The One That Didn’t Get Away!

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

My daughter, Amanda, returned from her Spring Break trip on Tuesday. While I was buried under a mound of work I couldn’t get away from, she enjoyed several days on Bald Head Island with my twin sister. Ben made the trip to SC to pick Amanda up and when she came through that door, I was so happy to have her safely in my sights again. At almost 15, she is quite the beauty and I am always fearful of her safety in this now upside-down world.

The next morning I left her snuggled in her bed, with Gypsy huddled against her still in a happy haze that her girl had returned. (you should have heard her purring when Amanda picked her up after her seemingly never-ending absence!) However, a few hours later I received a call from my baby girl and despite the frustration in her voice, her words had me laughing out of my seat. It seems the story she heard from her dad about the gigantic fish he caught while she was gone somehow boosted her out of dream world and down to the dock to see for herself if there really is big fish in our little pond. Of course, before venturing out to the secluded pond in our yard, she first had to get herself ready and don her new skirt that I paid too much money for— and she was supposed to pay back out of her allowance but didn’t. (we all know how that goes..)

I’m sure feeling like a true fisherman after her recent daddy/daughter lessons, Amanda grabbed the pole and threw it back in order to give it a good toss to the pond. But as she attempted to throw it forward, it was stuck. She pulled harder and immediately felt a draft swirl up around her knees and a sharp pinch to her cute little butt. Whoops, she caught the hook on her own backside! Infuriated, she set the pole down and attempted to dislodge the sharp hook, but it was not to be so easy. She was finally able to remove it from her skin but it was stubbornly stuck in the delicate material of her new skirt.

After a few minutes of unsuccessful wiggling, she contemplated just taking her skirt off to get a better grip on the hook versus the material. Living out in the country like we do, I probably would have had that thought, too, but just as the idea ran through her mind it quickly ran back out again when she looked up to see what appeared to be a parade of senior citizens driving tractors down our country road. [Why is there a parade of tractors coming down our road? I have no idea but I hope it has nothing to do with spreading more chicken poop—I’ve had about as much of that stench as I can stand!]

Admitting defeat, she then juggled the fishing pole with one hand and the hook in her skirt with the other, and being the graceful gazelle she is, *smile* she made her way up the steep hill to our house, tripping all the way over the extra fishing line dangling around her feet. Right outside the door, she dropped her skirt to puddle around her feet, laid the fishing pole next to it and gave up her pursuit of The Big One.

So Amanda obviously can’t yet tell a story of the One That Got Away but she can sure tell about The One That Didn’t Get Away—herself.

She caught a big one, alright!

Disclaimer: No fish were actually hurt during the production of this drama, only one flimsy tortured skirt and a previously lucky shiny metal hook that had to be cut away from said material, and the shattered pride of one indignant kid.

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!


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! 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.

Kay Bratt loves Peony In Love!

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

I stayed up half the night finishing Peony in Love by Lisa See. What a book! Not only are you drawn into a dramatic love story, but along the way you are able to feed your mind with information of ancient Chinese history. I learned about the Manchu invasion, foot binding, abandonment and the many beliefs some Chinese have of the afterlife. It was a page turner for sure and I was sorry to see those words, The End.

The tradition of foot-binding has always puzzled me. In this book, I finally understand it a little more.

Here is a favorite excerpt:
My bound feet were extremely beautiful–my best feature–and I took great pride in them. Ordinarily I paid strict attention to Willow’s ministration, making sure that my deep crease was fully cleaned, calluses cut down, and my nails kept as short as possible. ……A woman’s feet were her greatest mystery and gift. If some miracle happened and I married my stranger, I would care for them in secret, powdering them to accentuate their odor, and rewrapping them tightly so they would appear as small and delicate as possible.

If you want to cry, laugh and celebrate with Peony, you can buy the book here:

Silent Tears Encore Edition available for Pre-Order!

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

stnewcoverSilent Tears 2nd Edition is available for pre-order on Amazon right now. For one month only, the price is discounted 45% to a meager $8.22! This is the same story but with some updates, especially about Xiao Gou, you won’t believe what she has been up to. I’ve also added a section to the back titled, “Letters to Kay” that includes some amazing letters from adoptive parents. It is a poignant, beautiful cover and my intention was for this edition to be a sort of collector’s book. It will also make a wonderful Mother’s Day gift so send a hint. [Actually, if you want Kay Bratt to send your loved one an email request telling him/her that you would love to have a copy of this book, email me their information at and I’ll get right on it!]

Here is the link but the discount price is only supposed to last for the first month, so hurrry!

Update: The offer for Hardcover is expired, only softcover available for now.

Finding Treasures

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

On Monday, Ben took the day off to finalize our house sale, arrange for utility hookups and other tedious details of the upcoming moving day. We took Amanda to school and once the morning tasks were completed, we had several hours before our closing appointment. Determined to get as much done as possible, we drove to the bordering town to check out a recommended consignment store. Arriving at our destination, I was dismayed to see that they were closed on Mondays. I was on a mission to find two comfortable reading chairs and had heard they may have just what I wanted, but my itch to decorate a house I didn’t yet have would have to wait.

As I walked back to the car, I spotted a used wicker chaise across the street in front of a seemingly dilapidated building. I asked Ben to pull in and am so glad I did. The shop was actually an antique store and was fairly large with many different pieces of furniture and small trinkets. I’ll admit, I am not the type who enjoys browsing or buying antiques, but in this unique shop I found two treasures I would otherwise have missed.

As Ben precariously made his way around the packed shop to examine an original confederate soldier uniform, I discovered an amazing mahogany mirror back behind a 1940 sewing machine and tucked underneath an ancient dining table. My daughter’s room is being decorated using Asian accents and the mirror had the familiar shape of many pieces we had seen on our trips to Thailand. Pulling out my Chinese bartering skills, I negotiated the price to $28 and I tried not to show my glee at obtaining such a great deal.

The woman at the register, Ruth—she told us to call her—reminded me of much thinner Aunt Bee from Mayberry. She flitted around the counter just as nimble as an elf and her smile at making a sale could have warmed any cold heart. Close to the counter an older man with white hair and a kind face sat perched on a barstool and observed our transaction while listening closely to all of our bantering back and forth. I almost felt like I was tossed back in time and their laid back way of life in the small community was a jolt to my too-fast-multi-tasking-stressed personality.

As I carried on a dialogue with her, I was weighing the pros and cons of their lifestyle compared to mine and concluding that they had the better deal. Peace, quiet and a slower pace was exactly what I have been dreaming of and they experienced it every day.

Ruth began to tell us of an upcoming antique show scheduled for the next weekend. Thank goodness I actually had other plans and did not have to make up an excuse, but instead told her of the adoption conference I would be attending in Tennessee that weekend. The quiet man suddenly stood up and asked, “Do you have you adopted children?”

“No, I am an advocate for orphans but I have not adopted any children.” I explained to him about my years in China working in the orphanage and how I now try to raise awareness about institutional care.

As I talked, he seemed about to burst to tell me something and when I finished my explanation, he said, “My wife and I adopted two daughters from Korea.”

That statement started a very interesting conversation. He informed me he was one of— possibly the first— to adopt internationally. He adopted his first daughter in 1976 and his second in 1980. He said both adoptions only cost a total of $1000, but that was before the agencies discovered they could get rich from it, he added.

I asked him how his daughters were now and I explained to him that I rarely have a chance to talk to an adopted parent with grown children—and that it was fascinating to me. He said they adjusted wonderfully and one was now an accountant and the other worked in the communications field. They grew up in Ohio and later the entire family moved to the South and that is where both girls are now living with their own families, all located very close together.

Our conversation flowed easily and I found myself wishing we could stay and talk for hours—I had so many unspoken questions; Did they go through an agency? Was it complicated? What was the wait time? What about the process was different? Did they travel over and see their daughters’ first? Did the girls still observe their heritage? So much was swirling around in my head but it was time for us to head to our last appointment and I also didn’t want to infringe on his privacy by asking questions that may be too personal. I gave the proud father my card and asked him to give it to his wife so that she might contact me and possibly build a friendship that would allow me to know more about their story.

We left the shop and as we loaded my first discovered treasure into the car, I looked up and saw the second unexpected treasure who was watching me through the window. Who would have thought I would have been gifted with such a rare encounter in a quaint antique shop located in a tiny southern town…

WIN Chinese Cookbook

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

And the WINNER of the ALL CHINESE COOKBOOK is PASTILLA! Please email me at to give me your address. You have until July 27 to respond! Thank you, ladies, for participating and stay tuned for more Give-A-Way posts!

I love hearing about your kids so here is the latest giveaway! Comment to this post the following:

1. How old was your child when you brought him/her home?

2. Tell us what they wanted to eat, or what they wouldn’t eat, or something interesting about the food issue when your child came home.

I will do a random drawing on July 20 and the winner will win a “Everything Chinese” cookbook.

P.S. Since I am on vacation, I will be monitoring and approving comments at a couple of times during the day. If you don’t see your comment immediately, don’t worry– it will show as soon as I hook up again!