Teresa was born on Christmas day 2006 in China. She was born with a very rare condition called Hypoplastic Left Heart Syndrome (half a heart). This is "Her Story ", a story of survival and her deep desire to have her own family.
The first three years of Teresa's life were spent in an orphanage in China . Because her heart condition was so complex she was not expected to live. Her only hope was a heart /lung transplant. As the years passed she continually surprised everyone with her very strong will to survive and beat all medical odds. Not only was she surviving but she was touching every ones hearts in the orphanage with her "magical" personality.
She had the uncanny ability to understand things beyond her years . She wanted a family more than anything.
Our family first learned of Teresa when she appeared in Half The Sky's News letter asking for a family to adopt her. Half The Sky was given special permission by the Chinese government to try and find a home for Teresa and two other little girls with complex heart conditions.
We had just returned home from China after the adoption of our 8th. child and we felt compelled to look further into this story of a little girl named Liu Fang . The picture of her with a crooked little smile and sparkly eyes really captured our attention.
We felt God was strongly leading us to adopt Teresa but were unsure if we would be able to emotionally handle a child that was considered terminal. After much prayer and talking it over with all of our children, we came to the unanimous decision that Yes, Teresa was our daughter. We all agreed that she needed a family. We trusted God would give us all the graces needed to provide her with unconditional love. We were determined to fill all of her days with happiness and love for however long God would share her with us.
Meeting Teresa for the first time far exceeded any of our expectations. Teresa was our fifth daughter adopted from China and we were quite aware of the process and how the adoption day can be a very scary day for most children. Not for Teresa though. She knew her family was coming to take her home and this was all she wanted. She greeted us all with kisses and hugs, calling us MaMa and BaBa right away. When it was time to say "Good Bye" to her Nanny, she looked at her and then looked at us. Her Nanny explained to her that she could go back with her or go home with her family. It only took a second to make her decision. She looked at us and smiled, took her sister Lucy's hand and waved goodbye to her Nanny. She never grieved for what she lost, she only smiled and was full of happiness for what was to come.
Once home Teresa's personality started blossoming even more. She is a very determined little girl. She loves to play dress up, pick flowers and to be "The Boss". This strong will is what has definitely kept her going for so long.
Once home we also learned the severity of Teresa's heart. The heart that we had prayed would be able to be fixed was far too damaged and as a result, her lungs were now irreversibly damaged too. She would need a heart/lung transplant but her Doctors felt she would not survive this operation. Their best advice was to take her home and let her enjoy what little time she may have. We felt we had to try and find an answer other than this so we started researching and looking for a cure at other hospitals. Unfortunately, they all had the same prognosis. Her lungs were too damaged to accept a heart only transplant.
For two years as we prayed for her lungs to be miraculously cured she continued to astonish all of her Doctors with her will to live. She started taking ballet classes, going to school and she even started riding her bike. Then in the summer of 2010 a miraculous thing happened, her lungs had healed enough that her Doctors felt she could survive a heart only transplant and she was listed for a heart transplant.
She is now waiting for her second chance at life with the gift of a new heart.
Having the privilege of being Teresa's Mother has been the best gift in the world. Had we never opened our hearts to the call to adopt Teresa we would have missed out on all the love this spunky little girl had to offer our family. She has touched our hearts in so many ways. She has taught us how to look at life with wonder and awe. She never complains or asks "Why me?". She just loves everything and finds simple pleasure and joy in every day.