Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Lots to Tell from Bogota!!!

An "archive" picture of Jonathan from Casa de Maria... we were so happy to get some extra ones to add to his baby book after the tour.
One of Jonathan's nineras at casa de Maria... she said he was a very happy boy.

Both Nineras were so very loving and expressed their gratefulness at seeing "Samuel" go to a loving home. He was happy feeling all of the love.

A look at the room Jonathan lived in... and all of his friends still needing great homes.

One of the rooms for the toddlers at Casa de Maria.

A look at the playground...

A good picture of Casa de Maria's cafeteria.

Our magical ladies!!! On the left is our lawyer, Angela Maria, Blanca Velez (one of our Gladney reps) and Nora Velez (another lawyer and also our Gladney contact) We thank God for each of these ladies! They helped us so very much and made the process very smooth... thank you tesoros!

A photo of our night at Gloria's... MUY QUERIDA... she will forever be in our hearts, always. We went with Natalie and Isaac. I wish we could take her home with us!

Ok, so the only pic I have of us at Hotel Paris so far... (and NOT a very good one as I look like I'm picking my nose... but I'm NOT, seriously) We wer playing on the floor with the Rodriguez girls: Nicole (here) and Angela... I have to take some pics of them, they are ADORABLE!!!

Sorry I haven't blogged in a few days... we've been very busy! Our last day in Medellin was amazing. We finally went on a tour of Casa de Maria to see what Jonathan's home was like. It was wonderful. We went with our friend, Natalie and her son Isaac. The facility is wonderful... smaller than CRAN. They only have about 62 kids, ranging from a few months to about 15 or so. We were able to see Jonathan's room and meet some of his "buddies" who shared it with him. In that room there were about 8 children, more or less his age. So very sweet. I took a couple of pictures of him with his nineras. They hugged him and kissed him and said what a good baby he was. They also thought he looked bigger! You can tell that they love what they do and are so very good at it.

We saw other rooms too... rooms that housed the older children and the babies. The baby room is so fun! There are bouncy seats, cribs and swings that hang from the ceiling. It was a very sweet time, especially for Natalie as Isaac's nineras loved to see him! Apparently he left a big impression on many because they all were happy to see him.

As always, this part is emotional. I love to see where Jonathan lived and meet the wonderful people who took care of him, but of course, my heart aches for the children who are still there. The tears came when we went to see the toddlers... kids a little younger than Josh. There were so many! Like maybe 25 or so... all playing with worn out toys. They looked very happy and yet I prayed that each one of them would get a forever family too. Alba Lucia told us of a few sibling groups in particular to pray for... they are having a hard time finding families for them... please pray! There is a family of 4 brothers who will be split up into two homes, but near each other... also, there's a family of 3 sisters, twins girls who are 9 and one 7 year old. Our Lord knows them and their needs... I pray He'll call amazing families for each of them. I feel the Lord planting a seed in my heart for older children... I don't know why or for what, but I do pray that I'll be obedient and follow with whatever He asks of me. ALL of these children deserve families... and need them. Many of them have lived such hard lives already, I just pray our heavenly Father will present them with loving mommies and daddies who will cherish them as they deserve.

Both CRAN and Casa de Maria are wonderful organizations... my feelings for Casa de Maria were more personal because it's smaller, more intimate and the people were so very sweet and amazing. Alba Lucia, who spent much time with us... even gave us additional pictures of Jonathan from his time at C de M, I'll post a few of those. My sweet boy... that was very wonderful for us to have.

After our tour we were invited that evening to our guide, Gloria's house for dinner. She hosted and her cousin cooked a wonderful meal for us. It was so very sweet of her to open her home and we felt honored. She was a very special part of our trip... and we will never forget her. The lasagna was delicious and of course as a thank you we brought her favorite... carrot cake from the hotel! Thank you Gloria so very much! We will always think of her when we hear the phrase "Graicias, muy querida/o" as she says that to everyone!

We left on Tuesday for Bogota. It was emotional for us... we had to say goodbye to the wonderful friends and families we met while at the hotel. I admit I was a bit sad... I think sad to leave the place we've called "home" for 24 days, but also sad about the process... the possibility of never doing it again. It's so wonderful... knowing what I know now, I'd never trade it for a "normal" pregnancy! The time you spend as a family together is so very precious and intimate. You learn so much and you enjoy Colombia. We adored Medellin and I truly hope we can visit again soon.

Our flight to Bogota was very short... about 30 minutes. I was a bit worried about Jonathan but he did great. I shouted Hallelujah! When he did his poopie BEFORE we got on the plane... that was my nightmare... you can imagine, I've already suffered so much in this department! It's definately harder to travel with 2 kids... Josh insisted on sitting by me, so sweet, but that meant that I was the first access for toys, help with the juice, etc. That would've been ok but then I had a baby who was restless on my lap too. There was another girl who traveled with a toddler close to us... I thought "oh good, my kid won't be the only one making noise" but that wasn't the case... as soon as her little one started to cry, she whipped out the "lactating device" latched him on and that was that. I admit I was a bit surprised, especially since she had a stranger sitting next to her, but she didn't seem to care. With the toddler latched on, she took a snooze. Ah... I think I'll stick with my situation of two restless children, thank you very much. :)

I have to say that in Colombia, mothers get red carpet treatment... I'm not kidding. For example, checking in for the flight, Avianca had a really long line. They saw us and asked us to move to the "family" section... we were taken right through to the front. Each time I visit Exito or Carulla, if anyone sees me in line they immediately pull out a seat for me to sit in with the baby. It's like babies are VIPs here! so very sweet! I love it and I'm definately taking it all in now as I know when we get back to Miami it'll be like, "Hey lady, can you hurry up and load all of your groceries onto the conveyor belt and calm that screaming baby... I'm late for work!"

Arriving in Bogota we were met by Jaime, one of our Gladney reps. He was very kind and drove us to Hotel Paris, the same hotel we spent 2 months during Josh's adoption. Walking in was so very nice... we were met with hugs and yelps of excitement from the hotel staff (those we knew) which was lovely. I was surprised they remembered us, considering so many families come in and out of here, but they did! We've spent some time getting to know families staying here at Hotel Paris (that's my favorite part). It's a full house here with mainly toddlers but some older children too.

A very special family we've met are the Rodriguez's. Omar and Maria live in Orlando but they are adopting two sisters, 2 year old Angela and 5 year old Nicole. They are gorgeous! They are a gorgeous family, very sweet and full of God's presence. We are blessed to be here with them and pray they receive sentencia quickly! Josh is thrilled to have 2 playmates to run around with.

So, the next few days we'll spend working on more paperwork and enjoying Bogota... not sure exaclty when we'll be back home, but hopefully we can transition soon. We miss our friends and family very much. I'm adding a few videos... Jonathan's big into "copying" these days. The first is of me singing a song in the hopes that he'll do the motions (I call it "Jasmine's song" since she does it so well!) but he ended up trying to sing after me! He does that with sounds too... like he seems to call Frank "A-DA", he's said Ma only once maybe... but he still looks for me everywhere so, I don't mind if he says dada first! The 2nd video is of Josh and Jonathan playing at Hotel Intercontinental.. Josh says we're going to BOBOTA, which I thought was hilarious. The last one is Jonathan's payback... Josh constantly is pulling his ears so, this was sweet revenge for the little bro... trust me, he holds his own for a little guy.

Love you all and we'll post more from Bogota!


  1. My eyes are filling with tears just reading your latest post. On one hand my heart just goes out to all of those kids who are there. I wish I was younger and could go and adopt a couple of older kids who could stay together. My heart is also aching for you as you leave that place. I know it must be so hard. You have had a special journey together as a family. God's hands have been all over you as I have read of your comings and goings through these days. Then my eyes dry as I anticipate your arrival back home! I can't wait to see you all again. My life is not quite the same without your family being around and I miss you all. I know you guys have been such a blessing to the people there too! I am praying for the final leg of your journey and can't wait to see the "new improved" Castellon Family when you get back! Love you all so much!!!!!

  2. I am crying. I want all of those babies! Oh, aren't you so thankful that Jonathan was soooo loved? I miss you so much! Please, tell these Columbians to "get on with it"...we're ready to have you back! SO, glad that poopie happened before the flight. It seems like one of my girls ALWAYS poops on the plane! Not one bit fun! Love you so much! KAYE

  3. "Eric Geiger" always makes the funniest comments!

  4. So glad that everything is going well. We'll miss you today at the picnic. Please give everyone our love at Hotel Paris. We're keeping you all in our thoughts and prayers that you're home soon. And P.S. I loved your post about all the kids. That is exactly how I feel. Maybe we'll be back there again another time....who knows. :)