‘What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men …… That is what love looks like.’ - St. Augustine

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

An Explanation and a Solution

Wow. Just wow.

I honestly had no idea how many devoted readers I had. I knew how many people stopped by. I knew how many people 'subscribed', but the actual numbers of truly devoted readers are never usually close to that.

With the disconcerting 'photo stealing' problem I was having with my blog, I thought the best answer was to just go private. I couldn't think of another way to deal with it. But I had no idea what a pain in the ____ it would be. I knew it would be a struggle to add all those email addresses individually to the 'allowed readers' list. I knew it would limit who could see my blog, but I really thought I had about 100 really devoted readers at best, so it would work. I was wrong. Within the first two hours of closing my blog, I received over 80 requests from readers who wanted to keep reading. By the end of the first 24 hours, the number was over 400 and I couldn't even keep up with responding to all the emails. By this morning, I just gave up. My inbox was completely overrun. I even had people contacting my business to gain access, when they couldn't locate my personal email address.

So first, thank you. Thank you that there are so many of you who actually enjoy reading what I write. I was truly dumbfounded, and it has given me a renewed commitment to writing more often and keeping people informed. I had gotten lax, because I didn't think too many people were interested. (Not many people comment, so I assumed not many read.) I was wrong, but in this case, it was nice to be wrong!

Now to the dilemma. I watch my blog carefully, and I noticed that someone spent 3-4 days downloading all of the photos of me and some of particular others from my blog. But not only that, they had done searches on my blog for very specific and troubling things and these two things worried me. People take photos all the time, but it is usually one or maybe two. And it is usually from a person I recognize or someone who wrote and asked first. That I don't mind. I use photos from other sites too, but I either ask permission, or I make sure it is available through creative commons license, or is in the public domain, etc. It is not only rude but illegal to use someone's photos without their permission (unless they have listed them under creative commons, etc..which I do myself on flickr, etc.)

This person also took a particular interest in photos of D, which REALLY bothered me.

I have spent a good part of today going through my entire blog and removing any posts or photos that I would not want someone with ill intents having access to. It was a long slow painful process, and I need to go back and check more. But for now, I feel like I can open the blog back up, as long as I post this too:

To Whomever spent several days taking so many of my photos, I want you to know that I saved your IP address. I've also paid to have it traced so soon I will have your name and phone number. I will not use it, but I want to have it as insurance. Am I curious as to why you wanted so many photos of me? Yes. But am I more concerned about your taking all the photos of D? YOU BET. I am watching you, and I am checking every day to see if you come back. If you do, I expect you to behave and NOT take my photos without permission. Ok? And if you had any ill intent, WATCH OUT. If I think anyone is out to harm my family in any way, I am RUTHLESS.

I had an experience like this 6 years ago that caused such pain in my and my daughter's life, that I will never ever allow it to happen again. Right Ms Ahern? (I won't post her full name, but the woman who used the internet to try to destroy my life in 2005 carries the last name Ahern. I'm betting she reads my blog sometimes. I paid to track her down too, and contacted her to make sure she knew she would regret what she did. I still keep track of where she lives and what she is doing, just to be safe.)Maybe this gives you some idea of why this photo experience was so upsetting to me.

To all my other readers, I don't want to scare you off from using my photos for good purposes. Here is what I think is fair:

If you have followed my story for years and simply want some of the photos for your own personal viewing, and do not intend to ever share them, you have my permission to use my photos. You do not have to ask.

Next: I sometimes like to have photos of the people and children I am praying for. I post them above my computer or but them in a book by my bed. If you wish to take a photo for this reason, again, you have permission.

Next, if you know me well and IN REAL LIFE and we are FRIENDS, you can take any and all photos you like for your personal use (not public use). YOu have my permission.

However, if I do not know you in real life and if your reasons are other than the ones stated above: DO NOT TAKE MY PHOTOS WITHOUT PERMISSION. Just ask. If you tell me why you want them, I will very likely say yes. I just need to know. It's only fair.

Lastly, I have allowed many people to use my photos for their nonprofit organizations. Some have needed photos of orphans. Some needed photos inside a Russian Orphanage. Some were trying to collect donations for Orphanage #5 and needed photos to help tell the story. In all these cases I said yes, but...I WAS ASKED. If you want to use some photos for public use for a good purpose, just ask.

I apologize to everyone who had to go to the trouble of emailing me or messaging me to get permission to view the blog. Once I had done about 80 emails, I got burnout and stopped! It became evident that this would not be the solution. So I decided to just insure my safety by paying to trace the person's IP, and then removed anything that could be used to hurt me or my family, and I'm opening it back up. Once I get D home, I will repost all the things I have removed.

I hope everyone understands. I strongly encourage other parents to get a program that allows them to 'watch' the activity on their blog in detail, too. It's a great security measure, but it's also fun to see how people get to your blog, what they do once there, and what posts seem to be most popular, etc. It costs, but its worth it.

Thanks everyone! Oh, and PS: Many of you will know what this photo means! If you don't, just know it means Good News!


  1. SO sorry someone has been doing starnge things on the blog but so happy you have opened the blog back up! It would truly be horrible to not know how you guys are doing with poor Anya's injury, D's adoption and Nastia back at school I would always wonder what happened! Lots of love hugs and prayers for all your prayers to be answered! It is my youngest's 1 year Gotcha day today from St Pete and oh how far she has come! We still have a ways to go but what a difference a year makes! All the best! Sarah

  2. So very happy about THIS photo!

    I would still VERY MUCH like to know how you track who's taking them or copying stuff from your blog. I've seen several of my photos and also my blog posts republished elsewhere word for word. Very disturbing.

  3. Anonymous8:19 PM

    Dear Keri, thank you for being willing to open it back up. Transparency is hard and risky sometimes - one of those times that calls for being wise as a serpent. Happy Advent almost Christmas Blessings, Rev. Jennie (Mom to 5 blessings - 3 UKR and 2 US)

  4. Welcome back!!! Love the blog, sooooo glad to hear everything is ok!!!!!


  6. Ahhh, it looks like you've got more documents needed for D's adoption! Yes! Sorry about the lurker who caused anxiety and stress for you. I wondered why you had gone private and am glad that you are back. Creepy people suck! ps How would you know someone was downloading pics from your blog?

  7. I enjoy your blog and following your journey, but rarely comment. Thank you for opening it back up :)

  8. That is very bizarre about the photo stealing. Strangley I went back and saw your last post and recall someone from Champagne, Ill. visiting my site. How can you tell if they've taken photos? Scary. I am glad you're back though, and would understand if you decide to go private - just make sure I'm on the reader list!!

  9. Glad the door is open again.

    And HOORAY for those beautiful apostilles!

  10. I'm SO glad you're back! I wasn't one who contacted you to be "invited", because I don't know you & don't feel it's my place to nose into your life if you don't want me to. But, I was so sad to not be able to, well, nose into your life! (haha!) I think you are such a great mom & wonderful person! Your family is beautiful & I hope that someday you can all be together where you belong. I can't wait until you get that sweet boy in your arms forever--he's just precious!

  11. Well, I love you Keri, as you know - in you I found the person in the world with whom I have the most stuff in common (quite by accident!)

    I am an open book myself, and as mentioned never really TOOK any photos from your blog but did LOOK for that purpose, while making a flier for a "Sock and Stocking Drive". Because I know you, I THINK I might have mentioned it, but I might have neglected to, knowing you would approve - and, honestly, if I DIDN'T "know" you, I probably wouldn't have. When I put photos on my blog I guess I think of it as like posting them publicly, at which point, anyone can do anything. But, then, I'm really TRUSTING.

    The story you mention, certainly has me wondering....

    WHY don't readers comment? I CANNOT figure that out!!!! When I blog it is like talking - would someone REALLY just stand there and listen to me and not respond AT ALL???? It is SO rare when I read a post and don't comment on it (anyone's). It seems rude to me not to!!! When I don't comment it is either because 5,000 people have already said everything I thought, or I really don't care, or understand, or really "know" this blogger and I sneak away, like you might in public, when you suddenly realize that someone's words are not addressed to you.

  12. BTW - LOVE that last photo!!

  13. So glad the blog is back open. I am sorry that someone was disrespecting your photos and information. Your story is inspiring - I am also a Siberia momma and have enjoyed reading your blog as well.

  14. Well. I don't need to comment on people out to destroy your life via the internet, do I?

    And I feel about as rabid about it as you do, I reckon. Rawr!

    So glad to be back :) No, I don't always comment, but I'm here whenever a new post is up - and, as you now know, I'm here with a few hundred friends!

  15. It's really nice that you opened your blog again, how scary was that stealing photos thing... Gives me the creeps...

    And those papers look so so good!

    A very merry Christmas to you and your family!

  16. Thank you for opening the blog back up - it's one of my favorite reads! In fact, it's the only blog I visit regularly!

    And yes, LOVE that last photo! Go you! Can't wait for your family to all be home under one roof!

  17. So glad you reopened! And I am going to pay for that tracking service on my blog...if I can figure out how to do it....

  18. Well, whoever took those photos knows their shame!

  19. Hi Keri :) I've been a reader of your blog for a long time and I'm so glad that you have opened it back up again, you're such an inspiration and I love hearing about your beautiful family. I hope the photo stealer stops now they have been warned. I's so disrespectful not to mention disturbing. Sending Prayers to Anya (what an amazing, beautiful and strong young lady) and to you also- hopefully the day will not be too far off when i read with joy that all of your dreams have come true and both Anya and D are home with their beautiful Mama and sister forever. xo

  20. Thanks Kaia, the photo stealer is still stealing. can you believe the audacity? He.she has been back 3 times since I reopened it and managed to find the ONLY photos I had left up that had me and D in them. But the good news is, I paid to get their personal info and I can contact the person directly if needed. So ridiculous that they're still doing it!


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