Media Focus: Steven Curtis Chapman
Singer and songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman hooked us with his 2001 album, Declaration, which features the sweet ballad, "When Love Takes You In." We melted to lyrics like, "When love takes you home and says you belong here / The loneliness ends and a new life begins / When love takes you in, it takes you in for good." Chapman, an adoptive dad himself, knows about the joy of creating forever families.
Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth, had three biological children, Emily, Caleb, and Will, before adopting their three youngest daughters. It was Emily, then in elementary school, who sparked the idea of adoption for her parents. She had a friend named Maria, who lived in a troubled home, and Emily said she wished her friend could join their family. Chapman wrote "Who's Gonna Love Maria?" for his 1992 album, The Great Adventure. The seed was planted, and the Chapmans adopted Shaohannah Hope from China in March 2000.
"After our first trip to China, my wife and I knew our lives were changing--our eyes were opening to how big God really is, and we wanted to experience more of that," says Chapman. They later adopted daughter Stevey Joy, and began doing ministry work at orphanages in China. Through this work, Chapman met a little girl with special needs, whose foster family called her Maria. "Who's gonna love Maria?" ran through his head, and soon little Maria Sue joined their family.
But the Chapmans haven't stopped with their own family--they're helping hundreds of other families bring children home through their foundation, Shaohannah's Hope. "Mary Beth, like many adoptive parents, didn't know if she would have the capacity to love a child she did not give birth to, but when Shaohannah was placed in her arms, her fear went away," says Scott Hasenbalg, the organization's executive director. When the Chapmans returned home with their daughter, friends and family expressed interest in adopting, but said they couldn't afford the fees. "So Mary Beth said, ‘If that's all that's standing in your way, we'll help make it happen,'" says Hasenbalg.
Shaohannah's Hope provides adoption grants to Christian families. It assists 20 to 40 families per month, offering grants ranging from $2,000 to $7,000. Since 2003, Shaohannah's Hope has helped more than 1,800 families.
The Chapmans faced tragedy at home last May, when Maria passed away after a car accident, at just five years old. Shaohannah's Hope has since created Maria's Miracle Fund, which allows people to make donations in her name. Also, Shaohannah's Hope has partnered with a group in Luoyang, China, to establish an orphanage for kids with special needs. "Maria's Big House of Hope will be a beacon of hope for children who don't get the attention that's needed because of their ailments," says Hasenbalg.
Chapman continues to celebrate our families through his music, with his latest album, This Moment: Cinderella Edition. Chapman was inspired to write "Cinderella" after bath time with his little girls, realizing that the moments when they are young are fleeting. The song goes, "Oh, I will dance with Cinderella / I don't wanna miss even one song, / Cuz all too soon the clock will strike midnight / And she'll be gone." This Moment: Cinderella Edition is available at stevencurtischapman.com. Get more information about Shaohannah's Hope at showhope.org.
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