Nine Reflections on Our 9th Forever Day


Today marks nine years since the day we met our four children in Ethiopia. Nine years! What a day that was.

In 2007 we adopted three unrelated children,  through two different agencies, with two different social workers, and two different orphanages, all at the same time. It was a little crazy.

We met Kalkidan first, and in the crowd of children, we also met Beza. We didn’t know then that she would become our daughter a little more than a year later.

Two hours later we met Ebenezer and Wogauyu.

At the end of the week, we made the long journey home with Eby and Wogauyu. I remember standing for hours on the plane, rocking back and forth with them in our arms.

Kalkidan’s visa was finally approved and Russ returned to Ethiopia for her on May 11th. That was the hardest trip of both of their lives, involving many tears, hours of screaming, very little sleep, canceled flights, 52 hours of travel, and finally unending games of Uno. Have I told you the story about the flight attendant telling Russ they would have to get off the flight if he couldn’t keep Kalkidan’s seat belt buckled?

We flew back to Ethiopia in July 2008 to bring Beza home and had the adventure of a lifetime traveling through the countryside searching for Ebenezer’s grandfather.

Here are 9 reflections on our journey as we celebrate 9 years.

1. We are not the same family we were nine years ago. God is using our children and our experience of adoption to make us the family he wants us to be.

2. We were well-prepared, and yet, we were at the beginning of a very steep and long learning curve.

3. Hurt people, hurt people. Children who are traumatized and wounded will bring pain into your life and you will be hurt. This leads to the incredible opportunity to watch Jesus make beauty from ashes.

4. Attachment takes time, and love grows over years.

5. Flexibility and perseverance are keys to growing through adoption. We have learned new ways of parenting, educating, and living through adoption.

6. Jesus is not wasting even one of the tears shed by our other children as a result of adding siblings from “hard places” to our family. He is making them into the people he wants them to be.

7. Our faith deepened as our dependence upon Jesus increased. Adoption brought us to our knees like nothing before.

8. Our circle of friends and family has grown and our arms have opened wider to embrace so much more of the world.

9. Adoption allows us to put the love of God on display to a watching world. Our love, our failures, our suffering, our joy – it’s all there for the world to see.

I’m amazed that God chose us to parent these four children. Apparently he thought we could do it, or more likely, he knew we couldn’t, but he would work through us  in all of our weakness and failure to bring about good in their lives.

We’re honored that the Lord chose us to be the parents of Beza, Kalkidan, Ebenezer, and Wogauyu. God counted us worthy to love and shepherd them through life – a weighty responsibility and a source of joy.

Have a wonderful Wednesday, friends.  We’re packing up some of the kids and heading to Refresh tomorrow and I plan to post pictures on Instagram and my One Thankful Mom Facebook page. Be sure to check in!

I hope you are encouraged today.


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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.


  1. Kimberly
    February 24, 2016

    Lisa, we were so honored to meet you and your sweet family. We wish you all the best! Please tell the boys Ryan said hello!

    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 24, 2016

      We loved meeting you too, Kimberly. Thank you for all of the help last year. Did you end up moving?

  2. Rochelle
    February 24, 2016

    The struggle is real! ! Thanks for being so open and transparent. You are a constant encouraged of my heart. I am grateful. I'm leaving for Refresh today! I'm so ready to hear what God will speak to my heart.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 24, 2016

      Thank you, Rochelle. Be sure to say hello at Refresh! We'll be there Friday morning.

  3. Laurel
    February 24, 2016

    Hurt people, hurt people. Yes, and I love what you said about getting to see God's miracles turning ashes to beauty. This is probably the part of adoptive parenting that has been the hardest for me.

    1. Lisa Qualls
      February 24, 2016

      I'm so glad this spoke to you, Laurel.


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