FROM OUR FOUNDER…HOW VILAJING WAS BORN
We have officially been involved in the world of adoption (and parenting!) for over 10 years now (geez, I feel OLD!!…and truth be told, it is actually wayyyyyyy closer to 11 years but I haven’t yet been able to bring myself to acknowledge that the boys turn 11 next month!!).
A few years ago, I started to get super nostalgic. I think it was during a time that a phone ‘died’ and I had to replace it, that I realized I had TONS of pictures on my phone of the kids, and NO IDEA what to do with them. I also had audio clips of them singing in the back of the car (granted, it was ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ like 168x, but to me…oh. my. word….absolutely priceless to hear those 3-year old voices!). I had video from days at the park, visits from extended family, birthday parties, trips to the beach, the school Christmas play (that one got cut off early when one of my little guys stood up during the performance to shout ‘NOW I PEED BECAUSE I AM NERVOUS!’, but I digress….).
ALL THESE AWESOME MEMORIES stuck on my phone!
Being that I am not what I would call ‘super technical’, I did what any reasonable woman would do….I handed my husband my phone and said “WHATEVER HAPPENS, DO NOT LOSE MY PICTURES AND VIDEOS!!”. So, they ended up backed-up on CD’s, in ‘cloud’ storage, and on hard-drives. PHEW…..they did not get lost. And the process began again with my next phone….
Problem was, all those memories still EXISTED, but not where I could ever actually access them again without it being a huge time-consuming pain. Thus, Vilajing was conceived. ‘VILAJ’ is the Haitian-Creole spelling of the word ‘village’.
I wanted a way to be able to enjoy all those pictures and videos I had taken over the years, but also a way to share them with our ‘vilaj’…the people in my kids’ lives who want to be involved, want to know what is going on, want to support and surround our family, but can’t due to distance, or just…life.
While sharing on social media can certainly be fun, there are lots of inherent problems that I have never been comfortable with…
– Unless I tag a bunch of people, there’s no way to ensure the people I REALLY want to share with (aunts and uncles, cousins, grandmas and grandpas, friends who are like family) actually see what I share
– EVERYONE else who I don’t necessarily want to share with CAN see what I share
– The comments….oooohhhhhh the comments….nuff said….
– Facebook is just not a place that I wanted to archive our family’s story (nor is it designed for that which is evident if you’ve ever actually tried to locate a particular picture from years past!)
– Privacy – now there’s a thought in the world of social media! I occasionally share on Facebook and like most everyone, I think it can be lots of fun. But in terms of archiving and displaying our family’s story, I wanted more control over privacy issues like who could or couldn’t view certain pictures (am I the only one who LOOOOVVES the baby-in-the-bathtub pictures? or the ones of them toddling around giggling like crazy because they are ‘unencumbered’ from the diapers for a bit?….NOT the type of pictures I want ‘out there’!).
I wanted control over who could or couldn’t comment. I just wanted a more personal, private, safe place where I could save and display our ‘story’…a place I could freely send my kids anytime, no matter their ages, and NOT have to worry about what else they would stumble on as they got there.
Fast-forward to today, and after several years, and investment of lots of time and money, Vilajing is a live, active service that I am super excited about. I am excited partially selfishly because now I have a safe place for all of our memories…
I can hear their 5-year old voices in the video of their birthday party.
I can see the girls’ dance recital when they were barely 3 and Yvelore ‘froze’ on stage and had to be rescued and dragged off by her sister.
We can all view the Easter egg hunt the year we were without a place to live (a story for another day!) and found ourselves temporarily on a 100-acre ranch in the CO Rockies.
We can all view some of the last memories we have with Kody (our beloved Golden Retriever who was with us as long as any of of the kids)…
Our Vilaj connects us, and binds us, and in a very tangible way, highlights for the kids a sense of belonging and togetherness and shared history. That’s why we take all these pictures and videos in the first place, isn’t it???!!!!
So now when Andres does 600+ consecutive seat-drops on the trampoline (no, I am not kidding…), I can not only capture that moment, AND his quote afterwards “Wow, mom, I feel like an elephant with spaghetti noodles for legs!”, but I can send a quick easy notification to Grandma and Grandpa who can easily comment (“Way to go dude!” is what we got out of Grandpa on that one….) and not only can that memory be easily accessed anytime, but Grandpa’s comment will be there forever as well. Even when Grandpa isn’t.
Bottom line…for our family, our Vilaj has become priceless, and becomes more so as we add more memories (right from our phones so it is super easy), and as time passes.
This is a new and exciting endeavor for us, and we would love for you to check it out, and share with anyone else you think might want to give it a try! It costs you nothing. We just hope your kids and families will love it as much as ours do!
CLICK BELOW to get yours.
Love and hugs, and here’s to happy memory-making!