Monday, March 02, 2009

Announcement

This has been a long time coming. I've always allowed anonymous comments on our blog because I've wanted to be open to questions/comments from people who might not be able to go public (a good example is an adoptee a while back who was posting questions and comments to our blog that she did not feel comfortable having her adoptive parents read). But at this point it has basically come down to this for me: either I stop the blog altogether, or I try blocking anonymous commenters and see how that goes. I just can't stand the negative and harsh comments coming from the pathetic anonymous commenters any longer. I am the kind of person who can get 20 wonderful comments, but it is the 1 hurtful one that gets stuck in my head. I'm just like that. And in the interest of self-preservation, I need to defend myself a bit from it. Do you have any idea the guts it takes to post something like I did last night? Do you have any clue how vulnerable that makes me feel? I blog, and make our blog public, for the reasons I wrote about recently in this post. But waking up this morning to what Anon-at-10:01 wrote... it is just like waking up to a kick in the gut. It stings. It touches on deep nerves. And surely, the author of that comment, if they are human, must know that.

Dear Anon-at-10:01,
You don't know my kids and you don't know me. Reading our blog does not make you knowledgeable about us at all. If you were my kid's teacher, or if you were my mother, or if you were our nanny, or a friend-of-our-family, then your opinion would matter. We work closely with our real-life-community to raise our three kids. But you, you have absolutely no idea how amazing my kids are -- and you have absolutely no idea how challenging they are to parent. I did not ask for your opinion. In the future, have the guts to tell us who you are... or don't leave a comment at all.

I've changed our blog settings to no longer allow anonymous comments.

33 comments:

Kathrin said...

I can't understand people like that. How much time must they have to read something simply to bith about it.

Nice going kicking those guys out!

Ani said...

I'm so sorry that, after a terrible, horrible, no-good, very bad day (and I think ALL parents have had AT LEAST one of those!) you had to deal with an un-called for anonymous comment...

Hope today is better than yesterday, and that you are all having a great Monday.

All the best.

ShannonC said...

First- on yesterday's post. Thank you for posting that. For those of us who struggle with the good the bad and the ugly, and learn how to incorporate so many positive things in life from the entries you post... reading these things provides a touch of REALITY. And nothing more. Crazy HARD days are a reality, and it is so comforting to know that we are not alone.

Second. Even as I am an avid reader who can not begin to qualify the things I've learned through this blog, I too am tired of those who are hateful and judgemental. I never ever thought I would say this... but given the hurtful, negative people trying to reach out to your family- when it's time end your blog, I can completely understand. i'll mourn it's loss, but be happy for what you've offered thus far.

Thanks so much. SO much!

ShannonC said...

I'm posting this again... sorry if it's a duplicate... it came back really funky.

First- on yesterday's post. Thank you for posting that. For those of us who struggle with the good the bad and the ugly, and learn how to incorporate so many positive things in life from the entries you post... reading these things provides a touch of REALITY. And nothing more. Crazy HARD days are a reality, and it is so comforting to know that we are not alone.

Second. Even as I am an avid reader who can not begin to qualify the things I've learned through this blog, I too am tired of those who are hateful and judgemental. I never ever thought I would say this... but given the hurtful, negative people trying to reach out to your family- when it's time end your blog, I can completely understand. i'll mourn it's loss, but be happy for what you've offered thus far.

Julie said...

Good morning Heather,
I just wanted to say that I absolutely love your blog, and really appreciated your bad day post. Your honesty and continued openness is so valuable for other families. I am sorry that you received that presumptuous comment (truly ridiculous). Please keep blogging. We love you on the good days, and on the bad days. Keep on keepin' on.

Warm regards,
Julie

Jess said...

I'm sorry to hear that you've had hurtfull comments...I hope that by eliminating anonymous comments you feel confident again on what an incredible job you are doing as a mother! And help you to see, you truly are an inspiration to many of us moms! Your honesty and willingness to be open has really enabled us to learn so much from you!

Tricia V. said...

I applaud the boundary-setting you're doing. Keep yourself (and your family!) happy and healthy - that is the MOST important thing.

Haitian-American Family of Three said...

I have left my blog open to anonymous comments as well and have been shocked at what people will say when there is no accountability-I totally support you using comment mod.

I read yesterdays post in the midst of our own horrible, difficult, will this day ever end day-and I felt such a sense of parenting comradeship-we are all in these trenches together.

Thank you for sharing, for being honest, and anyone who is not kind? Kick them off!

Leslie said...

Hey Heather,

I have a few thoughts...

First, about not posting anonymous comments - it sucks, but I wonder if we don't all get there at some point when we open ourselves up. I give you credit for sticking it out this long and letting people be people. I think it's a sign of a healthy individual to know when to set up the boundaries for their own personal well being.

As for your very bad day... Oh man, girl, count yourself as a VERY NORMAL PARENT. Any parent that doesn't have a few of those under their belt either has a nanny or sedates their children. Kids are kids. They are learning how to function in the world, how to express themselves etc. Sometimes the do get overwhelmed and all that they've managed to learn just breaks down. They will bit, they will hit, they will act out. IT'S NORMAL. No matter how well behaved or well disciplined they might be the rest of the time. This is a very good example of "it's not you, it's them" - meaning ill-meaning blog commenters. Really.

As for peanuts? Our daughter is 13 months. We've hardly baby proofed. She plays with small things all the time, probably things that most people would FREAK OUT ABOUT. My horror moment? When we realized our daughter wasn't in the house (living in Haiti everything is opened up through the day) and found her on the deck of the new building we're constructing. There was no railing on the flight of over a dozen stairs she had just crawled up and there was no railing on the deck, with a drop of about 10-12 feet. Yeah, we all screw up. I wonder how many people would scream bloody murder if I told them that I don't always put my kid in her car seat and that I have just held her in the sling when we've driven around the area? Sigh. Living outside of North America we get strange looks when people see our car seat because they think it's really funny that our baby has her own chair. It's all about perspective really.

There will always be people that will criticize the decisions we make or how we deal with things. If we can look our selves in the mirror at the end of the day and know that we really did try our best then their stuff is just that, their stuff. I appreciate that you had the guts to share what you did. How many people want to be that transparent to perfect strangers?

Emmers said...

I'm so sorry that you had such a rotten day, and then had a judgmental comment posted to your blog. I hate commenters like that, that think they know better than you, or are people who has no experience with exuberant twin boys who went a little wild for a while, but I bet are back to being their normal selves by now. I would never EVER think of giving you any advice like that, unless I actually knew what I was talking about. You are doing a wonderful job with them, and with your beautiful daughter (who has the most beautiful eyes, just so you know)

Good luck with the comment moderation - its a pain, but at least you can nip the hate in the bud.

Here's to beautiful snow days and the eventual coming of spring.

Christina said...

I'm not even a parent! But it makes me scared sometimes to see how judgmental people feel they have the right to be about these deeply personal things. And I'm not perfect -- I had some thoughts that weren't the most generous; not here but in other places. But I always try to think before I post, "how would I want someone to respond to me in this moment?"

I know that yesterday was one of those tough days that I can hardly imagine, and I know that was VERY difficult to write about. So again, hugs to you, hugs to your family, thank you for sharing with us. I hope the new policy can bring you some measure of peace of mind.

Momof3 said...

I do not allow negative comments on my blog either!

So, kudos to you for doing what you feel you need to do.

If someone has to hide behind anonymity to comment, then it isn't worth reading!

john said...

as for the comment, dont let it get you down to much. Its easy to make nasties over a computer screen. Dont take it to personal especially when kids are being kids. It has no reflection on you at all. My blog is 'gay dads in munchkin land,' can you imagine the comments i get?..lol. Sorry its hard for you to read that crap. But thats just what it is, crap. Your family is beautiful by the way. Chances are, the person who left that comment, doesnt even have kids, because if they did, they would realize that alot of kids have trouble at one point or another to contain their excitment. But the sun comes up and we start a new day. Oh, and bravo for leaving the park.

This Mama said...

Sorry to hear that happened to you guys. I think some people get a kick out of going around stirring up trouble on the internet and like you said have somehow forgotten (or maybe not) that there are real people on the other end who get hurt as a result.

I had the same thing and have a site tracker that lets me know their IP address. I think there is a way you can block certain IPs from accessing your site but I am not enough of a tech/coding kind of person...but I know you can.

Half-Pint said...

While I have only experienced indirect or passive agressive comments - I know the pain and insecurity negative people can create. I have only recently begun to follow your family blog - and run a blog of my own with similar experiences. Because I really love what you are doing I linked your blog - if you would like me to unlink I will be happy to do so. However, please know that it is wonderful to read the words of families who are similar to our own. Thank you for sharing yours.

Gail said...

Heather,

Having spent time with Kyle and Owen in restaurants, etc. I do know how challenging they can be--far more so than many (I've directed HeadStart Programs and worked in children's psychiatric wards so I speak from some experience). In their case it's not that they're emotionally disturbed or developmentally challenged. They simply have an incredible amount of energy that can be hard for them or anyone else to contain. They are two very healthy kids, thanks certainly in large part to the parenting you and Braydon provide.

GailMcCormick

Amy said...

I don't think I have ever commented on your blog, but have been reading for over a year now. You are what I long to be. The type of parent that raises loving, intelligent, love-to-learn, fun, caring, and still ornery kids. I don't have kids at home yet (I'm adopting my little guy from East Africa), but am a nanny to 5.5 and 2.5 year old boys. I know those days well! I'm so thankful you aren't closing the blog. It's part of my after work/destress routine. Thank you for sharing your wonderful family with so many. You are all an inspiration.

Abuela Beauty said...

Hi Heather...
I can´t understand all te text, because my language is Spanish, but every day I come here to take a look ..
To see that 3 lovely and cute faces..
Your blog is in my blogroll.
I think you and your husband are first of all, two great human beens (seres humanos =)..)
Just be you.., Like allways.
Don´t worry about stupid people that have not idea who you really are...and come here looking for ..what???
Kisses!!!
Your familiy is AMAZING!!!!
And you too!!!!!
(Excuseme for my little English)

Rumo Mom said...

I would be terribly disappointed not to have your blog to read. As a mom of teenagers I have gone through it all except for being a bi-racial family and we are now in the difficult process of adopting three brothers from Haiti. I have learned so much from your sharing.
It takes all kinds and I like to think that people like 10:01 are just lonely, unhappy, judgmental people and feel sorry for them. It makes me truly appreciate the blessings around me.

Amanda said...

Hi Heather! I don't comment regularly, but I do read and your in my feeder. I LOVE your photography and the way you write about your experiences.

As a fellow mom, I think you handled your "Bad Day" very well! You took charge, modeled good behavior in exchange for the bad, made a consequence...I don't see how anyone could get that your boys needed help from such a day!

Just thought I'd drop in and encourage you :~)

Claudia and John said...

Darling Heather I am so sorry that you have to go through that. Many people can be so very mean. We absolutely love your families posts and hope you continue.

I don't know if you stop over to my blog, but we have been going through some tough times with our two teenagers and quite understand where you are coming from.

Keep your chin up.

Love and Hugs,
Claudia

honor22 said...

You guys rock!

Erin

Melanie M. Smith said...

I am a constant lurker, never a commenter except for the requested intro but just wanted to say what an amazing family I think you have. My husband and I are in the very early stages of adopting from Ethiopia and I just (last Thursday, in fact) returned from P-au-P on a medical aid trip.

I can only imagine what a challenge it is to be a parent to three and no one has the right to make you feel guilty about all the hard work you do, both in and out of the home. I say if getting rid of anonymous comments makes you feel better, then so be it. This is your life you are inviting us (perfect strangers in my case) into and you have the right to dictate the terms. Congrats on doing a fabulous job so far and on being an inspiration to adoptive families everywhere!

Malia'sMama said...

So far, i have never had to endure the hurt of anon comment that's mean, but I am just like you- it would be the one thing I'd focus on. Glad they can't do that, anymore. As for the "expert" opinion- I work with kids, too, and he/she can kiss my... oops. Wel, you know :)

Charmed I'm Sure said...

I am an up-until-now "anonymous" reader of your blog, and I have to say, the idea that anyone (and in particular, any anonymous stranger) would condescend to publish anything critical about your parenting, children, family unit, etc. is incredible and appalling to me. The audacity!

Your writing is SUCH a gift to the blogosphere, in particular, to people who are interested in/affected by issues of adoption, race, family, sociology, relationships, etc., etc., etc. As a grad student, I really appreciate the perspectives both you and Braydon bring to this blog, and share with your readership. It is amazing.

Of course, I know nothing about you or your family, but I have to follow Erin (honor22) in saying, you guys do rock, no stranger has the right to judge or criticize you, and I am so sorry that some small fraction of your readership feels so entitled. I think that your work, and your willingness to share a bit of your family's experience are beautiful things, deserving not of criticism but of praise. I hope to one day follow your example, in both work and family.

Best,

Adina

cresmer said...

Heather,

I think people who write anonymous comments like that often don't understand the power of their words.

I deal with a lot of anonymous commenters -- part of my job is moderating all of our user-generated content -- and I find that often the best way to deal with commenters who post objectionable content is to email them and let them know that their comments were out of bounds.

Often, that one-on-one communication diffuses the situation. And frequently -- honest to God, frequently -- the person apologizes for what he or she wrote. I often hear things like, "as soon as I wrote it, I thought maybe I shouldn't have..."

It's true, there are malicious trolls out there who really just want to cause trouble -- and the less exposure you give them, the better, because they crave attention -- but I think most people who leave comments like the one you cited in your post just don't quite understand how their comments will affect you.

That said, you definitely don't have to apologize for banning anonymous comments. It's your blog, and it's your life, and you should only share it on your terms.

And thanks, by the way, for sharing it with us.

-- Cathy in Vermont

Christina said...

Okay, I am going to give you one piece of unsolicited advice, because I know just what you need....! :-) You should, if you haven't already, go back and take a look at that post that you wrote after you took the kids to see the African drummers. The joy was just jumping off the page, and you said at the end that "normalcy is overrated." Amen!

Waiting-Linda said...

Hi Heather,
I am a long time reader/lurker and have only commented once previously as you posted a request for those lurkers to introduce themselves, but I feel the need to comment now.
I would like you and Braydon to know how much it means to me (as a waiting adoptive parent and university student) to have your blog to read. You inspire me, I most likely would have not embarked on the academic journey I am currently travelling if I had not seen (figuratively speaking) how well (and I do mean well) you and Braydon balance your individual pursuits and travel your own life journeys in a responsible and considered way while also navigating your family through each day, celebrating life, each other and your beautiful children and the special and unique human beings that they are.
Thank you for your honesty! Your candid posts make me smile, laugh and cry. Your ideas and personal experiences prompt me to think about issues in new and different ways and revaluate personal beliefs and understandings.
From where I am sitting it appears as though you are achieving your “Top Ten reasons we blog”, I think this blog is a great gift to your family and children and as far as items seven through ten, I appreciate your generosity, your giving, you are ‘spreading the love’ and I feel ‘the joy’.
Thank you for your courage, you have helped me through the past two and a half years while we have been waiting for our child or children from Ethiopia and I hope I can keep reading your blog for the next three or four years of waiting (the Australian adoption process is quite lengthy).
I agree ‘normalcy is overrated’ :)
Linda

sarahlou89 said...

Hi, I've never commented before but I read your blog all the time and I think you're amazing!! I don't have kids but I appreciate that you make your blog public and I don't think anyone has the right to criticise your family based on what they read here.
So I just wanted to add to the positive comments in an attempt to outweigh the negative ones :)
Sarah

Cheryl Alander said...

Hi Heather,
I just set up my posting acct.
I hope yesterday was better for you. There will be a day when you won't even remember the Jungle Fun incident. Believe me!
Press on. You're doing a great job.
love,
Cheryl

Maman Tangie et Papa Michel said...

Hello! I just found your blog. You seem to have amazing kids! You little boys are beautiful, seems happy and full of energy. I love the way that they love their sister!

I am currently waiting for the adoption of my filipino child, and I can't understand people in 2009 that still are racist, have negative comments, and who can't leave happy people be proud of their family!

Your blog is fun and true! Way to go! :D

Tangie

Julie said...

Hey H&B,

It's Julie, Jackson's mom. I'm an occasional reader and happened upon this latest post...that person was nuts. I would trust you both with my children in a heart beat. And, I'm counting on hearing your advice once our China adoption has been completed and we're swirling with all sorts of 1st time adoptive parents. So don't let the knuckleheads get you down. You're doing great.

Bek said...

People can suck sometimes. I am sorry for the hurt feelings.

I cannot TELL you how many times I have scooped up a naughty child and had to take the WHOLE family home with tears in my eyes (or a full grocery cart left in the aisle). This is just part of parenting and you shouldn't feel self consious about it at all. It has less to do with parenting than it does with our kids learning and testing their wings. They all have off days and anyone who doesn't really understand that is not functioning in the same world the rest of us are (or they are lying).

You are a wonderful mamma. From what I can tell, your boys are similar to my 4 year old and the fact that you do it with TWO of them blows me away EVERY SINGLE DAY. My ONE boy is more work than the other three girls combined (and two of them are special needs kids). You are awesome.

And, I want to eat Meera's cheeks with guac. Really.