Going through it {Welcome Baby}

“ You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, you’ve got to go through it. Uh-huh! We’re not scared.”

That little mantra comes from one of my kids’ favorites books and it has been on repeat in my head for the last several weeks with one exception. The kids from the book who are going on a bear hunt bravely declare that they are not scared, but with timidity, I kept thinking about just how scared I was. I finally took a sigh of relief this past Friday.

Let me back up to the day that little mantra started playing in my head. I was roller skating, yes, roller skating with a bunch of gangly fourth and fifth graders from my son’s class. As we wrapped up the event, I asked a teacher to take a picture of an unenthusiastic Greyson and me. As she handed my phone back I noticed I had a few missed calls. They were all from the same unknown number, and I had a voicemail. The kids took the bus back to their school and I hopped in my car to head home. I was thinking that I hated the smell roller rinks left on your clothes as I tapped the speaker button to play my message.

It took me a minute to register that it was a caseworker from an agency near Detroit asking me to call her back as she had good news to share with me. Now, I’ve heard that it’s typical for the labor and delivery process to get quicker with each child you have, but no one ever said that of an adoption process. Yet, we had been through a four year process with Charlie, to a thirteen month process for Sawyer and now it had been six short weeks since we began waiting in this adoption. Surely, this was not the good news the caseworker meant, but I intended to find out. I called her back immediately.

Thankfully, I was around the corner from Ron’s office so I pulled in and headed to find him. He wasn’t in his office, but I took a seat at his desk and began to furiously scribble notes as the caseworker talked. Ron walked in a few seconds later with a confused look on his face, and I mouthed the words “BABY!” and pointed at my phone. Sure enough, there was a pregnant women who wanted to meet with us, and could we drive across the state next week? We could, so we did, and there we met the birth mom of our fourth child.

When we started waiting in September I just had to ask the average wait of families at the agency. I was given the politically correct answer that of course they couldn’t ever really say, but it seemed to be somewhere around six to fourteen months. I did the math in my head and liked where that put us, past the busyness of the holidays, past the trip we had planned to take in January and into spring or summer where it’s easy to get out with a baby. Yet, here we were meeting a brave, spunky women who had needed to find a family quickly for her baby because she was due in four weeks. Again, I did the math and asked “Your due date is on Thanksgiving?”.

We didn’t even wait those four weeks to meet our baby. While I was still trying to wrap my head around it all, I got a text from the birth mom one Friday morning. She would be getting induced. … today. Which was a little more than a week prior to her due date. Sometimes I wonder if God thinks its fun to mess with me. Kinda seems like maybe He does. This whole scenario was so far away from what we had envisioned, and lets be honest, what I had planned. I kept telling people when we started the process “I have no expectations,” and I certainly didn’t expect THIS.

THIS being that this adoption was not a clear cut situation. THIS being that while we were able to be there an hour after the birth to meet our baby, he would not be coming home with us. Yes, we were allowed to stay in the hospital with him until he was released, but he would be going to a host care (think agency foster care) rather than home to our family. Goodness, I cried about that. It seemed unfair. I have grieved missing the first year of two of my kids’ lives, and swore that this time it would be different. It was different. We could visit everyday, but there were strict rules put into place. We couldn’t be with him longer than two hours a day, less than that on the weekends, and our kids were not allowed to meet him or visit with us. Of course they had gone over all of these scenarios with us, but we were told it was pretty rare for a baby to go to host care. I just didn’t expect for both his birth mom and his new family to be leaving the hospital without him. Again, the little mantra played over and over in my head. “You can’t go over it, you can’t go under it, You’ve got to go through it.” And I felt scared.

There we sat; Ron and I in a hospital across the state falling madly in love with our tiny 5 pound 6 ounce baby, while his first family sat in another room just down the hall. We kept him with us at night, but he would visit her during the day. We visited with her too, met her parents, and her nana. We all cooed over the baby. It felt a little surreal. Then just like that it was time for her to head home. The lump in my throat grew as we wheeled the bassinet into her room for the goodbye. She picked him up and held him close, tears streaming down both our faces. Then she bravely handed him over to us and out she went. I can only describe this as the rawest form of true love I’ve ever witnessed. She put her own desires aside for the needs of her baby. She holds a piece of my heart.

We woke up the next morning in the hospital feeling anxious and discouraged. Today the host family would come to take our baby home. After a few restless hours, the caseworker walked in and immediately my lip began to tremble. “Can’t go over it, can’t go under it, got to go through it.”

Ron says I am being dramatic here, but I don’t know how else to define what happened next. An extreme presence of peace was ushered in with the host mom. It was like Jesus walked in with her. She had a warm, welcoming smile. She empathized with us and although I bawled when she put my baby in her car, I was certain he would be loved. God has been so good to us. Our wonderful host mom told us to come as often and as long as we wanted, she sent pictures and texts daily, and most importantly, she loved on my baby. I don’t know what kind of person signs up to take on a newborns schedule, but they are some kind of wonderful. It wasn’t an easy couple of weeks, but this family certainly lightened the load.

Our final step in this process was court, not for us, but for the birth parents. Without going into too much detail, this is where all the issues came into play. Legally, certain steps must be taken in order for our baby to be able to come home. We knew there were concerns, but the agency felt they had a good handle on the situation. Forty eight hours before paperwork had to be sent, I got a call. The caseworker explained that things had not gone as planned, it was proving more difficult to get everything in order than originally thought. They had had a meeting with their legal team. If things didn’t turn around in the next couple of hours, court would need to be rescheduled. The caseworker said “if you have people willing to pray, I’d contact them now”

That is exactly what we did. One of my prayer warriors said as she was praying, “ Thank you God that you are in the midst of the details, that nothing escapes your eye.” So yes, we were going through it, but we were certainly not going through it alone. I am so thankful for faithful friends and family who covered us in prayers, watched our children so we could make visits a reality, and constantly checked in on us to see how we were doing. They helped carry us through.

Nine hours after my original phone call from the caseworker, late in the evening, she called again. They had a break through, they had dug up new information, and just a few minutes before she called me, all the time sensitive paperwork was completed. Only God, only God. We give Him the Glory for moving on our behalf. One week later, this past Friday, court went on without a hitch, and our sweet boy came home to brothers ecstatic to meet him. I choke up just thinking about all the emotional ups and downs we have experienced these past five weeks. When I asked the birth mom the reasons she selected our family, one of them was that she wanted him to have a large family filled with boys. She said “I think he will fit in great with your crew.” We couldn’t agree more. Marge, maybe not as much.

God never ceases to amaze me with His plans, His purposes, and His timing. We give Him praise for our fourth son:

Bennett Ray-Isaac Cook


Little buddy bravely joined our family today, although to us, he’s been ours since we got his picture nine months ago.  I found a quote a few weeks ago that resonated so strongly with me. It’s been on my mind the last few days as we prepared to travel. It goes like this:


Your identity is simply who God says you are

Love it, especially for all our boys. Before they were anybody else’s, they were and are His. 


 Over the past few years I have come to dislike the phrases: “ so lucky”  “how blessed” and “saved”  in regards to adoption. While I understand them and typically they are well intentioned, they leave a bad taste in my mouth. Mainly because we are the lucky ones for getting to add another adorable boy to our family. We are blessed to be chosen to parent him and Jesus already did the saving, so I will just do the parenting through His grace. 


It’s true our family has been made by unconventional methods, but the way they came to us, does not make them who they are, it’s just one part of many that make up their story. To us, they are just our sons and today we added a third to our family.  


He is doing pretty good, lots of crying right after we got in the taxi but he calmed down once we brought him into our hotel. We have not seen a lot of smiles although we did hear his little voice a few times. We were told that his foster family has been preparing him and telling him about this next step in his life. They are awesome! 


We got to meet the foster dad today as he came with the mom to the agency. They broke my heart, so in love with our boy. We gave the mom a bouquet of flowers although there aren't really any proper ways to truly thank her. We walked out with four bags filled to brim with stuff and she made food for Sawyer for the next few days. Everything was neatly prepared and put in containers.  Naturally, I was crying when it was time to say goodbye. His foster dad took his cheeks in his hands and planted a big, huge kiss on his forehead, whispered to him in Korean and stood back. At first his foster mom did not want to hold him again. I had picked him up and he was doing well in my arms, so she didn’t want to disturb him. I told her “really it’s okay” and she took him and held him close as tears filled her eyes. A tight squeeze and big kiss then we all walked to the elevator and he was handed back to me. He cried and cried as did I. Such wonderful people!


He has done very well, ate dinner and played in a bath. He cries occasionally but is really doing excellent so far. We are just waking up and slept okay. I included some pictures of the flowers, beautiful flower shop, "american" section at the grocery store across from our hotel and of course him.


Welcome to our family Sawyer Nathaniel Harang Cook 




His cheeks are legit

I'm sitting in my hotel room the last night before we fly home, without him.  Him being the little, squishy boy I had the pleasure of meeting this week. Boy number three! In some ways these last few days have been a whirlwind, in others, time moves so slow. The day to day of finding ways to fill the hours until our next chance to meet him or court session are long, but the times of importance when we get to be with him are fast.


Of the seven full days, we spend in this country, only two hours are spent with him. The first hour was spent at his foster home, which was lovely. The second hour was spent a few days later at the adoption agency, not as lovely.  Monday we arrived at the agency at 9 am and found out that his home was a forty minute cab drive away from where we were. So, the caseworker loaded us into a cab and away we went. We drive through the city of Seoul, out onto a highway and towards a suburb just outside of Seoul.  A few more turns here, some stop signs there and we pull up to a building. It all feels so real and surreal at the same time.


  “His house is just there, on the first level” our caseworker points as she leads the way towards the door.  We don’t wait long after knocking before his foster mom opens it. She must have been watching for us. So much is going through my mind. I wonder if she feels the same way too. This is not an easy thing, and it’s her first time fostering any child. We are not the only ones with mixed emotions.


 I remember to slide my shoes off before walking through the door  and there dressed in a black and purple sweatsuit stands my third boy, Sawyer Nathaniel Harang Cook. He is adorable!  In the pictures we have of him, he appears to be big,  especially his cheeks. Everyone who has seen his pictures always says “ look at those cheeks.” In reality, he is little and very much a baby, but the cheeks, they are legit. 


One look at me and he begins to cry and I think I might as well, but instead I just crouch down and say “hi”. He is not impressed and runs to his “ Eomma”,  which is mom is Korean. He drags a bag of Duplo blocks behind him. We all sit on a mat on the floor.  We exchange some pleasantries, give them some gifts, but I can’t really wait anymore. I reach out to brush my hand against his head. This causes some more crying. He was very wary of us. I imagine he has never seen people that look like us. An emotional, blonde haired, white girl, invading his personal space, but I brought bubbles and that piques his interest. We blow and pop and play for a bit until he grows tired of them. Then he and Ron play while I ask all sorts of questions to get a handle on his life. I want to know his likes, dislikes, schedule and his favorite things. 


It turns out he doesn’t really care for beef, will tolerate pork, but loves chicken and soft white bread. I can’t help but laugh, he’s my twin.  He also loves the outdoors, dogs and playing with his foster brothers. I feel a bit of the tension in my shoulders release. He is going to fit in so well at home. After we are served some strawberries and juice he lets me hold him, he even waits for five full seconds before letting out a wail. That was okay, it was enough time for me to snuggle his neck and plant a kiss on his cheek. The clock moves so quickly and already it's time to go. Some waving, bowing, kissing and a thank you then we’re done. Not too bad.


On Wednesday, we get to have our second meeting. This time at the agency.  He is already there when we arrive, drinking his bottle. He is preoccupied so it’s much easier for me to hold his hand and rub his head. Eventually, he finishes and I pick him up. He pouts his lips out and makes a whining noise, but I ignore it and bounce him around. He’s not happy about it, but he lets me continue to hold him.


 We go to a small room off of the hallway. Our caseworker says that the foster mom will stay the whole time and that we can play with all the toys in the room. It’s awkward and hard to play with a baby that really just wants to go to his mom. He doesn’t cry as much as we expected and we even get a bit of a laugh from him. He is quite shy and very serious. It’s as if he can sense that his life will soon change. His foster mom kept giving him bouncy balls and telling him to bring them to me , Eomma. I absolutely hate the look of question in his eyes. He looks confused at her when she points to me and says “Eomma”.  My heart sinks at what is to come, so much heartache. He loves her, as he should, and he has no clue that in a few weeks his world will be flipped upside down. There is no way around the pain, we must walk through it, but not yet. Soon the hour is over and I attack those cheeks with kisses. I thank his foster mom  again and wave goodbye one last time.


Finally, Friday is here and it’s court day. Back to the agency we go. This time, we pile into a van along with two other families. We travel a few minutes until we reach the court building. We sit for what seems like forever before they start calling us in. Each couple must go in by themselves. We are told our judge is new to the adoption side of Family Court, but that he is a kind man. We find this to be true. Through the interpreter, he asks how we will manage three kids, as “that’s a lot”. I feel myself squirm a little. I don’t have the answers and I assume it will be how I handle most things in life, prayer and chocolate.  You take it one day at a time, right?!? 


He has a few more questions, he asks me in particular some things about raising children and then asks Ron why we have enough land for a farm, but he is a funeral director and not a farmer. Ron handles himself well, meanwhile, I’m like the little kid in school who’s trying not to let the teacher see them laugh. I just keep picturing myself with livestock…


Then that’s done as well. We walk out and into the subway system. We have thirteen stops before the station to get off at our hotel. Mostly, we just kinda stand and stare into space. I feel tired, it’s been a big week topped off by a big morning. I am so thankful that it’s all gone well and as big as some of these moments are, I have a much bigger God walking with me each and every step of the way. He is faithful and I lean on that as we travel back home while the chubby cheeked baby stays here. 


While a lot of the trip is serious and emotional, not all of it is. We have had some fun. Seoul is hard to explain. It’s just huge, with people everywhere! There are also plenty of things to do and see there. We’ve hiked mountains in the dream forest, walked among ancient palaces, visited the Olympic park, explored a traditional village, strolled along the hundreds of shops, drank tea and sampled all kinds of different food. The cultural experience is amazing. 


 A huge highlight of our trip was traveling to Busan,  where Charlie was born. Because as if meeting your third child is not emotional enough, we decided to see where our second child was born. Have I mentioned how tired I am?  Busan is a coastal city with a very different vibe from Seoul. It is a really beautiful place and I treasure getting to see it. I feel so privileged to have caught a glimpse of this amazing place and these wonderful people.


Mostly, I am just so challenged and grateful to God through this journey. It is so much more than I could have ever imagined.


I think that both gyms and authors must love January.  It’s around this time, when a New Year begins, that we all feel the need to make some resolutions.  Everybody has those extra pounds they will absolutely lose this year, and that gym membership is going to jump start the process. 

People decide that they don’t want another year like the previous one and buy a self-help book to transform themselves.  Maybe others invest in a budget app because they don’t want to live paycheck to paycheck anymore.  We are busy making goals and plans in hopes for a better future.  And for the most part, that’s a good thing.

I guess I do try to set some resolutions.  I’m not always great about getting healthier. I really don’t mind working out, I like the way I feel when I do, but I’ve got a terrible sweet tooth.  Put a cake in front of me and my goals go out the window…sigh.  I can make a conscious effort to read more, slow down and be more present with my family.  I am a “set goals” kinda girl.  I love checklists!  The nerd in me absolutely adores crossing things off of it.  If I start a book that is a real page turner, I’m staying up until 3 am to finish it.  I can’t simply clean certain rooms on certain days. I’m going to clean the whole house at the same time.  I struggle to sit at night if my kitchen counters are not clear and all toys are not put away.  So, it’s either goals or maybe I’m a Type A personality, but, either way, I like things getting done.

Goals are good. We should set them, but sometimes I wonder if once they are set, we become so focused and unwilling to deviate from them that we miss what God is trying to do with/through us.

In looking back at this past year, I realized it turned out so differently than how I planned. We knew we would like to adopt again, but in no way would it be from Korea. This decision had everything to do with me and nothing to do with God. In fact, I didn’t ask His thoughts on it at all. I made the decision based out of my past experiences.  Then I went to a conference last February called IF: ( side note, if you have not been, look it up, find a local church hosting it, and attend. You won’t be disappointed)  Towards the end of the conference they had you do some soul searching. Basically, what was God saying to you about you, your life, and Him in your life. They asked that whatever it be you write it down.  

Consider Him. That’s the impression I got. Consider Him in all things. I felt like God was saying “Maybe just consider that what I have for you is different than what you have for you”.  It’s hard. I like my plans because they are all about me. It’s a work in progress because some days, I just don’t want to consider Him. My flesh desires self-promotion and self-satisfaction.  He desires me to lay my life down, but by doing so, I pick up something so much better. 

I have often thought that when people used to say that, “ He has something so much better” they meant in material gain. Like I just wanted a warm coat for the winter but then God blessed me with boots, too. There is truth in that, His blessing on the small things. His concern for our everyday life, but I think “the better” is really more about Him. For example, the things we have gone through in our adoption processes (mostly Charlie’s) were awful and it wasn’t that God was going to make the process all smooth and easy for me that was “ His better”.  It was what He was revealing about Himself, His ability, and sovereignty to move in my situation. That was “His better”. 

I have never been closer to God than while adopting. In fact, about six months after Charlie was home I thought. Well now what, God?  Those years were a roller coaster for my emotions, but my spiritual life was at an all time high. Funny how that works. When you are willing to do something that to you seems impossible, unlikely and difficult. That’s when a God full of never-ending possibility shows up.  Some of the toughest stuff I have walked out in obedience, are also the times I felt nearest to God.  And in all of those situations, adoption related or not, I wouldn’t have picked that for me. I would always pick easily attainable, healthy, non-suffering, happy-go-lucky every single time, but where does that leave God? How can I show a hurting world He is ABLE if I am not willing to walk down a painful path, and let Him sustain me through it?  How can I step outside myself, and consider that maybe my situation is not just about me. Maybe, I am the vessel He is using for a greater purpose. 


We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves.
— 2 Corinthians 4:7 NLT

The hard stuff

The ugly stuff 

The I hate this stuff

The I don’t understand You stuff

The I don’t want this for me stuff

 None of it even comes close to the “ Oh, look what you did there…. for me, for them stuff.” 

That’s what I want more of, but  I also joined a workout group, started a new devotional, and will try to play more WITH my boys, rather than sending them away to play.   I hope I’ve made some good goals for this year, but more importantly, I pray that I am resolute in His will for my life. 

What the heck is "Orphan" Sunday anyway?

I talk and wonder. I read and wonder. I search and continue to wonder. As I am talking and reading and searching, I am also trying to be very careful. Careful to be sure what I say is clear and accurate. I want to give voice to issues but not say too much. To inspire, but not shame; making sure what I say has a positive effect on the little boys that call me mom. I want to do right by them, but most importantly, I want to do right by Him.  So, I'm nervous because I talk and blog about a group of people that I am not part of and that leaves me wondering what exactly should I be saying?

It's November and if you are someone involved in adoption or foster care then you know that this month is about awareness. This month is the month that churches in our country host "Orphan Sunday". Not gonna lie, I hate that title.  It's not a bad title, it's just that most of the time it's an inaccurate one.  I like the term Adoption/Foster Awareness better.  I struggle with the title because our kids, who we added to our family through adoption, are not orphans.  They have birth families living around the world, people who could someday show up and into our lives. I do know that some children are waiting because they are in fact true orphans. In either case there is a need for a home.

A few weeks ago, I got up and spoke at my church. My goal was to inspire other people to open their eyes, hearts and homes to children who need  them.  I was instructed by the pastor I had been working with to sit in the second row of the sanctuary. Some time during the middle of praise and worship I turned and looked around. We attend a large church, there were a lot of people in both services. I was nervous. Later after it was all said and done I realized that the crowd was not what I was nervous about.  My nerves came from my desire to say the right thing. I am still learning what that looks and sounds like. 

I read a lot on adoption. The last few books and articles I have read scare me to death. They consist of viewpoints from adoptees themselves. They include first hand accounts of adoptees thoughts and feelings.  Some of it is so good and some of it is so sad and all of it makes me second guess myself and blogging about adoption.  Yet, the fact remains, too many kids do not get to experience growing up in a family. So, what's a good balance of bringing people into awareness about the need and not making it about any one individual child? I repeat: I am still learning what that looks and sounds like. 

I am hoping that in sharing my heart about the journey of adoption, I have not overshared about my own children. The story of their life, is just that, theirs. But the prompting of the Holy Spirit that moved us towards action and involvement in adopting is ours. This is a balancing act with  some pretty heavy packages.  

What I want it to look like is this:

- The journey I share is honest and raw. It is packed with emotions because we are dealing with God's most important creation, people.  

- The words I say are kind, considerate and filled with grace. 

- God's faithfulness is revealed in both the lives of the adoptive parents and the adopted child.  

- It does not involve me telling every little detail about any of my kids.

- It does not involve any one "right way" for my kids to process, grieve, share, not share, care, not care about who they are and how they came to join our family

- It does include me relying heavily on Jesus and His Word, daily.

That is what I want it to be, but I know that mistakes will inevitably be made along the way. Mostly, I want to glorify God and protect the heart of my children at the same time.

So, lets be aware. Aware of the need and the way we present it. Aware of adoptees and their right to privacy as people, not as a campaign.  Aware of the questions we ask and things we assume. Aware of the parent's who are protecting the children they love. And as we navigate through our lives let us be aware of our Heavenly Father. For He meets us all right where we are and loves us just the same.

Dear Foster Mom...


Foster : to help grow or develop; to provide the care that a parent usually gives to a child: to become the foster parent of a child.

"Please include a letter of thanks for the foster family, but keep it short"

That is the suggestion from our adoption agency when you send your child a package. Make sure to include a letter of thanks for the foster family... " but keep the letter short", hmm. 

Where do I begin to start in my gratitude for a women who is currently acting as mom to my son. How do I express my overwhelming appreciation that she is willing to open her heart to him,  knowing that she will lose him. It's a gift for me to know that she is making his well being her priority. He is safe and loved. She is doing all the things that I am unable to... "but keep the letter short."

Little ones get placed into foster homes for a number of reasons. Sometimes, like for our baby, it is because paperwork takes time. He has a family waiting for him but we aren't allowed to go get him without the proper paperwork, signatures and approvals. So he needs a place to stay.  For others it's  because someone in their lives couldn't or shouldn't be in charge of their care.  Maybe the only person responsible for them has passed away, abused them, or neglected them.  They come with hurts, baggage, uncertainty, anger, fear, and in need. That's when foster parents step in...   "but keep the letter short "

I have some friends who are currently fostering children. I watched as they became certified and trained to take in the little ones needing them. It's a tough job. A job that requires thick skin and long hours. You may end up learning, hearing and seeing things about their past that will leave you speechless.  I imagine taking care of a child  while their future is being determined is tough. On one hand you would hope and pray for the broken world they come from to be permanently mended so they could return home. On the other, you bond with this child and worry about the possibility of a relapse in the adults they go back to. Or in our case, the foster mom knows very little about us; other than that we will take this child out of the culture and country in which he was born. Travel half way around the world and into a life where everything is completely different.  She must worry for him and his adjustment.... " but keep the letter short".

I have always heard so many people say "I would love to help but I could never foster."  I have said this on more than one occasion and I get it, I really do. It's a lot.  But, I was also never going to adopt from Korea again, either. Then God aligned my will to His. I am eating my words.  At this stage of life, we do not feel called to foster, but knowing that someone was willing to do it for my child keeps the idea in the forefront of my mind.   I have great respect for people who are fostering. They are a perfect example of being the hands and feet of Jesus. 

Our greatest fulfillment lies in giving of ourselves to others
— Henri Nowen

So, to those of you who are willing to be the ones  that cuddle them, hold them, ease their fears, feed  them, change them, comfort them, teach them, talk to them, read with them, make them laugh, wipe their rears and their tears, listen to them, prepare them, nurture them, correct them, play with them, bathe them and in general just be there for them when we cannot be...


In short: I say thank you, so very much.

A New Chapter

A few years ago when we started our first adoption I got the notion to start a blog. At first I wanted the touchy, feely kind with pictures that made you cry with quick little updates on my life. My blog "answeringthekoreancall" was great for that, but somewhere along the lines it changed. It could have been when the process took some unexpected turns, when I realized I liked this writing thing a bit more than I expected, or when I was the one crying all the time and needed an outlet. How it happened is not really as important as why it happened. 

For a while now I have felt God pushing me to write about more than just adoption. I have become so hungry for Him that I have begun pursuing Him with a renewed passion, studying, seeking and asking. He has been faithful in presenting new opportunities to help me grow, all of which I did not see coming but never the less, there they are.  Which bring us here. A place for me to dabble in a website rather than just a blog. A place to write about my life with Jesus. A place to Consider Him.  Welcome!