The Crew

The Crew
Christina, Matthew, Joshua and Katie Grace XiHua

Wednesday, January 11, 2012


I was only able to post a quick update after surgery. This post is a little more detailed for those who have been asking.

Also, I am adding just a few precious photos of our little angel. I know she is so delicate as she is recovering, but if you saw the fight she put up after surgery, pulling out her breathing tube and yelling for me, fighting the nurses, even after they gave her medication that would "calm her down in a minute" NOT, you will know what strong girl she is. She is a survivor. She was back to playing and giggling again by the time we arrived home the following day, in fact it has been hard to get her to not "jump, run, or climb."!

When we received Katie Grace's file for adoption, we knew of 2 heart defects. A VSD and PFO. These are usually considered minor or correctable. In other words, these holes could close as she is growing, she could just live fine with them or if necessary, the VSD could be closed and this is done often and successfully. The PFO is usually left alone. We also knew that she had Pulmonary Hypertension which is common with a VSD.

Upon her 1st visit to the cardiologist. We found her VSD to be very large. Much larger than most, causing much stress to her lungs and damage. The cardiologist said she needed surgery in order to have a full life, but that her lungs probably wouldn't allow the surgery. This was very concerning news.

Upon her 1st visit to the cardiac surgeon, they also detected a 3rd defect. An ASD. On more hole on the anterior. (you can google all of these defects to get more details if interested). He scheduled that Cardiac Catheterization to be done immediately. This specialist however felt she would be a candidate for surgery. This was encouraging!

During cardiac catheterization surgery, they found yet 1 more defect, a PDA. Now a total of 4 defects. This one will also need a repair. They also found the lungs to have sustained damage, HOWEVER the heart and lungs were giving pressure. This is good! The Dr believed she will still be able to receive surgery and will meet w/his team this week to discuss if they agree she can handle surgery, when she will have it, and what type of patch they will put on the VSD. The bad news is, her lungs are struggling and have a small amount of time to get this done. The good news is, the type of pulmonary disease can be reversed, if she has surgery, with medication over time.

We will hear from the Dr in the next few days and they will give us a surgery date. She will need to have open heart surgery in 3-4 weeks. Keep this in your prayers and that again, she will stay well and free from any cold. My oldest daughter now has the cold that has gone through the house, UGH!

Thank you for your love and prayers!

Monday, January 9, 2012


I wanted to post a quick update because I am so grateful for my dear friends who are praying!

Katie Grace is in recovery. You all are right, what an agonizing wait it was indeed!

So the Dr came and spoke with us and he was maybe not quite as joyful as he was pre op, however, generally positive.

He said that her VSD was very large. They detected yet another defect, a PDA, making 4 now. VSD, ASD, PFO, and PDA

He feels she is most probably a candidate for surgery. He will
consult w/his team this week and meet w/us on the plan and dates. Most likely in 3 -4 weeks.

He also said her lungs have sustained damage. This damage means that the heart surgery can be risky so keep praying! The good news, after the surgery, this type of lung damage is reversible w/medication. Praise the Lord!

She has had a hard time coming out of it all this afternoon and evening. Pulled out the intubator tube and then fought like a pro wrestler, throwing one of her all time great tantrums that I haven't seen for awhile for 25 min! :) She is still having low oxygen and breathing issues and vomiting even at this time, 6pM.

Thank you and know that God is so good.


Our Katie Grace is now 4 1/2 hours into her heart and lung catheterization surgery as we speak. They have called me about 4 times now and have updated me on her progress from the surgery room. All is well and they are still checking her heart chambers for pressure levels at this time.

Keep your prayers coming.

Sunday, January 8, 2012


Our 16 year old Christina took Hua Hua outside for a photo shoot, and wow! She really took some cute shots! Of course what an adorable model! This first picture of Hua I think sums up how we feel about heart defects!!

Tomorrow, Monday Jan 9th, Katie Grace Hua Hua goes into APH for her Lung Catheterization Surgery. This surgery will determine whether or not her lungs have the capacity to handle the heart surgery that is absolutely necessary. If you recall, the 1st cardiologist we saw was not optimistic. The surgeon however, was optimistic! For those of you with heart babies, Katie Grace has a large VSD, she also has a PFO and they just detected an ASD as well. 3 holes. The VSD is the most damaging for her. We trust and believe that God has already taken care of this situation and given her heart and lungs all that they need for a full and healthy life.

I haven't posted the date for this surgery until today, I know many have asked, because we already had to cancel once due to a cough she had a month ago. She has to be free of any cough or runny nose. She has been free of any issue this entire past 4 weeks. Unfortunately I came down with a cold this week and so has her brother Joshua who she plays with constantly. I just wanted to cry!! I have been washing and sanitizing hands and doing everything to avoid this. So far she is clear and she is less than 24 hours from surgery. She has sneezed a few times though.

We will arrive at the hospital at 7AM. They will begin surgery at 9AM and she will be put under anesthesia. They will use line through her leg and up to her lungs for this surgery and it will last for 4 hours. Then she remain overnight tomorrow night.

Asking for your heartfelt prayers my dear friends and family!!!

Friday, January 6, 2012


Today is a day to celebrate the day our Matthew was born!! As I have mentioned on occasion and is no secret, I was married once before. Matthew and Christina's heritage from their dad is Puerto Rican. On this day of January 6th, (which is also celebrated as The Epiphany) in Puerto Rico and many South American countries, they celebrate Dia De Reyes! or Three Kings Day! This day represents the day that the 3 kings arrived to see the Newborn Savior, and they were bearing gifts. In Puerto Rico, Santa Claus was not quite a big deal at all up until recently. He was more a tale and and a stocking might be filled along with a big feast and music was held on Christmas, but Dia De Reyes was the big day for gifts. The children would put a box of grass under their bed for the camels, and the grass would be tossed around the room in the morning and the box filled with gifts!

Well, Matthew was born on Dia De Reyes, his full name is Manuel Matthew Castro. Manuel, bearing his dad's name, a translation of Emanuel meaning "God With Us", and Matthew meaning "Gift From God". So his name fits the feeling of the season and what a gift he is indeed on this day that represents the bearing of gifts for one another!

He is a kind and gentle soul. Helpful and thoughtful and always the one to know when someone needs assistance or a kind word. He is also full of boy energy and often plays outside with his friends all day and loves sports, plays violin, and video games too!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

The True Spirit of Christmas - You HAVE to read my friend Amy's post about HER Christmas.

Just hop over to her post for just a quick few seconds, I swear you'll be hooked to read the rest!!

Many who read my blog are in the adoption community or just have a heart for the orphan. As I have expressed on a few occasions, being a true missionary is something I feel I may have somehow missed out on, although adoption and representing children in court is definitely a form of mission work! I still am so enthralled and drawn to the true missionary; living out their life on the mission field, just their family, the needs of the people, and God are what they live daily. As you can see by my favorite books list on my side bar, this is what read about often!

Amy at Amy's Assorted Adventures lives it. She and her family picked up and moved to Zambia and run an orphanage. If you have a moment, go over and read her post, The Other Side Of Christmas Week and then The Other Side Of Christmas Week Part Two and experience her heart wrenching and joyful post and what it means to live out the true spirit of Christmas by giving of yourself fully.

Go Amy!

Many hungry children near the boarder of Myanmar and Thailand-click on photo