The Bartlinski Bunch

" Teresa "

" Teresa "

Teresa "Fang Fang " Bartlinski

Teresa was born on December 25, 2006 in China. She was born with a very complex heart condition. In July 2010, GOD added Teresa to our family through adoption. We have been blessed with 9 wonderful children. Gods grace has woven us together as a family. Upon bringing Teresa home from China we unfortunately learned she not only needed a heart transplant but also a lung transplant. Her doctors feel she would not survive this operation. Please help us to pray for a miracle for Teresa's heart and lungs to be healed. She is a very special little soul who has touched so many lives around the world ...
I BELIEVE IN MIRACLES!

Monday, March 31, 2014

April 1 - nine months

April 1.    I can hardly believe it has been 9 months since our sweet girl went to Heaven.  Nine months of learning to live without her here, helping us through life.  Yes, she helped us through every minute of every day.  Now she is helping us from Heaven.  There are days it feels like only yesterday she was here being a princess, giggling, singing and dancing.  And other days where it feels like she has been gone forever.  I often wonder why God chose to share Teresa with us for only three years.  How could we possibly have learned everything HE wanted us to learn from her in only three years? But I guess we did and now it is His will for her to teach us from Heaven. Some may question "Learn from her, really?" Yes, we have learned from her so much and we continue every day to learn more.
The biggest lesson we all have learned is,  God is good all of the time.  God was not bad because Teresa died.  This was His will.  All things work for the good of God. God is LOVE.  Teresa was and still is LOVE.  She personified love.
I read an article tonight talking about grief written by Sara McNutt  It pretty much summed up what our family has gone through for the past nine months.-
 
Since we have begun our own grief journey, I have noticed this subtle mindset that so many have about grief. The more outwardly composed and collected we are, the more praised we are for "being strong" and being a light and example. An example of what? Not collapsing on the floor in gut-wrenching pain and weeping that leaves our eyes nearly swollen shut and our faces red and blotchy? No, we save that for the privacy of our bedrooms.
I've said this before and I'll say it again: People who experience such profound loss and grief are not any stronger than you are. We did not experience our loss because we possessed more strength than you, and you are not exempt from experiencing it yourself. People who experience such profound loss and grief go on living because they have to.
As my sweet friend and I talked, I realized we shared many of those same experiences. People praising her for being strong. People commending her because she looked like she was moving on because she happened to get dressed and put makeup on that day. I loved the way she confronted the last person who told her that. "It's a front," she said. "I'm actually living in a black hole right now."
Because people don't see the other side.
They don't see the sleepless nights and the nightmares and the constant replay of your worst memories: the still heart where there should've been a beating one; the moment she was placed in your arms and all you could cry was, "You're so beautiful; you're so perfect"; the kissing of her head over and over; the soaking in of her face, knowing you'd never see it again; the handing her over for the final time; the collapsing on the bed in tears because you don't know how you will live through this pain.
They don't see the crushing of your heart when you see someone who has what you should have. They don't see the tears rolling down your face night after night, the thousand different places in this city that you've cried and then pulled it together as you pulled into the church parking lot.
They don't see the anger and the desperate questioning and the item thrown across the room because you can't stand the pain and anger anymore. And they don't see that it doesn't stop. That nine months later you're still so freaking sad and angry that you realize for the first time that grief is a long, long journey and you're just getting started.
I'm comforted when I find in the Bible the same gut-wrenching pain that has become so familiar to me. None of this ridiculous composure and "staying strong" and being the poster child for handling grief well. Isaiah tells me that Jesus was a man familiar with grief and sorrow, and when Jesus wept the original language describes for us the type of weeping that is from the stomach—you know, the kind that doubles you over.
Jesus is near to me. He is with me. He has never left me. I have laid in bed and pleaded with Him to please show me His love and kindness because it felt so far and, even at times, not true, and my God, the One who leads the stars out in number by name, has done just that. He has shown me indescribable love and kindness. But it doesn't erase or exempt me from the grief experience. Nor any other believer.
Yes, God is good, but death isn't. He tells us in His own Word that the last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Cor. 15:26). Yes, death is an enemy. And we can have every type of visceral reaction to it that soldiers have in battle at enemy lines. It is not tidy. It is not comfortable. It doesn't make for easy conversation or even relationship. It reshapes what you thought your life would be like and look like. It is inescapable.
When I talked to my friend today, my eyes filled with tears as she spoke and shared how angry she's been, and I told her I have been as well, and I told her that's OK; it's part of the process. No, we don't want to stay there and become embittered, but we don't have to have a quick, palatable response to everything either. We don't have to defend God or try to make it go away for the other person. We can simply say, "I know and I'm so sorry. I've been there too. I'm there now."
Someone shared this perspective not long ago, and it's stuck with me. How much would I love it if my children came to me when they were older with their real problems and questions and struggles and sin, more than if they simply always told me the "right" thing so that I somehow felt better about them? I love my children desperately, and nothing could ever separate me from loving them. I crave relationship with them, not a surface appearance of them doing the right things but me never actually knowing them, truly knowing them. And it makes me wonder how much more so our Father? He's not looking for us to have our spiritual ducks in a row first. He's not looking for us to redeem our own pain and experiences. He is the Redeemer. He is the one who sanctifies. He is the one to work out all things for good.
I think people who suffer and grieve have such deep faith because the believing doesn't come easy anymore. It's been purified in the Refiner's fire. We can no longer say that God is good because our lives are going how we think they should; we now say God is good because He is simply good. Because it is who he has been for all of eternity, and He is incapable of being anything other than Himself in all His perfection. His goodness isn't true because we have good gifts. His goodness is true because it is who He is.
Yes, my faith is deeper. My belief in God and His Word are stronger. But it's not without severe pain and wrestling.
Teresa , we love you more and are so much better for having the privilege of being your family forever... We will be together again someday in Heaven. Until then please tell Jesus ," Thank you."

Thursday, March 6, 2014

We Have a Name

We have a name- Mrs. Jaudon's second grade class at Hillcrest had the highest donations for the "Love You More" Heart Home. The school raised over $ 4,000 in one day! Her class chose to name the Baby Room -"The Pink Princess Teresa's Heart room" lovingly from Mrs Jaudon's second grade class . These children all gave from their hearts . They are amazing ! Thank you so much!

If you would like to name a room , please email me.   We will also have a "Wall of Love" for donations. You can make donations on the pay pal site here or by mailing to Believe in Miracles,P.O.Box 21199, Catonsville Md. 21228.  All donations will go to Opening the Heart Home.  Believe in Miracles is an approved 501c.
We Love You More...

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Big Picture

Are you the type of person that likes to know the bigger picture.  You like to know the end of the movie or whats going to happen next.

I am definitely like this.  I don't like surprises or not knowing whats going to happen next.  I like routines and having everything planned out.

Four years ago if I had seen the bigger picture - We would adopt a little girl with half a heart,  spend months in and out of the hospital,  go through procedures, caths.,  illnesses, scarry nights trying to breath for her,  learning more than any parent should ever have to learn about the human heart, able to write a book on heart transplant and all the  possible complications,  learn about organ donation and become a strong advocate for it, jump every time the phone rings , living out of a suit case for one year, going through two weeks of suffering and pain and then holding Teresa as she went into Jesus arms,  I am not sure I would have said "Yes" when Jesus asked us to take a leap of faith and trust Him and adopt Teresa.   Not knowing the bigger picture is sometimes a benefit. We wanted to adopt Teresa to love her and for her to know the love of having her own family.  We trusted God as we prayed for a miracle but also had complete trust that God knew the bigger picture and His will would be done.

Looking back now I can see the bigger picture, I understand.   But I can only understand it now standing on the other side.  And yes, we all  agree we would do it again. God is always good.  It doesn't mean your life will not have suffering or pain but with God ALL things are possible.

Many wonderful things continue to happen.  Two weeks ago we met in Philadelphia with our team from China.  They spent the week shadowing Teresa's team of Doctors from CHOP. It was an amazing week.  The knowledge theygained they will take back to China and help the orphans.  
                                            Lily, took care of Teresa in China. It is amazing how God brought her back into our lives. Only God could orchestrate all of these details perfectly.

Last week Ed and I ran in the Disney Princess Marathon ( the 10K ) weekend at Disney World.  We both have never run in a marathon before but we could definitely feel Teresa leading us on.  As we crossed the finish line I could hear Teresa saying" really Mom , what took you so long?"  Next year we hope to have a larger team and raise even more money for the Heart Home.

Also last week Teresa's school held a fundraiser for The Heart Home.  In one day the children raised over $4,000!!!  The class that raised  the highest donations will name a room in the new Heart Home .  I will keep you posted on the name they choose.  We will be meeting with the Children on Thursday.

I had hoped on opening the Heart Home on July 1, 2014 ( one year  after Teresa's passing) .  But this is in Gods hands.  We need to raise the first years expenses before we can open the Home.  So far we have raised $30,000. After we raise the first years expenses ( $80,000), The Chunmiao  Foundation will help to fund the home along with donations.  We are working on other fundraisers.  It is never too late to donate, Donations can be made to Believe In Miracles( an approved 501C foundation) and all donations are tax deductible.  P.O Box 21199 , Catonsville Maryland 21228. Thank you !

All the girls are doing fantastic. Emilia will have the fixators from her legs removed on Friday. She will be three inches taller and is so excited! 
We are so grateful to God for all the blessings He has bestowed on our family and continue to trust completely in His will for our lives.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Love You More" Heart Home

Something wonderful is happening this week.

A few months ago I spoke with Teresa's team of Doctors at CHOP and asked them if they would host our team of Doctors from China.
Dr. Hanna  was very gracious an organized a week filled with lectures, Heart Caths., surgeries and rounds.  Our friend Teresa W. graciously funded the trip.
After spending the week in Philly the team will fly to Orlando and attend The 2014 Pediatric Cardiac Conference.   Here they will spend another week in conferences and lectures learning from the best cardiac Doctors in America.

This is such a tremendous experience  and we are very excited for them all!

Keep moving those mountains Teresa!  We love you more!!!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Gemma-Hawaii

Thank you Make A Wish Hawaii for making Gemmas wish so magical. The entire team of volunteers, life guards, surf instructors and the Hamilton family all went above and beyond to make the week fabulous for all 10 of the wish children.  They enjoyed  a Hawaiian Luau, surfing, sand castle making, lai making, Hula lessons, tubing the ditch, snorkeling, watching Soul Surfer and private time with Bethany.  They all overcame fears and embraced the challenge of learning something new.  Friendships were made.  All these children are my HERO'S.   Each child facing obstacles in life with their health and never giving up.
Gemma's new friend- Elizabeth
Vanina Walsh- 16 years old and second in the world for paddle boarding.  She is such a sweet girl.
Siana Hunt- CEO of Make A Wish



Uncle Kalani and Gemma getting ready to surf.
The girls with Sarah Hill.  Carrie Underwood played  Sarah in the movie.









Emilia and Gemma surfing with Noah Hamilton ( Bethany's older brother) .  He is the kindest, warmest, most humble person !




Gemma received the trophy for the most FEARLESS surfer!
Thank you Make A Wish !!!!!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Surfing

To say today was amazing would be an understatement.  

We started the day with breakfast with Bethany.   The entire Hamilton family is so kind.  Bethany's parents, uncle , two brothers , sister in laws and niece spent  the day with us also.  Mrs. Hamilton taught Grace how to make ti leaf lais.  

The girls spent the day surfing with Bethany and playing on the beach. Even Emilia surfed.  Bethany's coach  tandem 
Surfed with her.   All the girls had the best time .  They accomplished a dream
They never thought they could.

Tonight everyone had dinner with the entire Hamilton family.  The wish children then had individual time alone with Bethany and had the opportunity for autographs and more photos.  

After dinner everyone was treated to a movie under the stars on hanalei bay ....soul  surfer .  After the movie we all got the   inside scoop on the making of the  movie.
 Hanalei Bay on Kuai is breathtaking .  It was kinda neat to see in the movie the same beach the girls were surfing on. 

Tomorrow the girls will surf with Bethany in the morning and then go tubing down the ditch In the afternoon . 

We are all loving  the island life. "No worries" and " island time" are fantastic! 

"If you have faith anything is possible". Bethany Hamilton 


" I get my strength from Jesus Christ"  Bethany Hamilton 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Kauai

Tonight we had dinner with the ten children attending the first Bethany Hamilton surf camp for Make A Wish.  Gemma quickly became best friends with another little girl from Phoenix.  There is also an adopted little girl from Gemmas  province in china with the same medical condition as her.    All the children learned how to do the hula. Tomorrow morning the girls will have their first surfing lesson with Bethany ( even Emilia).   They are so excited.    Kauai is such a beautiful island .  Several movies were filmed here. ( pirates of the Caribbean , South Pacific , Jurassic park)
Gemma is having the best time.
 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Make a Wish

O
We are in Hawaii !  Gemma wished to surf with Bethany Hamilton and she is so excited.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014

Sorry it has been so long since I last posted.

Christmas was a difficult time for us this year.  Not only was it Christmas but it also was Teresa's 7th. Birthday. 
We decided to do things a little bit differently.  Thank you to our friends and family who didn't judge us and ask why?

We could not wait for 2013 to be over  since it seemed like such a bad year.   But after thinking about exactly what a "Bad" year entailed , I realized that 2013 could not have been bad.  It was probably one of our best years ever.
It was the very last year we would ever have Teresa here with us, so it could not be bad.  It was filled with so many happy memories and the sounds of Teresa's magical laughter.  But it  also held a very sad , life changing time in our lives.  We became very different in 2013 because of it.  And I have to say for the better.   The journey that Teresa started us on 4 years ago was never an easy one, and we knew that going into her adoption.  But what we never expected along the journey was exactly how life changing it would be. 



I don't think I could even put into words exactly how our lives have changed.  It is something that we all  just feel, know and believe every day.  Teresa changed us.  She came to change each one of us in the way  that only God knew we needed. 
She lived for 6 years with half a heart and when she died she took half of our hearts with  her.

Many things have been happening ... Emilia is doing so much better with her legs healing.  She will have the external fixators removed in 2 months and she will be three inches taller. The infections are all gone!!!
Lucy will be performing in the schools spring play... Willy Wonka.  She tried out for Veruca but was cast as Umpa Lumpa #3.  She is so happy to be a part of the play she really did not mind being an Umpa Lumpa. And she makes an incredibly cute Umpa Lumpa!
Ed and I feel so blessed to be enjoying the pure love of our first grandchild.  He brings us all so much happiness.
Gemma is so excited for a very special event.... she is going on her Make A Wish trip.  She has waited for almost 2 years  and she is beyond excited.  She wished to learn to surf with  Bethany Hamilton from Soul Surfer. After watching the movie she felt a connection to her.  She said Bethany kept going after losing her arm and didn't give up.  She said she was just  like her because she doesn't give up either. Bethany is such an amazing role model for girls.    It's your choice how  you  react when life throws you a curve ball.  You can stay down and crumble or you can get back up and follow your dreams.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

How are you doing?

 A lot of people have asked  how we are doing.  We knew the first year with out Teresa would be difficult especially Christmas day since this is also her Birthday.  Teresa loved celebrating her Birthday with  Jesus.

Ed and I wanted to skip Christmas this year.  Watching the rest of the world go on with so much joy and happiness was too painful since our joy ( Teresa) was gone.  But we knew we could not do this to our other children.  They deserved to be happy and have a joyful Christmas also.   So we have done the best we can in the midst of great sadness to make Christmas for them special.

"How are you doing?"  seems like such a generic question.   Some people use it as a greeting,  not really wanting an in depth answer.   Others can only handle a  response of "we are  doing o.k.",  and yet others seem afraid to even ask.  But there are a few who can see behind the smile that hides the pain and the eyes that can cry no more or the arms that long to hold the one that is gone.  To these friends we  don't need to tell how we are doing because they somehow know.  

The death of Teresa has left a permanent scar on my soul.  It is a scar that I will wear proudly because without it I would not be who I am today.   I lived for 45 years without Teresa and only three years with her.  I did not know what was missing from my life until I had her. I now know so much more all because three years of my life were touched by an angel. 

This journey with Teresa has brought our entire family closer to God.   The journey has been very hard and painful but it also was filled with so much joy with Teresa.    We no longer try to find our new normal.  This is something that will never be attained.   We are different.  This difference does not make us special.  This "difference" was given to us by God. I do not know why nor do I understand why God has taken us on this path.  It is a path that I would surely not choose as my will but one that I will trust in God to lead us on for His Will is always perfect.

Tonight as Gemma was saying her prayers she said,"   Mommy, I know why the Doctors could not give Teresa a new heart,  because Jesus had to give her one in Heaven. " 

I know this is true and I know she will celebrate her Birthday in Jesus' arms , both of them celebrating their birthdays together on Christmas day and this is what we will celebrate with a joyful yet heavy heart.





Ron Lee Davis
~ In this life we will encounter hurts and trials that we will not be able to change; we are just going to have to allow them to change us..



 Billy Graham
~ We cannot truly face life until we have learned to face the fact that it will be taken away from us.


 John Vance Cheney
~ The soul would have no rainbow had the eyes no tears.



Thank you for all of the  prayers, love and support.