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This has been a very interesting morning. I am in a situation where I am truly torn. I always want to do the right thing, but sometimes that causes more of a challenge than just doing the easiest thing. So, here's the situation...a few weeks ago, I came across a blog about Little April Rose that really touched my heart. It is/was written by a mom named Rebecca (also referred to as 'B'), struggling through a pregnancy with her baby girl, April, diagnosed with Trisomy 13. All of my communications were with Rebecca's friend Kelli, and she had offered me the opportunity to advertise our RuffleButts on B's blog with a donation in the amount of our choice. She was never pushy, nor did she ever ask for any amounts of money. She only requested a small donation in exchange for advertising, which is not unusual in the least. I was thrilled to be able to work with them for two reasons, 1st being that I knew our funds were going to help someone facing some serious medical bills, and the 2nd being that I hoped that our little ruffles would bring smiles to B and her readers. We sent one bloomer as a gift for April, but were never asked for anything more.
Today, I received a phone call, followed by about 4 different emails from individuals informing me that this blog is a scam. They, of course, pointed out that our brand is now associated with this scam and recommended that we discontinue the ad immediately. Of course I found this extremely alarming, not only for our company reputation, but also for the many people that supported and prayed for this family. As far as I know, this blog was not a source of income for the writer and I never once saw her solicit money or donations, with the exception of this ad, which was very affordable, compared to your average advertising.
I am so torn, as I have no confirmation that the site is a scam. The ladies that contacted me informed me that B posted pictures of a doll, claiming them to be her baby April. When I went to the site, all posts and pictures were removed with a note from B, saying that this has all just been too much. I was able to pull up the site from yesterday and saw the pictures for myself. I must admit that they do look a bit like a baby doll, but who am I to make this claim? If this woman is really going though the birth and loss of her newborn daughter, I can not turn my back, nor throw stones. I am not the judge here, and we all know, ultimately, who that will be!
If this is all a lie, this woman probably needs our prayers more than anyone could ever know. I just can not bring myself to demand that she take down our advertising, as this is the last thing she needs to be dealing with, if she truly is dealing with the loss of a child. On the other hand, if this is a scam, I do not want to be associated in any way. I would be completely disgusted and truly disappointed.
So, here I am...for the first time, in a while, completely torn on what to do. In my opinion, people are innocent until proven guilty. I sent an email to both Kelli and B this morning asking for their word that this is 100% honest. If I receive proof that this is a scam, I will not only immediately demand the removal of our ad, but I will truly be heart broken. Until then, I offer my prayers of strength to this family in a time of extreme pain and loss.
Update: At 3:30pm, I still have not recieved a response to my emails to Kelli and Rebecca. I therefore made the decision to request the removal of our ad. I am not judging, but in this situation, I feel it best to seperate ourselves from their actions. As a person and as a company, we only want to do the right thing and to bring smiles to the faces of others. I know that B is going through a world of pain, whether she has truly lost a child, or was so lost in life that she lived a lie online. Either way, she needs prayers of stregth and healing. As I said before, it is not my place to judge, but I prefer to be removed.