In 2003 Kay Bratt was leaving her comfortable life in the United States and heading to rural China for four years as her husband was sent there to head up a team that was opening a new factory. Amanda, their youngest daughter, would travel with them to China. Heather, Kay's eldest daughter chose to stay behind and live with her birthfather, Kay's ex-husband.
Kay's first impression of China was disappointing at best and it took her quite some time to become used to the poverty, over-crowding, the smells, the noises, and the constant barrage of people. She needed something to do, something to focus on so she became a volunteer at a local children's orphanage.
Kay soon learns about China's one child policy which created an epidemic of orphaned children. Chinese parents didn't value girls because they couldn't carry on the family name so they were more often than not, left abandoned somewhere in a park, at a train station, on the steps to a government building and other such places. Children were also regularly abandoned due to disabilities and illness.
What an eye-opening experience this turned out to be for Kay! She began to keep a journal of her experiences and the book is written in journal form making it pleasurable and easy to read. The journal is a scorching account of young lives rendered disposable. In the face of an implacable system, Kay found ways to work with (and around) the rules to make a better future for the children, whom she came to love. While often painful in it's clear-sightedness, Silent Tears 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 of the one woman who never planned on becoming a hero but became one anyway.
February 12, 2011