Three Little Heart Girls Update

August 2, 2010

We are thrilled to report that three special girls with complex heart conditions, who spent the first few years of their lives receiving treatment, love and nurture with China Care, have now been adopted! With the help of our partner organization, Half the Sky Foundation, all three of the girls, LiuFang, CaiPing and ZiJun, have found their true homes. Here are the heartwarming first reports from their proud parents:

Teresa Caroline Bartlinski (LiuFang)

Teresa is absolutely adorable. As soon as she saw us come into The China Care Home she ran up and gave me and Ed a big hug and kiss saying “My Momma, my Baba."  Then she went to all of her little friends saying, “I have a Momma and a Baba.” Then she ran to the closet to show us the box of goodies we had sent her. Her nanny told us when she opened the box last month she was so excited to see "her family" and that she was going to go "Home" with us. It was amazing to see how she so desperately wanted a family.

Teresa’s transition to our family has been so easy--she is our fifth adoption and hers has been by far the easiest. She loves her new sisters, Grace and Mary -- we cannot wait for her to get home to meet her other 3 sisters and 3 brothers.

Teresa’s health has us very concerned even though we knew how sick she was. She is absolutely adorable and has the personality to match, but for a three year old she is VERY tiny (Maybe 20 pounds). Her liquid intake is closely monitored ( if she gets too much liquid it quickly builds up in her body causing her eyes and neck to swell and could then lead to heart failure). She is on several heart medicines – we are still learning how to care for her. We will take her to Johns Hopkins Hospital as soon as we get home from China.

Teresa’s Nanny told us she has the insight of an older child and feels emotions that most children her age do not. From the moment we met Teresa, we immediately saw exactly what her nanny was talking about. Teresa has such a kind and gentle nature. She will sit on our lap and gently stroke our face with her hand and look into our eyes as if saying, “It is ok now.”

I have been describing Teresa as loving, kind, and caring, but Jenny Bowen, Executive Director of Half the Sky, found the word that is perfect. She said she has met many children over the years and they are all special but Teresa is ...MAGICAL. And she is exactly right.  You can feel this as soon as you meet her. We are so blessed to have her in our family. She is Magical!  

Ann, Ed, Eddy, Paul, Alex, Grace, Mary Mei, Lucy, Emilia, Gemma, and Teresa Bartlinski

Lily Cai Ping Lee

Lily is doing really well. We're completely in love with her. And we've been down this road twice before, so we're happy to be experiencing an adoption again.

I can tell you, though, that we immediately see a difference with Lily. She easily states what she wants AND how she FEELS, which is not at all what we were expecting.  She correctly and easily identifies her emotions without being prompted ... for both our other girls it took them months to be able to identify emotions, and still months longer before they could even discuss them. And that includes good emotions, not just the hard ones.

I'm sure at some point the "honeymoon phase" will wear off -- she has already let us know a few times when she isn't happy. But those little moods are very short-lived. She is a delight! We are so thrilled to have Lily as part of our family.

We'll have a doctor's appointment sometime in the next couple of weeks so they can start to gather more information about Lily’s health and try to create the plan. But we don't have to worry about that now ... we're having a lot of fun!

Again, I want to thank you for the hard work you've done with her. It is completely obvious to us that she was very well cared for and that she was in a place where people cared for her needs.

Clearly the work The China Care Home staff invests in these children is exactly what they need.  Our other daughters are doing well after a few years of love following their adoptions, but it is amazing to see firsthand the difference your staff has made in Lily’s life. Please make sure to tell everyone at The China Care Home “thank you” for their devotion and commitment.

We took Lily to Doernbecher Children's Hospital where she had an ECHO of her heart. The doctors feel VERY good about being able to repair her heart with just one surgery! The next step is a MRI followed by a heart catheter procedure, which will give them highly detailed imaging, numbers, internal pressures and tell them EXACTLY how Lily's heart works. They will wait for the MRI and cath before they fully conclude that they can fix her heart in one surgery, but they wouldn’t tell us the chances were this great if they didn’t have a good idea of that at this point.

You can tell the ladies at The China Care Home that Lily is getting the medical care they so desperately sought in Beijing. These doctors are amazing … literally 2 out of maybe 8 or 10 professionals in the whole world who specialize in heart issues this complex.

And Lily is doing great. So sweet and wonderful … we’re all loving on her 24/7!

Mike, Tanya, Jake, Nick, Shelby, Anna and Lily Cai Ping Lee

Jennifer Mei Hamm (ZiJun aka DouDou)

Please let everyone who knows our little girl that we took one look at her and knew we were in love. She is perfect and it is hard to believe she has a heart condition. Please tell her China Care foster mom that she is happy and laughing and full of spirit! She sleeps through the night and eats with both hands. This little girl has an appetite!

Jennifer Mei attached to her mom Josie right away. It took her a couple of hours before she got comfortable with her dad, but soon she was calling for both Momma and Pappa. We know she loves to be called “DouDou,” her nickname at The China Care Home. When we showed her her passport, she pointed to her picture and said “DouDou” with a big smile! She is beautiful!

Mei Mei (our nickname for her) is a momma’s girl, loves to go swimming and loves having two sisters to play with -- she follows them all around the house. She understands lots of English now and can say a few words also. She has a strong spirit and holds her own with her two older sisters. We read stories every night before bed.

Jennifer loves her new pink stroller, taking two naps a day and getting herself dressed in the morning. She is a curious little girl who loves to explore! Her favorite food has to be yogurt because she gets all excited when we pull a cup out of the fridge. We taught her to high-five today and she can't get enough of it. She shows it off to anyone who will watch!

Our latest news is that Jennifer underwent open-heart surgery at UCLA Mattel Children's Hospital on July 8th. She received a bi-directional Glenn shunt and her blood oxygen level increased immediately to nearly normal levels. Jennifer's nurse in the pediatric intensive care unit told us, "I have the cutest kid in the unit." Forty-eight hours after surgery Jennifer was walking out of the PICU with a sippy cup in hand! Jennifer's cardiologist "couldn't be more pleased" with the results from surgery and the surgeon's team has completed its post-operative follow-up. Jennifer's color is very good and her stamina has increased noticeably. Mei Mei is our little hero!

We want Mei Mei’s foster mom and her other caregivers at The China Care Home to know how grateful we are for the care she received -- we know her spark for life is due to the love and care she received at the China Care Home.

Greg, Josie, Jean, Julia, and Jennifer Hamm




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