The Sweetest Halloween...

So, we went for a walk in the neighbourhood tonight, with some friends, checking out the Halloween scene with Yummy. A kid is a great excuse to go look at fancy houses and fancy decorations! We dressed her as a white tiger, put her in the stroller, and for a long part of the walk, she kept doing this roaring sound, which was just hilarious!

Afterwards, she was hanging out in the living room with her Dad. We have a mezzanine that overlooks the living room, and I was sitting up there, at my computer. Yummy looked up, saw me, and very clearly said "mama", in the whiny tone she uses when she wants something. Before that, "mamama" had been used a lot, and mostly when she wanted milk... Since she had just finished her bottle, I'm counting this one as the first real one!

What a sweet, sweet feeling! :o)


Pictures from September

Waaaayyyy back in August, once we got the proposal for Yummy, we used Blessed Kids to send a care package to the orphanage, which contained some candies for the nannies, a fleece blanket (the red one in many of the pictures from China...), a panda bear, and 2 disposable cameras.

Believe it or not, I had completely forgot about it all on the day we got Yummy! It was about half an hour after we got her that the orphanage director came to me and gave me back the cameras. Good thing he was more on top of things than I was! The nannies then gave us back the panda bear and the blanket. For a reason I can't remember, we eventually put that blanket in Yummy's crib in China, and she slept on it. It might have made the transition to the hotel in Beijing easier. We then decided to use it here too, and to this day, she is still sleeping on it.

We finally got around to get the films developped this week, and got back some very special pictures, over 70 of them. We realized that she has probably been sharing her room and nanny with a little girl who was adopted by a couple in our group, as well as another precious one who was adopted this week by an American couple. Somehow, I'm much more protective of these pictures than I was of the ones we took in China... But because you guys have been such faithful readers, I'll share a few! :o)

With the lady we think must have been her nanny

In what must have been her crib, with the panda and the blanket we got back

Walker derby!


Busy busy

Man, this little girl is keeping us busy! The days fly by, and I realize it's been ages since I posted... Thankfully, jetlag now seems to be a thing of the past. Yay! We are slowly getting into a rythm here, as much as we can with all kinds of visits and visitors in the last few days. Yummy is taking it all in stride, being social and at the same time promptly coming back to either one of us for comfort. Two nights ago, we've had one quite terrible episode of night terror, which traumatized Mummy more than Yummy... I know it's all part of the deal, so we learn together, each new step.

Each day brings something new, a new skill, a new cute ability, a new discovery. It's one curious child we've got! She wants to get into everything, notices new stuff, already has favorite toys, and takes her time exploring and discovering whatever interests her. We can literaly watch her think and figure things out.

The girl also eats! But don't insult her with purees or fruits: she'll make the cutest grimace ever, or simply gag if we insist. We don't... She likes meat, some veggies (broccoli!), egg yolks, toasts, and milk. Oh, the milk... every 2-3 hours, a bottle is loudly demanded, except at night, as she slept for 9 hours without a bottle last night!

The funniest thing is when Dad feeds her: lots of action and narration! As in "Chicken! Chicken! Chicken! Lots of fiber in chicken! Muscle fiber!" I just sat there, laughed and took pictures. Notice the chopstick action...


Sweet Dreams!

Told ya we saw Keanu at Forbidden City...
For the non-believers, finally, here's the proof!



Apart from the usual little cries to get her soothing rag again (even if I had put 4 in her crib... just in case... you know... she could get it back herself...), Yummy only really woke up at 11 and at 3h30 for a bottle! I managed to get her back to sleep at 4h15, and she slept until 6h45! A personal record has been broken!

And her parents are much better rested... OK, we're definitely going out somewhere today!

And by the way, yes, I know we can't be quite out of the jetlag tunnel yet. One day at at time! She's too much fun to want to go faster anyways... :o)


The week-long hangover...

We've been home almost a week, and even though I've only drank about 6 glasses of wine (2 of them tonight, and I'm already tipsy...), this jetlag thing feels like the longest hangover ever! I would have been fine the day after we came back, but Miss Yummy here is intent on having a big party every night between 1 and 4 AM. Actually, she started it at 4 AM today, so we are crossing our fingers (and toes and anything else that can be crossed) that she stretches it until 5 AM tomorrow.

Yeah, right...

S and I take turns for the night watch, and as a result, we both have weird biological clocks, waking up at 1 AM even if nothing is moving or crying in the house... And my stomach thinks it's luch time by then!!! I'm so thankful for my mom: she left us a huge box of homemade cookies last Friday, when she filled out our fridge, and even offered to make more if we wanted! What a great excuse to come and visit... ;o)

Yummy turned 10 months yesterday, and we had my parents over for a wine and cheese (no cooking...) dinner. We told them to come by at around 4PM, so they could play with Yummy, and of course they arrived early, but had the supreme elegance (and patience... :o) to go for a walk before ringing the doorbell. Yummy was her usual charming self, and totally seduced her grand-dad, who is as much a goner now than her dad his. Good luck to all the other men in her life!

Apart from that, just surviving the first "real" week of parenthood, having friends drop by to visit and admire, and being happily exhausted. Wouldn't change a thing in my life!

Here are a few pictures, until I get some more energy (and time! Oh, how time flies!) to post again.

(Oh, and by the way, NO, she doesn't always smile! You should hear the ear-piercing cries when she doesn't get her milk EXACTLY when she wants it, which is usually expressed to us with a 12-second notice. Loud enough to make one fail a homestudy...)

This one just cracks me up! Cute little thing in a sling...

Starting to eat on her own. My baby is growing already!

Daddy makes good drinks for the women of his life...
Love the designer cappucino!
(And he claims he didn't do it on purpose... Ha!)


Wanna know what jetlag looks like?...

It looks like this:

S is peacefully sleeping, I got the night shift... Yummy woke up at about midnight, without any intention of falling back asleep. As I was rocking her, trying to stay quiet, hoping against all odds that she would go back to sleep, she started putting on a show, tentatively smiling, clapping her hands trying to get me to react... She won, hands down. As soon as I cracked a smile, she got all excited and active, and here she is now, playing on her own as long as I'm within eyesight.

My first reaction was "oh please, sleep, baby, sleep!". Then, I realized that moments like this would never come back, the sweet intimacy of the middle of the night, with this gorgeous baby trying to engage and play with me. She'll be growing too fast, she'll want independance too soon, and right now, she's just a big ball of cuteness.

So, I'll be lacking sleep, but I won't be lacking love. Not a bad deal... :o)


Here are some more pictures from the last few days, that I couldn't post earlier:

Waiting for the plane in Beijing

At home, discovering her basket of toys...

S blowing in her face: she finds this hysterical! :o)

Mommy passed out at 2 AM...

Back home!

Back home, and slowly recovering...

the trip home went really really well, with flight attendants who made sure every adoptive family had lots of space on the plane, which thankfully wasn't full. We ended up with a whole row to ourselves, 4 seats!!! It was almost like flying home in our living room. They gave us plenty of wine, and Yummy slept for about 8 hours, with the usual hourly short cry for comfort. I must say, the 13 hours went by quite quickly, much to our surprise. We missed our connection in Toronto (which we almost expected, since the agency had booked us a flight 1h15 hour after arrival...), but Air Canada was great about it, and moved people from the 9 o'clock flight too the 8 o'clock flight in roder to put us all in the 9 o'clock one. It worked, and we finally got home to my family and some graet friends waiting for us at the airport. Yummy was in a fantastic mood, as she slept the whole flight from Toronto to Montreal.

When we got home, we were starving, so we ordered pizza at 1 in the morning, while Yummy had some chicken and broccoli that my mom had left in the fridge, along with all kinds of foods and goodies. Yay mom!!! The pizza delivery guy looked quite puzzled when he saw a Chinese baby eating at our table at 1h30 in the morning! ;o)

Today was unpacking, laundry (oh, the joy of a washing machine and drinkable water from the tap!!!), and then my in-laws came over in the afternoon and for a sushi supper. We managed to wake Yummy up (actually just picked her up and talked to her when she whined for comfort, which she still does evey 1-2 hours...), and are hoping (delusional???) that we can switch her to Montreal time very soon.

We put her down in the living room and she played by herself for a few minutes this morning, and as we were cleaning the place up, we suddenly looked at her back, and realized there was a baby in here! There was a "what have we done" moment, and then she whined for one of us to come over... She actually started to cry for me specifically to pick her up today. Feels sweet... :o)

For those of you still waiting, I'll come back and write more about what we did, brought and chose for the trip that made a big difference for us.

OK, got to sleep now... Sorry for the no picture post: Blogger won't let me add them tonight... :o(((


Last post from Beijing

It's getting late, and we have a big day tomorrow, so this will be short...

This a definitely been the most extraordinary trip ever, and we're coming back with the most wonderful child. For those of you still waiting, I know how hard it is, and I know that things are definitely not getting easier as time goes by. However, the light at the end of the tunnel is more bright, more wonderful, and filled with more emotions than you can ever imagine. Hang in there: sorry for the cliché, but it is absolutely and definitely worth the wait!!!

For those of you who can't wait to meet Yummy, give us a call next week and we'll see how things are going. She loves (and needs...) to go outside, so walks with company will definitely be an option!

I'll leave you with a few pictures from our last restaurant outing, for Pekin duck (which was amazing!).


Forbidden Keanu

Today was the last scheduled visit of the trip, and we went to the Forbidden City. As usual, everything went very quickly, and we basically ran through the whole place, which might have been a good thing, because it is HUGE!!! That place is truly spectacular, and I'm starting to suspect that the whole purpose of those quick visits (we only spent about 1h30 hour at the Great Wall yesterday...) is to make us come back. I've enjoyed this trip so much, and China, and China people, now I really want to read about it's history and culture, not just the adoption books!

The funny moment of the day was when we realized that Keanu Reeves was right there, watching the emperor's throne with us! A bunch of women that has been busy falling in love with their babies, changing diapers and making bottles on the go for 10 days is still a bunch of women... We all went a bit crazy, one of us snapped an awesome picture of him (I promise I'll put it up here when I get it!), and all the guys seemed to get a bit jealous, wondering out loud what the big deal was... It was really funny to watch them do that with babies strapped to their chest.

S was very supportive, and tried to film him with his video camera's super zoom as Keanu was walking away... When I checked my pictures tonight, I realized that I had him in the corner of a shot!!! I zoomed it for your viewing pleasure... OK, I know, it's a bit blurry, but I swear, it's him! ;o)

Yummy slept through the whole visit...

Last day tomorrow, a bittersweet feeling about leaving this amazing country, slowly starting to look forward to some routine, drinkable tap water, and a washing machine... :o)

And because that's what you all come here for anyways, here are a few pictures of the last 2 days:

Chopsticks action!

On the bus, with our friends visiting Beijing


Sorry, no baby in this one, just unbelievable architecture...

Remember Puss'N Boots, in Shrek?...


Too cute! (and yes, I'm talking about the baby...)


And a bonus!

I haven't posted in quite a few days, and I'm sure some of you have been checking the blog daily, so here's a bonus, just for you... :o)

We filmed this last Saturday, her vey first time sitting on her own!

That courage thing...

Before we adopted, it always bothered me when people mentioned how “courageous” of us it was to adopt internationally. I never considered this decision to be courageous. Now, it’s an entirely different story! I’m still pretty sure that the courage they were talking about was not quite the same thing that’s needed here, but yes, in retrospect, it is definitely courageous, and not for everyone. You fly halfway around the world, they hand you a baby you absolutely don’t know, send you back to a hotel room, and add crazy schedules, stress, new foods, new smells, new language, and a new environment... Instant parenthood of a very frightened child: yes, you do need some courage.

Still, through all this, the rewards are unbelievable! We’re all tired, some of us are sick (I’m not, S is a bit...), most of the babies are sick, and still, we’re still smiling, still joking around, and still in awe of all those beautiful girls we now have. This is so definitely the trip of a lifetime!

Yummy is changing daily, step by step, each one a cause for celebration. She sleeps a bit better, is easier to comfort, smiles and babbles readily, only cries when she is hungry, whines a bit when tired, can sleep on the go, and best of all, puts out her arms to be picked up! We’re getting to her so much better, to understand her rythms, her likes and dislikes. She is just amazing, such a sweet soul... We’re absolutely, completely in love, and have to watch it in the mornings, because it is so much more fun to play with her than to get ready for the meeting times! Another thing: our guide showed us today how to correctly pronounce her Chinese name, and the look on Yummy’s face when she heard it was priceless! We’ve successfully managed to say it in a way that she can understand, because each time, she quickly turned her head toward whichever one of us was saying it, with a smile on her face. Oh, we’re getting good at this parenting thing! ;o)

S is the most amazing dad, so caring, so involved, and totally seduced by this tiny, beautiful girl. There is so much to do, you really need to work as a team to make it through this, and we’ve been doing pretty darn good!

We arrived in Beijing late Saturday night (she slept through the entire flight!), all of us quite exhausted. Beijing is amazing, but I miss Nanchang and its more traditional feel, and its gentle, smiling people. The hotel we’re at is nice, but full of tourists, Europeans and Americans, a lot of them on retired group tours. One of the couples in our group was bluntly asked how much their baby cost! They also miss Nanchang...

We visited the Summer Palace yesterday: it seemed that all 18 million Beijing people and half of Europe were there... It was a gorgeous Sunday afternoon, so I guess people got out. Today was the medical exam and the embassy. Yummy came through it with flying colors, at 50th percentile for head circumference and height, and 10th percentile for weight. She has a cold, nothing major.

Tomorrow is the Great Wall, then the pearls and jade markets (helloooooo shopping!!! :o) with two friends of mine joining us for the visit, as they are traveling in China now.

I'll leave you with a few pictures from the last days, before going back to my glass of wine... The cutest ones are always with Dad! :o)

Watching the action from the bus: always a favorite activity!

At the temple

Lunch with Dad

Love that face! So much...


And on the 4th day, happiness...

First of all, thank you all so much for the comments! They help, they really do!

So, the third night was a bit better, but not by much. I never fell back asleep after the 2h30 wake-up call... But, since we went to bed at 8Pm the previous night, it doesn't feel too bad. Yet...

Yummy woke up in a weird mood, going from smiles to cries at light speed. We weren't sure if we should go on a planned visit to a park, but we figured that since she sleeps so well on the road and in the Baby Bjorn (oh, so happy we have that!!!), and the visit was short, we would give it a shot. Well, did we ever make a good decision!!! S took her in the carrier (it's his birthday: that was his gift... She gavehim a gift too,but you don't want to hear the details about that one,believe me! ;o), she slept for an hour, then woke up in a wonderful mood and treated us to smiles all the way until lunch!

And the best gift ever (my heart is still in a puddle in a chinese restaurant across the street... ;o), she reached for me when S took her out of the carrier!!!!!!!!!!! That's it, I'm a goner: that child can now make me do anything she wants... She even kept at it after the meal, looking me straight in the eye and smiling and laughing without me having to put on a major performance!

There are so many steps left to take, but after today, I'm ready for anything. I finally found what that Wait was all about...

My favorite picture, ever...



Well, we've made it a bit over 48 hours as new parents, and the baby is still breathing. Yay!
And we finalized everything Tuesday morning: she is now officially ours!!!

First of all, thank you all: it felt so good to read all your words! And for those of you still waiting, hang in there!!! It is definitely the trip of a lifetime.

Yummy is doing fairly good, considering what she is going through. She is still grieving though, and still hasn't opened up to us as much as we know she eventually will. We've had lots of occasions to bond over the first night... we bonded at midnight... we bonded at 1AM... we bonded at 2 AM... we bonded at 3AM...at 4AM... at 5AM... The girl was on a party roll!!! She would wake up crying, sometimes to be reassured, sometimes because she was hungry (3 bottles in all!), and we figured out after a while sometimes because she is teething. After a few episodes, we would just lie back in bed, with our eyes wide open, and wait for the next call... At around 5, I finally decided to get some help: Tempra and Orajel. 20 minutes later: peace, quiet, and smiles! Hurrah!!! We finally got to sleep, but had to wake her up at 7AM because there were appointments this morning. Helloooooo, parenthood!

The second night was a bit better, but not by much. We're crossing our fingers for tonight, not that she doesn't wake up, but that we actually do, because we are exhausted. Totally happy, but exhausted...

Our girl seems to have decided that Daddy was the good guy: as much as I read about it, and totally understand the deal and what is happening, and that it is only temporary (thank you so much Mortimer'S Mom, for reminding me before we left!!!), I must admit, it is not easy... Mix that with the lack of sleep, the overload of emotions of the last few days: the overhang from that cocktail is pretty brutal! But S and I have a great team here, and have been dealing with everything really well overall. And watching him embrace daddyhood with such passion is a gift in itself!

And, for those who have BTDT, she has pooped 6 times already! We're now the envy of our group... ;o)

Finally, the important stuff:

At breakfast the first morning

At the police station, for the passport picture

After her first bath. We don't like baths...

We have our baby!!!

Oh my, what a day!!!

I know you are all here for the pictures, but thereare a few things worth writing about. So, go look at the pictures and come back to read! :o)

OK, done?

The excitement this morning was just too much! Everybody had to change US money into yuans, so we spent quite a bit of time in the hotel hall, waiting for the money to be counted. Then, we walked across the street to the civial affairs building. So off we went, and in the elevators up 26 floors. Our group was adopting babies from 3different orphanages, but only one had arrived, and it was with the 2 babies from ours. We didn't notice them as we walked into the room, but once we did, we couldn't keep our eyes from our baby! It was such a special moment to get to look at her, admire her, so calm and comfortable with her nanny. That was a huge help, as we started crying and crying and crying as soon as she was put intomy arms. We were the first couple to be called, no other baby had arrived, so we had an audience!!! I have no clue about how other people reacted, because all I saw was my baby, all that I wanted was to fnally hold her, even if she was definitely less than thrilled with that plan... We look at the pictures now, and kinda feel bad about our smiles when she is so obviously upset. But what can you do? She is absolutely gorgeous, and perfect, and we expected that reaction anyway, because her report did say that she was afraid of strangers.

And boy, was it ever right...

Seeing her for the first time...

I think most babies did cry at one point or another. Ours only periodically stopped... We went back to our hotel, this time crossing the street with such precious cargo(our wonderful guide was covering us and stopping the cars!), and Yummy cried again, but also started to be aware and curious of her new environment, as she turned around if one of us left her sight or made a noise. S finally got her to smile a bit, and then he had to leave for an hour of paperwork. I held her, she fell asleep in my arms 5 minutes later, and I spent the next hour just holding her, staring at her in amazement.

When S got back, we quickly got ready to leave again for other administrative stuff, but before we left, he finally got her to really smile and even laugh. The world just stopped right then and there, and we didn't want to leave! But we did, and spent the afternoon in the same room as the morning.

This evening, we fed her a bit, gave her a quick bath, and then all she wanted to do was to be held quietly, and I was happy to oblige. She's now sleeping in her crib, we've had dinner and wine in the room, and it's somewhat unbelievable that she is here. I guess we'll believe it more when she wakes up hungry in a few hours, because she refused her cereals and only drank a half bottle tonight... ;o)

She's gorgeous, she's amazing, and she's now the center of our world...


2 hours before...

Less than 2 hours to go... and still breathing! Yay!!!

We spent the day walking and touring around yesterday, discovering Nanchang and its people. Loved it! The sights, the sounds, the smells, the smiling "hello's" from people on the street (we were the only north americans in town, it seemed...): everything is new, busy, and fascinating. I can't believe the constant honking from the cars: even in the middle of the night, with 2 cars on the road, one of them will be honking for sure! And crossing the street wasn't half as bad
or as scary as we expected: I guess Montreal drivers are the perfect training for China...

The contrasts are also amazing, everywhere, the most startling one being our super deluxe hotel, so close to poor neighbourhoods. We walked around yesterday, and ventured out in the small pedestrians streets, where they obviously don't see strangers often.We felt a bit like animals in a zoo, but were never scared or nervous. People are simply curious about us, and a smile will go a long way, even with such ahuge language barrier.

So now, we are in our room, waiting for the change counter to open and get yuans for some fees we'll have to pay later. The diaper bag is packed, even if it's just to cross the street and come back an hour later. We get the babies at around 11AM, and in theory, we are the first couple to get ours, according to the schedule our guide gave us last night. That's a bit nervewracking, as if we needed more stress!!! Oh well...

We come back at the hotel at around noon, and one of us has to go back for some paperwork at 12h30. Then, we go back out again at 2PM, for the picture, certificate, police, and the minister. Whew! That's going to be a loooong day...

OK, I'll be back later with pictures! :o))))))


From Nanchang!

Well, THAT was a looong day of travelling yesterday! And the day before, because somewhere along the way, a day kind of disappeared, or it felt like it. The long flight here wasn't half as bad as we thought it would be. It actually went really well!The plane was brand new, and we had individual TV's with touch programming. Fun!

I ended up spending more time with my iPod anyway: Mortimer'S Mom gave me "Top Chef" before I left, and I'm now completely addicted!!!

So, we're in China, and it feels amazing! Finally, we are here, and can barely believe it! The hotel is absolutely luxurious, we walked in to find a crib, a stroller and a baby bath.No more denial now! :o)

We are getting the babies Monday at around 11 AM. And now, we are off to explore a bit on our own, before we go to Wal-Mart for some last minute shopping this afternoon, and a visit to a budhist temple. With a group of 26 plus our (amazingly nice and fun!) guide, we rented a bus! ;o)

I'll post some pictures later tonight.



OK, so this is it! Everything is packed (I think...), 90 lbs of stuff so that two adults and a baby can survice in a 5-star hotel for 2 weeks (quite pathetic, isn't it?...) what had to be done has been done (I'm pretty sure...) and we're ready (NOT!!!). I've had my slight panic attack, the scotch and Grand Marnier are in the suitcase, and I just have to finish painting my toes before going to bed. Call me vain mommy. I'm not even bringing sandals, so why am I'm painting them? Because I still have time.

I'm really glad I started packing weeks ago: I don't see how I could have done it all this week, with the running around for last minute stuff that had to be done. Well, the baby's stuff took a long time: my stuff took an hour! Lists are your friends...

I feel like thanking so many people... If it takes a village to raise a child, it takes at least as much to go through the process of international adoption! We've been so blessed with help and support, the list of thank you's would be endless, and I don't want to miss my plane. So if you feel you might deserve a thank you, you absolutely do! And so much more than you can imagine. I'm still in awe of all the amazing friends I have...

Sooooooo... this is it... last full night of sleep for a while...

In theory, we are meeting Yummy on Monday. If nothing else, there will be pictures, I promise!

See you on the other side!

There's hope!

Big suitcase = baby stuff.
Smaller (but really cool, with 4 wheels...) suitcase = our stuff.

No baby quite yet, and already giving up space... Helloooooo, parenthood! How come we were never able to travel so light before??? Oh yeah, skis and boots and helmets and shovels and stuff... forgot about that...

Just a few more things left to do (YAY!!!), then we can have pizza, some wine, and go to bed before midnight!

OK, I'll be back before we leave..

A special thank you to Mary, who put things back into perspective while I was having a slight moment very much ressembling the first stages of a panic attack earlier this afternoon... Imagining that parking scene saved me! ;o)

How come...

... we had two years to get ready for this trip, and the day before, I'm running around like a headless chicken, with still a million things to do???


I love The Bay!!!

Apparently, they will replace the suitcase! Yay!

We'll go for something light: that one was 15 pounds, and we are only allowed 44!

48 hours to go, and the suitcase is too big...


Over a year and a half ago, when we didn't know better and thought that The Wait might only be a year (mouhahahahaha!!!), we bought two nice suitcases for the trip. In July of this year, they have increased the fees for overweight/oversized luggage, and one of our suitcases is over the size limit by 4 inches, and that's if there's absolutely no buldge. Don't know about weight yet... Now, if the agent at the gate is going for Employee of the Month and gets the measuring tape out, we could be fined 140$ each way. Yuck. That's more than the price of a good suitcase at The Bay, since they always have something on sale at 60% off.

All is not lost: we have a plan! We'll go back to the store tonight, explain our situation and the new luggage rules. And beg. With the picture strategically placed on the counter. Who could resist, right?... Right???...

OK, back too the endless list of things still to do. How come there are still so many details to take care of??? It's like we are leaving for a year!

And last week-end, toughtfull friends gave us a gift certificate to a really cool restaurant, for a last date night Before-Baby. Or rather, Before-Baby-Is-Ready-For-A-Babysitter... We're going tonight! :o)


Sad note of the week: it looks like the CCAA has sent referrals for the month, but again, they only covered a few days... It will have taken them 6 months to refer babies to all those who were logged in November 2005!!! That is just awful. I feel so sad for all those people still waiting, especially for those who, even considering the recent very slow rythm, were reasonably hoping for a referral this month and didn't get it. Rumour has it that they have matched families and babies further along, but for some reason, are not sending the referrals. If you are still waiting, please know that I'm thinking about all of you, and really really hoping that you see light very soon at the end of this long, dark tunnel.