Kalkidan’s Obituary

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Kalkidan Ella Qualls was born Oct. 29, 2001, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. She became part of our family eight years ago, and it was our great joy and honor to love her. On the morning of Dec. 27, she and our parents were driving to Montana for a holiday visit with friends when they were involved in an automobile accident. Kalkidan passed away instantly in the collision. She was 13 years old.

Kalkidan believed that spice was the spice of life. She loved cooking, and often made dishes so hot that the rest of the family’s eyes would water from the spicy fumes in the kitchen. She especially loved Sriracha sauce and the Ethiopian spice berbere, which she went through so quickly that we stocked it in mason jars. It was her dream to one day open a restaurant called Kalkidan’s Your-Mouth-On-Fire Cuisine.

Kalkidan was incredibly competitive, but worked hard at both winning and losing graciously. She took great pride in besting her older brother at her favorite board game on Christmas Day. She loved playing sports and often talked about becoming a college basketball player. She bemoaned her height, but anticipated becoming the first WNBA player under 5 feet tall.

At school and in sports, she was often one of the first to befriend new students. She could tell when someone felt like an outsider and reached out with no hesitation. She brought enthusiasm and energy to everything she did.

In the multitude of emails, cards and messages we have received from friends and family who mourn with us, the same words to describe her keep appearing: vivacious, determined, inspiring, high-spirited, beautiful, stubborn, spunky, athletic, sweet. These words can’t describe the richness of her soul, but they give a glimpse of who she was, and who she was growing to become.

Jesus Christ is the firm foundation of our family. Kalkidan loved him, and we take comfort that one moment she was on a road trip with her mom and dad and the next she was in the arms of Jesus. We believe that God writes a beautiful story, and it was our privilege that God chose to entwine her life story with ours. We grieve that her life was so short, but we are blessed she became our daughter and sister.

Kalkidan was preceded in death by her Ethiopian mother and father.

She is survived by her parents, Russell and Lisa Qualls; and her siblings, Hannah, Mary Kate, Noah (Katie), Samuel, Isaiah, Annarose, Beza, Claire, Ebenezer and Wogauyu; and her Ethiopian sister, Fikirte. She will also be remembered by her four grandparents and her aunts, uncles, cousins and countless dear friends, as well as the thousands of people who were influenced by her story.

A memorial service will be held at 6 p.m. Friday at the Moscow Church of the Nazarene. All are welcome.

In lieu of flowers, please send donations to REACH Ministries via the Kalkidan Memorial Fund at http://reachministries.org/blog/kalkidan.

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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.

16 Comments

  1. Abbey Bisschop
    January 3, 2015

    Beautiful…thankful that God used Kalkidan to introduce us as friends, Lisa…can't imagine my life without your friendship.

    Reply
  2. Melody
    January 3, 2015

    These are beautiful words for your beautiful daughter. It is so touching and heart-wrenching to see her Ethiopian family included. Your family has remained in my thoughts and in my heart.

    Reply
  3. Mary
    January 3, 2015

    Beautiful girl.
    Beautifully said.
    Beautiful legacy.
    Blessings to your family. Thank you for blessing me by sharing Dimple's life.

    Reply
  4. Rebecca
    January 3, 2015

    Our prayers continue. What a beautiful testament to family, love, and the spirit of a precious girl.

    Reply
  5. Shari
    January 3, 2015

    My heart breaks for you while rejoicing for the victories that Dimples and your family have had in life and in her Homecoming into the arms of our Savior. Your family will continue in my prayers. Thank you for sharing your family's journey of love and hope through this world of struggle & hope.

    Reply
  6. prayingintruth
    January 4, 2015

    I'm so sorry 🙁

    Reply
  7. Luann Yarrow Doman
    January 4, 2015

    I wish I had had the honor and joy of knowing Dimples. Your love for her was extraordinary. Praying you will experience God's peace, that passes understanding, during this time of sorrow.

    Reply
  8. sharimcminn
    January 4, 2015

    My good and beloved husband, who with me adopted 5 children from child welfare, went to be with the Lord 18 months ago. I like to think he was one of the first saints to welcome Dimples at Heaven's gate…. Thank you Qualls family for pointing her to the Lord, so she could spend eternity with Him.

    Reply
  9. kristine barr
    January 4, 2015

    What a beautiful obituary. I feel as if I knew Dimples through this. Continuing to pray for all of yu as you go through this terrible tragedy.

    Reply
  10. DFNY
    January 4, 2015

    Thinking of you…heartbroken and moved by your family's beautiful glimpse into who Dimples was. Continuing to pray for all of your hearts. Lovely to see you honor Kalkidan's Ethiopian family as well.

    Blessings…
    Damaris

    Reply
  11. Cassandra
    January 5, 2015

    Tears as I read this. 🙁 My heart breaks for you.

    Reply
  12. cbaldwinethiopia
    January 5, 2015

    Sharing your sorrow and sending comfort as only the Comforter can give us. Amazing to think that our eight years in Ethiopia coincided with your delightful challenging and important years with Kalkidan; our stories are written for all eternity to give glory to the Father who has made your lives and ours a gift to the Son. We love you. Charlene and Owen

    Reply
  13. Jennifer
    January 5, 2015

    This is a beautiful tribute to your daughter/sister – her spirit and verve shines through with every word. May you all be held in light and with comfort during this time.

    Reply
  14. Joanne Handley
    January 5, 2015

    Thank you for sharing her beautiful story. You are in our prayers as you grieve her loss but we rejoice with you in the hope we have in Jesus, knowing some day you will see her again.
    Joanne & Noble Handley

    Reply
  15. Jean Mulvahill
    January 6, 2015

    Thinking of your family. Heartbroken for your loss… Praising God for the time you were blessed with her! Praying for your dear family.

    Reply
  16. Erika Greig Stanley
    January 6, 2015

    How beautifully written! I don't understand God's plan in this but I do love picturing her with her Ethiopian mom and dad. What a joyful reunion. I never met Kalkidan, but feel like I know her just a little. I've certainly loved her. Thanks so much for sharing this.

    Reply

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