November is National Adoption Awareness Month — and adoption is a topic that has long been near to my heart. It is also near and dear to the heart of multiple Grammy Award-winning and Dove Award-winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman, along with his wife, Mary Beth Chapman, a New York Times bestselling author
Many know Steven Curtis via his music. He has enjoyed a storied and successful music career spanning three decades and has given us many unforgettable musical memories along the way. What you may not be as familiar with is the story of how he, Mary Beth, and their family came to adopt three precious girls from China (Shaohannah, Stevey-Joy, and Maria) — and how those adoptions were the catalyst for the creation of Show Hope, their non-profit organization that works on adoption grants, advocacy and care services to many thousands of families.
Through their work with Show Hope, the Chapman family are on a mission to care for orphans by engaging the church and helping children come home to families by reducing the barriers to adoption.
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Recently I had the honor of speaking with Steven, Mary Beth, and their biological daughter, Emily Chapman Richards, who was recently named executive VP of Show Hope.
We spoke at length about the Chapmans’ own adoption journey, what they’ve learned along the way, the highs and lows that many adoptive families experience — and the work they are doing through Show Hope.
Adoption can be a subject that many look on with either excitement, trepidation or endless questions.
- What will our kids think of us adopting?
- How can we afford this?
- Can I love my adopted child as much as my biological child?
- What if the child has issues we aren’t ready to handle?
- How can we be sure this decision is right for us?
Steven and Mary Beth were all too familiar with these questions in the lead-up to their first daughter’s adoption, and they honestly shared that the initial idea for adoption wasn’t even theirs. When their biological daughter Emily was just 11 years old, she and Mary Beth went on a trip to Haiti with Compassion International.
“I hadn’t met a lot of children my same age [who] were navigating life without a mother or father in the picture,” said Emily. “My head started spinning and [I started] thinking, ‘What would that be like … having to navigate and live life without the support systems that I take for granted?”
Show Hope operates in four key areas: adoption aid, care centers, pre + post adoption support, and student initiatives.
Emily’s passion was kindled — and once they were home, she boldly proclaimed to her parents, “We have room at our table. We need to consider opening up our home to a child who does not have a mother or father.”
For many months after that, she asked, prayed, and implored her parents to consider adoption. Steven and Mary Beth started praying about this decision and felt God beginning to direct their steps. Many years later, the Chapman family knows with complete certainty the Lord put them on this path for a reason.
As Steven shared with me, “We came home with Shaohannah and it was, very quickly that we were approached by people who began to say, ‘We would love to adopt someday. This stirs something deep within us, but we just can’t afford it right now’.” After multiple conversations with families about adoption, Steven and Mary Beth soon realized that one of the main obstacles (if not the obstacle) in adoption was the financial strain. Spurred on by this and a passionate desire to see orphans put in loving homes, Mary Beth began to write personal checks to individuals so they could start the adoption process. Little by little, the organization that would become Show Hope was born.
Related: Imagine Adopting Seven Siblings — They Did
Committed to the holistic care of waiting children around the world, Show Hope operates in four key areas: Adoption Aid, Care Centers, Pre+Post Adoption Support, and Student Initiatives. Since its inception, Show Hope has helped provide homes through Adoption Aid grants for more than 5,500 children from more than 50 countries, including the U.S. In addition, more than 2,300 waiting children with acute medical and special needs have received care through Show Hope’s Care Centers in China.
“Adoption is hard,” says Mary Beth. “Adoption is the greatest blessing that’s ever come our way; still, the extremes are incredible. I would say to just trust God with the complete story. If you know you’re supposed to be part of this thing called adoption, then God’s going to give you what you need to continue to walk that journey every day.”
Steven Curtis, Mary Beth, and Emily graciously shared their own thoughts and struggles on adoption, from integrating new members into their family, to how their kids responded, the unspoken fears that they each had as well as the incredible joy they’ve experienced. Here’s hoping you will be encouraged in your own walk, whether you’re in the process of adopting, thinking about it or walking through life with an adopted child already.
Dr. Meg Meeker has practiced pediatrics and adolescent medicine for more than 30 years. She is the author of the new book “Hero: Being the Strong Father Your Children Need” (Regnery Publishing, 2017), as well as a number of digital parenting resources and online courses, including The 12 Principles of Raising Great Kids.