Wednesday, April 29, 2009

I am Moving ....

...just my blog. I have not wanted to change my address, but it bugs me that it is meandmy4 and now I have 5. Visit it me at

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Menu Plans

Here is our menu for the week.

Monday- Chicken stir-fry
Tuesday- Grilled pork tenderloin, wild rice, salad
Wednesday- Spaghetti, salad
Thursday-Chicken tortilla soup
Friday-Dinner with friends
Saturday- Cinco de Mayo/Jack 3rd b-day party--Steak/Pork/Chicken Fajitas, Tacos, Black Beans and Rice, Something corn, Chips with different salsas and Guacamole (The love of everything Spanish in Bruce keeps this party going every year even though Jack is starting to realize he may be getting cheated out of a real birthday party.:) It has also kind of become the "Oh no! You can't not have the margarita party this year!" with our friends.)
Sunday- Left overs

Monday, April 27, 2009

Help Please

Zachary wants to know, "Can you wash wetness?" I have no clue what he wants or needs here. Any translation help would be much appreciated.

Accepting the Award

Click here to see Mike and 10th Avenue North accepting the award.Congratulations again!!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Scary Times

I have not blogged about some of the current events on purpose. We are in a scary place and I do not have anything profound to say. Our president makes me nervous, it is becoming ever so clear that the whole freedom of speech and opinions thing does not really count if you are a Christian or in some cases just have good morals, and our government's solutions to our economic crisis makes me want to shake someone really hard to wake them up. When speaking of my children getting older, I told a friend recently that it just could not be true that Isaac is not a toddler anymore. I said it just does not feel real. Sometimes I think it would be fun if life were really like when we were little girls and played house. We could imagine anything and we just played in blissful ignorance. Wouldn't it be great if we could do that with our children? The scary thing is that I get the sense our President is playing the same game. What concerns me is I am not so sure he is teachable enough to wake up to the reality of real life. He is playing house and I am not even sure that he realizes it is a game and not real. That terrifies me. When I look at the whole intolerance of intolerance that is going on combined with our leadership, all I can do is pray. So, that is what I am going to do.

Look at Him Now

One of the greatest joys Bruce and I have had in working the last 15 years with teenagers is being able to enjoy the journey they take and watching the things God does to mold them into the adults they become. I love catching up with a former student to see what they are up to now. Mike Donehey has been easy to follow. We have kept up with his family and are always amazed at what we hear. Congratulations to Mike and 10th Avenue North on winning Best New Artist at the Dove Awards! We knew Mike when he walked around Fredericksburg Christian School constantly composing songs and playing his guitar. I remember him composing a song about the French mission trip we were on a singing it in the airport. Of course, Isaac thinks it is pretty cool that the brother of his first crush is the lead singer of his favorite band.(Yes, Kanene, even though you went off and got yourself married, he still remembers you.)Again, Congratulations guys!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

For Whom Are You Holding Your Head High?

I am guessing you all have figured out by now that I am kind of "high strung" as my husband puts it. I really try to calm down and not let myself be anxious over things. I have been doing a pretty good job lately. Well, today something out of the blue and out of my control unfolded before my eyes. It has caused me to be in a state of panic, humiliation, etc. It is not the end of the world, but it will have lasting effects of people's opinions of me. So, my husband, who is feeling some of the same things over this, reminded me that God knew this was going to happen and so what if people have the wrong impression. Beyond God, does it really matter what opinions people have of you? I know in general yes, it does. We should be a light unto the world, and people should see Christ through us, but when things are beyond your control and you do not like the end result-Does it really matter? No, it does not. I am reminding myself of something I say to my children quite often when they worry over friends and what they think of them. I ask them, "If Christ were right here would you be able to hold your head high about the details of this particular circumstance. If so, stop worrying about it!" So, if you are like me and worry way too much about what others think, remember who you are holding your head high for.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Monday

I am trying to get back into menu planning. I was doing well for a while, then we became too, too busy.Which means spending too much money eating out, or in our case, having food delivered. So, I am getting back into planning. For the weekend I have started making sure I have food for 3 meals on hand and waiting to see what is going on and preparing the food accordingly. We will either start the Sabbath Saturday night with a meal, or have it after church on Sunday. Occasionally, we close the Sabbath with the big meal on Sunday night. I have enjoyed doing that as well.

Monday- Baked chicken and potatoes with fresh asparagus
Tuesday- Pot Roast
Wednesday- Slower Cooker Pork Chops and Gravy with rice, and green beans
Thursday- Grilled Chicken, Cous Cous, Salad
Friday- Black Beans and Rice, Spinach Salad
Weekend Meals- Grilled London Broil, Smoked Ribs, Hot dogs roasted over the fire, broccoli salad, sweet potato fries, German Potato Salad, fresh asparagus.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

It is Official

The adoption is finally official! Micah is legally our child now. We had the hearing this morning. I am so glad to put this year behind us. This journey has been difficult, but as with anything journey God sends you through, we have grown tremendously. I hope I have learned to be more sensitive to others and to know that people need grace when they are suffering. I have learned how important it is to be teachable during these times of your life. We are so thrilled to have Micah in our lives. He is truly a blessing. We are also thankful for the added benefit of the friendships which have grown from this. We could never do enough to thank the people who have helped us through this time. But here is a big THANKS to you all!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I am stuck in one area in my planning for the children's schooling. I am good with curriculum. I already know what I will need help with and what I will do on my own. I am stuck with the daily schedule. Not so much coming up with it, but how to present it to the kids. I know I may not be making much sense. Maybe it is because
I am still a little confused about what I am looking for. Until this year They have been pretty dependent upon me. They have known we follow a schedule, but they would still come to me for what needed to be done next. Isaac is getting older and needs to take a little more responsibility in this area. Time management is not his strongest attribute. Sarah on the other hand has to be told to calm down if she thinks she is getting off of her schedule. There are pros and cons to both, but one needs the responsibility and one just wants it. So, I am looking for a daily planner or assignment sheet to hand them. Isaac's days go much better when it is laid out for him in visible form and there are consequences when he does not complete each goal. Without that he is distracted every step along the way. I know I could make my own and I may do it. I was just hoping to find something already done that I can input the info on a monthly basis (I have found with small children doing it for the year just discourages me. Someone is sick or I spend my day in constant conflict,it throws everything off, and then I have to re-work everything.) Then I would just print it out and give it to them. I really do not need all of the record keeping that comes with most programs. We are not there yet and the older they get I will probably let VP handle all of that. Any suggestions?

Monday, April 13, 2009

We're Back

So, we're back. As much as I try to deny it, we are home. We had a great vacation. It is so true that you never realize how stressed you are until you take that much needed break. I finally feel like this last miserable year is behind us. There was so much closure, for me at least, in being able to visit with Micah's mother and our incredible friends without the adoption hanging over our heads. We could actually be friends and have a ton of fun. At least we did. I hope they did too!:) This is a trip Bruce and I would not normally just take. My husband sensed my need to unwind and find closure and with a place to stay, great friends to take our children, and cheap plane tickets we did it. Not sure when or if it will happen again, but I am glad we did it! Enjoy the pictures.

Monday, March 30, 2009


My blog has not been my priority lately. I am coming back to it, though. I have lots of thoughts mulling around my head. But, they will have to wait. You see, Bruce and I have a vacation planned. We are leaving Thursday for a full week in Hawaii WITHOUT CHILDREN!! Actually, while I know it is very important to have this time alone and we really need to unwind after the year we have had, I know I will be guilty of constantly thinking, "Oh the kids would love this!" We have wonderful friends who are keeping all 5 of our children on top of the 9 they already have! Some of their children are much older than mine, so they will have some help. The kids are so excited and I know they will have a blast. We cannot wait to spend time with our friends without the heaviness of everything that was going on the last time we were there. So, I am off to pack. I will post pictures and details when we get home.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Children and Grieving

I have a confession. Bruce and I have sat through so many adoption classes and left them thinking they were full of a bunch of liberal mumbo jumbo. For the most part they would always advocate some kind of birth parent contact. It could be as simple as a letter on their birthday to being a part of the family. I want to protect my son so, I will not say a lot about our situation but, he got the raw end of the deal on an open adoption so, we were turned off. We still believe the child should be put first and it is not a given that openness is always best. I think if the adoptive family is going to make a commitment then for the sake of the well being of the child, the birth parent should make a commitment as well. They should not communicate when it is easy and drop off the face of the earth when they are ready to move on. Especially if the child is old enough to remember them. Why am I thinking through all of this now? It actually has nothing to do with Micah's adoption. We are not sure what is going to happen there, but we do trust that if she makes a commitment either way she will stick to it. I'm thinking through all of this because I have been approached numerous times recently with adoptive parents whose children are hitting that 7 to 9 year old range and realizing what it means to be adopted. The are grieving and trying to understand. It is heartbreaking to watch. They want to know what we did to help Isaac get through it. That is hard. The thing we have learned is the grieving process is cyclical. You think they are through it, but then they get to a point when it rares its head again. So, the question I have is this. Are the social workers correct? Is it better when their is healthy, responsible contact? You see, I have been doing a little observing. WE know several adoptive families. A lot of them have some sort of contact with the birth families. It seems as though those who do, even if it is just a letter once a year, are having an easier go at it. Now, I acknowledge I do not live in their homes and maybe they have a whole other list of issues. And maybe I just see the longing in my son's eyes when they talk about visits with or letters from their birth parents. Anyway, I am just thinking. Any opinions out there? I do not know how much of an adoption crowd I have, but I would love to hear your thoughts.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Omnibus IV Reading List

I have talked with some of you about Omnibus IV. I thought you would be interested in seeing the new reading list. It is a little different than what is in the current catalog. It has been posted here:

They Really Do Watch Us

It has become more and more evident that at least one of my children has inherited my "the glass is half full" attitude. It is funny how we want to deny that the sins we see in our children might just stem from watching their parents. This child has struggled for years with different things and just cannot see the good side in anything. I always have these little thoughts creeping into my mind, "You know, _____ is just following your example." I then make a million excuses as to why that is not true and go on. Last night ________ explained to us that ____ tries to see the good in things, but worries just pop into ____ head and ___ cannot stop thinking about it. My husband then goes on to say,"Yeah, you have picked that up from your mother." At first I was extremely offended that he would do that in front of our child, but I could tell that this was so obvious to him and the child that it never would have occurred to either of them to keep this a secret. Well, my heart has been convicted. Years ago my husband had this project of putting all of the Proverbs on index cards and dividing them according to category. I would often pull out the anxiety, worrying, or God's sovereignty stacks and just read and pray over them for days at a time. I think it is time to do this again. As a matter of fact I think will invite this child to do it with me.

EDIT: Alright, that should say "glass is half epmty." Wow, long day!

Monday, March 16, 2009

O Lord, Please Quiet my Heart

WE have been busy and traveling and are now planning for our trip to Hawaii. All I can hear is noise! I know that sounds crazy, but as a mother of 5, I usually deal well with the noise of a house full of children. As my sister-in-law reminded me this weekend, our home will be silent again before we know it. (Her baby was married this weekend. Wow! I still cannot believe he is married! She is hearing the silence all too well.) Because we have been so busy, we have been "flying by the seat of our pants." I tend to like living this way for me personally, but it is not working so well with all of the children. So, I am trying to get back to some sort of routine. Every time I think of putting everyone back on their schedule,my mind starts racing with all of things I have to do in the next two weeks. There is no time for a schedule!! Our home is loud and chaotic and we seem to be spinning our wheels. So, as my heart and mind are full of chaos right now, I am praying this Puritan Prayer over and over.
As the sun is full of light, the ocean full of water,
Heaven full of glory, so may my heart be full of Thee.

I have found that when I have a hard time escaping the chaos it is usually because I have not quieted my heart enough to trust in our Saviour. I am sure it also has a little to do with children who need a little training or re-training for some of them.:-)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Reading the Classics

I came across this list of classics which have stood the test of time. I think I am going to try and read through the list. It will more than likely take me years, but I am going to try. Some days all I can do is crawl to bed after reading the different books to the children. But, I am going to do better. I used to be an avid reader. I ALWAYS had several books going at one time. Now I am feeling lost in Dr. Seuss and I am afraid my brain will go to mush. I have actually done a lot of studying the past year of church history and the Middle Ages. I am finding it all fascinating. But, I want the old me back. The me that could do all of the studying, pleasure reading, and brain candy that I wanted and do it all simultaneously. So, I am giving it a go. I have already read several of them, but I am thinking of reading them again. I love to re-read books. I find that I see things in a different light at certain times in my life. Anyone want to attempt this with me?

Saturday, February 28, 2009

Happy 1st Birthday Micah

Micah turns 1 today. When I think back to this day last year it is filled with so many emotions. That first week I was on auto-pilot. That caught me off guard. My husband, in his wisdom, knew that is what would happen and arranged for me to stay with strangers at the time, now great friends.He did not want me doing it alone. They kept me going and fed and everything else.They will never know what a blessing their hospitality was to me and the peace that it gave my husband knowing I was not alone during all of that. That day and the few days after were so emotional for me and it was hard to function in that when you do not know anyone. They knew that and helped me along.And then to come home to the news that everything was different than we had been told was well, overwhelming. Anyway, as I think back over the last year I am thankful for new friends, for an awesome relationship with the birth mother, and most of all, the great gift that we have. Micah definitely lives up to his middle name, Makana, meaning gift in Hawaiian.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Did You Hear It?

Did you hear that very loud sigh of relief coming from the Etter home? Yesterday has come and gone with no one appealing the judges decision on terminating the parental rights. We are in the home stretch now. Everything from here out is just a formality. We have a finalization date of April 16.

In other adoption news, we had a great time at Medieval Times last night. Isaac was so proud when it was announced that the Etter family was celebrating the adoption of Isaac. The boys did not know what to do with themselves. Micah sat mesmerized by it all. Zach was a little afraid in the beginning but soon warmed up and was cheering our knight along and booing very loudly at our enemy. Jack was hilarious. Every time someone was "stabbed" or "whipped", he would scream with laughter and say,"That is funny!"

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Busy Times

We have a big weekend coming up. My sister is coming to town to celebrate Micah's
1st b-day. I cannot believe it has been a year. With all of the struggles it felt like and eternity, now I want that time back. Sunday is Isaac's Adoption Day. He never lets me forget that I was in Hawaii for it last year, so we need to do something really special this year. It really does not bother him that I was in Hawaii. It is just his excuse to celebrate big. We are going to Medieval Times Dinner Theater tonight to celebrate. He is excited.Actually everyone, except Zach, is excited. He is not happy that he will have to eat with his hands. He is so much like is father. And last but not least, today is day 30 of the termination of parental rights appeal process. At the end of today we will let out the biggest sigh of relief ever.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Finding Out Something New Everyday

Today Zach decided I needed to be filled in on how you dance to hip-hop. He is 5 so
I thought this would be rather interesting. He broke out in a full force break dancing routine. I commented on how he really is his father's son. Well, my husband took issue with that little slam and informed me that he was part of a break dancing club in high school. When I asked what friends were in this little club, he told me the football players. I do not know which is more out of character- the break dancing or his being in a club with the football players. Wow! I thought I knew him! I laughed until I hurt.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Curriculum Choices

It is that time of year again for homeschoolers. We are all asking ourselves, "What are we doing next year?" Things are pretty much set for us. I made some changes in
Isaac's curriculum this past year with good results so we are sticking with it. He will more than likely do:

Math U See This was new this year. He has done much better. Math has gone from tears and frustration to one of his better subjects.
VP Grammar & Writing Online (Shurley Grammar and IEW)
VP Literature Online as an auditing student. -I went back and forth on this one. I did not want him as a full student. We tend to pick and choose between the Lit books and the Historical Lit books. I am afraid he would struggle to keep up and we would have to give up a lot of the Historical Lit. I do however like the idea of him benefiting from the teaching of a Literature teacher while going through these classics.
VP Latin Online (Latin for Children)
VP Explorers to 1815 Online
Sylvan Spelling- This was new for us this year and we LOVED it. WE will continue with it and I think VP will even be putting in the catalog.
VP Handwriting

I am still struggling with Sarah. She does great with Saxon, but I am wondering if it would be easier for me to have them in the same curriculum. The same is true for spelling. She does fine with Phonetic Zoo and is a great speller. But would it be easier on me to put her in what Isaac is in? I am thinking we will stick with what is good for her. They are not on the same level so, I would be working with them separately anyway. For now her curriculum looks like this:

VP 3rd Grade LitShurley Grammar with a small amount of IEWPhonetic Zoo A/B
Song School Latin
VP Handwriting

Zachary will be doing:

Phonics Museum
Saxon Math
We will read through the Child's Story Bible in our family devotions.(I am also working on a project for this.)

All three children will be doing Memory Work, Poetry, Art, and Music. I am working on a Memory Work project. More on that later. I usually do Art in the summer when we have more time to makes messes.:) I am looking at Atelier Art. For Poetry we work through Writing Poetry and I also have different poems and verses they memorize and spend weeks copying for copy work. Music comes in the form of instrument lessons, studies on different composers from different genres, and possibly choir.

That is how things are looking to shape up here. What is on your mind for your children?

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Menu for the Week

This week is nothing special. It looks like I am heavy on slow cooker meals. But, it is what I have in the freezer.

Monday- Ham loaf- mashed potatoes-Peas
Tuesday- Slow cooker pork chops and gravy-brown rice-green beans
Wednesday-Chicken Tortilla Soup-Salad
Thursday-Pot Roast with Vegetables-Rolls
Friday-Pizza (Movie night with our homeschool group)

Since the kids have basketball all day on Saturday, we have been having our Sabbath meal on Sunday. I have a turkey breast in the freezer. I think I will find a good glaze to put on it and do brussel sprouts. I am not sure of my other sides yet.

What is on your table this week?

Monday, February 16, 2009

Willie Ain't Half Bad

Alright, Willie puts on a good concert. We were pleasantly surprised at the fun time we had. He has really put together a group of high caliber musicians. Then there is Ruby Jane. Can I just say that girl is awesome!?! We went backstage and met her before the concert. She was your typical 14 year old girl so excited to meet her crazy online teacher. When we asked if she was nervous she acted like that was a word she had never heard of before. She seriously is having a lot of fun. After talking with her mom, we realized she picked up a violin at two and basically started playing and has not stopped since. At 10 she was the youngest person to ever be invited to play at the Grand Ole Opry. Anyway, it was blast to meet her and hear her play. She had several solos and the crowd went wild every time. On her first solo they introduced her as as 14 year old little girl. After she was done everyone around us was all "Wow! 14!" It was funny to hear my husband saying"Yeah, she's my student!" Lesson learned? Concerts with talented people are good even if it is not your style.
And no, we will not make you compete against her in the Vertas Press Online Academy Talent Show at the End of the Year Gathering.

Ruby Jane during a solo

Ruby Jane on stage with Willie Nelson

Bruce and Ruby Jane

Friday, February 13, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

Alright, I know I am behind in the blogging world. I think it is a combination of busyness and lack of my creativity at coming up with blogging material. So, here are 7 quick takes of things that have been going on around here.

1. We have been crazy busy answering questions and giving guidance for the Veritas Press Online program and the new diploma program that was just announced this week.

2. I have been reading the book Of Different Minds. It is a book which explains teaching children with learning differences. It is from a Christian perspective and I am loving it. I have already used some of her suggestions at home and in my online classroom and am impressed with what I have seen.

3. Guess what concert we are going to tonight? Don't laugh! Willie Nelson. I said don't laugh!!(No offense to Willie Nelson fans. I am more of a U2 or maybe James Taylor kind of girl. So, going to a Willie Nelson concert has never entered my mind.) Bruce teaches Ruby Jane Smith in one of his Online Omnibus classes.He knew she was a musician, but did not realize she was the fiddle player for Willie Nelson. So, she is touring with him, and they play in Lancaster tonight. It will be fun to meet her. You should YouTube her. She is phenomenal.

4. Bruce and I booked tickets and are going on an adult vacation! We promised ourselves we would do Hawaii for real when all of the adoption mess was over. No, it is not all over and yes, he could still appeal but, we feel confident enough to celebrate. I guess if he does appeal, we still need time to unwind and REST. We can't wait to see our friends there!

5. Micah will be walking soon and his trying to talk. He definitely knows who Mama and Dada are and he waves and say bye-bye anytime anyone enters or leaves the room. He also claps every time he stands up or sees anyone laughing. He is almost like the first again. When the third and fourth hit milestones, who had time to acknowledge them? Micah has 4 siblings whose worlds stop every time he even looks or sounds like he is doing something. It is pretty funny to watch 4 children scream HE'S WAVING. HE'S WAVING! And then they all mimic whatever he is doing just encase he forgets.

6. Zach(5) shot a ball from "downtown" and made it in the hoop at last week's b-ball game. I was not there, but he says downtown means half-court.

7. I paid a lot of money this week to have my hair highlighted and does not look any different. She says if I come back within the week she will re-do it for free. I am going back.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Grocery Fund

It is a really bad sign for the grocery budget when the 11 month old eats more than the 4 year old and 2 year old combined. In the past, we did not start seeing a change in the grocery bill until the kids were about 4. Well, Micah eats a full serving of everything we eat plus 2 snack times throughout the day. So, in an effort to make sure we can feed him, I am sending you here. The Etter family thanks you for any contribution to our grocery fund by signing up your children to take classes from Veritas Prss Online Academy.

Seriously, registration has began for current families and already by the second day we have more than half of this years number of registrants. Registration is open to the general public starting Monday. There are classes which will more than likely be full by then. So, if you need specific days and times, I would suggest registering pretty quickly.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Double Standards

I received the following email from Catholic today.I know, I know. I should not be surprised by the media's double standards. I know it is long, but it is worth the read. I will try to stop posting such long posts.:) The commercial they are talking about is the one I shared with you before the inauguration.

Dear Member,

We broke this news yesterday, but wanted to make sure you have the full story - NBC has slammed the door on running our ad during the Super Bowl!

After several days of negotiations, a representative in Chicago told us that NBC and the NFL are not interested in advertisements involving ‘political candidates or issues.’

We were in the midst of raising the money needed, and had confirmed interest from several very generous pro-life benefactors. Airing the ad would have been very expensive, and a 'Super' opportunity.

But NBC’s rejection is calling even more attention to the ad. We have been appearing on radio programs across the country for the past two days, and NBC’s New York affiliate (imagine the irony), is covering the controversy. Bill O’Reilly of the FOX News Channel featured the ad on his program Wednesday night calling it “brilliant” and “genius.” His show alone reached nearly 4 million people.

All of this is driving more traffic to the commercial online. We reached almost 1 million online views in less than two weeks!

So why did NBC reject the ad?

The network claims that they do not allow political or issue advocacy advertisements during the Super Bowl, but that’s simply not true.

The network was willing to air an ad by PETA, which is definitely an advocacy group, if PETA would tone down their ad’s sexual suggestiveness.

Also, the first ad scheduled to run during the Super Bowl is a creative spot about Pedigree’s pet adoption drive. The ad ends with the line: “Help us help dogs.”

In recent years, some Super Bowl advertisements have caused controversy. But there’s nothing objectionable about our positive, life-affirming advertisement. We show a beautiful ultrasound, something NBC’s parent company GE has done for years. We don’t attack Barack Obama, but focus on him becoming the first African-American President. We simply ask people to imagine the potential of each human life.

What now?

We’re not intimidated by NBC. We plan on getting this ad out so that many millions of Americans can imagine the potential of each human life. Here are some things you can do:

We are preparing a virtual protest of NBC’s decision. We want other networks to know that hundreds of thousands of people want to see this ad aired, and we will not give up easily. Stay tuned for our plan on this in the next few days.
The Catholic television station EWTN will be airing the commercial before, during and after the Super Bowl. Feel free to turn your channel to EWTN during halftime and watch our ad there.
You can still share the commercial with friends and family. Tell them to go to and watch the ad NBC doesn’t want them to see! Heck, show it at your Super Bowl party!
We’ve been humbled by the donations we’ve received to help get this ad out. We are especially grateful to the group of very generous benefactors that agreed to help if we got air time for the Super Bowl.

We aren’t certain they will still help, but we will use any funds we receive from you and others to air the ad in the most prominent and cost-effective venues available.

Perhaps the ad should run during the Academy Awards or maybe American Idol, which is popular with the youth. Maybe we should run it following President Obama’s first State of the Union address?

If you have ideas, tell us what you think.

Brian Burch

P.S. You may recall that this is the first ad in our new “Life: Imagine the Potential” campaign. We are having a huge impact with our campaign already! Our message is positive, life affirming, and hope-filled. And it is reaching audiences that normally don’t listen to us.

We are grateful for all your support and prayers.

It is All So Overwhwlming

I promised you all a better introduction to Micah when this was all over. It is not over yet, but we are feeling a little more comfortable at sharing him. The problem is that there are so many people involved and it is not my place to share their stories.I have also stated before that we have been guilty of sharing too much about Isaac. When they are little it is hard to remember that when they are older it may be embarrassing for them to have everyone know their story. I am sure I will not do it justice, but I will try and share as much as I can. It is very long. I just want a permanent record of it. I do not blame you if you do not read it all.

About a year and half ago we had a few of Bruce's online families who were in town over for dinner. In talking with them it came out that Isaac wanted a "brown brother" and we wanted to adopt again. One of the mothers sitting there had just found out the homeless teen they had taken in was pregnant. We just kind of acknowledged, "Wow, what if?" and moved on. A few months later we talked again and realized they were serious about adoption and we had to decide if we wanted to throw our names into the hat. At first we really did not know and decided to answer the long list of questions from the mother and just see what happens. We did not sell ourselves very well, as I did not think my husband was very serious. The next day, after I submitted our answers, he says something like, "If we are serious we need to look into the home study process, finances, etc." I could have killed him. I rushed through those answers thinking he was going to say no anyway! Well, she did not pick us at first. It was sad, but thankfully we believe in a sovereign God and did not blame ourselves for not taking the time to really do a good job on the questions. Fast forward a few weeks. Bruce had to speak with the father of the student about something school related and just thew in that if things did not work out with the other family, we were still interested. A couple of weeks later we received an email asking if we would be interested in taking the baby. Of course, we were! We rushed into adoption mode with not a lot of time. We spent time getting to know the birth mother through email and made plans for me to spend an unknown amount of time in Hawaii. I flew in the night before labor was induced. I met her the next day in the hospital. We hit it off at once. We shed a few tears and spent the day wishing her labor would move faster. I went back to the house I was staying in to get some rest and got a call at about 2am that he had been born. Originally the plan was for her to be alone with him for a while and then she would hand him over to me. I had already told her that I knew it would be hard for her to be right down the street from him while I was waiting for the state to say I could leave, so I did not mind if we spent time together while we were still there. So, the three of us spent 3 days in the hospital together. She did not want to be alone and I had never left a child at the hospital, so it just seemed natural to be there with him. I pulled out my cot right beside her bed and it was a little like a sleep over. I will cherish that time forever. She and I had some very emotional talks and became so comfortable with each other. She was able to feed him and take care of him. I even had her pick out is going home outfit. She never did change a diaper, though! She told me how much it meant to do those things because now she would never have to wonder what it would be like to feed him, or hold him while he slept, or any of those things we mothers take for granted everyday. Bruce joined me a few days later. We left Hawaii knowing we would see her again in a few months. Things started to unravel once we got home. We were told our adoption was going to take a few months longer than we anticipated. Things were weird since we were a continent apart. We know now the judge never wanted it to be said that the birth father did not have a fair chance because of the distance. After a few months it was a few more months and then it grew into almost a year. In the meantime the birth mother, the people who took her in as family and us were trying to move on with life. This past year has been difficult for a lot of people. But we are all rejoicing now! Her attorney was trying to call her from the courthouse on Tuesday. He looked at me and asked if I wanted to be the one to tell her. I was so excited, but got her voicemail.You may ask why would it be exciting to share this with her. Wouldn't it be sad for her that parental rights had been terminated? The great thing about her is that she never forgets who is the most important person in all of this. It is so vital to her that Micah does not experience everything she has had to experience. She has said more than once that she is so happy for the life he is going to get to have. That night I finally got her and it was so good to hear her voice and share that moment with her. Another thing that I never want to forget.

There is so much I left out. Like I said it is not only my story to tell. The thing that is so overwhelming in all of this is how close our son came to living a life that I had only experienced on movies or TV shows. You see, God chooses to take certain children out of deplorable situations and places them in Christian, covenant homes. How overwhelming is that? If I could tell you more you would know I have not exaggerated. I am going through the phase right now of realizing what could have been and it is heartbreaking and joyous at the same time. And then I wonder why God chose us to raise this child. Why did God choose Micah? I do not have the answers but I do know that when people say the price (literally and emotionally) is not worth it, I just want to scream. I know it is a calling and God does not call us all to bring these children into our homes, but to be a part of this miraculous work that God has done is an honor.

So, please let me introduce to you Micah Samuel Makana Etter. The cutest baby who never cries and has the most beautiful smile ever. Yes, I can say these things because he does not come from my gene pool.

Such is Life

We have been asked if we are celebrating this week. We decided to take the week off of school and just try to rest. We are so tired. We have been drifting through these last few weeks and just needed to soak it all in and revamp. Well, Sarah is now in the third day of vomiting, excruciating headaches, and a fever. The doctor says it is viral and could last a few more days. They said she was borderline at being admitted for IV fluids. That is not unusual for Sarah. She has nothing extra and she goes downhill really fast when she gets a stomach bug. The thing I hate is if she is that close to IV's, can't they just do it? Our pediatrician in VA always gave her Zofran so she could at least hold down fluids. She is being a little stubborn. If it tastes bad coming back up (which is everything), then she wants nothing else to do with it. So, Popsicles, Gatorade, etc. are hard to get her to take now. We are now threatening her with lots of needles hanging out of her arms. She is finally sipping on Ginger Ale. Any suggestions?

I am off to hold her and try to help her stay warm. Here's to praying the other 4 do not get it. If it takes this long to go through every child we will be doing this for a few weeks!!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Good News

Parental rights were terminated today!! There is a 30 day window for an appeal, but based on what we say today no one thinks it will happen. What a year this has been! As we were sitting in court waiting, my husband asked what we would have done differently. I could not really think of much that really would have mattered. He then said, "The really crazy thing is I think we would do it again." No, we are not saying we want more children, but do not let our situation make you afraid of adoption. We aren't.

Today is the Day

Today is our next court hearing. Please pray this will not be continued again and the judge will see the truth of the situation.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

It is All So Confusing

We turned the inauguration into something educational here in our homeschool. Just like a lot of other homeschoolers we had the children watch it and Isaac had to write a 3 point paragraph. I heard him tell his sister something like this, "I wish I did not have to write this stupid paragraph. Now I have to actually pay attention." After chuckling to myself because this is so Isaac, I went on to tell him that as black boy this day should mean something to him. He may not realize it now, but when he is an adult he will be happy that I made him pay attention to something that changes the course of his life. He then told me how confused he was. He says we don't like him, but yet I am supposed to be happy that he is apart of this historical moment. You see, my husband and I are of the camp which believes Barack Obama could very well be God's judgement on our nation. Call us extreme, but that is where we are. Back to Isaac. We explained how blessed he is, as a black person, to be growing up now and not during the time of slavery or even 50 years ago when he truly did not have equal rights. We had never really talked with him about any of this. We explained that this election meant black men could rise to the top in our country and in this particular instance was treated much better the those running against him.Yes, I know there is the camp that says, "But he is half white!" The truth of the mater is in our nation when you are even part black, everyone sees you as all black. My son is half Dominican. Even when I point that out to people, he is still just black. I have no problem with that. I am just saying racism does not stop if you say I have some white in me. I was thankful when we heard an interview with Bill Cosby and someone else. I can not remember his name. Isaac could hear from them things which I cannot say. They both basically said this election meant no more excuses. No more expecting handouts. No one is entitled to anything. We have a black president who was raised by a single mother, whose father deserted them, and so on. They also pointed out that he is a black man who appears to be a loving and responsible husband and father. The man who I cannot remember went on to say Barack Obama has broken the stereotype and there are no more excuses and the black leaders who have spent their time preaching entitlement need to back up and re-work their positions. I am still not sure that Isaac gets what it all means, but I do hope when he is a young adult he will remember the day for what it was and especially remember the interviews we watched.

What She Said

As we have all seen, our new President has already done some pretty scary and sad things just in his first few days. He has said things which are completely different than what he campaigned with. Unfortunately, he has also followed through on other things. I know, I know we are not surprised. Fox News is calling him out on a lot of things. I decided to just look to see what CNN was saying about him. I have to admit my surprise at this quote from Campbell Brown.

That basically means they are saying, we will mostly put tough new restrictions on lobbyists, except when we won't. Really? Is this how it is going to be?Please, please don't make us all any more cynical than we already are, Mr. President.If you have no intention of abiding by your new rules, then don't make new rules. That would be "actual" transparency.

Read the whole thing here.

Monday, January 19, 2009

To Re-sign Up or Not

So, I have been frustrated with my son in his online classes. He is only 10 so, it means I have to sit with him or at least be within earshot and constantly redirect him to pay attention. Let me say that he has almost 0 attention span. It is REALLY bad. I knew it would be difficult, but I thought he needed to extra reinforcement since our days are so choppy with the little ones running around. I have been very happy with the instruction. They are doing a phenomenal job. My frustration has been with my lack of organizational skills. I am a planner, but tend to procrastinate when it comes to follow through. It is quite common for us to wake up, start our day, and then remember that he has a class in 30 minutes and I forgot to have him do his homework. You can imagine the chaos that follows. Well, as I am taking a look at next year(Registration is just a couple of weeks away.) I decided to really watch and take note if I thought the classes were good for him or not. After talking with him about the possibility of not doing them anymore he has done his homework without me telling him for the last two weeks. I am so thrilled he is learning that. Also, this is exam week. For a 10 year old it takes logistical help from mom.(Downloading, uploading, typing) After waking up dreading the day(I knew it would take most of our day.), I am so pleased with him. He did so well on them and they were not easy. Some of the questions stumped me. I was so pleased with this mid-year evaluation that I am considering making up exams for the rest of his subjects and Sarah's too. As a matter of fact she is taking the one I gave to my history class now. Anyway, all of that to say I think we will stay with online classes for him. I think they are teaching us both to be better managers of our time and I am so pleased with his progress.

Life: Imagine the Potential

Somehow I am on the email list for Please read the email I recieved from them today. And do watch the video. It is quite powerful.

Dear Member,
According to the Financial Times, a ‘Super Bowl’ type audience is expected to tune in to coverage of the Inauguration of Barack Obama tomorrow.

To mark this occasion, we are proud to announce the release of a new commercial that will be airing all day tomorrow in select markets on Black Entertainment Television. Our newest ad is just the beginning of a year-long campaign that will include a series of commercials for use on the web and on broadcast TV.

Check out our new ad here –

I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so be sure to check out our new ad, and then tell your friends about it. After watching the short commercial, I hope you will appreciate our purpose. The message of is universal and transcends candidates and political parties. Even in difficult times, the truth about the dignity of every human life must be proclaimed.

We at had hoped that the first African-American president would be pro-life. Sadly, that’s not the case. While we urge you to pray earnestly for his conversion on abortion, we’re not going to waste this historic opportunity to witness to life.

Our newest ad seeks to both educate and inspire – the same elements that helped make our election season film the most-watched political ad on the Internet during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Finally, I suspect there will be a lot of talk about hope in the next couple of days. The purpose of our multiple-commercial campaign is to creatively reach new people who don’t always agree with us about the amazing gift of every human life. Simply put, abortion is the enemy of hope.

Friday, January 16, 2009

7 Quick Takes Friday

There is so much to post about, but so little time. I keep thinking tomorrow will be less busy, but it never is. So, I guess I will copy Anne and do this 7 Quick Takes thing. At least I can share a little of what I have been thinking.

1. We finally have the new computer hooked up and running. I was quite disappointed with myself to see how lost I was to not have access to the computer whenever I wanted it. A few years ago we decided to move the television to the basement. We did not like it being in the main area where we spend all of our time. It was too tempting to watch it constantly. Well, the basement is only partially finished.It is cold and not very attractive. I rarely go down to watch anything. What I found out this week was I just replaced that time with the computer. I am making a promise to myself to spend way less time on the computer.

2. WE also got a new toilet! A two year old, who shall remain nameless, has now cost us almost $2,000 in plumbing bills. This time it was too bad to fix. We just had to get a new toilet. We knew he had put something in the toilet. We walked in to find him shoving something down with a toothbrush. He said it was Daddy's golf ball. The plumber did not find a golf ball, but he did find a rubber ducky. And yes, we did throw the toothbrush away.

3. We have been placed in a couple of advice giving, counseling type situations in the past few weeks. I have learned that there are so many people having REAL problems. I need to be reminded more often to lift up people in prayer. I have learned from myself over the past year and these people over the past few weeks when people withdraw or seem overwhelmed there is probably more than exhaustion going on and we should really seriously pray for them.

4. The new perfect puppy turns out to be not so perfect. Seems as though we picked a breed that is hard to house break. I'm not giving up though!!

5. Our court date is just a week and half away, Jan 27. I have gone from ignoring it to get through Christmas to being all I can think about. No, I am not sleeping well.

6. Because I am not sleeping well, my back is all messed up. I am thinking of going to a Chiropractor.

7. The kids first basketball games are tomorrow. We have games from 8:30 to 3:00 every Saturday for the next two months. What in the world was I thinking when I signed them up?!?

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I'll Be Back Soon

My computer has been infected with something bad.The virus blocks any adware or spyware so, we are being told the best thing to do is just get a new computer. My husband is on our other computer way too much for me to fit in blogging time. I will be back in a couple of days with lots to say.

By the way, for those of you waiting for the Mexican Pie recipe, a friend brought it to us to put in the freezer for when we needed it. I will ask for the recipe.

Now We Know

So, the Health Department called today. Evidently, the company who makes this peanut butter has ties to the peanut butter we use. It looks like our whole salmonella mess came from the PB&J.

Monday, January 5, 2009

This Week's Menu

This is what will be appearing on our table this week. What about yours?


Barbecue Sandwiches
Cole Slaw


Chicken Tortilla Soup


Apricot Pork Chops
Green Beans
Baked Apples

Mexican Pie


Red Beans and Rice

Friday, January 2, 2009

Things I Have Learned

We received a Christmas card from a friend and on it he wrote, "Wow! What a year for you guys." Yes, it has been quite the year. When I think about 2008 I can not ignore the fact that a lot has happened. It has been a year of tremendous growth and learning for all of us. Some of you have seen me at my weakest and it has been humbling and at times embarrassing. I am thankful for those of you who have held us up in prayer, cooked us meals, spoiled my children when I had no energy left, brought good food, diet Dr. Pepper, and kept me company when I was isolated in a hospital room with my baby (Yes, literally isolated. When they found out it was salmonella they taped our room off and everyone had to dress in gowns.), cried with me through all of the ups and downs of this adoption, sat with us through what seems to be never ending court hearings, and above all not deeming me crazy when I have hit the breaking point.We have depended on friends more than ever this year and we are so grateful for them.

While thinking this all through I am making a list of all of the things we learned this year. Here goes.

We have learned...
-Complete strangers on the other side of the Continent can be so kind and giving. They can set you up for a 3 week stay while going to get your baby and taking care of you the whole time. Giving you a free place to stay, a car to drive, trips to the hospital in the middle of the night when you were learning your way around, dinners at incredible restaurants, etc. Most important, God used them to keep our child safe and protected. For that we will forever be thankful beyond words.
-Going to a tropical climate in the winter makes the following winter seem unbearable.
-Even though 3 attorneys, a judge and two adoption social workers say your adoption should be a piece of cake, still prepare yourself for the worst. It happens.
-Friends are the best.
-I love being with my children.
-My husband is my earthly rock. He makes me laugh when I think I can not laugh anymore. He tells me to get over it when I need to hear it. He is the best father ever. He rarely gets angry. He knows my limits and does his best to keep those limits from being tested.
-I love being with my husband 24/7. His working from home has been the best!
-When birth mothers choose to put a baby up for adoption instead of aborting them the law becomes against them and they loose their rights. I am convinced that until this changes we will not see a major drop in abortion.
-Hearing the 2 yr old brother say to the the 5 yr old brother "You are my best friend." and then watching the 5yr old give him a hug is just plain beautiful.
-Having my 10 year old son say, "Mom, I want to take you out to dinner and work on the way I treat you" is the best gift ever.
-God loves my children more than I do.
-We serve a sovereign God who is never surprised. I need to remember that more often.
-Never to take a group of 200 to Washington D.C.
-A new baby and high maintenance dog at he same time goes way past my limit.

I could definitely go on, but I will stop here. This year has been one to remember, but not only for the stress. God has humbled us, He has sanctified, and He has taught us to rely on Him.He has proven His faithfulness so many times. Those are some pretty great things to learn.