Steven Curtis Chapman:
The miracle of adoption
Steven Curtis Chapman is passionate about adoption. In fact, the best-selling Christian pop artist believes all his music successes — including five Grammy awards and 44 No. 1 radio hits — may have occurred so he would have a voice and a platform to encourage believers to share in the miracle of adoption.
For Chapman and his wife of 21 years, Mary Beth, the story begins with a little girl named Shaohannah (now 6), ÒShaoeyÓ for short. The Chapmans adopted Shaoey from China in 2000 after their three biological children signed a petition begging their parents to adopt.
Shaoey changed the Chapman household in such a dramatic way that they soon adopted another Chinese daughter, Stevey Joy (now 3). Soon a third new daughter, Maria (now 2), joined the family. Today the Chapmans are a family of eight (Emily is 19, Caleb is 16 and Will is 14). Their adoption advocacy foundation, ShaohannahÕs Hope, awards about 40 $3,000 adoption grants every month for both international and domestic adoptions. ShaohoannahÕs Hope was the sponsor to StevenÕs most successful tour to date, the 2004-2005 ÒAll Things New Tour,Ó which raised more than $2 million for the foundationÕs adoption grant fund.
In addition, ShaohannahÕs Hope provides financial assistance to orphanages around the world. Chapman is an advisory board member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute, and he and Mary Beth have been awarded the ÒAngel in AdoptionÓ award from the CCAI.
Chapman spoke recently with Assistant Editor Ashli OÕConnell.
tpe: Last time we spoke you were leaving the next day to pick up Maria in China. How has life changed for you since that day?
CHAPMAN: We had three children before adoption, and with three kids we had chaos — but at least it was controlled chaos. But by the time we had adopted Maria, we had six children and we went from controlled chaos to utter chaos. But itÕs just been amazing. ItÕs been so incredible to be a part of this miracle. Two years ago we didnÕt even know Maria, and sheÕs brought this whole new unique part of the Chapman family alive. God had such a perfect plan for Maria and for us.
You know, when I first called my wife from China and told her I had met this little girl and something was happening in my heart and I couldnÕt explain it but I felt like she was supposed to be a part of our family, at first my wife said, ÒYouÕre crazy. Back slowly away from the baby!Ó But by the time I got home a week and a half later Mary Beth had already started filling out the paperwork because she knew that God was in it. In the last year and a half, I look at Maria so often and think about how we had thought our family was done and thereÕs so much we would have missed. WeÕre grateful and amazed at what God is doing.
tpe: Maria had some health problems.
CHAPMAN: Before we adopted her she had been diagnosed with a heart condition, and she was going to need surgery and treatment. But when we got her home all the doctors could find here was she had either been misdiagnosed or healed. And you know, had she had those problems, it would have been fine, too, because God would have provided. We had true peace about that.
tpe: What has adoption taught you about the sanctity of life?
CHAPMAN: IÕve always believed that God has a purpose and a plan for every life created. Life is a miracle, no matter what the circumstances. We were all knit together in our mothersÕ wombs by our Creator. But adoption has taken my understanding of that concept to a whole new level. Just take our three little girls for example: In the world they were born into, they were considered mistakes and they were discarded. To see the glory of God in their lives — the unique aspects of His image that are in each of them — it gives me more conviction than ever that God has a divine plan for every life. There is no life that He didnÕt create.
tpe: The scope of what youÕre doing must be overwhelming. What keeps you going with such intensity?
CHAPMAN: When you consider the numbers — anywhere from 30 million to 100 million orphans in the world, depending on what statistics youÕre reading — it can be overwhelming and we can be almost paralyzed by the great need. But you know, the Bible says that pure and faultless religion is to care for the widows and orphans of the world (James 1:27). And itÕs not just a duty HeÕs calling us to, but also an invitation to experience a deeper understanding of who He is. Adoption is the visible gospel — we were once without a name, without a hope and a future, but God took us in and called us His children. ThatÕs what propels our family and compels us to continue.
tpe: Should every Christian consider adoption?
CHAPMAN: I really feel that every believer needs to pray about what part he or she should play in caring for the orphans and widows of the world. We certainly all have a role, whether it would be opening our homes and families to adopt or in financially helping others who are able and willing to do that.
tpe: What are some of the misconceptions regarding adoption that keep families from pursuing adoption?
CHAPMAN: My wife can relate to a lot of the fears that adoptive mothers struggle with — can I really love this child as much as I love my biological children? She says she canÕt believe the miracle that took place the day the girls were placed in her arms. God supernaturally creates a family in the same way He makes us a part of His family. ThatÕs why itÕs such a miracle.
I also think finances hold many people back, and thatÕs something weÕre trying to help with specifically with ShaohannahÕs Hope.
tpe: Are the Chapmans going to adopt again?
CHAPMAN: Who knows? God has certainly surprised us before.
For more information, visit www.shaohannashope.org.
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