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 ...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas Through Teresa's Eyes

Experiencing Christmas through a child's eyes is always exciting but experiencing Jesus, Santa, Presents and Christmas morning for the first time through Teresa's eyes was magical. Having Teresa with us for Christmas this year was the best Christmas present ever . Five months ago we were not sure if she would be here. We are so grateful that God has given her to us and shared her with us for this long .
The look of pure joy on her face was priceless. With every gift she opened she would put her hand across her heart and say "AHHH , is this for me, thank you !"
Please continue to pray for a miracle , for her heart and lungs to be healed .
Thank You everyone !
I hope your Christmas was just as magical as ours !!!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Christmas Cover Story

Last week Kathleen Cairns from Fox 45 News asked us if she could do a Christmas cover story on our family. It is our hope that someone out there might hear our story and open their heart to adoption ...

Take a look on the right side to view it .
Thank You Kathleen !

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gemma's New Medicine

Yesterday the home nurse came to teach Ed and I how to administer Gemma's new medicine . She will receive an 8 hour infusion of Deferoxamine 5 days a week . Today we were on our own but everything went very smoothly with no problems. She loves her little ladybug backpack that stores her pump. So far so good with no side effects.

Everyone is doing great and so far no one has gotten the virus that made Gemma so sick 2 weeks ago . I thought for sure Teresa would get it because Gemma and her are so close and do everything together but she is doing fine .

Tomorrow Teresa is going to help me make her Birthday cake . She is so excited. Of course she picked pink icing for her princess cake !

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Teresa's First Snow

Today Teresa experienced her first snow fall. She loves to watch Frosty the Snowman and knows almost all the words to the movie. Her favorite line - No money , No Ticket ! She was so excited to go out and play in the snow like Frosty . We only stayed out for a few minutes because the cold weather really makes her turn purple, but she loved every minute of it !

Over the weekend we went to have lunch with Santa at
The Knights of Columbus with Grandpop. Teresa was so funny, as soon as Santa walked in to say hello to all the children she took one look at him and yelled " That's not Santa!" It was so funny , it reminded me of Buddy the Elf in the Elf MOvie when he saw the fake Santa .
The only thing she wants for Christmas is a Frosty the Snowman .

A quick update on the girls:
Last Friday Teresa's appointment at CHOP was canceled because the Doctor had a family emergency . So now we will have to wait until January to see if the Sildenafil is improving her lungs and heart function . The winter has definitely been more difficult for her than the summer . Most days I dress her in 3 layers of clothes to keep her warm . Her lips , hands and feet are a lovely shade of purple almost continuously now . Her oxygen is hovering around 72 .

Gemma was doing better over the weekend and then on Monday she started with pneumonia. She is finally doing much better with antibiotics and a nebulizer treatment . We know she is back to her good old self because she is eating everything in sight.

Emilia is doing great with her cast . Hopefully she will have it off in January .

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Not a Good Day

Gemma went to the infusion clinic yesterday to have her test run with a new medicine she is starting to lower her ferritin levels. Everything went well with the medicine and she luckily had no side effects so next week the nurse will come and train Ed and I . Around 10 am. while in the clinic she started running a very high fever and coughing . She looked like she was coming down with a virus. The Doctor thought it was a good idea to do blood work and blood cultures to make sure it was not bacterial . As the day went on she became sicker and sicker with a fever of 104. This morning we returned to the clinic for her blood transfusion but because she was so sick she could not have it . The Doctor said her body would destroy all of the good blood because of the infection and she would not hold onto the transfusion long enough which then would require another transfusion . Since we are trying not to over transfuse her he decided to wait until next week . So hopefully in a few days she will be over this nasty virus ( Human metapnuemo virus).
We are trying so hard to keep Teresa away from her so she will not get it but this virus is so contagious I don't know.
With being in the hospital 2 days this week and 2 days last week we really are seeing the need for some kind of help with the girls when I am gone . It has become so difficult trying to juggle 7 different schedules and then when one is sick or has surgery it really throws everything out of balance . We really need someone that is available on short notice for emergencies or when one of the girls has surgery .

Praying for God to send us the help and for Gemma to recover quickly and Teresa NOT to get this virus.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Last week I received a phone call from two of the girls Doctors. This always makes me a little nervous because it never seems to be good news. Lucy's Genetics Doctor was calling to give us the results of the genetics testing that she had over the summer . She has a deletion on chromosome x in the region of the gene for Duchennes Muscular Dystrophy. The good news she said was since girls have 2 x chromosomes that the other x will take over and she should not develop the full blown disease. The bad news is she is at a very high risk for developing cardio myopathy . She will have to have a thorough heart exam every year to monitor her heart function . If she has children her son would have a 50 /50 chance of developing the disease and a daughter would be a carrier. But the really great news is SHE CAN ADOPT!!! When we adopted Lucy 4 years ago the only special need that was in her file was cleft lip and torticollis. Lucy has become the poster child of all the "Unknowns " that you are to be open to when adopting a special needs child. Every organ in her body is affected with some health problem that we did not know about when we adopted her . The first year home , it seemed like she spent more time in the hospital than at home. But after 4 years home she has grown stronger and stronger each year. She is now doing great ! In January she will have surgery on her solitary kidney, but that should be the only surgery for her this year . This little girl has been such a joy . She has the most contagious laugh of anyone and can make me smile just by looking at her .

The other Doctor that called was Gemma's Hematologist. He was calling to tell us the next step in the attempt to remove the excess iron from her body . Since the daily dose of Exjade was not working and producing too many side effects , the next option is a daily infusion . She will go to the hospital on Tuesday for a test dose to make sure she does not have any reactions and then the home nurse will come to our house and train Ed and I on how to administer this daily . ( Yeah) We are praying this works because the final option is to stay 4 days a month in the hospital on IV. chelation . Gemma will then have her blood transfusion on Wed.
Gemma has the cutest little personality and boy does she love to eat . She can smell food a mile away. Her big Buddha belly grows larger every day and she love her best friend ... Teresa.

Teresa , well she is doing OK. I don't think she has gotten back to her base line yet . (before she became so sick last month from a common cold). For the past week her face and eyes seem to be a little puffy , she also has a little cough that comes and goes . We head back to CHOP on Friday to see if the Sildenafil has had any effect on her lungs and heart . I can't say that I think it has made a difference but I am hoping the echo will show better results. She continues to have the best attitude about life . She walks around all day telling me how happy she is . From something as little as singing a song in church (her favorite church song is the Alleluia , and when it comes time to sing it I think the whole church can hear her) to making Christmas cookies, she just loves life.

Experiencing life through Teresa's Eyes has been such an amazing journey . Even on the bad days she finds such joy in the smallest of things. I never thought one little soul could teach me so much . I see now how much I really do not know about life.

Enjoy the little things in life... for one day you'll look back and realize they were the big things.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Emilia's Leg

For the past 8 months Emilia's leg was slowly being lengthened . Yesterday she had her external fixator removed . Her right leg is now the same length as her left leg !!! She is so happy .
The plan was to remove the ex fix and insert a rod into the bone from the hip to ankle for support, but this was unable to happen because she had an infection in the bone from the pins. So now the plan is to stay in the full cast for 8 weeks and then re evaluate her leg and maybe insert the rod in 8 weeks when the infection is clear.

Her future will require several more operations on both legs and her arms but she has such a positive attitude , she never complains and just keeps smiling .

Happy , Happy , Happy just to have a leg like everyone else .

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mary's Letter To Santa

Mary mailed her letter today to Santa.

At The very bottom of her letter...

P.S. " Please ask Jesus to give Teresa a new heart "

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Friday, November 26, 2010

Christmas on the Potomac

Today we went to see ICE . Ice is a winter wonderland carved out of 2 million pounds of ice. A troupe of ice loving artisans hail from Harbin, China to create this magnificent display .

The story of ICE began long ago and far away - in fact ,on the opposite side of the globe. Ice lantern festivals can be traced back as far as The Ming Dynasty .
During long winter months, getting lost in the forest was a real problem for hunters. The clever Chinese came up with the novel solution of allowing water to partially freeze and form ice blocks into which a candle was placed , creating a lantern.
In modern times , an ice lantern festival began to be held to celebrate these brave hunters. In 1963 , the Mayor of Harbin created the Lantern Festival .

This was actually my Birthday present from Ed and the kids. We really had a nice time. The funniest part of the day was Gemma. She looked like Randy in A Christmas Story dressed in her snow gear . Everyone is given a parka to wear over their coats and Gemma could not move her arms . One part of the attraction is a huge ice slide . Gemma went down the slide and could not get up because she was so bundled up . She also could not resist the temptation to taste the ice ( she loves her food ), so out came the tongue. Out of the blue Ed turns around and she has her tongue on the ice . It was hysterical .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Gemma Rose one year ago

One year ago this week we left for China to bring Gemma Rose home to her family .
She has come so far in one year . Her personality has blossomed and she has discovered a favorite pastime ... eating!. This girl LOVES to eat . We call her our little Buddha Belly .

Last year before we left for China , the girls wanted to do something to bring a little bit of happiness to the orphans in China. In the past we have delivered clothing, supplies and medical equipment , but this time the girls wanted to focus on specifically the children . So they came up with the idea of filling backpacks and Christmas stockings with toys, tooth brushes , toothpaste and candy . They called their mission " Bags of Love" . With the help of their school and our wonderful community , they were able to fill over 150 backpacks and Christmas stockings for the children . While at one orphanage we found a little boy in the corner of the room all bundled up in his crib . Our first impression of him was very sad . He looked so sick and frail, but after getting closer I could see his eyes were full of life. He was too weak to do anything but lift up one arm to be held . When I held his hand he began to smile. His skin was gray and his hand was ice cold but he was so happy to just be touched . His diagnosis was an inability to keep any formula down , he was slowly starving to death .

After leaving this orphanage we met Bill and Lynsay at The Morning Star Foster Home ( These are 2 incredible people who have given up a comfortable life in the U. S. to help the most needy orphans in China . They are the founders of The Morning Star Home . If you are looking for an organization to help , take a look at their site)
Lynsay immediately made some phone calls and had " Josiah " moved to their Foster Home. With the change of his formula and medical care and lots of LOVE , Josiah is now flourishing! He has gained so much weight and is a happy little toddler. ( Go to their site to see updated photos).

The last orphanage we visited was actually on Thanksgiving Day . To me there was no better way to spend Thanksgiving than by helping the less fortunate. It was very sad that we were not together as a family with all of our children but the happiness we experienced with the children that do not have families to share Thanksgiving with was priceless. After leaving the orphanage we spent a very THANKFUL dinner at a local MacDonald's. When we returned to our hotel we were able to watch The Macy's Parade on our computer with the help of the slingbox ( this is a device you connect to your cable box at home and link to your computer and you are able to watch T.V . from anywhere in the world.) China is 12 hours ahead , so it was Thanksgiving morning in the States and the parade was just starting as we were heading to bed .

The difference a year makes. I am so grateful to spend Thanksgiving with all of our children this year but I can't seem to forget the faces that were left behind.

If anyone would like information on any of the children in the orphan photos, please email me and I will send you their information .

Sunday, November 21, 2010

National Adoption Day

Yesterday Gemma and Teresa's adoptions were finalized on National Adoption Day . Our state celebrated this wonderful day in the Old Court House with an impressive ceremony. After the Ceremony we all were treated to lunch and festivities.

Each of the newly adopted children received a "Star Bear" ( a star will be named after each child), a new toy and a gift bag with a special gift inside. Teresa's gift in her bag was very significant... a sterling silver heart necklace.
We seem to be collecting a lot of items with a heart theme these days .

Teresa was doing really well this week until Friday night , she gave Ed quite a scare. Usually after her bath she will turn a little blue and after a few minutes she is fine. So after her bath on Friday night Ed took her downstairs and sat her on the couch while he went into the kitchen to get her a drink. When he turned around she was face down and not moving and very blue. He lifted her up and she was very lethargic . He immediately gave her oxygen and checked her sats. She was at 59 . After a few minutes she was better but her O2 levels remained low the rest of the night and for most of Saturday . Today she was doing much better and did not require oxygen .

We are returning to Hopkins on wed. . Hopefully we will have good results from the Sildenafil.

Thank You everyone who helped us on this journey to bring Gemma and Teresa home!
Your love and support we are eternally grateful for ! We could not have made this fantastic journey with out any of you !!

Thank you :

ASIA-Associated Services For International Adoption
Maureen Kenny- our Fantastic Social Worker
Congressman Elijah Cummings Office - Katie Malone, you are an angel!
U.S. Immigration- Officer Cindy- your help was priceless!
The U.S . Consulate in Guangzhou China-
All our wonderful friends who offered their love, support, fundraisers, dinners,car rides for the girls, and prayers !!!!
Father Whatley for your prayers, support and spiritual guidance!
St. Mark School for all your prayers, support and fundraisers!
China Care orphanage- for taking such wonderful care of Teresa and loving her so so much !!!
Continental Airlines
Ed's office- to his wonderful staff who kept everything a float while he was gone, and your love and support !
Grandmom , Alex and Sarah- our 3 baby sitters!
Jane and Paula - our emergency back up
Anonymous Donors- your donations were priceless, we are eternally grateful!
Prayer Warriors- your prayers have kept Teresa and us going !
Kathleen Cairns and Dave, you are just amazing reporters and we consider you friends ! Thank you for your love and support!
Jennifer Franciotti- your genuine concern in helping us to bring Teresa home showed that you are a fantastic reporter .
Thank you God - for giving us these Children to love !

Thursday, November 18, 2010


One of Those Days

Actually it has been one of those weeks.
This is what I have felt like lately . This picture says it all.
The realization of Teresa's health has really hit me this past week. Right now she is doing great but I know this can change with the blink of an eye as we found out last month when she went into heart failure with a common cold.
With every passing day I become that much more in love with her and coming to grips with the possibility of losing her at any time is just heart breaking. She can now talk to us in perfect English and the conversations I have with her are just amazing . Her depth of understanding is astonishing . When I ask her how she feels she ALWAYS says " Mom, I feel fine". I do not think she knows how very ill she really is, or she just does not let it bother her. She is always saying how happy she is. Tonight in the car we were listening to a princess song and she said, " Mom , I am so happy , I love this song". When Ed comes home from work each night she waits by the door saying, " Mom , when is my best friend coming home ? , I love Daddy , I am so Happy ". Eating Chinese food... " I love Chinese food, I am so happy".

When we took the leap of Faith and adopted a child that we knew was not going to live very long , we new we would love her and the possibility of losing her would be hard but we wanted her to have a family and a life filled with all of the things every healthy child has and enjoys. What we didn't fully anticipate was how incredibly special she would be and how her eyes captivate you as if you could see right into her soul . Her personality is magical , her love for life is awe-inspiring , her depth of understanding is exceptional and she gives the sweetest kisses ever. The thought of losing all of this is hard to conceive.

I am sure when the Saints were being fed to the lions , they didn't fully understand Gods plan for them either.
I am just so tired of trying to figure things out. Life is so unfair for some and others ... well they seem to have everything.

Children should not suffer. I will never understand this , it is wrong on every level . Praying and studying the bible has not given me any peace with this .
Some things will just have to wait until I meet God face to face . My list of things to discuss is growing longer and longer.