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Silent Tears: A Journey Of Hope In A Chinese Orphanage [Paperback]

Kay Bratt
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
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Book Description

30 Mar 2010
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 adversity and triumph in one woman’s fight against bureaucracy to help orphaned children.
In 2003, Kay Bratt’s life changed dramatically. A wife and mother of two girls in South Carolina, Bratt relocated to her family to rural China to support her husband as he took on a new management position for his American employer. In seeking a way to fill her time and overcome the isolation she experienced upon arrival, Bratt began volunteering at the local orphanage. Within months, her simple attempt to make use of her time transformed into a heroic crusade to improve conditions and minimize the unnecessary deaths of Chinese orphans.
Silent Tears traces the emotional hurdles and daily frustrations faced by Bratt in trying to change social conditions for these marginalized children. The memoir divulges how she was able to pull from reservoirs of inner strength to pursue her mission day after day and leaves the reader with the resounding message that everyone really can make a difference.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Lake Union Publishing (30 Mar 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0982555008
  • ISBN-13: 978-0982555002
  • Product Dimensions: 22.9 x 15.2 x 2.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 524,437 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Kay Bratt is a child advocate and author, residing in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina with her husband, daughter, dog, and cat. Her best-selling memoir titled Silent Tears; A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage and her new series, The Tales of the Scavenger's Daughters, can be found at

Product Description

About the Author

Kay Bratt is a child advocate and author of the books Train to Nowhere, Chasing China, The Bridge, A Thread Unbroken, and the acclaimed memoir of the years she spent working in Chinese orphanages, Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage. She has actively volunteered for several nonprofit organizations, including An Orphan’s Wish (AOW) and the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children. In China, she was honored with the Pride of the City award for humanitarian work. After living in China for several years, Bratt now resides in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in South Carolina, with her husband, daughter, dog, and cat.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Although I admire Kay for getting up and actually doing something and bringing these horrors to my attention I didnt really like the book and it became a chore to finish. The decision to go to China was very hurriedily dealt with and for such a big move they seemed poorly prepared.

The book starts with promise with a chinese woman abandoning her baby near the orphanage. However the rest of the book is a diary format of Kay's time in China and it became boring and repetitive. I was uneasy hoping to read more of the horrors just to liven it up a bit. I think the book would have been improved if her diary was just used for reference and an actual story emerged.

Alternate chaptors between Kay, Ben, Amanda and Heather would have added a great deal of insight into how this affected everyone. For me Ben's experience was missing from this book who surely must have encountered much red tape and cultural difficulties setting up the new manufacturing facility. I think together as a family they had a great story to tell.

There is a web site given at the end of the book for readers who want to help raise awareness but somehow this doesnt seem enough. Do any of the proceeds from the sale of the book go to the orphanage, I think this needs to be made clearer, I assume as with her website her purpose is to raise awareness and I wish her every success with that.
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35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
Silent Tears captures the 4 years American woman Kay Bratt spent in China when her husband's work transfered them and their daughter, Amanda, overseas.

This journal style memoir gives insight into the lives of Chinese orphans and the conditions they live in at the orphanage. I gained an awareness of the life of a foreigner in China, Chinese attitudes to childcare and the role of the child in a Chinese family. The most interesting and heart-breaking part of the book is the focus on children with special needs and disabilities. The way Kay helped these most vulnerable children who are subject to the most horrendous treatment is inspirational.

However, the main problem that I found with the book is the authors negative viewpoint. She moaned constantly about her new life in China and about everything connectived with the Chinese foster/adoption system. Whilst she obviously went out of her way to be polite to stay in her position at the orphanage, I felt that she came across as very judgemental of Chinese customs. I understand that she witnessed horrifying scenes of abuse and felt powerless a lot of the time but each chapter seems to alternate between missing the US and wanting to move home and then things slighly improving for the babies at the orphanage and being motivated again. This just got a little repetative and the complaining became irritating. She also seemed to want credit for all that 'the foreigners' had done in China as she was 'the leader' and didn't seem humble or appreciative of others at all.

Overall I found this interesting to learn about Chinese orphanages and I think people who are looking into adopting/ have adopted from China would find this absorbing. Unfortunately, overall I found I couldn't fully connect with the authors viewpoint which meant the book wasn't as good as I anticipated.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Harrowing and Shocking 14 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
This book has it's good and bad points but is definitely a worthwhile read.

This book is the true story of an American woman who moves to China because of her husbands job and chronicles the shocking living conditioons of Chinese orphans.

On the negative side it's reasonably apparent that the author isn't a professional writer. The book is written more as a diary and the actual flow, phrasing and wording isn't particularly conducive to good reading at times. Also, despite being called a 'Journey of Hope' there really is very little hope at all. Rather than inspiring readers and showing what we can do to change this dreadful situation it actually does the opposite and left me feeling quite powerless, even though the synopsis says that it leaves the reader "With the resounding message that everyone can make a difference", in fact it seems like the only one who the author possibly feels can and has made any difference is herself.

On the positive side, this book really will touch you and certainly remain with you for weeks to come. It highlights a callous and barbaric system of child care that people really would not think could possibly be the normal state of affairs in a developed nation.

Overall I would reccomend this book to anyone if only because it highlights a lifestyle that should be completely unacceptable in the modern day and will truely make you thankful for the quality of life when you look around you at the children you know.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ambassador of Goodwill 27 Aug 2010
By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
In 2003, Kay Bratt and her husband left North Carolina for rural China as Kay's husband relocated their family there for work reasons. The Bratt family anticipated many changes, but not the major changes of helping Chinese babies who had been abandoned and relegated to overcrowded orphanages. Kay initially planned to volunteer part-time at a local orphanage for a few days a week, but the children she met at the orphanage convinced her to stay.

In addition to absorbing, appreciating and having respect for Chinese culture, Kay Bratt has made every good faith effort to demonstrate fairness and tolerance of all she enconutered. Granted, the conditions at the orphanage were appalling and horrific descriptions of outright abuse might even shock Dickens, but she soldiered on, despite her sometimes overwhelming despair.

Orphanage staff received very few supplies and barely enough food to get through the day. They had to inure themselves to their harsh surroundings and those of the children in their care. Many infants died from illnesses that were often untreated as proper medical treatment was not readily available. Food was a scarcity for the children in the orphanage. Malaria-bearing mosquitoes were always a threat and sadly, there were not enough nets to cover the infants. Sadly, some young charges starved. Infant casualties were not considered uncommon.

Fortunately, Kay Bratt was able to secure the trust of the women with whom she worked. In time, she and the staff mobilized forces to feed and protect the children in their care. She rounded up a group of volunteers to bring needed supplies to the orphanage. She was also instrumental in securing medical attention for the children.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Well written and very moving
Published 7 days ago by Sandy Staff
5.0 out of 5 stars Kay Bratt certainly has a great understanding and first hand...
Kay Bratt certainly has a great understanding and first hand experience of her time spent in the Chinese Orphanage,it is a very sad and moving story.Highly recommended
Published 15 days ago by Jan
5.0 out of 5 stars silent tears
This book was very informative , well written , very easy and interesting to read. This is the first book I have read by Kay bratt and will be looking for more thank you xx
Published 1 month ago by Helen Louise Williams
5.0 out of 5 stars Silent fears
I choose the book as I have been reading other ones by Kay batty. A fascinating insight to the culture of China. Sad and yet very inspiring and the research was very good. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Linda smouton
5.0 out of 5 stars What a woman
Simply amazing. No idea how she managed to keep going against the squalor, heartbreak, everything, but she did. Read more
Published 4 months ago by dc61
4.0 out of 5 stars really sad but uplifting
Mostly this was worth reading. She deserves real credit for what she did and for publicising the issue. Read more
Published 4 months ago by tc
5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic.
Thoroughly enjoyed this book.(if that's the correct word) Certainly opened my eyes to the living conditions of many unfortunate babies
Published 5 months ago by Brenniel
3.0 out of 5 stars Great material but disappointingly presented.
Oh dear, I am just not sure about this memoir, I probably would not have chosen to read this if I had picked up the paper back copy in a bookshop or a library. Read more
Published 6 months ago by LindyLouMac
5.0 out of 5 stars this was going to be a good story.
I found that it was also harrowing but funny in places. I raise my hat to the ladies who got so involved in the daily lives of the unwanted children. I will give it a heads up. Read more
Published 6 months ago by Mrs. G. E. Utting
5.0 out of 5 stars A serious book about the unwanted children in China
This book made me smile and cry a lot! How I wish I was a younger women to get involved with these poor darling children. JS.
Published 7 months ago by Janet Shaw
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