Friday, March 05, 2010

Top 10: Reasons For Going Private

Top 10: Reasons For Going Private
  1. We are so very sick and tired of the hurtful, nasty comments. In truth, we get about 100 positive comments for every negative one.  But the negativity stings. Trying to stay honest, and allow ourselves to be vulnerable, while people (most of whom find ways to stay anonymous) slap us in the face... it has been very challenging. We've tried to keep our chins up. But we can't do it anymore. It came down to this: quit blogging altogether, or go private. We've decided to try going private.
  2. Comments, like this one, from a couple of months ago:  "I read your blog and enjoy your discussions. However your grammar makes me wince. It detracts from the great content. I believe that all writing should use appropriate grammar and syntax. You really need to take a writing course." Nice. Honestly, I am an academic, a published author (of "real" publications). I know how to write with formal prose and proper grammar. I choose not to on this blog. For a bunch of reasons. And I don't want to have to defend that.
  3. But the comments that really cut deep are the ones about more substantive aspects of our lives. Comments, like this one, from a couple of weeks ago: "Why is it that adoptive White parents feel the need to mess with Black childrens' hair! Your kids are NOT Jamaican, why the forced dreadlocks??!! It looks ridiculous! You aren't raising Bob Marley's!"  
  4. Or, comments, like this one, from a few days ago: "If it is so hard for you to leave your baby then why do you do it? Mothers who really care about their children prioritize their children over their own selfish desire to WORK. If a woman isn't willing to dedicate herself fully to raising her children then she shouldn't have children in the first place, let alone adopt them!!! Nothing is more important than your children. If you truly cared you would not leave them with a NANNY!!!!!!!!"
  5. Or, comments, like this one, from yesterday (comment made to a post I later removed which included photos of our baby Meera, not always fully clothed): "You people are sickos! Seriously! You're sick! You should be arrested and jailed for these photos of your daughter. This is classified as child porn. You are sick!!!!!!!" 
  6. If you can't take the heat, get out of the kitchen. Right? Right. Well, we've tried to stick it out, and maybe we're wimps, or weak, or too sensitive... I don't know. However you look at it, we're ready to get out of the kitchen. Or, alternatively, (as I like to think of it), we're kicking the haters out of our kitchen. Because in our kitchen we have rules. The same rules that apply to every room of our home. And right at the top of the 'House Rules List' is this one: If you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all. At least with a private blog we can lay down the law-- if readers don't play by the rules they're not invited to our Party [of Five]. 
  7. There are lots of other benefits to going private too. Benefits we've been contemplating for a long time now. First and foremost is that we will feel more free to write about some of our more real issues, our more sensitive subjects, our more touchy topics. We want to write more, for example, about our trials, tribulations, and triumphs in regards to issues related to working women/dual-career-households/egalitarian relationships/gender-bending/etc. We have felt very constrained in this arena because we've been so fretful of the dreaded negative comments to anything we post on this subject. We look forward to being able to be less "careful" where these subjects are concerned.
  8. We'll feel more liberated to write without worrying about who might be reading. This has been especially problematic where our own professional lives are concerned. I have always worried about students of mine, colleagues of mine, or potential professional connections of whatever sort reading this blog. In many respects, this blog has kept me grounded and real and honest. It allows that gray fuzzy area between the public and the private to be more transparent. But in other ways I look forward to not worrying so much about the 'who might be reading?' question.
  9. Photos. With a private blog we'll be more comfortable continuing to post photos of our children on the internet. We are always cognizant of the fact that nothing on the web is truly "secure." But a private blog will help us feel a little less vulnerable.
  10. K & O are turning six in May. Meera is turning two in May. They are getting older. How will they feel about this old blog when they're teenagers and older? Going private will feel a little less 'exposed,' and, for their sakes especially, I think that is more and more important as they get older.
So, we're moving on. We're taking our party 'underground.' The good news is that it is still going to be a big ruckus party! (Based on all the emails I've been receiving since yesterday's announcement, it looks like we'll be taking a few hundred readers with us). It is really sad to end this blog as we've known it. The saddest part of all, for me, is knowing that we won't be out there -- loud and proud -- to support, in whatever tiny ways our blog has, those folks out there in the blogosphere looking for companionship on these crazy journeys so many of us are on.*  I am humbled beyond comprehension by the hundreds (thousands, actually) of people who have read our blog and told me of the very real and meaningful ways that it has made them think, or has helped them to feel less alone. Just in the past day I have read hundreds of notes from people all over the world telling me that they've been reading daily for 2 or 3 years. That is just mind-boggling to me. The things you all have said to me in these emails are beyond touching. They are moving, and inspiring, and so gratifying. Thank you so much for reading and following along with our story. We're telling it mainly for us and for our kids (hopefully they will look at the blog some day?), but it is amazing to know that it has meant so much to so many more out there.

*For this reason, we will be keeping this blog located here for at least a good long while. People will thus still be able to find us, and, if so inclined, can always request access to our new 'private' blog.

So, adios --for now-- amigos! And hello to a whole new era of our blogging!


honor22 said...

H & B,

I was really hoping there weren't 10 reasons why you were going private. I truly hope this will be a change for the better for you. I'm fairly certain it will be. Recently being on the other side of the microscope through some press our family received, I know how painful the hurtful comments can be.

Love your family and your blog.


C Golden said...

please add my to your list of preferred readers I love reading about your cute family. Whoever leaves those comments have obviously nothing better to do with their lives and hate their own. Love the pic of Meera!

H. said...

I already e-mailed you to be a reader :), but I just wanted to tell you that I am SHOCKED at the comments you have received...seriously??? There are people out there that are that RUDE who leave comments like that on your awesome blog? I truly, truly am inspired by you and your family and as I am also traveling down several of the same paths (parenthood, career, family, etc) as you, I love to read how you all are are my favorite blog, seriously, and I read many blogs on a weekly basis.
Haven't people ever heard the saying, "If you have nothing nice to say, then saying nothing at all..."?
Keep up your good work...your kids are so lucky to have awesome parents like you!!!

Juli said...

I totally understand why you've made this choice. I emailed you yesterday to continue reading.

I've been meaning to ask a question for a while now...
How do you guys do bath oil? We also use bath oil and it is such a mess. We apply it while the boys are still in the bathtub, but I hate the mess it makes in the tub, plus the baby slips around on it if I don't clean it thoroughly. Any suggestions?? Thanks!

Molly said...

Mean people SUCK! Ugh. it irks me SO much that people say nasty things to you guys. This has always been one of my all time FAVORITE blogs for so many different reasons. There are posts I've been tempted to print, file away until I have kids. I have to say, one of my favorite posts has always been the one with K and O in their tutus. Thanks for keeping the party going!! I cannot wait to go on the next part of this adventure with you guys!

Asiaha said...

Those are some real mean comments. Why can't people just be nice?? =(

Anonymous said...

Those comments are trash truely. Sorry you had to put up with s... like that.

Samantha and Woody said...

Oh, those photos were soooo sweet!
I love to look at all the photos my mother took of me when I was little, I think they show so much love, and it's the kind of love it's sometimes hard to remember once puberty hits. Your kids are so lucky to have all this love to look back on when they are older.

There are some weirdos out there. I stopped posting nekkid photos when I noticed someone had stumbled onto my blog by googling "beautiful boys". The person who made the p*rn comment is obviously one of them... shouldn't they be reported? It's a bit creepy that they don't realize that viewing photos of a 2 yr old as "p*rn" to the point where they would post that comment indicates a serious problem with perception if nothing else.

And to have criticism on style?!? Why? So confused. I guess you must have thousands of readers, because I know most people are pretty wonderful, so you must be encountering those "one in a thousand" that are not.

Looking foward to more!

Paige Mann said...

The only comment I have is how ridiculously cute ALL of the kiddos are! I guys should get some sort of citation for that. ;)


Amanda said...

i've always thought that if you don't have something nice to say, move on. if they don't like the way you live life, then, don't comment and better yet, don't visit.

i don't comment much, because of time. and to be honest, your life IS different from mine. but here's what I love about your blog:

1. you don't push your differences like you're the only ones in the world that are correct.

2. you have really awesome photography and real life photography.

3. you've always made anyone welcome.

4. your children are adorable. I love the locs! they pull it off well, and your little Meera is beautiful.

5. your raw and real and talk about real stuff. and fun stuff.

6. you're a haiti connection for me.

A great read, really. I enjoy the visits I make over here and would love to be included in your private blog. and how'd you like my horrendous grammar :D

Dawn in NC said...

Thank you so much for your kind comment on my blog, Heather. I'm one of the many people who wrote asking to be included when you go private. If you approve me, is there an access code I need?

I'm so sorry about those horrible, hurtful comments from mean people. One of the reasons I'm grateful to only have a couple dozen readers on my blog is that I haven't been subjected to horrible, mean comments like that.

Thank you for continuing to write and share your lives and teach the rest of us through your experiences.

RamblingMother said...

This is one of the very few times I have posted a comment to your blog. I would love to follow if you have room. I will understand if you don't. I wondered if the cute neckie baby pictures would get mean comments I hoped not but there are always trolls around. So sorry to read of you receiving them. Your boys hair really is no one elses business!

Malia'sMama said...

I had nooo idea you'd had to endure anything like that. And, the comment about the boys' hair... crazy.
I have never had a negative comment- guess I am nt interesting enough to attract ire, but am definitely with you on the private blog being a much better way to go. When I can find the time, I think that is hw mine will play too, as I have mentioned there, before.
Hugs to you- I emailed you to keep reading yesterday- I hope, I hope!!! :)

Stephanie and Gary said...

Hi - I just discovered your blog through the blog roll of a friend of mine. I went back many months and found a connection in your words to many of my own thoughts. We are leaving in 5 days to pick up our son from Kazakhstan where he will come home and meet his two sisters. One of your blog posts said Brother-Sister Love, and I always talk about that with them. Your children are beautiful, your writing true and real. So sorry you had to put up with such nonsensical comments. As you are going private, I'm wondering if I can jump on board?
New York

Cindy from central NC said...

Hi....yep, i just emailed you as well to be added....

Those comments are outrageous. Why do people think that is acceptable....Cretins, that's what they are. Good grief.

I love the pics of Meera and I LOVE your's easy to read and I personally like the cadence.

Good grief. Mean people do suck...


DLD - said...

It is heartbreaking that ppl would say such mean things! The venom that spews out of some ppls mouths/ is unbelieveable!! I can understand your reasons for going private - don't blame you one bit!

kate.m.v. said...

Hi Heather, Braydon, Kyle, Owen and Meera,

Sorry to that you have to endure such hatred - if only people would think before they type - it seems people feel they can express their hurtful opinions in written form in ways they may not even dream of doing in real life.

I wrote you an email introducing myself.

Thank you for your honesty in this blog and for consciously documenting your family life - I feel you have done it in a tasteful way emphasizing that there is much more that is too private to blog about.

All the best for the future - it is sunny 8 degrees celsius here in Durham, UK so I hope you have a little sunshine soon too.

- Kate

Ani said...

When I saw your post about going private I figured the proverbial drop had overfilled the glass -its a spanish proverb - but one of my faves :-)
It irks me that some people have a need to be hurtful and judgemental, especially under the cover of anonnymity.
Would love to continue following your adventures.
Best to you and your family.

domi2.5 said...

I love reading your blog, but almost never comment. Your family is an inspiration, like you, we adopted a son from the same island (on the Dominican side). I understand how hurtful those comments can be and how hard they are to ignore; I'll never understant people who post nasty comments, would they act the same way or say the same things if they were in front of you?

domi2.5 said...

I love reading your blog, but almost never comment. Your family is an inspiration, like you, we adopted a son from the same island (on the Dominican side). I understand how hurtful those comments can be and how hard they are to ignore; I'll never understant people who post nasty comments, would they act the same way or say the same things if they were in front of you?

iloveghosts2 said...

I had already emailed you and so very sorry that a lot of people are so mean. We absolutely love your family.

You hall have been an absolute inspiration to us and want to stay with you.

Love and Hugs,

Angela said...

It's sad there are suck mean people in this world. I for one love reading your blog and can't think of one thing to complain about. Well except I'd like to see more pictures!

please add me

Angela said...

It's sad there are suck mean people in this world. I for one love reading your blog and can't think of one thing to complain about. Well except I'd like to see more pictures!

please add me

Patricia said...

Stay strong! Love you.

Tamara said...

My jaw is on the ground-people really left those comments???!!! Unbelievable....

I already sent you a request so that I can continue to read your blog, but I want to again say how much I enjoy reading your blog daily. I too have been a reader for at least 2 years and truly admire all you do in raising Kyle, Owen and Meera. I look forward to continue reading and seeing your beautiful family grow :)


Single PAP said...

wow, people are rude and have too much time on their hands.

i'd love to follow along. love your family! i emailed you with my address.


Kirsten said...

I've already emailed you too, but I just can't believe how awful people can be.
I love reading your blog, it is really a bright spot in my day!

Marian said...

Heather, I was sad to see that you were going private and sadder still to learn that my guess was correct as to why. I have been reading for maybe a year and I have taken such comfort and strength from your thoughts on parenting, particularly parenting boys. I am expecting my first child in July and I am simultaneously thrilled and terrified at this responsibility -- so often I read your posts and I think "if she can do it with three, I can do it with one!" I wouldn't feel right continuing to intrude on your precious family's privacy, but please know that I wish you, Braydon and your beautiful little ones much love and peace.

Noelani said...

I'm a random school teacher from DC (lol) but I've been reading your blog for years!! I am sad that people are so hurtful, and understand your decision. The pictures that you take are beautiful, and I think you guys are doing a great job with your kids. I would love to follow along once you go private again!

Haitian-American Family of Three said...

I sent you an email, but wanted to say I am sorry, but not shocked at the comments. We've also had horrible comments over here and they truly DO hurt. Really-I think people forget that actual, living, breathing people are behind these blogs and feeling do get wounded.
Stay strong and we'll keep on reading!

Rose Anne said...

Heather ,
I can truly understand why.what I don't understand why people have to be so hateful!
I would like to be part of your private blog if you would let me.
God Bless,
Rose Anne

Trish said...

Beautiful Family of 5,
Hands down, your blog has been my absolute favorite since stumbling upon it several years ago. The essence of who your family truly is shines through in each post. I would have LOVED to have grown up in a family as committed to making every single day matter.
I am so happy you are continuing privately.
Aubrey and Summer will also be thrilled to continue watching you guys and your adventures!

Robin said...

Some people are so's infuriating. The Nanny comment is so idiotic. There are thousands upon thousands of stay-at-home mothers who neglect their kids all day long. Simply staying home does not mean they are doing the "right" thing. Every family should make the choice individually and no one should judge that choice. You and Braydon are fantastic parents raising wonderful and thriving children! Try to ignore the haters....their goal is to spread misery. I love you Heather.

Heather said...

All--- if you are leaving comments here I don't necessarily know your email address, so can't give you access to the new blog. Please email me at if you want to go along for the ride to the "new"/"private" blog journey.

M. said...

Heather & Party of 5!!

I love you guys! And, I am SO excited for the upcoming featured topics, especially the egalatarian parenting!! You and Braydon have always been such important role models for me--personally and professionally--and this blog has allowed me to keep up with you in way that makes the life that you live seem like a real possibility for me.

I believe radical families DO shift the horizon [well, actually, my friends have debated this for a long time and have decided that radical families probably shift many horizons--but that's not the point :)], and I KNOW that the Party of 5 is radical.

I also believe that this blog--and you and your family--have changed the way people think (you are, after all, pretty good at that). Through sharing your life with us, you have opened up a world of possibilities that seemed otherwise inconceivable. (I know this because I have been your blog's secret under-cover marketing agent to fellow graduate students and have listened to them talk to me about "the blog" after spending hours upon hours going back and reading every entry!) You wouldn't be getting nasty resistance from people if you were just going along with the status quo--which, as you taught me, is how the problems of our society are reproduced. Your family is so special, and I hope that someday (IF I EVER FINISH THIS FREAKING PHD!), I can have a family like yours too. :) So, thanks for being such a great role model. You're the best.

Lots of Love,

ps- You are a fantastic writer. :)

Beautiful Disaster said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts, your successes, your failures and most of all your journey.
Cheers to the Johnson-McCormick family!!

Emmy Patton

kayder1996 said...

As if you forced people to read your blog....if you don't want to deal with a working mom who has dreadlocked sons, who isn't a perfect writer, then don't read the blog...seriously! I've read plenty of websites/blogs that I thought were stupid or that I disagreed with almost every since thing the person said. And you know what? I didn't comment on it; I just simply didn't go back. People so often forget that whatever you say online has the same affect on the other person as if you've said it in person. I don't stop by your blog often but it's one that is one I remember. I am a white Mama with two Haitian babies, one of whom is a boy with locs. So if nothing else thanks for being another white family who was brave enough to go down that road and help "pave" the way for me.

VanVoorsts said...

Sorry for the negativity. Our blog remains public but we wrestle with the same issues... I'm an adoptive mom to twins from ET and I enjoy your blog. I'd love to continue following. My e-mail is vanvoorsts @ (no spaces).