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Upsetting adoption situation in my family (favoritism, detachment) - Page 3

post #41 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by TCMoulton View Post


I am shocked at some of the judgement I am seeing on this thread. The OP herself has said that they are aware of the problem & are working to make changes. Would you be as harsh towards a mom behaving the same who was suffering from PPD after a difficult c section?

 

Ditto. I am meditating on love and hope for the mama of that baby.

post #42 of 72
Thread Starter 

Thanks again for all your words of wisdom and hope. I feel the need to jump in here and clarify a few things:

 

*My niece is in a good, stable, safe home. ALL her *basic* needs are being met. 

*She has loving grandparents, aunts, uncles and lots of cousins! And her brother adores her too :)

*My brother has had an easier time bonding with her and I do see him show affection towards her, especially lately. I think he is aware that his wife has a hard time being physically affectionate with their daughter and so he feels the need to make up for that. 

*My nephew doesn't sleep in their bed all the time, only for part of the night and just once a week or so. I wouldn't call them "co-sleepers" as they have always had him in his own crib/bed. 

*Although things are REALLY rough right now, I think that ultimately my brother and his wife recognize the miraculous way they acquired their children and feel blessed to have have them. 

 

This thread has been immensely helpful for me; I've been able to vent in a safe place, I've been able to hear feedback from all of you and gain a bit more insight into what my SIL may be going through. Although I still feel awkward around her and cringe at some of the things i hear her say I will continue to love my niece and try to show love to my SIL. I am confident things will work out. 

post #43 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by tanyato View Post

 

As for your suggestion though, my brother told me that for a while after their daughter was first placed with them, his wife couldn't help but be kind of "mad" at him for being able to cuddle and kiss their little girl when she couldn't bring herself to do it. I've also noticed that while I feel compelled to cuddle my niece and hold her and carry her whenever I'm around her I can tell it makes my SIL uncomfortable. She subtly finds ways to change what's going on or it's an awkward silence and she looks at me weird....as a result, I almost feel like I have to sneak kisses and hugs and cuddles from my niece. (I've babysat her for a few hours before and i just loved her to death the whole time).

 

At first, I was really uncomfortable w/ people having so much fun w/ my guy when I didn't understand why they weren't annoyed by him, too.  When my SIL, whom I do NOT get along with, was having so much fun w/ him, I got really ticked off.(All of my feelings were kept in my head, never out loud)  Then, I decided to be OK w/ people giving him all that attention even if I didn't feel OK w/ it.  I would just use that time of him being busy to focus on my other kids that get pushed aside while I have to deal w/ my 4yo's behavior all day long. (ETA: I realize I just sounded contradictory to my last post.  I am thankful NOW for everyone giving my son attention, like I wrote before.  What I said above was how I felt in the beginning, starting 2 yrs ago.)  I know a family therapist would have been very beneficial for us, but we couldn't/can't afford it.  I'm so glad we're moving beyond that time, not my proudest as a mom.  (We've had him and his brother for 2 yrs.)

 

I definitely think family therapy is going to be necessary in this situation.  I think she needs outside help to get past whatever is blocking her from bonding.  I really don't think all hope is lost and that she can't be a good mother to her daughter.  Her behavior is very troubling, and it does seem a bit like post-adoption depression.  I'm really glad to hear that your brother acknowledges that she may need some help.

 

Some interesting info. http://www.postadoptinfo.org/articles/07_05_depression.html

 

Quote:
Why does PADS [Post Adoption Depression Syndrome] exist among the adoption community in such high numbers? There are a host of very concrete and understandable reasons. Most newly adoptive parents have spent literally years struggling to get to the point of having a child to parent. Their protracted and unfulfilled hopes, dreams, and longing may cause unrealistic expectations about exactly what it will be like to be a parent, and they are unprepared for the grief they feel when reality confronts the child of their imaginations. New parents may feel guilty about their feelings of ambivalence, resentment, or anger toward their new child. The belief in instant bonding or "love at first sight" is often an unrealistic one. Falling in love with a child is much like falling in love with a future mate -initial infatuation and euphoria give way to the lengthy and often difficult process of adjusting to the day to day presence of another human being. It often takes from two to six months for a real sense of attachment to blossom according to many of the posts of families who belong to EEAC. Being unprepared and unsupported, new adoptive mothers who become depressed often try to "tough it out" without asking for any help whatsoever. Many mothers worry that if they advise their agency or social worker (the ones they have spent months or years convincing of their superior parenting skills) that they are experiencing difficulty, those same agencies and social workers will think of them as unfit parents and, in the worst case scenario, remove the new child from their care. Consequently, a bad situation becomes worse because of lack of understanding and support. First line extended family support available to new birth mothers (and fathers) is often totally missing for adoptive parents. In many cases, after enduring years of disappointment with infertility, family members don't understand why the new mother isn't completely happy and content now that she finally has what she's wanted for so long. Rather than disappoint and confound her family, many new adoptive moms simply suffer in silence, filled with shame and guilt, feeling themselves imperfect or selfish.

Edited by FLFosterMom - 9/2/12 at 8:23pm
post #44 of 72
As I've stated already, I lived it from the child's side. Am I judgemental? Sure. It angers me that the harm to the child gets ignored while people try to help the adult. Is she going to therapy or doing anything to change? I didn't read anything about that. I hope I'm wrong, for the sake of that little girl. I hope that mother (who is not reading this to be aware of being judged) ends up giving equally to the two children. I am not alone, though, in stating that favoritism happens. Remember the poster who is one of twins!

And that little girl is NOT gettin *all* her needs met, if her emotional needs are not being met!

Emotional neglect is still neglect. And the impact can be over the entire life of the child!
post #45 of 72

pek64 I can feel how emotional this is for you, and I am so sad for the baby and child you that had to live in what seems to be a really crappy situation. I hope that eventually you were able to get the emotional support you so needed as a little one :(
 

Please correct me if I am wrong, but I think what most PPers are saying is that while this is not a good situation right now (for baby or mom, but yes, the baby is getting the worste of it) that baby is still so young that the hope is things will get better before it becomes a way of life or a standard of care for her and that just because things suck right now doesn't mean that in a year or six months it will still be that way.

 

Another thing... adoption is hard. Its an emotional landmine. No one tells you that, or talks about it. I have three children, one by birth and two through adoption and i can tell you that no two adoption situations or experiences are the same. I was still totally blindsided by how intense of an emotional rollercoaster it was the second time. It was like a slap in the face, I was totally unprepared. Our first adoption situation was all rainbows and butterflies, our daughter immediately felt mine, and we were fiercely bonded from day one. More so that with my birth child, who I took months to feel an attatchment to. With our second adoption/third baby it was so much more.... intense. The relationship and very real grief of her birthmother was on my mind constantly. I didn't feel as though I deserved to be her mother when there was this woman who loved her so much and was suffering without her. And that made it harder to bond with her. Which in turn made me feel like a terrible mother, and made all of this even worse because I knew that this baby deserved a mother who was head over heals in love with her and her birthmother deserved a family who adored her little baby as much as she did. It was HARD. Everyone knows that a mother who places her infant for adoption experiences intense grief and sadness. No one told me that as an adoptive mother I would experience the same. It took me months and a bit of distance from her birthfamily to start to feel like her mother. She is a toddler now, and though there are still challenges and difficulties in some areas, she is firmly MY daughter. We see her birthfamily several times a year and keep in contact via phone and letters, and I still have all those feelings of grief when I see them.... its just that I am a bit better able to cope with it now.

 

I shared this because maybe this is what the OP's sister in law is experiencing. Seeing someone else's grief so upclose and personal when you are personally involved in the situation is beyond powerful. Maybe she has more emotions than she knows how to handle and that is why she is acting this way towards the baby. Its not fair, and its not good for the baby, but i also believe with help she can get past it and be the kind of mother to this little one that she needs and deserves. I will again suggest the help of an infant mental health specialist. Their job is to work with the parent and child to establish a secure bond and help the parents sort through some of their emotions surrounding their child for a healthier relationship. I am just now starting to work with one, and I SO WISH someone had told me about this sooner. I would just really make sure that the person they choose to work with has experience in adoption.

post #46 of 72

 Thanks Sesa thumbsup.gif  The more moms who say this, the less crazy I feel!  Six years in, I finally feel like I am in a good place, but "concerned" people will still comment on how I treat my clhildren differently.  Now I can weather it and I know how hard I have worked to build a relationship with my daugher.  I hope the OP's sister in law gets there sooner, but I have faith that she is working hard and she will.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by sesa70 View Post

Another thing... adoption is hard. Its an emotional landmine. No one tells you that, or talks about it.

post #47 of 72

Empathy, empathy, empathy.  That may be just what the parents need from family members.  I am much more likely to be open, honest and trusting with someone who empathizes with me, than someone who judges me.

 

The parents are not ignorant of their behavior towards their children.  They may need professional help to get to the bottom of it, but in the meantime I would advise you to listen/empathize; listen/empathize and listen some more.  You can not change their behaviors, or the treatment of the children, but you may just have a golden opportunity to influence them in the right direction of seeking professional help.

post #48 of 72
And what advice do you have for the children, who are treated differently than their siblings, and watch others receive love, attention, encouragement, praise, concern, and all the rest, while they get nothing (unless you count criticism, lies, and abuse)? And watch the cycle repeat among the grandchildren.

It actually makes me feel worse to think my parents knew what they were doing, and did it anyway.
post #49 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

And what advice do you have for the children, who are treated differently than their siblings, and watch others receive love, attention, encouragement, praise, concern, and all the rest, while they get nothing (unless you count criticism, lies, and abuse)? And watch the cycle repeat among the grandchildren.
It actually makes me feel worse to think my parents knew what they were doing, and did it anyway.

 I would think anyway, that the hope is the parents will get the help they need and be able to change their attitudes and behaviors while the child is still relatively young and before it has a lifelong impact on the child.

post #50 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

And what advice do you have for the children, who are treated differently than their siblings, and watch others receive love, attention, encouragement, praise, concern, and all the rest, while they get nothing (unless you count criticism, lies, and abuse)? And watch the cycle repeat among the grandchildren.
It actually makes me feel worse to think my parents knew what they were doing, and did it anyway.


I know from experience and maybe this is where I disconnect with the other posters. I agree. We can all feel for the mom all we want. But in the end its the kid who is getting the brunt of all of this who will have to live with the life long self esteem issues and sadness. I agree the mom should get help. But someone should help supplement for the girl at least until the mom can give her the attention she needs.  I read all over this website how important your interaction is with a child this young. Funny how we change our minds so quickly to accommodate the adult here. My mom is sad all the time about the stuff she did and let happen to me. She cries and cries about it (because that is her nature to take my hurt and turn it around as hers) Which again might be why I am not sympathetic to the mom as much as the baby. Someone needs to be there for that little girl asap. End of story. However that happens whether its family while the mom figures it out or the mom finds away to at least pretend through it until she can feel that way for real. I understand its hard for the mom but that doesn't make it ok or acceptable.

post #51 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by LLQ1011 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

And what advice do you have for the children, who are treated differently than their siblings, and watch others receive love, attention, encouragement, praise, concern, and all the rest, while they get nothing (unless you count criticism, lies, and abuse)? And watch the cycle repeat among the grandchildren.

It actually makes me feel worse to think my parents knew what they were doing, and did it anyway.


I know from experience and maybe this is where I disconnect with the other posters. I agree. We can all feel for the mom all we want. But in the end its the kid who is getting the brunt of all of this who will have to live with the life long self esteem issues and sadness. I agree the mom should get help. But someone should help supplement for the girl at least until the mom can give her the attention she needs.  I read all over this website how important your interaction is with a child this young. Funny how we change our minds so quickly to accommodate the adult here.

That last sentence is so true. If this were anywhere else on m d c we would be outraged but for some reason here its excused..... I mean really even if she is being treated differently its still most likely better then what she would have had and well..... that's really what I am seeing and hearing how awful.... and the leap to even consider someone who adopts a child as anything less then saintly

Take out the word adoption here and see what you think. Fill it in with single divorced and poor or better yet never even married. What would you think about that mother then? Time to do some soul searching.
I to believe this woman needs help and since she realizes there is a problem and yet does nothing.... well that crosses a huge bridge for me. The woman is an adult who can make choices. This child is a helpless victim of circumstance..... we so want to keep blinders on or make excuses for things that go against how we have been conditioned to see things...... look a little deeper at what you thought you knew
post #52 of 72

I am going to stand by my post - I was one of eight children raised by a psychopathic mother - if those who saw the manner in which we were treated had sought to befriend my mother in the hopes of influencing her in obtaining the necessary treatment, our lives would have been better by virtue of:

 

1.  Our mother may have obtained treatment;

2.  We would have had the benefit of a break from the way she treated us due to an adult being present in our home (don't underestimate the importance on this - 15 minutes of not being mistreated went a long way);

3.  We would have had hope - just by the simple fact that someone was taking an interest in our family;

4.  We, and our mother, would have had an example of a sane, caring adult. 

 

The fact is, as much as we would like to rescue a suffering child from their own parent we are powerless to do so unless it goes far enough for the government to get involved.  I still believe that in the absence of removal from the home, the best course of action is to attempt to influence the parent.  Not a perfect solution no doubt, but it is doable by any one who cares to try and make a difference.

post #53 of 72
Someone influencing the mother and being a positive person for the child is admirable. This is why I kept pushing the attention toward the child. The original poster has the best chance to provide the needed help and influence.

Edited to add : It did not seem that the help and influence was likely while the posts were focused only on the mother's feelings, and how difficult it is to have difficulty bonding with a child or going through adopting a child.

I also feel the experiences of someone who is abused along with siblings differs from a child who is singled out for abuse. I am not trying to minimize having gone through abuse, but pointing out how isolating it is to go through it alone. And be neglected emotionally is a kind of abuse.
Edited by pek64 - 9/18/12 at 3:06pm
post #54 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by BridesMother View Post

I am going to stand by my post - I was one of eight children raised by a psychopathic mother - if those who saw the manner in which we were treated had sought to befriend my mother in the hopes of influencing her in obtaining the necessary treatment, our lives would have been better by virtue of:

 

1.  Our mother may have obtained treatment;

2.  We would have had the benefit of a break from the way she treated us due to an adult being present in our home (don't underestimate the importance on this - 15 minutes of not being mistreated went a long way);

3.  We would have had hope - just by the simple fact that someone was taking an interest in our family;

4.  We, and our mother, would have had an example of a sane, caring adult. 

 

The fact is, as much as we would like to rescue a suffering child from their own parent we are powerless to do so unless it goes far enough for the government to get involved.  I still believe that in the absence of removal from the home, the best course of action is to attempt to influence the parent.  Not a perfect solution no doubt, but it is doable by any one who cares to try and make a difference.


 I was this kid in this situation and having another family member take interest in me and show me the affection I needed was so so so beneficial for me. Someone needs to focus on the child. The mother isn't, the father feels like it hurts his wife if he shows affection to the child. An outside person, aunt, uncle, grandma, someone to help the little girl with love, cuddles, and just genuine "I love you very much and love spending time with you, holding you when you are sad, helping you learn..." and so on. The mother has her husband and family and if everyone tiptoes around the little girl as to not make waves then the little girl will just feel more alienated.

 

The best option is what you said for the parent to get help and to move past these issues. But until she is ready (if ever) to get the help she needs it would be so good for the baby for someone to intervene with her, instead of only having concern for her mother. The child's basic needs are met and until the mother can provide the emotional needs why leave the child to wait for that day when someone can easily give the mother a break and fulfill this gap for her even if its only once a week.

 

side note: I definitely hear you in the being raised by a psychopathic mother. It is rough and you are right 15 minutes was amazing. I used to use all my money to buy her bath products because she loved taking baths and it gave us all a half an hour break. (there were five of us)

post #55 of 72

This thread pretty much sums up why i will never seek real support here on this board for the difficulties our family faces with my adopted daughter. Only recently have i even felt comfortable enough to post anything that would remotely suggest that everything isnt shiny and happy here in our home. When i need support for our difficult issues (which yes, may even include feeling negative) i look to parents who have "been there" and know the struggle.

 

I would have to read all three pages in this thread but if i recall, not one adoptive parent posting here said anything close to "forget about the baby, the mother is important, who cares about the baby" as some other posters seem to suggest.

 

I also think we need to really remember that ALL we know of this family's situation is what has been filtered through the eyes of a family member who does not see them that often. She may not have a complete picture. I would REALLY hate to think that if the adoptive mom in the OP came to this board seeking help she would find all of this judgement. Other adoptive moms have left this forum because they could not find the support they needed. I'm just glad that when i need to vent, or need ideas, or whatever else i have people i can go to that dont think i'm a horrible abusive mother for failing to keep it together all the time with my attachment-disordered, compulsive lying, traumatized hyper kid. I'm pretty thick-skinned so i mostly let things roll off my back (in terms of posters who think they have it all figured out) but other moms might be in a more fragile place. I'd like to think there is a place for them here as well.
 

post #56 of 72
I'm not sure you understand, yet. When the siblings share in the abuse, they can help and support one another. The bath products provided a break for all.

Now imagine while mom is in the tub, the siblings abuse you in her absence. Or even right in front of her, and she joins in. Imagine being told that you have nothing to rebel against, because all of your "needs" are being met. Imagine not being allowed to have any socialization outside of home, except to go to school as required by law. If you can imagine that, you're beginning to imagine the life that little girl might be facing.

She needs someone who can really be there for her, frequently, and without being influenced to coddle the mother's feelings. It is important.
post #57 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

I'm not sure you understand, yet. When the siblings share in the abuse, they can help and support one another. The bath products provided a break for all.
Now imagine while mom is in the tub, the siblings abuse you in her absence. Or even right in front of her, and she joins in. Imagine being told that you have nothing to rebel against, because all of your "needs" are being met. Imagine not being allowed to have any socialization outside of home, except to go to school as required by law. If you can imagine that, you're beginning to imagine the life that little girl might be facing.
She needs someone who can really be there for her, frequently, and without being influenced to coddle the mother's feelings. It is important.

 

I'm not sure who this is directed too. There is NOTHING. NOTHING in the OP to even remotely suggest that the OP's niece is experiencing ANYTHING close to any of this. At all.

post #58 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by bashismybabe View Post

I have not adopted a child, I do have lots of adoption in my family though. My oldest brother placed a child for adoption, my husband's sister placed a child for adoption and my brother and his wife have 2 adopted children (2.5 and 14months). My post here today is about my brother and his wife's situation. I'm posting here partially to vent (I need a safe place to let this out!), but also I need some words of advice to help me be more understanding and gentle...here goes...

So my brother and his wife were unable to conceive children. They had this miraculous adoption 2.5 years ago with their son. They brought him home from the hospital and have a great semi-open adoption with his birth mother (who is like, an angel). Anyways, they LOVE their son. Like, they call him "hunny, love, sweetness" etc. all day long, parent him in a very gentle loving way and just think the absolute world of him. They were always *hoping* to have more children but were happy and grateful to have their little family as is.

Fast forward 18months and in another miraculous way, they were able to adopt a little girl who was 5 months old. To say it was fast is an understatement. From the first time they even heard about the possibility (and it was really just a faint possibility as the birth mother was VERY unsure about weather or not she wanted to parent her daughter) to the day she was placed with them was less than 6 weeks. I know some adoptive parents wake up one day and get a phone call "there is a baby waiting for you!" but my brother and his wife weren't on a waiting list or even actively looking to adopt at the time. (it was a friend of a friend who directed the birth mother to them and so it was a private adoption). SO, it was quick. and they still lived in a ONE BEDROOM APARTMENT! And now bam, one day they have two children, 14 months apart. and holy smokes! I can only imagine how different it would be parenting a child from the day they were born to parenting an older baby who already has habits, relationships etc. not to mention that fact that they are so close in age! what a challenge! BUT....

(and here I'm going to insert 3 disclaimers before I continue: 1)I admit that I have less-than-no-idea what it would be like to be in that situation therefore I have no right to judge them really, 2)I understand that everyone gets to make their own choices on how to parent! Therefore I have no right to judge them for making different parenting choices than me and 3)I realize that most parents find that they change their "style" come the second or third child. I understand it's impossible to be exactly the same kind of parent to your second as you were to your first since you still need to continue to care for and love your first child.)

ok, so BUT...it has been 8 months since the adoption and I am having such a hard time even being around them because:
the favoritism is out of control. their son has become one of the worst temper tantrum, high energy, high needs toddler I've ever met and yet he can do no wrong in their eyes. (in a way, i admire the way they handle him, they are very gentle and loving and patient). their daughter on the other hand is a fairly independent, low needs little girl (i've never seen a baby play independently for such long periods of time) and my sister in law is constantly complaining about her to me. they also sleep trained her HARD CORE and she still cries herself to sleep for naps and bedtime (sometimes for 30 minutes or so...and that's months after she's been "trained"), whereas their son often sleeps in their bed! they sometimes spend upwards of an hour soothing him to sleep at night! it's like mind boggling how they can treat their children so differently. the language they use while speaking about and too their children is like night and day. with their son it's "oh sweetie, are you just the cutest boy ever? mommy loves you so much. what a good boy!" and with their daughter it's "no. stop whining, you have nothing to whine about, you're fine." and "you need a nap 'cause you're starting to get annoying" or "she's such a fatty, she'll eat anything. she's like a dog". and this is not once in a while. this is literally how i hear them speak. and although i don't see them daily, i see them often enough (at least once a month) and it's sometimes for days at a time (they come stay with my parents for visits often). 

my sister in law is also constantly complaining about her daughter. it's to the point where i find it really awkward being around her because she'll say something really negative about her daughter and i just have nothing to say. like i don't know what to say in response! and i'm not trying to make her feel bad, but i literally cannot bring myself to agree with her or even "oh yea, i hear ya"...i just can't. 

It's also really upsetting the lack of physical touch their daughter gets. i don't see them hold her, cuddle her. kiss her. when she gets up from her nap, they carry her the least amount of time they need to. the second they enter the playroom/main room she's down on the floor. i've even seen my sister in law move her out of the way with her foot SEVERAL times. a few times knocking her over by accident and just saying "oops! you're ok". 

They have a double stroller and their daughter is ALWAYS in the bottom/back seat (where she can't see anything) because "she doesn't care about the view anyways". 

I think what makes this so distressing to me is that they never treated their son that way when he was a baby. they still don't. they cuddle him and love him and speak so kindly to him. their daughter? she fell yesterday at the park and my sister in law comforted her for the shortest time possible. even while holding her she said to me "oh she's fine, she always cries and then cries because she's crying and then forgets why she's upset and then she's crying for no reason" and then plunks her down on the gravel and walks away (my poor niece still had tears in her eyes). 

I'm just so sad about the whole thing! i feel sad for my brother and his wife because they are obviously struggling and stressed out. I feel sad for my neice and how she may be negatively affected by the way she is being parented (i'm worried she'll have attachment disorder). i feel sad for her birth mother (i've met her several times and sometimes i wonder if she saw the way her daughter was being parented if she'd still have placed her for adoption). i'm sad that my relationship with my brother and his wife is seriously suffering...i find it hard to be around them!

help please. insight, advice, words of encouragement...share your experience if you think it might help me deal with this situation...do i say something to them? do i just totally let it alone and hope it gets better?
post #59 of 72
Quote:
Originally Posted by queenjane View Post

 

I'm not sure who this is directed too. There is NOTHING. NOTHING in the OP to even remotely suggest that the OP's niece is experiencing ANYTHING close to any of this. At all.

 

 

I'm with queen  jane on this. I've read and re-read the OP, and the parenting of the infant DD  sounds detached, but not abusive. At all.

 

The mom isn't practicing APing. The mom isn't parenting her two kids the same way. But abuse is not described, and there's no indication that the mother is a psychopath!

 

I also agree with queenjane that those of us who haven't adopted/fostered are pretty limited in what we can say on this board and it stay a support board for moms who have.

 

I think that several people posting are finding that this triggers their own emotional pain. Rather than focusing on any sort of helpful insight into how improve the situation and talk to the mom, are turning the thread into something that better belongs in personal growth or surviving abuse. When you make a thread in Adoptive and Foster parenting an unsafe place for adoptive and foster moms to share their experiences, you make it so there isn't a support board for adoptive and foster moms here on mothering.

 

There are other places to vent about abuse.

post #60 of 72
Read up on emotional abuse. Rejection is a form of abuse, and the daughter is being rejected.
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