Silent Tears: A Journey Of Hope In A Chinese Orphanage Paperback – 30 Mar 2010
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From the Back Cover
An eye-opening account of life in China s orphanages. Kay Bratt vividly details the conditions and realities faced by Chinese orphans in an easy-to-read manner that draws the reader in to the heart-wrenching moments she has experienced in her work to bring hope to these children. Dan Cruver, cofounder and director of Together for Adoption
When her family relocated to rural China in 2003, Kay Bratt was thrust into a new world, one where boys were considered more valuable than girls and poverty and the one-child policy had created an epidemic of abandoned infants. As a volunteer at a local orphanage, Bratt witnessed conditions that were unfathomable to a middle-class mother of two from South Carolina.Based on Bratt s diary of her four years working at the orphanage, "Silent Tears" offers a searing account of young lives rendered disposable. In the face of an implacable system, Bratt found ways to work within (and around) the rules to make a better future for the children, whom she came to love. Her story balances the sadness and struggles of life in the orphanage with moments of joy, optimism, faith, and victory. It is the story of hundreds of children and one woman who never planned on becoming a hero but became one anyway.
Kay Bratt continues to raise awareness and advocate for at-risk children. In China, she was honored with the 2006 Pride of the City award for her humanitarian work. She is the founder of the Mifan Mommy Club, an online organization that provides rice for children in China s orphanages, and is also an active volunteer for Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children. Kay currently resides in Georgia with her husband and daughter.
" --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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.
Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book made me cry the horrible way children were treated broke my heart. It's a real eye openerPublished 5 months ago by Kez
An eye opener ,revealing recent different cultural behaviours.very informative and so sad.Published 8 months ago by corinthians
Sad about the children orphaned or otherwise. Easy to criticise when attending as a foreign volunteer on a part time basis only, in a country that is so culturally different to... Read morePublished 10 months ago by The old parkers
Sometimes this book was a difficult read as you enter into the suffering and abuse of the Chinese children. Read morePublished 12 months ago by McKenzie
quite a sad sorry in it.s self but as it is true just glad i was not born therePublished 12 months ago by Mrs. Joan Harrop