Remembering Hanna Williams, Ten Years After Her Death

Ten years! A decade to the day that Hanna Williams/Hana Alemu died as a result of her adoptive parents’ cruelty. She would have been almost 23 years old now, had Larry and Carri Williams not starved and abused her until she died.

So let us today remember Hana, as we keep her in our hearts always. I always think also of he Williams’ children, including Emmanuel, and all that they witnessed and experienced. Devastating trauma all around, the kind that lingers in the body and soul. May Hanna rest in power and in peace.

Adoptions from Ethiopia ended in 2018, for many reasons, Hanna’s death among them. There are still vulnerable children there. While international adoption is no longer an option, there are many excellent organizations that support family preservation—please donate to them and promote them. I’ve listed several here. Always look for organizations that promote the community, that engage local leaders, and that empower rather than rescue.

A couple of personal notes: We hope the book “Lions Roaring Far From Home: An Anthology By Ethiopian Adoptees” will soon be available. It is dedicated to Hanna, and to Ethiopian adoptees who have died by suicide. The profits from the sales of “Lions Roaring” will be used to establish a guest house in Addis Ababa for returning adoptees.

I am considering closing the door on my Light of Day Stories blog. I’ve been posting far less often for many reasons, I am proud of what I’ve written these last eight years. Recently, in the past few years, the number of adoptee blogs has increased dramatically, which is wonderful. Adult adoptees are occupying the space once used up too much by adoptive parents, including myself. It’s time to give more room to the voices of adoptees. And wouldn’t it be great if Ethiopian first/birth parents had equitable space in the decisions and policies and perspectives on adoption? Let’s keep fighting for that.

And today, let’s think of Hanna, with love and hope.

A photo of Ethiopian adoptee Hanna Williams at the orphanage. Hanna is wearing a blue and white striped shirt and has a slight, shy smile.
Hana in Ethiopia, prior to adoption. May she Rest in Peace.

5 thoughts on “Remembering Hanna Williams, Ten Years After Her Death

  1. Yes – in honour of Hannah! Adoptees should not have to suffer further at the hands of their adoptive families and we need to speak out more about this! Our community memorialises those who have passed in this manner and via suicide at

    I shared about murder, abuse, suicide also at

    I have totally loved your blog so will miss it and equally, it is exciting to see more Ethiopian adoptees about to become visible thru’ your upcoming Anthology – so needed! Thank you for your voice all these years! We have needed that critical thinking in Ethiopian intercountry adoptions and there has been little else.

  2. Her trusting eyes still haunt me. I cannot believe it has been 10 years. I recall your taking the long drives to the Courthouse for the trial as her silent supporter. Gone but never forgotten.

  3. May Hana rest in peace.

    I’m sorry to hear you’ll be shutting this blog down soon. I’ve truly enjoyed reading your thoughts here, and I wish you the best with whatever you decide to do next.

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