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 ...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Never Too Late!

This was sent to me from Serena at Little Flower.   It should NEVER be too late for ANY child !   In Teresa's memory we are working very hard to establish medical care for children like Teresa in China before it is too late for them.

You don’t know me, but I knew Teresa and was responsible for her care during the first two years of her life. 
I’m not sure how much you know about her early months in China…
My husband Brent and I started a small non-profit in 1998 called Little Flower.  It’s named after St. Therese of Lisieux.  In 2004 we began running orphan care programs for an organization called China Care, and it was into our China Care Shanxi baby home that little Liu Fang was accepted in spring of 2007.  She was a tiny, frail little peanut who was sent to us because of her “little arm”  and her failure to thrive.  The orphanage staff had no idea she had a heart defect.

Actually, for the first couple of weeks, neither did we.  Local hospitals in Taiyuan tried unsuccessfully to treat her stubborn case of “pneumonia”.  When she failed to improve, we brought her to Beijing.  As soon as she arrived, we had an American nurse practitioner examine her.  I’ll never forget her turning to me and asking “so what heart defect does this little one have?”.  And there was a moment of silence in the room, as light bulbs started going off in the minds of each of our care staff.

We faced many challenges after that, both seeking funding for her heart surgery, and then finding a surgeon in Beijing who was willing to do it.  We could not find a doctor in Beijing who would accept her case, but finally we found Dr. Li, in distant Hangzhou, who was willing to try.  By then, 6 months had passed since her arrival and the pulmonary hypertension was quite severe.  When she finally made it to Hangzhou and met Dr. Li he expressed sadness and regret that it was “too late”.  He told us that if he had gotten her by 4 or 5 months of age the high pulmonary pressures would not have caused such severe damage to her lungs.  As it was, he was only able to band the pulmonary artery to try and prevent additional damage.  I was crushed when I realized that if we’d somehow been able to overcome the funding and medical issues when she had first arrived, her outcome would have been so different.  She returned from Hangzhou after surgery relatively stable and happy, but Dr. Li cautioned us that her long term prognosis was bleak.

We ran a very active foster care program at the time, but we were hesitant to put such a fragile child in the care of an average Chinese family. So while baby after baby joined families of their own (foster and adoptive) little Fang stayed in our home.  She was loved and cherished, please know that.  Although our baby homes may have nicer clothing, furniture, toys and medical equipment than most orphanages, the real difference was not in those material things.  The real difference, what makes our homes different from an orphanage, are the people -  the love they share with the children.  You cannot pay someone to love a child.  No amount of money can do that.  But by working alongside our Chinese staff, both by word and example  (and much prayer), we taught them to love rejected children like Liu Fang. 

By the end of 2008 China Care had plans to begin a new cooperation with Half the Sky, and so we were tasked to make a special care plan for each child currently in our programs.  Most were already in foster care while they waited for their forever families.  Some were still undergoing medical treatment or surgery.  A few were classified as hospice and not expected to survive.  Liu Fang was in a special category, and was one of the few children who transferred directly to the brand new HTS China Care Home in May of 2009 with no specific plan going forward.  She was too fragile to join a foster family, and her orphanage was unsure whether to submit her file for adoption.  Not long after that Jenny made a special arrangement with CCCWA to advocate specifically for a family for Liu Fang (and two other little girls with severe heart defects who had also been with us in China Care programs).  Although she was no longer in our care, I continued to follow her story as a family was found, and then she finally left for the US.  I was amazed when I learned what name  you had chosen for her - that she was named after Mother Teresa, who also takes her name from the St. Therese the Little Flower.  I’ve followed your blog since her adoption and have always shared your photos and updates with our staff who cared for her (who cannot access those from China).

After she transferred to HTS in May 2009 we ceased to run any more programs for China Care and again returned to the work of Little Flower.  We run a number of projects that provide specialized care for sick and disabled orphans, including a hospice for dying orphans, or those who are like Liu Fang – for whom surgery is not possible in China.  Many, many of our babies have severe heart defects.  I think you’ll be happy to know that we are working hard to save the lives of little heart babies like Liu Fang.  We are very excited to be involved in a new program that will bring talented pediatric cardiac specialists from the US to China.  These specialists have already begun doing training, offering consultations, and assisting in complex heart surgeries for orphans who would otherwise have no hope of treatment in China.  Now when we receive babies with heart defects as serious as Teresa’s, we have hope.  I like to think of Teresa in heaven interceding on our behalf, to help other Chinese orphans.

Please know that while we were devastated to learn of her passing, we remember her fondly and with many wonderful memories.  Your family will remain in our prayers as you adjust to your new “normal”  without your precious little princess.  Thank you for loving her!

 If you would like to a have Princess Teresa T Shirt - check out this wonderful fundraiser Kelly is having for our family!  Thank you so much Kelly!!!!

Kelly Apisa
I wanted to share Minus 1 Project (-1)'s fundraiser for the Bartlinski family. We were thrilled when they chose our fundraising shirts for their Disney trip and humbled that they are allowing us to help in raising money for their medical expenses. Feel free to contact me with any questions. We are taking orders for all 4 shirt colors for the next 2 weeks. Shirts and decals should ship out during the first week of August.


Linda Mills said...

Thank you for sharing.

Michelle said...

Thank you for sharing such a special piece of Teresa's past.

Anonymous said...

Definitely Teresa was one of God's smallest angels sent to earth to touch so many lives in so many special ways and beyond her physical being. Goose bumps and tears reading the connection that seem to continue to show themselves. Prayers for your family and the continuation of what was put in motion when this little angel took her first breath and what will only continue way beyond her last wisper. Love from one adopted Mom with a little angle from Ethiopia that at 4 is non-verbal and diagnosed with autism- every child deserves a family to care and love them, even we do not always understand the unknowns that come to reveal themselves.
Blessings , Pamela

Lisa said...

OH.MY.LORD. That is simply AMAZING! Oh, Ann, what a BLESSING it must be to receive such TREASURE like this letter from Little Flower! Just to hear so much about Teresa before she was in your arms. And what a beautiful story!! Made my day :)

Lisa Murphy

Aus said...

Morning Ann and family - I'm at least relieved to know that Teresa had love from early on - that is a Blessing to know!

thinking of you guys and her every day - and holding you guys -

aus and co.

Lynda said...

Amazing to have this piece of the puzzle of Teresa's life added for your story of her!! God is good and the ripples created by her life on so many that she and her story have touched are awe inspiring.
God continue to bless and keep you all.
The Carrs