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.