Category Archives: adoption

Thoughts on Reunion

I’ve often written about Hope being in reunion with some of her biological family. Over the years, the relationship has ebbed and flowed. While it isn’t what I always hoped for Hope, in total, it’s definitely been a good thing for her. I don’t know what I imagined the relationship would look like, or how everyone would deal with their own emotional stuff related to the separation, the loss, the adoption, and the reunion. I just know that everyone involved has tried to figure this thing out.

Years ago, I wrote about finding Hope’s biological mom. I remember when I found her, I felt like the information was burning my hand; I wanted to reach out to her. I wanted to orchestrate the connection. Thanks to my therapist (who is amazing!), I slowed down and really deliberated my reasoning. I wanted Hope’s mom to know that Hope was ok, that I was a good mother, and that I was hopeful that she could have a relationship with her daughter. I never reached out to her, and ultimately that was a wise decision. Hope has expressed minimal interest in reconnecting over the years. I ran the risk of really overstepping in reaching out to her mother; so I stayed in my lane. I just made sure that Hope knew that I would support her at any point in her journey if she wanted to initiate contact.

I’ve kept tabs on her mom; the internet is a scary place. For less than $50 I have her address, phone number, job location, and a lot of other information. I update the information every year just in case Hope changes her mind. I never wanted her to have to go through a big search in the way so many adoptees must endure trying to find family. I keep things in a digital file with a link that’s available to Hope at any time.

I think of all of Hope’s biological family on major holidays. I wonder what their dreams of their family looked like, I wonder what family recipes Hope is missing out on, what family traditions she is missing. Sure, Hope and I have our own traditions–pizza and gifts on Christmas Eve, Thanksgiving with family, brunch on Easter–but I know that there are other pieces that are just not here.

Recently, an opportunity for more reunion presented itself. At Hope’s request, I jumped into background check mode: web searches, image searches, cross-references, reaching out to someone, who knows someone, who knows someone. within a few hours, I was pretty sure it was a legit overture. Within 24 hours, it was confirmed. I kept Hope informed the whole time.

And then she made a decision that wasn’t a shock, but it did feel…I don’t know. I’m still figuring it out. But that’s my stuff. I’m sure that Hope is navigating a lot of emotions she hasn’t shared about the situation. I’m proud of her for articulating her immediate needs; I know those needs may change in time…or not.

For many adoptees, reunion can be complicated; this one isn’t any different. Emotions can be complicated too. Decision-making is also complicated. And you know what, there isn’t a single right answer.

That’s not quite true. APs just gotta support adoptees.

Eight years ago, I promised I would always support her having connection with her family if that was what she wanted. Certainly, there have been times when holding that promise felt hard for me, but I tried my best to support Hope. These connections are her birthright.

We’re all a bit older now, and a little wiser (I hope). And my decision-making in Hope’s life is decreasing as I try to create space for her young adult flexes. It’s an interesting time for both of us. I’m hopeful for Hope’s future and will continue to walk alongside her as she navigates decisions about reunion. I’ve kind of made peace with my own curious questions about her family; none of it is really my business. It’s Hope’s business.

But on the eve of another holiday, I can’t help but wonder about all Hope’s people out there. I hope they are thriving, that they are happy, healthy, and as whole as one can be when their child is not with them. I pray that one day everyone’s questions will get answered, and that everyone can get to the next level of healing.


Thoughts on Food & Eating

I’m pretty open about my eating disorder. I am a recovering bulimic. I’ve been clean for over a decade.

I developed the disorder during my second year of college. My friends staged an intervention. I started going to counseling. That lead to more than 10 years of trying to get on top of things. Along the way, I developed Barrett’s Esophagus, have horrendous reflux, lost my gallbladder, and have to take a cancer preventative for the rest of my life. I usually joke that the Holy Homeboy gave me scraps for a GI tract, but the truth is that my illness did this.

Anyhoo, my last episode was triggered by my ex’s alcoholic relapse. I tumbled right on in that hole after him. It took 2 years of Eating Disorders Anon, Al-Anon, Codependents Anon, and an application to my doctoral program to get me out of that situation. That was the last time I binged and purged.

Well, I’m going through a high trigger spell right now.

Hope is triggering me.

She’s oblivious to this, as she should be. But she’s engaging in food behaviors that my body interprets as disordered. And it’s kind of driving me nuts.

Generally speaking, Hope is not a morning person nor does she eat breakfast. That took a lot of getting used to. I grew up in a family that sees breakfast as a form of communal worship, and getting three squares is one of the many ways I cope with my bulimia. Left to her own devices, Hope will eat one giant meal because lazy wins when you compare cleaning after 2 meals instead of one.

In recent months. Hope has gained a bit of weight, enough to concern her doctor, and I’d wager she’s gained a bit more in the two months since we saw him last. I have been trying to make sure that she has access to healthy foods: I cook. I successfully compete against the urge to stop off for take-out on the way home from work. I figured that if she was going to binge then I would make sure she had high-quality food to do it.

A few weeks ago I started buying her a few Lean Cuisine’s for lunch at work. Keep in mind, she works at Target, where she could buy these same meals, but I have to make it easy. I also know that food is one ofo Hope’s love languages. I figured that these might help scale back the late-night binges, which takes me back into the first 3,4, maybe 5 years of us being a family.

Hope experienced many bouts of food insecurity as a child. She would sneak and steal food constantly. I made her one of those boxes with snacks and promised to refill as needed. She’s binge nightly for months on end. She was nearly finished high school before she really was able to self-regulate. Now she will eat every meal I offer, but the late-night buffet stays too.

All those years I was never tempted to binge and purge. She had my full attention.

But now our mother-daughter relationship is evolving rapidly. She’s a really cool person, and I enjoy spending time with her. But this food pattern has me feeling things I don’t like feeling. And I don’t know if this is a new version of food trauma, now that she’s older, or a conscious choice to just load up when her body says go, or just what normal college students today do.

(I hate the last part of the last sentence. Why don’t I just announce I am getting and feeling older? Ugh)

I know I’m going to have to talk to her about it. I’ll feel awful if she’s just currently wired to eat like this, it’s a preference. Actually, I’ll feel guilty for asking her to change the routine. But what if she might actually be wrestling with disordered eating? Maybe me disclosing my struggle with the request to change the routine for me would lead to her talking about her needs as well. I would want to help her save herself.

I hope it’s nothing. It concerns me that my ED recognized these behaviors. I have all kinds of triggers; hell my job is a whole trigger. I know what I know. So we’ll talk; and things will be fine. I just need to do this really soon; otherwise, I might slip down this slippery slope. Wish me luck and grace.


This Week in Parenting

Ah yes, the purchase of a car triggers all kind of adulting issues! There is some work that the dealership still needs to do on the car; I made sure it was included in the contract. I’ve left it to Hope to make the appointments to get it done because it’s her car.

Well, you know how adult-adults talk to baby adults? Yeah, that. This dealership has given her all kinds of run arounds all week. Frustrated, she came to me on Thursday to complain (again).

Now, you know how you have to put a bit of bass in your voice to convey meaning and authority? Most 20 year olds don’t have that yet, so, I asked her if she needed “Dr. ABM” to call; she sheepishly said yes.

I dial up the dealership and leave the sales manager a nice, but firm message that this needs to be taken care of immediately and that there will be no more shenanigans from any other departments: Make it happen sir.

It’s such a whole new world for Hope; I forget how much we model things for our children.

Well, the car is getting the last of its work done this week, just as I gently suggested on the phone.

Interestingly, the sales manager didn’t call me back; he called Hope a few minutes later. She laughed afterward because he told her to be sure to tell me that he called me back right away and that things will be handled in short order.

You got that right.

This is just such an interesting time since I am constantly trying to figure out when and how best to help Hope. I want her to feel supported, but I also want her to feel like she can handle an increasing number of things herself. I always feel like I’m practicing one extreme or the other.

I felt like I did ok this go ‘round. I stood back and allowed her to try to handle it; when that didn’t work, I asked her for permission to help.

This parenting thing really does keep evolving.


Some Things on a Friday: 11/5/2021

  1. Another crazy week. I’m just exhausted at the end of each day. It’s Friday night and I was in my jammies by 7pm. Yappy is laying beside me gently snoring. We are definitely in for the night.
  2. So much happened this week. Seriously, there was a lot of living crammed into this week.
  3. Last week, Hope bought her first car. Last Friday she was online searching and found a car that was priced well and seemed to be in good shape. She got the carfax report and asked me to look at it. It looked reasonable. I suggest she send it to my dad to get his opinion. He called and said it looked good. The next morning we went to the dealership and she drove home with the car! I helped her a bit, but she’s on her way.
  4. It’s a Fiat 500, and it’s gray. At least I know that she won’t be riding a bunch of people around. To get in the back, someone would have to really contort themself. She’s very proud of herself and so am I. Payments start in December.
  5. My dad came to visit. I have seen him several times since we all got vaccinated, but this is the first time in over two years that he came to visit. We spent a whole afternoon together. It was perfect.
  6. Hope got 4 tattoos this week.
  7. Yeah, that’s it. You read right–FOUR TATTOOS.
  8. I’m a fan of body art. I have 6 tattoos, and I had a belly ring that I lost to a surgical scar. I got my first tattoo when I was a year or two older than Hope. I didn’t get the others until I was in my 30s. I’ve encouraged Hope to slow down and be really thoughtful and intentional about what she put on her body and why.
  9. Maybe she did, but it doesn’t seem like it. Three of the tats are fairly benign, but that fourth one was the subject of my hour of therapy yesterday. I have HUGE feelings about that tatoo. I do not like thet tat or what it conveys. I do not like the location of the tat.
  10. Because I’m honest; I probably wouldn’t have a meltdown about the tat if Hope was like 30 getting it. Getting it now seems so less meaningful or thought out. I probably still wouldn’t like it but I know I wouldn’t be as upset. It was clear that Hope didn’t want to talk about it with me, and while I don’t like that either, I know and respect that tats are very personal, that’s her body and her choice. So I’m going to mind my business.
  11. I started a philosophy class this week. Heavy dense material. I gotta get back into the rythm, but I kinda love it.
  12. I bought tickets for the Mexican Artist immersive experience for next year. I was able to go to the one for Van Gogh and it was *amazing*. I know have something to look forward to in 2022.
  13. Tempertures have dropped and just when I gotten a hold on my termperature regulation (Thanks Menopause!), now I have to re claibrate again. I think I’m going to swap to the winter beddingthis weekend. I’ve got this amazing shaggy bedspread. It’s cozy and Yappy also loves it!
  14. There was more , but I’m ready for a snack and some tiktok!

Ten Things on Thursday: 10/7/2021

  1. Well, I got home safe and sound. Gawd Mexico was just what I needed. I am promising myself to take the time off I really need. That time was restorative. I am still overwhelmed, but I’m not exhausted, so I have gas in the tank to keep going.
  2. Hope did well holding down the fort. The house wasn’t quite as tidy as I asked for it to be, but Yappy was alive and the building was still standing. We’re good.
  3. I’m realizing that Hope seems to be in a bit of a developmental growth spurt. It’s cool watching her put concepts and ideas together that echo back to things I have tried to teach her over the years. So very cool watching her have a “click” moment.
  4. The parenting lesson is that the stuff sticks even when you think it didn’t. So, give yourself some grace. You’re planting grass seed.
  5. So Hope had to get a root canal this week. Earlier this week she got the cost estimate–north of $500. She was horrified, and actually was like, maybe I don’t need to do this right now. I told her to have the dental work done and that I’m mom and I got this.
  6. Then I explained how dental insurance is some bullshit.
  7. After the bill was paid and we were chatting, and she commented that if she had to pay for that it would take up almost all of her check. That led to a discussion about minimum wage vs. living wage, working poor, affluence, and decision-making. My inner mom was doing cartwheels. We even revisited why I call certain expensive dinners “that cost 4 Swiss dinners.” When we were in Switzerland a few years ago, I took Hope and Grammy to a bistro for dinner and that bill was outrageous even though we did not eat extravagantly at all.
  8. I am also seeing her learn about herself, create boundaries and just evolve. She’s thinking about leaving Target where she works customer service. She’s realizing how her some of her personality traits and core values maybe make customer service not quite the right fit for her. But then she’s pulling back into the finance questions because it pays well and she’s going back to school soon and will have a car note to boot. She’s gonna realize that one of her next big decisions will be whether she can adapt and conform to the needs of the job or move on to something she’s better suited for.
  9. I will be popping popcorn watching her navigate that question cause it’s coming soon.
  10. Yappy turned 7 last weekend. He is just the sweetest. I love my doggy so much.
May be an image of 1 person and dog

Ten Things on Thursday: 9/30/2021

  1. I’m on vacation!
  2. But first, I’m watching FL news and a young woman of color named Mya Marcano is missing. She’s been missing for a week. The FBI just decided to join. And a Black man is missing in Broward County. I *know* I would never have heard about these folks but for I wanted a little US news while in another country.
  3. It’s not that I think Gabby Pettito (sp) shouldn’t have got all that attention, but being young, white, blond, Eurocentrically pretty, thin and doing an instagram blog of her and dude’s great White adventure in a van helped drive that attention.
  4. It’s that I need that same energy for BIPOC folk who are missing. I need that same energy for everyone. Seeing the attention and resources always directed in one direction is really painful.
  5. BTW: I’m purposefully no longer saying “conventionally pretty.” What’s conventional about it beyond an fixation on Whiteness and White features. POC who are considered pretty, often have some features that mirrors White features–slim noses and lips, hair texture that is free of kinks, slim body with slim hips and butt. Those POC features that we celebrate are exceptions, caricatures at times. So, I’m going to narrow the scope and be specific about the generally accepted beauty standard, while recognizing that there are others.
  6. Now, back to my vacation. I’m here in Mexico alone. I’ve lain on the beach for a couple of days. I’ve eaten fairly modestly. I’ve drank excessively and alllllllll day. The beach bartender takes good care of me and quickly realized that if he just put the drinks in my steel cup, it would save himself some trips to my chair.
  7. I’ve got one more day before heading home; had my COVID test today.
  8. One thing I’ve done daily is read the WashPo and the NYTimes scrolling all the way to the bottom. The luxury of just reading the paper for enjoyment and to to find out if the world is going to end soon. I mean, it is, but I was reading to to read. I also allowed myself to read about rando ish I’m just curious about. I mean I usually do that, but this is more researchy stuff. I’ve realized I’ve neglected my nerdiness in ways I have been to overwhelmed to notice. That made me sad. Another daquiri helped.
  9. And I’m reading a book. At current rate it’s possible I might finish it before returning to work.
  10. I needed this and I”m looking forward to going home to my Hope and Yappy. I’m feeing refreshed!

Ten Things on Friday: 9/24/2021

  1. I’m feeling the joy of knowing in a few hours I will be leave for more than a week. I seriously cannot wait to get on that plane, land and head to the beach.
  2. Hope will hold down the fort for about 5 days. I know she can do it, but I’d be lying if I didn’t also say that I fret. I’m guessing that’s just a mom thing.
  3. I’m also fretting about Yappy. He’s so attached to me and this will be the longest I’ve been away from him since the beginning of the pandemic. I know he will be a bit sad as a result, and well, that also makes me sad.
  4. I’m still going to the beach tho.
  5. I actually do not plan to do much big “thinking” on this trip. I’m tired of thinking. Work-think and Home-think have just been exhausting for the last year and a half. I do have some life decisions coming up to ponder, but I have no interest in pondering them next week. My brain needs rest, and I genuinely intend to meet its need.
  6. It feels like so much has changed in the last year, and somehow also that nothing has changed. It’s a really kind of confusing reality. The monotony of life continued, though it looks different now. You watch the news and it’s almost overwhelming how much is going on, but then again, didn’t I think that in the “before” times? Especially when that dude who was in office couldn’t stop tweeting? Anyway, I have some decisions to make about parenting, about my personal and professional futures, about home stuff, extended family stuff. Some things I need to move on, others can wait, and yet somehow everything always seems urgent.
  7. It’s not and I plan to rest. I’m nearly giddy.
  8. Today is the last day that Hope and I will be able to have dinner together before I leave so we planning to get takeout. It’s looking like we’ll be getting Indian food. Naan…..YUMMMM.
  9. I’m thinking about opening a small Etsy store for some crochet items this fall/winter. I’m thinking of selling custom dog/cat sweaters. I’ll be sketching out a few projects over the next few weeks. I enjoy it and Lord knows I’ve given away tons of stuff in the last 2 years. I think I’ll still have giveaway projects, but I think I’d like to hustle a little. We’ll see!
  10. Today I’m setting out all the self-care items I plan to take with me. I’ve got a short list, but I think I’m going to put them all out and make final decisions. I seriously can’t wait to get out of town.

Ten Things on Thursday: 9/16/2021

  1. Hope’s arm is healing nicely. Our family physician prescribed a cream with silver that is speeding the healing. Best part? No more pain.
  2. My daughter hasn’t worked for two weeks and that’s about as long as she can go without starting to get impulsive! So, she got her first tattoo this week. She’s been talking about it for a year. I encouraged her to wait, but I have several so I’m ok with body art. I came home from a post work walk and she announced she had an appointment for the next morning. She’s happy.
  3. I’m low key sad I didn’t get to take her. But you know, good for her on the adult flex.
  4. It’s her astrological sign, a crab. The art she chose isn’t really to my taste, but it wasn’t for me. She showed me beforehand and I had a neutral response. She knew that meant I didn’t like it, but again she stayed true to her own style. That’s my girl.
  5. The car is finally being repaired after Hope’s fender bender. Over $1K in damage. Another adult flex: Hope has already paid for my deductible – the natural consequence of the accident.
  6. I think I have already talked about Hope’s hair recently, but my gawd does she have a glorious head of hair! Today she had it up in the ponytail puffs, and it was adorable. There are many things I effed up in raising Hope, but love of her melanin and her coils and kinks…I got that part right. I’m hopping she lets me blow it out and straighten it soon. I just want to play in her head!
  7. It’s been a really awful week. And then today I realized I’ve had all the symptoms of a hormone flux. The last bad one was in January. Then I was in a rage all the time. This time serious depression. Gosh I wish there was a way to predict these fluctuations. This is awful
  8. There are 11 days until I hop a plane out of the country. I can’t wait to just stop for a few days.
  9. We are starting to have more tangible talks about returning to college next semester. We are going to plan and hope for the best. This Delta variant ain’t no joke! I know a few breakthru cases, and what’s really worrying me is my sister who’s a teacher being forced back into a classroom, her little kids, my parents, hell me! I’ve got 2 autoimmune diseases to worry about. Anyway, it’s feeling increasingly hard to plan for January.
  10. Today I know I turned the corner emotionally. I’m feeling a little better, a little more clear eyed. A little less fragile. It’s been a rough few weeks!

Until next time!


Adoption Musings on a Sunday

I just couldn’t manage a midweek post between work and tending to Hope’s injury. I’ve been to multiple stores and had multiple Amazon deliveries to make sure we have what’s needed. Dressings need to be changed often so even though I bought a lot right at the beginning, she blew through things quickly.

She’s improving a lot, though the pain is still pretty bad. Blisters popped and revealed the very tender, super vulnerable new skin beneath it. No infection and no worsening, so, so far, so good. Burn unit consult this week.

I’ve been thinking so much about adoption lately. I’m pretty certain because 8 years ago in August/September, I saw Hope’s profile for the first time. I remember there was a video of her having been on one of those Wednesday’s kids spots for the local news. I remember sitting at my desk at work, looking at the video feeling such a rush of different emotions. Love at first sight. Terror, as in, WTF are you doing??? Joy as I watched her bounce around. I excitedly sent the video to my mom, where she watched at her office desk. I called her and I remember saying something to the effect of, “This is her, this is the child that is going to be my daughter.” I just knew.

I have wanted to adopt since I was an adolescent. I’m not sure why I was drawn to it so young. I don’t recall knowing anyone who was adopted (that I know of anyway). I also knew I wanted an older child. Again, no idea why. The thing is I thought I would adopt a boy. We didn’t have any boys in my immediate family other than my dad. I thought I wanted the “boy” experience, whatever that was. The December before I met Hope, I did my vision board; I included a picture of a child’s bedroom and a faceless child. The images I selected clearly reflected “girlie” vibes. I remember thinking it was so different than what was supposed to be on the board. I was supposed to be a boy mom. Ha! The universe said, nah, at least not right now.

The fact that my current Beau is also an adoptee, also tends to keep the topic top of mind because he’s slowly telling me his story. From his perspective, it’s a doozy. And that’s real. I can see the hurt, trauma, desire, sadness, and more. My heart breaks. I can also see adoptive parents who probably did the best they could with what they had. That doesn’t excuse whatever was done or wasn’t done, but entering my own 8th young year of parenting I sometimes get feeling like every choice available is problematic for any of a zillion reasons and just trying your best to choose the one that will be the least problematic.

The truth is that parenting is probably one of the most difficult jobs anyone can possibly take on. It’s rough out here in these parenting streets, and no one gets out unscathed. And parenting books suck, and frankly so do a lot of online parenting groups, IMHO.

And adoptive parenting is its own beast. You come in thinking you just want to be a regular-degular, but somehow super duper parent, ie, neurotypical kid, same race, kinda looks like me, no trauma, no drama, super smart, gifted, talented, etc. etc. You quickly realize that even if those existed, you weren’t on that track. Precious little is discussed about some of the special needs and challenges. I think a lot of APs just think I want a child and then things will be…just normal, life will just begin and continue.

It does and it doesn’t, and maybe you low key actually were on that track after all.

My and Hope’s story started with a hospital stay and me working on my dissertation. It was rocky. The tears, especially for me, seemed endless. My relationships were strained; I felt alone; Hope couldn’t cope with much of anything because moving in was just overwhelming. We were a bit of a mess if you go back to that first year of posts.

But we got through it somehow and continue to thrive in spit of it all.

We continue to grow together and figure it out. I’m not the best parent, my flaws are many. But I have done my best to date, and Hope continues to have a safe place to grow, explore, and transition into adulthood. And ultimately providing that emotional place is the core of my job. So, I’m succeeding.

I’m not even sure what my point is with this stream of consciousness rambling post. This season is just triggering a lot of great memories about the genesis of my little family.

Anyhoo, have a marvelous Sunday.


If It’s Not One Thing…

So that happened yesterday. If it’s one thing HOpe is going to do, it’s keep me running.

After a lovely afternoon at a winery with Sister M, Hope texts that she might get off early. I ask about timing so I can pick her up. Soon she texts that she got burned and can’t finish her shift.

Wait what? How’d you get burned at Target.

And unfortunate altercation with a really hot dish from the microwave.

When I get there, she calmly informs me that she needs to go to the emergency room.

She’s going to be ok. She’s in a fair amount of pain and will be getting something a little stronger than OTC stuff tomorrow.

So, we’re up to 4 “things” in 2 weeks.

  • Car accident
  • Tooth abscess
  • Horrible cold + COVID scare
  • Very serious burn

But, remember how I mentioned recently that I’m seeing glimpses of Hope successfully adulting? This burn thing is another example.

I’ve watched Hope successfully juggle a lot in the last 24 hours. She did the ER on her own because I had to run Yappy home (I thought I was just picking her up and coming home, so I brought him along). She texted me updates, and then suddenly emerged bandaged with all her paperwork. I spent 2 hours sourcing all the stuff needed to care for her wounds; I was lowkey looking forward to babying her for a couple of days. Before I knew it, she had removed bandages, cleaned the area, rebandaged and took something for pain. She did it when I hopped in the shower after telling her I would help her when I got out. She did her own follow up with the doctor today, advocated for herself for better pain management, scheduled her next appointment with HR to deal with workman’s comp and just handled everything.

I. Am. Gagging!

This is some serious adulting happening right now. And when I think about where we were a year ago.

A year ago, Hope experienced a major trauma that shook her too her core. She dropped out of school. She was suicidal. She couldn’t get out of bed. And I was at my wits end. A few months later, she had another trauma bomb and we just remained in the dark valley. A year later, my baby girl is handling a major injury with boss chick energy and I am gagging!

Proud GIF

I’m hoping Hope’s luck changes and fast, but seeing her bounce back after where we were a year ago…I’m beyond proud and realizing just how fortunate we both are. I love my big baby. ❤


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