In 1997, Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman thought their family was complete. They had two talented sons and a rapidly growing daughter, Emily.
Next, Emily, then 11, and Mary Beth went on a mission trip to Haiti.
“Both of our hearts were broken by what we saw,” said Mary Beth. “Emily was deeply touched.”
The 11-year-old was so deeply touched that she started a campaign to adopt a child who needed a home and a family to love him.
“She said ‘we have room at our table, we have room in our house,'” recalls Mary Beth. “We said it was a great idea. A good plan for your life when you grow up.
She and Steven didn’t want to put down Emily’s idea or her faith, so they met with their pastor and had a family reunion.
“We wanted to see where God is taking us,” Mary Beth said.
He took them to China in 1999 to bring home the first of three adopted daughters, but God didn’t stop there. Inspired by their own experience, Steven and Mary Beth had a new mission: to open the hearts of others and raise awareness of the plight of orphaned children around the world.
They spoke with religious groups, friends and even strangers about the possibility of adopting.
“What we started to hear was that many would consider adoption, but it was very expensive,” said Mary Beth.
It created a barrier, but barriers can be crossed.
Show Hope, a Christian non-profit organization, was started by the Chapman family in 2003. Its mission is to reduce barriers to adoption.
The family believes that every child has the inherent, God-given right to be part of a loving, caring family. Show Hope was created with a holistic approach to ensure that every stage of development and need is addressed with pre and post adoption support.
The first obstacle is financial. Adoptions can range from $25,000 to $50,000. Show Hope offers Adoption Assistance Grants to break down this barrier and unite an expectant child with a family.
The financial part does not stop either when the child joins the family.
“A lot of times these kids have medical issues,” Mary Beth said.
Many children have limited or no access to medical care. Once home, medical bills and treatments can cause financial hardship for the family.
In recent years, Show Hope has been able to help with medical bills not covered by families’ insurance.
The next hurdle is providing the tools to raise a child from a different culture, who often speaks a different language and whose background may not be fully known. The family or child may need professional help or simply advice from parents who have been through similar circumstances.
The Pre and Post Adoption Support Program provides resources for families and others entering the world of the adopted child with support for their community bonding journey, upcoming training sessions and the annual Empowered to Connect conference, now called Hope for the Journey Conference. The second annual Hope for the Journey lecture will premiere at Franklin on April 8 and will be available on demand through May 31.
The conference is designed to help families at all levels of the adoption process, using research-based tools to promote the attachment and connection that creates families.
“Early attachment wounds can show up later,” Mary Beth said. “Once the adoption takes place, it’s the start of a journey. Hope for the Journey provides solutions.
Registration for the conference can be found at www.showhope.brushfire.com.
Since its inception, Show Hope has reached nearly 8,000 children from over 60 countries, including the United States. Many adoptions have been made possible through Adoption Assistance Grants given to families wishing to adopt, and assistance continues to be available when needed.