Sorrow at AHOPE

Tilahun Yimer 1996 – October 2008

I had the sad task today of announcing the death of one of our AHOPE children. Tilahun Yimer was 12 years old and after a brief illness he succumbed to meningitis. This has been a great shock to the children and staff at AHOPE.

Tilahun was one of the first AHOPE children, arriving in 2001. He was a very fine boy and was loved by everyone. As I was looking through photos from our trip, I thought I had found one of him, so I asked Honeybee and she told me that this was Tilahun and that he is a “very good boy, Mom”. I haven’t told her that her friend died last week. Honestly, I’m not sure that I can bring myself to do it yet. They spent their childhoods together and while most of the children around them died, they survived. God had a plan for them and His plan for Honeybee was to bring her home to us. Why couldn’t His plan have included a family for Tilahun?

I have no answers, but I trust in God’s unfailing love. I have been told that Tilahun knew well that God had a plan for his life, and that he was loved.

Please remember the children and staff at AHOPE. It is very easy for us to think that with good medication, HIV+ children are going to live long and healthy lives, but for those who remain in impoverished countries with limited medical care, that may not be the case. Our efforts for AHOPE are not in vain; there is still so much work to be done.

Two weeks ago we placed an order for more AHOPE bracelets and included Tilahun’s name along with nine others. We had planned to begin offering AHOPE Memorial bracelets in January, never imagining that we would need to offer one sooner. If you would like a memorial bracelet to remember Tilahun Yimer, please visit the AHOPE Store.

We grieve, but not as those who have no hope.


This post may contain Amazon Affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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. Audrey
    October 29, 2008

    I’m so sorry, Lisa. I know that this grieves your heart so deeply. There is so much work to be done to help these beautiful children. Every single one is precious in His sight.

  2. Jennifer
    October 29, 2008

    Oh, Lisa I am so very sorry. He was a very handsome young man, and I know he will be missed. I know he is playing up in heaven right now and hopefully meeting my daughter, Abby. I will pray as you tell your daughter that God will lift you all up during this very sad time.

  3. Adrielle
    October 29, 2008

    I am so sorry and we will be praying for you and all the others who are grieving right now.

  4. Brianna Heldt
    October 29, 2008

    Lisa I was so devastated to hear this news–I had prepared sponsorship packets for him this summer. I prayed for him specifically as I worked on his packet.

    It is all just terribly sad. BUT, you are so right, there is hope.

  5. Jen
    October 30, 2008

    My heart hurts for Tilahum. I will keep him, the staff and Honeybee in my prayers.

  6. Amy
    October 30, 2008

    My heart breaks to hear this news… Praying~ Amy

  7. Sarah
    October 30, 2008

    I’m back on your blog today and MORE tears. Not happy sweet tears today, just tears. I’m so sad for Tilahum, but keep picturing him with his true father in heaven experiencing love like he never has before.

  8. waitingarms
    October 31, 2008

    I am sorry to hear about Tilahum and the heartbreak of having to tell Honeybee that her friend is in heaven. I believe that God has a plan for every child to have a family, but Christians are not stepping out to follow our Master’s calling. If only 7% of Christians adopted an orphan, the world’s orphan crisis would be over. This sad news renews my determination to proceed with our adoption plans even though we are abit discouraged at the moment (financial obstacles). Every child deserves a chance at life, a chance to have a mommy and daddy and the reassurance that they love them unconditionally.

    God’s blessings to you and yours.

  9. Laurel
    November 2, 2008

    So sorry to hear of your loss.

    Even here in America, with the best medical care, Meningitis takes lives. Three years ago, we nearly lost a child to Bacterial Meningitis. He will live with many “testimony scars” for the rest of his life.

    Praying for you as you decide when and what to tell precious Honeybee.


  10. Farmboy and Buttercup
    November 7, 2008

    Oh, as we are working to get our little one that we are waiting for into AHOPE, this just really hit me in the stomach today. What massive injustice there is in this world.

    Thank you for sharing this!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

I accept the Privacy Policy