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, June 15, 2014

June 17, 2013

I am not the type of person that is always recapping what happened "this time last year",  what the weather was like..."this time last year" or on this day "last year" we were...

BUT on this day last year...we received "the call" that changed our lives forever.

We were sitting on the beach enjoying the beautiful day.  Teresa was making sand drippies and pretending to be a mermaid princess in the sand.  We had just eaten lunch and were planning on what to eat for dinner.  Teresa wanted shrimpies. Then my cell phone rang.  We had not taken a vacation since Teresa was listed status 1A for a new heart.  We were only going away for three days and all the girls were looking forward to having fun at the beach.  When I saw the number I knew exactly what was about to happen.  On the phone was our transplant nurse.  The conversation was a complete blur. All I heard was,  " there is a heart for Teresa... hurry and get here...

We gathered all of the girls off the beach in record time.  I could hardly breathe as we ran back to Grandmoms Beach house.  I put Teresa in the shower with me because she was covered in sand. We called Alex back home and he would meet us at CHOP with all of our bags. Teresa watched her favorite movie in the car as we drove to CHOP in record time.  She was totally unaware of the magnitude of events about to unfold.
Usually you arrive at the hospital to wait and wait and wait.  But not this time.  Teresa was whisked into a bath and then given a special scrub down.  We met with the Doctors to sign  mounds of paperwork.  The child life specialist, Meredith,  spent the entire time with us and Teresa.  She discussed what was about to happen.   Alex arrived just in time to give Teresa lots of hugs and kisses.  Teresa loved Alex dearly and was so happy to see him.

The nurses tried to talk Teresa into putting on the sterile hospital gown but Teresa was having nothing to do with it.  She was going to wear her princess gown and tiara and that was that.  So off she went to the OR in style, dressed as a Princess.  I rode with her in the bed until it was time to say our final good bye. We kept saying " I love You ".  As the OR door closed , Teresa yelled out " I Love You More".

That day held so  much hope but it quickly turned to sadness.  As soon as she came out of the OR she started having trouble. Cardiac arrest, 30 minutes of CPR, ECHMO for two weeks, two more open heart operations, heart cath, ECHMO cannula braking and nearly bleeding to death in front of our eyes.  For two weeks we watched as Teresa fought so hard to live. 

Each day our hope for a new life filled with all the hopes and dreams for a healthy life for Teresa slowly faded.  After two weeks we knew it was time to say good bye.  On July 1st. , a Berlin Heart was Teresa's last hope .  But it too was not to be.

Slowly Ed and I realized it was not meant to be.  It was Gods Will to unite a world in prayer for two weeks for a little girl born with half a heart ,an orphan whose only wish was to have her own family.  Teresa's story changed thousands of lives all over the world.  God used a little orphan who had nothing except her little panda bear to move mountains in peoples hearts.  She changed lives one heart beat at a time.

For two weeks the resemblance of her suffering with Jesus' was remarkable.   She bleed from her eyes, nose, mouth and chest continuously.  She signed for a drink every time she was awakened. She never complained and gave us the thumbs up when we talked about going home.   It was the holiest two weeks of our lives.  We had never felt as close to God as we did during that time.

I never thought I would be strong enough to hold my daughter as all the machines were turned off and she entered Heaven. From the very begining it was our desire to be Teresa's family and to not let her die alone.  We were not there when she took her first breath but we were there for her last breath.

Death is a very hard thing to deal with . Our faith tells us that Teresa waits for us in Heaven with our Lord.  This gives us tremendous peace.  But being human and having human emotions, I want her in my arms here with me.
We have so many happy memories with Teresa.  But some days memories are just not enough. 

Ed and I knew we wanted to help more orphans in Teresa's memory.  The "Love You More" Heart Home in Beijing will be able to do just that.  If you would like to help us reach this goal in Teresa's memory, all doations can be made to -
Believe In Miracles
P.O. Box21199
Catonsville Md. 21228

OR 0n the Go Fund Me site on the side bar.
All donations are tax deductible!

Thank you for loving our sweet girl, praying for her and supporting our family through such a hard journey.  And YES, we would do it all over again even if we had just loved Teresa for one day , it was all worth it.  For you can not put a price on love.  Yes , our hearts are broken.  Half our hearts went to Heaven with Teresa on July 1.  But through this journey we were touched by an angel here on earth. Gods Will was done.  God is Love!  God is good ALL of the time.

We love you more Teresa!!!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Color Week

These three girls are amazing!

Two weeks ago, Mary and her best friends Maggie and Katherine, organized a fundraiser for The "Love You More" Heart Home in China.

The fundraiser was held at their school and they called it "Color Week".  Each day of the week represented a different color that Teresa loved.

Monday- Rainbow. Teresa brightened everyone's day, she loved colorful things and loved rainbows.
Tuesday- Pink.  Pink was Teresas favorite color.
Wednesday- Field day.  Mary, Katherine and Maggie designed a school T-Shirt to wear this day. The girls put together a race to honor Teresa-The Royal "T" Race. (pronounced royalty).  On the sleeve of the shirt was a tiara with a "T" under the crown.
Thursday-Red. Red represents a heart.
Friday-Purple. One of the colors of  the  Believe in Miracles Foundation.

Each day the children could come out of uniform in exchange for a donation.
The homeroom with the highest donation would name a room in The Heart Home.

5A- Mrs. Mclaughlin's class won.  They chose to name a room- "The Rainbow"  room.
 3B-Sister Teresa's class was close behind so we are going to have them name a room also.  The children chose- "Sister Teresa's Room".  All of our children have been taught by Sister Teresa and love her dearly.  While we were in the hospital with Teresa last year, Sister Teresa would call me almost every day with love and support and to let us know that ALL the Sister's were praying for Teresa.

Along with the help of the Student Council, Mary, Katherine and Maggie orchestrated the entire week. The school raised over $1,700.00 for the Heart Home!

We are slowly getting there.  We had hoped to open the home on July 1st. ( One year after teresa's death )  but God is once again teaching us patience and to wait on His time.

We are not gamblers but I had to share this funny little story.  Last year two weeks before Teresa died I let her pick the Mega Millions numbers.  She thought this was so much fun to pick her favorite numbers and have a chance to win money.  Then the day after Christmas I was  de- cluttering the play room and I came across Teresa's little purse.  Inside she had tucked away a Mega Millions Lottery ticket. As I looked at it I thought Teresa must be trying to tell us something.  Then I looked at the date, it was the same date except six years earlier, December 26, 2008.  Teresa was definitely telling us something!
 So for the past few months we have been playing "Teresa's"  numbers.  I know you can probably guess what we would do with the money if we win.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

This past month

This past month our family celebrated three Birthdays .  Alex turned 23, Grace turned 15 and Eddy turned 28!

Ed and I were invited to "Evening of Wishes" with Make A Wish.  Gemma's wish was highlighted in a documentary to promote the importance of "Wishes" for children with "health challenges" and was debut at the Gala.  It was a very special evening and we felt very humbled to be a small part of it.

  We are still fundraising for the " Love You More" Heart Home.
Teresa's journey touched so many lives all over the world.  If she touched your life won't you please consider donating to the " Love You More" Heart Home.  The Home will be in Beijing China.  We will provide life saving surgeries and medical care to orphans born with heart disease.  We will then help them to find their "Forever families".   It was Teresa's one wish to have her own family.    Every child deserves to know the love of a family.

  We have set up a Go Fund Me site located on the side bar.
 Donations can also be mailed to - Believe In Miracles  P.O Box 21199,  Catonsville, MD. 21228
Believe in Miracles is an approved 501c foundation.  All donations are tax deductible.

Thank you for helping us to change the lives of orphans- one heart beat at a time!

Monday, March 31, 2014

April 1 - nine months

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

Thursday, March 6, 2014

We Have a Name

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

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

Monday, March 3, 2014

The Big Picture

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

"Love You More" Heart Home

Something wonderful is happening this week.

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

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

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

Sunday, February 9, 2014


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

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

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

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