Children's Last Names - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 05:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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What did you do (or what do you plan to do) about last names for your children?

If you're in a relationship with a partner and you had (or plan to have) your children by having one or both of you get pregnant, did you (or do you plan to) change your names so that both partners have the same last name? Use the last name of the partner who birthed the baby? Use the last name of the partner who did not birth the baby? Hyphenate? Make up an entirely different last name? Something else?

If you knew from the beginning that you might switch which partner got pregnant for future children, how did that impact your decision?

My situation: I'm pregnant, and my wife and I have different last names. We definitely want to use my wife's last name as part (or all) of this child's last name, but we are also considering hyphenating or having me change my last name so we all share my wife's last name. We want all our children to have the same last name. I slightly prefer the option of having this child have just my wife's last name and having me keep my own last name. But since we think my wife will carry child #2, we wonder if having child #2 have both biological and last name connections only to my wife will make things more complicated. I'm curious to hear what other people have done!





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#2 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 05:41 AM
 
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All of our girls have hyphenated last names. While I would have LOVED to drop my last name, my parents would have had a fit (our girls are their only grandchildren) so we left it. It works fine albeit a little long...it flows nicely though. My kindergartener still can't spell it, but she is ALMOST there notes.gif

 

We did switch off having the girls, I had 1 & 3 and she had 2. That didn't play into our decision at all...biology is not important to us in the least and it would have been fine if all the girls only had DWs LN too!

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#3 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 06:34 AM
 
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both of our sons have my last name.  they do also have dp's last name as a middle name -

 

ds1 is <first name> <dp's last name> <my last name>

ds2 is <first name> <family surname> <dp's last name> <my last name> 

 

ds2 has one extra name because we added my last name when we did the second parent adoption. i carried ds1 and dp carried ds2.  she will also carry the next baby and he or she will have my last name too.

 

we considered hyphenation and decided it was too complicated.  we considered dp changing her last name to mine and she didn't want to.  dp wanted all our kids to have the same last name.  my sister has 3 boys but they have her husband's last name.  my brother has 1 daughter.  so our boys will be the ones carrying on the family name.  dp actually really wanted them to have my last name.  :)

 

our friends decided that the non-bio mom would change her last name so all three of them would have the same name.

 

good luck with your decision!!

 

g


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#4 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 07:17 AM
 
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I changed my last name to DP's partly for this reason--I wanted us to have one family name instead of hyphens or having one of us (me) be the odd one out. I also had to spell my (short, easy) last name every. single. time. Hers is longer, but more common, and often I don't have to spell it out, which I appreciate as an added perk. Hyphens would have been an ok option, but our names didn't sound great together, and I have this irrational fear that something would happen and some dumb hospital admissions person would see the double name, put two and two together, and refuse us admittance to our kids or each other. For some reason I feel like having the same last name might mitigate that, although I have zero proof and not even a very clear understanding of why I think that might be. Maybe that they'd assume we were sisters?

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#5 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 07:19 AM
 
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DP and I hyphenated our last names about 1 year before TTC. It's been a challenge... But I don't think we'd have it any other way. I'm an only child, so it was important to me to carry on my last name and DPs family is really big on their LN and heritage, we also feel the will accept a child born via me better if it's a "". Our children will have our share hyphenated name, whether or not I or DP birth the babe. It's a little long but not too bad (my LN is only 4 letters) but DPs LN is kinda complicated (see my "handle" here on MDC) and that name is so often misspelled and mispronounced! Oh well, if it's not one thing, it's another thing that the kid will have to deal with. shrug.gif

Escher, maybe you could keep your name and hyphenate the kids last name? Or like indigo did... Use your LN as a middle name? Good luck with this decision... So happy you are pg and need to figure this out! orngbiggrin.gif

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#6 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 08:15 AM
 
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I took my partner's name when we got married.  I'm not close to my father at all, so wasn't attached to his name in the least.  I wanted us to all have the same name for the sake of simplicity and easing things like other people assuming certain connections with regard to each of us and our children.  Also, my DP would never be the gestational parent, so it is a way for us to be more formally attached to her and vice versa.  It assigns a certain heft to her role in the family that I already have by being the carrying parent. 

 

Good luck in finding what works for you!


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#7 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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I changed my last name to my wife's last year, even though we aren't going to be TTC for a few months still.  We became licensed foster parents last year and it was important to us to show the state that we view ourselves as a family unit, and it was very important to us that us and any adopted or bio kids we eventually have all share the same last name.  I have one brother, and I spoke to my parents about it and they said they were fine with it, had I married a man they expected I would have changed my name anyway, they said.  Maybe it sounds tacky, but I really love sharing a last name with my wife.  It does kind of increase the odds that people assume we're sisters, because we're white, both have almost the same color brown hair and both brown eyes.  We don't think we look alike, but eh, people see what they want. 

 

I also feared the hospital situation and also figured maybe if I wasn't let in as "the wife", I would be let in as "the sister".  

 

The name change was really easy because we got married in California in '08, so I just took our marriage license to the Social Security Administration and they issued me a name change due to marriage.  It was like, the easiest thing ever.  I cackled (inside) the whole time because federal benefits are not supposed to be extended to gay couples and I was granted a name change in a gay marriage in one of the more conservative, anti-gay marriage states in the union.  Ha HA!

 

Good luck, escher!


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#8 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 10:53 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by starling&diesel View Post

I took my partner's name when we got married.  I'm not close to my father at all, so wasn't attached to his name in the least.  I wanted us to all have the same name for the sake of simplicity and easing things like other people assuming certain connections with regard to each of us and our children.  Also, my DP would never be the gestational parent, so it is a way for us to be more formally attached to her and vice versa.  It assigns a certain heft to her role in the family that I already have by being the carrying parent. 

 

Good luck in finding what works for you!


This is exactly what we did.  :-)

 

Best of luck!  I can see how it would be a tough decision, if one has a strong connection to your last name (I didn't).

 


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#9 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 11:31 AM
 
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My partner and I both dropped our birth surnames and took the same new last name. Our children share our new last name with us. :)


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#10 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 01:39 PM
 
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we didn't take each other's last names, mostly because then we would have the same first name and last name after that. As for right now, the baby will take on the mother that carries her's last name. Future babies, I dunno what will happen, as we haven't gotten that far in our plans. 


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#11 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 03:20 PM
 
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When we got married we thought of changing hyphenating our last names, but then decided to wait until pregnancy to see if that still made the most sense for the child. I think DW is still unsure... liking her own last name as is. I'd like to get it hyphenated or at least give the child a hyphenated version. On the most basic level, I like the way our names sound together. Also, for future bureacratic ease, I like the idea of either that either of us could quickly be identified by name as the parent. Finally, we have some unsupportive family that may not view my child as DW's child, or as our child. It may help if these folks share the last name.


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#12 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 03:31 PM
 
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Ditto Lyndzies and Starling. I adopted DP's last name when we got married in '07 (had to go through the court change, since the Canadian marriage wasn't recognized in Oregon; now, I believe the domestic partnership does include the right to change your name). The baby will share both of our last names this way. I plan to carry all the kids we have, so it's a great way for DP - and her family - to have that connection to our kids. Also, DP's Mexican, and so is our donor - in that sense, it will make sense for the baby to have her Mexican last name. I personally don't think my German last name would have been a good fit. 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lyndzies View Post




This is exactly what we did.  :-)

 

Best of luck!  I can see how it would be a tough decision, if one has a strong connection to your last name (I didn't).

 



 


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#13 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 05:34 PM
 
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Our family is way too complicated with last names - up until today, 4 of our 5 family members have had different last names!  Baby DD and myself share a last name, my DW still used her maiden name, and our adopted children have two last names that is their pre-adoption family name and my last name (and as they had different fathers, the first pre-adoption family name is different). 

 

I'm not really attached to my family name and didn't have a good relationship with my father.  It's not a name I really wanted to carry on, however, my professional career and reputation was sufficiently established that I didn't want to change it when DW and I got married.  DW on the other hand, has a great relationship with her family but hates her last name - she thinks it has too many vowels and people never say it correctly.  This is further complicated bu the fact that she has the Italian version of her first name and a French last name.  People who recognize her last name as French may say her last name correctly, but then call her by the wrong variation of her first name.  I really loathed the paternalistic idea of being the "family head," so she kept her maiden name.  And to be honest, DW hates paperwork and that was a really big impediment to her taking any action, despite wanting to have a different last name.

 

When we adopted our two older kids, all four of us would have had different last names which really would have complicated external understandings of our relationships to one another.  DW wouldn't bequeath her last name, so our kids opted to take my last name in addition to their birth last names.  This meant that 3 of the 4 of us had one last name in common.

 

When we got pregnant with the baby, it was decided that the baby would take my last name (for all of the aforementioned reasons).  DW and I decided that since we created the baby together and that we wanted her relationship to be clear to the baby and the other kids that it was finally time to change her name (in particular as this is a mixed race child).  Today, she started the process and now we'll all have one last name in common!


DW and I are moms to two teens (DD 17 and DS 15) adopted through CAS in 2007 and a toddler (DD 2) born at home in March 2011.

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#14 of 30 Old 03-28-2011, 11:20 PM
 
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DW changed her last name to mine when we got married (non-legally) in 1999. We've always wanted kids and wanted to have a common family name. DS didn't arrive until 2007. I love that we all have the same last name.

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#15 of 30 Old 03-29-2011, 03:17 AM
 
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We each have our "maiden" names and our kids have both names.


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#16 of 30 Old 03-29-2011, 06:47 AM
 
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We both kept our original names-I was really uncomfortable with the idea of changing my name, it is just who I am-and we gave our baby a hypenated last name.  It is a little unfortunate, because we both have unusual last names and together they have a particular letter combination that repeats four times, but it was the best option available.


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#17 of 30 Old 03-30-2011, 07:37 AM
 
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We took elements of both our last names and combined them into a brand new name. We legally changed our last names to the new one before the baby was born, and our new family name is on her birth certificate. For us, it was important that everyone in the family share the same last name, and there was also an element of bucking the patriarchal history of our maiden names. (That makes me sound ultra political but, more than anything, it was about all of us having a family name.)


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#18 of 30 Old 03-30-2011, 04:40 PM
 
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My DD has my partner's last name as her last name but one of her middle names is my birth last name which I am in the process of changing my last name back to. I have no connection my current last name (step dad's name that I'm not in contact with anymore) so I'm going back to my birth last name. DP has a great family name and likes it, as do I, so it made sense for us to give her a last name that she can connect with and be proud of. We didn't think about it that much actually....even though the reasoning sounds complicated lol


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#19 of 30 Old 03-31-2011, 05:18 AM
 
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Just popping back for a moment to add that our situation is like your's, escher, in that I birthed the first baby and DP will be birthing the next one. And I should also add that we were very pleasantly surprised by how our families reacted to our new family name. In fact, both our parents gave us money for Xmas and made the checks out to our new names before we even had a chance to change our names at the bank!

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#20 of 30 Old 03-31-2011, 09:26 AM
 
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As Sara mentioned, this baby is getting my last name.  The baby she carries will get her last name.  My siblings and I grew up with a different last name than our mom.  I just guess I don't think name makes a family.  However, I have a really uncommon last name,  I want to pass it on and now that both my brothers have all girls (tho that could change!  little brother is expecting again) and my older kids have their other mom's name, because I wanted them to have some visible connection to her, hyphenation wasn't possible because our names rhyme (and if they were put in a certain order, it makes a sentence).  Taking parts of each to make a new last name wasn't possible because they were only 1 letter different.  I will say it confuses doctors, health insurance and pretty much everyone thinks it's a typo.  This time, I want a kid to have my last name.  Love makes a family and I am not really worried about us not "looking like" a family anymore.  I don't really care what things "look like."  Do I care that I will have 4 kids with 3 last names?  2 of which rhyme?  Not really. Do I think they'll care?  Not really.

 

Sara and I could decide to share a last name.  But how do you pick which one?  It would be confusing, but no worse than SIL and I having the same name.  I really am attached to my name.  I'm keeping it.  

 

I just asked the kids how they felt about having a different last name than me.  He said, "Fine by me." and she spelled it.

 

I forgot to mention, the original plan was for my ex and I to each birth one.  It didn't work out that way, tho.  I felt strongly at the time that they should have the same last name, since the only person in the state with my last name was my brother.  So we decided when I was pregnant that they would both get her last name.


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#21 of 30 Old 03-31-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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We got married legally in 2006 and DW changed her last name to mine. I was about to start a doctoral program and knew that I had always wanted to be Dr. "".  So she changed hers to mine. Our kids will have our shared last name and her maiden name as their middle name!  She changed her name legally with our marriage certificate and it was all easy as can be. However, she did have a really hard time getting a passport because the federal gov wouldn't recognize the marriage certificate (although the social security office had no problem with it).


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#22 of 30 Old 04-06-2011, 09:05 AM
 
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DesertSunsets, did you apply for your name change in your state of residence or in CA?  My wife and I live in NC but got married in DC last April.  I want to change my last name but have hesitated doing it because I expect a huge battle.  Also, does your marriage license say anything about it being for a same sex marriage?  I haven't sent off for a copy of ours, we have the certificate that is for framing.


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#23 of 30 Old 04-06-2011, 07:17 PM
 
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aljm, I applied for my name change in my home state of Arizona.  I expected a battle over it as well, and was *shocked* to get nothing of the sort.  Our marriage certificate does not specify our genders, it says "party A" and "party B".  I should also mention, my wife has an androgynous name, even if the specific spelling is the feminine version.  Even so, I don't expect that Social Security Administration would have raised a fuss because it was a legal document.  I think different clerks could potentially cause more or less problems, if they wanted.  

 

I just went online beforehand and printed out the form I needed to fill out, then took the marriage certificate down to Social Security.  I waited in line longer than it took the clerk to actually complete the necessary forms.  He issued me a receipt of name change and told me I'd receive my new SS card in the mail in a few days.  I used the receipt of name change to get my name changed through the DMV and the bank, everything has been pretty straightforward.  

 

Good luck!  I know it can be hard to have faith in a system that has let us down so many times, but in this aspect at least, it came through for me. 


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#24 of 30 Old 04-07-2011, 08:06 AM
 
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Thanks so much for the info.  I think I'm definitely going to give it a try.  My thinking is they may say no because but having my DW last name they think I'm going to try to work the system to get something out of it.  I am already on my DW insurance through her work and I am her beneficiary if anything should happen to her.  I want her last name because we are a family and I want the children that we have oneday to have the last name of both their moms.


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#25 of 30 Old 04-07-2011, 09:57 AM
 
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We are STILL wrestling with this issue, and our DD is almost 3!

 

I wish that we had met earlier and done what AtlantaFemme did- everyone taking a new name. That would have been the best solution for us, emotionally, I think. BUT, when DP and I met, we had already both started publishing with our original last names, and were/are both ambivalent about giving up the little bit of name recognition we might have in our fields.

 

We slapped DD with a riduculously long hyphenated name. 14 letters. 6 syllables. An "x" and a "z." And she has a funny hippy first name too. So much to hate us for...

 

Currently, DP and I are playing around with the idea of each adding each other's last name as a middle name. The problem there is that it just gets confusing. I'm Angela XY, and DP is DP YX. No one can figure out HOW we're related! Also considering all just going hyphenated, but trying to balance the personal identity/professional identity thing. I like hearing about other people's solutions to this question.


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#26 of 30 Old 04-07-2011, 01:23 PM
 
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Angela - DP and I both changed our last names to a new family name. I have also published and built a professional reputation with my maiden name, and here's what I did:

 

My maiden name is "Jane Doe." Our new family name is "Smith."

My new legal name is Jane Doe Smith.

Personally, I pretty much go by Jane Smith, Jane Doe Smith, or Jane D. Smith.

Professionally, I've kept it Jane Doe, because that's how people know me. The only exception is when signing legal documents, I sign and write my full, legal name, Jane Doe Smith.

 

DP, on the other hand, didn't really care about keeping her maiden name and just goes by "Mary Smith." And baby, of course, is just "Baby Smith."

 

Does that make sense??? You might have to read it a few times! winky.gif


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#27 of 30 Old 04-07-2011, 01:51 PM
 
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Hi Angela!  I cannot believe that Ocean is almost THREE!  Where did the time go?

I was going to chime in to say that I still publish under the same name I've always published under, which is different from either of the other two names I use. 
My name at work with the ambulance is my maiden name.

My family and legal name is DP's last name. 

I can use any of them, legally, but all my ID is in DP's last name.

Just to make it interesting!

 

 


dust.gifFour-eyed tattooed fairy godmother queer, mama to my lucky star (5) and little bird (2.5). Resident storyteller at www.thestoryforest.com. Enchanting audiostories for curious kids. Come play in the forest!
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#28 of 30 Old 04-08-2011, 07:25 AM
 
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Korey, I really like that solution. I'll present it to DP. Though I also sort of suspect that at this point, we don't have the energy to change any more documents!

 

S&D, I know, right?!? And congratulations on your new bean! I'm so excited for you guys. We're getting excited about planning for number 2, but haven't actually started the process.


A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!

Building queer family since 2008!

(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)

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#29 of 30 Old 04-08-2011, 10:44 PM
 
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We hyphenated DS's name and I regret it a little bit as it's long and cumbersome and I am now so comfortable in my mothering that I don't care whose name he has (I gave birth to him). We always wanted him to have DP's name to make a clear statement to her family and others. Changing my name is not something I am comfortable with, nor would I be comfortable with DP changing hers. The hyphenated thing for DS came when I freaked out about him not having my name just after he was born. He is now commonly known only by DP's surname and we just use the hyphenated name for official documents which are pretty rare given his tender age of 2! I think we'll do the same for any future kids, regardless of who births them.

One gorgeous solstice babe 12/08, two smitten mothers - mothering consciously with conscience and compassion. Birth & Postnatal Doula. Student Midwife. Expecting #2 November '12.

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#30 of 30 Old 04-09-2011, 09:07 AM
 
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Our son's name is hyphenated as well. DP and I have both kept our names, but are toying with changing to the hyphenated one as well. It was an easier decision for us as we both have very short, easy, last names that flow well together. So, he's got 9 letters plus a simple (VERY common) first name that came with him when he joined our family as an older infant. He was adopted, so I'm not sure if our feelings would have been different if we had been looking at who carried him and who didn't. We are TTC right now, and this (hopefully!) baby will share big brother's name!

I love seeing how different families solve things like this, and the mom/mommy/mama/opa/etc etc debate! 


rainbow1284.gifMama to JP (5.5)  weadopted.gif  Gearing up to TTC #2  ~ Blog
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