Not a Pretty Journey


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. She attends a charter school but plays sports at the middle school. Last fall she and Kalkidan were on the same volleyball team and it was such a healing time for them. Being together every day, working hard, being with friends, and encouraging one another was a sweet experience for them.

I couldn’t make myself walk through those doors, it just felt too hard, so Russ went for me. While he was there he returned a couple of Kalkidan’s school books and picked up everything they had saved for us from her locker and her classes.

I can’t bring myself to look through it yet. I feel like I should be soaking up every tiny detail of Kalkidan’s life, but it’s more than I can bear.

I know that everyone grieves in their own way and in their own timing, but I could not be more surprised by how I’m moving through this process. I honestly don’t want to leave my house. Yesterday I took five of the kids to the dentist, and all I could think was that I was missing one.

On a brighter note, I managed to force myself to go to my own dentist appointment this morning and, though I was tempted to skip it, I even took a good walk. I have to keep moving in order for my body to heal. When I got home I found a beautiful card and a meal left by a friend. I nearly cried – it was such a blessing.

Well, friends, that’s all I’ve got. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sticking with me. This isn’t a pretty journey – it’s simply gut wrenching. But I honestly believe that God makes beauty out of ashes; I just wish my heart could catch up with my head.



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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. Lisa H.
    March 25, 2015

    Praying for you so often! I'm sorry this hard journey is something you have to walk through. You loved Kalkidan WELL, and it's a testament to how much you loved her that you have this grief.

    A hug dear friend!

  2. Deborah
    March 25, 2015

    I am so inspired by you. I have been following your story from when you were adopting your 4 children. You inspired me and I fell in love with Ethiopia because of you. I have continued to read your blog and have followed you throughout the years and have referred to things you have said to others. I'm so sorry for your loss of your sweet daughter. It was a sad day for sure and I can't imagine what you have gone through. I need to thank you for being so honest with your feelings. I love that you have allowed us to go through this process with you. Even though we've never met, I do love you. You have inspired me and been a wonderful example and I thank you for that. Many people are behind you and support you for those dark days ahead. May God bless you and be watched over with peace and comfort. With much love my friend, Deborah

  3. Michelle
    March 25, 2015

    IT is an honor to share this space of grief with you. Thank you for sharing your story and deepest heart with strangers who follow your story and cling to the hope that you are clinging to! Praying for you.

  4. blessed
    March 25, 2015

    Wishing I had something wise to say, some word of encouragement. But all I can say is thank you for sharing this process, and your daughter, with us.

  5. Sandie Stirgess
    March 25, 2015

    Slowly, slowly Lisa. Go easy on yourself, one foot in front of the other is enough. Take care Lovely one. X

  6. Lacy
    March 25, 2015

    Lisa, my cousin Tracy passed away over 2 years ago. It is still so hard we were so close
    Like sisters raised together all our lives, I still can't put her pictures up because I just
    Cry every time I see her. It's very hard to look at her things. I put her
    Keep sakes in a box and tried a few times to go thru but my heart breaks every time.
    I have experienced so much loss in my life that at time grief overwhelms me.
    Randy is always there and somehow I get thru the hard moments. I will pray for u and Russ.
    Love Lacy Qualls

  7. Lori
    March 25, 2015

    Sounds perfectly normal to me. I didn't want to leave home either. Going to the orthodontist or the grocery store (two things I had done with our son) were excruciating. I felt like I had a neon sign over my head that read – "Broken and Grieving". We didn't go through his room for a few months. It has been eight years and I still have trouble walking into the orthodontist. (We had an appointment the day he died.) I still feel sick when I hear a siren. The hole left by a loved one does not fill up. We learn to live with it, but it does not heal.

  8. thandilocks
    March 26, 2015

    Your friend is such a blessing for that token of love that was left. Wishing you strength…

  9. Jennifer
    April 1, 2015

    Wishing you moments of comfort and reprieve from the very hard work of mourning and grieving. I feel unworthy of reading this tender, heart-wrenching story but hope that you know and feel supported and held by those of us who are reading your words.


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