Author Archive

Do You Got Sole?

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

If YOU’ve got SOLE

UPDATE: Thanks to all of you generous people, we’ve met our goal of 100 pairs of shoes and are still going. At last count we were at 130 pairs. I will be sending the shoes to China soon and before you know it they will be on teeny tiny cute feet! Thank you all SO much for your generosity!

We need your help! So far we have 32 pairs of our goal to gather 100 pair to send to the House of Love.

At the AOW House of Love we have children in need of good shoes. If you would like to donate a pair, you can find more information on the website here, including sizes and types of shoes needed. There is also an address listed where you can send the shoes directly to ME!

Thank you for helping little ones like the sweetheart below.

Getting involved is easy:

You are invited to participate by purchasing and mailing quality, unused footwear in kids’ sizes 1-13 to

Mail Donations from the USA to:

Kay Bratt/An Orphan’s Wish
C/o AID Company
250 Laurel Heights Rd
Clayton, GA 30525

Mail Donations From Australia To:

Audrea Dupuy
29 Wairuna Ct.
PINE MOUNTAIN 4306

The deadline for participating is June 30th

Show these special kids that you got sole…. and celebrate your summer knowing that you’ve blessed a precious child with each joyful step.

Introducing Lydia Love Petals! A Kay Bratt & Ruffled Feathers Giveaway!

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

AP Valerie has created something so sweet…

Lydia Love–“Things Knot Seen”

Introducing … a new line …

“Things Knot Seen”

this is:

Lydia Love Petals!

She’s a little bit shy, but oh so cuddly! Bound to be one of your best-buddies … From her cotton knot-tied pony-tails to her pigeon toed feet, she’s soft, one-in-a-million sweetness.

Each doll is approximately 14″ tall and has Sunny-Happy-Skies Panda Fabric torsos and a coordinating, removable cotton skirt.

Her eyes are brown and have a glint of Asian in them. Lydia’s hair is styled into cotton knot pony tails decorated with ribbons. Her right leg has her very own heart-circle-stamp. It’s just up high enough to be hidden by her skirt but close enough to remind you how much you are loved in a heart-beat.
  
Lydia Love Petals can be yours! To get your name in the drawing you only have to do 2 things:
Step One: Go to the Lydia Love Petals blog post and comment here.
Step Two:  (of course I have to get in on the fun) Post the link to my newest novel, A Thread Unbroken, on Amazon on your facebook or blog! Here is the link.
To make that more fair, I’ll draw a 2nd place winner to receive an e-book copy of A Thread Unbroken upon it’s release.  You might be the first one to read it!
Then COME BACK and comment here that you did both steps to get your name in the drawing.
Drawing will be June 1. Hurry, not much time left!

Chester and Jacob Need Sponsors

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

As a volunteer director for AOW (An Orphans Wish), I am committed to bringing awareness to all of my readers. This month I want to highlight Jacob and Chester and let you know that they both need sponsors. At the House of Love, our kids received specialized care so that they can thrive in a loving environment and be prepared for the next phase in their lives. If you can give $35 a month to support one of the AOW kids, please follow this Donate Now link to become a sponsor or even help with a one time gift. Your generosity is what keeps the home going. Now! Let me show you two angels who are waiting for sponsors!

Born in May of 2002, Jacob has cerebral palsy and came to the house wheelchair bound. But now, he is walking with a walker!

And little Chester is fairly new to AOW and is in need of 7 sponsors. He is from Guilin and was born with anal atresia.

 

*An Orphan’s Wish is an all volunteer foundation, which means our overhead costs are extremely low. Over 98% of every donation we receive goes directly to our programs which aid these children. We are so grateful for every donation we receive. We provide all of our donors with quality and timely reports and value your trust in us to be good stewards of your donation.

Sweet Moon Baby Signed book as the next Kay Bratt Giveaway!

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

Sometimes I find books that just speak to my heart and that is just what happened with Sweet Moon Baby. The book, written by Karen Henry Clark and illustrated by Patrice Barton, is just one of the most beautifully done adoption tales I have seen. I cannot say enough about the illustration and the story!

Amazon Blurb: A lyrical fantasy about a Chinese infant’s magical trip to her adoptive parents. Her birth parents declare her “perfect,” but are unable to provide for her. Thus they place her in a basket and set her adrift: “We must trust the moon. Only good things will happen to our daughter.” Helped by a variety of animals as well as a beneficent-looking moon, the baby girl floats down the “winding river” to her adoptive parents, who have been preparing for her arrival by planting vegetables and trees, building a new bedroom, and buying books. Their hands are shown parting reeds to reveal her smiling up at them from her basket. The vibrant watercolors capture her journey and her delight in her new family and home. Although most youngsters will understand that the journey on the river is a fantasy, adults should be prepared for questions from literal-minded children who may wonder why a baby had to make a solitary voyage and depend on the kindness of wild animals in order to reach her destination.

You can win a signed hardcover copy of this book to be in your hands by Mother’s Day. With just a few Clicks, you are in. Become a fan by Liking both the Sweet Moon Baby and the Kay Bratt Facebook fan pages. Then come back and comment here that you have “liked” both pages. The drawing will be in two weeks, Saturday, April 28.

If you Link to the Sweet Moon Baby Amazon book page or share this post from your facebook wall, tell us in the comments below and your name will go in an additional time!

Thank you and get on with your clicking/sharing!

 

UPDATE:

I wish I had a hundred Sweet Moon Baby books to give away, but alas I had to use Random.org to pick one. And the winner is ……drumroll….. Ellie April 14, 2012 at 6:41 pm….

Congrats, Ellie, and I hope you return to see if you won. Please use the Contact Me tab at the top to send me your physical address.

And as a second winner……for your choice of an ebook copy of Mei Li and the Wise Laoshi or a signed paperback copy of Chasing China…. random.org picked Marla Caliri April 14, 2012 at 4:44 pm.. please contact me with your choice of prize and an email or physical address.

Thank you everyone for your participation and for liking me! (so junior high but love to hear it anyway)

Stay tuned for the next giveaway soon!

Will Needs Sponsors

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

Will came from Desheng to An Orphan’s Wish House of Love.  A healthy-looking little chunk who will need club foot correction surgery. It’s great that these children have a shelter to come to when they need to be surrounded by love and be given a new start. But they need sponsors. We need 7 sponsors for Will. The $35 a month helps care for him, buy supplies and fund his surgery and recovery. Does Will have a place in your life? Please let me know if you can be a sponsor for him, or click this link to An Orphans Wish to get started. And Thank you for supporting these children from China!

 

Chasing China; A Daughter’s Quest for Truth

Written by Kay on . Posted in China News & Tidbits

“Lady and gentle man, Xiao xin! Be careful! Watch your step and duck your head! Do not let swaying red lanterns poke your eye! Bu yao chou yan. No smoking, please. Hurry up and find seat so we can start our tour of the Suzhou canal, China’s Venice.  Xie xie, thank you.”  The tour guide waved her patrons on to the boat and pointed out places to sit, her hands moving gracefully through the air. She paused and straightened her jacket, and then smiled at everyone around her, obviously pleased with the sudden business.

Moving through the crowds of pedestrians and onlookers, the last couple from the tourist group ducked under the elaborate carved archway and squeezed onto the deck of the creaking vessel. They quickly found an empty bench to settle on.  As the boat backed away from the concrete stairs at the bank, the wife reached into her deep bag and pulled out a small bottle of hand sanitizer.

“Danny, use this. You’ve managed to touch every surface on this side of Suzhou. I swear, don’t you ever learn? We’re only here for a week, and I don’t want you picking up some bug.”

“Mary, pay attention. We’re here to learn about our daughter’s heritage. I didn’t travel all the way from Seattle to worry about a few germs. Look at those carved dragon heads on the edges of the rooftops over there—the artistic detail is fascinating!” He pointed across the way at the busy walking street lined with shops. Like a child, he couldn’t look fast enough. He turned again. “Or look at that bridge we’re coming up on—notice how the bridge is equipped with shooting holes and lookout towers? You’d better believe they were ready to do battle here!”

The tour guide turned on the microphone and gestured behind her at the elaborate bridge they were floating to. ”Good afternoon.  Today we begin our tour of the Suzhou canal here at the Panmen Gate.   With a history of 2,500 years, this city gate is the most completely preserved part of the ruins of the ancient city of Suzhou. The murky water surrounding it was the watery grave of many Japanese who tried to infiltrate the city and failed. If you stand atop this bridge you can also see the Wumen Gate Bridge….”

For Mary, it was hard to concentrate on the history of the structures and bridges—for her mind was on the people. This was her second trip to China, but this time she was determined to learn about their culture and customs. Her own daughter, now a beautiful young woman, was born here and then sent through the notorious orphanage system before they found their way to each other. It amazed Mary to see so many faces with the familiar structure and contours of Mia’s, and to know that with just a few twists or turns of fate, they could have missed being a part of each other’s lives.

Beside them an elderly Chinese couple worked to peel pieces of unfamiliar fruit. They had boarded the boat in front of Mary and she had been moved at the gentle way the old man helped his wife onto the vessel and guided her to the bench, as if he were handling a delicate piece of art. Though it was early spring and the weather was warm, they were bundled in the dark clothes. Mary studied their ancient faces and wondered what secrets the deep crevices and wrinkles held. She knew the elderly of China had seen many major changes in history and survived resulting tragedies. Their infamous tenacity to survive was nothing short of remarkable and Mary wished she could hear their stories.

Suddenly the old woman pointed to the street that ran alongside the canal. Whatever was happening, it was attracting a lot of attention.  Mary struggled to understand the outburst, but her basic knowledge of Mandarin proved inefficient. As they moved closer to the activity, the crowd parted a bit and Mary glimpsed a policeman holding the collar of a little girl. He appeared to be giving her quite the lecture and the child of no more than six or seven years old looked terrified. It was evident from her scraggly hair, disheveled clothing and dirty face that she didn’t belong to anyone. Still, she frantically searched the crowd around her as if she were looking for anyone to step up and help her.

The flustered guide explained. “Aiyo, that girl is street child. She is taught to beg and steal from people and was caught with hand in pocket. Let’s get back to tour, please.”

Mary pursed her lips and looked at Danny. After their daughter’s journey to find the truth of her birth family details last year had resulted in some shocking revelations, their sympathy for the plight of children like the girl had increased even more. Most likely it wasn’t the child’s fault she was forced to be a little criminal. Most of the children like her were either kidnapped from their families, or sold into the industry by destitute parents. Some found their way to orphanages and futures decided by the Chinese government.

“Stop the boat!” Mary called out to the tour guide. She gathered her things and stood up, struggling to maintain her balance unsettled from the sudden sway of a passing gondola.

The tour guide shook her head side to side. “Bu keyi. Cannot. Tour not over, Miss.”

“Mary, what’re you doing? Sit down,” Danny tugged on her arm from his place on the bench.

“No, I will not sit down. I’m getting off and we’re going to find out what’s going to happen to that child. Look at her, Danny, she’s scared to death. That could’ve been our little Mia. Let’s see what we can do for her.” Mary began moving to the front of the boat.

Danny sighed and waved at the tour guide to let them off. “I might as well help you get your way. When your face takes on that expression, I know you won’t back down. It looks like our day of sight-seeing has taken a turn towards a more dramatic ending.”

~

Read Kay Bratt’s latest novel,Chasing China; A Daughter’s Quest for Truth. Join Mary’s daughter, Mia, on her journey to uncover the truth about her early years in China. After spending years working through the hurt and anger of being abandoned in a busy Chinese train station, Mia will travel to her homeland to uncover facts that will change her life forever. Along the way she will learn the true plight of abandoned children and their indomitable resolve to succeed, despite unfavorable circumstances. [Available at Amazon in Kindle and Print]

*Photo of Panmen Gate by Laura Griffin

Chasing China by Kay Bratt

Written by Kay on . Posted in Adoption Stories

As reviewed by Samantha March, Author/Blogger/Reviewer

Mia is beautiful, talented and has the world at her fingertips. But what makes her different than the average college student who juggles a heavy workload and a rat of a boyfriend? Many years ago she was born to an unknown family in China but soon discarded to fend for herself in a busy train station.  Fate stepped in when Mia was taken to the local orphanage and adopted at the age of four by her American family. Life has been good for her, or at least as much as she has allowed it to be while pushing her deep feelings of abandonment to the back of her mind. Finally she has decided that in order to move forward, she must confront her past. Mia takes a journey to the mysterious land of her birth and embarks on a mission to find answers. As she follows the invisible red thread back through her motherland, she is enamored by the history and culture of her heritage–strengthening her resolve to get to the truth, even as Chinese officials struggle to keep it buried. With her unwavering spirit of determination, Mia battles the forces stacked against her and faces mystery, danger, a dash of romance, and finally a conclusion that will change her life.
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Samantha March says: “Well, this is quite the emotional story. I love how much you learn from reading, and this is definitely a book that educated me on a topic I had never previously heard of. The orphanages in China are just one of the appalling factors that I was informed about, and just a lot about China in general. My heart broke reading about the children that are snatched from their homes in order to beg and steals on the streets – and what happens if they don’t bring anything back for the captors. The cover-ups that go on from government officials and authorities made me feel like I was reading a juicy spy novel of sorts– until I was brought back to reality. These are real situation that are happening every day. Wow.
******************************************************************************************
Bratt weaves Mia’s journey with a delicate hand but a strong voice. Mia is so brave and such a beautiful heroine. I loved the romance angle as well, except there were a few times where I thought Jax’s dialogue was a bit peculiar. To my ears he sounded much older than his age. There were a few editing mistakes that I caught along the way as well, but nothing to really deter me from the plot. Overall, I thought this was a really great book that I think people should read, for the story and for the educational experience you can get. I look forward to reading more from Kay Bratt.
***************
****4 stars ****

Buy Chasing China at Amazon as a print or ebook!

 

 

Creating Treasures; A Collaboration between Portrait Artist Marla Michele and Kay Bratt, Author and Advocate

Written by Kay on . Posted in Contests and Give-A-Ways, How You Can Help A Child

So for a week now I’ve been buzzing about a new project. Some of you may not know this but I’ve recently jumped on board with AOW, An Orphans Wish. I’m very excited to work with such a reputable and amazing organization to continue my work supporting and advocating for China’s children.

That leads me to my GREAT news.

Portrait Artist Marla Michele Must of ~Enchanted Photography~ by Marla Michele and Kay Bratt, child advocate and best selling author of “Silent Tears; A Journey Of Hope In A Chinese Orphanage” are joining forces to create a treasure for adoptive families.

Illuminating real-life stories, our book will be an unforgettable photographic expression of the life changing and inspiring journey adoption has for families all over the world. Adoption is not always a fairy tale story. This compelling project will give you a snapshot of tears, trauma, laughter and joys of the unforgettable gift of building a family.

Open casting calls for the project are in the works. If you are an adoptee from China, Russia, Korea, or elsewhere and would like to be a part of this project, or if you are the parent of an adoptee from China or another country and would like to enter your child in the project and share a small part of her story with the world, please contact Marla at MarlaMichele68@yahoo.com for details.  A portion of all future net proceeds will benefit AOW (An Orphans Wish).

All participating models will have a photo included in the book, and some models will also have aspects of their stories highlighted. Written pieces will be submitted to and edited by Kay Bratt, and will include memories of Forever Family Day and/or other special moments that should be captured in print for others to share. The sharing of the stories, however, is optional and up to the discretion of the family.

One of my online friends sent me a message and said, “I love the idea, but who is this Marla Michele?”  That’s a great point. If I’m going to ask you all to participate in such a project, I should give you a bird’s eye view of the woman leading it, right?

What I know is this. Portrait Artist Marla Michele Must of Enchanted Photography, is the proud mom of three remarkable children ages 12, 10, and 5 and lives in Metro Detroit. She is fluent in Hebrew and Mandarin (and her children speak Mandarin as well!). Her youngest cutie pie was adopted from China. I have to share a photo of her, get ready….

Marla has been a vegetarian since she was 11 years old. (33 years!). She loves photography because along with feeding her passion to find the beauty in everything, it allows her to bring awareness to adoption, parenting emotionally intelligent children, PTSD, and anti-bullying.

 And without further adieu, let me introduce you to Marla Michele in her own words:

 ~Planting Seeds~
Portrait Artist Marla Michele Must’s Story

When I was 13 years old I was given a camera by a family member who was someone I looked up to. She took an interest in showing me how to use the camera and how to properly compose a photograph (without shooting a tree growing out of the top of someone’s head, or a stop sign in the back-round of a portrait). Her encouraging words were very powerful to me at my young impressionable age when I was shy and not very sure of myself.

As I spent time getting to know my new camera, I realized that I had an innate habit of “composing” the world around me with my eyes long before ever picking up the camera. My new camera became my tool to capture all that I composed, all that I found to be truthful, meaningful, unique, precious, sacred, beautiful, enchanting, unusual and momentous in the world- and to capture it on film forever. It was magic!

I still feel that way today, much more so now that I’ve become a mom and have my precious three children to photograph. After years of hearing the question “do you do this professionally?” it occurred to me that the amount of time I was spending shooting, editing on the computer, and obsessing about photography might actually be translated into the practical world and perhaps something I get paid to do… so…. I hung up a shingle and things began to fall into place. The amazing part- all it took was for me to acknowledge and believe in myself enough to follow my passion wholeheartedly. I entered and won a photography contest and started to construct a website. I called a professional photographer in my area to learn more about the field, and now he is one of my mentors. I considered building out a studio space in my home and suddenly an opportunity for the Royal Oak studio came about. All of this leads me to the conclusion that following my intuition led me to my authentic path- and that path is lined with a higher purpose.

Life has a way of offering up opportunities to pay it forward… for example; in photographing children I’ve recently noticed a repetitive theme arising, especially with young girls. During our portrait sessions my young subjects will often confide in me and reveal something they are self-conscious about, or something they’ve been told is unflattering in their appearance. It’s at that moment that I recognize I have been given an opening to “plant a seed” of empowerment- either with a few words of encouragement or a sincere compliment. I strive to replace the negative thought with a positive empowering one instead. The words I offer are very powerful to the recipient, likely because they are perceived as coming from an “expert”, a stranger looking through the lens, someone aside from a friend or family member, someone with no perceivable motive. I can usually see a reaction following our exchange, sometimes its apparent in the softening of their body language, or an expression of relief, the renewed sparkle in their eyes.

The most exciting part of photography for me- it’s given me the ability to apply my passion towards a greater life purpose. I’m happy to be able to use my craft to support and endorse local businesses in Metro Detroit through a combination of my photography, social media, writing, and collaborating. The businesses and projects I am attracted to endorsing are those modeled on authenticity, integrity, driven by passion, and those that encourage giving back to the community. Causes I hold dear to my heart include bringing awareness to parenting emotionally intelligent children, anti-bullying, and parenting empathetic mindful children. I hope to bring awareness to therapeutic adoptive parenting, having just recently adopted my youngest daughter. I’m grateful for the medium of photography and the messages it allows me to send out into the world.

Hope to see you on the other side of the lens!
~Marla~

Web: www.MarlaMichelePhotography.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/EnchantedByMarlaMichele
Adoption Blog: www.MustLiveALifeLessOrdinary.com

”You may choose to spend your time and efforts raising your glass, raising your hopes, or raising your IQ.
You can raise the bar, raise your expectations, raise the roof, and raise hell if you decide to.
You can work hard to raise the bottom line of your bank account, or to raise a family in the most exclusive neighborhood with the most prestigious schools in order to raise other people’s perspective of you.
As for me, I choose to spend my time working on raising three remarkable children to be empathetic, emotionally intelligent, to live in the moment, and to be mindful. I am choosing to use my talent to raise awareness.”
~Marla Michele Must

Kay Bratt & Puss In Boots Giveaway Thank You!

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

As many of you know, I have a few published books. Huh? What? Oh…you knew that, don’t play around. *wink* And many of you have graciously bought, borrowed or won my books and then graciously taken the time to review them on Amazon.

This giveaway is to thank YOU for that.

If you have reviewed any of my books, please comment below which ones and where you reviewed it to get your name in the pot to win:

Puss in Boots Blu-Ray, Puss in Boots~The Three Diablos~ DVD, And Puss in Boots Beanie Baby

      

A 2nd winner will win a signed copy of my children’s book, “Mei Li and the Wise Laoshi”, autographed to the child(ren) of choice!

 

YOU STILL HAVE TIME to do reviews if you haven’t already! Your name goes in for each review, so you have the ability to have your name in 4 seperate times for reviewing each of my 4 books; Silent Tears, Chasing China, The Bridge or the Mei Li book.

The drawing will be in two weeks. That gives anyone currently reading a Kay Bratt book time to finish and review on Amazon.

And again..thank you. I hope my gratitude shows!