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!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dear Teresa - Princess Aurora

Dear Teresa , 
Today was a really hard day for Mommy. Gemma wanted to give the princesses a letter that she wrote about you along with a photo of you and a tiara.  I bet you could see her beaming all the way up to heaven.  She was so proud to be your sister.  This is the first time she has really smiled since you went to heaven.  But for me sweet girl , it was very painful to be here without you.  
 While meeting princess Aurora ,Gemma was explaining to her how much she missed you and that she loved you so much.  Then Gemma showed her the photo of you and Her .  I am so sorry Teresa , but it was too much and  as Oprah  says , it turned into "the ugly cry" .  Aurora and I finally were able to regain our composure and take a photo.  She is an amazing princess Teresa , and I now know why she was also one of your favorites .   


Tomorrow Little T , Gemma is having lunch with your favorite Princess Belle.   I will try to be as strong as you were and smile the whole day! 

Remember how much you loved the ice cream at the Magic Kingdom?  Well in your memory we paid it forward for 50 people to have an ice cream in your memory .They all  put on a tiara for you and promised to do something kind for another in your memory. 

"No matter how your heart is grieving if you keep on BELIEVING , the dream that you wish will come TRUE!" - Cinderella 

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Dear Teresa- Believe In Miracles!

Dear Teresa,
4 Weeks!  It has been 4 weeks that we have had to learn to live with out you in our arms.  Your spirit is EVERYWHERE.  I can feel your love in your sisters, brothers and everyone in the world.  We have been so blessed to live in such a wonderful community full of amazing friends and even strangers.   Everyone everywhere has been showing our family so much love and support and I know it is because of the love that YOU sweet girl showed to everyone while you were here.

After you went to Heaven,  Daddy and I felt God was asking us to help other orphans with complex heart conditions like yours.  We had no idea how to go about helping so many children but we knew God would not ask us to do this unless HE was going to show us exactly how to, and HE did.   He orchestrated it all just like HE has for your entire life.  He is always in control.  All we have to do is trust.

A few weeks ago out of the blue, Serena from your orphanage in China,   contacted us. We had no knowledge that  Little Flower was the orphanage that took care of you  for two years.  We told them our vision of what we wanted to do in China and they put us in contact with another family who had the same vision.   You are not going to believe this Little T, but it is the family of your friend Cai Ping!  You and Ping were in the same orphanage for three years together.  I have so many photos of the two of you together and now here we are talking to Pings parents about how we can all help orphans like you and Ping in China in your memory.   What a miracle!

Daddy and I have partnered with Little Hearts Medical Foundation.  LHM   mission is to provide cardiac care to orphans.  Our goal is to provide mission trips several times a year with several teams from different hospitals here in the U.S. and work along side  and train the Doctors in Beijing.   Our goal also is  to help the orphanages identify children with heart disease as soon as they are admitted  into their care  and then provide them with the resources and medical care immediately to treat them.  Had this happened for you sweet girl your life may have been very different . You unfortunately were not diagnosed until it was too late and then you were considered "hopeless."  No child should be hopeless.  Every child deserves a family and a future.   There are very caring Doctors in China that want to work with us , they just need a little guidance and help.  Another goal that we have is to  open a Heart Home in Beijing specifically for the most severe heart children and provide them with care before and after surgery.  We will call the new Home "  The I Love You More Heart Home "  after you Teresa.  Everything is moving so quickly T and  I know it is because you are being "The Boss" in Heaven.  I know you must be talking Jesus ear off .  I know how persistent you are!  I also know that HE loves you dearly.

Believe in Miracles Foundation was set up to help our family with you and your sisters medical bills, but as soon as they are taken care of, Believe in Miracles foundation will help to take care of orphans  and provide them with the life saving surgeries and care  they need. 

Your life had such enormous purpose and now in your memory so much more is being done to help other children.

If Teresa has touched your life and you would like to help us in  this mission please email me and I will share with you our plans in more detail.   If  you feel called to help financially , please know we will be eternally grateful to you for helping us to give orphans a future and a loving home.

Teresa's one wish was to have a family of her own.

Please help us to do this for orphans in  her memory.

"A man never stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child"-Father Flanagan

Donations can be sent to -
Believe In Miracles
P.O. Box 21199
Catonsville Maryland 21228




Friday, July 26, 2013

Dear Teresa-Sisters

Dear Teresa,

Before we adopted you, we had a family meeting. From all of your medical records we were unsure how long God would share you with us.  We asked all of your brothers and sisters how they felt.   They were all  unanimous in that they wanted to love you and have  you for  their sister for however long God would share you with us. 

For almost three years God shared you with  us.   We laughed, pretended we were princesses, swam, dreamed of riding your bike one day without wearing oxygen, played family all the time with Gemma ( of course you were always the Mom and Gemma the Dad), you looked at the pink clouds in the sky and thought Jesus put them there just for you, you picked more flowers than I can count( always giving one to me saying "Here Mama, just for you because I love you ",  you loved exploring new adventures like roasting marshmallows, fishing or catching lightning bugs.  But most of all you just loved to be home.  You were a home body and never liked being away too long.  You also loved your family and every one of your sisters and brothers.

Since you have gone to heaven your sisters have missed you dearly.  For the three years that you were their sister here on  Earth you showed them how to love unconditionally, accept others with differences, love "your Jesus" and to be so grateful for having a family.  Now that you are in Heaven you are still teaching them so much .  Daddy and I comfort them as they are grieving and I can't help but think that in losing you ,  they have learned so much . Yes , their hearts are broken but their hearts have grown so big by being broken.  They are different now.  You were always different , you were a very old soul.  Now their souls are becoming like yours. This is a tremendous gift that you
have given them since you have gone to heaven..  They know compassion on a whole different level now.  Their faith in "your Jesus" has grown.

I know sweet baby girl that you sent an angel to help make your sisters smile again.  Her name is Amy and she is the founder of The Joy-Hope Foundation. Amy knows the deep sorrow of losing a child, she has lost two.   In her dear children's memory she has started this amazing foundation to help other families that have lost a child.  She knows how important it is to create new memory making getaways for families and to help their children smile again.    We asked all of your sissies what they would like to do to bring a smile back to their faces.   It was very easy for Gemma,  she wants to give Belle (your favorite Princess) a picture of you and a Tiara.  I am praying Little T that you will give me the strength to do this.  It will be VERY hard for me to see Belle without you.  The other girls gave it a lot of thought and they all agreed that they would like to go back to Give Kids The World and volunteer and help make other families smile.  I know you remember how much happiness you had at GKTW on your Make a Wish trip.  You had a week full of shear joy , not worrying about Doctors or any pain.  Your every dream came true.  You had ice cream for breakfast, your nails painted a different shade of pink EVERY day , princess tattoos, endless rides on the Merry go Round and you even got to see Santa!   See how much you have changed all of your sisters hearts.  They are able to love more all because of you.  Having you as their sister has made them better people.  You were a gift to us all.

Thank you God for sharing Teresa with us.

" When I look into your eyes, I know there is a God.  Human compassion and the capacity to love are not the result of mere chance."-Charles W. Gerdts





















Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Dear Teresa #2

Dear Teresa,

My sweet girl,  I have to apologize to you.   You see for the past 23 days, since you went to Heaven , I have been doing something very wrong.  I have not been living, just exsiting.   It takes every bit of energy I can muster just to get out of bed in the morning.  Most of the day it is too difficult to even breath. I was  going through the motions of life but not feeling any emotion except tremendous grief at not having you here to hug and kiss.
I would be lying if I didn't say,  I wish I could go back to that day and SCREAM,  "NO DON'T DO IT !!!!!"

But I know that was not Gods Will.

I realized how I have been living for the past 23 days was wrong because this is not how you lived .  You never just existed you LIVED with a capital L!  You woke up every morning full of life and energy ready to enjoy every minute of the day .   As difficult as it was for you to breath you never complained and you never sat down. You wanted to see and do  everything.  You never let half a heart , damaged lungs , a small arm and the tremendous lack of oxygen to all of your organs stop you from LIVING!   You had such a strong will  to live and enjoy life.  You spread love with your endless hugs to everyone.  And you always had something nice to say about everyone, especially if they had on sparkly shoes like you.  Your energy lit up the room as soon as you came in it.  Your soul was full of wonder and magic.

I will not live like this any more. I will live the rest of my life like you did.
Every night at dinner we all share something good that we did for another person that day.  We  also talk about you and how you lived your life so full of love.  We each share our favorite memory of you and how we are going to try and live like you did, full of love for others.  Your sisters have so many happy memories of you.  We now give two hugs to your sisters and two kisses , one from us and one from you. Love was just one of the many lessons you taught us and because of you I can love more.
 Because of you T,  I am a better person.  It was an HONOR and a PRIVILEGE to be your Mother.

" You will find as you look back upon your life that the moments when you have really lived, are the moments when you have done things in a spirit of love."-Henry Drummond

Sweet baby girl, you were pure Agape LOVE . 
 Definition: Agape is selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love, the highest of the four types of love in the Bible.


Thursday, July 18, 2013

Dear Teresa...

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Dear Teresa,

It has only been 17 days since you went to Heaven but it seems like a lifetime ago.  Daddy and I miss you more than life itself.  We miss your sweet smile, your contagious giggle and your endless huggy huggles.  Daddy really misses coming home from work and you greeting him at the door with your "D-A-D-D-D-Y!!!!!!!" and huge hugs and kisses.   Everyone is so sad without you here.  We know you must be so happy in Heaven.   How many flowers did you pick today?  Did you share them with Jesus.  I bet He loved your little bouquet you gave to him.  Did Jesus's Mommy have on a blue dress today or white?  I bet you love the sparkly crown she wears on her head.

We are trying so hard to adjust to having you in Heaven.  Grace really misses you calling her "BETTY"  and how you would put your hand on your hip when you would say it.  Mary is very quiet and likes to sit and think about Heaven.  Lucy is VERY busy .  She does not like to sit still.  She has been sleeping with one of your favorite friends every night.  This makes her feel very close to you. Emilia wrote you a very long letter telling you how much she misses you.  She is going to mail it to Heaven so you can read it.  Gemma, your virtual twin, partner in crime and best friend misses you terribly.  She walks around the house looking for you.  Even though she knows you are in Heaven she still keeps looking for you.  She could not stop holding your hand, rubbing your heart and kissing your head at your funeral.  Surely you felt her love. Did you hear her whisper in your ear how much she loves you and she can't wait to come to Heaven and be with you again?  She is trying so hard to be brave but she still cries every night for you.  She says she wants to remember you forever. Please give her a special hug from Heaven tonight.

I know you see all the wonderful things that are happening in the world now because of YOU!   You had such an enormous purpose in your 6 short years of life on earth. You never complained and you did Gods Will with such grace and elegance, like a real princess.  You suffered more in 6 years than anyone should suffer in a lifetime.  You always had a smile on your face and a hug to share.  You taught the world how to love, live and believe in God.  God used you , a little orphan with a broken heart who did not have one possession in the world except your little panda bear, and He gave  you the one thing you wanted the most , a family .  Now He has made the world your family. 

Have you seen all the good deeds that are being done in your memory?  Or  everyone all around the world wearing your Princess Tiaras?   Doctors, Nurses, Runners, Surgeons, Girls, Moms, Dads, Flight attendants, Actors, people of all different religions all united in your memory.  People paying it forward in your memory.  Kindness and love  are spreading everywhere!  All because you showed the world what love really is.  Even though your little body was so weak your spirit was So STRONG.

You would be so proud to know that Mommy and Daddy are going to do everything we can to help other orphans have a family.  We are going to help other orphans get the heart surgeries they need before it is too late for them.  Every child should know the love of having their own family.

All because of YOU sweet princess the world is changing , one heart at a time.

We Love You More Teresa!

Friday, July 12, 2013

Soul Mate

On July 10, 2010,  I met my soul mate.  On July13,2010 , she became my daughter.  And exactly three years later I had to say goodbye to my soul mate.

“People think a soul mate is your perfect fit, and that's what everyone wants. But a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then leave.

A soul mates purpose is to shake you up, tear apart your ego a little bit, show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light can get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you have to transform your life, then introduce you to your spiritual master...”


Elizabeth Gilbert,
Eat, Pray, Love


 My heart will never be the same because of Teresa.  She came into my life for a purpose and just as quickly she left me.   We had a lifetime to learn in those three short years.  She taught me so much .  Much of it too deeply personal to share.   We gave her a family but God sent her to us to accomplish so much more than we could ever give to her.

As Jenny so eliquently stated- " You could see the depth of her soul in her eyes".

How do you go on with a piece of your soul missing?

It helps to stay busy during the day and the girls really help with that.  Nights are very hard.  This is when I can still hear her sweet little voice saying-
"Really Mom!?!?"
"  I Love You More- I just can't help myself"
"What Princess should I be tomorrow?"
" Good night Jesus, I love You "
" Can I get my ears pierced tomorrow? "
"Gemma is going to be the prince again tomorrow and I am going to be the Princess "
"one more Huggy Huggle"
"One more kiss"
"Good Night- I love you more"

She loved going to Church and singing The Alleluia.  You could hear her all the way to heaven.



soulmate
 

A person with whom you have an immediate connection the moment you meet -- a connection so strong that you are drawn to them in a way you have never experienced before. As this connection develops over time, you experience a love so deep, strong and complex, that you begin to doubt that you have ever truly loved anyone prior. Your soulmate understands and connects with you in every way and on every level, which brings a sense of peace, calmness and happiness when you are around them. And when you are not around them, you are all that much more aware of the harshness of life, and how bonding with another person in this way is the most significant and satisfying thing you will experience in your lifetime. You are also all that much aware of the beauty in life, because you have been given a great gift and will always be thankful.
WE were given a GREAT GIFT in Teresa.  And now she is the Gift for the entire world to share.  She was pure LOVE and wanted to give everyone a Huggy Huggle. Each night as she said her prayers, she taught me so much ... The words and feelings that would come out of her heart , I know were right from God.  I would sit there in awe  as she would pray and  thank God for this Blessing of Teresa.

We love you more Sweet Princess!











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.

Monday, July 8, 2013

3:23, One week later

It has been one week since we said good bye to our heart warrior Teresa.
Life has changed drastically for our family.  We once again are trying to find our" new "normal.
But how do you find a new normal when the one you lost was your normal?

Teresa's funeral was a beautiful celebration of her life.   Thank you to our amazing Catonsville community , friends , family, church  and friends around the world for all of your prayers , love and support.

The outpouring of love for Teresa has been amazing.  The stories of how deeply she changed so many lives is awe inspiring.   I know I keep saying this but , only by the power of God could one little orphan girl change so many lives around the world.  Ed and I take no credit .  It was all God, we were just doing what God asked us to do.  He shared Teresa with us for almost three years , now he has asked us to share her with the world forever, and this meant HE had to call her home.

It would have been so easy for God to heal Teresa at any  time. But through the last two weeks of her suffering life on this earth HE was able to change so many lives around the world.

Right after Teresa received her new heart from her "Heart Hero", she started to have difficulty.  First the right ventricle was struggling, then the left atrium, cardiac arrest, CPR, ECMO for 12 days,  ECMO cannula cracking, two more open heart surgeries,  Heart cath., on and off  ECMO,  bladder infection, phlebitis, Kidney failure, Liver failure, lung failure... and she kept on FIGHTING to LIVE!  She would awaken from being heavily sedated and communicate with us through nodding her head and squeezing our hand.  She would give me the thumbs up when I would talk to her about going to see the Disney Princesses.  She would start to cry when I talked about Gemma or home.  This broke our hearts.

For two weeks Ed and I did not leave her side.  We talked to her about happy times and how much her family loved her.  We played her princess songs on the ipad for her to listen too.  Over and over a song kept coming on that was not a princess song. At first I thought this was nice but then I realized that she was waking up each time this particular song was on. Almost as if to say " Hey , what happened to the princess songs".  But now I can see the meaning of it.  The song was " You raise me Up".  It was as if God was sending us a sign and Teresa was acknowledging it.

For two weeks the similarity of Christ suffering on the cross and Teresa suffering in the hospital bed was uncanny.    She bled from her eyes, nose , mouth, and heart almost continuously.  She would sign for a drink.  We would soak a little pink sponge in water and hold it in her mouth to try and quench her unending thirst.

As I sat for two weeks holding her hand , listening to  You raise me Up and staring at the crucifix next to Teresa's  head all I could think about was our Blessed Mother watching Jesus suffer on the cross.

We finally had to tell her  it was O.K to rest and to ride her princess bike into Jesus' arms.
Never in my life did I think I would have the strength to hold my child as she died and whisper the words "run to Jesus, HE loves you so much".    At that  moment God gave me the most incredible gift. I  was not there when she took her first breath but HE let me be there to hold her as she took her last breath.

We held her for hours. I did not want to forget one thing about her.  We bathed her and were able to kiss her sweet face for the first time in two weeks with out any tubes.  I just could not leave her laying there all alone and walk away.   And once again I was reminded of Our Blessed Mother Mary and how she felt holding Jesus lifeless body.

The pain does not get any better as the days go on , it only becomes different.  You never get over the hole that is left in your  heart. The magic of Teresa has left our home.

Everyone is coping differently .
In Teresa's memory we would like to help other children have their own families so that EVERY orphan child will know the love of a family !  We also would like to establish Mission trips to China by this country's  best cardiac surgeons and  cardiac doctors so  other orphans will  be given the life saving cardiac surgery needed right after birth to save their lives.
How we will do this is up to God  .  Just like the last three years of our life , God is in control and will lead us on this new journey to help more orphans. 

With God  all things are possible. 

 

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"I Love you More"

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Life Lessons From a Princess


  Shared by a friend , Wendy .  Her remembrance of how Teresa touched her life!
Life Lessons from a Princess
This is a story I want to share. It is a true story that I hope inspires you as much as it has me. You might want some tissues nearby.
Many people think they need to go to college and study under a professor to learn something really important. Yes, this might be true and I have learned a lot from my professors throughout the years. The most valuable lesson I just happened to learn from a six year old. Yes, she was only six and she lived states away from me…but she taught me something about life that I have never had anyone teach me. Here is her story.
Little Teresa was born on December 25, 2006 near Beijing, China. Her name was Fang Fang. She was abandoned when she was about 5 months old. I tell you this because this probably means her birth parents did want to keep her but just could not because of her health and the laws of the country. They placed her in a safe place so she would be found. This girl was loved. Fang Fang was born with complex congenital heart issues. She was in an orphanage where they did take care of her well and I am sure she was loved. At the age of 3, little Fang Fang started asking for a family. I have been to an orphanage in China and I cannot fathom the feelings a child goes through when they see their friends’ parents come but no parent has come for them. These children are not able to call out for their mommy and daddy in the middle of the night because they don’t have one. Fang Fang wanted one. A family from the states heard about her and her dire medical condition. They knew that their life was very full already as they had four biological children and four adopted children from China. They agreed to adopt her in order to give her a family. They were not even sure she would make it home to the states due to her illness. Well, she made it home…she thrived at home. She was given the name Teresa. She embraced her family and loved life. Teresa loved being a princess and loved any princess movie, loved dressing up as a princess and her fashion trend was a tiara. The sad news was the medical teams in the states said she needed both a new heart and new lungs. She was not expected to live through such a complex surgery. She was diagnosed as being terminal. Well, a few years later, she was still alive and loving life and still being a princess every day, all day long. Her lungs showed improvement so she was put on the transplant list for a new heart. She was excited to be getting a new heart and she spoke of getting her ears pierced after she got her heart. In June, a heart was made available to her. Now, we know what has to happen for a heart to be made available. Teresa’s family understood this and did not take this for granted. They were very concerned about the family of the child who died so Teresa could get her heart. Teresa went into the operating room and told the nurse, prior to being put to sleep, “Tell my mommy and daddy I love them more.” Oh my, how does a six year old have more concern for her mommy and daddy when she is going in to have surgery? Wow. Teresa got her new heart. She did ok for a while and for the first time, her toes were pink. Several hours later, her new heart stopped and she needed CPR and ultimately was placed on ECMO. Her vessels were too small for the new heart’s vessels and she would need surgery to correct this. While waiting for surgery, the ECMO machine broke and she began to bleed out. She survived this and required blood transfusions. A couple days later, she had surgery to correct the vessels but her heart still was not working. She was diagnosed as her body rejecting the new heart. The only thing the doctors could do was take her back to surgery to put a Berlin heart in and hope for another heart to be available that would be a better match. During all of this, Teresa would wake up, sign for water, try to sing and want the “tubes out of her.” This princess never gave up. Throughout these long days in the hospital, Teresa kept her tiara on and she remained a princess. On Monday, July 1, the medical team took her back into surgery. On her way to the OR, she gave her family the thumbs up. The medical team did everything they could for Teresa but the Berlin heart did not work for Teresa and the wonderful medical team, so loving, they did not want her to die without her family, wheeled her out of the OR and into her family’s waiting arms where she took her last breath.
Many children as well as adults die every day. What made this girl so special? This little girl had such an amazing spirit. She had an old soul and she did a lot of teaching. She knew the meaning of love, deeper than any person I have ever met. She was always smiling for the camera…almost as if she wanted to preserve her pictures because she knew she was not long for this earth. A face book page was set up for her and she attracted over 5000 people from literally all over the world. She was on news shows and followed by the world. Google her name and many sites come up related to her. What six year old child attracts this much attention? Teresa does. Teresa does because she taught the world about family and love and life. Despite being so sick, Teresa did everything she could to keep up with her siblings. She even danced, just recently, at her dance recital without her oxygen or NG. She willed herself to be able to lead as normal of a life as she could despite her medical condition.
What have I learned from her? I learned that life truly is to be lived. So often, I would rationalize that I would relax or do something fun, soon….after the work is done, the house is cleaned and bills are written out. Life does not wait for us, instead, it keeps moving on, time keeps ticking away and we better hop on the train of life before it is too late. Teresa taught me this. She also taught me to fight for what I want. Go for it and never look back. When Teresa met her parents, she gave them a hug and called them Mama and Baba. She never looked back at her life before them but kept moving forward. Teresa saw the beauty in life as innocent children do…she taught me to see the beauty in life as well. Teresa gave me many new friends along the way. Thank you, Teresa, for teaching me about life. You will be missed a lot. Your picture is on my desk with a tiara in honor of you. I won’t forget your lessons. They are etched on my heart

Thank you Wendy for sharing with us.  WE miss Teresa dearly!!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Teresa's Stories in The News of her Funeral

Articles in The Catholic Review about Teresa's Funeral.
Follow these  links,
Finding Gods grace at the Funeral of a Beloved child
Six- year- old Catonsville "Saint" laid to rest 

Video of Teresa's Funeral,
Fox News coverage
Six-year-old Catonsville 'saint' laid to rest
Six-year-old Catonsville 'saint' laid to rest

Friday, July 5, 2013

St. Teresa of Catonsville

St. Teresa of Catonsville!

This is how the world is referring to TERESA!  WOW.

Teresa's LOVE and HUGS are encompassing the WORLD !

Our angel may be small but her love is mighty.


This is Teresa's Princess Tiara made out of flowers.  It is just beautiful!

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Gemma

She lost her best friend.
"I miss you so much Teresa.  But I will see you in Heaven. I love you "-Gemma


If we could only have one more Huggy  Huggle...

Media

For The Media that has asked to be a part of Teresa celebration of life on Friday , we have given you our O.K. to come into the Church and film and share Teresa's MIRACLE of her life with the world.  On Saturday morning during Mass , we would ask that you stay in the back of the church and not use any bright lights during Mass.

Thank you for sharing Teresa's story with the world that loved her so much!

Her MIRACLES from HEAVEN have already started happening.  Our Little Heart Warrior does not waste any time!

"I Love You More Teresa ", Mommy

Thank you Brian!

This was emailed to me this morning by a friend we met in China. I asked him if I could share it with the world and he said yes. It is a beautiful remembrance of Teresa's life. Thank you Brian!

I still remember a hot, muggy July day in Guangzhou back in 2010; the Pipsqueak was still just a tiny little thing, trying to adjust to the whirlwind of changes that had flipped her world upside down and inside out. Our group was heading out the back

entrance of the White Swan and stepped aside just before reaching the doors to allow a family to come in. I immediately noticed the father's Baltimore Ravens shirt -- landesman! -- and the families struck up a conversation.

During the usual exchange of "so cutes," the family's newest member caught my eye. She was a quiet little girl (a toddler, really), sitting in her stroller while giving an ice cream cone a serious working-over. I kinda-sorta caught a bit of AJ's conversation with her mother, words like "surgery" and "serious" and phrases like "as long as we can" floating through my happily oblivious talk about football and such. I don't know why, but I found myself just watching the little girl for a few moments; it was only as everybody started moving again that I realized that one of her arms was shorter than the other, the hand much smaller than the other. (I almost typed, "than it should have been" but in her case that's not the right phrase.) Somewhere in the back of my mind, that normally-silly inner voice told me I should remember her.

Later that evening, as we spoke about the "local" family we'd met, AJ mentioned that they had made special arrangements because the little girl had a heart problem so serious they weren't sure she would survive the flight back to the States. I don't know how I missed that earlier in the day, but it was a bombshell that stopped me in my tracks. There we were, finally getting to bring Miri home, already crazy-mad about her... I couldn't begin to dream what it would feel like to lose her just by boarding the flight home. AJ added that part of what I'd overheard was the statement that they wanted the little girl to know what it was like to be part of a family, to be loved and cared for, for as long as possible... and that if she made it Stateside she still might only live for a few months. I decided at that moment that the family was absolutely crazy, but in the absolutely best possible way; I didn't (don't) have the wherewithall to deal with the emotional surety of losing a child and couldn't imagine where they found the strength but thought theirs was one of the noblest sentiments I'd heard in a long, long time.

For the next few weeks, the little girl with the ice cream cone and her family only floated through my memory a few times, usually just as part of general reminiscing about the trip. Eventually, though, the memory began popping up more frequently, and I couldn't help but wonder if she'd made it to her new home and had a chance to experience being part of a loving family. I finally posted a question about her in the Rumor Queen's adoption forums, and soon received an answer of, "Do you mean this family?" with a link to the Bartlinski family blog -- and it was indeed them. I was happy to read that the little girl had made it home alright but that her folks had discovered she needed both a new heart and new lungs, but each was too fragile to allow a transplant of the other. Despite that, Teresa was diving into her new life with a gusto that could shame people many times her age.

Over the next couple of years, I -- like a constantly-growing number of people around the world -- followed Teresa and her sisters through the family blog. They were experiencing trials and tribulations and medical procedures galore, but their strong faith and even stronger love for each other helped them climb each mountain one at a time. Against all odds, often improving and then worsening agin, Teresa's condition improved in tiny increments to the point where her doctors said that maybe, just maybe, it might be possible for her to survive a heart transplant, if a ridiculously long list of "ifs" could be checked off.

Teresa, in the meantime, was living. I don't mean to say that she survived, or was just staying alive; she was living the way most of us wish we could. Did she need to be hooked up to an oxygen bottle? Sure, but so what? Did she run out of energy quickly with little exertion? Yes, but who cares? Did she have one arm not quite "right" to other people? Yeah, but no big deal! This was a little girl on a mission: she was going to live her life to the fullest, having as much fun as she could, experiencing as many activities and places and things as she possibly could. She was (to quote her mom) the boss, and she took charge of her own life and happily squeezed every minute out of every day and drank deeply of it all.

I remember watching Teresa at the FCC's Chinese New Year celebration back in 2012. She was hooked up to an oxygen bottle almost as big as she was and yet seemed to be everywhere at once -- checking out the silent auction, sitting with her family to eat, moving around with other kids, just having a good time and totally ignoring (but not being ignorant of) her own physical limitations. [At one point, when she reached the end of her long oxygen line, one of her sisters walked over and, without being asked or told or apparently even having a second thought, picked up the just-smaller-than-her oxygen bottle and began lugging it around behind Teresa so she wouldn't be held back. That should tell you a little about what kind of family the Bartlinskis are.] Later that day I found myself in a competitive game with Teresa, rolling a ball back & forth, with her laughing "I beat you!" any time I missed catching one of her surprisingly fast rolls. This wasn't a girl with a medical condition or a disability; this was a girl who was in the game to play and win, and who was having a blast no matter what.

I kept following the developments in the lives of Teresa and her sisters on the family blog; surgery, helper dogs, adjustment, surgery, more adjustments, medical appointments here, there and everywhere... Teresa knew she was "different" from other kids but absolutely refused to let that get in her way; she insisted on Living instead of just living, never ignorant of her physical limitations but always pushing herself to do as much as she could for as long as possible. I think the high point was when she performed in a dance recital without (at her insistence) being hooked up to an oxygen bottle.

All through this time, the family waited for a new heart to become available, a heart they knew could save Teresa's life while simultaneously signaling the end of another young life. A few months ago came the posting everyone had been waiting for: "They're on their way to the hospital!" Unfortunately, the heart turned out to be a bad match and surgery was put off. Then again. And then again. Through it all, the family's faith remained strong, and Teresa continued to be The Boss and barely seemed to blink at all the things that everyone else considered "going wrong." Of course she was disappointed by the false alarms, but she remained absolutely dedicated to living life as fully and completely as anyone possibly could.

And then, finally, a heart was available, and it was a good match. Teresa's condition wasn't as good as it had been, and things were less sure than they had been, but she and her family and her medical team grabbed the golden ring and two weeks ago the vibrant, happy little girl finally underwent heart transplant surgery. True to form, Teresa was wheeled into the OR wearing a princess gown and tiara, carrying an extra tiara for the surgeon to wear.

I (and many other people around the world) hoped for a happy ending, unlikely as we knew it was... but first one ventricle had trouble, then the other didn't work right... a broken cannula almost caused Teresa to bleed out... her systems were so damaged she couldn't come off life support... and Teresa continued to beat the odds. Her will to live was so strong that she kept overcoming medical complications (and outright disasters) one after the other, repeatedly waking up despite massive doses of sedatives to communicate as best she could with her family and the increasingly amazed medical team. But then there were more complications... more surgery (again wheeled into the OR with her princess gown and tiara!)... more heart problems... and finally her body rejected the donor heart. Still, she kept waking up, communicating with people around her, even trying to sing a favorite song along with a nurse; anything to keep living, constantly showing everyone who knew her or knew about her the value of every precious minute.

There was still a chance for things to work out the way so many people were literally praying for, a risky surgery that would replace the rejected heart with an artificial unit that could keep Teresa's increasingly frail body going for at least a few months, hopefully buying time for another natural heart to become available... but her systems were so damaged that work had to first be done to try to get them ready for the artificial heart. By this point she had been bleeding so much, and her lungs were so weak, and her respiratory system was so weak and her circulatory system was so stressed and... and...

...and when the surgeon was absolutely, positively, completely sure she had done everything she possibly could do but had run out of options, she prepared Teresa as best she could and wheeled her back into the recovery room for a few last, precious minutes in the arms of her loving family until even that amazing will to live of hers could no longer keep her damaged body functioning.

The bright, shining light that Teresa "Fang Fang" Bartlinski brought into the world (and that dimmed and flickered only a little bit at the very end) finally went out at 3:23pm Eastern Time, July 1, 2013. She was just 6-1/2 years old.

Ann and Ed and their other kids had wanted to give the ailing little Liu Fang the chance to experience being part of a loving family, and they can be proud of how well they succeeded; theirs is an example that should make everyone sit up and pay attention. But even more importantly, there is the example set by Teresa herself.

This is a little girl who beat the odds as a newborn, then as a baby, then as a small toddler very much alone in a Chinese orphanage. She beat the odds again when she made it safely to the United States, and kept beating the odds every day she stayed alive.

Teresa didn't just survive. She didn't just stay alive. She Lived, with a capital L. She knew she had physical limitations but she kept beating the odds because she chose to do all that she could instead of allow her physical limitations to define who she was. She could have easily been a two-legged pity party, retracting into her own tightly-wound ball of unhappy dependence; instead (with the loving help of her family) she took charge of her own life, making herself "the boss" whenever, whereever, however she could. Teresa took the biggest bites of life that she could, always refusing to be limited or defined by her physical limitations (some of which other people would erroneously refer to as "handicaps" -- usually only until they got to know the little lady in question).

I think the reason I remembered Teresa so clearly was because of that amazing spirit of hers. I didn't notice it because I'm psychically sensitive; I (and many others) noticed it because her will to live life to its fullest, free of self-pity, literally shone from her little body like the light from a carbon arc. That first time I saw her back in Guangzhou, I remember thinking she wasn't just enjoying that ice cream cone but was experiencing it on multiple levels -- and since then I saw repeated examples of how completely she experienced life and everything it had to offer.

The physical manifestation of the little girl that was Teresa Bartlinski is gone, and that is a loss many of us will be mourning. But left behind (as small a consolation as it might be) is the lesson she so effortlessly, constantly, lovingly taught everyone lucky enough to know her: love is to be shared and life is to be lived, to be experienced, to be enjoyed. It is something to wrap oneself around and hold onto as tightly as possible with every fiber of one's being while simultaneously being completely and totally wrapped up inside it. Teresa's body presented a set of limits that she acknowledged but that she never allowed to control or define who she was; we should all remember that the next time we feel too tired and achy to bother getting up of the couch to enjoy a beautiful day (or even a walk in the rain).

When I watch the Pipsqueak at play, I see the same joie de vivre, the same un-self-conscious grabbing onto whatever life is offering in that moment, squeezing out every bit of what it has to offer, and drinking it to the last drop. I can't help but think that the lesson taught by Teresa will help me help Miri shepherd her own love of living through the troughs and valleys and unkindnesses and limitations of everyday life... and (I hope) help me keep everything in the proper perspective for myself as well.

I will always remember Teresa and the lessons she taught.

I just hope I can live up to her example.
Brian

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

I love you more!

"I love you more!"  These were Teresa's last words to us.

As she was taken into surgery on Monday morning , she once again came out of the VERY heavy sedation as they started to move her to the OR.   She opened her eyes and held my hand and I told her once again that SHE was the BOSS!  She gave me the thumbs up and slowly drifted back to sleep.

As the Doctors came out of the OR to tell us that she would not make it , they very quickly brought her back to her room on ECMO  and the Double ventricular assist Device ( Double Berlin) so that we could hold her as she died.  They knew we did not want her to die alone without her family.    Father Whatley  ( "Her Jesus ",  this is what she called him ) was with us.    We held her and told her it was OK to rest, she did not have to keep fighting.  We told her to ride her princess bike right into Jesus arms.  She had her ears pierced right before she died .  She would have loved it!

The hardest part was the silence.  NO more machines , beeps , buzzers , alarms.  The Double berlin slowly stopped pumping.  She very peacefully left my arms and went into Jesus's. The most peaceful moment of her life (with  no more pain and suffering )  was our worst.  Saying good bye to someone you love more than life itself is excruciating.   A piece of my heart  died yesterday.  Our life will never be the same without her in it.  Our house has a new uncomfortable

silence. 

Coming home and leaving her in the hospital was so hard.   We bathed her, we held her for hours and we told her how brave she was and how much we loved her .  I told her I would ALWAYS love her more.
The silence in our house is beyond painful.  Teresa was the magic that surrounded us for almost three years.
I did not want to go to sleep because  I knew I would wake up in the morning with out her there.  Every morning she would wake up with her sweet little smile and say " What princess dress can I wear today ?"( her bed is in our room so we could monitor her at night with all of her medical equipment).
Her little pink piano sits with all of her little friends on it. She loved to sing and play it.
Her memories are everywhere.

We asked for Teresa to become an organ Donor.  Unfortunately all of her organs were too damaged along with her skin and tissue.

Teresa's life was THE MIRACLE!  Her Doctors could not believe that she was still alive with the heart she had.   Her life touched thousands of people all over the world. 

Only by the power of God could a little orphan with half a heart touch so many lives.

Now in Heaven she will touch many more lives.  I know she is already a Saint!
Her Story is not over it has only just begun.

Teresa's celebration of her life will be on friday at ST. Mark Church in Catonsville from 2-5 and 7-9.  Her funeral mass will be on Saturday at 10 .  She will be burried next to my Mother .

We would ask everyone on Friday and Saturday in memory of Teresa to give someone a hug. Teresa hugged EVERYONE.  She always said " One more huggy  huggle".  This is how she spread Gods love to others along with her magical personality.

In Teresa's memory we would like to help other orphans in the world to have a family of their own just like Teresa so desperatly wanted.

We would also ask  that in Teresa's memory everyone would register to become an organ Donor and become someones HERO.

Teresa we will always LOVE YOU MORE!!!!

Viewing and Funeral

The viewing for Teresa will be held on Friday July 5 from 2-5 and 7-9pm. The funeral will be Saturday morning at 10am. Both will be taking place at St.Mark's Catholic Church in Catonsville. The address is:
26 Melvin Avenue, Catonsville MD 21228. Thank you.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Thank you

Thank you for all being a part of Teresa's miracle.  She has her new heart and is in Jesus arms .   We never wanted Teresa to die alone an orphan and she didn't .  She was surrounded by everyone that loved her .   We know she was never ours to keep that god was just sharing her with us .  Now he will share her with the    entire world from heaven . 

I now know how our Blessed Mother felt holding her beloved son Jesus  , as he was taken off the cross .  I never wanted to let her go . 

For two weeks Teresa bled from her eyes , nose , mouth and heart.   She thirsted so badly .  She signed for a drink every time she woke .  Her bed became her cross  .

The hardest thing we have ever had to do was leave the hospital tonight with out her . 
I will post information about her funeral ( celebration of life) , tomorrow . 

God is good all of the time , blessed be the name of The Lord !!!

With Jesus

At 3:23 pm on July 1st, Teresa has ridden her princess bike into Heaven to meet Jesus. She had her ears pierced shortly before her last breath. While we were not there when she took her first breath,God blessed us to be there when she took her last.

update

Teresa was taken back at 8 . They just started putting in the right vad. Please keep praying this is a critical time . She needs a left and right vad and her chest is very small . Please continue to pray for very low pulmonary pressure. - Ann