Show Them Love

 

DimplesinET

Our dear friend, Dan Hamer, shared these words on Facebook following Kalkidan’s memorial service. Dan is a pastor at Overlake Christian Church and an adoptive father. He heads up the work in Kenya that allows Russ to do ministry as a hydrologist. He is also Kathleeen’s husband; together they have opened their home to us many, many times, especially during the years when we were traveling to Seattle every other week for therapy with Kalkidan. Now they’re stuck with us for life.

If you didn’t get the chance to know Kalkidan you missed an amazing young girl with a smile that would light up a room and melt your heart. She also had a tender heart of gold and a larger than life personality. She was adopted by our dear friends eight years ago from an orphanage in Ethiopia having lost both of her parents to AIDS. Just last week at the age of thirteen, Kalkidan was killed in a tragic car accident.

Even though in this life she was surrounded by an incredible family and countless friends who showered her with love and encouragement, she was just beginning to figure out how to accept it. As often is the case with children who have suffered trauma, neglect, and abuse it is not easy for them to understand the unconditional love of a family or a God who loves without strings. They don’t always see themselves the way we see them, let alone how God sees them.

I know that in heaven, Kalkidan now fully understands this and I suspect that her smile is even more magical. I would venture to say that everyone who had the privilege of loving Kalkidan also learned an invaluable lesson about unconditional love. Not surprisingly, the student became the teacher and we are all better at both giving and receiving love for having loved Kalkidan.

While my family’s tears this week could have filled a bucket and over a thousand friends and family attended her memorial service, there are many like Kalkidan whose passing will mostly go unnoticed. I suspect that would have been the case had she remained in the orphanage. The world is full of Kalkidans who need the constant assurance that their life matters and that regardless of anything they do, or don’t do, that they are loved.

I am convinced that everyone needs a Kalkidan in their life to teach them this lesson. I hope you will look for one in your life. They don’t just reside in orphanages in Ethiopia. They are in every homeless shelter, prison and foster care agency. They are also in every school, church, and family. These are children who as a result of their brokenness don’t always behave the way we would prefer and whose beauty and gifts will oftentimes go unnoticed unless someone is there to walk alongside them. Don’t sit back and criticize and judge them, get off your high horse and show them the unconditional love that God has shown you.

Find a Kalkidan and you will never be the same.

Lisa

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Let me introduce myself. Russ and I are the parents of twelve children by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. I'm the creator of One Thankful Mom which has been as much of a gift to me as to my readers. In 2011 I became a TBRI® Pracitioner* and have lived and breathed connected parenting ever since. I'm deeply honored to be the co-author, together with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis, of The Connected Parent; it is her final written work. I love speaking at events for adoptive and foster parents. I'm also the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, a podcast and resource site for adoptive moms. I mentor and encourage adoptive moms so you can find courage and hope in your journeys of loving your children well.

11 Comments

  1. Rebecca
    January 19, 2015

    What words of blessing. May we all learn this lesson well.

    Reply
  2. chrishaughee
    January 19, 2015

    Thank you for sharing this, Lisa. I couldn't agree more. As we hope to share with the Kalkidan's in our lives the truth that their lives matter, no matter what… well, we learn that truth more deeply ourselves.

    Reply
  3. Barb N Ken Herzog
    January 19, 2015

    Beautiful! What a great tribute.

    Reply
  4. Mary
    January 19, 2015

    Amen in heaven and on earth. Thanks for sharing Lisa.

    Reply
  5. Kendra
    January 19, 2015

    i Love this. thank you for sharing,

    Reply
  6. Tricia
    January 20, 2015

    This is so beautiful and so very true. Continue to hold you up to God during these days.

    Reply
  7. Kayla
    January 20, 2015

    Amen.

    Reply
  8. Elizabeth
    January 20, 2015

    Beautiful. How precious to hear from someone who knew and understood her so well.

    Reply
  9. cathylank
    January 31, 2015

    Weeping over this with my husband this morning as we pray for our daughter and discernment as to how best to walk alongside her. Praying for your family as well as you mourn for Kalkidan.

    Reply
  10. Debra
    July 28, 2015

    I have a Kalkidan of my own….her name is Torie, and she is hateful and mean and manipulative and unloving to everyone. My heart hurts for the loss of this dear child, and my heart would hurt if I lost Torie to a tragic accident, but at this time I am looking for a place for her to live where hopefully she will find the love she needs (those she doesn't want it), and will hopefully be able to grow up to be a decent human being.

    Reply
    1. Kathy
      February 18, 2016

      I want to pray for you and your daughter: Dear Heavenly Father, please heal Torie's broken heart. Please help her to be able to trust and receive love, from You and from those who want to love her. I ask that You would move in a mighty way and save her. You say that "no one can snatch your children from your hands." Bind the evil one far away and meet all the needs Torie has that we can't even imagine, but that You already know all about. Please be with her Mom Debra. Please guide her, comfort her, help her to love even when she doesn't feel it. Fill her with Your love to overflowing. Let her know how much You love her. Carry her through all this. Lord, she (Debra) needs You so much. They both need You. Please care for them. In Jesus' Name I pray. Amen.

      Reply

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