Sunday, October 26, 2008

Touching Base

For close to a week now, I've had very little time to be on the computer. I'm so thankful to my daughters for keeping everyone up to date about Misha's surgery. During our hospital stay, many people encouraged me to go home for an occassional rest. Even though I appreciated their concern, I felt that I needed to demonstrate my steadfastness to this young boy who has only known abandonment through his life.

Hannah, Misha and Stephanie

Misha is now at home and doing very well. His pain is kept to a minimum and he's back to cracking jokes with us all. I love how he makes jokes even in his distress. To give you an example of his humor; The second night after Misha's surgery, Philip, Stephanie, Hannah and I were all sitting with him and talking. Since his amutation, there is a good two foot clearance from the foot of his bed. Hannah got a little tired of standing so she very carefully sat down on the end of the bed. Misha immediately raised his head and said, "Ouch, feet! Hannah, you sit on feet!" terrified that she had somehow hurt him she stood up and then smiling he replied, "Joke, Joke!" And persuaded her to sit back down.

Holding a bag of candy he received as a gift

The amazing thing about Misha is even during this horribly painful time for him, he still found something to joke about. His quick wit keeps all of us on our toes.

My initial goal was to document each day in Misha's life, so that we could watch the progress he made along the way. I've come to realize that my expectations were unrealistic. At present, I'm nursing him around the clock with pain medication to be given every four hours and tylenol in between. Normally, I would blog after everyone is in bed but these days I'm trying to sleep whenever there is a free moment.

Asleep on our couch

I hope to get back on top of things soon. I've received so many wonderful blessings and know that it has been because of all of your prayers. I can't wait to share all that God has been teaching me. Thank you for your patience.

Olga: A Perfect Rose for Misha

There have been so many people who have jumped on board in helping us care for Misha. It would be impossible for me to mention all of you by name, but every part that each person has played has been very important in encouraging us to press forward. God has sent many blessings to reveal His control over the entire situation.

On Monday morning, Misha and I sat in the hospital admission area waiting for all the pre-surgery physicals he would undergo that day. I longed to be able to talk with him and calm all the fears that must be running through his head. Without being able to really communicate with him, I was limited to just hold him and tell him that I loved him. This was becoming continually insufficient.

Then Olga arrived. Olga was born in Russia and came to America when she was nine years old. She speaks several languages and works for a company that supplies interpretors to hospitals, jails, courtrooms etc... yet, she has given of her free time to sacrifically help Misha.

Misha and Olga as we enjoyed a meal from Chick-fil-a



I immediately knew Misha and I were going to really like her. She spoke to him so lovingly and I later found out that she is the mother of six children herself. As I watched her communicate with Misha, I began praising God for His careful provision for our needs. Had I been in charge of finding an interpretor that would fit our personalities so perfectly, I would not have known where to began my search. I've been reminded that God knows our every need, even before we do; He also has the perfect provision for those needs.

Olga reading card to Misha

Misha has grown to love and trust Olga and even now that we are home he begs for her to come to our house. When I asked Olga if I could create a post about her, she begged that I not build her up as something special; she didn't want to take the attention away from Misha. May it suffice to say that as God walked through His glorious garden, He picked a perfect rose for Misha.



Thank you Olga!!! You are very loved and appreciated!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Some Fun and an Update

While I was visiting this past week, I took a few videos that might give you a little glimpse into the personality of this precious young man we've come to love so deeply.

video

Sorry about the darkness of this video! But we thought you might like to see Misha communicating with the family through Google Translator. We pull up a Russian keyboard on the browser so that he can type in Russian, and he can then translate that Russian to English through the Google Translator. Talk about handy!!

The next video showcases Misha's amazing ability to peg people's little quirks, personalities, and phrases as soon as he meets them. Everybody gets a kick out of seeing him perfectly imitate each of us!

video

Misha's spirits are higher today, and this afternoon they were able to aleviate his pain some. (The epidural they had given him wasn't completely numbing his legs, and he had spots of extreme pain.) When I talked to mom a little bit ago, she said that a few hours ago Misha was rating his pain as an 8 out of 10. As of an hour ago, he said the pain had come down to a 2.

Please continue to pray for Misha's recovery from surgery, and courage in facing the challenges of the next few months.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Surgery Update

Misha came out of surgery around noon, and the doctors said that the procedure went very well. They are hopeful that he will be able to come home soon, provided he begins to heal quickly.

Misha was very disoriented and distressed when he woke up, and the loss of his legs combined with the pain seems to be taking a toll on him emotionally. Please pray that God will comfort Misha, and give him strength and courage. We also need prayer for wisdom for ourselves; that we will know best how to comfort Misha while he's hurting, both emotionally and physically.

Praise be to God for bringing Misha safely through surgery! We have faith that He will heal Misha, inside and out.

Misha's Surgery

My daughter, Stephanie, has posted an update on Misha and his surgery. I am copying the post here for your convenience. To view the original post click here. I will have one of my daughters keep you informed throughout the day with updates on Misha's surgery and recovery as we get more information.


Having just kissed and prayed over Misha, we are now sitting anxiously in the waiting room…the next few hours of his surgery will seem an eternity!
Why did evil win over good in the garden of Eden? That is a question I’ve found myself asking continually as we’ve been at the hospital preparing for his surgery. Even though death has been conquered by our Lord, we must still face the consequences of living in a fallen world.
My dear brother, Misha, is now experiencing a heavy dose of the evil in this world. Because he was born with this disease, it is necessary to have a double amputation in order for him to have improved mobility.
When it was first decided that our family was to foster Misha during his surgery, I didn’t feel very sympathetic towards the operation that would take place. In my mind, it seemed so distant and in-personal; I didn’t fully comprehend all that would be involved. But since Misha’s arrival on September 24, I have grown to love him in a way I never anticipated. He is now truly my brother, and I cannot imagine life without him completing our family!
Because he has become my brother, I am experiencing an overwhelming fear, anxiety, and doubt; there is a sympathy and compassion you feel towards a family-member that is hurting, which allows you to taste a little of what their experiencing.

Yesterday had an early start for dad, mom, Misha and me. After being admitted into the hospital, the day started with many visits with doctors and nurses. Misha and I were able to break away between visits and sneak in some PS2, (Spider-man won most of the time!).
The conclusion of visits came with the last visit to the prosthetics department. In the midst of the conversation, Misha caught my eye and began to make different facial expressions. Our attention spiraled downward as we exchanged expressions back and forth to try to make the other smile. Every time he flashed a smile at me, the room would light up!
This continued for a while until the prostheticist pulled out the samples of what Misha was trading his legs for. I could see a cloud pass over his face and the light faded. We left the room and I could feel a heaviness of understanding at everything he must be meditating on. It had been a full day of information about the pain, hardships, and procedures that would stand in his future, and it seemed as if the cost was greater than the rewards.
Once we walked out of the room, mom and I gathered around him to offer our support. In my butchered Russian I told Misha everything was going to be okay. He began to fight back tears, and after moments of fighting he hung his head in despair and began to weep. We gathered him in our arms and grieved with him; knowing that though the surgery is necessary, and will improve his life, it was needful for him to grieve over the loss of his legs. The amount of change the surgery will bring into his life must be daunting for him. After a few hours of sweet fellowship Misha’s spirits lifted. Though he was incredibly nervous going into surgery, he no longer seemed depressed about his situation.


Misha has no knowledge of a Sovereign God. If I were facing this surgery; I would have security about what would happen to me if all went wrong and I died, I would know that whatever the outcome it was God’s will and He would work everything to His good and for His glory.
Please pray that God will reveal Himself to Misha through this. Pray that He will comfort him with a peace that surpasses his understanding.
This is such a wonderful reminder to all of us how despairing life would be without the promise and comfort of our God!

Prayer Requests

We covet your prayers on the following matters:

Misha's amputation went well!!- Please pray for quick healing, and the ability to be fitted for prosthetics afterwards.

Provisions for Adoption- We only have a few months in which we can raise the money necessary to adopt Misha. The United States only allows adoptions before the age of 16. Misha will turn 16 on May 9. This only gives us a few months in which to raise the nearly $27,000 that we are lacking, fill out the necessary documents, fly to Russia for two weeks, etc... Pray that God will cause everything to go smoothly.

Here is the cost breakdown for Misha's adoption (these are approximate figures):

Group A
*Adoptive home study- $1,200
*Approval of home study by agency- $2,500
*Submission of apostilled dossier to Russian agency $5,800
*Identification and approval of a child for adoption $3,500
*Prepayment fees for 4 post placement reports to Russian Government $2,000
*Fee to CIS for fingerprinting $ 830
Subtotal Group A $15,830

Additional International estimated cost for adoption

Group B
*Airfare (2 parents) to Moscow $4,000
*Airfare for adopted child $1,000
*Expenses while in Russia (Hotel, food, transportation, etc...) $5,000
*Additional Russian adoption fees
(Child's passport, orphanage support Medical exam etc....) $1,000

Subtotal Group B $11,000
Subtotal Group A $15,830
_______

Total $26,830

While these expenses seem beyond our personal reach, we are reminded that "With God all things are possible."

We have been encouraged to think that it would only take 2,700 people giving $10 each for us to raise the money needed. The only problem with that scenario is that we don't personally know 2,700 people.

Then it occurred to us. What if 27 churches could raise $1,000? Would that be too difficult? It would only take 40 members in each church giving $25 each!

We desperately need to get the word out, because there isn't much time. If your heart has been touched by our story (see previous posts), please tell your friends and loved ones. As you can see, we have much to do. God alone knows the plans He has for Misha and our family. We can only do our part to the best of our ability. This is a humbling place for us to be; asking our brothers and sisters in Christ for financial help.

However, because money is required for us to do what we believe God is calling us to, we send our request for help out to you. Our prayer has been that if this is God's Will, the money will be provided.

The Bible says in I Samuel 30:24 that "the share of the many who stayed with the supplies is to be the same as that of him who went down to the battle. All will share alike."

We believe that God will bless those who give towards the adoption of Misha, just as he will bless our family for all we invest in this young man's life.

James 1:27 "Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world."

Many are not in a position to consider adopting a handicapped orphan. We have been blessed to have older children who are excited about helping us care for Misha. We could never care for him all by ourselves. Neither can we financially provide the funds required to adopt Misha by ourselves. We need your help! No gift is too small. Our God is capable of taking a few loaves and fishes; dividing them and feeding thousands. He can take even the smallest donations and multiply them to meet Misha's needs.

If you or your church would be interested in helping please contact us by email at helpmisha@yahoo.com for more information. You may also pay by debit card using the ChipIn form at the top of the page.

We are in the process of putting together a short DVD that could be shown at your church. If you have any other ideas that might help us find a way to keep this precious boy, please feel free to make suggestions.

God bless you all, and thank you for keeping us in your prayers!
Philip and Melissa

Monday, October 13, 2008

Off to the Lake

Misha eager to get into the water



Misha decides it's too cold and wants out





David, Josiah, and Esther get into the water






Misha decides the kids are having so much fun, he wants back in



Philip is having a hard time holding him because he's kicking so hard


Matt comes up with the idea of putting a noodle in the neck of the lifejacket



Misha goes wild with excitment so Philip decides he better get in with him



Yeowee!!! It's cold!!





Matt and Hannah glad they're on the dock

















What a fun day!!! Thanks Craig and Rose for sharing your lake house with us. You really brightened this family's day. Especially, a certain young man who continually says, "Go back to lake tommorrow?"



The ride home was much quieter!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Trip to Furman University


Today we went to Furman University so that we could take family pictures for our Christmas card. We had taken some pictures a few weeks ago, but needed to include Misha. Trying to get a good picture of everybody is quite a challenge with a big family.

Given the size of our family, we're lucky that they had alot of bathrooms.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Trip to Biltmore

This morning we decided to take a field trip to George Vanderbilt's mansion on the Biltmore Estate. Last year, Stephanie had been hired by a couple to take their engagement pictures. They had paid for her visit to Biltmore and I had gone along just to keep her company. We had enjoyed our day there so much that we paid just alittle bit more for a yearly pass, since all our kids would be free. Our passes expire on Sunday, so we decided it would be fun to let Misha see how the wealthy live.

He's only comment about the house was that it was old. But he really enjoyed the petting farm and the ice cream we had. It was a wonderful day!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Camping

This is our favorite time of the year to go camping as a family. The air is cool and brisk making a nice campfire warm and cozy at night. We decided Misha must experience this part of our fall family activities...


...but our weekends are packed full until his surgery on October 21st. Our solution was to just set up the tents in our front yard. Since we live out in the country and are surrounded by woods and wildlife, we thought the adventure would be fun yet, close to all the conveniences of home, should we need to retreat. We all dressed warmly and filled the tents with warm blankets and a few air cushions for those of us with bad backs. The boys slept in the middle tent which is the largest, and the girls where in a tent on one side and Philip and I in another tent on the other side of the boys.



After we were all snuggled in someone started saying goodnight to everybody the "Walton" way. After a few minutes Misha chimmed in saying, "Goodnight dad, goodnight mom, goodnight crazy Stephanie, goodnight Maggie (our dog), goodnight Cindy (our chicken), goodnight bearded chicken (our rooster)." We all giggled listening to his sweet but very thick Russian accent. He really loves making us laugh. I went to sleep that night feeling so content and happy.

Misha enjoyed our camping adventure so much that he's dragging us all back out there again tonight. As I sit here typing I can hear the fun I'm missing. My back is sure to be sore tommorrow, but I'd be a fool to trade this experience for all the soft warm comforts of my bed.

Goodnight everybody!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Cowboy

Today there were a couple celebrations. First, it is Josiah's 12th birthday! Even though we had celebrated it the night before we wanted to find a few things we could do to make today special for him. Also, today marks our first completed week with Misha. So many wonderful things have happened this first week.

We decided to take our first trip to Walmart today. I needed to get a few items for Misha, and the kids needed more ammo for their nerf guns. While browzing through the toy aisle Misha had so much fun seeing the abundance of toys on the shelves. He found a pistol he wanted so it went in the buggy. We also decided to get a nerf soccer ball since my girls have bruises on their legs from the hard blows they've received from their games with the boys. When we got home the kids had fun dressing Misha like a cowboy and getting some pictures. He's really becoming a "ham" in front of the camera. He has gotten to where he'll say, "Steph, get your camera."