Friday, September 30, 2011
Tonight we spent an amazing evening with Half The Sky . Half The Sky has reformed the way all orphans in China receive care. This wonderful foundation is responsible for giving Teresa the best medical care and loving environment . ( Teresa's orphanage was VERY poor and could not provide her with any medical care. They had her transferred to Beijing and The Half The Sky /China Care home for medical care.) We were able to personally "Thank " Jenny Bowen ( the CEO and founder ) for loving our little girl and taking care of her . We were very moved as Jenny retold " Teresa's Story " to the gathering. As she ended, she said how happy she was for Teresa to have her family even though it was "Too late" to save her life. These two words are what haunt me day and night. Too late, is what we hear at EVERY Doctors visit. Too LATE is what wakes me up at night , Too Late, is what I see every day as children celebrate birthdays, learn to ride a bike, graduate from kindergarten, college, marry... Too Late for TERESA! Teresa will never get to experience these events because she did not receive medical care soon enough and now it is too late to save her life . She is inoperable .
I know God has perfectly orchestrated Teresa's life and in His eyes, it was never too late. Her life has a meaning and a purpose. I know this, but it still does not make it any easier.
It should never be too late for any child . No child should suffer, no child should go unloved, no child should go to bed alone . Every child should know LOVE and be LOVED . I guess this is called 'Heaven".
We are praying for "Peace " , to accept the results of Teresa's Heart Cath. next Friday . We have not given up hope of a miracle.
Posted by Our Family at 9/30/2011 10:11:00 PM
Saturday, September 24, 2011
Today we spent a fun day at The Days End Horse Rescue Farm Fall event. The little girls and I had fun playing games and riding the horses while Grace volunteered. Our favorite horse is Jinx. He has come so far from when he was first rescued. He is one of the most loving and gentle animals I have ever seen . ( I am not a big horse fan , but because Grace is I am trying to learn as much as possible about horses for her and I actually LOVE this horse!) . Lucy was the lucky one that got to ride him today .
Yesterday we journeyed up to Philadelphia for Teresa's pre-op testing for her heart Cath. on October 7. Blood work , chest x-ray, Heart echo. and 6 minute stress test and she did fantastic! I on the other hand was ready to have a heart attack watching her do the stress test on the tread mill. She ran for 3 minutes and then they had to stop because her oxygen dropped to 55 and she turned a shade of purple I have never seen before!!! She sat down and rested for a while and then wanted to know if she could do it again ! REALLY???? You almost gave your Mother a heart attack and you want to do it again ? Not today .
Wishing, Hoping and PRAYING for a miracle in TWO weeks !
Posted by Our Family at 9/24/2011 09:32:00 PM
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Monday, September 19, 2011
Little over a year and a half ago , before Ed and I took a "leap of faith" to adopt Teresa we were really struggling with whether or not God was calling us to adopt again . We had only been home from china a few months with Gemma and we were still adjusting and working through her monthly blood transfusions to get her stable. we knew we did not have the finances or energy to go forward with Teresa's adoption but at the same time we felt God was strongly leading us to adopt her. Not knowing how to proceed we consulted with Father Whatley . Before meeting with him , Ed and I prayed, asking God to speak through Father Whatley, giving us a clear answer whether to move forward or not .
The answer Father Whatley gave us ; "The will of God will never lead you where the grace of God will not protect you ".
We had our answer and very reluctantly took a HUGE leap of faith .
We did not know how we would come up with the tremendous adoption expenses let alone care for a child so ill...but God did. Teresa's entire adoption was a miracle. Everything fell into place miraculously , from adoption fees being dropped and reduced , Immigration expediting EVERY document and procedure, China expediting all paperwork, Our Senator and congressman helping to pull strings and our social worker helping to complete our Home Study in record time . From start to finish , with Travel Approval it took only 5 months!
We came home from China to settle into our new "Normal". We tried to return to life as normal , but that life was long gone . Our "new" life consisted of tremendous stress trying to juggle all the girls Doctors appointments ,illnesses and surgeries . To top it off the economy was worsening making it VERY difficult for Ed to pay himself and all of our financial security was gone.
Very confused we questioned God why He would lead us on this journey and not provide a way . We were REALLY struggling to make ends meet. Unable to afford ANY extras in life we were forced to remove the girls from everything .
That's when the angels started appearing.
Our angels came in many different forms...friends, family ,Priests, teachers, instructors and complete strangers.
These are our Angels among us .
They are helping us to carry this tremendous weight .
All Ed and I wanted in life was to do Gods will , take care of our family , remain un noticed and help others . Now somehow we are the ones needing help and it is a VERY humbling experience.
Our friends have put together a fundraiser to help us with Teresa's expenses for her oxygen and heart medicines.
The fundraiser will be November 11, 2011 at The Knights of Columbus on Frederick Rd., in Catonsville.
Please join Vicki Wrisk and I as we host a "Quarter Mania Auction" for our dear friends, the Bartlinski Family. All proceeds from ticket sales will assist with the medical expenses for their daughter, Teresa Bartlinski.
GENTLEMEN: Please pass this along to your wife, mother, aunt, sister, girlfriend, etc., that would love a fun night out with the ladies!
$20 for admission & receive 1 paddle + $10 in quarters (no minors please).
Sandwich foods, desserts, snacks & beer, wine & setups available for purchase.
This is not a St. Mark HASA sponsored event.
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org for ticket/additional information ( i have a detailed flyer ). Tickets are limited! We hope to sell in advance and not at the door. If you cannot attend the event but would like to make a donation, please email me.
For those of you that have not had the priviledge to meet this amazing family, please check out the following links:
The Bartlinski's Blog:
December 2010 Catonsville Times Article:
We are so very grateful to these angels for helping us !
Posted by Our Family at 9/19/2011 06:11:00 PM
Wednesday, September 14, 2011
Look out Pre-School , here I come!!!!
Today Teresa started 4 year old pre school . We prayed about this day for a long time. Should we let her go or keep her home and not have her exposed to so many viruses. Ed and I both agreed there was no holding her back . She wanted to go and be like everyone else ! She was SOOOOOOO excited !
Next Friday we head back up to CHOP to have a full day of pre-op testing done to make sure Teresa can handle the anesthesia for her heart cath. She is scheduled to have her heart Cath. on October 7th. On the outside she looks fantastic and she has been feeling great with lots of energy . Her oxygen has been holding at 75. But on the inside , that's a different story . When I hold her , her little heart feels as if it is coming through her chest , beating so hard and fast . This has been one of the hardest things for me to overcome because it is a constant reminder of how fragile her life is . I can only imagine what this must feel like for her continuously .
We are Praying ,Praying , Praying ...that on October 7 we receive good news. It will be one year that she has been on the top doses of all her heart medicines. We need the progression of damage to her heart and lungs to be slowed down (the med. can not cure her heart and lungs but can only slow down the deterioration . Surgery is the only cure but she is inoperable). We also have full faith that GOD can heal her heart and lungs completely ! This is the miracle we are praying for.
Posted by Our Family at 9/14/2011 01:05:00 PM
Thursday, September 8, 2011
Poor Gemma came home from school yesterday completely exhausted. She did not want to do anything . When I asked her what her favorite thing of the day was , she said ...lunch and nap time! That's my Gemma Rose !
She was due for her transfusion this week and her hemoglobin had dropped VERY low . Her little lips were so white.
Today she is feeling much better. It's amazing how a little blood can make her feel energized and ready to go . She will have to go back to receiving her transfusions every 3 weeks because 4 was a little too long .
Posted by Our Family at 9/08/2011 05:15:00 PM
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Yesterday Gemma Rose turned 5. Kissy Face, Buddha Belly , Drama Queen, Chun Yang, Yang Yang, what ever name you go by , we love you just the way you are !
Gemma was born with the most severe form of Beta Thalassemia Major. She will require blood transfusions every month for the rest of her life ( or hopefully a cure will be found soon . Right now the only cure is a bone marrow transplant). She also requires daily (eight hour) infusions of Deferoxamine to remove the excess iron from her body . Although she endures a lot on a daily basis, she never complains. She rolls with the punches and is very easy going . That is as long as her belly is full. There are two things in life that Gemma loves, eating and bugs. She eats anything and everything, she is not picky. She also loves to collect critters. Her latest find was a huge toad.
When we adopted Gemma 1 1/2 years ago we toured her orphanage and visited with her Foster Family . She was only with the Foster Family for 5 months but she was greatly loved. When we arrived at their home I thought we might have made a mistake by coming. Gemma was ecstatic . She was so happy to show us her bed, shoes, toys and her favorite snacks. I thought there is no way she is going to leave with us . But luckily just before it was time to leave her Foster Mom told her how much she loved her and that she was so happy she had a family and would be going home with us . This really brought closure for Gemma. She walked to the van with her Foster Mom's hand and Mary's hand in the other , turned and gave her a kiss and said "Good- Bye, I'm going home" and jumped in the van and was fine. Luckily her Foster Mom waited until we were driving away to start crying . This was one of the most memorable Thanksgiving Days we have ever had . We did not have turkey or pumpkin pie , we had the best home made peanut soup .On this special American Holiday we were "Thankful" for a Loving Family that loved our daughter before we could. We were surrounded by "new" family and friends. Memories for a life time.
Little Miss Kissy face bonded with us right away . She is such a loving child. She and Teresa are very close, they are best friends .
Today was her first day of kindergarten. Sooooo excited !
Along with her Thalassemia , Gemma has a severe speech disorder. She can say a few words,but most of her conversation is uncomprehendible. This girl LOVES to talk too. This year her school is going to provide her with a speech device . This will help her to communicate better with her teacher along with receiving speech therapy twice a week . What an exciting year it will be for her.
Posted by Our Family at 9/01/2011 08:06:00 PM