Author Archive

Skippy Jon Jones over here and get in the Kay Bratt Giveaway!

Written by Kay on . Posted in Contests and Give-A-Ways

One of the most common misconceptions I’ve come across in the 7 years I have been advocating for China’s orphans is that only girls are in the orphanages. In the SWI I worked in, it appeared that we had just as many boys as girls! Perhaps the numbers could be a little higher on females but not enough that I noticed if it was true.

So in celebration of cute, feisty, grubby little boys everywhere…my latest giveaway is for BOYS only! If you have a boy under 10 years of age and feel like he would like to win a Skippy Jon Jones book gift set, this giveaway is for you to enter.

And TUESDAY is launch day for the Encore edition of my book, Silent Tears, so of course we have to filter that in to this post, so here is how to get in the drawing:

1. Post the link to my Amazon page on your blog, website or facebook profile page. Click HERE for the link.

2. Come back and comment to this post on the website here (NOT on facebook). In your comment tell me you’ve posted my link as well as tell me something cute, funny or amazing about your little boy.

Example of comment to get in the drawing:

Hi Kay, I’ve posted your amazon link to my facebook page (or blog) and my little boy’s name is Ralph. When Ralph was 3, he was found watering my neighbor’s tulips. The funny part is that he did not have any water, if you know what I mean!

(I just made that up..I don’t know any little boys named Ralph but you get the picture, right?)

The drawing will be this coming Friday, April 2. Don’t try to cheat by telling me you posted my Amazon link when you really didn’t, ‘cuz I’ll be checking! Sort of like Santa, I know when you’ve been naughty or nice.

What Can You do?

Written by Kay on . Posted in How You Can Help A Child

Have you decided that given your circumstances in life, you can do something more for disadvantaged children? Do you want to be an advocate for children? I have some ideas for you!

First of all, if you have not become my facebook friend, please do so now here. I frequently post needs on my profile page and give people the opportunity to discuss issues and lend a helping hand.

If you want to read more about what it is like for children in a Chinese orphanage, which is similar in many institutes all over the world in regards to neglect and abuse, please order my book, Silent Tears.

When people ask me what they can do, my heart jumps at the chance to ask them to consider sponsoring foster care for Chinese orphans. With my own eyes I saw the way a child would change once being a part of a foster family for a short time–how a tiny bit of love and attention would bring out their little personalities and they would flourish. If you are interested in sponsoring a Chinese orphan for foster care, the average cost is $35 or so a month. I am a volunteer Director with AOW (An Orphans Wish) and know firsthand of the amazing projects they support–we would love to have your energy or resources there.

Some more reputable organizations you can work with that I’d recommend are Pearl River Outreach, Love Without Boundaries, and Half The Sky.

Find out how to start an orphan ministry in your church at Hope For Orphans.

If China does not tug on your heart but you still feel you would be an awesome advocate for children, do something for those in your community, church or school.

Zip Up A Smile Project:
This project was successful for me in a Chinese hospital as well as at an American family shelter. Collect gallon sized bags filled with ‘welcome’ items for a child. Toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, brush, small toy, small book and a snack. Punch holes in the top and thread ribbon through. Drop collections at your local shelter.

Zip Up the Warmth Project:
Collect warm coats for underprivileged children in your area or for the local children’s shelter. I coordinated this project for a neighborhood of children and the children were so grateful to receive new coats to wear.

Become a CASA volunteer: The mission of the National Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) Association, together with its state and local members, is to support and promote court-appointed volunteer advocacy for abused and neglected children so that they can thrive in safe, permanent homes.

Not all of us can do something huge, but no act of kindness is too small. Life can be cruel and throw a lot of curve balls at you, but speaking from experience I can tell you that when you focus on the needs of others, your own problems no longer seem so insurmountable. Most importantly, there are children all over the world who need your help. To turn away is to be part of the problem instead of the solution. We can all do something, big or small.

Thank you.

Kay Bratt

16 More Days until Silent Tears Encore edition is launched!

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life, Orphanage Flashbacks

Only 16 more days until the launch of Silent Tears, Encore edition! Pre-order yours now at Amazon!

SCROLL TO BOTTOM TO SEE WINNERS OF THE GIVEAWAY!

Do you know what’s interesting? The success of my story and the change in my life still has not hit me.
Yes, the first edition has sold thousands. [Which was thousands more than the maybe 5 books I thought would be bought] Yes, I have spoken at churches, book clubs and other events and been told how moving my story is. Yes, my new ‘team’ has booked me for radio interviews and even one upcoming television spot. Yes, googling my name will bring up tons of hits where people are talking about the book. When will I feel that I’ve been a success? Ever?

I doubt it.

On the outside I come across as a professional, put-together woman who knows what she wants and goes after it. But on the inside I am still that same middle-class American mom carrying around all the insecurities I’ve collected through my challenging childhood and traumatizing young adulthood. Let me tell you something–just because through hard work and perseverance (and faith) you have clawed your way up to a better place, that does not take away all of the battle scars you have gathered through the years and continue to gather as you make your way through this drama/comedy/tragedy they call life. I am always afraid that people will see through the confident, joking woman standing in front of them and spot the shaking, insecure girl I once was. I wish that girl would disappear forever and just let me be the new me!

Do you know that despite the urgings of my husband, Ben, I have yet to celebrate any of the milestones I have met with my China journey and subsequent book? Not the operations we were able to fund, not the adoptions we witnessed, not the award from the Chinese city, not the release of the first edition of my book, not the surprising sales and not the contract I signed with my new publisher. Why? I am not sure but I have some ideas.

-The realities of the children I wrote about are really not something to celebrate. (Though many of them have now gone on to live much happier lives, which you’ll get to see updates in the Encore edition)

-My history of always striving to overcome life’s many hurdles have jaded me to be suspicious of anything great in my life, for fear of it being taken away.

-I never want anyone to think that I am cashing in on my experiences, or taking advantage of the children by using their names to further myself.

-I don’t feel like God is done with me yet, that would be like celebrating an A on my math quiz a week before the final term test!

So what do I really hope to accomplish with this book?

-First and foremost it was to fulfill a promise to be the voice of those who cannot speak for themselves. To tell their stories. Because for me, to keep it silent would be to contribute to the neglect and/or abuse I witnessed.

-to raise awareness of the travesties of children in institutional care

-to encourage readers to do something to make a difference. Support an organization, adopt, or sponsor an orphan for foster care.

To be honest, I really don’t feel like my time in China or my book has been enough. Every day and plaguing my dreams I wonder what else I can do, what is next on my horizon. I am continually driven to do more (while juggling life) and when I reach that place of ‘enough’….then–and only then, will I celebrate.

*Winners of the Friday, March 19 Giveaway—please contact me using the ‘Contact’ tab at the top to give me your mailing address. I will send your Advanced Readers Copy of the Encore edition of Silent Tears! Congrats!

Some of you did not link to a blog, etc..and no last name so I used info from your comment:

Winner #1 is Lisa Stott
Winner #2 is Melanie Feick
Winner #3 is Christie from Cherry Blossom Life
Winner #4 is Joan, who volunteered in China

Order Silent Tears Encore edition on Kindle!

Written by Kay on . Posted in A Bratt's Life

For those of you who have a Kindle, just a reminder that you can preorder Silent Tears right now. Just click here!

….have I mentioned that I LOVE my Amazon Kindle? I’m not trying to be a commercial or anything, I just really like it, and I’m surprised about that because I am such a ‘real book’ lover. But there are times that I’d rather pick up my Kindle.

Here are a few reasons I LOVE my Kindle:

1. There are lots of FREE books on Kindle. Just about every week I download a free book or maybe one that cost 1 cent. Shh…don’t tell Amazon but most of my Kindle books are free ones..(Okay…now we ALL know I am a cheapskate)

2. Having the leather-bound Kindle in my purse is so convenient when I am sitting somewhere waiting; school pick-up line, doctor’s office, lunch break…(it also makes me look very smart because most people have no idea what sort of high tech gadget I am perusing, and they really respect the looks of it! And anything I can do to help squash the ‘blonde’ stereotype, I am all for..)

2. You can buy a book with one click. You can actually order it from your Kindle or do I like do and go to Amazon and search Kindle best sellers. One click and then turn the wireless switch on your Kindle and there it comes, instantly! When I was on vacation last year, it was so convenient to sit on the porch of the beach house and buy two new books without ever leaving the porch. (Seriously..last year in one week, I read about 6 books on my Kindle, from the front porch of a tiny house on the SC coast. It was awesome.)

3. You can access newspapers, magazines and blogs from your Kindle! Whoa..you can follow my blog on Kindle! Cool..

4. I have some issues with muscles, etc..and sometimes it’s nice to only have to lay my Kindle against a pillow and turn pages with one flick of a finger. So…yes…that means I’m lazy.

So–okay…my commercial is over but I really, really like my Kindle. A Lot.

Fancy Nancy Easter GiveAway

Written by Kay on . Posted in Contests and Give-A-Ways

UPDATE: The Winner of the Fancy Nancy Easter GiveAway is…..drumroll, please……Kelly with Truly Blessed! Please email me your address and who you want the envelope addressed to. (I know kids LOVE to get mail!)

So that I can get it to the winner in time for Easter, I am doing the Fancy Nancy giveAway now! The winner will receive the Fancy Nancy’s Elegant Easter Lift-The-Flap book and a Fancy Nancy A Flutter of Butterfulies Reusable Sticker book. To be entered into the drawing:

1. Post the link to my short story titled “The Bridge” [found here] on your blog, website, or facebook profile page

2. Become a Kay Bratt Fan by clicking Here

3. Come back to this blog post [located on my website NOT facebook post] and comment that you are a fan and you have posted The Bridge by kay Bratt.

Drawing for the Fancy Nancy books will be on Friday! Come back here to find out the winner!

Mifan Mommy Club Update Feb 2010

Written by Kay on . Posted in How You Can Help A Child, Mifan Mommy Updates

Thank you to all who are a part of the Mifan Mommy Club. Your monthly donation of $9 is helping children and disadvantaged adults in several areas of China. I’ve attached some pictures from the Anhui Children’s home (check out the kitchen that feeds a LOT of children and adults!) as well as a short note from our volunteer, Julie, cut from her monthly report.

From Julie:
We are soon all heading towards the dining room where we hear music and as I strain to see over the top of heads I see two of the girls who are about 10 or 11 dancing with the Red Cross support group. As the music stops, Katja and I are grabbed and persuaded to sing for the children: we do our rendition of ‘heads, shoulders, knees and toes’ along with the actions and then we join the support group and everyone else with the Chinese Happy New Year to You. It was wonderful, not a dry eye in the house, this is proving to be a very emotional day. No sooner had the music stopped and every one of the children are lining up for lunch. This is a very special lunch and one we can thank you our supporters for, as we, with your help have donated money for this special meal, which we all shared together as one very big happy family. After lunch it was time for MiFan MaMa to give red envelopes to the Mummies and Daddies on your behalf, what better way to let them know we really appreciate all they do on a daily basis for these children.

During all this time there wasn’t much time for game playing or painting with the children but the people from our bus were busy visiting those children that cannot get out of bed, those who stare at four walls and a ceiling all day and never complain. Thanks to King Koil these children are comfy in the mattresses they have especially made for them.

We then had a time of exploring and getting to know the children and where they live; a very precious time. These children have come to accept us as their family as have their Mummies and Daddies. Communication is always a small problem, just a feeling of small frustration on our part but love soon shows us there are no barriers – everyone wants a hug and very soon get it.

Everlasting friendships are forged, just as all from our bus will not forget these wonderful children; the children will never forget them and their love and kindness.

We all pose for photos – everyone wants to capture this very special moment.

The volunteer from the Red Cross tells Katja and myself about a family who are all very severely ill. We agree to supply food for this family as they have no money and their plight has already been shown on Chinese TV. (Roy has already investigated this, so we know there is a real need). We give the Red Cross Volunteer enough money to buy this family rice, flour and oil for 6 months. In addition we are able to give them a bag of rice, flour and a bottle of oil from Lao Wang’s supply. The man from the Red Cross asks that we deliver these items personally on the way home: he assures us it is on our way. So we agree and he joins us on our bus with 3 volunteers for our return journey.

All too soon it is time to say goodbye to everyone and lots of tears are shed on both sides. Although we will be back in one month and these children and everyone here has a place in our hearts it is still so sad. One of the Mummies is hugging me crying and thanking us for all we do. I tell her it is us who thank them as they are the ones who look after these children 24 hours a day, everyday. They are the one who teach these children love and caring by their example, how lucky these children are for although their possessions are few their hearts are bursting with LOVE and CARING and SHARING. We have the privilege to have been a part of this, to have experienced this, even if only for a short time.

Then we get on the bus some passengers are leaning out of the window sharing a last handshake with these wonderful people. Soon we are driving down the road, we wave, and they wave, and soon are just dots in the distance. The bus is silent: we have all had different experiences on this visit, each of us has our own treasured memories to take away until we visit the next time.

We now have the Red Cross volunteer and his helpers on the bus, but on further investigation we find it will take us an extra 5 hours to make this visit to this family. Unfortunately this is not possible, as lots of people on the bus must get to work the next day and even now we will not arrive home until 12.00 midnight. We agree to sort the Red Cross team out another car and further down the highway we stop and there is another car waiting, we all exchange hugs and greetings for this family, and then we part.

Kay Bratt GiveAway of Boutique Bows!

Written by Kay on . Posted in Contests and Give-A-Ways

Update: And the WINNER is…..Leslee Dockery! Kimberley will be contacting you to arrange shipment of your bows!

The latest Kay Bratt GiveAway comes from Kimberley at Sophia Jane Boutique who has donated a bundle of bows to one lucky winner!

Hello everyone! My name is Kimberley Girvin and I make the hair bows at Sophia Jane Boutique. I am the mother of 3 boys and I waited over three years to bring my daughter Sophia home from China, who is my inspiration for all the fun, girly things I create. While I was waiting for Sophia, I learned to make hair bows from a dear friend and blogger Meredith Teagarden. She posted a wonderful tutorial on her blog that I printed off and then followed the steps to make a darling bow. As my wait continued, I just kept on making bows! Eventually, friends asked me to make them for their daughters and word of mouth spread and I decided to start the Sophia Jane Boutique. I have been having a wonderful time ever since.

Sophia is home now and she is just a dream come true for us. My husband used to tease me about what I would do with all of these hair bows if she was a tomboy. But thank goodness she loves them!

Kay says: To be entered into the drawing to win the bows shown, become a Fan of the Sophia Jane Boutique [click here] and then come back to this post and comment that you are a fan. The drawing for one winner will be Wednesday. Good luck and thank you, Kimberely, for your donation!

Another Reminder for Kay Bratt

Written by Kay on . Posted in Orphanage Flashbacks

Thanks to many of my online friends, I purchased another Lisa See book and like everyone predicted, fell in love with Snow Flower and the Secret Fan. The story taught me so much about Chinese history, beliefs and their cultural decisions.

Two specific pages in the book were turned down and marked as special to me. The first brought me to shame for some of the early feelings I had while working in the orphanage, when I would hold a beautiful child and feel a rush of anger at his/her parents. Being knew to the country and not really knowing much of the hardships endured, in my naivete I believed that the parents must not have cared for their child. Here are Lisa See’s words that brought me to tears:

Then we waited. Uncle sat on a stool by the table and wept so hard into her tunic that stains spread across the fabric like rain clouds. Baba tried to comfort Uncle, but what was the use? He could not be comforted. Anyone who tells you that the Yao people never care for their daughters is lying. we may be worthless. We may be raised for another family. But often we are loved and cherished, despite our natal families’ best efforts not to have feelings for us. Why else in our secret writing do you see phrases lke “I was a pearl in my father’s palm” so frequently?

The second excerpt brought back a flood of memories to me. First read Lisa’s words and then go back and remember with me.

“Lady Lu, a cure is not possible,” he said. “All you can do now is wait for the onset of death. You can see it already in the purple tint of her flesh just above her bindings. First, her ankles; then the legs will come next, swelling and turning the skin purple as her life force slows. Soon, I suspect, her breathing will change. You’ll recongnize it. An inhale, and exhale, then nothing. Just when you think she is gone she will take another breath.”

That passage instantly took me back to the day I stood in front of a crib of a dying child. Her eyes were already checked out, she was not able to focus on anything but her pain. Knowing she was too sick for me to hold, I gently rubbed her back and whispered encouragement to her. As I peeked under her coverlet, the purplish/black color of her feet, ankles and legs sent shivers of shock down my spine. At that time, I did not understand that it was the onset of death. When she disappeared a day or so later and no one would tell me where she was, I knew then that she had passed on. It feels strange for me to say this, because not many people would understand, but I was thankful for her release from her circumstances–from her relentless pain.

Why would I enjoy a book that brings back such sad memories for me? Perhaps because if the memories still linger, that means I won’t forget the children and my promise to continue to tell their stories.