Dear Disappointed….

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life, How You Can Help A Child

heart

Dear Disappointed, I received your email yesterday. First, I thank you for reading my work and then taking the time to search me out on the internet, find my contact button, and grace me with your words of chastisement. While at first I was so upset that I had to pull off the road and convince myself I would not be sick, your message gave me something to think about for the rest of the day and into a sleepless night. I felt it would be appropriate to answer you here. First, your words after reading my novella, The Bridge:

I loved the story.  Simple and sweet.  Reading afterward, it was disappointing to see about your work in a Chinese orphanage.  How many children have you helped in the country in which you were born, raised, educated and benefited from taxpayer support?

Now, please forgive me if I can’t remember all that I have done, but before I answer your demand for a list of ways I’ve helped fellow Americans, can I just ask what is it that you expected me to do during my time in China? Did you expect me to simply enjoy the people’s land, rake in their money, eat their foods, and party myself to death? I apologize that when a situation of orphaned children presented itself, that I went out of my way to use my time, talents and compassion to make their lives just a tiny bit better. I guess that taking on the advocacy and supporting the surgery of little Le Men and Li Li should never have happened? Where would they be now? Most likely gone from this earth instead of adding unmeasurable joy to the forever families they finally joined.  And the girl we called Princess….her body deformed by the ravages of her disease but her eyes always pleading for someone to touch her, someone to love her. Where would she be? I know where she wouldn’t be—and that is in the arms of another volunteer who she now calls Mom.  And if you really want to see me fired up, what about the little girl named who was in an accident that resulted in her losing her leg, then her family. She was left to languish in an orphanage in China, forever branded to be discriminated against for the fate thrown her way. Without me and my team, and all the miraculous things that happened between, she wouldn’t be a part of an amazing family right now who love her for who she is–and who don’t look at her as a disabled child, but simply look at her as their amazingly resilient daughter.

Truly, if you read my memoir, Silent Tears, you’d see that my work in China resulted in children living a better quality of life because of the ways in which we helped the nannies, the facility, and therefore those who were in their care. Diapers, bedding, toys, even better milk for the babies! You’d also see that when we arrived, two to three children shared one bowl of congee (rice as you most assuredly call it) for every meal. The bowls were emptied and the children still cried in hunger. With our resources, we were able to make sure every child had a bowl of their own and went to bed with a full stomach. But then, I suppose since you weren’t there to see their streaked faces crying silent tears of abandonment or hunger, that it doesn’t touch you in the way that it did me. But I’m grateful others were able to ‘see’ it through my words and step up to do what they can from afar, even though the children aren’t in their country. For does it really matter where a child is if they need our help?

As you can see, I feel very passionate about the children I left behind in China. Just as I do any child that God puts in my path.  I suppose it wouldn’t kill me to admit that upon my return to the states, in addition to online volunteering for numerous organizations that support children in China, I physically worked full time (two years) for a non-profit organization that focuses on helping children build strong character, confidence and spirit.  Also during that time I spear-headed several outreach programs including one I called Zip Up A Smile in which we collected enough welcome bags of items to be used for an entire year at a (American) children’s shelter, sometimes the only thing a child has of their own after being jerked out of their homes.  I also headed another called Zip Up the Warmth in which we collected and handed out over 100 warm coats and backpacks to (American) children living in an low income neighborhood. Or maybe I should mention the two years I spent as a CASA Volunteer in which I acted as the voice of the child, even venturing into meth-infected neighborhoods and taking unpaid time from work to attend court hearings and events for my children (cases).  I gladly used my own funds for gasoline, clothing, hygiene items and gifts for (American) children assigned to me.  But most valuable was the time that I gave them—children who felt neglected and abandoned to sink or swim in the broken (American) foster system.  

I could tell you more that I’ve done to help in my “own” country—but really, what would be enough to balance out your disappointment in me? What most don’t know is that I suffer daily from a debilitating chronic condition that causes me great pain. I have for decades, yet I’ve refused to let it overcome my goal of making a difference in any small way I can. I encourage you to read my memoir, Silent Tears, to see if maybe a glimpse behind those walls makes you change your mind about being disappointed in someone who dares to try to help. Yet, really, if you don’t read my work and get it that I am passionate about advocating for children, whether they are Chinese or American, red, white, brown or black, then really I have nothing left to say, except just maybe one little question for you.

What have YOU done to make this world a better place?

Silent-Tears

 

 

Trackback from your site.

Comments (39)

  • Gina M. Barlean

    |

    No good deed goes unpunished. Some people don’t think before they speak. Cast not the first stone unless you are without sin. Seems a wrote an entire book about that topic. You keep doing the wonderful things you do. I for one am very honored to have read your work and to know you.

    Reply

  • Nancy

    |

    Hunger and pain have no demographic localities. As Kay so graciously indicated in her response….What have you done? If we would all start with the “man in the mirror” how much we could accomplish!! A tear streaked face and a broken body are calls for help no matter where that body may have been born.Couldn’t we all be more receptive to those calls?

    Reply

  • Marie

    |

    When you are helping a child, any child, does it matter what country they are born in? Does it matter their skin color, religion or any thing else? To rise to meet the issue, to help, to change a child’s world….does it matter what nationality?

    And just because you have helped this child or that child, do you then owe a debt to other children?

    If “Disappointed” is so disappointed, I suggest she step up to the plate and start helping kids here, in the U.S. She can start anywhere…fostering a child, Girls or Boys club, homeless shelter, battered women’s shelter. I’m sure that disappointed would feel better about her life, if she takes that step.

    Reply

  • Sue Kuenzi

    |

    The reader’s comments were as ethnocentric as can be, and you needn’t worry about what a self-focused person might think or say. I loved The Bridge–it’s one of my all time favorite stories. You don’t have to justify your time and love for another country to anyone. China holds a place in my heart as dear as any, and the children and people I met while working there showed such love and gratitude for simple things that it changed how I see America and our lifestyle here. Who cares where you encounter need and suffering and respond with love and kindness and compassion…it’s just beautiful that your heart is alive and you respond with love. Silly people say things that hurt others, but really don’t carry any weight.

    Reply

  • Krista Dolan

    |

    Kay,
    you constantly inspire me! Your work in China, your work in writing, and your work around you…. your a caring, compassionate person,and I’m honored to know you!
    Krista

    Reply

  • Andrea

    |

    Of course you got the old “what have you done” for the the people here? You answered his or her critical email beautifully and with more grace than I would have. I am grateful for your work on behalf of the children in China maybe more so because my youngest child was born in China. Thank you.

    Reply

  • Jodi Shaw

    |

    I applaud you, Kay. You handled that with dignity and honesty. As soon as I read the readers comments, my first thought was “who are you to question?” When I was adopting my precious girl, I was asked the same type of question – the local paper did a story about us fundraising for our adoption, and the hateful emails started shortly thereafter – We learned early on… haters will always hate… and the uninformed will stay ignorant.
    Keep up the fabulous work, both writing & advocating… and I wish you better days with your health (also suffer with daily excruciating pain, but my 6 yr old Hunan Spicy girl keeps a smile on my face through it all)
    All the best,

    Reply

  • Kathy Aden

    |

    I was a teacher in grades 1,2,3 and 4 for 32 years. In those years, I did what I thought was the very best for each and every child I taught. And in those years, I learned that I could never please everyone…… ever. There was always someone who criticized or hurt me. And, Kay, it hurt and made me sick every single time. I learned that it is the critical, unhappy person who steps up to make hurtful accusations and comments. The happy people often forget to say words of commendation. “Disappointed” is one of those people you will never please….. ever. I love your books, and I love that you have a focus that makes you happy. Isn’t that what life is about? Live, love, and let others do the same.

    Reply

  • Karen Petty

    |

    Kay, there will always be people who judge….always. I could tell you not to expend your energy on the uninformed, the uneducated and the dumbasses of the world but the reality is (especially as women), we tend to take the thoughts of others close in our hearts. Even when we know our intentions have been pure in every way, we still let the sadness and anger creep in when others judge us so very harshly. You will never know how many lives you have affected in the most positive of ways….the ones of us who don’t speak up, speak out, and let you know that your words and your life experiences have changed us in the most incredible of ways. You have inspired me from the beginning…not because I have a daughter from China but simply because of who you are and how you live your life. Chin up, sweet friend…and let the naysayers keep the negativity to themselves.

    Gwen’s Mom

    Reply

  • Kathy Mansk Billehus

    |

    Kay, you have done amazing things for so many children! Please don’t let ignorant people get you down! In my eyes you are a true hero for all the work you have done! And of course your writing is over the top!

    Reply

  • Randi

    |

    Children are human beings regardless of where they were born or what nationality they are. Thank you for your work on their behalf wherever you found them.

    Reply

  • Beth Hubbard

    |

    Kay, I can only repeat what so many others have said but they are right. Haters are gonna hate! You will never please “Disappointed.” If they don’t have compassion for ALL people, not just the ones in their own country then there’s really no helping them. It makes me angry to think they made you feel so bad. You know what you have done and what you do. God does too, that’s all that matters. He knows what’s in your heart and you are doing it for His glory, not yours. So if “Disappointed” wants someone to be disappointed in, they should get a mirror!

    Reply

  • Fliss

    |

    A child, is a child, is a child – regardless of where they are from… everyone does what their heart tells them to do and fate takes you down that road it takes you down… Kay, you do what you need to do and forget negative nellies… coming from an Australian mother who has an American husband with a ‘Chinese daughter – does that mean I need to adopt from Australia and America too look make myself feel better… That person needs to go ‘help’ those waiting to be adopted rom wherever so they can understand what yet are talking about – hugs xxx

    Reply

  • Shayla

    |

    People never cease to amaze me. From the first book you wrote, I was amazed by your love and compassion. I didn’t even consider it as situational, but looked at you as a whole. You did a good job of addressing this “person” who didn’t take the time to look into the life of who she was so critical of. Keep up the good work, you are amazing.

    Reply

  • Sandra S.

    |

    It brings me to tears to think that there are people in this World so callous as to criticize those who help a child. Not very long ago in America there were those who would leave a sick child to suffer and die simply because of the color of their skin. I thought those days were part of our history rather than part of our present. I’m disappointed in Disappointed.

    Kay, most of us easily see the heart that you have for children, and we are intelligent enough to realize that you don’t set boundaries for that love.

    Those who truly love can not turn off that emotion at a border. To think otherwise is asinine.

    Reply

  • Fliss

    |

    And I need to wear my glasses when leaving comments lol

    Reply

  • The Gang's Momma

    |

    Oh, Kay. While I am deeply sorry that you faced this kind of mean-spiritedness and invasive prying into parts of your life that either 1) are already in print or 2) aren’t all meant for public consumption, I applaud your response. You spoke truth without stooping to “Disappointed’s” low tactics and gave no undue glory to yourself for anything.

    You are a voice for the voiceless, you are making an eternal impact in lives here and in China. And you are living out the greatest commandment given, in practical and tangible ways: “And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.”

    You have nothing to apologize for and should never feel the need to defend yourself. Your response is spot on. SPOT ON.

    Reply

  • Linda Larson

    |

    I am so sorry that someone has the time and energy to respond to your work with a question like that. It is okay if she doesn’t like your book (s). I just don’t like it when it is followed by “what have you done for those in YOUR country”!

    We formed our family through International adoption. We have been questioned as to why we would help children from another country but not from ours. We have been baffled by such questions as not one of those questions came from people that KNEW what we did to help children throughout the world prior to forming our family OR what we did to try to form our family in other ways. Sad, very sad.

    Reply

  • Bonnie Ward

    |

    Kay — it would be easy to say ‘haters gonna hate” and brush off ‘Disappointed’ … But I think people who respond to the demonstrated kindness and compassion of someone with ‘what have done in your own country?’ are not only exposing their lack of compassion but also a deeply entrenched racism they try to couch in ‘nationalism ‘ ….

    What you have done, and do, is ultimately irrelevant to such a person because even work done ‘in your own country’ is work on behalf of ‘the other’ … I would not be surprised that ‘Disapppointed’ while chastising you about not doing enough here is also someone who supports drug testing welfare recipients, believes providing unemployment insurance extension only encourages more unemployment, and supports cuts to Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid as ‘entitlements’ … In other words ‘Disappointed’ is in fact unsatisfiable (not that you should or are trying to satisfy her) because she is a compassionless, hollow shell of a human being taking up more space on this Earth than giving back.

    ‘Disappointed’ is neither deserving of your explanation nor your time worrying about what she wrote to you.

    You do what you do because you are a feeling human being; you do what you do because you are a woman of action ….

    Frankly, you should ignore people such as ‘Disappointed’ because people such as that will not be moved by your explanation as they can never see beyond the tip of their own nose.

    And, ultimately, nothing you do is done for them …

    What you do is greatly appreciated .. By the people who count …

    And even at that, you don’t do it even for their thanks … You do it because it is needed, and you can fill that need …

    So – screw ‘Disappointed’ and all like her … They are the ones who lose …

    Reply

  • Michele Shornak

    |

    I am so disgusted with people that pull the “what do you do for your country” card. First… It shows ignorance and mean spiritness. Second… That’s so old-school. Those days are gone. That type of thinking is cleat not working. People need to stop looking at their borders and start embracing compassion and as themselves the question… What if it was your child? You handled yourself gracefully Kay! Keep up the beautiful work and advocacy for our WORLDS children… It’s obviously needed!

    Reply

  • Carole M

    |

    Kay,

    Bravo! Well Done! Thank you for your love, compassion and selflessness daily.

    XX Hugs

    Reply

  • Trish Kry

    |

    Kay, hi I am one of yours fans that stalk you and don’t really comment. I like to fly under the radar. I am flabbergasted by this person’s comments. We have become a culture where we think we can say anything, judge anyone, and express our opinions without regard for good taste, common courtesy, compassion, or common sense. They do not know you, and you shouldn’t have to justify you actions to anyone. I could not make it as a public figure. I am much to soft. I applaud your ability to answer the individual with any improper language and with such eloquence.

    Reply

  • Michelle M

    |

    YOU ARE AN INSPIRATION. I wish that wasn’t a clique phrase. I know for a fact that teaching and being a CASA advocate require 110% heart and sacrifice. I applaud you, for your work with children of the world. No one person can do everything for every problem- we have circles of influence and are put in situations for a reason. If more people stopped judging the GOOD works of their neighbors and did the good they think should be done, we would live in a peaceful world.

    That reader did not merit a response and you stand above reproach. I pray your response causes repentance and examination, that hearts would not be hardened and defensive but thankful, hopeful, and embracing of all children everywhere.

    Reply

  • Gigi

    |

    Thank you for following God’s calling on your life. Some people will never be pleased no matter what you do. Considering what the human population is such a small fraction even dare to make a difference. Be proud of your self for every little thing you do and know so many people out there weather they acknowledge you or not appreciate it. I happy to be one of those who appreciate every act of kindness.. Thank you, May God bless the work you do.

    Reply

  • Monica

    |

    The author of that letter obviously has their own problems as attitudes like that only come from ignorance.
    Very sad, but they exist.
    Thank goodness for you and people like you Kay. I love your attitude.

    Reply

  • Tania

    |

    As an adoptive mother, I can simply state that I LOVE your books. I have a Korean son that was born in Soeul, adopted by a US family and then re adopted by us. He was my 7th child and your book was my first peek at international adoption issues and helped me understand what his orphanage may have been like. I now have 10 children. 2 by birth, 7 from foster care and the 1 “re-adoption” from a failed international. I get “disappointed’s” concept…but she/he failed to educate him/herself before spewing venom. I too have felt that we should “clean our own backyard” before worrying about the neighbors. However, the idea that you shouldn’t help when presented opportunity (you being in china for example) is completely stupid. There may be a line between international and foster care adoption, but in the end we are all adoptive families and need to honor and support each other.

    Reply

  • Kimberly Kelly

    |

    I read with interest and unfortunately familiarity the comments concerning.. Adopt from ones own country…. We have 3 adopted children, and contemplating another … All from China. Our oldest is now 12 so we started this process well over 15 yrs ago. We have 23 nieces and nephews – all biological, so you can imagine our disappointment when after numerous miscarriages we discovered that a biological child just was not in the cards for us. It took the ‘lecturing’ from my Mom right before she succumbed to cancer to remind me that I would speak of adopting all through my teenage years. (Thank you again Mom).
    We, like so many other US citizens reviewed adopting in the US. First, in most cases, wait time for a baby can be up to 10 years. These children are typically from young mothers who may not be married with little resources to tap in on. (A statement on how our US system handles these subjects… And why can’t our minimum wage be raised or unemployment extended, or ….). And then there are of course foster children… Probably a greater need. I read somewhere that there are roughly 30,000 foster children, and if just ONE family from every church in the US would take on one child, all children would have homes. (Then there is unfortunately the LARGE difficulties in fostering as well as eventually adopting these kids. Plenty of info on the WEB and through any agency.)
    We thought of these options… And did our research. What steered me away were: the length of time, being ‘selected’ from a young Mom, the huge heart breaks I hear about open adoptions, (note -our church has a huge adoption community, about 1/2 domestic with a support group that meets,) fostering an older child, (lots of info here too), running the risk of fostering with the intend to adopt and having the child’s parent change their mind, (know of a local family who this has happened to twice), and etc….. Needless to say, we did and still do have a huge interest in all topics relating to displaced children.

    Why China… Actually once when we decided to look internationally, South American countries were our first choice. Unfortunately the ethical issues, (many stories of baby selling, and many less then reputable agencies in those countries), had us very worried. But at the time, China had been opening up, and with all paperwork strictly channelled through their government, (and the knowledge I had on the economic disparity from my international travels as a scientist), we opted to adopt from China.
    There would be enough for me to write a book about the emotional roller coaster … But I leave that for such authors as Ms. Bratt.

    Throughout our adoption journeys, we also heard from SO many persons with wide varying opinions on what WE SHOULD DO … From the typical ‘why not help your OWN country’ to ‘so how much did she cost you’. Many times right in front of our children, ( and some from our own siblings which did hurt). Once I got over the shock of it all, I used to answer … . She costs about the same as your kids, and what have you done for your own country? But time and age has mellowed my perspective. Now I just smile and recognize that that these poor souls just don’t get it, and I hope and pray some day they will.

    My philosophy is now quite simple.. ( probably due to the fact I am in my middle 50ties and need to preserve my time and energy for my family),
    1 – God does not make mistakes. So ALL living things holds great value- no more or less then I
    2. Gods name is diverse and culturally unique… (All places has some form).
    3. God gave us only 2 things – life and free will. The rest is up to us.
    4 – social-political boundaries are a figment of our imagination, not God.
    5- any religion or country who fights under some pretense of God, just took His name in vain.

    So Ms. Bratt – loved your stories, and Disappointed – just keep reading, at some point you will get it.

    Reply

  • Donna White Glaser

    |

    I’m not God, but I say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” And may God bless you in your continued works.

    Reply

  • Connie Peelman

    |

    Dear friend, although the person who caused you such anguish did not deserve a moment of your precious thoughts well spent elsewhere, I am glad you explained in great detail just what you do and who you are.
    Some people are just petty jack***’s and try to taint the good others do….bet that person criticizes everyone in his/her path. I pity the black soul that dwells within.
    Thank you for all you do, I have stood in awe witnessing it in person and I’m glad you put into detail the gifts to the world’s children you have given and accomplished. Your love is limitless. God bless.

    Reply

  • caddy rowland

    |

    Kay,

    You’re a lovely, classy lady who has given one thousand times more than most. Don’t let what one ignorant, bigoted person said hurt you. Children should not be seen as American, Chinese, or anything else when they need help. They are simply human beings, crying out and hoping another human being somewhere hears them and responds.

    Reply

  • David H Fears

    |

    Kay, as a mug who’s been banned from Kboards (and now reads it via proxy server) I saw your post and then read your blog. You’re a peach. I just wanted to add that from “Mike Angel.” Sometimes personal attacks can pierce the tenderhearted, but once bitten twice cured. Idiots abound. Satan is still loose in the world, but God’s in control. I applaud you.

    Reply

  • K.B. Nelson

    |

    The disappointed reader certainly didn’t deserve a reply at all. When we save a child’s life, or better their lives, what difference does it make where they are from? I’m ashamed that I share a country with someone like that.

    Keep your head high and try to block the ignorant and vile voices out.

    Reply

  • Wanda Goodwin

    |

    None of us need target a specific country in order to improve children’s lives.

    What we DO is to follow God’s leading and HE decides where we put our energy.

    No apologies.

    Reply

  • Mireille

    |

    You put her eloquently in her place! How can somebody be dissapointed in another person who helps others… no matter where they live! I hope she thinks before she writes again.

    Reply

  • Kay Bratt

    |

    Thank you all SO MUCH for all of your support. As of today, Ms. Disappointed has not replied to my message, in which I directed her here for an answer to her question. I do hope she has read the post and all of your comments, and perhaps can do some inner searching as to why she would spew such ignorance. I am thankful that like me, there are many others out there who don’t see borders and boundaries, but simply see a need and try to fill it. ~ Kay

    Reply

  • Ann

    |

    Hello Kay I finished reading A Thread Unbroken about an hour ago (1.30am) and immediately went looking for more. I have now downloaded Silent Tears and look forward to getting into that after some sleep. I decided to check out your blog and found your reply to Ms. Disappointed. Mmm I could think of many other titles for her. I admire your patience in using up valuable time to make your lengthy reply. If it had been me I would have merely asked what you did in the last line of the response. I hope that no reply from her means that her head is hanging so low in shame that she can’t see the keyboard.
    Keep up the good work!

    Reply

  • Jennifer Padgett

    |

    Kay,
    When we were fundraising to bring home our second daughter from China, many asked us what was wrong with the children in our own backyard. Our response was this: God sees no boundaries and neither will we.
    You go, girl!

    Reply

  • Janie Chang

    |

    Kay, I admire you for composing such a reasoned response — I will not say ‘defense’ because your actions do not need defending. The world needs more people like you. Many hugs across the ether.

    Reply

  • Sharon Conboy

    |

    Kay, I am amazed that anyone could be disappointed! To those children you help you are an angel. A child is child no matter what country they were born in. I am still reading your Silent Tears book which is beautiful. I will be following what you do from now on. Thank you for being such a beautiful, caring human being. Sharon

    Reply

Leave a comment