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Adoption Miracle – God’s Blessing In The Midst Of Struggle

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Earlier this year, in the Spring, an amazing family got the call that would change their lives, and bring joy to the journey of a family that had almost given up pursuing adoption due to many years of disappointment and “Almosts” that never happened. Find out how Paul & Mari’s family changed overnight when they least expected it. Mari shares their story:

“It has been such a long journey I am not even sure where to start.

Almost 10 years ago, I (Mari) had some health complications. After some time, we learned I had a hernia in my abdominal wall. After two surgeries to repair it, the doctor strongly suggested that I not go through another pregnancy. I had always hoped to have more than the 2 girls we had, so I started thinking about other means to add to our family. Mostly, it was just ideas and options for a while.

Then, 9 years ago, I felt impressed to look into foster care. As a family, we decided to help those kids by bringing them into our home. We knew we were just a temporary place for them to stay. However, if the chance came that they could stay with us forever, we would welcome that opportunity. There were definitely many ups and downs with our experiences as a foster family. After the first 3 or 4 years, we decided we would only do respite (babysit for other foster parents) as having the kids in our home for a long time, then watching them leave was too hard on our family. As of today, we have had over 15 different kids in our home. Some only for a few days, others for almost 2 years.

5 years ago, we decided we wanted to pursue adoption more, as I felt like there was more for our forever family. We did our home study and adoption certification through LDS Family Services (LDS FS). In the last 5 years, we have worked with several expectant mothers. One changed her mind at the hospital, others changed their mind before we got that far. Some were friends of friends, others found us on other adoption websites. We also submitted our profiles for many little ones from different agencies, who work with LDS FS. For the last several years, we have also been working with our foster care licensing agency to try to adopt out of foster care. We have submitted “family interest forms” to be the forever family for over a dozen cases. Nothing was working for us to find “our” little one.

This past April, we were up for our adoption renewal again. I told LDS FS that we were not going to renew. We felt like we had tried everything and maybe adoption wasn’t in the plans for our family after all. Maybe we just needed to enjoy the journey and take what we learned from it and move on. Our two daughters are getting older and it just felt like maybe it was time to move on. A few days later, our worker with LDS FS asked us if we would be interested in having our profile shown to an expectant mom of twins who was currently in Utah. I said sure. How many times has our profile be shown over the past five years – I don’t think I could even count that. Well, I was very surprised when she called us back and told us the expectant mom had chosen us for her little girls.

Now it was a big scramble to get everything put together. We needed to submit all of the paperwork for Mother Goose Adoptions, since this birth mother was with this agency. She was scheduled for an induction the end of the month. There were many things that took place during the month, working with Mother Goose, the birth mother, two trips to Utah (one to meet the birth mother and one at delivery), and juggling all of our daughters end of the school year activities. This opportunity eventually fell through and Paul and I drove home from Utah on a Wednesday very discouraged. I told Mother Goose we were done and we couldn’t put our family through that again. It was completely emotionally draining.
I’m really glad Deb (at Mother Goose) didn’t listen to me.

Deb sent me a message the following Monday asking if we were open to African American. I said something to the effect of “yeah, whatever”. I really didn’t want to deal with anything adoption related at the moment. Tuesday comes around and Deb starts texting me pictures of the sweetest little girl (born just 2 days before), telling me she wants to come to our family. Deb was with her back east and was trying to find a family for her. That night, at midnight, I sent the text to Deb that we wanted her in our family. I was a little nervous. We were emotionally drained and we don’t know many African American people, but everything felt like it totally fell into place for us to be in a place to even find out about her. I was still trying to figure out it if was really going to happen this time. I got up Wednesday morning and ordered her a car seat. That night at dinner, I told the girls I bought something on-line today. Sarah in her very sarcastic voice says, what a baby? I started laughing and told them about Isabelle. I was able to show them the pictures Deb had sent me. They were just a cautious as Paul and I were. Comments like, “Will this one really work out?” and “is it for real?” showed us they were just as hurt as we were by all the “almosts” we have had over the last several years (and they never knew about a lot of the contacts we had). It finally started to feel real when Deb showed up at our house on Saturday and handed the baby over to us. Granted, I only got to hold her for a few minutes before the girls and Paul took her. But we had some great bonding that night while everyone else was asleep.

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Isabelle is now 6 weeks old and we are so grateful for her! She is a huge blessing to us. She has been showered with gifts, hugs, kisses and cuddles. She is starting to smile now, and gives her biggest smiles to Paul whenever she see him. She loves to cuddle and snuggle with whoever will hold her, which all of us love! She has changed our world in an incredible way. She is our miracle.
Side note: her welcoming into our extended family and friends circle has been completely overwhelming. She is so loved by everyone, it has really touched my heart to see the love everyone close to us has for her.”

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What a joy it is to see families come together through the miracle of adoption! Contact us today to start your adoption journey.

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5 FAQs for Parents Considering Adopting A Baby Through Domestic Adoption

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There are MANY questions parents have as they consider adopting a baby through domestic adoption.  Here are 5 FAQs families ask us at Creating Christian Families, in addition to the Full FAQ Page on our website:

 

1) Can anyone adopt?

No. Each state has its own rules and requirements about who can adopt. Also, the rules are different for foster care/foster-adopt and private adoption.

Generally you must be mature, stable, financially secure, free of communicable diseases, free of a criminal or child abuse history and have a life expectancy that would allow you to raise the child to adulthood. You don’t need to be rich, you don’t have to own your own home, and you don’t have to be perfectly healthy. Many disabled people adopt and make wonderful parents.

 

2) How do I find out if I can adopt?

Contact an agency licensed in your area and inquire about the requirements for a home study.

 

3) How long does it take to adopt?

That figure is hard to predict and is dependent upon many factors: what race of child you are open to, what issues or exposures you are open to, what your budget is, etc. Obviously, the more you are open to, the more opportunities there will be to adopt. However, most families will adopt within 12 months.

 

4) What does it cost to adopt?

The cost can vary from nothing, if you are adopting from the state, to a high of $80,000 in some international or embryo adoption programs. You will need to research agencies carefully and decide which best fits your needs. You are paying for services on the case, not buying a child.

 

5) What does closed, semi-open and open adoption mean?

Closed adoption means that you know nothing about the birth family and they know nothing about you. There is no contact at all. Semi-open adoption means that you and the birth family get to know each other during the pregnancy. You often talk on the phone, email or even visit and attend medical appointments. You may also spend the few days at the hospital caring for the baby together, but after placement, all contact goes through an intermediary, typically the agency. This is the most common type of adoption. In an open adoption, the birth family and adoptive family stay in communication directly after birth. This contact may be nothing more than an occasional email or Facebook exchange, or it may include periodic visits. Open adoptions are built on trust (like any relationship) and many birth families and adoptive families find they like each other so much that they often end up with an adoption far more open than originally planned.

 

These FAQs are specifically in relation to the agencies and attorneys we work with at Creating Christian Families, including our sister placement adoption agency, Mother Goose Adoptions.

“Stork Drop” – Two Crazy Adoption Words That Changed Our Lives

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Jason Wright remembers his family’s “Stork Drop” from 4 years ago this week:

“Stork Drop” – two crazy adoption words that changed our lives.  Four years ago this week. Where did the last four years go?  I could have gotten a degree in that time frame!  (Well, I didn’t get a degree, but I must have a PhD in “Adoption Parenting” by now surely. With all the crazy paperwork, the learning, the figuring out, the emotional and physical ups and downs of adoption I definitely feel like I have a wealth of knowledge and greater understanding).

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“We have had the joy of loving our sweet baby girl over these last four years.”

We have had the joy of loving our sweet baby girl over these last four years, and each birthday we celebrate now only the blessing of her life, but we remember with immense gratitude and respect the woman who gave our precious Joanna life, and we know she is imagining her blowing out those 4 candles!

So, rewind back 4 years and here’s our story of adoption craziness:  Dawn and I had been dreaming and planning on bringing home a sweet girl from Ethiopia through international adoption, and unfortunately due to circumstances beyond our control our adoption fell through.  Heartbroken and devastated are words that only scratch the surface of what we were going through at the time. Despite our grieving and loss, we knew God still would redeem this situation somehow, and would restore our broken hearts. When Joanna did then come into our lives she didn’t ‘fix’ us, God did that, but He gave us this gift to meet the desire we had to love a baby.

About 3 months after losing our referral for international adoption we heard through the blog realm about using an adoption consultant to receive placement of a baby through domestic adoption. Within hours of connecting to our consultant on a Friday we heard about multiple “Stork Drop” situations, where babies were born with no family to take them yet in place. One of them was Joanna.  I believe God led us to her through some discernment. She was born the following Tuesday night. We talked with Deb at Mother Goose Adoptions (Creating Christian Families‘ sister company), and got some details. Wednesday afternoon we called Deb and said we would be thrilled to be Joanna’s mommy and daddy! Then our clock started ticking very rapidly.

We had to wire funds to the agency, book airline tickets, make child care arrangements, find hotels, sign MOUNTAINS of paperwork, scan and email more documents than you can shake a stick at, get baby clothes, diapers, buy a car seat, and all within 12 hours. 6:00am Thursday Dawn was on a flight from Lake Charles, Louisiana to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and shortly after lunch was holding our girl!  I flew up the next day and was blown away with the preciousness of our daughter!  The moment I walked through the hotel doors Dawn placed her in my arms, and I’ve never been able to let go since!

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“I flew up the next day and was blown away with the preciousness of our daughter!”

Somehow the emotional crazy, the stress, the tiredness, the “stuff” all faded away, and was lost as I stared at her cute baby girl face!  We got loving on Joanna, and enjoyed taking her precious birth mom out for dinner that night. It was a brief time together, but so glad we talked, shared, and shared our obvious love for this baby.

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With Joanna’s birth mom at our hotel.

Saturday morning I’m pretty sure we did wear out the carpet in our hotel room as we waited for mom to sign the legal paperwork. We got the call that she had signed. Relief! Joy! I don’t exactly remember what we did that night to celebrate, but we did surprise a few people via phone call and Skype that there was a new baby girl in the family!  I think we did go to Target and buy some pink baby stuff – you have to do that right?!

And so the journey of our lives with our special “Stork Drop” began, all covered in pink, hair bows and soft curls.  God has blessed us with Joanna every day, and this cute bundle who curled up on my chest and moved with me with each breath I took, is now such a big girl, although she still treasures and needs mommy and daddy cuddles.

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Joanna loves anything “The Little Mermaid” – what better way to celebrate being 4?

Remembering this week four years ago brings me many smiles, and I am so grateful, and so incredibly blessed. So grateful for Mother Goose, and for Deb….for her heart for our family, for the birth moms she cares so faithfully for, and all because of precious babies like Joanna who make her hard job so worth it!

We’d love for you to be encouraged by our own adoption journey of nine amazing children at our blog:  “Are These Kids All Yours?” or to read more about our domestic adoption journey from four years ago with Joanna.”

Katie’s Adoption Story – A single mom’s perspective

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Katie is one of our special adoptive moms who shares her story with us.  Katie shares her unique perspectives as a single mom choosing to adopt:

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“I couldn’t wait to kiss, hug and tell him how much I loved him.”

“As a person embarks on milestone birthdays they think about what they want to do to remember that special birthday.  I knew for my 30th I wanted to get the one thing that I had always wanted, a baby.  I looked at my options and since I was single I knew adoption was the best choice for me.

At the beginning of 2013 I started to plan when I was going to start the adoption process. I talked with some friends who had adopted, did some research on the internet and did a lot of reflecting on the life I had and how I wanted it going forward.  I was to turn 30 in April so I knew I had to get moving with the process. I talked with a social worker and she referred me to a facilitator, Gloria Hawk.   Gloria referred me to Deb and Mother Goose Adoptions/Creating Christian families, where I was vested with them by July.

I was so excited anytime I would get a birthmother situation. I would read through each one closely, but in many of them I was forced to stop reading when I found the birth mom was only interested in traditional families. This was the part I struggled with the most during the adoption process, but I understood and respected each birth mom and their requests/requirements.  I knew my day would come, I just had to stay positive.  I can say through most of the process I was positive, but I wont lie there were days when I wanted to give up.

For those that I was interested and where the birth mom didn’t have any special requirements, I would ask to be presented to the birth mom and get so excited, but when nothing happened I would get disappointed. One day I just decided I wasn’t going to get wrapped up in it, I would just go with the flow so my emotions would not go all over the place.

Towards the end of 2013 exciting things were happing in my family.  My brother got engaged in November and my mom retired at the end of December.  On New Year ’s Day my mom and I went shopping.  Around 2:00pm we were shopping in Nordstrom and I had gotten an email from Mother Goose saying there was a Stork Drop for a healthy baby boy that was born earlier that day.  I emailed and asked for my profile to be presented to the birth mom.  I mentioned it to my mom and didn’t think much about it after that.  Later that evening, I was sitting at home, it was starting to snow and I was thinking about how I was not excited to go back to work after the long holiday break.  I was watching The Big Bang Theory and about 8:30pm I got a phone call from Deb saying that the birth mom had picked me! I was so excited I didn’t know what to do. I got in my car and drove to my parents and ran in the house and told them they were going to be grandparents.  It was the greatest feeling in the world to share my joy with them.  In the meantime Deb had sent me some pictures and I remember thinking oh my goodness what a beautiful boy and he is mine.  I couldn’t wait to kiss, hug and tell him how much I loved him.

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“I remember thinking oh my goodness what a beautiful boy and he is mine.”

A couple days later my mom and I got on a plane and headed to AZ.  When I picked him up, I was so excited to be a mom and couldn’t wait to spend every minute of every day with him.  He was my life now and the greatest gift of all.  Words can’t describe the feeling.

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Later the next week I had lunch with the birth mom.  It was so nice to meet and chat with her.  She was a lovely young woman and I couldn’t thank her enough for the amazing gift she had given me.  She saw something in me that other birth mom’s hadn’t and I’m so very thankful for that.  She has made me the happiest person on this earth.

Many people had told me when I started the adoption process that it would take a long time to be matched since I was single.  I never believed them because I knew that I had what it took to be a great mom.  It’s all about being positive and believing in yourself. I had to have faith that someone else would see this in me.  I am so grateful for the entire experience and I have never felt so blessed.  Everyone says my son is so lucky to have me as a mom and I say no we are so lucky and blessed to have each other.”

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“He was my life now and the greatest gift of all.”

Many thanks to Katie for sharing her heart! We pray this is an encouragement to you, especially if you are a single mom in the adoption process.

Amazing Adoption Journey – Deke & Su’s Memorial Day “Stork Drop”

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One of our special couples, Deke and Su signed up with our agency last Fall, and after being presented many times to birth moms they finally received a special surprise – a “Stork Drop” of a beautiful newborn baby boy – right on Memorial Day Weekend!  Deke shares their story:

Our sweet boy at 3 days old

Our story started again late August of 2012 with shopping for school supplies. Su and I had previously talked about adoption and the conversation had really concluded in it wasn’t time yet for a number of reasons. Then while shopping with our daughter for 1st grade school supplies she restarted the conversation. Water bottles are a big deal at her school and Su was letting her pick out whatever water bottle she wanted. Our daughter was taking a long time to pick out the water bottle and finally she inquired into the cost of the different bottles and showed a lot of concern on which was the more expensive.  After a couple of questions from Su it came down to our daughter wanting to try to save some money on the purchase of the water bottle to help in adopting a brother.  She commented on how every other kid in her small class at school had a sibling and she wanted one too for a number of reasons.

For Su and I think this grabbed our attention and we started to have the adoption conversation again.  The conversation progressed into a home study and contacting our friends Dawn & Jason Wright who serve as adoption consultants with Christian Adoption Consultants.  It was great to have people who had been through adoption and we had trust in.  We registered with about 5 agencies and continued to pray and seek God’s guidance through the entire process. We were viewing profiles and asking to be presented by the end of September 2012. It was hard sometimes to read about multiple opportunities and to try and discern which situation was the best for us.

We presented from September through April of 2013 over 23 times and seemed like many more. There were some presentations that were really exciting and a couple of times we thought we were pretty close to being matched, those were probably the toughest when the birthmother either decided to parent or just dropped off the map.  As the spring of 2013 approached we felt more and more pressure because of our positions in camp and retreat ministry.  The summer is a really crazy time for us and through conversation Su & I both decided that adopting during the summer probably wouldn’t be a situation that we felt would be optimal.  The number of opportunities started to decrease as spring approached, May arrived and our staff reported for summer training. We sighed and felt like our opportunity to present was past.  On Memorial Day 2013 about 10am an opportunity for a “stork drop” came through the email. Su and I talked about it and decided that this would be the one last time we would present before summer camp really started.

I was teaching a lifeguarding class at the time and about 1pm our daughter came into my class to let me know that she was going to be a big sister. We were MATCHED and it was a little boy. We had sought pre-approval for a loan from the bank and had some in our savings account so it all started to happen. The bank was closed on Memorial Day so first thing Tuesday morning Su, our daughter and one of our summer staff prepared to pick-up our new son. Su and I finished signing paperwork at the bank and they were off. After about 6 hours of driving they arrived and checked into the hotel. Su wasn’t able to go meet our new son until Wednesday. This particular situation was a closed adoption so when she arrived at the previously scheduled time at the hospital Wednesday morning she had to wait in the car for a little bit as the attorney finished working with the birth mother.

Wednesday afternoon Su was able to take our new son back to the hotel.  The baby, our daughter, Su and the nanny spent the next few days getting to know one another and waiting for paperwork to process.

Su snuggling with our newborn son, and big sister adoring him

“It was so good through the weekend to bond with our little guy and to thank God numerous times for all the blessings he was pouring out on us.”

“Our daughter has grown to have a deep sisterly love for her brother and tries at every opportunity to snuggle him and help in any way she can.”

I was able to finish up teaching my lifeguarding class and went out to meet the rest of the family on Friday. It was so good through the weekend to bond with our little guy and to thank God numerous times for all the blessings he was pouring out on us.

Sunday came all too quickly and I had to return to start the first week of summer camp for the summer. Our daughter, the nanny and I left late Sunday morning and came back to Iowa. Su and the baby had to stay until paperwork cleared in the birth state and in Iowa. It was hard to leave them waiting and I think it was hard for Su to see us leave and return to camp without her.  We were praying that things would be processed quickly and she could return. Our prayers were answered and Monday afternoon things cleared the birth state and she was cleared to enter Iowa. Su got back late Monday evening and the family was fully together and HOME.

In the weeks that followed our daughter has grown to have a deep sisterly love for her brother and tries at every opportunity to snuggle him and help in any way she can. Su and I have continually been blessed by this happy little bundle of joy and have found the groove of having an infant in the house.

Our little guy at 3 months

Our precious new son is for the most part a really easy going very happy little guy. He loves to smile and work the people around him for attention.  His hair frequently draws comments as his sister loves to spike it up.  At just past 4.5 months he loves to eat, is enjoying sweet potatoes and chews on everything. The journey was long and at times very frustrating, but we know that God placed with us our special son and brother. His adoption was finalized September 19th.

Deke and Su’s story is an example that there may be many times an adoptive couple may ‘present’ to birth moms, and just like their story the timing was crazy, but it is a testimony to God’s faithfulness and his perfect timing as He brings families together through the miracle of adoption!

An Adoption Story – Cody and Shaunti

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Cody & Shaunti with their sweet baby boy

Just recently an amazing couple, Cody & Shaunti took placement for adoption of a beautiful baby boy.  Their adoption journey was what we call in the adoption world a “Stork Drop”, where a birth mother has not taken the typical steps to make an adoption plan for her child before delivery.  Like many adoptive families, Cody & Shaunti’s journey to their precious baby boy started long before he was placed in their arms.  You will be inspired and touched as Shaunti shares her heart.

“It was an exciting time for us, I was pregnant for the second time with my third child (we got twin girls the first go round) and so far this pregnancy had been smooth sailing.  We had found out very early on that we were going to have another girl, while we were hoping for a boy we decided that once we had this little one and when the time was right we would try for one more and be done.  What we didn’t know was that option was going to be quickly taken off the table by forces that were completely out of our hands.

At 33 weeks into my second pregnancy I suffered a ruptured uterus (A ruptured uterus is basically when the uterus rips open inside of you causing massive internal bleeding and most often death for the child). With in minutes of getting to the hospital I was on the table being prepped for an emergency c-section. God protected me and our child from a very devastating complication. The doctors came in and told my husband and I that while they were able to repair my uterus it was their VERY strong recommendation that I get my tubes tied because carrying another child would almost certainly produce a repeat outcome and we may not be so lucky next time. It was decided then that I would get my tubes tied.

About 6 months after our third child was born I began longing for a son. I tried to ignore it for a while feeling very selfish as I had three children when many could not have one, but the longing soon turned into a desire that would consume my everyday thoughts. I shared with my husband what I was feeling and to my surprise he too had started longing for a son. I began praying desperately asking God to bless us with a son. I fully believed that if God could give a 90 year old woman a child (Sarah in the Bible) then He could find a way for me to carry a child too if that was His desire.  I prayed constantly and felt so sad month after month and my husband as well. We got to the point where we were begging God to take this desire away from us if it was not His plan to bless us with a son.  The desire never left, there was a constant yearning for a son everyday like it was just an ordinary part of life. Little did we know that God was using this time to change our hearts to open our minds to new possibilities. The possibility of Adoption. While we had thrown the idea around once or twice I had been more set on carrying my “own” child ( I’m stubborn like that) to really see it as a clear path.  Finally it was clear to me that while God Could bless me with a miracle pregnancy this did not seem to be His plan. I went to talk to my husband seriously about adoption, he was totally up for it in fact he had been open to it as a real possibility before I had (stubbornness gets ya every time). 3 years after those first longings for a son we found ourselves lining up paperwork for a social worker and becoming certified to adopt. It went so smooth confirming to my husband that this was the path we were supposed to be on.

We then started working with Tracie at Christian Adoption Consultants and working on getting financing. Once we were financed in June, we began putting our names in to different agencies and the wait began. I would be lying if I said that I was good at waiting, I remember that one week I would feel very discouraged that no one had asked us to present and the next week question if we were ever going to have a son. Silly I know considering we had only put our names out there in June, but at the same time we had been praying for our son for years now.  He had been growing in our hearts for so long. We would see people get matched and I would feel happy for them I never wished I had their baby, I only ever longed for the child God had planned for our family.

On Sunday Sept 1st I got an alert on my phone letting me know that I had received an email. I put my book down opened my email and looked at a Stork drop alert from Mother Goose Adoptions for a sweet little boy. I read over the details and asked my husband if he was interested. Like me he was instantly interested. They were looking for someone local that would be available the next day which we were. I emailed and asked if we could put our names in to be considered. We didn’t hear anything back that night so we figured that it wasn’t meant for us. But that next morning Tracie called and wanted to confirm that we really were interested and we said we were. Then we waited.

Ill be honest when I first heard we would be considered I was more excited then I had been for any other situation. I found myself OCD cleaning the house with my husband as we tried not to be too hopeful but it was hard even he was feeling really excited. As the hours went by we began to think that the mother had chosen someone else, but at 2 pm we got the call that the birth mother wanted to meet us that day! We were beside ourselves excited but nervous and oh we had nothing for this little baby if she decided that she wanted us to raise this sweet boy. We drove to target picked up a few essentials then  went out to meet this sweet momma at 5 pm.  After an hour or so of visiting with the birth mother and her mother, she asked my husband and I if we would adopt that precious little boy that was in my husbands arms (where she had placed him almost immediately). We of course said YES! Our hearts broke for the birth mother and grandmother, we could see how hard this was for them and we are so incredibly grateful for their strength. That night after we did a bit of paper work we were told that we could take our son home with us.

 

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Cody, Shaunti, their new son, and the Birth Mom who chose adoption for her baby

On the drive home it was so surreal, I just kept wanting to pinch myself to make sure this wasn’t a dream. My son was in the back seat, in his car seat surrounded by his doting big sisters. The final arrow was in our quiver (reference Psalm 127:3-5) we just thanked God for the whirlwind that was that day, for the blessing he has given us.

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What a miracle and blessing this little guy is!

We truly believe that God intended “P” (the name we settled on after he spent the first day nameless) for our family long before we were ever born that he is the perfect fit for our family.  We would definitely encourage anyone who truly believes that God is leading them to adopt to trust Him fully. God’s timing is perfect, even if you’re like me, impatient and stubborn God will use everything to His glory just as He promises.”

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Doting Big Sisters with their new baby brother

 

It is exciting to be part of Cody & Shaunti’s journey!  We pray blessings over their family, and much joy as they begin this new chapter together.