Thursday, June 11, 2009

For woman who blogged about fake pregnancy, one lie led to another

by Kim Janssen - Jun. 11, 2009 05:51 PM
Chicago Tribune

CHICAGO - The unmarried mother's story about giving birth to a child diagnosed as terminally ill in the womb hit a major nerve on the Internet.

Every night for the past two months, thousands of pro-life moms across the nation logged on to a blog run by the suburban Chicago woman who identified herself only as "B" or "April's Mom."

People said they prayed that God would save her pregnancy. They e-mailed her photos of their children dressed in pink, bought campaign T-shirts, shared tales of personal heartache and redemption, and sent letters and gifts to an Oak Lawn P.O. Box in support.

As more and more people were drawn to her compelling tale, eager advertisers were queuing up, and established pro-life parenting Web sites were promoting her blog - which included biblical quotes, anti-abortion messages and a soundtrack of inspirational Christian pop songs.

By Sunday night, when "April's Mom" claimed to have given birth to her "miracle baby" - blogging that April Rose had survived a home birth only to die hours later - her Web site had nearly a million hits.

There was only one problem with the unfolding tragedy: None of it was true.

Not the pregnancy, and not the photos posted on the blog of the supposed mother and Baby April Rose, swaddled in white blankets. The baby was actually a lifelike doll, which immediately raised the suspicion of loyal blog-followers.

"I have that exact doll in my house," said Elizabeth Russell, a doll maker from Buffalo, N.Y., who had been following the blog. "As soon as I saw that picture, I knew it was a scam."

By Monday, outraged followers on dozens of Christian parenting Web sites unmasked "April's Mom" as a hoaxer, and hundreds more vented their anger.

"She needs to be exposed and held accountable," Russell said.

Sensing people were close to establishing her identity, "April's Mom" on Monday raced in vain to delete her Web site, Twitter and Facebook accounts.

But it was too late. The online community found out her true identity: Beccah Beushausen, a 26-year-old social worker from Mokena, Ill.

When reached by the Chicago Tribune on Wednesday, Beushausen admitted to the hoax.

"I know what I did was wrong," she said. "I've been getting hate mail. I'm sorry because people were so emotionally involved."

There's no evidence that Beushausen benefited financially in any significant way, or committed any crime.

Still, Russell said she doesn't understand how anyone could create such a convincing tale that preyed on other women's emotions.

Beushausen says she really did lose a son shortly after birth in 2005. She started her blog in March to help deal with that loss and to express her strong pro-life views, she said.

She had only expected a handful of friends to read it, but when her first post got 50 comments, she was hooked.

"I've always liked writing. It was addictive to find out I had a voice that people wanted to hear," she said.

"Soon I was getting 100,000 hits a week, and it just got out of hand. I didn't know how to stop ... one lie led to another."

Though Beushausen said she used her real-life experiences and deeply held beliefs as a basis for her fictionalized account, her devoted fans didn't read it that way.

"I feel emotionally exploited," said Jennifer McKinney, a Minnesota mom who runs the widely read Christian parenting blog and nearly lost her fourth child during pregnancy. She said Beushausen sought her out to help promote her site.

In retrospect, McKinney says, Beushausen pursued her support "more aggressively than anyone else ever has," adding that Beushausen seemed more interested in attracting viewers than in her unborn child.

"I have 11,000 Twitter followers, and I drove most of the traffic to her blog," McKinney said.

"My readers were praying for her, and I feel guilty about that," she said.

"But I have to admit her stuff was beautifully written."

Raechel Myers, a friend of Beushausen's from college, heard from someone earlier this year that Beushausen was going through a difficult pregnancy. Myers and her husband, Ryan, had a daughter who died at birth, so they did more than most to support Beushausen.

"When I heard that she was pregnant I called her and said if she needed anything, I was there for her," said Raechel Myers, now living in Nashville, Tenn. She said she spoke to Beushausen almost every day for the last few weeks.

Myers sold T-shirts online to benefit Beushausen and Pass, a Tinley Park, Ill., pro-life pregnancy clinic Beushausen asked them to donate to. The couple said they also sent her a few hundred dollars.

Even after learning of the hoax, Raechel Myers said she and her husband don't regret their involvement.

"She's someone who needed love and attention and we gave her that," Raechel Myers said.

Beushausen and her father said the stress of being exposed caused her to spend two nights recuperating in Palos Community Hospital.

"I couldn't handle it anymore," she said, adding that she plans to write one final blog post, coming clean and apologizing to her fans.

Her father said he only learned of his daughter's double-life Wednesday morning.

"She's a very talented young lady who hit some hot buttons," he said.

"She knows she made a big mistake."

In parting

Well, here goes nothing. I am not saying much that you don't already know, but it will be in one place. First I have to say that I am still trying to respect people's privacy and wishes here. All the same I know you need answers. As already posted on the Gibson twins blog there will be an article about Beccah in the Chicago Tribune. I have talked to a reporter from that paper and was asked not to post the info. Hence, I was trying to be courteous of that request. Since it is already known then I guess no harm done. The article may be in Friday's paper. Beccah was interviewed and her father was present to be sure that she could be held accountable and didn't just give a bunch of lies to the reporter. Also, in that article she does clear Ryan and Raechel from having any involvement in this. I hope I have not violated anybodies trust, but I have had enough of all of this.

Secondly Beccah is a severly damaged soul . She has suffered serious trauma in her life and is quite disturbed. The details of her life I would never post as that would only cause more damage. You can be assured that Beccah will be getting the help she needs.

The police are investigating this story. As for an actual prosecution I have no idea. I am not sure that there is enough actual evidence here to warrant legal action, but I guess we will see about that.

Raechel and Ryan will be posting soon along with angie and Jennifer. If that will shed more light on the situation I do not know. I do know that they are innocent and deserve to find peace and return to their normal lives.

I have to say also that unlike other bloggers I had no personal interest in this nor was I wronged by Beccah. My motive was purely to inform her readers and get to the truth. I cannot fathom how broken a person would have to be to have done this. Although she should be held accountable I do feel so sorry for her. I just had to do what I could to make this right. I had nor have no ill will towards Beccah.

As for the other bloggers involved and your comments toward them. I am disappointed that road was chosen. I am a mother and I can't imagine the pain and grief that is suffered when losing a child. Why question the way another person grieves or expresses themselves. As for bloggers making money. Who cares? If you don't like it then don't go there. None of us are in the position to judge.

I have been asked if I am a believer in God. Yes. I am catholic and I love my relationship with God. I have to say that I was very torn about this blog, but in the end decided it was all I could do to get the truth out. I know that I had to do this.

Beccah if you are ever out there reading this I hope you get help and I hope you can find Peace. I will be praying for you.

I already made a similar statement, but I will do so again. This will be my last. I feel continuing this would just breed negativity that I have to move on from. I hope all the followers of April Rose keep their faith. Prayer is never in vain. God knows your hearts and your intentions were good and true. There are people out there thet need prayers and need help. Do not lose sight of human kindness. There is decency in this world. Do not turn your cheek to human suffering. Do not approach everything with skeptisism. Do not let the bad in this story get the best of you. I have been in touch with so many lovely people through all of this. That is what I am going to take with me in the end. Thank you all for listening and trusting in me. I hope you are all able to move on from this. This story in my heart and soul has been put to rest.
Best wishes to you all,
I like that your comments have taken a lighter tone. Continue here people.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Last post.........again.....LOL

OK. This is what I know. Not much, but I am skipping a few things. Anyways here goes.
I have little to tell you right now. But a little is better than nothing right? Please continue to have faith in Ryan and Rachel. They are hurting and are just dealing with this in their own fashion. I know most of you don't agree with Rachel's silence, but this subject is so close to her heart we must have patience. This whole thing will be over in a couple of days. I cannot say more. Just please trust me on that fact. I don't know that all of the minuscule details being mulled over will be touched on, but I guarantee you that there will be closure. If you are here with a good heart and good intentions your need for answers will be fulfilled. If you are here to knit pick small things and here to punish you will never find all the answers because there will always be new questions.
ok. you asked for it. continue your comments here.

This will probably be my last post as I feel that my blog has done its' job. Please feel free to continue to comment. I will be hanging around on and off. First and foremost I want to say that I am sorry to those of you who were hurt by this scam. That being said I want you to know that the people who were hurt the most in this were Ryan and Racheal. Although, I never posted so even I had some doubt in the beginning and for that I want to apologize to them. I know that there will always be questions and feelings that somebody must take responsibility for all of this. There is only one person to blame here and that is Beccah. Please do not leave Ryan and Racheal holding the bag here. I am not saying that I agree 100% with the way they have chosen to proceed, however they have chosen what is best for them and their family. Besides, do you really think that Beccah has just willingly given them all of the details in her little (huge) game? NO. Beccah is a coward and is hiding from the truth.

Ryan has informed me that he has been in touch with the president of PASS in regards to the check that was sent. He did in fact send them a check for $50.00. He is working with PASS to make sure that they do have that check. The rest of the t shirt ( total $300) money did go to Beccah. Be assured that the posts on this blog from Ryan are in fact Ryan.

I have heard the term witch hunt being used on several occasions so I thought I would address it here. I do not wish any harm to anybody even Beccah. I hope that in all of this Beccah is able to get the help she needs to find some peace in life. I do feel that she does however need to be held accountable for her actions. Since, she did receive money from people and through the sale of the t shirts she has commited fraud. She has commited a crime. However, I am not a member of law inforcement so it is not up to me what happens with that. Beccah really does need prayers. She is a tormented and troubled soul. She is in serious need of helpand I truly hope she gets it. I ask that you do not express your anger over what she has done in a violent manner.

I have requested several times that we not post addresses or phone numbers. You are not going to reach Beccah and her family or friends do not deserve to be harassed right now. I feel in my heart that some of our questions will get answered in time and some we will never know the answers to.

In closing, for all of you that have been hurt or misled I hope that you realize that your prayers were not in vain. Eventhough April Rose does not exist God knows what was in the hearts of all of you. Only good can come of that. Do not lose faith in human goodness. Do not approach human suffering or tragedy with skeptisism. Do not turn a cheek to those in need. Keep your faith. It is your faith that keeps this world the place I want my children to grow up in. Do not give up or give in. Take a deep breath and thank God that you are here and can cantinue to do good work. Yes. Pray that Beccah finds peace in this world and stops hurting so that she can stop hurting others. Thank you for your time. Thank you for helping me get to the truth.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Rachael's post.

09 June 2009

April Rose

This post has been co-written by Angie, Jennifer, and Raechel in order to address a very serious issue as a united front.

It isn't an easy post, but it is one that has been prayed over and we are asking you to continue to pray for all of those involved. Each of us has, to varying extents, introduced "B" (Beccah) and her daughter April Rose to you, and we feel a responsibility to our readers to address the recent allegations. Please know that this comes after many attempts to speak to Beccah directly, and as many avenues we could seek in order to believe that the naysayers were wrong.

At this point, the three of us are compelled to believe that we have been mislead, and that the Beccah that we have been praying for is not who she presented herself to be. It is not our intention to bring up all of the details to be hashed out, or to begin a conversation that will further the gossip that satan so wishes would come from this.

Angie and Raechel got together in person today (Yes, they live very near to each other and each lost an infant daughter last year...Audrey on April 7th and Evie on April 9th), and Jennifer has individually spent time on the phone with both Angie and Raechel in the past couple days. We have all prayed over the whole situation. It is incredible to hear what Raechel has gone through as she has sought to love Beccah well throughout this whole journey. She is as shaken as all of us are, and feels blindsided. She did what any loving Christian sister would have done and reached out to someone she had known in the past, but hadn't had contact with in years. She did her best to be a friend, as we all did. Please hear our (Jennifer and Angie's) hearts on this-Raechel was as much in the dark as all of the rest of us. She made no money, nor did she have any idea that she was being taken advantage of. She and her husband made t-shirts to benefit PASS, and they personally sent the check directly to PASS. Any speculation of their participation in this in this is purely false, and should be immediately put to rest.

We are now face to face with evidence that compels us to believe that Beccah's story is fictitious. We will not go into further detail, because at this point, it will just feel like more fuel to the fire. Instead, we would like to encourage you to continue to be in prayer for Beccah as the story develops. Whatever the case, she is a woman in need of prayer, and although the sting is fresh on our cheeks, we must, as a body, continue to seek the counsel of the Lord and trust that He will use this situation for good.

Every one of you has a right to be hurt and to feel robbed of your time and your investment in this story, but above all, please remember that this is a person created in the image of God. As difficult as it sounds, we would like to beseech you to be in prayer for everyone involved. We want to assure you that the time you spent in prayer was not was a sweet communion between you and the Lord on behalf of someone who needed that intercession.

There are incidences like this that occur in the blog world, and each of us has dealt with them. This should serve as a reminder that not everyone is to be trusted; there are people who can use this as a platform for emotional attention, or any number of things.

After much discussion, many phone calls to others involved, and much prayer, we feel like this is the best approach. The three of us care about our readers more than we can express, and have become friends outside of the blog world. We all believed it too and we are mourning it the same way you are.

It didn't feel right to not say anything at all, but we also don't feel that any further commenting or discussion would be edifying to the Lord at this point, and as a result we will be shutting off comments for this post. Please respect our hearts and our intentions as we seek the Father Who knows what we cannot understand, and allows us to come to Him with our brokenness.

He is the God of mercy, and we can only hope to reflect that to the world as His followers…

With much love and prayer,

Angie, Jennifer, and Raechel