The age of 40 in many ways re-started my life when my daughter was conceived. She is my only child and sometimes it scares me to think that there will be a day when I won’t remember Lumen as she “is” each day. Heck I forgot what I ate for lunch.
After her birth my husband and I wrote entries in her baby book, but sometimes after a hectic day her baby book would stay on the side table untouched, and memories were fading. However, simultaneously I was diligent about documenting her milestones via a Facebook Timeline named Lumen Izabella Tavakouli Klepp. I created this page a few months after her birth when I heard about the amazing “Timeline”.
On December 28, 2012 her chronicled life was deleted by Harvey, a User Operations worker for Facebook. Many times in my life I have been crushed, but this wound was the deepest probably because it affected what I had started for my daughter to reflect on someday. This was my way of making sure she knew that she was loved every day of her life. Even after a few months of mourning that day thinking only of a paper shredder eating away visual proof she is loved and we enjoy each day we share with her, I was having constant visions of vanishing firsts that I had shared with family and friends.
Her first plane ride, her first doctor visit, her first meeting with grandma, her first father’s day, her first fever, her first trip to the emergency room, her first hand fed meal, her first carrot experience (a story for another day), her first time sitting up, her first steps, and many other firsts that I will never see again without this page.
After these past few months, I think it is time to use yet a third outlet of sharing and celebrating the light of my life. With photography I document my experiences as well as her life, and my hope is that Lumen and I will help bring a smile to your face through this blog.
Since that day, Harvey is my newest least favorite name. If I hear this name or if I think about Lumen’s page and what was taken from us, I sob. My first entry is to document the devastating loss of the baby book I worked so hard on for my little light. This is my closure and I need to share it.
When I realized that Lumen’s page was missing, I immediately wrote to Facebook and they asked for my identification to prove that the page was indeed mine and that I am not underage. At this point of devastation, my idealistic side still had hope that those memories were tangible. Knowing full well that I was not underage, I submitted my identification, but also knowing full well it was gone forever at the mercy of a stranger.
On January 4, 2012 I received an email response from Harvey that would shock my core:
Thank you for your reply. Due to legal obligations, Facebook requires you to be at least 13 years old in order to be eligible for an account on the site. This also includes accounts created by parents to represent a minor. Please note that your account has been scheduled for permanent deletion. Unfortunately, Facebook does not have the ability to restore accounts that have been permanently deleted from the site. When an account is deleted, we purge all personally identifiable information associated with the account from our database.
Please also be aware that impersonating anyone or anything is strictly prohibited. This includes accounts created to represent underage children, celebrities, pets, ideas, or inanimate objects. If accounts like this currently exist on the site, it is only because they have not yet been reported and removed.
We apologize for any inconvenience that this has caused you.
Inconvenience, was he kidding me? Really? You would think Facebook would have had a more professional chain letter of rejection than this one from Harvey.
All I could think about were the memories that I may forget because I took for granted it was on that webpage. I still have all my pictures, but they’re not in a nice “Timeline” of chronological order as they were on Facebook, and my personal messages, loving comments, and birthdays were never to be seen again.
So I gathered my thought again. And I wrote. I wrote while I sobbed.
My response to Facebook via Harvey:
To Whom It Concerns,
The world is excited about Facebook. It is a tool to spend time with family and friends all in one place. It captures memories and documents them in a “Timeline”. The account in question was in violation of a child being underage. As I said earlier my daughter is only twenty one months old, so I have been administering her page myself most of the time, but also with her father’s help.
This brings me to the reason I am writing you today. I would like to make a proposal that may be a good idea for Facebook. You see when I created this account I was just excited about something my brother Jamin had told me. Back in the summer of 2011 he was playing with the new “Timeline”. At the time, I had never heard of it, but my brother and his friends had somehow gotten it early. He explained that it would allow people to have a history of their life. WOW. A history that would allow you to insert memories, dates, pictures, etc. back to your birth. And because my daughter, Lumen Izabella Tavakouli Klepp, was born on 3/31/2011, the whole Timeline idea was fascinating to me. So, I believe around June or July of 2011 I created an account for my newborn daughter not realizing I should have created a fan page for her. I had heard of people having many accounts so I guess I never thought twice about it. I used my year of birth and my daughter’s month/day/and actual name; therefore I guess I felt I had not really “falsified” any information.
I guess I was caught up in the idea that I could create a baby book for her to have memories of her life since birth. This would be a documentation of all her firsts, of EVERYTHING! When she was born, her first plane ride, her first trip to the doctor, when she met her grandma, our first mother’s day we shared, when she had a fever, when she went to the emergency room, when she ate first, sat up first, walked first, talked first, and many other memories that I will never see again without this account. I was going to add her first few months of life to the account, because I only heard of Timeline a few months after she was born. My daughter would have details, pictures, videos, and comments that she could reflect on if my husband and/or I passed away. We wrote to her on special occasions as well as on no special occasions. My point is that it documented memories I cannot replace for her. We are older parents and what better way to document her life. Isn’t that what Facebook’s new Timeline was created to do? I would be willing to bet that I personally took more pictures and videos of my daughter and posted them to not only my personal page but to her page more than ANY OTHER person EVER has of a newborn, and I invite you to look at her life.
So, I am writing you today with a business proposal. I would like to present an idea that a mother be allowed to create an account for her child on the basis that she is solely responsible for that account until the age limit of thirteen, via Facebook’s rules. After that time the parent is allowed to give the Timeline of their child to them to administer or as a parent they have the right to continue administrating it until they feel the child is old enough to take on the responsibility. I only want my personal information back, but it may be a great addition to Timeline.
An alternative request is that I have the account activated only long enough that I could back it up and retrieve our memories? Or is there a way to merge the two accounts? Maybe there is a solution that you could offer to me?
I found what may be an actual quote from you in a letter dated February 1, 2012.
“Once again, Facebook exists to make the world more open and connected, and not just to build a company. We expect everyone at Facebook to focus every day on how to build real value for the world in everything they do.
Thanks for taking the time to read this letter. We believe that we have an opportunity to have an important impact on the world and build a lasting company in the process. I look forward to building something great together.
[signed Mark Zuckerberg]”
I would like to think that this idea would indeed allow my family to be more connected. Memories are a real value to my world and to most humans. I hope this can build something great for each of us.
Thank you for taking the time to read my letter. I appreciate any interest you may have in my idea. My daughter, Lumen Izabella Tavakouli Klepp, will appreciate any consideration you take in her page being allowed to go live again.
Amy Paige Cundiff Tavakouli
Lumen Izabella Tavakouli Klepp
CC: Every email I can find
I posted this letter on my timeline. I shared it with other pages hoping someone would hear me. It was just a baby book. It was Lumen’s life. Part of me was dying with those memories.
More time went by without a word. Each day I would wonder if her page was being deleted. That shredder kept making such loud noise in my head. All I could think at times was, “Someone please stop it”. I could not search Lumen’s page from my personal Facebook page, but my husband’s page actually still displayed her default picture and he could tag her places when we were out, however he could not view her page.
This was maddening.
Finally just a few weeks ago, not even my husband could tag or view her page, and now each new day, I am trying to let it go.
So, life goes on right? I learned a valuable lesson, and that is to never let anyone take what is yours. My hope is to document her life via a different social network, a blog, and to take my lesson with me. Each of my entries will be printed and kept in a notebook in the event that this baby book gets scheduled for deletion as well.
I have documented many things in Lumen’s baby book and I kept a diary most of my childhood from the time I was 8 until I was a teenager. I am not sure why I stopped, but I suppose it was because my writing took on different forms, as well as a busier lifestyle sharing time with others. Life gets in the way sometimes of things that are the most important. However, after having Lumen Izabella Tavakouli Klepp, I try to make sure that my life does not get in the way of her success. I feel that part of anyone’s success is to know where you came from.
So again, my gift to you Lumen, is documenting those moments none of us want to forget.
I want to dedicate this entry to not only Lumen, but to her father, who was adopted by a loving couple, but who still struggles to know who he is and where he came from.
Hello to a less controlled social media.