Interview with Kay Bratt

Kay BrattKay Bratt, author of Silent Tears, graciously agreed to do an interview for TIO. It’s always exciting to feature someone who is active in helping orphans. I hope you enjoy reading her answers as much as I did!

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What’s the first thing someone with little or no knowledge of China’s orphans know about them?
Many of China’s orphans aren’t technically orphans. Because of the countries lack of medical care assistance to the lower classes, many parents abandon their child out of love and hope. Because the majority of abandoned children have some sort of illness or special need, the parents have left them hoping that when their child is placed in the orphanage; the government will step up and care for whatever special need they may have, to give them a chance at life.

How can teenagers help orphans in china besides donating money?
Raising awareness about children’s needs in China is as important as donating money. If no one knows about these children in need, how can they receive the assistance they deserve? Find an organization to follow and tweet the stories, share on Facebook, explore the subject as a homework assignment, or even start a support group.

Silent TearsWhat are some of the basic rules and regulations surrounding orphans and adoption in China?
The rules and regulations surrounding orphans and adoption in China are many and complicated. The important thing to know is that domestic adoption (adoption by the Chinese people of their country’s children) is becoming more prevalent. In small steps, the government is trying to raise awareness about these children as well as squash the age old stigma of adoption. In past times, many Chinese felt that to take in a person not of your blood was to bring bad luck upon your family. With the newer generations, these taboos are starting to disappear.

What do you feel needs to change in the orphan care and adoption procedures?
I feel that China needs to place orphan care at the top of their priority list. When I travel within China and see the millions of dollars spent on beautifying cities with landscaping, buildings, and the many lights everywhere, it is disappointing because I know there are cold and hungry children scattered throughout their cities in dilapidated orphanages. Feed and warm the children first! Decorate the cities next!

Do you have any other comments, suggestions, or insights concerning this topic?
It is important to remember that the people of China are not to be blamed for the epidemic of abandoned children in their country. It is the government’s responsibility to step up with support that can enable parents to keep their children. Support including food, medical care, and education for all status levels. The people love and want to keep their children, but so many have a difficult time just feeding and medically caring for themselves.

Many thanks to Kay for taking the time to answer these questions! What do you guys think about this information?

The winner of the Silent Tears giveaway is Spencer R. I think most of you will agree he has the biggest reason to want to learn about Chinese orphans! Stay tuned for future giveaways.

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Partner with His Heart (part 2)

Turner Kids Hopefully you didn’t miss part one of this interview, but if you did, check it out here –> Partner with His Heart (part 1).

What were some of the most helpful things people did for you during your adoptions?
It was so nice to have friends and family who were supportive of our adoptions. I was actually nervous to tell people we were adopting 11 year old twins- but getting a positive response from our loved ones meant so much to us! The adoption process could be long and emotional, just hearing a friend express interest in the process really helped me through the ‘waiting game.’

Practical help, including friends and family donating to our massive tag sales, friends helping me organize benefit dinners, and especially watching my other 3 children while we were traveling overseas. It was also a huge blessing having people coming to my doorstep with meals after we arrived home. On many occasions I was brought to tears by people’s love and generosity during the whole process. And most importantly…prayer! Even though that is the unseen aspect, it was felt the most! I knew people were praying for our family, for the children being adopted, for our children already home, and for my husband and I. I truly believe our adoption experiences were held together by those who were praying for us.

Is there anything you wish people would not have done that they did?
Turners - In EthiopiaOn several occasions I winced at statements and questions asked to my daughters that I knew would make them uncomfortable. I have even heard someone ask them which country they like better! The key is sensitivity. Everyone is excited the child is finally home and they expect that every child will feel the same way, but in reality adoptions stem from trauma and loss. I was surprised to even hear that baby’s adopted right from the hospital will experience this loss. Some people expected that the girls would just automatically be thrilled with America and all the ‘stuff’ we have. We have found that even though our children have been hungry and gone without food, they still miss the food that they were used to. We think we have access to so much great food and yet, we were surprised to find that they were picky and do not like a lot of our foods! International adoptions come along with culture shock for children. We can not believe that our culture is better than any other’s. These children will miss their culture.

Do you have any suggestions for teens who want to help orphans and start adoptions?
Turners - J and HYou are never too young to make an impact in an orphans life! It was my 4 year old daughter–who remembered life in an orphanage–that pleaded with us to “go back and get more kids…they don’t have a mommy and daddy!” My five year old son was a huge catalyst telling us all the time that we should adopt more kids. Your voice is important–your friends and family are hearing what your saying. By reading books on the topic and doing research you can be a wealth of knowledge to families who express interest in the topic. It was Steven Curtis Chapman’s young daughter who had a burden for orphans and would often write letters to her parents asking them to prayerfully consider adoption. God then worked in her parents hearts and, after their Chinese adoptions, the Chapmans started one of the largest orphan care ministries in America, touching thousands of lives….which all started from a young teen praying for orphans.

If you regularly earn money you may choose to support an orphan monthly. At www.helpkorah.org you can choose a child’s profile who is waiting for a sponsor. I know 2 young teens who even decided to ‘share’ sponsoring a child–they split the cost between them monthly. And of course, Prayer! I remember when I was 18 years old–God put the country of India on my heart- it was a heavy burden and I spent hours reading about India. God would wake me up in the middle of the night to pray for the people of India whom I have never met before! BUT…10 years later when we decided to adopt a little Indian girl, I knew that those tears of my youth were not poured out in vain. I was interceding on behalf of my daughter’s country–possibly her young birth parents–without me ever knowing any of that at the time! Your prayers and petitions on behalf of the millions of orphans around the world will be heard in the throne room of heaven…do not grow weary in doing good–you are shaping a child’s destiny!
Turner Family 3
Has God laid a specific country on your heart the way he put India on Mrs. Turner’s heart? What makes you passionate about that country? Do you have any questions sparked by this interview?

Partner with His Heart (part 1)

Turner Family 2One of my goals for this blog is to interview families who have adopted or are adopting. After all, who knows more about the needs of adopting families and orphans than people who have been so intimately involved in the process. For me, Jill Turner was the logical place to start. I met the Turners shortly after their daughter, Sova-Grace, came home from India. Mrs. Turner was kind enough to share the life book she had made for Sova with me. I cried through her account of their adoption. Since then the Turners have been a family I’ve looked up to. It has been a joy and privilege to follow along through their second adoption, twin tweens from Ethiopia this time. You can read about both adventures on the Turner Times. Enjoy the interview!

How did you become interested in adoption?
Right after our 2nd son was born our church started a bible study for anyone interested in adoption or has a heart for the orphaned. God tugged at my heart to go, and it was during this time of studying the scriptures on what God had to say about caring for the orphan that I started to seriously think about if this was something our family could do. We sent away for the informational packets and read a book on adoption. I vividly remember my 10 month old baby waking up in the middle of the night crying–as I rocked him in the chair, offering a bottle and trying to console him, I heard God speak to my heart, “wonder if Caleb was one of the millions of orphans out there…who would be rocking him to sleep?” I was ruined by that thought. For any parent to imagine for even a minute, their own child to be alone and suffering in this world–it was a wake up call for me. After sharing with Michael all that God had been impressing upon me he said, “let’s save as much money as possible to adopt as many kids as we can!”

What is something you wish more people knew about adoption?
Turner GreetingsDon’t say no because of the cost! That’s the first thing people think of when they hear the word adoption and that makes me so sad. Yes, adoption can be expensive yet by adopting through the foster care system the adoption is often free! There are many grants available for the more costly international adoptions–we received a substantial one! There are adoption tax-write offs and 0% interest loans.

I remember sitting in the living room of friends of ours who adopted 2 children–they knew we wanted to pursue an adoption so they had us over so we could ask them questions. The financial cost was our 1 and only thing holding us back from saying “Yes”. I will never forget this simple statement from our friend Steve, “Jill, adoption is God’s HEART….if you partner with His heart–don’t’ you think he will provide?” We left our friends home that night full of faith and ready to completely trust God to provide for us. He did…in ways that I would never have dreamed! When we started our 2nd adoption, we again wrestled with God over trusting him with the finances. Looking back I see that we acted like the Israelites–forgetting so soon the miracle of his provision–not believing that he would do it again! Once again he provided for us every step of the way–and again…beyond what I could have imagined!

What are your thoughts about these comments? How can we, as teens, help families overcome the fear about finances and pursue what God is calling them to do?

Stay tuned for part two.