a great weekend ahead! High fives and hugs to the kiddos~ Les

Kate said...

I am actually having a hard time committing to reading this one. I think it would have been upsetting before we had Lia...but now that we do have her....it is almost an impossible task. I keep seeing little blurbs here ad there...and thank you for sharing this...maybe in time I will be able to slug through it.

Michelle R Photography said...

I have been wanting to buy this. Thanks for posting the excerpt. It is one I am sure I will need a big box of tissues next to me, but I think it is important for me to be more aware of what both my girls might have gone through.

Jboo said...

I have heard of this book too and may have to check the library for it. It is so hard to think about the circumstances and conditions that our daughters may have had to endure when they were just little babies.


Jennifer said...

Wow, I will be looking for this book...Poor babies :(

Shell in your Pocket said...

Wow...that is so sad and heart breaking. I am not very familiar with China and their adoption rules. Is there a waiting period for adoption? I had heard that they are picky about the Americans that adopt...a friend told me that you even have to have a certain weight..I don't know if that is true or not!

Thank you for sharing! Have you been waiting three years for an adoption? Why so long?

-I love your blog!
Sandy toes

Heather said...

Oh Lisa - how did you know????? This has been on my to-do list for exactly five weeks now and I have not had the time to peruse the B&N or Borders to get it. Thank you so much for posting this and the link - you are a sweetheart.

I could have amazon-ed it, but when I am on the computer, I am checking blogs, emails and then off and running again!

Many thanks - have a happy weekend!!


Kim said...

I have seen that book on other blogs..
Sounds like an amazing book..
Thanks for sharing..
Have a Great Weekend..
Hugs girly..

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...

Wow! This is my first visit to your blog. I am so grateful for women like yourself that are "telling" and "teaching" others as they go.

You have such a beautifully vibrant blog!

Blessings on your family

Jodee said...

Lisa -- This is soooo sad. My heart just breaks for all orphaned children. I can't wait to read this book. Thanks for posting on it.

OHmommy said...

I have been looking for a good read... this sounds like something I might really enjoy reading to learn more.

Fliss and Mike Adventures said...

I am going to have to read this book... but first of all.. you may want to go and get your award from my site...

Shari said...

I too bought this book, but my class started before I had a chance to read it. My sister did borrow it and said that although it will be hard, I must read it. She was with me when I adopted Amelia, and visited her orphanage with me. We all want to believe that our kids weren't in an orphanage like that, but there were some who were. It's always best to know the entire story.

Chasing Dreams Photography said...

I am reading this book and sometimes I have to stop. I can't bear to think about what my little Addison went through : ( I love her so much.

Julie said...

Someone just recently told me about this book and how difficult it was to read. Makes me so thankful that my daughter was in foster care.

Denise C said...

OK...crying here!!! Oh how my heart just breaks for these precious little children! I want to save them all! Rescue them all....adopt them all! Thank you for sharing this book.
Hugs to you my sweet friend!!!

Anonymous said...

We think that book sounds amazing. A need to read kind of book. Thank you for letting us know about it.

Briana's Mom said...

My heart is in my throat. It is so sad. I definitely need to get this book.

Catherine said...

Wow! Those 2 little exerpts were hard to read. It's one of those 'I think I want to read it books' and 'I'm not sure I can.'

What a powerful and eye-opening book I'm sure.

jennifer said...

Thanks for sharing this with us. I will have to pick up that book.

Liene said...

Thanks for the excerpts from the book. It's on my to read list. I can tell that I'm going to cry all the way through the book.

Norma said...

kay's site is kay bratt uncensored......she has some important things to say. there are many sides to a store and I will read her book for sure.