Friday, September 23, 2016

Beauty and Pain

I have wanted to sit and write for quite some time, but there have been a lot of things stopping me. Mainly, fear.

See I wanted to write about so many things, wanted to give updates about adoption, pour my heart out about things happening, about life.... but I was afraid. We've had a rough year... and adoption is hard. You give adoption everything you have and more, and it takes and takes from you even when you're certain it couldn't take one more thing. I knew this adoption was never in our hands, that we had to surrender it to God... but I was so afraid something I would say would screw something up... and someone, somewhere would use my words against me and twist them to wreak havoc in our adoption. It may sound silly... and maybe it was, but adoption is millions of pieces falling into perfect places and I didn't want my words to create a gust that could scatter crucial pieces out of place. So silent I stayed, but the fire burned. Writing clears the mind and soul for me...

So we're here, two and a half weeks home with our beautiful Stella Raine, and these days since coming home have been filled with lots of emotion. It's so hard to describe to people what is so hard about adoption... and it's ok, I think. No one will ever know unless they walk through it, and even then, each family, each child, each history is so different that it's impossible to ever really know what it's like to be in someone else shoes.

I've shed so many tears over things that wouldn't cross the minds of most people. I've wept tears of joy that my child is now home while simultaneously weeping tears of sorrow that she will never know her birth mother. Adoption can be ever so beautiful, but every time, it is born out of tragedy. A child has had to suffer such a great loss, whatever his or her story may be, to be then given a new family through adoption. There cannot be the deep, raw, hard beauty of adoption, without first having unimaginable pain and suffering. Beauty and Pain.

We weren't home more then 12 hours on US soil when my phone started to beep in the middle of the night from friends in Uganda. A man, an extremely good, kind, generous, great man who had played such a huge role in saving our daughters life, had passed away in Uganda. I can't even begin to tell you how much he meant to us. How I had dreamed of one day bringing her back to meet with him, so he could see the baby girl he helped save, and she could ask him all the questions that I know she'll  one day have... pain.

We've witnessed relationships bloom with Stella and her three new brothers. The very first night, they all ran around the house showing Stella how her new home was. They wanted to show her where her new room was, where they would play together, and her new very own big girl bed. The next morning the boys all fought over who got to sit next to her at the breakfast table. Eli has fallen head over heals in love with his new sister. She is the first person he goes too when he comes home from school, and will spend his evenings playing with her, tickling her, and doing whatever she wants. That boy, my word, he has got the sweetest and kindest heart you will ever see, building a relationship with his new sister. Beauty.

We've watched relationships grow and change. But nothing grows and changes without it being hard. There is beauty in Stella slowly building trust with those around her. Love growing, slowly blooming. There is pain in seeing the scared, the doubt... there is pain in two year olds who quarrel with one another for the sheer sake that they don't want to share Mommy because neither think I have enough love for both or think I might be giving just a little bit more attention to the other. Beauty and pain.

Our life has been about beauty and pain since coming home. So much of both. There is mourning the loss of what should have been for this sweet little girl, and rejoicing that God makes things new out of pain. There is joy in siblings, brothers and a sister, and lots and lots of pain in it too. There is pain in the fits, the late nights, the sleep deprivation... and there is beauty in the laughter, and although only 5% of people will get it, but so much beauty in the crying. It's a fine balance, and I'm not sure if we're balancing it right.... but that's ok. It has to be ok. Because no matter what pain, there is a little girl who didn't have a family, who didn't have anyone to go to,  who didn't have anyone to hold her, who didn't know what a kiss was, and who didn't cry over scraped knees when I first met her, who now falls into my shoulder in tears over the ouches, gives sloppy wet kisses, and has a family who loves her dearly.

Beauty and pain... we'll take them both,  we have too for healing, just as long as we're together. 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

building anew

Adoption isn't about fame, or some skewed view of glory. It isn't about doing something new and different. It isn't about our wants and desires, or about making us whole as a family or individuals. It isn't about us wanting a baby or a child, and God saying 'well here you go! Now you can be happy.'

It isn't about bringing a perfect child into an imperfect family, or bringing a perfect child into a perfect family. It's not about bringing in a broken child into a perfect family either, to be their rescuer... if so, no one would ever qualify because no one is perfect.

It's about bringing a broken soul into a broken family... to walk in it together, along side each other. And she is broken... and we are broken... there is joy and there is ugly. There is peace and there is the storm... but God doesn't build anew from finished work. No, He takes the broken pieces, and refines and rebuilds. So he has taken her, and he has taken us all, together, to build something new. 

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A hard path to walk...

The night before we got our travel date, I was staring at my blog, realizing I hadn't updated people in a long while about what was going on with our adoption. I had written half of a post, and was too tired to write anymore, so I closed my computer and went to bed, thinking I would finish the next day. But oh how the next day changed everything in our lives so very much! So where do I even start?

Well, for starters, I am currently sitting in Uganda in an apartment fit for many more people then just a mere one person, but I find only myself within these walls.

More on that in a minute.

For those who haven't followed along on facebook or see me in person very often, you may be thinking "What?!?! Uganda? When did things change to Uganda?"

So let me back up just a bit... or maybe, a lot!

Remember the accident that my boys and I were in back in January (here)? Well that accident changed more then just our vehicle situation and left more then bruises and wrecked spines.

After the accident, my husband, Josh, and I felt like we needed to step back and just breathe. We needed to re-evaluate where we were in life, what God had called us too, and if we were headed on the right path. I did not feel good after the crash, and to be honest, I still deal with things from it to this day. But it was more then that. Something in our hearts was saying that something was not right... and we needed to figure out what that was before we kept going.

So Josh and I decided to take the month of February, and pray about what to do. We didn't feel at peace in our current program, if anything, the longer we stayed there we got more and more uneasy, that this wasn't what we were supposed to be doing. We had been addressed about a potential match once in that program, but Josh and I knew we weren't supposed to take it.

In all honesty, we were so conflicted! We had been pursuing this particular country for a year at this point, and had lost two kids in the process already. I, personally, had spent hour after hour doing research about the countries history, the state it was currently in, and the medical challenges that recently bombarded the country. We felt entirely invested in the country. We wanted to know as much as we could about our potential kids culture, history, and challenges. But then we started to think back to some very pivotal points in our adoption journey so far, and why we had found ourselves in the place that we had.

We thought back to the very beginning, about why we picked Sierra Leone in the first place. And mainly it was because, when you decide that you are going to adopt, you have no idea which way to go or turn, you rely heavily on the advice of others who have walked the path before, and we had been told about a great program in Sierra Leone, and we just went for it. We went into it, entirely trusting the advice of friends, and it really did seem like it was a good path to pursue. But as we thought back to it, we had to ask ourselves the questions: did we actually seek God's plan about where we were supposed to be adopting from, or did we blindly follow advice?

It was a good question, and we needed to ponder it. We also thought back to when we had lost the two kids we had been pursing (here), and what we had been feeling at that point. We knew one thing for certain at that point, that we were to continue our process, but we didn't know where, how, or who? At that time, we had considered adopting form Uganda, there was something in my mind that kept putting this country on my heart... but gosh darn it! I was invested! Like 100% invested. Seriously, y'all... you have no idea how many hours I spent researching things about that country! When an entirely new program started their pilot program in Sierra Leone, Josh and I threw everything aside and jumped on board. We were the very first 1 or 2 couples to sign up. And dang it, we were excited!


But now, when I think back to it, God was already changing my heart at that point. Yes, we were excited and pushed forward with everything we had, but we totally ignored what had been pressing on our hearts because we had so deeply invested ourselves, we thought there was no other way.

When the accident happened, and we were challenged with re-evaluating everything, these were just some of the things that we had felt God was bringing to light. So we prayed and prayed for the entire month of February. We didn't talk to many people about our adoption at this point, and if we did, it just felt weird... and we felt we were just excited to hear about how God was moving in other peoples adoption stories, and in ours there was nothing left... it felt like a burden that was suffocating us, rather then a journey that is hard.

By the end of February, we had received a potential referral in the Sierra Leone program. And as I said before, Josh and I knew immediately that we weren't supposed to take it. This became the point where Josh and I knew that we needed to decide. We didn't want to stay in a program, where we didn't feel like we were meant to be, and continue to receive referrals and be in the way of these kids being matched with families.

We didn't totally know where to go at this point, if we should just stop all together, or go to a different program, or to a different agency... and then the Uganda program, which everyone thought was going to be closed (with the same agency) and we thought was no longer an option, opened back up again. The country that God had been putting on our hearts back in December when we had lost the two kids, was sitting before us. So I called the Ugandan coordinator, and picked her brain for a bit, and my husband and I, on February 29th, 2016 made the call, and officially changed to the Ugandan program.

We felt, well, like we could breathe. Like God was saying 'FINALLY! This kids are actually listening to Me!!!' ***We still know other people in the Sierra Leone program, and they are doing great! God just had different plans for us... just clarifying! ***

On March 3rd, a whopping 4 days after we changed programs, our coordinator called us, and said "So... I have a match for you!"

By the way, we thought this was going to take a heck of a lot longer! Haha!

But in this call, we found out that this baby girl was the only child who was available to match (had investigations done) and we were the only family at the moment who was ready to receive a referral.

In this call of 'surprise, I have a match for you...' there was also included 'surprise, you need to go a lot faster then you wanted too!'

The match was for a two year old baby girl, and just like we had known immediately that the other potential match we had been offered was a no, we had known immediately that this one was a YES! But, we really did have to get our butts in gear!

See we had planned to take our time, since I still wasn't/am not 100% up to par after the accident. But, there is this little thing called a law, and it's trying to pass in Uganda. See, this law was what caused agencies to stop taking any more clients for Uganda in the first place, and they thought with the elections in Uganda the bullet was dodged and it wasn't going to be passed anymore. So they took in new referrals again (for like a week, and this is when we joined), and found out that this law still might actually pass. SURPRISE!

This law, if it ever gets signed in, will make it MUCH harder, near impossible, for people to adopt out of Uganda. Meaning all of these kiddos, like our little girl, will be stuck in orphanages, likely for the rest of their childhood. Kicker is, no one knows when they are going to present this law, but once it's presented, you've only got 30 DAYS to finalize your adoption in country. In other words, you need to just get your stuff together and get it done!

Josh and I were nervous, I ain't gonna lie! I wasn't sure how we were going to get the funds together, I didn't feel good enough to do loads of paperwork AND fundraise, it was either one or the other! So we set out on the paperwork and just trusted God on the finances. We had zero fundraising ideas that weren't too challenging , except making a video, which we asked my brother to do a few days after getting the match, which I ended up posting late because of so many things, but you can find it (here) in the updates.

Fast forward through loads of paperwork, loads of hours filling out forms, sitting at a printer for hours on end, and scrambling to get things filed in time and a lot of flare ups from my accident. We were told that once we find out when our court date is, we might have mere days to travel to Uganda, or hopefully, a week! We sent out affidavits out to request a court date on March 11th, and on April 12, 2016, we got a court date!

Court was in exactly two weeks, April 26th, and it was time to really get into high gear in getting things DONE! We left 8 days later, on April 20th, and said a really hard goodbye to our three boys in the airport (where I cried like a baby!)! So here I am, sitting in Uganda.

But, now, yes, I am by myself :( So a lot has happened since we got here, and since this post is already getting super long, I might save that for later. In a week and a half, I've had to say goodbye to our three boys in Minnesota, my husband, and our baby girl.

Y'all, I cannot even begin to tell you how immensely HARD it is to say goodbye to all of those who are nearest and dearest to your hearts, and settle in for 11 more days of being totally alone in a foreign country. Lots of tears have flown from these eyes in the past 10 days, and it is HARD.

My husband had to go back to the States to be with our boys and to work. Our baby girl, we were told that it is too dangerous for her to stay with me until we get the paperwork saying that she is ours. They are very afraid someone will try to take her from me. So, Josh and I had to do the hardest thing we've ever done, after having spent an amazing 6 days with her, we had to drop her back off at the orphanage, and now drive 2 hours to visit her about 2-3 times a week.

Just, I can't even begin to tell you... everyone says adoption is hard... but guys, it is HARD! It wrecks you... and when you think you're whole again, it breaks you all over in a whole new way. My heart is in a million pieces, but whole at the same time. I've cried more in 10 days then I have in a year... and laughed immensely at the joy baby girl brings into our lives. I miss my boys terribly... I miss her and hate where she is at... and I miss my husband who has been here to support me this whole time and gave me good laughs when I needed them most... My heart is here, yet it is scattered all over. I long for the day when we will all be together under one roof as one big, crazy family.

Saturday, April 2, 2016

It's not sugar coated... The real costs...

My husband and I were looking at adoption costs this morning. Things like what we have paid out vs. what we have raised and saved with me working vs. what still needs to be paid out. It's enough to give you a mini colossal heart attack.

We had always said we would be adopting 2-3 kids at a time. Then the accident happened, and we switched programs, and we got matched with one little girl, and it was perfect. Different then our plan... but God knows exactly what we can handle, what is best for our family, and we are accepting it and totally ok with it! We've learned that we make plans, and God is really good about changing all of them... so we've learned to roll with it.

We also didn't plan on traveling so soon, and having only 2 months to figure this all out... but hey!

Then we looked at the fees again, and took into account X,Y, and Z, and had a heart attack all over. I'm not writing this to make people uncomfortable or anything along those lines, but we get asked all the time why adoption is expensive, or how we come up with X amount that we try to raise when the actual amount is far different. And a lot of people just really want to know what the true cost will be. I wanted to write it out in hopes it would clear up some of the cloudy issues on it. So if you're one of those people who wanted to know, keep reading!

*Note: I don't mind getting asked these questions, because a lot of times people might be asking because they themselves might want to adopt and they are trying to get an idea for their own lives. Other times people want to help, but aren't really sure why it's needed. Other times people are just curious... and that's ok too.

Ok, so, what is the cost of adoption? Well, the typical answer is that it differs from case to case and country to country, program to program ect. After doing research for the last 7-8 years (yes, it's been a long time waiting!), I would say the average is about $40k. Which is about what is left of ours for our little girl (math below)...

Whoooo saaaaaaa..... breathe.

Yep, it's A LOT! Might be enough to make you accidentally 'let go'....
(sorry, way too funny to not add!)

*Side Note: $40K seems to be the number no matter where you adopt from. Even in the U.S. if you go through a private agency, it costs the same amount. European countries can be more around the $50K mark. The only way around the cost is to adopt from the foster care system in the U.S. through what is called fosadopt. In which, you get placed with children that you may or may not be able to adopt some day... they may go back to their parents, may go to relatives, may get to stay with you. It's not bad by any means, but a lot of parents are scared of the emotional toll it will take for them to potentially be placed with kids they might not be able to adopt or have to have an open adoption. There are also more requirements to fosadopt then adopting through some international countries. Just in case you were wondering about the 'why's' on this. It also doesn't add a ton of cost to adopt siblings, mostly just the plane tickets home and medical and visa fees, but if you adopt two unrelated children at the same time, then it can significantly increase because they see it as two separate cases (two lawyer fees, two investigations, ect). 

Ok, so WHO is actually CRAZY enough to do that, and HOW???? Well, in short, us. We're crazy enough... but then there is the how?

So if you've ever noticed, in our adoption journey, if I ever created a gofundme, or you had ever asked me 'so how much do you really need?' The amounts probably changed.

There is this thing called the adoption tax credit. We never wanted people to feel like we 'made' money on adoption. Like if they were ever going to donate, we didn't want them to think we were going to get it all back someday and do whatever the heck we wanted with it. To each their own, but that was Josh and I's personal feelings on it.

And the full amount of the tax credit is available per child that you adopt. So when we had thought of adopting those two kiddos that we lost, their case was actually going to be far more complex and cost more along the lines of $45-50K (gasp!), we came up with the amount we actually needed to be $24K.


Yes, we'd still need to come up with the $26K in the mean time, but there are usually things most couples can do for short term. Like, yes, paying a monthly loan payment for $20k+ isn't all shiggles, it's hard, but paying said amount for a year before you get some funds back to pay it off is far different then paying it for the next 6-7 years.

Making sense?

So, for our adoption, if it costs $41K after what we've already paid in for our home study ect, then the math would be:


If you're thinking of adopting, the math is pretty easy to figure it: take the amount that it's going to cost you - $13K per child you plan to adopt = the amount it will actually cost you to adopt. Yes, you have to come up with that amount before you can get it back, but there are ways, even if it's hard. Some people refinance their homes, some take out a loan, some get credit cards, ect.

Ok, ok. So do we expect everyone else to pay the $28K just because... no. Not really. Yes, we all hope that we will be fundraising wizards, or our stories will go viral and it will be easy to raise the rest of it ect... so we put that amount out there in case by miracle it actually happens. But most of us will have to find ways to work around that. It's just the reality.

Does that make it hard? Um, YES.

Does that make it challenging? YES.

Does that make it impossible to some people? YES.

Does becoming a forever family to a child in need make it all worth it? ABSOLUTELY! Our girl's story is sad, it's hard, and though I can't put it all out there for all sorts of legal and ethical purposes, she is in desperate need of a family.

So I know what you're all thinking... where does that leave you two?

Well, because of the accident, I can't do hard core fundraising. I wish I could, because most people know me as the lady that does those types of things... but flare ups for my TBI are still a very real thing and I need to stay 'normal' to get all of the packing/paperwork/preparations done, so small scale it is (even if it kills me just a wee bit to not go into high gear, lol).

So here is our math based on what we have left to pay (*estimated)(and I'm NOT good at math, so hopefully it's understandable):

$41K - Cost
-$19.5K - Loan ($13K Tax Credit - $19.5 = $6.5K Is what we will have left of the loan after the credit next year)
-1K - Donations from Go Fund Me (currently)
This includes travel for us and for baby girl and all her visas, our visas, lawyer fees, agency fees, medical fees, ect.

If/When we ever get paid back for the truck that was in the accident (because MN couldn't be any slower on getting us the title for the darn thing, which we're told might not be until May/June), we'll probably have another $3K

So 20.5K - 3K = $17.5K left to come up with (with us still ending up with the 6.5K loan after all is said and done (see above)).

Yes, there are grants that we are in the process of applying for. Most grants are for people who are adopting children with special needs or for people who are adopting sibling groups or older children. So we'll see what actually becomes of our many applications.

Plans? Well, we planned on making a video, which we have. We've planned on it since the accident in January once we realized my capabilities to fundraise were limited... it's just super awkward to put a video out about ourselves and takes a little lot of guts to do it ;) (Let's face it, all of this is awkward, just so we're all aware, haha!). I managed to come up with one fundraiser that is low key that I'm trying to pull together to 'launch' sometime soon, and we'll see how that goes.

So that is where we land. Nope, it's not sugar coated. But it's the REAL costs.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

The seed....

I think it starts out as a seed, placed somewhere deep within our souls. Whether everyone has it, I'm not sure, but no one knows it's there until it starts to grow. Like all seedlings, it starts out small and slow, easily affected, so very fragile. It grows and grows and slowly, you start to see what it will become.

I remember always feeling the pull, the need to help kids. Even when I was just a kid myself, it was what I loved. I loved picturing myself with a big family, where there were many adopted kids mixed in with plenty of my own. I think I unconsciously knew the seed was there, I could feel it, but it didn't start to grow just yet.

Come the summer I turned sixteen. I loved missions, and everyone who knew me, knew that I loved to go on missions trips and help out. I signed myself up for a missions trip to Eastern Europe, not entirely sure what I would be doing there, but I knew it was to help. I remember walking down the paved sidewalk, along a brick wall that reached far above my head. I knew we were going to an orphanage that day, but I didn't know where it was at, and we were still in the middle of the city. The stone wall seemed to stretch on forever, and slowly we could hear children on the other side. We came upon large iron gates that opened for us to enter, that were meant to keep the world at bay, and in we walked to what I realized was the orphanage.

Kids clamored among us, many pulled us this way and that... wanting us to play ball, or just hold them and talk to them. My team mates got spread in every direction, and I noticed a young girl, maybe around the age of 5, just sitting there. She was quiet, almost trying to hide from the noise but too curious as to what all the fun was to just walk away. I walk over to her, and at first she was scared, but I told her my name, and hers was Mia. She looked at me with her beautiful eyes, as if to ask if she could trust me, and then crawled up into my lap and stayed there. She didn't say anything, neither did I, we didn't speak each others language, so I just held her. My team had brought ice cream for all the children, and when it came to her, she just held it, refusing to unwrap it. She was guarding it from the other kids as they got near, and I tried to tell her to eat it, but she just kept shaking her head no. I pulled over a translator to help. Mia had never had ice cream before. She didn't know it would melt if she didn't eat it. And almost with great pain she slowly unwrapped her ice cream that she wanted to keep so badly, and savored every bite of it. She walked with me to the gate, my heart broken for having to say goodbye. But she had been through this before, people coming and going. People only investing a couple of hours into her, before they left again and again. At the gate that held her in and the world out, she let her hand slip from mine, and she quietly walked away with her head down to go sit back where I found her.

Mia was the first. Mia was the first to steal that part of my heart. She was the first that made that seed start to grow.

Working in orphanages was normal for us in Eastern Europe, but it never got easier. The empty looks in the kids eyes, the conditions they lived in, only grew harder to deal with instead of easier. Babies lined the walls in the baby ward, staring off into the white walls, eyes crossed because they rarely saw anyone, anything, nothing to focus on besides the white. We left the town we had spent most of our time in, and travelled up into the mountains to spend an entire week living at another orphanage in a village with the children there. The kids were older, they had a fair amount of room to play in the walls of their compound. At meal time we would all go together to eat in the dinner haul, and soon we realized that there were a select group of kids who always ate off of different colored plates. We thought nothing of it, besides that it was odd. But it wasn't odd. It was a horrifying reality. See there were two brothers in this orphanage, and the younger brother desperately loved his older brother. His older brother, one who ate from the plane white plates, while we all ate from the pink floral ones, doted on his younger brother like one could not believe. They loved each other, and everyone could see how great of a relationship they had. But we found out, towards the end of our trip, that those who were eating from the plain white dishes, were terminally sick, and they were eating from said dishes because no one wanted to share with them. We were told those who had the white dishes, no one knew how long they would have, or what would happen to them as there was nothing they could do for them. So as I went home, knowing adoption in this country was closed, knowing these kids had no way out at all, and looked back at my six short weeks overseas, I thought of those boys, the younger having to inevitably say goodbye to his loving older brother, and my heart broke over and over as many tears were shed over the months for them... and the seed grew.

Those boys, two brothers, they were the first to completely shatter me.

Just two years later, I ended up on another missions trip. I packed my bags, eager to learn, to help, to make a difference. On this journey, we found ourselves in Northern Africa, high up in the mountains where one would not think Africa to be cold, but snow welcomed us. We were to stay for a month here, living at the orphanage. At one point we were told how things happened there, how parents didn't always relinquish the rights to the children that they gave up, while others did. Some really did want their children but couldn't afford to care for them, and would come to visit often, others did not. It was a common practice to drop girls off as infants, and pick them back up when they were around 5 years old to turn around and be sold as servants in the bigger cities. We were told the life of these unfortunate girls who have to walk this path is harder then one could ever imagine, being used for more then just cleaning houses. My heart ached for the kids who would have to face this fait. It ached for the caregivers who knew this but could do nothing about it. It ached for how horrible and cruel our world can be... and while I was there I held on to those kids just a little bit harder, and a little bit longer, praying fiercely over them in my head as they smiled at me...

The seed grew...

I cam home, I got married, I had my own kids, but I never forgot. We looked at adoption from the beginning of our marriage, but with the many laws and regulations, we never qualified. We hadn't been married long enough. Weren't old enough. Didn't make enough money to qualify. And while our hearts were there and broken for adoption, the world kept telling us no. Fittingly, ever new year, my heart would break for adoption, and we would search out a path, and be told no. No by something, somewhere, somehow... the requirements were never right... or a million other things that stood in our way.

Then last year came. I think it was right before the new year rolled around, and I remember my heart literally hurting, aching deep within. God was breaking us from the inside out. I asked for prayer... we've waited for what seems like forever and how do we know that now was the time? So we pressed in, we prayed, and the ache in our hearts only grew until it was too much to bear. We finally qualified per most, including our own, countries laws. So we said yes. Yes to the seed that has been growing since I was a child, that has grown with each experience that comes my way. Yes.

It's not a glorious thing, it's not an 'us' thing. It's not even a saving thing... it's choosing to meet someone where they are at, in all their pain and suffering, and walk their path with them. We don't take it lightly. We didn't jump in to save the day, to be the hero, or to be the martyr... we didn't chose this because it was cool, or it was new... no. Because it's not about us. It's about the kids... it's about God...

Every new year, into every spring, my heart hurt for those I could not walk with. Only fitting to make the decision in one spring to adopt, and the next spring, after a year long of waiting and working and loss, to be matched with child.

And oh, how sweet she is.