May 5, 2010

Troubled


I'm troubled.  I've been thinking through some things pertaining to this blog, and quite frankly, I'm on the fence.  

Like so many, I started this blog to keep family and friends in the know about our life.  When we moved across the country almost 7 years ago, and away from the majority of my immediate family, it was so hard to lose that daily connection.  This was a place I could post my daily or weekly updates, and pictures of our life.  A way to keep us connected while we were apart.  

Then my blog generated some traffic - though I will admit to you, I have no idea how.  I wasn't out there promoting it.  It was started for friends and family.  But somehow, maybe through comments or links or friends of a friend - this blog gathered a following.  

When we adopted Quint, my faithful readers grew exponentially and my writing began to shift.  Not one causing the other, but just simultaneously.  Once I became a mother, I felt like I was transitioning emotionally to a deeper place in my life.  This caused my writing style to change a bit and the things I chose to write about became more abstract.  

Winding down were the posts about daily life, weekend agendas, and the latest.  And even though I still post updates, they are a bit more free-flowing and organic than they used to be.  Not as much a "journal" as a place to be artistic.

Having said that, I have been struggling with what to do about this blog.  Because a few things are weighing on me.  

First, the pressure to keep it up and keep it up well.  Though I enjoy this blog and take great pleasure in it, usually - my one rule for myself is that I write with sincerity and honesty and that I do it well.  No slacking.  I'd love to be a great blogger, but I'm just so-so.  Maybe that's the stage of life I'm at - what with the little ones.  I just can't find the time to write more often than a couple times a week and that feels a bit lazy. 

Second, the number of people downloading pictures of my kids disturbs me and I'm beginning to worry about safety due to some things that have cropped up over time.  All of this is tracked through a program I have running on the blog.  It's tells me the who/what/when/where of activity to my blog - be it visitors, first time guests, commenters, and yes, those who download pictures of my children.  Not just who, but specifically which pictures and how many times, and way more info than I need to know.  Because honestly, I'd like to live in a blogger bubble that tells me all our information is safe and it's fine, and all my readers are good people.  But I can't for the life of me understand why people would be downloading and saving pictures of my kids.  I understand why my family does it.  Just not the hundreds of others.  Frankly, it's a bit creepy.  I've even taken measures to stop this from happening, but they are just going around them.  Creepier.

Third, let's talk about comments.  And let's be honest.  Comments are the point.  Right?  For many.  You put yourself out there, post pictures of your family, write from your heart - and it's nice to hear that someone else was touched or blessed or moved or motivated...  It's nice to know that your writing serves a purpose.  The crux of course comes when certain people, who despite this great age of technology, still seem to think that by leaving a comment as anonymous are in fact anonymous (you are not, btw) and said comment is hurtful or rude or flat out nasty.  That was a train wreck sentence, but I'm leaving it.  Because the point is - bloggers seek validation through comments.  Why else do it?  And one rotten apple can spoil the bunch.  SO.  I'm on the fence.  Always have been.  My friend thinks I'm nuts.  She loves comments like a good piece of chocolate.  The truth of the matter is this; I too love your kind comments.  They are many times my inspiration to keep writing.  I just don't know that I want to keep comments turned on anymore.  There's a certain safety in writing a post and knowing that people will simply have to keep their negative thoughts to themselves.  That they won't have access to berate or discourage me.  Quite honestly, I'm very sensitive.  Always have been.  Since birth.  Ask my mother.  It hurts me tremendously to receive negative feedback.  (Remember, I don't post these ever, but receive them frequently) So I'm feeling more and more like taking comments off altogether is the answer.  And perhaps for those of you who I hold so dear and have gotten to know over the years, we can stay connected through another source. 

Fourth, I've thought about going to the dreaded format of password protection.  For those unfamiliar, this would mean the blog would become invitation only.   I know it's a pain.  I know it's no fun.  But I'm starting to feel vulnerable.  There are things I would like to write about that I find myself censoring because I just have no idea who is reading this blog anymore.  I can tell you the numbers are high.  Much higher than I would have ever thought possible when I started.  And it's flattering and heartwarming to me.  But it's also a little bit vulnerable.

Fifth, and last - I'm not sure my heart is in it anymore - at least in this format.  I'm living on the fence of being able to post extremely difficult topics about adoption, race, parenting, being a wife, my faith, and more and yet I'm always holding back because I don't want to deal with the judgments or the backlash.  Maybe because of ALL the reasons above.  That just doesn't sit well with me.  Because of #1.  Do it well and honestly, or close the laptop.  

I've got decisions to make...but either way, I have truly loved having you with me over the years.  Will you excuse me for a short bit while I choose the path that's best for my family?

Hugs to all of you,

40 comments :

Anonymous said...

Do what you need to do!!! I've loved reading your blog, I love your honesty and wished your blog had been around when a stoic, aloof and silently grieving 21 month old and I became soulmates and mother and daughter.

Unfortuanelty in this day and age, the days of all those free flowing blogs are gone. So many have stopped or are password protected because of the need to protect or just a lack of time.

You're an excellent writer and I hope that continues in some capacity for you!!


TracyJ

Debra said...

Why don't you make this blog private, a place where you can put photos and personal stuff.
Then start another blog for your artsy-ness...is that a word? Ha!
Just a suggestion.

S.Wise said...

Wish I knew how to encourage you. We have thought about stopping too... similar reasons. If you go private, please invite us to follow along! :)

amy said...

Christie,

do what brings you peace but know you have encouraged many. on another note, apparently there is a way of putting pics up so people cant download your pics....amy

Kayce said...

Hugs to you too Christie! Totally understand each point. Hope you're not gone too long and that you can find what is needed to keep you here for those who really need to read the honest writing you share. Again...lots of hugs.

Debbie said...

Like you, I started my blog as a means of keeping friends and family up-to-date on our adoption. Then my blog became a lifebook and baby book for my daughter. When we began adoption #2 it went back to being a means of keeping everyone up-to-date, but I soon discovered that more than anything, it was a journal, a lifebook, the story of our journey to our daughters and our daughter's journeys to us. I also became deeply concerned about having my blog public and knew of a few personal cases in which other bloggers discovered their children's photos in the hands of not so good people. One even found her daughter's photo on an adoption website listing her as available for adoption (scary). I soon decided that my blog was not so much for my readers as it was for me and my girls and soon after I made my blog private. While I don't get nearly as many comments as I used to, I feel comfortable knowing that those who read my blog are those who have been invited to do so. Most are other adoptive parents and many have become wonderful cyber friends.

All of this is to say that I understand much of what your going through right now. Once you decide the true intent of your blog, I have no doubt your decision will be an easy one to make. And if you decide to make it private, I would love to continue following along. I want to keep as many connections to Toukoul as possible for Naomi. Thanks.

Shannon said...

I understand your hesitancy. People downloading pictures of your kids? That has ME a little worried now. I actually was feeling quite sorry for myself recently because I kind of felt unpopular and on the outside in this blogging world. (self-indulgent and ridiculous, I know, but being stuck at home with 5 kids and little adult interaction can make one a little less than logical) I'm going to be happy now that I only have 5 followers and the grandparents reading it! Anyway, I enjoy your writing. I think I have also learned a little bit more about my own experience and my own daughter because of some of your posts. Because some of the girls in our travel group were from Keira's orphanage, I could see similar adjustment reactions in those girls and different ones in my own daughter's. I drew some conclusions from this. Anyway, it was helpful in all these crazy unknowns of adoption. God Bless and keep up the good work with the kiddos!

Shannon said...

Uh-oh.... I just realized that i linked your blog to mine about a week ago because I thought it would be really cool for my extended family to see some of the other little girls who we saw in China. I am so sorry. I should have asked for your permission. I will take it down.

Julie (Dan) said...

I'm totally nieve but how do they download your photos? Is it just a right-click & save kind of thing? Can that be disabled I wonder? Or how about watermarking them first? Just an idea. I haven't posted kid pictures on my blog because, well.. I'm new to blogging, but my husband was worried about me doing that.

I've enjoyed your blog. Yours is one I found a few months ago when I was learning about adoption & ethiopia. We aren't adopting but I have fallen in love with Ethiopia! Both of your children are adorable and I must say I appreciate your honesty in your posts! For those of us who have talked about adoption we need to know all the good & bad that comes with it. The agency we met with painted a rosey picture. We asked about adjustment (etc) and I swear to you they told us that if we adopted a chld under the age of 5 we would be fine. Everything would be just peachy. Then I went searching blogs and I didn't get the same opinion from everyone out there. It's not all that easy! I KNOW it would be worth it, but with the difficulty of one of my kids, we couldn't take that jump (right now anyway.)

So.. thats a little about me... one of your readers. I really really really appreciate the honesty in your blog. The raw emotions. The truth. The stuff the agency wouldn't admit to when we asked them. And I'm also soooo happy for you to have such beautiful children!!

-Julie

Alyson said...

I have to say...when I was reading your post I was thinking to myself, "I don't ever read rude comments". Well, duh! You approve them first...I forgot.

When I first started my blog (which wasn't long ago...I only have 3 followers!) I thought about making "fake" names for me and my family like some people do. But I guess once you start it one way, you can't go back. By the way, if someone can share how to post pictures where people can't download them, it would be appreciated my many, I'm sure.

Look, those of us that are here for the right reasons will totally understand and respect your decision.

Praying for you.

Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed and appreciated your blog. You are a very brave woman. My husband and I are waiting for a referral for 2 boys from Ethiopia. I have gained so much from reading the blogs of adoptive parents. That being said, I don't blog for the precise reasons you are stating. I would be a puddle with the negative comments.
Follow your heart and whatever decision you make know that you have greatly helped a soon to be adoptive Mommy in Washington state.

Blessings,
Susan Burkhalter

Anonymous said...

Well my sweet little niece, I think the world needs your words, your perspective, your opinion and experience.
You are a talented writer that can touch a person's soul in a way others cannot. You have so much to give to others, that is your gift, the one you should share.

However, when it comes to your personal life, opinions and daily life, that is not what the entire world needs privy to. I agree with Debra, start a new blog for the "world" of readers you have following you, keep this one and password protect it by invitation only, so we can always go back and read previous posts and download photo's etc.
Like on FB, it can be friends only, friends of friends, etc, but you pick who can look at your site. Make another site for all the info and experience you can offer to so many that can benefit from it. There are ways to protect your photos from being copied, so that any you posted on that site would not be able to be copied.
Christie, you have incredible talents, numerous, don't let haters get you down. People that hate need and outlet, guess who is an easy taget? for them,anyone you don't know that you can blast and be mean to, that means you too. They are not hating you, they are hating life and the way they live it.
Write like you are writing to all the people that love you, forget the haters and just keep doing what you do best my dear, a gift, remember, you have a gift, one too good not to share.
I would miss terribly not seeing this site, the updates and the beautiful pictures you post.
Don't take your gift away from us because of the few crazies. Refocus, change things, start over for the huge following you have, don't loose them, you need them for the book you are going to write!
Love you, I have written too much, sorry.
deany

Chinamama said...

I am so tired of people posting mean comments on all of my favorite blogs and then making everyone want to shut them down. I have my blog password protected. It seems to work and I don't get crazy comments.

You need to do what is best for your family. Everyone would understand. We would miss you if you go password only but we would undrstand.


Sharyn

belehcar said...

I have loved reading your blog for the last few weeks that I have read it. I am interested in adoption and reading realistic blogs about has been really helpful. I can understand why making your blog private would be important. But, I just wanted to let you know not everyone is creepy :). Thanks for sharing your life with the public :)

Holly said...

okay, you are way too tech savvy if you have a program that gives you all that info (secretly wishing I was too!)
You have VALID concerns.
However, you do have the cutest darn kids in the world...so...??
I do not have any pics of your beautiful treasures on my hard drive, but they are adorable :)
I have read that even the right click disablers can be fairly easily bypassed by anyone with a few more brain cells that what I apparently possess.
I think you have to do what YOU think is best. I know people (like Tonggu Momma) who don't show full face shots of her family for the very reason that concerns you.
Maybe you do need another blog...you have a gift with words girl and, well, the world is a better place with you writing :)
May the Lord grant you discernment.
Blessings,
Holly- Purpose Driven Family

Jessica said...

I am a fairly new reader to your blog and I can't remember how I made it here. But, I just wanted to say that I totally understand your problem and wish you the best with your decision. That being said, thank you for your blog, we are adopting from Ethiopia and it was refreshing to read both you children's story. I can walk into getting our son with our eyes a little wider, seeing the trials you have had with your DD. I wish your beautiful family the best!

Tina said...

People downloading pics of your kids!! If my husband saw that he would make me get rid of my blog! I totally understand where you are coming from. Thanks for sharing what you have thus far.
Beautiful family!
Blessings,
Tina

Jodee Leader said...

So sorry to hear you are struggling right now. Hang in there!

Kim said...

I LOVE your blog.. I love how honest you are.. because that is exactly me.. I dont have mine password. but you have to have the address to get to it.. you can't google it or anything..I didn't want certain people to bash me becuase of the divorce and stuff.. and I love it.. the people that want to follow are following.. I would do what you feel will let you blog the way you want too..
hugs.. just let me know so I can follow..
LOVE YOU BIG..

Wendy said...

I am fairly new to your blog, in fact I'm not sure how I got here. I love your honesty, insight, love for your family and all, but I totally understand if you decide to go private. I dont' blog but am a FB junkee and have even considered getting off of that world for all those reasons listed. It's hard. Let God lead you to do what is right for you and your precious family.

Susan said...

I completely understand. But I'm so sad for me. (I say as my daughter is having a meltdown and tantrum as I write.)

I am just dumbfounded at the poor manners people have and how they impact so many because of their lack of respect. Nine years ago the internet was a lifesaver for me with all the support, education and information made available that wasn't there even just a few years before. I often think I would be in a very dark place had I not been able to find the resources I so desperately needed.

At this point however, I am in a place where I read strictly for the validation because so many -- even in the adoption community -- do not get it. You get it. You get me and there is such comfort in the validation you provide. I've commented recently that I think you have stolen "me" and my pod must be somewhere in your house. : )

I very rarely post comments but before you leave I just wanted to let you know how much comfort there is in reading your posts. Many blessings to you and your family and peace with whatever direction you choose to take.

Ani said...

I've been following your blog for a while now, and really enjoy your writing. Even when I don't agree with your POV, I enjoy it bc its honest, and well written and, well, frankly, bc this is YOUR space :-)
It would freak me out to know people are downloading pics of my kids, so I totally respect whatever decision you come to. I only hope that if you go private, you will issue invitations :-)
Enough smiley faces - have a great weekend, and we'll be here while you figure out what's best for you and yours!

The Stuckey's said...

I have been a lurker....I have been reading your blog for over a year....I am truly sorry that people can be so cruel.

I would love to continue reading your writings but will understand whatever you decide to do. I do not have adopted children but learning what works for differnt parents helps me to use ideas in my own house.

Praying that you find peace.

Ashley

stuckey03.blogspot.com

Pug Mama said...

I sooooooooooooooooo get what you are talking about.
High numbers always freaks me out. I know some bloggers love it - I, like you, do not. And that is the ONLY reason I have switched blogs.
It makes me uncomfortable and nervous.
Anyway - you choose what your heart tells you. That is all you have to listen to - your heart.

Hey - hook a sista up - what is the name of the site you use to find out if someone is downloading your blog pictures.

The Gang's Momma! said...

This is like the fourth or fifth blog I've read this week in which folks are feeling threatened and concerned and upset with rude comments and/or inappropriate responses. I'm so sorry for that. It's amazing to me how many folks just wallow in their yuck and spread it around.

I love your honesty, I love the evolution you've been thru as a mom as a Christian, as a writer. It's been a treat to peek in on. But I understand the vulnerability. I have a "regular" who only posts when they disagree with me about something. The shame of it is that this same person could start a face to face with me and ask me about my thoughts and feelings. Cuz. They. Live. In. My. Town. They. KNOW. me. UGH.

I'm totally crushed at the idea of not reading you anymore, so if you go private, would you consider including a couple of us old faithfuls? Your honest heart is worth the extra effort and keystrokes :)

Hugs to you.

AND - you are NOT NOT NOT a so-so blogger. You are one of the best. Really - I can't hardly believe you think that about yourself, girl! Haven't I told you that you should publish?! I don't say that to just anyone :) Mwah!

meme said...

So sorry you are struggling now. I have always LOVED your writing and your honesty. Hang in there. Prayers for you at this time. From your Kentucky Friend.

Tammy ~ Country Girl at Home ~ said...

Christie,

I've only recently found your blog, but have really enjoyed it and found your honesty and style of writing very enjoyable!

My blog followers have grown beyond what I would have ever expected, so now I'm wondering about some of the things you spoke about, especially since my daughter also has a blog. Could you email me and tell me how to find these things out? Sorry but I'm a little technically challenged!

Thank you! And you definitely need to do what you feel you need to do. Only you know best on that!

Blessings,
Tammy

Anonymous said...

When I came across your blog it was linked for the honest and insightful posts which I have really enjoyed reading both in seeing your family grow and blossom and for their truthful content. I totally understand it must be worrying to see what you are seeing, I just wanted you to know this frequent british reader is very interested in learning as much as she can about the realities of adoption in her 20's, and so that is why I visit your blog, but your families protection is the most important thing.

Best Wishes to you all, Katie

Anonymous said...

I found your blog thru your friend Robin's blog (I found her originally when she had her blog posted on Rumor Queen). I completely understand your worries! I hope you can find a happy medium.

Tammy ~ Country Girl at Home ~ said...

Oops...forgot to leave you my email address, Christie.

countrygirlathome@att.net

Thanks,
Tammy

Marie-Claude said...

Your words are true, you write beautifully and I truly enjoy your take on life and adoption. But button line, you need to do what is right for you and you family. May this time of reflection bring you peace.

Marie-Claude

Kelly and Todd said...

Christie --

I have loved reading your blog and following your journey to Quint and Keria.

You are such a talented writer - your ability to jump out of the computer and grab hold of my heart is amazing. I love your honesty and willingness to share. Your experiences have helped me in soooooo many ways, and you are such an inspiration to me. You are "real" and like others have mentioned, you get us/me. I can't tell you the number of times I've read one of your posts and just sat there nodding my head saying "yes - exactly". How do you do that???

I would miss your wisdom, honesty, humor, etc... tremendously, but I completely understand if you choose to close this blog and/or make it private. If this is the end I just want to wish you, AB, Quint, & Keria all the best and a lifetime of happiness. I feel honored to have "met" you through the world of blogging - your gift of words has meant the world to me.

-- kelly :-)

Ouiser Wannabe said...

Christie,
I am a long time lurker of your blog but have never commented before. I have a very boring blog with one follower but I wanted to use it as a diary for myself. My sister puts up pics of her kids on her blog and uses their names but I don't put up pics of them now and I don't use their real names. I understand what you are thinking of doing and am doing a little of that for myself because I enjoy the anonymity, even if nobody reads it. Long comment short, everyone has to find what is best for them. I just hope you don't totally disappear because I have been really touched by your family's journey.

Anonymous said...

Could you post something about the tracking software you use to see who is reading/downloading pics from your blog? I have a blog that I think is not well known but now I'm not sure. Maybe I need to go to private too and just don't know it. So if you could find a way to post that info, the bloggers out there would appreciate it!!

Trish

Truly Blessed said...

I totally understand what you're saying. Went through it myself a few years ago and ended up going "invite only" (which is sad, because of the comment thing!) but then I had to reflect on WHY I blog -- and I decided that I blog to keep a record of our family's life and want to do it even if no one (other than me) cares (or comments!).

Do what you have to do, and have peace in your heart about. Don't blog for anyone other than yourself and your family.

We understand, honest, we do!

Truly Blessed said...

I'd also like to know the site where you can track who is reading your blog and if they're downloading photos. That thought just creeps me out that someone (other than family) would grab photos off of a blog.

Can you let me know the site, please?

Kelly (aka Truly Blessed)

us3ch2@gmail.com

Erica said...

You can install code on the blog to prevent people from downloading your photos. you can even add a message so that when they attempt it it tells them, well, whatever you want it to say:) I've done it to my primary blog http://home4haven.blogspot.com

Just a little FYI if that helps with your decision.

KO said...

I would be sad to see your stop, as you write well and with wisdom.

I am shocked that people download pictures - you kids are cute - but I can't imagine why people would do this, and it makes me scared for our kids.

I would certainly miss all you offer.

Melinda said...

Christie~

I started reading your blog when you were in China to adopt your precious Keira. I admired your honesty in your posts concerning Keira's transition in China and at home. The feelings were so raw and heartfelt and I cannot tell you how much I appreciated you "keeping it real."

I have learned so much from reading your blog. It has been very thought provoking for me. I would be sad to see you stop blogging but I completely support you in doing what is best for your family!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, goodness. I am new to your blog and am glad you are continuing. Your writing is fresh and honest and it is a thrill to read. Your family sounds like a bunch of fun and your kiddos are little cuties!

I don't even know how I found your site....it was a link through a link and it all feels like a huge quilt of caring pieces after a while when you link from one fabric to another. So thank you thank you for continuing - keep it up! An Alaskan Mama