Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How Micah Shewit met Maddie, our Energetic Dog!

When we started the process of adopting Micah Shewit we had no idea how the dog would go over with a 6 year old boy who was terrified of "dogs". He had probably seen Hyenas first hand and that alone would traumatize most kids. I remember the mixed feelings of being so excited to have Micah home with us but the queasy feelings of the possibility of saying goodbye to a pet that the family adored. Tears would immediately spring up in my eyes at the thought of saying goodbye to Maddie, but I adored a little boy in Ethiopia so much more. The whole family did and we all knew the possibility of Micah being terrified of Maddie was huge. We committed to say goodbye to our precious pet so Micah would feel safe.

Part of Micah's story is that he was a Shepherd Boy in the Northern mountains of the Tigray region of Ethiopia. He lived with the goats and sheep. He probably spent many nights looking at the open sky. When his uncle bravely rescued him and brought him to the orphanage his feet where so damaged that they weren't sure he would ever have normal feet. He told me that he wore no shoes and there were open wounds on his feet that hurt him when he walked.

Well, on the other side of the world we rescued a dog, to Mark's chagrin , who was found running down the interstate. When they found her, she was skin and bones. Mark was out of town so I begged him to just let me keep her in the garage while he was gone. I had a family that we could take her to if it didn't work out. Well....even Mark had to admit he liked this dog, but he would name her. Thus, the name: Maddie. I still believe it was motivated by him being "Mad" at me for instigating getting a dog in the first place. We had been asking for over 5 years though!

We fell in love with Maddie...a Catahoula Leopard (most people say, a whata?), she's a big dog with LOTS OF ENERGY!! Mckenzie says she's a "huntin' dog" and she's provin that by how she runs down squirrels on our morning jogs. (I've never run so fast or yelled so loud in my life!...I really gotta get some roller skates!) She's a lover and even puts up with our cats to appease us. Although, they antagonize her all the time! She protects us from the garbage man every week! And she takes pride in guarding the kids from any approaching odd characters.

Because Maddie is big and full of bountiful energy, we were very nervous to introduce her to Micah. On our way home we started showing him pictures of her with the kids hanging all over her. He didn't seem bothered.

When we got home, we had Michelle put her in the garage for us so Micah could feel safe the first night in a new bed. Well....sometime in the night Maddie was let in and early that morning jumped up on Micah's bunk bed to welcome him to America. I knew something was up because Maddie came down the steps with her tail between her legs and my stomach fell to the floor! When I found Micah he had the covers over his head and was crying. I felt sick. He told me the "Wusa" (dog) had jumped up on his bed and tried to eat him. Of course, I knew Maddie was licking him, but to a child that has been taught that dogs eat kids......all we could do was love him...and Maddie went outside.

After a few hours and a lot of praying and loving. I believe our prayers were answered. I had Mark cuddle Micah on our steps looking down at our front entrance, then I let Maddie in and I laid down like I was asleep. She licked me all over the face in excitement. Then Mckenzie came and laid down and the same thing happened. Maddie was in heaven...we never let her lick us like this. (The girls took one for the family dog!)

Micah came a little closer, ran to her, gave her a quick pat and dashed back up the steps! An hour later we repeated the same thing!
This time Micah watched for about 15 minutes then timidly came up and offered his hand to Maddie to lick. She wouldn't do it, so daddy went to get the peanut butter and put a little on the back of his hand. Cautiously we watched as Maddie gently licked it off of him. Micah just giggled with excitement then put his WHOLE HAND in the peanut butter. Mark and I nervously watched as Maddie licked around every one of his little fingers. ( I was praying the whole time holding her leash ready to pull her back!)
All his little fears had vanished. He surprised us all when he put peanut butter on his face for her to lick off next. I can't say that after I thought a dog was going to eat me that I would have him anywhere near my face. This child has such a strong overcoming spirit in him. There we were watching it first hand. It was an amazing moment for the whole watch a brave little boy conquer his fears. I'm going to remember this day the next time I have a fear that I think I can't overcome....with a little love and prayer, (and a little bit of peanut butter) we can overcome anything the world throws at us. (Phil. 4:13)

Needless to say, we gave Micah a good shower after that and as you can see by the pictures, Micah and Maddie adore each other. Maybe it's because they both know they have been someone that loves them unconditionally.


  1. awww!!! such an adorable post :))

  2. You created such a vivid picture of you and Mckenzie lying on the floor getting licked that it made me laugh out loud! I wish I could have seen it in person. :) Great post - I will remember it too when I face a fear that I think I can't overcome!


  3. Oh wow! What a great story.

    It's amazing what these kids can overcome - the worst has already happened to them, and after what they've been through, most things aren't scary for too long.

    He is such a beautiful boy, and he looks so happy in all of your photos!

    David, Larisa and Yikealo

  4. Sweet Maddie!! She may have finally found someone who can keep up with her! --precious post!!

  5. Awww...what a awesome story!!! Brings tears to my eyes. Just wonderful.........

    God Bless,
    Adopting 2 kiddos from ET. #9 now:)

  6. from one missy to another!!! i can't believe i am just now finding your blog. we were at hh in july bringing home our baby girl. i am pretty sure i have pictures of micah i could send you. my son loved playing with him. i am so thrilled for you all as you are home together as a family now! i can't wait to catch up on all your posts about the trip...guess i'll be up late tonight. :) so nice to "meet" you and get to follow along with your miracle.

  7. Missy,

    I just love your blog...and YOUR heart! Your family is such a blessing! HOpe to get together with you guys soon!


  8. I am so glad you have a blog. Can't believe this is the first time I've been to it. We loved Micah's energy and confidence and of course his smile, when we met him at HH in Dec. He was so smart. He knew how to work my fancy new camera much better than I did. :) I look forward to peeking in on his life from time to time. Looks like God knew what He was doing with this family. You all seem perfectly made for eachother!

  9. Hi!!! I found you! I have a BEAUTIFUL picture of your son from when we were in Ethiopia picking up our daughter--he was just new to HH then, had gotten there just a few days before we came I think if I remember correctly? It was in April last year. Anyway, my email is so email me and I will send it to you. We even used it in a presentation we made to our church about adoption, and it was before you brought him home and I am SO HAPPY he is home with his family!!! He was so needing a mom and dad, and God knew you all were so needing a Micah Shewit!! :)

  10. I saw your like on the AGCI listerv. I loved reading your families story.

    How long was your son at HH? I remember Alzmaz talking about a little boy who sounds just like your son, when she was in the US.

    You have a beautiful family. Micah has an incredible spirit. God is good.

    I hope it is ok for me to add your blog link to our blog roll.

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