Synopses & Reviews
In a true story of family ties, journalist Mei-Ling Hopgood, one of the first wave of Asian adoptees to arrive in America, comes face to face with her past when her Chinese birth family suddenly requests a reunion after more than two decades.
In 1974, a baby girl from Taiwan arrived in America, the newly adopted child of a loving couple in Michigan. Mei-Ling Hopgood had an all-American upbringing, never really identifying with her Asian roots or harboring a desire to uncover her ancestry. She believed that she was lucky to have escaped a life that was surely one of poverty and misery, to grow up comfortable with her doting parents and brothers.
Then, when she's in her twenties, her birth family comes calling. Not the rural peasants she expected, they are a boisterous, loving, bossy, complicated middle-class family who hound her daily--by phone, fax, and letter, in a language she doesn't understand--until she returns to Taiwan to meet them. As her sisters and parents pull her into their lives, claiming her as one of their own, the devastating secrets that still haunt this family begin to emerge. Spanning cultures and continents, Lucky Girl brings home a tale of joy and regret, hilarity, deep sadness, and great discovery as the author untangles the unlikely strands that formed her destiny.
"An uplifting and beautiful journey that brings out all your emotions." --Michelle Yu, coauthor of China Dolls
"Mei-Ling Hopgood's riveting memoir traces a young woman's journey to understand the forces that shaped her life. Heartwarming and addictive, LUCKY GIRL captures the beauty--and the luck--of finding home." --Danielle Trussoni, author of Falling Through the Earth
"Hopgood has it all: a journalist's brain, a camerawoman's eye, and a storyteller's heart. In LUCKY GIRL, she beautifully weaves the tricky helix of hope and heredity, showing us that fractured families are sometimes the most whole. On every page, Hopgood's unflinching honesty, emotional acuity, and narrative grace ground this intimate story of family ties tattered, torn, and, in unexpected ways, restored."--Kelly McMasters, author of Welcome to Shirley: A Memoir from an Atomic Town
Mei-Ling Hopgood "writes with humor and grace about her efforts to understand how biology, chance, choice and love intersect to delineate a life. A wise, moving meditation on the meaning of family, identity and fate." -Kirkus Detroit Metro Times
"A journalist by trade, Hopgood pushes herself to ask tough questions. As she does, shocking family secrets begin to spill forth. . . Brutally honest. . . Although Hopgood's memoir is uniquely her own, multiple perspectives on adoption saturate the book." -Bust magazine Good Housekeeping
"An award-winning writer recounts her experience as one of the first Chinese babies adopted in the West and her surprising trail back to the rural Taiwanese family who gave her away . . . A great book." --Good Housekeeping
"With concise, truth-seeking deftness of a seasoned journalist, Mei-Ling delves into the political, cultural and financial reasoning behind her Chinese birth parents' decision to put her up for adoption. . . Cut with historical detail and touching accounts of Mei-Ling's "real" family, the Hopgoods, Lucky Girl is a refreshingly upbeat take on dealing with the pressures and expectations of family, while remaining true to oneself. Simple, to the point and uncluttered of the everyday minutiae, Mei-Ling Hopgood nails the concept of becoming one's own."--Detroit Metro Times
"Enchanting . . . Hopgood's story entices not because it's joyful but because she is honest, analytical and articulate concerning her ambivalence about and eventual acceptance of both her families and herself." --Louisville Courier-Journal
"A compelling, honest, and very human tale about self-identity and the complex concept of family." -- Kathleen Flinn, author of The Sharper Your Knife, the Less You Cry
“An eye-opening account of life in Chinas orphanages. Kay Bratt vividly details the conditions and realities faced by Chinese orphans in an easy-to-read manner that draws the reader in to the heart-wrenching moments she has experienced in her work to bring hope to these children.”—Dan Cruver, cofounder and director of Together for Adoption
When her family relocated to rural China in 2003, Kay Bratt was thrust into a new world, one where boys were considered more valuable than girls and poverty and the one-child policy had created an epidemic of abandoned infants. As a volunteer at a local orphanage, Bratt witnessed conditions that were unfathomable to a middle-class mother of two from South Carolina.
Based on Bratts diary of her four years working at the orphanage, Silent Tears offers a searing account of young lives rendered disposable. In the face of an implacable system, Bratt found ways to work within (and around) the rules to make a better future for the children, whom she came to love. Her story balances the sadness and struggles of life in the orphanage with moments of joy, optimism, faith, and victory. It is the story of hundreds of children—and one woman who never planned on becoming a hero but became one anyway.
About the Author
Kay Bratt grew up in the Midwest as the child of a broken home and later, a survivor of abuse. Facing these obstacles in her own life instilled in Kay a passionate drive to fight for those that had been dealt an unfair hand. Upon arriving in China on an expatriate assignment with her husband in 2003, she was immediately drawn to the cause of China's forgotten orphans. Moved beyond tears by the stories of these children, she promised to give them the voice they did not have. In 2008, she self-published her memoir Silent Tears: A Journey of Hope in a Chinese Orphanage to do just that.
With the help of her readers, Kay continues to raise awareness and advocate for at-risk children. In China, she was honored with the 2006 Pride of the City award for her humanitarian work. She is the founder of the Mifan Mommy Club, an online organization which provides rice for children in China's orphanages, and is also an active volunteer with Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) for abused and neglected children. Kay currently resides in Georgia with her husband and daughter.