Sunday, January 31, 2010

What Will It Be Like? For Us....For Zoya

Since the day we committed to adopt Zoya, I've imagined the MOMENT we get to meet her.  What will that be like? I don't think we can even try to guess what that day might be like.  Will it be an instant connection? Will it feel like we are hugging someone else's child?  Will she be scared of us? Will our emotions be happy, scared, excited, worried? Will we cry when we see her and get to hold her? Will they bring her to us or us to her?  What will she be wearing?  What will we do other than hold her and stare into her eyes?  This moment is by far the most suspensful and dreamed of day that Shawn and I will probably ever experience.  We have been trying to imagine what that day will be like for months on end.  Recently we've been able to read other families' blogs about their first meeting with their children.  We're not expecting an instant connection, but we're praying that God will prepare Zoya's heart to meet her forever mama and daddy, and prepare our hearts to meet her. 

We are praying that she will bond with us quickly and have little difficulty leaving the only life she has ever known.  As easy as it sounds to leave a life where she isn't getting everything she needs, it is still going to be scary for her to leave the only place she has ever known.  I remember reading a blog (can't remember where now) but it told a story of a little boy who had lived in an orphanage his whole life.  He was older than Zoya and had probably dreamed of his family coming to rescue him and take him to America.  When he walked out of the orphanage with his new family and got into the car, he asked, "Is this America?"  The orphanage and its four walls were the only place this boy ever experienced, just like Zoya.  She has no idea life could exist under any other circumstances than the ones she is currently experiencing. 

As the time to meet Zoya gets closer, we dream more and more about that day.  It seems as if it will never come.  We will try to soak in every single second of that first meeting because some day far into the future that meeting will probably seem like it was only a dream or a movie we watched.  I want to remember every single part of that day as vividly as I can for as long as I live.  Her expression, the feel of her skin, the look on Shawn's face, our shaking hands, the tears we will likely cry, how scared we will probably be, the butterflies we will have in our stomachs, our trembling knees, our hearts feeling like they might bubble over, and the realization that this leap of faith was the most exciting and fulfilling journey we have ever taken. 

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Handing it Over to God

We found out why the envelope from Harrisburg took so long to get to us.  There was NO POSTAGE.  I had realized that I forgot to put postage on the first envelope the day after it got there.  I frantically called the office after overnighting a new self addressed stamped envelope and this was the conversation:

Me: "Yes I was calling because I realized that I forgot to put postage on a return envelope that contains a VERY IMPORTANT document that we need to meet a deadline for an adoption....." (on and on I went without a breath, which must have annoyed this lady)

Lady: "Ma'am people forget postage all the time, it was mailed out to you Friday." 

Me: "Oh so you just put the postage on it? Can I send you a check to cover the $2.00?" 

Lady: "No ma'am we took care of it." 

Me: "Thank you so much, I really really appreciate it."

So when Shawn went to pick up the package he realized there was no postage.  There was not even a stamp with the a post-mark date! We have no idea how it got here at all, but now we know why it was late. 

So then Shawn went to Pack and Ship to decide if we should send it through Fed Ex or UPS.  The lady there was really kind and thought that Fed Ex would be the way to go.  She said there were no delays from what she could tell.  Well right now our package is in Memphis Tenessee.  The top of our tracking page says:

"Severe winter weather conditions at Memphis hub may cause some
service delays and disruptions within the U.S. today."

Let's hope that this is not the case as it needs to be there by Tuesday.  It is showing that it has not left Memphis, which it probably should have by now.  Prayers are needed for God to put a hand on this package and get it into our facilitators hands by Tuesday. Prayers also needed for us if that is not God's plan :) We are trying to sit back and trust in the Lord that he will get the package there in the perfect time (whatever that may be).  We are trying to let go of our time frame and remember we can't see everything that God does...we know his plan is best, but it's still difficult.  There is nothing else we can do so worrying is wasted energy at this point.  We will get to Zoya, it may just be a few weeks later than what we hoped for :( 

Friday, January 29, 2010


Beth our mail lady called at 7:15 this morning and said she thinks she has our very important paper.  We asked her to open it and she had her supervisor open it.  IT WAS OUR INTERPOL CLEARANCE WITH A NICE BIG GOLD STICKER!!! Shawn is going to pick it up at the post office when they open and then mail it out.  We have to decide to go with Fed Ex again or try UPS/DHL.  We would just do Fed Ex but I've heard from another adoptive family that their papers went Fed Ex and are stuck in Paris for some reason.  Don't know if it's a Fed Ex issue or not.  Praying to make the right decision...the one that will get it there by Tuesday.  Nothing like meeting a deadline by the skin of our teeth....this is tough for a girl who always gets things done way before they're due.  But again, this is not "this girl's" project....its God's. 

Thank you for the prayers, good thoughts, and comments.  They mean the world to us.  Keep them coming :)

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Did we get the paper today? No....we did not.  It is likely lost somewhere between Harrisburg and here.  Shawn even drove around for an hour looking for our mail lady before he went to work to get our mail expecting it to be there so he could run to Fed Ex and mail it out.  Although the mail lady didn't have our paper, she did have an interesting story to share...she herself was adopted!  She gave Shawn her phone number to call tomorrow morning and see if the paper is in her morning delivery shipment.  The papers have to get to Zoya's country by TUESDAY FEBRUARY 2nd in order to keep our February 4th submittal date.  If they are not there we will likely have to wait a few weeks for another date and that will delay things a bit.  Our new plan:  Call our wonderful mail lady at 8am to see if the paper is in her possession.  If it is, run to Fed Ex to get it mailed out the fastest way possible...hope and pray it gets there by February 2nd.  If it is not there, that will mean a trip to Harrisburg (5 hours there and 5 hours back) get a new form apostilled...then off to Fed Ex in Harrisburg to get it mailed out...hope and pray again! Either way our package will be mailed tomorrow.  Last time we mailed on a Friday it got to her country Monday, even though it wasn't expected to get there until Wednesday.  It is very possible that the papers will get there on time still....please pray.

There are no words to explain what we are feeling right now.  This is tough.  I feel guilty for worrying about this when obviously more difficult things are happening across the world and many other people are in more dire situations.  The feeling of a need and desire to get to Zoya as quickly as we can has just about overtaken all feelings of sanity at this point.  I know God has a plan, I'm just wishing he would give me a tiny glimpse of his timing on this! This is the day that the Lord has made...we will (still) rejoice and be glad in it. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


We got our submittal date today:) THIS IS DIFFERENT from our travel don't get too excited:)  Our paperwork is expected to be registered with Zoya's country on February 4th.  Soon after that we should hear a travel date.  Right now we are waiting on one LAST paper (again) from Harrisburg with a shiny gold sticker.  They told me it was mailed out Friday so I spent the last three days anxiously waiting for it...I thought today for the mailbox (which I am coming to have a love/hate relationship with) and NOTHING :(  So I called Harrisburg again and the ever-so-friendly woman (sarcasm noted) told me it is possible that it could have been mailed out on Monday...but that would be the latest they sent it. Please please please pray that this document will be in our mailbox tomorrow as we need to get it to Zoya's country before that submittal date which is coming VERY SOON!  It takes at least 3 days to get the papers to her country (even when "overnighted").  I am exhausted from waiting and waiting and waiting for everything lately.  Despite the agony I feel right now, God keeps reminding us that he is in control and he cares about us.  I feel like this is the biggest roller coaster I've ever been on.  Something bad happens, then in the next minute, something so amazingly wonderful happens, then back and forth. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Eyes of an Angel

Have you ever seen more beautiful, soulful eyes?

In this picture, the only one we have, our baby looks so sad and scared.  I wish I knew what happened right before that picture.  I wish I could wipe her tears away.  I wish I could make her laugh.  I wish I could teacher her to sign "mama" and "love."  I know I will be able to do all those things...I just can't wait much longer or my heart might burst! Waiting to stare into those angel eyes face-to-face.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

A Letter to My Sweet Zoya

Dear Zoya,

Today marks the four month anniversary of when we committed to adopt you.  We had seen your picture just 11 days before we decided we couldn't live without you.  I look at your picture every day...sometimes twenty or thirty times a day.  It is the only picture we have of you.  I wonder how much you will have changed when we finally get to meet you. I dream about the day we get to see you, touch you, hold you, love you....and call you our daughter.  Every time I look at the clock, I add seven hours on and try to imagine what you might be doing at that very moment.  I hope that you have a caregiver at your orphanage who you have been able to connect with and feel some sort of love from until we can get there.  I hope you keep fighting to stay strong because we are coming for you soon.   I know that God is protecting your mind and your tiny body.  Your Daddy and I talk about you all the time and wonder what kinds of foods will be your favorites when you are home, and what you will think of your doggy sister Mya.  We can't wait to see what color your hair really is.  How much will you weigh?  Will you be a night owl and hate mornings like your momma?  (Let's hope so, but if not, we can work on that!)  We are still amazed every day, that God has chosen us to be your parents.  We will be so lucky to wake up to your beautiful face every morning.  You will remind us every day of how blessed we are.  We will do anything we can to help you blossom into the child God has intended for you to become.  We will steal kisses when you're sleeping and take pictures when you're not looking so we can remember every single second with you and never forget how lucky we are.  I want you to know that you have already changed our lives in so many ways.  Your worth in this world is immeasurable. My heart already calls you my daughter and my arms ache to hold you.  I look forward to the day you can read this letter and know just how much you were wanted and needed.  Until I can see you face to face sweet angel you will be in my heart.


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Adopto Brain

So many times when friends of mine have been pregnant, they blame the "preggo brain" when they forget something, or feel distracted, or do weird things.  I've come to determine that I have "adopto brain."  At this point in the adoption, I'm doing things that make no sense, I'm forgetting lots of important things, I'm feeling completely distracted from every day life, running around like a crazy lady trying to do a million things at once yet forgetting the most important stuff...and on and on. Other adoptive moms...know what I'm talking about here? I hope I'm not alone with this adopto-brain problem I've been having!

I was talking to a friend tonight and told her how I feel like a big walking mistake everything I touch gets screwed up...LOL.  Then that causes more anxiety about doing something wrong, and in turn I screw up more stuff.  I was happy to know my friend felt the same way when she was close to the end of her pregnancy.  She had emailed her mom about how she was feeling during the last weeks of her pregnancy.  Her mom saved the emails.  This is what she wrote in one of the emails:

"I am having serious problems making everyday decisions in life...and it seems even though I think that I am thinking them out clearly and logically, they still end up backfiring and nothing comes out right!"

I guess maybe what I'm going through is normal!  Even though I'm not physically sure does feel like I can't wait to not be "pregnant" anymore and get this baby here already!  I'm having weird dreams and trouble sleeping, I'm worrying about things beyond my control, I'm not listening so well when other people are talking to me, I forget what other people tell me, I've even been forgetting if I've done something already or not.  My students at school are laughing at me when I say, "did we say the pledge of alligence yet today?"  I'm just going to blame it all on adopto-brain! Hopefully soon this will pass :)

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

While I'm Waiting

If you didn't read the post under this that first.  I have heard this song a million times but it meant more this time than ever before. Make sure you mute the music player at the bottom of the page before playing this one.

I just read a fellow adoptive momma's post...she wrote the words that are in my heart at this very moment. I will share below:
"OK, so I learned a couple of things. I must pray before I fill out any form or for that matter before I attempt any step in this process. God was very clear in reminding me of that when I woke up this morning. He also convicted me, once again, of my prideful thinking that I'm the one who is going to make this adoption happen as quickly as possible. He reminded me that He has Nadia's days numbered and knows exactly when she will officially be a part of our family. I just need to rest in His promises and work within His timeline without a preconceived idea of what that should look like." Click HERE to view her amazing blog!

Today Stinks!

I have nothing positive to say today.  I'm so overly stressed at this very minute with this adoption that I can't even contain my negative emotions.  I know it will all be worth it, but I can't make myself feel one ounce of positive energy at this moment.  The short story is we've had to do and re-do and re-do again one form and now we have noticed a mistake on some of our paperwork that was already sent over.  This will likely have to be redone again, re-notarized and re-apostilled (at $15 a shot), which will mean another trip to Harrisburg and another whole lot of money we don't have to spend at this point. 

Yes, we will do anything and everything for Zoya, but today is just hard in ever way imaginable.

Please pray.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Waiting, Updates and Zoya's Room

This is how I feel I might just die waiting any longer to meet my baby! Haha, funny picture...but in all seriousness....I try not to let the waiting consume me.  I try to enjoy the now and the today, but I'm honestly exhausted from my mind racing with a million thoughts about the what and the when and the where (at least I know the who and why!)

We are hoping to hear a submittal date this week.  Please pray we will hear soon and it will be as early in February as possible.  Zoya's country requested a couple more forms so we've been working on those...we are waiting to get one form back from Harrisburg again and then we will send those over with the rest of our paperwork.  I just hope I don't have to see that same Fed Ex man again!  This time I will be prepared for the cost:)

While we are so not patiently waiting...we've been working on Zoya's room.  Here are some pictures:

Here is her crib with the beautiful bedding set from Mom and Dad B:) I love the little carpet too!

An ADORABLE little Zoya bear from my Aunt Jane and family!!

The cute curtains!

Shawn put up the closet organizer! Most of the clothes were donated by a friend (Thanks Lorrae!).  Yes that is a snowsuit...we have been told that even if we bring her home in March/April we may need one or we will appear neglectful. We wouldn't want that!

This little cabinet was given to us by Zoya's soon to be Aunt Jen:) I painted it to match the walls and got cute little flower knobs from Lowes.  The little book inside was a gift from Mom and Dad B about a little penguin looking for his home and he learns "home is where your family is." So sweet! The bear was a gift from Seth's big sister Desiree...made with love just for Zoya! When I was little I had a thing for bears and it looks like Zoya will be the same :) 

She's going to be a girly girl:)

A gorgeous blanket made by Aunt Jen and X. Zoya will love it!

As you can see, Zoya has a fan club already! We are so lucky to have so many people who truly care about her and are cheering along from the sidelines.  We can't wait for you all to meet her almost as much as we can't wait to meet her ourselves! Thank you for all the support and prayers.  Keep them coming please!

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Waiting for the Egg to Hatch

Ever since I can remember I've had strange dreams...and lots of them!  Since committing to Zoya I've had some weird dreams.  One where she was the size of a barbie doll and another where she was very roly-poly!
The other night I had  dream that I was teaching my 2nd graders about baby chics.  The eggs were in canisters like tennis balls come in.  I was passing two eggs out to each student for them to study.  Suddenly Shawn was there and looking through all the eggs for the perfect one.  I pulled out several that I thought looked good, but none of them looked good enough to him.  Finally, I found a golden egg and excitely showed it to Shawn...he said, "this will do."  He proceeded to pull back the gold film that was on the egg and the egg suddently became see-through.  Inside we could see the tiniest little perfect chic dancing around.  We were amazed to see that the chic was perfect and miniature size.  We couldn't figure out why, if the chic looked ready to come out, it was just dancing around inside the egg.  We sat and waited, thinking it would come out soon.  It didn't.  We waited and waited and waited.  We had the idea to try to break open the egg ourselves but didn't in fear that we would hurt the chic.  We knew that we had to wait for the chic to come out and there was nothing we could do to make it happen any sooner.  I remember my heart just aching and longing for the egg to hatch and feeling so helpless.  Some other weird things happened but the chic did not come out of the egg in my dream :( I woke up very sad and wishing I could see the chic hatch. 

I guess this dream could represent us waiting for our little chic to become ours.  We see her in a picture, feel her in our hearts, and know she is already alive and just waiting to break out of her egg. Shawn choosing the egg could represent how he felt so strongly that Zoya was "our egg."  I had showed him many pictures of orphans needing homes and he passed on all of them until he saw Zoya.  I think the shell of the egg represents the barrier between us and Zoya...the paperwork, the funds, the travel, the physical distance...and all of that.  Zoya can't break out of her egg by herself...she needs us there.  We can't break her out of the egg by ourselves either...we need God to do that part for us.  And He His time.  The waiting part is just so hard.  We can see ourselves looking at our chic inside her egg every day with heartache and there is nothing she can do or we can do to get her out...we have to trust in God that he will get her out of the egg so we can have her in our arms.  In the dream, even though the chic couldn't get out of her egg, she was dancing happily....not worrying about how she was going to get out of the egg...almost having a peace that her time would come.  That gives me great comfort, thinking....maybe....Zoya feels peace somewhere in her heart and knows her time is coming to hatch our of her egg, meet her forever family, and start LIVING outside the egg. 

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

147 Million

When you hear that matter what it is referring's a big number.  147 million is the estimated number of orphans worldwide. 

Orphan: a child who has lost both parents.

Many of these children don't "lose" their parents (only about 10% actually have had both parents die), but instead are abandoned by them for various reasons.  Some cannot care for the children due to a financial, emotional, or physical inability.  Some don't want to care for their children.  Some reject their children because they are less than perfect.  Some reject their children because they have special needs and think they
are being "cursed" or think these children are "damaged."

Whatever the reason, there are 147 million orphans in the world today.  147 million children who may never know the love of a family....may never feel as if they belong anywhere in this world....may never be pushed to find and use their talents to better this world....may never hear "I love you,"....may never see the world outside the four white walls of their orphange.  As heartbreaking as this is, it is the truth.  As much as we'd like to turn a blind eye, it is still happening.

Many people have asked how we found Zoya.  Sometimes I would joke and say, "you too can have your own orphan!"  People simply don't realize how many children are in need of families.  We "found" Zoya through Reece's Rainbow.  Reece's Rainbow is an international down syndrome orphan ministry whose goal is to find homes for orphans with down syndrome (and other special needs).  Please take a moment and visit the website here:
 Click on "waiting children" to see all the beautiful faces who are waiting for their forever families.  God doesn't call everyone to adopt, but he does call all of us to help orphans in need.  If you are not in a position to adopt one of these angels, maybe you are in a position to help find a home for one of them, or to assist a family financially in bringing one of the beautiful babes home, or to simply get the word out that these faces aren't just pictures--they are lives.  If these children aren't adopted by the time they are 4 years old, they are sent to mental institutions where the majority of them die within the first year due to lack of care, nutrition, medical attention, and love.

Looking at this dire situation, it would be easy to give up and say, "I, alone, can't make a difference...I can't change the world."  No--no one person can change the world, but for the children who find their forever families, their worlds will be forever changed! 

Monday, January 11, 2010


According to Fed Ex website, our very important paperwork made it to Zoya's country and to our facilitator today! Yay! Thanks for the prayers.  Now we just wait hoping they don't ask for any additional documents and hopefully we will hear our submission date soon!

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Paris, France

Our dossier just arrived in Paris, France! I wonder how many more stops it will make before reaching its final destination?  Prayers that it will make it there as scheduled!

Friday, January 8, 2010


Today after work, Shawn and I drove to Fed Ex to mail off our entire packet of paperwork that we have spent the last 3 and a half months gathering.  I felt like I was carrying my most valuable possession (well I guess I kind-of was!)  It made me very nervous to have it in my hands and more nervous to hand it over to the less than friendly Fed Ex man.  He handed me a cardboard envelope to put the documents in.  I asked him if he had something different...something waterproof incase they got wet.  His response was, "they don't make anything like that, if it gets wet, it gets wet." I thought in my head ummmmm NOOOOOO.  Hello sir! I just told you these were VERY IMPORTANT documents! Shawn had put them in a plastic bag type thing with a zipper so when we were walking outside they didnt get any snowflake water marks on them.  So we decided to leave it in that bag and put the whole bag with the documents into a box.  It weighed 1.3 pounds.  The Fed Ex man was typing away on his computer, stopped quickly, looked up and said, "are you ready to hear this?"  We looked at each other like uh-oh.  If the Fed Ex man, who charges people to mail out big packages every day asked this, we were in trouble.  Shawn said, "yes."  He said, "One hundred fifty-nine dollars and seventy-five cents."  Yes...thats $159.75 to mail the package!!! We had brought a $50 bill with us that we received as a Christmas gift thinking it wouldn't be more than that.  I almost choked when he said that number.  Shawn took out our debit card and handed it over.  The man looked at him and said, "Are you ok with this?" And I piped up and said, "As long as it gets there!"  He said it would get there by 6pm Wednesday.  We walked out and had no other choice than to laugh at what had just happened.  We never really thought about how much it would cost.  BUT we would have paid a lot more if we had to to get one step closer to our baby!

The only thing we can do between now and our travel date is just prepare for her and keep raising funds and saving money.  The bulk of our job for right now is done.  Although it is a relief to have the first big step done, it will probably make the wait seem longer not having a set goal to work toward.  Now we just wait...for other people to tell us when we will have the opportunity to meet our angel. We are so blessed to be on this journey!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Our Last Document!

Today Eastern Europe celebrated Christmas (Eastern Orthodox Calendar).  When I woke up I thought of what Zoya might be doing on her 2nd Christmas.  It made me sad.  Zoya did get a Christmas present today, but she doesn't know it!  We received our FINAL DOCUMENT for our dossier in the mail TODAY!!! We are one step closer to bringing our sweet baby home! Tomorrow after school, Shawn and I will be taking a trip to Fed Ex to mail our entire adoption packet (dossier) to Zoya's country! We have spent the night checking over each and every document one last time and putting them in order.  We have a grand total of 28 documents to mail! That's 76 pages all together....End to End that's just about 70 feet of paper! You can see why we've been so busy lately.  I took a picture of all our pretty documents.

We need prayers that our dossier will arrive safely in our facilitator's hands to be translated and submitted.  This is a huge step in our adoption process.  It will be nice to have this part finished and move on to waiting for our travel date and preparing to meet our little angel.  I wish Zoya knew how special she is and how many hearts she has changed already.  Our house, arms, and hearts are open and ready for you Zoya!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Progress Update

Last Wednesday, we drove to Harrisburg to get all but one of our documents apostilled (legalized/certified).  One of the documents needed to be redone and thanks to some amazing friends, they got it redone while we were still in Harrisburg.  If they hadn't gotten it redone we would not have been able to have it done until today due to offices being closed because of holidays.  Since they got it all done on Wednesday, we were able to mail it out first thing Thursday morning.  It arrived in Harrisburg Saturday and we are hoping to receive in our mailbox with its pretty shiny gold sticker by Friday.  We are hoping to mail our entire dossier to Zoya's country on Friday (we can only do this if we get this last form back)!!!  Once it arrives in her country it will be translated.  Then we will be given a submission date (we are hoping for Feb. 1st--thats the first possible date).  Within a few weeks of our submission date, we should be given a travel date, which is usually about 2-5 weeks out from the day they tell us.  So we could travel as early as the end of February or beginning of March! That's really not that far away!

As the time to meet Zoya gets closer, we are getting so excited and nervous at the same time! We are nervous about all the details of the travel, and the lack of control we will have over all of it. I'm not a great "go with the flow" kinda girl when it comes to big life changing events like this.  So we will definitely need some prayers to get through this next leg of the race! I look forward to the day we can look back on all of this and remember it as just the beginning of our great adventure with Zoya. 

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The Rocking Chair Test

Some time ago I came across a quote about making difficult decisions.  I never remembered where I had read it, but it has always stuck with me.  I have often used the rocking chair test when a big decision is at bay.  While I was gathering books in our basement to sell on amazon, I found the book that has the quote.

"My best advice to you is
to give it "the rocking chair test."
Imagine that you're ninety years
old, sitting on the porch and
rocking in your chair as you
reflect back on your life.  Will
you regret dong it? Pick the decision you
can live with, and have no regrets
in your choice.  Believe in the
choices you make."
~Anne Larnella Hood

In our initial discussions about adopting a child with down syndrome, I used this test.  I pictured myself as an old woman sitting on the porch next to Shawn in our rocking chairs.  I pictured the alternate path we could have chosen--not to adopt.  Every time I thought about not adopting this special child, I could see my own 90 year old face painted with regret, pain, and loss for not having had the courage and faith to take this risk.   Every time we thought about how things would probably be easier if we didn't adopt, I immediately felt a sense of profound sadness.  Both of us knew that once our eyes were opened to this terrible orphan crisis, we could not simply change our minds and turn away without a sense of regret and longing.  In our hearts, long before we verbalized the words, we had committed to adopt a child who would otherwise be left to live and die in an orphanage or mental institution without ever knowing the love of a family.  Suddenly, it turned from asking ourselves, "will we regret doing this?" to "will we regret not doing this?" And the answer was clearly "yes."

The rocking chair will be here before we know it, so until then, live your life in a way that when you get to the rocking chair, you don't ask yourself "why didn't I...."