Friday, August 08, 2008

You stole my story!


It has recently been brought to my attention that someone is/was stealing pictures of Eden from this blog and using them as their own. This person apparently joined an online parenting forum, and was passing Eden and her story off as a little girl named "Dani" for the past THREE years. I know several people online that this has happened to, and I figured it was just a matter of time before we got hit too.

This person has a photobucket account with quite a collection of Eden's pictures and videos, pictures of our dog, and even a picture of me and one random photo of Holland! The strangest part to me was the photo collage that they made of Eden that had their name watermarked across it in big letters.

Honestly, I don't feel alarmed or violated or outraged by this...at least not too much. I just feel...incredulous, and maybe even fascinated trying to understand what makes people do these sorts of things. I even feel a little bit sad. Sad for the person doing it, that they would be so desperate for attention, compassion, friendship, or whatever it is that they are looking for, that they would resort to something like this. Even more I feel sad for the people who have been following "Dani's" story for three years, praying for her and her "family" and becoming so invested in her life. I know that I am very emotionally invested in the lives of some of the kids that I read about online. I feel really attached to many of them, and think of them often. I would be devastated to find out that they were "fake."

My guess is that, in most cases, the people doing this are young kids who don't really have their own story to tell yet. On the other hand, they may be people with personality disorders, who have an intense need for attention, and a penchant for compulsive lying. Either way, the moral to the story is that you can't believe everything you read on the internet.

I hope that my new readers, directed here after finding out that "Dani's" story was a fake, enjoy getting to know the "real" Eden. She's a pretty awesome kid after all.

53 comments:

Miracles said...

I'm curious as to how you found this out? How do I look into it to see if someone is possibly doing this with my children?

Anonymous said...

This is to creepy. How did you find out about this?
BTW - we think YOUR family's pretty cool! My nieces were micropreemie twins, that's how we found your site.

Billie said...

A member of the forum somehow found my blog and made the connection, then emailed me and the forum admin. The person has been banned from their site, but her photobucket acct is still active. I'm going to see if I can get it shut down, but I really doubt there is anything I can do...

DESJ and Company said...

O
M
G
How creepy.
Your daughter is ADORABLE btw.
Can I ask-are those just normal headbands holding on her implant? My friend's daughter has an implant and her magnet (or whatever it's called) is always falling off.

Billie said...

Yes, they are just normal headbands (I buy most of them at Claire's), and they work great for keeping everything in place:)

Shannon said...

Oh too creepy.
You are very diplomatic about the whole situation. Not sure that I would sound so level headed.

So glad that your trip was a success! Happy b-day to the girls.

Mandy said...

Billie, I was apart of that playroom that got to know "Dani" We all cried over her and prayed a considerable amount for that little girl. It was extremely shocking and disturbing to find out that she was not real. Many of us feel extremely connected to that family. We really do think Eden and Holland are absolutly adorable! While the women who did this might have been lying to us about the identity of Dani, she did tell us a lot of your story. You are a very awesome women and you have amazing children! We all wish you the very best!

Melissa said...

well...I am one of the people who was attached to "Dani"... this whole thing really is just crazy and Im sorry this happened to you! I'll be sure to check back here often to see how Eden is doing (and her sister too!!)

Jenny said...

I am so sorry this woman did this to you. I look forward to getting to know the real Eden and her beautiful sister.

Rachel said...

What a great blog... I am sorry that this happen to your family. I can't wait to get to know Eden and Holland. Happy Birthday girls!

Shannon said...

Ugh, how disappointing. I had someone do something similar with Darsie. I'm glad you aren't letting it discourage you or stop you from posting. Sharing these kids' stories is so important for so many people!

Dawn said...

I'm from the "Dani" forum as well, and have enjoyed reading about Eden and Holland. My best wishes to you and your beautiful family.

Mrs. E said...

Here is an interesting website that I found doing a search: www.tineye.com

according to the website, "TinEye does for images what Google does for text. Give it an image, and it shows you where else that image appears on the web."

Mrs. E said...

Your daughters are beautiful. I enjoy reading your blog.

Shea said...

I'm a "dani" follower, too. As sick as the situation makes me, I still feel blessed to "know" Eden, and now Holland. You've had a lot of prayers and good thoughts coming your way from our group all this time and never knew it!

the three amigos said...

I hear about this happening more and more often these days. I am someone stole Eden's pictures and tried to pass her off as their child. I am glad you're not shutting down your blog in response to someone stealing your photos. I have followed Holland and Eden's lives for so long...I would be crushed if I wasn't able to read about their updates!

Rebecca said...

I just recently discovered your blog and am so glad you won't stop telling your story as a result of this. You are a truly remarkable woman and your children are so blessed to have you as a mom. They are also very cute! I have read your entire blog as I am a mother of twins who were born at 34 weeks but was put on bedrest in the hospital at 23 weeks. Your story has touched my heart! Thank you for sharing.

Vandy said...

I am also from the "Dani" group, but I have enjoyed learning about the real Eden and hope to continue to do so. She seems like an awesome kid, and Holland does as well!

Michelle said...

Unbelievable. (I've been reading you for a while, but fairly quietly)

I'm amazed how reasonable you are about this - I would think something like this would freak me out to an extreme.

Your girls are amazing!

Anonymous said...

I'm also part of the 'Dani' group. I have been reading through your blog from the beginning. It's nice to see a happy outcome instead of the grim one this lady made. I am daily reader now.

Dayna

Dandelion Quilts said...

That is just terrible.

Bird said...

That's just bizarre. I do think you're handling it well. As you said, if you need to PRETEND that you have a disabled child then you are either very young or very much in need of some help.

I do think that the story of Holland and Eden is so important--I use this blog like a text book--so I thank you for keeping it up.

Miranda said...

I'm so sorry to hear this happened! I've been following H & E's story for a while now.

Happy Belated Birthday to your wonderful girls... all the things they do never cease to amaze me!

Jacolyn said...

I'm with you...I feel very sad for this person. AND I am fascinated to know what kind of person would do this. Hmmm...I wonder if Grace has been stolen. Very Weird!

hallegracesmama said...

So sorry this happened to you guys! You are handling it WAY better than I did when Halle's images/story were stolen a couple of years ago. I am surprised that it has been going on for so long...Holland and Eden are pretty "famous" out in blogland!

Angela said...

Billie, (((hugs))) -- I can't wrap my mind around this -- three years is a long time. I wouldn't beging to guess why this happens.

Love you guys and am happy this woman was found out.

Angela

Jen said...

Wow, that's kind of a sick thing to do. I've been reading Holland's and Eden's story for awhile and I'm sad that someone would do that.

Candace said...

Wow, that's a bummer, and it's
just plain disturbing that people do that. I hope you'll keep the
website going. I've been reading
about you're beautiful twin girls
Holland and Eden for a few months. I was a mircopreemie too, I was 1 lb 1 oz and 10 inches long and I had a Identical twin that was about Holland's size

Anonymous said...

I am sorry this happened. THANK YOU for not closing down your story/journal of Holland & Eden.
I am the mom of a 25 weeker and your blog is my absolute favorite.
Congrats on your Disney adventures!

Justine said...

That is sooo bizrre! Thank you for bringing it to my attention. I disabled the "right click feature" on my blog, and hopefully that will stop people from doing that on our blog. Would you like the HTML code for your blog? Here it is the site if you'd like to use it:
http://www.angelfire.com/fl5/html-tutorial/rclickcode.htm

Julie said...

Oh my gosh! That is just so strange! I would be flabbergasted, if someone did that with my blog.

Taylors said...

wow, that is just too scary. i can't imagine if anyone did that to my kids. good for you for following up and redirecting everyone to the real you.
btw, i've been reading/commenting on your blog for about 1.5 years, and i would love it if you would link to our blog. we also have preemie twins (one with CP), and a 3rd baby on the way with special needs as well (missing arm).

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this article re "trolls"? Doubt this is the same type of person who would do what happened to you, but it did make me think of it.

http://www.nytimes.com/2008/08/03/magazine/03trolls-t.html?_r=3&pagewanted=all&oref=slogin&oref=slogin&oref=slogin

Sarah said...

That is just so sad. It doesn't surprise me though, of all the preemie blogs I follow I think all of them have had images stolen. I'm sure my son probably has a duplicate blog somewhere, I just don't know about it.
Wow, 3 years too. That person has a LOT of free time on their hands, scary. I love reading your blog and I'm glad you didn't shut it down. It's so nice to read another family living through some of the same things we do :)

Allison said...

It is too bad that someone is so jealous of your amazing girls that they have to steal your story. You are amazing and what your have conquered is more than most will ever understand, including me!

Anonymous said...

I used to post on a stillbirth support site where a woman found out that someone had taken her pics of her stillborn child and was posting them as if they were pictures of her own child. The one who stole the pics was actually a state-level leader in some infant loss organization. It was weird but sad because the thief probably didn't have her own pics.

Eden is so cute and your blog is apparently so widely read that I'm suprised someone thought they could get away with this!

sarai said...

I have a very hard time opening sharing most of the details of our story on the internet for this reason. I always feel like when someone does this, it kind of trivializes what I've been through, and what we have been through was not "fun" or "entertaining", and we do not share our story to reveal in the drama. In the cases I have seen, someone has taken someone else's story, or parts of it, or just made one up completely, seemingly to star in their own drama. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Like others, I am so glad you did not close down your site. I love it, your girls are amazing, and I love the way you balance joy and vulnerability. Thank you.

Natalie and Abigail said...

Wow. That is just the craziest thing I have ever heard. I am so naive sometimes. It would have never occurred to me that someone COULD do something like that. Clearly, the woman is mentally ill. I'm pretty open on our blog, but I am careful about not using our last names since, as evidenced, you just never know.

You are handling it very well. It probably wouldn't bother me so much, but my husband would be LIVID if he found out someone did that to us.

I will probably run some images through that site mentioned below. But, wow. Just wow. The things people do....

abby said...

Stealing Eden's story is just plain twisted. I cannot imagine the mentality of the person who would do this, or what attention-getting issues they have that would compel them to do this. I am glad that you are keeping the blog open; not only is it wonderful to follow the girls' story, but I can still distinctly remember finding your blog, and some hope with it, when our girls were born.

Patty said...

What an idiot jerk psycho. I can't stand when I hear about stuff like that - UGH.

Billie, your site is amazing, and your girls ROCK. Loved the Disney pix - happy 4th anniversary of being a mama.

Anonymous said...

It is very sad that someone would have to stoop so low as too steal your story. The online community of parents with special needs children is sacred. I never have questioned the intentions of the parents I have met. It makes you wonder...

Christy

Kellars Mommy said...

Oh my goodness! I guess like you I knew it could happen but never really put much thought into it maybe one day being "me". I only hope that someone would *notice* and alert me as well.

Melanie said...

I am just dumbfounded. amazed that someone could do that. Who would WANT to do that? WHY? again I keep coming up with the same question..."what is wrong with people these days?"

I hope you contacted the person and let her have it. Confronted her. Jeeze, what the heck!

angie said...

I too am from the forum that got to know "Dani." I am the one who first told you about it...
We all cried so many tears for THREE years over the fake story, we were devestated to find out it was all a lie.
We have gotten to know Eden through all this and I have to say, you have some beautiful amazing girls!! :)

jenniferklenke said...

Seriously, people are sick. I'm glad you are so resiliant because I'm not sure I could take this with such a calm demeanor as you have. I will continue to pray for your family. xo Jen

ps- i love the new pic of you and john on the homepage. You guys look exactly the same as in high school - makes me sick - just kidding. =)

Viscouse said...

Chasing Babies ran into this too. I wrote a reflection post about it somewheres. Just...odd.

The best advice I've seen, unfortunately, means more work. The javascript code can be easily bypassed by disableing java.

I've heard the 3 things you can do are:
1. Watermark your images (it's really hard to get rid of a watermark), so if they DO use the image, it'll have your info on it.
2. Disable RSS feeds (don't feed the machine).
3. Be vigilent. I'm dying to try tineye.

I obviously haven't found an easy way to watermark, so I'm not doing that. I do have various keyword searches automatically setup to watch for keywords I use.

Good luck.

Anonymous said...

Seriously, people need to be careful about posting pics of their kids on the internet. Maybe the person who made-up Dani is a young person trying to get attention or a mom with issues, etc... There are also many perverts and pedophiles lurking online. You never know.

Anonymous said...

Compared to you my experience with NICU was nothing; less than a week. I'm a healthcare worker and I've washed my hands millions of times with various soaps. But every time I happen to encounter "NICU soap" I'm immediately back there.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe what kind of person would STEAL a life story of a little girl to pose as thier own... that nakes me nauseas. I just don't get it, it just does not compute. What is wrong with people these days??? I was reading a story on one of the Grand Rapids news sites that someone stole and probably scrapped a little boys walker right out of his front yard. I know how it felt when a lady stole the pooh and piglet statues off my son's grave, and I got them back.
Billie, I hope you read this, because I want you to know you are an amazing woman, and a wonderful mother. YOU ROCK!!!!!!!!!!!!

Jen4 @ Amazing Trips said...

The same thing happened to us, last week. Someone who identified themself as a "teen mom" used my entire triplet birth story and photos of one of my babies in the NICU to pass off as her own.

But in "her" story, she was pregnant with a singleton. And once someone notified me and I checked out the board and saw what had happened >> and I left a note indicating it was all a farce >> someone posted on "her" behalf that she was traumatized because her baby had died.

My gut says that this is a person pining for attention in whatever way they can get it. But, I left the words of caution to the parenting board (ivillage) that this person very well could be preying on their sympathies and don't give them money!!

(I'd be interested to know if your pictures also showed up on ivillage and who it was that notified you. Your story sounds so familiar. I wonder if it was a hoax within a hoax?)

Lisa said...

Billie, Sometimes I get really strange emails from my blog. I can imagine you do to since yours gets so much more traffic.

And if someone tried to pass off my William as their's, they'd be sorely disappointed by my apparent inability to post on any sort of regular basis anymore.

So sorry this happened and I'm glad someone let you know!

John and Becca said...

wow. i have never heard of such a thing. weird. sometimes i just can't figure people out.

glad to see your girls doing well.

cheers,
micro preemiee mom.

ps good luck with the workouts; it will feel great!

Becky said...

oh no, i heard about ppl screen shot stuff and stealing pictures but i was hoping it was just kids doing such odd things..im so very sorry :( what has happened to ppl around us? there's is NOTHING fulfilling about making a pretend story up fro attention these are our babies!! :( my heart goes out to you *hugs*