So I know it's not Tuesday, but a good topic anyway. I checked the Tuesday tell all blog that has ended, but a couple of readers took it upon themselves to keep the weekly fun going. Their most recent question was "Tell us about the last book you read."
The last book I read was "Silent Tears, A Journey of Hope in a Chinese orphanage" by Kay Bratt. It is her journal of her experience of living in China and her volunteerism in the Chinese Welfare Services (orphanages). I know that a great many families adopting from China have read and are reading this book and there will be many different opinions, but here is my take:
I have never read a book that had me so riveted to the story. I could not put it down. I'm not sure if it was because I am adopting from China or if the story was just that compelling. She talks about her move to China for her husband's new job. She talks about the change and how difficult it is in China. Once her life seems to smooth out a bit she starts to volunteer at a Chinese orphanage.
At first it is all she can do to return to the orphanage the next day. The things she sees the first day in the orphanage make her sad and disgusted at the way the babies are treated. The story moves on to describe how she tries to help the babies by giving them extra time to eat, rubbing their backs, talking with them and comforting them. She starts to notice some change in the babies. Some of the babies she is able to help, even finding them an adoptive home. Other babies die, some suffer pain and agony. She gets move involved trying to get people to donate money for special surgeries in which the babies will die without them. She sees many heartwarming and courageous children which often gives her hope, but she has very painful experiences that leave her thinking that she won't go back to the orphanage the next day.
Knowing that my child is coming from China makes this story all the more real to me. I know that things have changed for the better in China, but I also know how poor and desperate some orphanages are. I will never know if my baby will be subjected to the treatment that was talked about in this book. All I can do is hope and pray. Pray my child doesn't suffer as much, isn't as cold and that she doesn't go without food. My most fervent wish is that my daughter doesn't cry silent tears as most of the children do.
An excerpt from the journal:
November 4, 2003
"When I arrived today and headed for my special baby, Squirt, I found his little bed empty and all his blankets gone. A dreadful feeling washed over me. I didn't want to ask; I was afraid to know and I was afraid not to know. My hands began to shake. I glanced around and caught the workers turning from me. I could tell from their downcast, guilty expressions that it was bad news. My eyes finally met Xiao Annie's and then I knew. She made the sign over her eyes to indicate someone had died.
I stumbled over to the small stools we sit on while holding the babies. My legs lost all strength as I lowered myself and covered my face with my hands. Mercifully, no one tried to patronize me by attempting words of comfort. I was in shock. I couldn't understand. Three days ago, Squirt had been fine; he was not sick, and he was eating with a hearty appetite. I was certain he was going to make it. Every time I fed him, I stared into his eyes and willed him to survive. Sure, he looked like a shriveled up old man, but it seemed his hunger to live was sustaining him and helping him to become stronger each week.
Squirt is gone. He never had the chance to get well and to have a family. I can't stop thinking of his last moments. I wasn't there for him.
I wasn't there. I did not get to hold him as he left this world. He had to die alone. I wasn't there. I can't do this anymore.
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