The place God calls you is the place where your deep gladness and the world's deep hunger meet.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Show Hope

Many have heard the name Steven Curtis Chapman (SCC) circulate not only the Christian (music) circles but secular ones too. An award winning composer and singer, this father of six experienced what can only be known as life-altering tragedy last May.

After having 3 biological children, SCC and his wife Mary Beth were led to adopt...interestingly enough, their eldest daughter really encouraged them to reflect on God's heart for the orphans in our world. They did. And they were forever changed.

They first adopted Shaohannah Hope, a little girl from China. Soon after that, Shaohannah's Hope was founded. Realizing the great financial cost of international adoption, this organization's goal is not only to raise funds to help families who are adopting with the overwhelming costs of adoption but also to raise orphan awareness. To remind the world that there are millions in need and that it is our responsibility to do something about this devastation.

The foundation has helped hundreds (quite possibly thousands) of families achieve their dream. It has raised millions of dollars. I sometimes wonder - is the success of Shaohannah's Hope due to SCC's fame? What if he had started KIVA or was a prevalent ambassador of UNICEF or World Vision. What then? I think it's incredible of these worldly famous individuals to become ambassadors for needs they believe in. I think it's incredible the research and awareness that has evidenced itself since Hollywood (to sum it up) has stepped up and taken notice of humanity. That said, I often wonder if it is for these people rather than the organization itself, that we step up and get involved.

I'm not disappointed in the extreme success of Shaohannah's Hope Foundation. I think it's a powerful testament of the gospel being shared, of how small financial gifts and prayer can create the change we need to see in the world. I guess I just wonder "what if", he had chosen a different venue to raise awareness.

Steven Curtis and Mary Beth were so moved by what God had done in their family with the adoption of Shoey, that they pursued adoption number two and Stevie Joy was welcomed into their family a while later. She was also born in China.

The family decided that 5 children was enough and "closed" their book on adoption. However, while touring in China some time later SCC met another little orphan girl, not even a year old...but due to a heart defect, she had not been adopted. He was captivated by her sweet, gentle, vivacious spirit. Steven Curtis called his wife immediately at home..."oh no" she said. Yet, by the time SCC arrived back home, Mary Beth had the paperwork out and ready to go. Soon thereafter, Maria Sue was theirs.

She was a bubbly almost-one-year old at this time...and her heart defect had been misdiagnosed. It was nothing. She was as healthy, beautiful little girl.
Fast forward four years, to May 2008. SCC and Mary Beth are holding a party at their house for their newly engaged daughter and her fiance. Their eldest biological son is about to graduate high school and is returning from his girlfriend's house...eager to get home. In what can only be described as truly the most devastating, life-altering moment of this family's life...every parent's nightmare...Maria Sue was struck in the driveway of their home. She was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital. She was barely 5 years old.

The Maria Sue Miracle Fund was set up to honour, remember, and cherish the time Maria Sue had on earth. It's intention was, and still is to remind people of the orphans in our world. To maybe give a little extra to help those families who are doing everything in their power to adopt but just can't quite make ends meet. It transforms dreams into realities. It gives hope to the couple who cannot have children biologically. It helps complete families.

I would encourage you to give just a small amount. We had just started our adoption journey when this tragedy struck. Deeply saddened we gifted a small amount. It didn't seem like much at the time but it felt like the only thing to do. Somehow, we knew it would make that small bit of difference...and now we have a grasp on what that small amount means to a family in this process. The organization, Maria's Miracle Fund is in the states. So, no there will be no tax receipt. But here's the thing: You will change a life. Annonymously, you will make a difference. There's no price great enough to place on that.

Maria Sue's life ended quickly. Sadly. Without warning. We can all do something to honour it. And, in honour of National Adoption Awareness Month, we can all do something to raise a voice for those who do not have one.

Becoming aware and investing in something we believe in doesn't necessarily mean donating money. Becoming aware is self-education. Spreading the word. It's simple:





Speak Out.

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