Hi, I’m Winn Castagno. I’m not a native Texan, but after thirteen years I finally feel home. Born a Georgia Peach, but raised as a New Yorker. I grew up in a quintessential Norman Rockwell painting, a historic town only a short train ride from New York City. In fact, during the late 1800’s Barnum and Bailey housed their circus elephants in my hometown. The birthplace of the American circus, our school mascot was an elephant, actually a Tusker. I was proud to be from NY, it defined me in a way. However, I yearned for something more. Despite my parents wishes I only applied out of state colleges. The further from NY the better.
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A scholarship took me to Michigan where I spent five glorious years living my best life. I adored the friendly people, a slower pace of life. I never thought I would leave, but my first job took me cross country to the “Land of Enchantment”. A culture shock at first, it was in New Mexico where I fell in love. The southwest has the most glorious sunsets, where I met my husband, Scott. We were married in a two hundred year old adobe hacienda, close to the Rio Grande with a traditional mariachi band. We thought Albuquerque was our forever-home, but an opportunity to move to Austin, TX presented itself shortly after our wedding and we never looked back.
Austin was good to us, we moved in and hours later had a “blind date” with other transplants. We met friends from all over the country who quickly became family. Our weekends filled with float tips, longhorn games, ACL, vacations to the coast, SXSW, nights out of west sixth. We were leaving our twenty’s with a bang, but wanted more. So we bought a house north of Austin and settled in knowing it was time to start our little family. We were growing our roots in Texas.
Since a sushi dinner early in our relationship, adoption was always our plan. As my 30th birthday approached, we decided to take the leap and submitted an application for adoption. It was then our family began. I have a deep sense of faith and believe every moment leads you to the next. In our case, the stars aligned to guide us to our daughter. We crossed oceans, it felt as if the entire world conspired for us to be together. It was what dreams are made of, when I held her in my arms for the first time it felt like we had been together forever.
After traveling the world to meet our daughter, we threw all caution to the wind. And one month later our family was growing again. Less than 10 months from meeting our daughter Charlotte Lee in China we welcomed Bethany Lin into the world. I always say it was our blessed-but-stressed phase of life! It was crazy, legit crazy, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. We raised our girls side by side, shared milestones together; their bond is so deep. When I reflect on this story of how we became a family, I realize how perfectly it was written.
Life was hectic, we were raising babies and working hard on our careers. Most of it a blur, a perfect sleep deprived blur. Looking back in the photos of these two little babies one with blonde hair blue eyes and the other black hair dark eyes, it seems like a lifetime ago. I loved to dress them the same, it confused so many. Believe it or not, many strangers asked us if they were twins. Some even went as far as to question us twice when we simply replied no they are sisters. It still makes me giggle to think about. Their personalities are complete opposites, but they just mesh. It solidifies that these two were destined to be together.
For the next few years we attempted another adoption that sadly broke our hearts. We felt our family wasn’t complete, but unsure where our next steps would take us, heartbroken we pressed on. In early 2020 we felt ready, applied to become foster parents, the universe had been different plans. Today, we are anxiously awaiting our licensure to be foster parents here in Texas. We have empty rooms and hope to provide a loving family for as long as needed.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to raise my daughters. If I teach my girls anything, I hope it’s to leave this world better than they found it, and to be happy. I finally found home, deep in the heart of Texas. I’m honored to be a part of Austin Moms blog, and given this opportunity to share my story.