186 – No Answers, Just Goodbye

Lynn, from Danville, Virginia knew she was adopted, but she never knew the secret that hers was a kinship adoption… and she had always known her birth mother.

So, Lynn didn’t have a reunion as much as a re-introduction to her birth mother through the lens of her true relationship to Lynn.

Meeting her birth father, things started off great but the honeymoon faded leaving Lynn confused, but open to exploring how to repair things.

Lynn spends her extra time advocating for young pregnant women at a clinic where she lives and she hopes adoptive parents will educate themselves about how to navigate adoption.

This is Lynn’s journey.

Who Am I Really?

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Today. I want to remind you that November is national adoption awareness month. It's a month that opens the lens of adoption to focus on more than adoptees it's focused on adoptive parents birth mothers, adopted people and support and advocacy for a better all around adoption experience.

activities, date back to the:

From the adoptee point of view, our community usually focuses on raising adoptee voices to be heard amidst the crowd of adoptive parents and adoption agencies who have commonly dominated the space. We elevate the voices of LGBTQ plus trans racial international, and other adoptees to highlight the ups and downs of their adoption experiences.

We explore DNA discoveries and various reunion experiences. We support one another through the traumas of our lives and adoption, or we celebrate the opportunities. Some of us believe we've gotten because of adoption.

the hashtag N AA M or N a M [:

To express your thoughts and feelings about what adoption means to you.

Cold Cut Intro


And I just couldn't get it from either one of 'em.

Show Intro

[:loring how to repair things. [:



She told me she grew up with the knowledge that she was adopted, but the circumstances for her adoption were kept a secret. Lynn's adoptive mother is her birth. Mom's aunt, her biological great aunt.

So my birth it was always confusing. My birth mother's mother. . Was my mom's sister. Yes. So my actual biological grandmother, I grew up thinking she was my aunt.


[:her reasons at that time, my [:ou know, of course this is in:

And the reason she came to Danville, she came to Danville with her mother was because a family member had passed away and they were going to a funeral.

[:[:[:[:y the day before I was born. [:

So , they drive back to Durham. And my mom's story to me was she saw me in the nursery in the bassinet and she just said, let us take her. And at first it was supposed to be temporarily till things got figured out. So they , they brought me from the hospital back to Virginia my birth mother from what I understand stayed for a few days.

And then she went back home to North Carolina and they ended up adopting me. So as I'm growing up, , I'm a normal kid. I don't think as a kid that I was sad about being adopted necessarily. It didn't click with me until I was 10, 11 years old, where I really started asking questions.

as never a secret that I was [:

So I always asked, well, why did she do that? Well, where is she? And I wanted to know everything. Mm-hmm and I was never given any answers. She claimed she didn't know anything.


I just wasn't close with my mother. We never connected. We never bonded. I tried, you know, because I, I truly wanted a mother-daughter relationship. I can remember clinging to my friend's moms, you know, and families, because I just didn't have that. I just didn't feel that unconditional love. I have a brother that was their biological child and he's eight years older than me and I felt the difference.


My mom was very critical of me. My mom was raised in a very strict home. I'm assuming, you know, I didn't know her parents, they had passed away, but she was, she was very critical of me. She was very hard on me and I felt like I was suffocating because I couldn't be what she expected me to be.

And I tried, you know, I was always trying to please her and it just, I never could, my, my father was around, but he wasn't present. If that makes any sense. He, yeah, he was just the dad that went to work and did his thing. And, you know, he was, he was just around I didn't have any kind of relationship with him.

Good or bad, to be honest. And my brother and I were not close. . We fought like typical brother and sister, but you know, nothing bonded with he and I either. And I was never jealous of him by any means. I just, I just felt the difference mm-hmm into adulthood felt the difference. Wow. And so could


He was always in trouble. And I was trying, you know, I was making decent grades and doing all the right things and still, you know, he was just babied and favored. And there was no affection from my mom. I don't remember ever, you know, having, you know, the cuddle time or in her lap type of things. I don't have any memories of that.

ack. I feel like my parents, [:

But he was definitely her baby


So that was not not a good time. I mean, I was 16 and I had essentially been lied to my entire. And this woman was in my life. I mean, she was a close family member that we saw on a regular. Wow. And I call them, you know, my birth family, which they are, but I always called 'em the Durham family, cuz they, they lived in Durham, North Carolina.

And so she had sisters and she, you know, her mom and she had a daughter that is 14 years younger than me. And so I had a grandparent that I didn't know about. I mean, it was just, it just was hard for me to accept.


Yes. Your younger sister would be two. Is that right? Yes. Correct. So not only are you trying to fathom that this person is your biological mother, but this person that you've just been introduced to as that woman has a daughter?


She you know, but she was already divorced from my sister's father, biological father and my birth mother in her defense had no idea my mom was gonna do this. So it was a surprise to her and she wasn't happy about it from, you know, my memory. She wasn't happy that she wasn't informed and I, I wouldn't blame her.

But she still wanted it to be kept a secret. Now immediate family members did know, but she didn't want her daughter to know which at two, I mean, you know I just can remember shortly after I had a family member that was getting married and my birth mother called me and she said, listen, I don't, I don't want people to know.

was like, I didn't know what [:

Mm-hmm so as time progressed you know, it was, it was just weird. Anytime we had family get togethers, because I felt, it just felt odd. You know, when my mom and my birth mom were in the same room at this point but they adored each other and, you know they got along fine. It was just uncomfortable for my birth mother and I

[:[:you know, I felt like I all [:[:[:

I don't remember one in particular. I think she was just at a point she was tired of me asking and we did not get along. And I'm, you know, I had my moments of, you know, you're not even my real mom. I did do that. And I think she just got tired of it and she said, listen, I'm just gonna tell you the truth.

barrassed by it. So it was a [:

And I said, not gonna do it. Absolutely not. And at 17 I'm angry. You know, at the whole thing, like I'm not understanding anything. My birth mother had gone through I'm I'm not gonna lie about that. Mm-hmm and here I am pregnant at 17. She was 19. If you know, I'm, I'm not gonna do that. Mm-hmm and I was still with the father of my baby, but we didn't rush to get married.

There's there's other stories in there about that too. Mm-hmm , that's not pertaining to my being adopted, so mm-hmm You know, it was, it was hard for, us, obviously he was 21, so he was a little bit older and but we waited and we got married when my son was six months old. Oh. But I can remember when he was born and we're still married today.

t I can remember when he was [:

And I don't know if people that knew me, would've ever thought that I think I, I played a role pretty well. And just tried to hide and compartmentalize because. anytime I tried to talk to my mom, I adopted mom about feelings that weren't positive she would shut me down. So I never felt like I could express the hard parts of being adopted mm-hmm and then the hard part of finding out who my birth mother was and the secret.

in me, you know, it was just [:[:[:

I was just angry, angry and bitter. Because I didn't, I, I didn't understand, you know, I was determined to do whatever it took to keep my baby and I knew it would be hard and it was hard. Do you remember those were my emotions, you know, just how could she do this? Yeah. And how could they lie to me?


Lynn's birth mother finally told her youngest daughter about her older sister that she had placed for adoption in another part of the family. The young lady was excited to

have a sister

[:n that she did make and, and [:

I'm sure those were, you know, all of her thoughts. And so as we started to get closer, of course, I'm, I'm asking all the questions . And so throughout the years, in my twenties and thirties, it was never the same answer. You know, I, she. Gave me scenarios, like at point blank, she, she seemed to not know who my birth father was, but she mentioned an, an Italian on a cruise ship that she met and had a shipboard romance.

So I start searching and she gave a name, said he was from bologna Italy, and I'm searching, you know, I'm doing all the things. This is in, you know, when the internet is popping and, you know, I'm starting to try to figure out ways that I can find this person. And then she said she had a one night stand with a guy that went to college at duke university.

So she never [:

We were at a wake, a family member's wake and some family members This was on my dad's side of the family. Had not seen me in a long time since I was a little girl and my husband and my son were with us. And the, it was three women standing behind the podium. And I remember them just saying, oh, you know, she's grown up so beautiful.

im and my husband is shaking [:

No, because he knows I wanna. Say something mm-hmm right. That's my personality. I'm defensive and especially with my mother. And he's like, don't not here. And I remember walking out of that building and going to my car in tears and I called my birth mother and told her about it. And I was like, you know, why would she do that?

In hindsight? My birth mother was the last person. I should have vented that too, because I think it just made her feel bad. You know, she knew the relationship. Wasn't great. Yeah. And I think a part of me wandered her to, you know, why did you do this to me? mm-hmm, I, I think that's, you know what I was trying to convey to her.


You created this situation that I never have to live through, right?

at else I could possibly do. [:

And I would say, am I doing this wrong? Like, I don't understand why we cannot have a relationship. And I, I just, one of those things I'll never know and understand she has passed away. My mom passed away. She had C O P D and

and that was an odd time for me as well. You know, because we weren't close. So it's, there's things about her that I miss, of course, but being that we didn't have that relationship it's not the typical mother-daughter relationship. Yeah. So it's been strange for me. I was there, she was in a hospital where she passed away and I was with her.

And you know, I was able to say some things in her ear that I have no idea if she heard,



And I did see


You know what I


It's not that she was a horrible person to be perfectly honest. I think she just didn't know how to maneuver it. And in my heart of hearts, that is. I want for adoptive parents to understand and listen to what adult adoptees are saying. Mm-hmm because I think you, or I think she felt like she was bringing this baby home and she can, you know, it's a, it's a blank slate.

of what she thought I should [:

And it was just a difficult scenario. I don't recommend kinship adoption, unless you're gonna be completely honest. Mm-hmm I think the lies and the secrets are just, you know, in adoption period, I don't agree with the lies and secrets, but especially in a kinship adoption

[:That is crazy. That's really [:[:[:[:hat, it's a long story to it [:

She has met her birth father. It's not, we're not as involved with him. But you know, there's no secrets. And now that she is almost 11 and I remember my timeframe of questions. Right. So I'm always wondering, you know what she's thinking? She doesn't talk about it. She doesn't ask questions like I did, so she may not be inquisitive.

nderstand as an adoptee, but [:

So it's almost like I'm holding my breath for what's to come , you know? Yeah. Is it gonna be, is it gonna be good? Is it gonna be bad? How is she gonna handle her adoption story? So, and I have no idea. I'm trying to make it as healthy and as good as it can be. And you know, I don't know, she's not me, you know, so I have no idea how she will feel and she can't articulate it at this age.


And that's what it is. Yeah. And I want her to understand that. I understand that, you know, I want her to feel like she can have a voice about it and she can be sad and she can be mad and. she can be okay. And to me, adoption is beautiful. How could I not think it's beautiful by looking at my daughter, but I also understand that it's not always beautiful and it sucks.

And you know, I, I fully get it. .


Lynn concentrated more on the DNA, health report, less on the genetic matches that pop out for us Then one day Lynn noticed two second cousins had appeared as biological connections. Just testing the waters. Lynn decided to message the cousins individually to see if either had an idea who her birth father might be.

About a week later, one responded.

He said he would speak with his mother and his aunt. Another week went by and the cousin came back and said he felt like they'd figured things out

[:he has two daughters and he [:

And I couldn't really, I saw that he had brown eyes but as far as looking at him and seeing myself in him, I didn't so much see that in the pictures, but I could see myself in his two daughters and I was like, okay, now what do I do? So right. I, you know, Googled and literally the man lives 45 minutes down the road.

Oh, in North Carolina and I sat on it for about three months and hadn't talked to my birth mother about it. Hadn't talked to my FA my father is still living my adoptive father and he is remarried. He's had a few strokes. His health is not great, but he is still living. I hadn't talked to them about it.

d talk to my half sister, my [:

I had a friend that was willing to make the phone call for me. I wrote down my information of my birth mother when I was born, you know, things that would be pertinent. And she said, I'm go, I'm gonna think on this and pray on this for a few days. I'll let you know when I reach out cause we found a number just by Googling him.

And it was one night I, I was laying on the couch because I had a headache and I get a text from her and she said, what did you say your birth mother's maiden name was? And I texted the maiden name. And as soon as I texted it, I was like, oh my gosh, She's talking to him. Mm-hmm she has to be talking to him.

Right. So a little [:

Oh boy. And so but he called her back and he left her message. She didn't answer. And, and he left her message and he said, I hear you're looking for me. And she still has the voicemail saved on her voicemail. She doesn't know how to get it where I could have it. Cuz it's really cute. But he said, I hear you looking for me.

ve a story for you. wow. So, [:

So. He said that he was at a friend's apartment complex, which was where my birth mother apparently lived. And , the way he described it, he said this beautiful blonde hair, blue eyed woman was getting groceries out of her car. And he said, my 21 year old self decided to roll down the window, flirt with her and asked her if I could help her with those groceries.

she said, well, sure, you can, we're having a party. You wanna come? he said, yeah. So he goes up to her apartment. There's a, you know, apartment full of strangers. He did not know. And what kind of party in there're doing? I don't know. I didn't ask. And he says, he's, this is his story. So he says he is there for a little bit, and he notices that she goes into a bedroom with who he called muscle.

d they go into a bedroom and [:

Cuz that's where my mind went. Like, wait, what is going on? So

[:[:[:[:t excited if you know what I [:[:[:

She started calling him. She showed up at his work. He worked at a car lot and she's like, I'm pregnant. And this is your baby. And his response was, hold on. we never, you know, how could that be? My baby and she said, it is your baby. And he's like, I don't, I don't know you. How do I know? You know, this is the what's going on with him.

Like, I, I can't have a baby right now and I don't even know who you are. Right. and she goes through her pregnancy. And he says after I would, this is where it gets weird. He says after I was born, that she brought me as an infant to the car lot and said, this is your baby. Look at her. She looks just like you.

said, that looks like a baby [:

He said he had several phone conversations, you know? Wow. In retrospect to, the claim of the, my being his, so I guess that's where she finally gave up. But he says that she tried really hard. And. He went on with life, met his, wife that he's married to now. And he said he did tell her about it.

hing comes up and, And so he [:

Anyway, backing up to my friend, when she's telling me everything, he said, I was like, oh my gosh. And she said, yeah, he knew exactly who it was. And she said, Lynn I think his memory is very vivid. , he didn't miss a beat in telling me any of this. And I said, was he willing to take a DNA test? She said, here's the kicker.

He's already on 23 and me. Right. And I said, what? And she said, yeah. And I said, well, if he was on 23 and me, and he's my birth father, we would've connected. And she said, yeah, he doesn't know, he doesn't know anything about it. His daughter talked him into doing it. So he's gonna get his daughter to help him with it long and short.

a wink that night. I was in [:

He did message me on 23 and me, and he said, I hear we're related. mm-hmm still have that message. And he said, he asked me to give him a little bit of time to process it. And he did tell my friend, , he talked with her after they got the result and he's it bothered him that, you know, he said, now that I've raised two girls, I know what I've missed.

And he, he felt bad. And my friend said, I feel so bad for him because he legit feels really bad about it. And I said, well, I don't want him to feel bad about it. I mean, it is what it is. And I completely understand his thoughts on it. He, he didn't know her, you know, he had no idea what kinda life she , what she was doing. I didn't hold anything against him for that at all.


The man's family was welcoming to Lynn's husband, her son, and her grandson accepting them as part of the family to. They wanted to introduce Lynn to other parts of the family so her birth father started making phone calls to introduce her to others and a family reunion was being



I mean, talked on a daily with her and spent time with her during the pandemic situation. And she had a young daughter that was close in age to my daughter, and they both shared a love of horseback riding and they just clicked and they were excited to have, you know, they were cousins and they were excited.

e didn't handle it very well.[:

And she said, okay. And I said, do you remember a man by the name of, and I said, his name, well, the look on her face it was, she didn't have to say anything. It was just her look. And my sister immediately went mom and my birth mother said, it's not him. She got this defensiveness about her. And she said, it's not him.

was him? and literally wore [:

You've mentioned all kinds of different scenarios and different men, but you never mentioned him. I why? And she said, because he made me believe it wasn't him and that's her response to it. I don't know if she, the trauma of all of it for her, she said she just never thought about him again.

I have a hard time believing that.

[:[:of time. She did live with us[:

And . I think I wanted more from her than what she could give me. Mm-hmm and in retrospect, I may have tried too hard or pushed too hard. I, I don't know. I don't know what her side of that story would be. But we were still family. We still got together.

You know, we even took some beach trips together, you know what I'm saying? Like we, we saw each other on a regular it was always me trying to make the effort and she has admitted to that more recently. But when this happened, when he came about. She started acting different. She didn't verbally say anything.

She said she was happy for me that I found him. Mm-hmm she gave my sister a hard time because I wanted my sister to meet them. And she did not want that. She didn't tell me that, but she did tell my sister that she said, you're my daughter. I don't, I don't want you sharing that part of her. And so my sister started feeling like she was in the middle and I didn't wanna put her there either.

ted treating me differently. [:

And even my sister recognized it, she said, yes, it's different. Wow. And so I just kind of got really tired of that. I got tired of trying so hard with her. So we are not, we, we haven't spoken in almost two years. Mm. And the last conversation I had with her, you know, I, I like to communicate, I like getting it out there.

I'm, I'm a truth teller, even if it's hard to hear the truth. And I, I want that in return and not everybody wants that. And I just point blank asked her, you know, like what is going on? Like, what is your, like, we couldn't even bring his name up. She didn't wanna hear about it. Didn't wanna know about it. And I said, I can respect that.

denies that she was. And she [:

And when she said that and I said, well, that's really hard for me and sad for me because that's who I am. Mm-hmm and it's because of you that I am, I mean, I'm adopted my daughter's adopted, I don't want this to be uneasy for you, but it can't always be the good parts. Right. And that's just the way that it is.

all of that back up for her, [:

Yeah, sure. You know, I, she's not opening up to me, but I just, I did say to her, I said, I really hate for you to go to your grave, not healing from this and still being angry at him. Cuz I would've loved for her to meet him and say, Hey, you know what? This is funny all these years later yeah, right. I mean he could have done it, but she wasn't willing.

And so we, we just stopped talking and she's not made any effort on my birthday. She sent flowers, but didn't sign the card, but I know it was her and. She doesn't acknowledge my daughter though. That bothers me more than anything. Like, I don't care what would happen between me and my son.

gonna keep her away from her.[:

I never would. Right. And I wouldn't the two


Because she said, I, when I made the comment, I hate for you to go to your grave without healing from this and having the bitterness you do. And she said, I don't have a choice. That's what she said. Oh, wow. So, so I feel bad for her in that way, but I can't help her, you know? I feel like I'm a thorn in her side, to be honest, I'm a reminder.

That's just how I felt. .Before we stop talking. So I don't, I haven't seen my sister in a year either. Now we've talked, you know, you have the whole pandemic thing. My sister's a nurse, so we were very careful about being around family members. But even since all that and things opened back up, I, I saw her twice, I believe.

ay, I haven't seen her since [:

This is what she told me. She started backing off and she said it was because we chose not to get vaccinated. And she said, that's why she wouldn't be around us because we weren't vaccinated. Mm-hmm I think there's more to it. But she refuses to be around us. And he has tried to say, can we have a cookout and be outside?

I'm willing to wear a mask. I was willing to do whatever, you know, once things open, back up. And I know she goes out in public and lives life mm-hmm right, right. Gotta be more to it than that. And he says the same thing. He said it has to be more to it. We unexpectedly ran into them at a horse show that we went to in North Carolina and they were there.

And my [:

But she refused. And I said, I don't understand why. And we were outside. I said, I don't understand why. Hmm. So, and I reached out to her two times and I said, Hey, you know, if it's anything I've done anything I've said, talk to me, you know, because I'm not aware of it. And she's just not. So I gave up on that.

[:birth father and his wife to [:[:

So right now I don't speak to either one of them pretty much. I mean, I think he would speak to me. It's not that we're on non-speaking terms, but , it's just, you know, and I even told him, I said, listen, that's your daughter. And she comes first. That's your family. I'm not trying to come in between you.

I wish I knew what it was. I, I would be willing to talk to her about it, where I could defend myself or apologize or whatever it is that whatever issue she has. I don't know what it is.


It's crazy.


What does it matter? well, it matters as much as I wish it didn't. It matters. Yeah.

[:een through it, it's like, I [:

And this may not be right. I can't fathom what it would be like to be an amputee. You know what I mean? I've never, ever lost a limb, so I can't speak to that experience at all. And I might just say, why don't you just move on? Like, just get a crutch or whatever, you know? And it would be totally insensitive to place my callous non examination of what the situation is actually like on someone else and just be like, move on.

And, and I think that people, because true, you know, 90 plus percent of the population grows up in what we consider to be a mostly traditional family. It's really hard for people to, to grasp that you didn't grow up knowing all the facts that I know. And so it's just, it's hard for people to be sensitive to that.


I'm more empathetic to people because like what you just gave the example of an amputee or you're black and I'm white Damon. I can't understand what it's like to be a black person. Mm-hmm I can't, my daughter is biracial. I that's a whole nother, you know, the transracial adoptee thing. That's an example that a friend of mine, this black gave me, he said, I, I can't understand what it's like to be an adoptee anymore.

Then you can understand what it's like to be a black man. so I do try to have empathy for people that go through things

I'm trying to write a book and my birth mother, then the last conversation we had, she said, I'd really like to read what you've written so far and I'm not, I'm not ready for you to read it. Mm-hmm she can't stand that.

to be quiet about it. That's [:

Yeah. You know, I want these adopted parents. They need to be educated. They need to understand what they're getting into. mm-hmm and it's not, these babies grow up. We grow up and my daughter is gonna grow up. And I don't, I'm fully aware that I have no idea how she's gonna feel about being adopted or, you know, she's, in my mind, she's in a great home, a loving home.

We couldn't love her more. And I promise you, I don't love her any different, more or less than my son. Who's biological mm-hmm . And my husband feels the same way. But I have to respect her part of the story and what she, how she'll feel. I want other adoptive parents to be aware and I want 'em to get it.

because the secrets and the [:

There's no way. Right. You know, in a perfect world, we wouldn't need adoption. .

[:ed this situation it's over, [:

Like right. You, you can't go back and change it. It is what it is. And you felt how you felt about it since you found out. And so, she kind of has to be a grown woman and accept what's happening. Yeah. And hopefully this will be an avenue for you guys to discuss again. What has transpired between you, what your feelings are, things like that.

But if it's not you're not talking anyways and now your story's out there and you've owned it. So right. I would prefer obviously, and I'm sure you would, that it would be an opening for you guys to start a conversation. But if it's not like there's not really anything you can do.

And I think, no, it's not, you'll feel better once you've expressed your story and helped other adoptees and other adoptive parents along.

[:ou know, future adoptees and [:

And I think I just want, I just want better for the triad in general. Mm-hmm , you know, I think birth mothers need counseling. My birth mother never had counseling. Right. And I, she needed it. She needed something to help her work through her trauma and her hurt and I don't negate that.

So I would never want her to negate my feelings.

[:oh my gosh, I'm so glad you [:

so just try to go into it. I agree with the satisfaction of knowing that this is for you cuz listen, you and I, we're not writing the next great American novel like this. Isn't gonna it's unlikely to be a movie, but it is important for you to express yourself what you've been through and other adoptees will pick up your book and pull nuggets from it and go, yeah, she put into words what I've been feeling and that will be meaningful for them.

And you may never know it. The people who are deeply impacted by your writing they might not ever reach out. They may never DM you and say, listen, I just wanted to let you know I'm so thankful you wrote your book. It's the people who wanna reach out and complain that take the time to sit down and write something cranky.

Right. Right. But the people that you deeply impact, they may never, ever, ever, ever reach out. And you just have to know in your heart of hearts that you probably touched at least one person and be good with that.


I wish I knew her better. But I think if I could leave that piece with my children, I think it would mean something.


Your entire story, you know, this is, thank you. These kinship adoptions are always interesting to me. And to hear that you learned at a, at a vulnerable age who your biological mother was, is really fascinating because you then ended up living with that your entire life. And, I, wish that you had had more of the connections, the deep ones that you wanted throughout your life, but I'm sure that you probably get that fulfillment in being a parent to your son and to your daughter and, and your grandson.

So that's really awesome. Yes. I'm you get that


So I guess blood's not always thicker than water.



[:reasons why Lynn and her mom [:

His remorse for what he missed raising Lynn sounds genuine. And it sounds like they could have a good relationship, but as is so often the case when the honeymoon fades away, the reality of people's true selves comes out and it can change how adoptees are received in their biological families.

Lynn volunteers at a pregnancy center where she strives to make young pregnant girls, like she was at 17 be aware of their choices to parent. Abort or place their child for adoption.

She feels they should have a full understanding of what each choice means . For them and for their child, good or bad. Lynn said she was shamed when she was pregnant at that young age, she knows her birth mother was shamed too.

And she'd like to help make things better for everyone in the adoption triad.

something in Lynn's journey [:

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