Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Profiles in Adoption: Mary Beth Chapman


Mary Beth Chapman is an author and wife of award-winning singer / songwriter Steven Curtis Chapman.  Their family adopted three children from China; the youngest of which, Maria Sue, was tragically killed in an accident in the family's driveway.

In 2003, she and Steven started Shaohannah’s Hope, which would later be renamed Show Hope.  Knowing that for many families, high adoption costs keep many of them from adopting, Show Hope is a non-profit organization that not only help families financially with adoption grants but also provide life-saving medical care for orphans with special needs.

Their adoption journey started after their daughter Emily went on a a trip to Haiti with Compassion International.  Mary Beth told of how that trip made Emily "come back so on fire to help the vulnerable children of the world."  Their daughter was relentless and would continually bring Steven and Mary Beth information from Bethany Christian Services about international adoption, including information about the plights of little girls in China.

As Mary Beth wrote in her book Choosing to See, "Adoption was for other people, mentally healthy people, more flexible people . . . Deep down, I really did want to be open for whatever God wanted us to do.  I was just really, really scared of my abilities as an adoptive parent."

Despite her fears, in the end and after much prayer, she agreed that their family was called to adopt.  Still, she feared about how she would be with adoptive children.  "What if I can't do this?  What if I feel differently toward this child than I do my biological ones."  This fear was instantly wiped away the moment she saw Shaohannah Hope.  Her heart melted and she loved this little girl in the same way she did Emily.

Little did she realize they would end up doubling their family from their three "natural children" to add three "supernatural children," as she describes them.  Mary Beth sees this now as a "blessing" and she " . . . looks at those little ones every day and just thinks, 'I could have said "no" and stayed safe and cautious and I would've missed all of this."

When asked what advice she would give couples considering adoption, Mary Beth said, "I think ultimately my encouragement would be to just make it a serious item on the prayer list and seriously consider other children in your home and what God is calling you to… I think some are called to encourage; some are called to adopt; some are called to help finance. There are so many different things we can do."

For more information about Show Hope go to:
http://showhope.org/

You can also read in more detail about the Chapman's adoption journey in Mary Beth's amazingly heart-wrenching and beautiful book Choosing to See: A Journey of Struggle and Hope.




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