Remembering Mothers, Remembering Hana

I was blessed to have a mother who loved me unconditionally, who believed in me fully, and who was steadfast in her love for and devotion to my children as well.

Mom with her youngest grandchild, about 22 years ago.

Mom with her youngest grandchild, about 22 years ago.

Mom died over 10 years ago, and I miss her every day. She would have been crazy about her great-granddaughter, who’s now 7 years old. While I sometimes can’t believe I’m a grandmother, I know how fortunate I am.

I’m incredibly fortunate to be the mom of 4 amazing young people, whom I love beyond words.  I am their mom through adoption, and I hold their first mothers tightly in my heart. I’m especially proud on Mother’s Day of my daughter Aselefech, who is a wonderful mother herself.


I’m thinking today also of Hana Alemu, born in 1997 in Ethiopia. She was brought to Washington state in the US for adoption in 2008, and she died, three years ago today, on May 12, 2011.

Hana Alemu (Williams)

Hana Alemu (Williams)

An amazing story of hope and beauty has emerged from the tragedy of Hana’s passing.

David Guterson, the acclaimed novelist who lives on Bainbridge Island in Washington state, attended nearly every day of the trial last summer of Hana Alemu’s adoptive parents, Larry and Carri Williams. The Williamses are now each serving lengthy prison sentences for Hana’s tragic death.

David is writing a book about Hana, and traveled to Ethiopia in March for research. He met Hana’s best friend and cousin there, a young woman named Haimanot. Haimanot was struggling with a brain tumor. Wiithout surgery, she would lose her vision. David arranged for Haimanot to come to the US in April.


Haimanot had surgery to remove a pituitary tumor at Swedish Medical Center. It went well. She had some headaches and low energy afterward, but is now feeling great.

Swedish did everything pro bono and will continue to provide treatment for Haimanot as needed. Rep. Derek Kilmer (6th-WA) opened the door for the visa. The Ethiopian community has provided room and board, and there has been lots of support from the Seattle Ethiopian Community Center.

My mom would have loved this story.

I’d like to also remind folks about another positive recent development: the excellent resource Ethiopian Adoption Connection, a website to connect Ethiopian original families with their children adopted around the globe. After only a short time, they’ve already been able to connect adoptees with their Ethiopian families. There are also many resources listed on the site, which is in Amharic and English. Keeping families connected is a gift beyond words.

May we all have hope that good can come from tragedy.

May we hold in our hearts those who have died, and honor their memory.

May we treasure those who love us and care for us. May we not miss an opportunity to help others, with kindness and compassion.



5 thoughts on “Remembering Mothers, Remembering Hana

  1. Pingback: Remembering Hana: May 12, 2011 | Light of Day Stories

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