"The only road that leads to the destination God desires for us has it's sharp bends."
Two years ago the road we were traveling had a huge bend in it. How I wish at that time we could have taken a detour. But I can see now that this short cut would have lead us into the wilderness. And this was not the end of Teresa's story.
Two years later, we are now on a road less traveled.
Two little girls have joined our family. This now makes The Bartlinski Bunch...11 amazing children that God has blessed us with.
Ruth and Maria are fitting right in to our "wacky" family. They love all of their sisters and adore their three older brothers.
Our journey on this new road has also lead us to China. Our bend in the road also put a bend in our hearts. We spent one month in China working with our partner Little Hearts Medical and our Executive Director, Andrea Olson. Ed is on the Board of Directors and I am the Special Projects Director. We worked closely with the CCCWA (
China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption ) to improve the care of orphans in China born with heart disease. I could hear Teresa giggling from Heaven as the the Director of The CCCWA said " Yes, we agree , we would like to have you work with us to improve the care of heart children". As I told him that it is our ultimate goal to build a Heart Home for orphans, he was visibly moved by Teresa and Andrea's son, Bryce's story and photo albums we presented to him.
Wow! Two years ago I only dreamed of this day but now it is a reality.
We have been very busy for the past two months as we prepare for the meeting that will take place with all of the orphanage directors in China as we present to them a training video that will be used to identify orphans with heart disease as they enter the orphanages. This is an incredible step in the right direction to saving more lives. Had this been done for Teresa her story would have had a different ending.
We also visited several medical Foster Homes. We spent time with the children learning about their medical conditions and advocating for them.
We also had dinner with our team of surgeons in Beijing. This is one of the most dedicated group of people whose hearts really care about the orphans. Dr. Liu and Ed had such a great time toasting each other. Dr. Liu calls me his " American Mama". We met him 2 years ago when we traveled to China to start our road to building the Heart Home. Last year we brought him to CHOP for 2 weeks to shadow Teresa's team of cardiologists and then attended the annual Cardiac Conference in Florida. He is an amazing surgeon who has a heart of gold. What a blessing it was to spend time with them again.
The bend in the road that we thought would break our hearts has lead us on another amazing journey where our lives will be forever touched by our angelic little girl that "loved us more". Teresa you are still changing lives from heaven and helping orphans to have their own families.
This was written by our Executive Director of Little Hearts Medical, Andrea Olson.
heart disease is the most common birth defect worldwide, affecting
approximately one in every 100 children born. An estimated 130,000
children are born with CHD each year in China, and a staggering
percentage of those children die by their first birthday.
our trip to China in May, LHM was asked to meet with the Director of the
China Center for Child Welfare and Adoption (CCCWA). Our Executive Director
Andrea Olson, Special Projects Coordinator Ann Bartlinski, Board of
Directors member Dr. Ed Bartlinski, LHM in-China Coordinators Dennis
Yang and Susan Song, and Holt International Children’s Services
representative Sue Liu met with CCCWA staff and presented our findings
on the state of care of orphans affected by CHD. We were met with
compassion, interest, and the spirit of cooperation, and at the
conclusion of the meeting we were invited to join hands with the CCCWA
in a partnership to work towards the betterment of life for these
precious children. It was a powerful moment for our team, as the Olson,
Bartlinski, and Lee families (LHM Founders) have all adopted CHD
children from China. The battles fought by our children and those of so
many we know, and the sweet memory of Teresa Bartlinski and the many
other precious children who have passed away, have been our driving
We are honored to have been asked to attend the annual
General Assembly Meeting of Orphanage Directors taking place in Shanghai
in September, to give a presentation on the challenges facing CHD
children residing in China’s social and child welfare institutions.
Alongside Holt International Children’s Services, Executive Assistant
Eric Olson and our in-China Coordinators will deliver the presentation
to all of those in charge of China’s hundreds of social and child
welfare institutions. We are honored by this invitation, and we ask for
your support and prayers as we reach out to touch the hearts and souls
of those in attendance. We pray that our message will be effectively
communicated, that the importance of early diagnosis and the critical
significance of intervention will be understood, and that the directors
will leave inspired to do their utmost for the children in their care.
After the Shanghai meeting, Eric will continue on to Shandong Province
for the Journey of Hope camp, where he will be sharing our presentation
with the ayis of several orphanages there.
We are all too aware
that there are many obstacles to obtaining cardiac care for China’s
orphans and children living with their families of origin, but by taking
one step at a time, building relationships, opening eyes and hearts,
and approaching the problems with unbiased minds, fortitude, and spirit,
we know we can make a difference.
The primary mission of LHM is
the sharing of knowledge between our U.S. based team of pediatric
cardiologists and cardiothoracic surgeons and those in China, and that
work continues! We are planning more training trips for the upcoming
year, including a partnership with a respected organization already
rooted deeply in China. We will be continuing the training of advanced
interventional catheterization procedures so that more children may be
reached earlier, at a cost that will be less prohibitive to families in
China, orphanages, and the organizations funding children’s cardiac
We will soon be asking the community of families who have
adopted CHD children from China to assist us with a special project.
Thank you for your prayers and your support!"