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After school snack with our therapy guinea pig.

After school snack with our therapy guinea pig.

I began writing the next section in my Remembering Moments series and realized that my memories are all so confused that I need Russ to help me sort it out. That conversation is going to take some emotional space that we haven’t had the last few days, so I’ll pause and post Part 4 as soon as it’s done.

We’ve had a couple of emotional days. On Monday Russ went to the middle school to pay athletic fees for Claire to participate in track.

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Writing this is becoming more difficult. I’m struck by the large gaps in my memory and the time that is completely gone. I also know that soon I’m going to tell you about losing Kalkidan, and that is unbearable. I’ll press on.

Remembering Moments Part 1 | Remembering Moments Part 2

I have a vague memory of Russ telling me he loved me and they would get me out. That is jumbled together with a memory from immediately following the accident when he had unbuckled me but not yet climbed back to check on Kalkidan. He kissed me and told me he loved me and we would be okay.

The next thing I remember is someone breaking a hole through the windshield and looking in. The man told me that they were going to lift the car and get me out. Time passed; I don’t know if it was one minute or ten, then I heard the rumbling sound of a generator.

yellow daffodils from Beza and an orange mug to remember Kalkidan

yellow daffodils from Beza and an orange mug to remember Kalkidan

giving thanks #1631 – 1640

coffee with a friend while kids played – it’s been awhile

great hand-me-down baseball cleats for both boys

the view from our backyard

the view from our backyard

Thank you for your kind and supportive words as I share the story of the accident and our loss of Kalkidan. I’ve written the next section, but I want Russ to read it before I publish – while I’m writing only my memories, I need to be sure that I’m telling it as well as I can.

Yesterday Russ and Beza left on a quick trip to Seattle for a medical appointment at Children’s. While there they picked up some great patio furniture a friend is passing to us as they prepare to move to a new home. Funny thing is, we don’t have a patio. We’ve long dreamed of building one, but it hasn’t made it to the top of our list.

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It is simultaneously so hard, and so healing to write this. You can find the rest of the story here:

Remembering Moments Part 1 | Remembering Moments Part 2 | Remembering Moments Part 3 | Remembering Moments Part 4

We stopped briefly at the bottom of the driveway while I put a stack of Christmas cards in the mailbox. After driving one mile into town for gas, we turned and headed north, up Highway 95, toward Coeur d’Alene and I90.

Kalkidan snuggled into her fleece blanket, popped in her earbuds, and most likely began listening to a new Adventures in Odyssey, or possibly music, we’re not sure. I sent a text to our friend, Kristen, to let her know we were on our way and would meet her at the border in three hours.

There was 1/2 inch of snow on the road, just enough to prompt Russ to be cautious, but not enough to be concerned. The roads seemed fine, although we drove more slowly than normal just to be careful. Russ and I took in the beautiful scenery of the snow-dusted rolling hills of the Palouse; it was a beautiful morning. With Kalkidan content in the backseat, it seemed that our special date had already begun.


Christmas Eve - Advent activities

Christmas Eve – Advent activities

Remembering Moments Part 2 | Remembering Moments Part 3 | Remembering Moments Part 4

Suddenly, after eleven weeks, I’m ready to write about the accident and the days that followed. Some might think this isn’t the place, but to be honest, I’ve never been able to sustain a private journal, so it isn’t likely I’ll do it now. Many of you have been with me for a very long time, and writing to you always helps me make sense of things

Just last night Russ and I sat talking with dear friends. They moved here the same month we did, December 1999, and we met shortly thereafter. We can see their house from our windows, sitting high on the hill just to the east; our daughters blinked bedroom lights to communicate with one another. Their girls grew up with our older kids; Gretchen and Hannah became the most unlikely of lifelong friends. I’m tempted to launch into that story, but I’ll refrain – suffice it to say that Gretchen loved to go hunting and wear camo, while Hannah liked to read and bake pies.

I love this picture of Noah and Kalkidan

I love this picture of Noah and Kalkidan

I woke early this morning to the sound of rain, and crept downstairs, oh so quietly, hoping not to wake my sleeping house (or more particularly, Eby and Little Man). Through the front window I could see the barn light shining on a large puddle, raindrops splashing down and filling it to the brim.

I could only think of tears; there have been many this week.

Russ and I went to a wedding yesterday and I was reminded that Kalkidan will never have the wedding she dreamed of – with lots of bright colors, dancing, and delicious food, of course. Our girl loved food – the spicier the better.

Three of the Qualls clan on a sibling panel at Refresh.

Three of the Qualls clan on a sibling panel at Refresh.

For someone who has hardly left her home since Christmas (with the exception of physical therapy), I’ve been traveling more than I expected.

First, we went to Refresh, which was as wonderful as ever. Our family felt so loved. We hugged loads of people, had some tearful conversations, and Russ and I even had a little time alone. Put it on your calendars now, friends, February 26-27, 2016. There is nothing like being with over a thousand fellow adoptive and foster parents to encourage you in the journey.

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And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Ph 4:7

Last weekend a wise friend said to me, “You can’t have the peace that surpasses understanding until you stop trying to understand.”

That is right where I am. I’m still trying to understand the car accident and our loss of Kalkidan, but it simply isn’t possible.


I had big plans to post something today before we leave or Refresh, but the simple task of doing laundry and making packing lists has taken all of my energy. This is only my third day on my own and I feel somewhat incompetent.

We’re loading up some of the kids and bringing them along; I’m not ready to leave the younger ones yet. My sister is going to keep Eby and Little Man while the older ones stay with friends near the conference. Together with some other kids and adults, they are going to be on a sibling panel.