HONORED MOTHER OF 2023
GRAFTON—The International Mother’s Day Shrine at Grafton, where Mother’s Day began, is announcing its “Honored Mother of 2023.” Sabreena Weaver has been selected by the Shrine’s Board of Trustees from among nominations to be this year’s honoree.
Sabreena was introduced at the annual Mother’s Tea at 1 p.m. on Saturday, May 6, at the Lecture Room at the Shrine. She was presented with a gift basket of pampering products in honor of her being named the Shrine’s Honored Mother of 2023.
Weaver, a Grafton resident, is an operating room nurse at Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, as well as a birth mother and foster care adoptee mother to a combination of five children. She and Josie Johnson are responsible for bringing a Foster Closet to Grafton that assists with the needs of foster children, parents, and families not only in Grafton and Taylor County but across several counties.
Sabreena and her husband, Justin, are the parents of Kayleigh, Lylah, Carter, Eli, and Dayah. “We had two daughters, had an adopted child and wanted to adopt more,” notes Sabreena. She adds “We knew there are children out there in need of homes and we believed this was the route God was leading us.” All this happened at a time when the couple was considering adoption to expand their family and assist with children being in foster care and needing forever homes.
Around Christmas 2015, they started the adoption process and were contacted by a mother who had decided she needed to place her child up for adoption. This contact resulted in Eli becoming a member of the family through a private adoption. The Weaver’s also ended up adopting Carter and Dayah. Carter was 8-months old when he came to the family. Eli and Carter are three months apart in age. Justin’s brother, Matt, also lives with the family.
Sabreena says, “I’ve dreamed about being a mother to a large family my whole life.” Being named “Honored Mother of 2023” reminded Sabreena of one of her favorite quotes that she found when she and her husband started expanding their family through adoption. The quote is by Jody Landers and reads, "A child born to another woman calls me mom. The magnitude of that tragedy and the depth of that privilege are not lost on me."
“I am so blessed God has called me on this journey,” notes Sabreena. She says the honor has provided her an opportunity to also highlight her Faithful Fostering closet. “I hope this inspires more people to become foster parents and adopt,” stresses Sabreena.
Sabreena and Justin are both 2007 graduates of Grafton High School. Justin is employed by the state of West Virginia as a corrections officer at the Pruntytown Correctional Center (PCC).
The IMDS hopes to better formalize its nomination process for Honored Mother nominees, so more mothers can be nominated and their unique stories shared.
Anna Jarvis, founder of Mother’s Day, established the holiday to fulfill a wish that her mother, Anna Reeves Jarvis, had promoted throughout her lifetime. Mrs. Jarvis is listed as the “originator of Mother’s Day” and as “the first honored mother.” Mrs. Jarvis established Mother’s Work Clubs in the 1800s to educate West Virginia mothers on proper sanitation, food preparation and storage, etc. These efforts were in a time period when few homes had refrigerated storage.
She made these efforts because only four of her 12 children lived to adulthood. This was a time period when childhood diseases claimed the lives of many children. Mrs. Jarvis’ efforts are credited with reducing childhood mortality rates within West Virginia. Members of her Mothers’ Work Clubs also provided care for both Confederate and Union soldiers wounded during the Civil War years.
The Shrine Board looks for nominees for Honored Mother who exemplify similar stories of motherhood to those of Mrs. Jarvis throughout her lifetime of service to her family and her community. Our 2023 Honored Mother meets these criteria, says IMDS Board Chair Marvin Gelhausen.
At the Weaver home, Sabreena and her husband provide for the care of five children, (two birth children and three adopted children but all a part of one united family).
Sabreena works the midnight shift at Ruby, a shift many avoid because the work many times involves trauma care and emergency surgeries. Something Sabreena describes as “heart pounding” care.
Sabreena started as a surgical tech, passing instruments to the surgeon. She quickly realized she could go back for additional training and expand her career and become an operating room nurse. She has stepped up to the plate of doing her part to assist with the medical care of those in need and this is truly in line with the character shown by the first honored mother in 1908.
Sabreena was honored May 6 at the annual Mother’s Tea at the International Mother’s Day Shrine, located along Main Street in downtown Grafton. The IMDS collaborates with the Grafton/Taylor County Public Library which coordinates the annual 1 p.m. tea. Advance reservations were required and the 2023 tea was at full capacity.
The International Mother’s Day Shrine in Grafton, where Mother’s Day began, has named Sabreena Weaver as its “Honored Mother 2023.” Shown below standing are Justin and Sabreena Weaver. Seated on the loveseat from left to right are the Weaver family children: Kayleigh, Eli, Dayah, Carter, Lylah.
Shown above Marvin Gelhausen, Chair of the International Mother's Day Shrine, presents a gift basket to Sabreena Weaver, the Shrine's Honored Mother 2023. Weaver was honored May 6 at the annual Mother's Tea. The Shrine is where Mother's Day began on May 10, 1908. It is a National Historic Landmark, a shrine to all mothers everywhere and a memorial to Anna Jarvis, the founder of Mother's Day and to her mother, Ann Reeves Jarvis, who is listed as the "originator" of Mother's Day and as the first honored mother.