Christian author Anne Weaver developed a family ministry that focuses on blessing each other intentionally. To share this intentionality with others, she started to write children’s books about her own family and the way they bless one another. Weaver and her husband adopted a child, Favor, from Liberia, Africa and she shares his adoption journey in “Favor: A World Turned Upside Down.” This spirited children’s book follows him as he makes his way from Liberia to his new home in Alaska and showcases how the family showers Favor with love and how he is a shining new blessing in their lives.“Favor” reminds readers to have faith in God’s plan. By sharing Favor’s journey, Weaver hopes that others will find joy and gratitude in life, even during times of uncertainty. This book can be read by families who have adopted children as a relatable, uplifting story about the beauty of an expanded family.
“Learning to live together as a family is a process, and a choice, whether born in or adopted,” said Weaver. “It can be a lovely process, if the family decides to bless each other, even in the most difficult of moments.” Weaver hopes to spread the message that family has nothing to do with the color of skin or shared blood and everything to do with growing together in love and support.
I had a chance to interview the author to learn more.
Why did you write this book?
- “Favor: A World Turned Upside Down” started as a simple memorial for our youngest son. We wanted him to remember, and be proud of, his history. He comes from a beautiful culture, and his biological family will ALWAYS be a part of him. We want him to know that despite him being born 7,000 miles away, he was clearly made, by a loving God, for our family. This wonderful truth, however, has a hard side: because he looks different from the rest of his family, we know that when we drop him off at school he will get questions about why he’s black and his parents and siblings are white. If he knows who he is, and is proud of who he is, then he will see the questions as easy to answer. If he is unsure, then there is room for others to judge or make up some nonsense story that hurts his heart. We want him to KNOW the answers so that no one can discourage him.
- As this book developed, however, we began realizing the importance of encouraging other kiddos who have had huge change, or even trauma, in their own lives. If another kiddo can realize that they can find peace and good in their own situation, what joy! As this thought grew, we began looking at the importance of blessings coming from a child’s family. We realized that parents and siblings need to understand the importance of supporting and blessing each other.
- Our continued research (and by our, I mean the entire Weaver family) showed that so often kiddos who have been adopted are angry that they don’t know their past or their bio family, and their new family might actually try to deny that the biological family has any importance in their child’s life. The other side to that rears up, too: some kiddos are angry and express it by NOT wanting to know their past. This anger can be fed by the accidental attitudes that surround them. For example, adopted kiddos are told the were “saved,” or they spend their lives being called “the adopted kid” rather than just “my kid”. As parents, we can forget to CELEBRATE who our children are, which includes WHERE they came from. And while all these thoughts and conversations were happening in our family, we began telling friends about these book concepts. We were surprised at the response! We began hearing from friends (that we never knew were adopted) how much it meant to them to have their own story told, through the eyes of the young boy “Favor”. Though their story wasn’t the same, it echoed closed enough. As we listened to the stories of others, and watched the growth of joy in our son, “Favor” grew into the deep, profound, but childishly simple book that it is today.
- Our prayer is that a child who feels like their world is out of control, or a parent who wonders how they can support their child, will read this book and find hope in looking for the blessings and finding the joy.
- Why is it important for kids to have age-appropriate books about adoption?
- We ALL like to feel heard! We ALL like to feel accepted and like we are a part of the world around us. Knowing that “I’m not alone” or “Oh, so there CAN be hope…” are profound and INCREDIBLY important realizations. Every child is going to grow up with opinions, stories, and fears that will be fed to them by others. And usually the “others” are their even less knowledgeable peers…. When we can give them books that are relevant to them, that help them through deep and big thoughts like adoption, that show them they are NOT alone… that’s when we are helping guide them to better, and more hopeful, understandings about their own lives and circumstances. Adoption is a wonderful blessing that was born out of pain and separation. Giving a child the knowledge of what adoption is, not what their peers think it is, can help them grant themselves permission to seek peace, and send them on their journey to find joy… I can think of nothing better!
- How can parents encourage their kids to welcome children who have been adopted?
- There are two ways to read this question, I have realized. One is “how can parents help their own children accept that their friends might have been adopted”. That is an important question, so I’ll start here:
- First, embrace the questions!! And I don’t mean nice questions, I mean ALL questions. This includes the very question we were preparing our own son for: “Why do they look different.” Children don’t tend to have filters, and they certainly do not know what “politically correct” is. Therefore, we must be willing to INVITE our children ask the uncomfortable questions so that we can give them truthful answers that help to guide them into understanding.
- Second, rather than focus on the separation aspects like abuse, neglect, death, etc. (which can lead to accidental judgement) focus on the building of family. We are all adopted into God’s family. Adoption IS part of God’s plan, so a family that grew through adoption is just as real and whole as a “normal” family is.
- Though I just said to not focus on the separation, you do need to acknowledge it. But when you talk about why families separate, realize that every family situation is different, so be careful to LISTEN to the conversation you are having with your child. Is it condemning the birth parents, or blessing them? The biological parents don’t need to be condemned, they need to be prayed for and blessed. For example, our son’s biological Mom was unable to care for our son, so she gave him to a trusted friend who helped her with his adoption BECAUSE SHE LOVED HIM. That is the ultimate sacrifice. Our family sends regular kisses to Favor’s biological parents. We choose to not only bless them, but to teach Favor that they are worth blessing. We are proud of who our son is, his birth parents are a part of him, let’s bless EVERY part of our son, including them.
- OK, so what’s the second way to read this question? “How do you help your own kiddos accept an adopted sibling?”
- This is a HUGE question, one that our family spends a great deal of time working with others on. Here are just two of the hardest hitting concepts:
- First – embrace the questions! Your bio kids WILL HAVE THEM! GOOD! That means they are engaged! The simple questions: “Will they play with my toys?” to the more complex: “Why do we have to spend so much time with a case worker?” and “Why didn’t their biological parents keep them?” Make sure your answers are the ones you want parroted back to your adopted kiddo as your child grows and asks questions themselves. May every answer you give be fully truthful, and fully a blessing (which means you may have to do some soul searching to find the blessings, yourself!)
- Second – include your bio kids in EVERYthing. Include them in the easy conversations about things like which room he/she will sleep in. Include them in the HARD conversations like how you are going to pay for the expenses of adoption. Pray WITH your bio children about their own lives and the life of their new brother/sister before he/she even comes home. If safe, bring your bio kids to pick up your son/daughter from the orphanage, foster home, hospital, wherever. The more you include them in the journey, the more they can process (just like you have too) having this new child in their home, and the more they will accept their new sibling.
- If you answer their questions, and include your children in every decision possible, you will find that it strengthens your family tremendously, both the children and the parents.
- One other important thought that needs to be on the forefront of your mind is “who is getting the attention.” This can be a double-edged sword. For example, your children that are already in your home are used to having your attention. Your “new” kiddo may NEED a lot of attention, especially at first, but it is still VITAL that your other children, who you already have relationships with, still feel like they are important to you. So, small things, like eye contact when you are talking to them, or like bringing them a special treat on occasion, can speak VOLUMES of life into them. The other side to that sword is that you give most or all your attention to your biological kids and forget your newest family member. The child you have now adopted into your family can feel like the outcast, like they don’t belong. This is a careful dance: you must intentionally build your relationship with your recent addition to your family while still keeping your relationship strong with the children who were there first. Eye contact when you are talking with them (and your spouse, for that matter – but that is a whole different conversation) can go a LONG way to showing them their continued value to you, and is small enough that it can keep you from feeling overwhelmed as you and your family work through the transition that happens with EVERY family addition.
Available through WestBow Press, Amazon, and Barnes & Noble.
About the author
Anne Weaver is the mother of three amazing kids: Hannah, Ezra and Caleb. She and her husband, Bo, had two biological children and felt that their family was missing someone. After time praying and looking to God for an answer, they were called to Liberia, Africa, where their youngest son, Caleb (Favor) was born. Weaver’s children’s book, “Favor,” was written to help Caleb know where he came from and celebrate his choices. Weaver has a second book, “Farm Fiasco,” which follows her three children and their adventure on a farm. Both of her children’s books are part of Yehovah Yasha’s ministry guide and demonstrate that a family that blesses each other, laughs together. Currently, Weaver resides in Fairbanks, Alaska. To connect with the author, please visit her author website: https://anneweaverbooks.com/.
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