Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Micah Earns the Presidential Fitness Award

One of the meanings to the name "Micah" is "Messenger with beautiful feet"....and those feet have wings! I remember when we picked him up in Ethiopia I was told, "He runs kinda funny because of his feet being so bad." That night as I rubbed his feet with shea butter I saw the most beautiful feet I had ever seen. I couldn't see anything wrong with them....perfection. I wish they could see him run now...he's so fast and smiles the whole time he runs, but with a determination.
As Micah was taking the Presidential Fitness test, all I could think about was the day I had received his medical file forwarded from an orphanage in Addis Ababa. When Micah was first brought to the orphanage, 14 months ago, his feet were so damaged that they did not know whether they would ever be normal or even be saved. After months, even years without any shoes his feet were grossly infected, swollen and had open sores where eggs had been laid.
Just a few minutes after I read those words on his medical report my mother in law, Kathy, called me to share what she had found on the name we had picked for our son in Ethiopia. "Micah", she said, "means messenger with beautiful feet." There was no way she could've known what I had just found out, but God knew. He knew I needed to hear that.

So today as coach Lori announced who had earned the Presidential Fitness award I watched his face. He had no idea what he had just accomplished, but he loved the applause. He didn't know that he "couldn't" or "shouldn't have been able to".

To think that 14 months ago he was on the streets of a northern village in Ethiopia barely able to walk without pain. Now in America, he had just earned an award only the best of the best athletes get. He did it having fun. At one point he grabbed the measuring board one more time just to see if he could go a little farther than before.
Micah is also loving to play soccer. They have him on a 9-10 year old team! The boy can play...and loves to play.
Micah is learning to swim. His body is pure muscle so he sinks fast, but something tells wont take long til he's swimming like a fish.
We went out and celebrated Micah and McKenzie (2 years in a row!) earning the Presidential award. Matthew also did amazing, but the boy has his father's flexibility!!! We all love to laugh about it. Hey, better than crying!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

4 More to Adore!!!

I know I am really late at posting this blog, but I couldn't not post it because the Joy and excitement found at a homecoming is just undescribable! Apart from angels singing Hallelujah and seeing our Lord face to face there are few things in life that can well you up with emotion as a child who was once an orphan coming home. They are surrounded by love and excitement by people they've never seen that love them deeper than they'll ever know. We had that joy as we welcomed our neighbors and friends home from Ethiopia with FOUR children...Nati 12, Mercy 9, Isaiah 6 and James 4 earlier this month.
It was nothing short of a miracle to watch all four of these children walk hand in hand with their forever family. I call it a miracle because we have watched this family prayerfully wait for this moment almost a year and a half now. At one point they were believing for two of these precious kids to be released from a horrible situation.
Mckenzie excited to greet her BFF ....Mercy! Watching her wait and pray for her friend to come has been another way God has shown me His patient love towards me!
Matthew is ready to have four more kids in the cul de sac to play with!!! "Summer is going to rock, Mom!" much as we have tried to explain that the Mihnovich family is getting four
more kids that will live next door....well, he just thinks Ethiopia is moving to America.
He's been fun to watch at these homecomings!!!
Micah meeting Isaiah for the first time! They are really close in age and they love adventure!!! I think they have given me an ulcer by going down my driveway in a wagon trying to hit everything in their path! (Including me!!!) They have fun being boys and are becoming great buddies, but any time they are together I make sure bike helmets are on them!!!
Elle...who is also our kids babysitter and Levi....the kid who launched a thousand
adoptions....go, Levi, go!!!! Micah can't keep his eyes off Elle! (He knows a good thing when he sees it!)
Elle with her new brother and sister at the airport! Both wonderful kids to be around!
It takes an amazing family to step up and take the responsibility of four more children. The Mihnovich family shines the Love of Jesus Christ in all they do, when Tracy told me they were adopting four, I almost expected it. I was still blown away by it though!!! After all, she had just returned with a 9 month old blessing from Ethiopia, Levi, who steals everyone's heart! Now this family of FIVE would open their arms to FOUR more who needed a home, hope and unrestrained Love!
Micah and Matthew with a new friend....Nati!

McKenzie and her new buddy, Mercy. McKenzie loves Mercy! It was only the power of prayer that brought all four of these precious children into the arms of this family.

I stood amazed as they were walking towards us after landing in Nashville. Here were four children who had been in the worst conditions life can offer: orphaned at a young age, living in poverty and horrible conditions, hopeless for a better tomorrow. Now...they walk hand in hand with a family committed to love them as their own and smother them with kisses every day. A family that would embrace every dream they could possibly have and cherish every smile. Meals made with love and clean water to drink. A family that would love them in the good days and the hard days ahead.

The greatest thing of all is that they were rescued by a family who knows what it is like to be rescued by a loving God out of a hopeless situation. A God who wants only the best for them and their lives on this Earth. God blessed the Mihnovich family with four more beautiful children to love. No longer orphans pushed aside by society. They are loved, chosen and cherished.

As camera flashes went off capturing the moment they arrived at the airport that night, I couldn't help but wonder if they knew what a blessing they all of us standing in awe of what God had done to bring them to America.

You can follow the Mihnovich's on their blog: ourunveiledfaces (click on my sidebar)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Micah's Visit to the E.R.

Well....we made it 7 weeks without our little guy getting a serious bump or bruise, but last night we had to run him to Vanderbilt's Children's Hospital after he fell and cracked his chin open ice skating.

Micah loves to ice skate,(play basketball, football, soccer, run, bike, baseball - you name it!) so we got him in a small class with his brother and sister. He loved watching the Winter Olympic hockey. So I'm thinking...hey, anything is possible and Ethiopia really needs more than one person at the Winter Olympics in the future!! (That's a momma's heart speaking!) He is amazing on the ice! Not so much his moves at this point, but his tenacity and determination! He probably went down 20 or more times in a lesson and he would bounce back up ready to conquer the ice. So when he went down the last time, he came up, pointed to his chin and said simply, "ouch". That's when his coach saw the blood and told me that it looked like a bad cut.
I took off his helmet and knew immediately that I would be making a trip to the E.R. I can't explain it, but every mom that has ever had a hurt child knows the just automatically go into a calm mode that gets things done without hysteria. I knew it was God's hand on me because inside I felt like crying for the little guy!! He was so tough. He didn't cry once! Most would be hysterical at the site, but Micah remained calm and even thought the blood all over my hand was kinda cool. I knew he was hurting though because it was a bad cut.

I had a dear friend, Megan, who took my other two kids to her house and off I went to meet Mark to get our boy taken care of.

Mark blamed his buddy Jimmy Mihnovich because just the day before we were all in the cul de sac when Micah rode by being all boy! He then ran over to play soccer with a new buddy also from Ethiopia! Jimmy asked if we had added him to our insurance because we were going to need it!

We know we have an active little boy that loves life and adventure. I am going to have to increase my prayer time! I laugh because we thought our daughter, Mckenzie couldn't be out done when it came to adventure, but she was just our warm up act for what was to come!

Anyway, we got to the E.R. and they were amazing at what they do. Micah stayed calm and acted like this was old hat to him.

I can't tell you how often we were asked if he was our son. I didn't mind because I do realize for some it is confusing. I would mention Ethiopia and they always were taken by how he was so attached to us. It brought adoption into our conversation which is something I love to discuss! If even one orphan can find a home because of my big mouth, it will be worth it!

The doctors and nurses were outstanding. He didn't like the stitches but still didn't move or cry. He was so brave the entire time. He ended up with 3 stitches. I would've thought he needed 5 by the size of the cut, but I was glad when it was over.
I asked the doctor about the scars on Micah and he confirmed some of my fears. I almost burst out in tears. I love this little guy so much that I have a hard time knowing his past holds such hard times. I'm trying to bring his past together one piece at a time.

I want to hold him a little closer, kiss him a lot more and tell him I love him more than his little mind can comprehend. I guess it's just normal to feel this way when you're a mom. It feels like he has always been part of me. Last night my chin hurt just watching them do those stitches. I got home and was exhausted!!!

When it was all done. Micah acted like nothing had happened. He was giving Mark and I such a hard time....laughing the whole time! He was sooo happy!! Me, I'm still exhausted from the whole ordeal!!

So, next time you think of our family or see a child out roller skating or riding a bike...just say a prayer for Micah.... and us! I don't want his life loving spirit to ever change. I know that is exactly the way God made him. Micah is made for something that will take a lot of energy to accomplish. God must know Mark and I have the energy to keep up or at least go down trying!!!

*thank you Megan & Ashlie for taking care of our oldest and making the evening a lot easier!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Micah's Friend Comes Home

Last Friday night Micah Shewit went to his first Homecoming since his own to welcome the Peters family home with their two precious sons from Ethiopia. What made this so wonderful was the fact that the oldest son the Peter's were bringing home was a friend of Micah's in Ethiopia at the Hannah's Hope Orphanage. It was surreal to see these two together again!
To give you a little background on the story.....soon after returning from Ethiopia with Micah, I received a comment on my blog from Fikadu's mom, Cris. She said that she had a picture of Micah with her oldest son and that they were friends. Needless to say, I was thrilled and so excited to have someone Micah knew be so close to where we could have play dates!!! (The last play date they had was in Ethiopia!)
Right before the Peter's left to go pick up Fikadu and Abush, we met them at an Ethiopian adoption support group. It was such a great moment! I couldn't help but squeal with excitement! I can't wait to get to know this wonderful family even better. They took a picture with Micah to take with them to show Fikadu who would be waiting in Tennessee to greet him when he got off the plane. ( Micah ate Jalepeno chips with ketchup waiting! He just likes everything spicy or hot even if his eyes are running!)
Micah Shewit was so excited to see his buddy walk up from the gate and positioned himself were Fikadu would see him first thing....and he did. Fikadu walked right over to Micah and they gave each other a big hug. Such a priceless moment!!! When we got home, Micah asked were Fikadu would be sleeping! We explained that he was going home to sleep with his forever family but we would see him soon. Micah just smiled a very knowing smile that he was happy for his friend.
I stand in amazement at how God does not miss even the smallest details in our life....Every Life Matters to Him! To think that these two little guys came together because of a tragedy in their life. They became friends in an orphanage and now they will grow up down the road from one another in America... Brought together this time by God's Love!

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.

Sunday, January 31, 2010

"He's A Handful"

When asked about her new brother in front of her 3rd grade class - that is the response Mckenzie had. "He's a handful!" I have to say that she is reaping what she sowed on her older brother, Matthew! Or...I could be reaping what I sowed on my three older brothers!
When we received the information on Micah Shewit from AGCI, I remember they mentioned that he loved to make others laugh, he was very ACTIVE and the staff affectionately nicknamed him "monkey". What they should've added was...." monkey... after 10 Red Bulls!!!" This kid has energy and yes, he fits right into this LOUD family. I can't imagine raising a calm child. I would be bored to death and actually think I had parenting figured out. Crazy kids keep me on my knees, where I belong, asking God for wisdom on a hourly basis!!! (Because I am clueless!) Although, a calm kid would probably keep me on my knees too!

So, you might be wondering how that "cocooning" step is going for us with a ACTIVE child with a nickname of "Monkey" ... (Cocooning is the phase after you come home with your adopted child. They like you to keep your world simple and at home for the most part! It's a great time to bond for the whole family. It also helps your new child build trust and confidence in you and this new world.) So, we tried...first it was "google chat" with his buddies in Philly. Then we played soccer, basketball, football in freezing weather. He even learned how to ride a bike and would ride for 3 hours at a time!

He loves to help me vacuum, wash dishes, do laundry...he just likes to be busy!!! I didn't post pictures of know, don't want to show his brother & sister up!

I home school so we learn our English by talking and doing flash cards together. He loves to learn, so I gave him a little case that had pencils and paper with a picture dictionary. He sits beside me and writes word after word asking how to say each one.
I took him to "watch" his big brother and sister at their P.E. class and before I could get comfortable, he was out on the court running laps (backwards) and playing ball with them. Smiling the whole time. The next week the P.E. class was learning how to ice was PRICELESS to watch a child who only a week ago was in Ethiopia. The only ice he had ever seen was what was handed to him in a cup of coke on a plane to America. His smile brightened the entire ice skating rink.
It wasn't long before he was skating without help. The teachers were amazed at how he would fall down (sometimes really hard) and just bounce back up with a smile. He loves ice skating!
Leticia DeMoss, a dear friend of the family, came over to meet Micah Shewit. He loved the bear she brought for him and had to give it a ride on his wheels. Thank you, Leticia!!! He won't go to bed with out his bear!
I have to tell you the STORY BEHIND THIS PICTURE of the FRIG.... a big storm was coming so I hurried to the store with three kids. (That's a whole blog in itself!) We filled the refrigerator! The kids were so happy, especially Micah. He got the camera and took MANY pictures of the "full frig". What gave him joy was knowing that he had food. I wondered...had he ever seen a full frig? The next morning I woke up and found the refrigerator WIDE open. It had been open all night and the light had heated up the items on the top shelf! I didn't have to ask...I knew what happened. I wasn't mad, I wasn't upset over the spoiled food. I found myself hugging my son who was just happy to have a refrigerator full of food that he got up in the middle of the night to just look at it. I pray I never forget the life lesson Micah taught me. Do we really understand how blessed we are? The majority of us don't know what it is like to be hungry... because there is no food to eat.
Then the snow began to fall and Micah Shewit got to experience his first snow. The expression on his face was, well.... pure wonder. We have spent the last two days sledding down our driveway, walking path and streets with our neighbors. It has been fun to watch our child from Ethiopia experience his first Winter in America. I haven't told him yet that this doesn't happen very often in Tennessee...why spoil the moment!

So, although he is quit the handful...he is ten times the blessing! He has brought this family to a better place than we were without him. He has taught us things about ourselves that we didn't know. He has brought more laughter to all of glad we followed our heart to Ethiopia!!!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Coming Home with Micah

Experiencing the many "first" of Micah Shewit has been nothing short of a pure delight for the whole family! From his first plane ride to the sight of balloons that float, to elevator rides, it's like being in a Disney movie! He is so passionate about life. Before we boarded the plane he even had time to comfort his big brother, Matthew, who wasn't feeling to well.
On the last day we were in Ethiopia we made one last trip back to Hannah's Hope so that we could thank the "special mommies" that Micah had and let him say goodbye to each of his friends. This is the road to Hannah's Hope. It is in one of the newer developments of Addis Ababa. I always found it amazing to see all the animals being hearded through the streets. My favorite was a huge steer laying on the middle of the overpass to our hotel. Nobody was moving that big boy and he didn't look like he was afraid of anybody or anything...although the donkey running by him made him flinch!
Micah's arms were full of candy and stickers that we had to hand out to his buddies. He had a smile on his face the whole time. I could see that he just wanted to make sure everyone got something. While he was doing that I went around to each of his "mommies" and gave them a picture of Micah Shewit to remember him. It broke my heart to see how thankful and joyful they were to have a piece of him to keep. These women are amazing and a gift from God to these kids, the way they love these children with complete abandonment knowing that it is just for a short season just touches my heart.
There were so many precious kids there and new ones coming in the day we were saying goodbye. I was heartbroken at the thought of how many orphans Ethiopia has, but thankful that these found their way to Hannah's Hope. I know AGCI works so hard to place them all. The day we got our Visa's for Micah, Almaz said, through tears, that she will be thankful for the day Ethiopia no longer has to adopt out their orphans. When they can take care of all the children, but the need is overwhelming and the poverty is to great for now. Until the day that changes, they are grateful for those that step forward and give these children a home, hope and a future. As you can see by Micah's face, he's old enough to know the gift of adoption, the gift of a father's love.
I took this picture of Micah as we were leaving Hannah's Hope for the last time. (this trip) Thankfully for Micah, he is stepping from behind locked gates that secured him and people that loved him into arms of a family that will love him forever and take care of him. God has such great plans for this he does all of them.
Almaz explained to Micah that he would not be returning to the orphanage, he was with the Worton's and off to fly to America. Micah didn't miss a beat.... "chow, chow" (means goodbye), he shook her hand goodbye and threw his arms around his daddy's neck. He was ready to go! Almaz laughed with delight...she knew one of her kids had found his family!
As soon as we got back to the hotel, Micah started dragging all our half packed suitcases to the door! I tried to explain that we had 3 more hours until the airport and I wasn't done packing....soooo....he started grabbing things and helping me pack! (He's not an organized packer, I might add, and me being someone who knows where everything is when I systematically pack our suitcases....well, I just had to start laughing! What else could I do? Our boy was anxious to get to America. What a great moment!)
Micah and his buddy Chernet (our friends boy), were so fun to watch. It was a good thing that we had a nice immigration officer because Micah went around and opened her door to check out her booth! He tried to follow the baggage down the treadmill. It looked like fun and
I have about 100 pictures of airplanes on my camera! Finally, when the plane took off, Micah just about came out of his seat with excitement yelling across the aisle to Chernet. The two of them laughing uncontrollably. It got everyone around them tickled! His head was plastered to the window.....what I would've given to know what he was thinking. He played with everything almost all the way to Dubai,(4 hrs) then fell asleep as we landed, but bounded back as soon as we got to the airport and on our flight to NYC.
After 14 hours in the air, countless trips to the bathroom, feet in brother Matthew's face trying to sleep, 3 meals and 8 Disney movies, we landed in America! Micah's joy was uncontainable! The picture above says it all! He just kept saying, "America, America!!!"
We had to say goodbye to our friends in New York City, but the adventure continued....the "elevator"...when the elevator started to go up, Micah took the "brace yourself squat", then started giggling with the rest of us. Then the escalator came. You could just see it in his eyes...why are the steps moving? Now, if you've ever seen the movie, "Elf", you've seen what Micah did. He put one foot on with his sister, but instead of putting the second foot on the moving step, he almost went into a full split as the escalator kept moving upward. All the "first" are so much fun. On our last leg we had to fly in a leer jet and hit some turbulence...let's just say, McKenzie has found her rollercoaster partner. No fear!!!
Our arrival was met with amazing friends who had traveled the journey to Micah with us. Kelly Putty was there with her camera along with her sister Kristi Johnson and Lucy lane. Micah recognized them and got a big grin on his face. Kelly had pictures of Hannah's Hope and Micah named all his friends that he saw and then loved on Lucy lane. I'm so thankful for these two friends because I realize... had it not been for the trip to get sweet Lucy lane that Kelly would not have met Micah Shewit. Her pictures of Micah won my heart and led me to him. Although, Kristi thought she was just going to bring hope to one little baby girl, her trip inspired many through Kelly's pictures to bring hope to many waiting children. That email I received that led me to Micah, found a forever family for every single child in that email. What you do or don't do matters to someone!
Tracy and I are pictured above....Tracy is my precious friend and neighbor that sent me that email that brought me to Micah. She (Micah just pre-published my that kid!) is one that lives out the call of James 1:27 daily! She is getting ready to travel to Ethiopia to bring home 4 siblings that no longer are orphans! Micah will be thrilled to welcome them (two are close to his age.) Our Cul de sac will never be the same! Tracy also prayed and believed with me that someday we would be bringing home a child that needed a forever family. I just have the best friends and I want to thank them all for welcoming Micah to America.Tracy was also our ride home and what awaited us was an act of love from our neighbors that we will treasure for a lifetime. As we drove up to our cul de sac it was lined with candles, (Thanks Molly!) with our neighbors anxious to welcome the new kid in town. Tears were flowing... I was overwhelmed with the showing of love and excitement for Micah. The Worton's will probably never move now...neighbors like ours are a gift from God! Speaking of gifts, they had made signs welcoming Micah and had joined together to give him his first own soccer ball and goal. Although he was half asleep...we saw the twinkle in his eyes and that smile. Next morning it was one of the first things he looked for!
When we showed him his room, he took off his shoes and crawled up into his bunk bed and fell fast asleep....with a smile on his face and a room full of people watching him.
We are all walking around with smiles on our face. (even when we wake up at 4 a.m. every morning! Jet lag!!!!) He is such an amazing gift...thank you God!!! One of the signs brought to the airport read, "God Bless you Worton Family" but everytime I see it I see, God BLESSED you Worton Family and his name is Micah Shewit! The Joy continues.....

*a few other blogs posted our homecoming and they did an amazing job telling the story. If your interested in seeing them they are on my side bar. "Ordinary Hereos Blog" and "The Johnson's...Our Family Advocating for the Orphan" and "Unveiled Faces". All amazing blogs to follow.....our story might be down a way. These ladies posted on Saturday while I was sleeping! lol