December 8, 2010 at 11:42 am , by Sonia Harmon
In 2008, Grammy winning artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his family suffered a tragic loss, when their 5-year-old adopted daughter, Maria, was accidentally struck and killed by the car her older brother was driving. Since then, Steven, his wife Mary Beth, and their five children have used their faith, along with support from family, friends and fans, to help pull them through. They’ve also focused on their passion for adoption— Mary Beth wrote the New York Times best-selling memoir, Choosing to See, and together they started the non-profit organization, Show Hope, which helps others adopt.
Steven, meanwhile, turned to his music. He just received his 15th Grammy Award nomination for his latest album, Beauty Will Rise. He also recorded the heartfelt tune, “Meant to Be,” for the latest VeggieTales DVD, It’s A Meaningful Life. We caught up with the couple to see how they are coping, and to hear an exclusive performance of “Meant to Be,” which you can check out below.
Ladies’ Home Journal: Is “Meant to Be” a tribute to Maria?
Steven: Maria’s story and life was definitely a thread woven through this song. I think what anchored us through the time of grief and loss was knowing that God really does orchestrate things. I met Maria when I was in Beijing and I bumped into a family working for an orphanage in China— they wanted to get an autograph—and they were holding these two little orphan girls and I just wanted to hold one of them because I was missing my two girls at home. Her name was Maria and I fell in love with her. So I think about that “chance” meeting and how meant to be her life was. The song for me was very much inspired by the life of Maria and how she touched the lives of so many people.
LHJ: How have you been coping over the last couple of years, and what kind of support did you get from fans?
S: Maria’s Big House of Hope, our orphan care center in China, was in the process of being built at the time Maria passed away. People wanted to help and send us money so we started Maria’s Miracle Fund so they could donate to help orphans in her memory. Those donations helped us complete Maria’s Big House of Hope.
LHJ: Can you tell us about your non-profit organization, Show Hope?
Mary Beth: We started Show Hope when we adopted our first daughter, Shaohannah. We began by giving grants to families who wanted to adopt to but couldn’t afford it. To date, over 2,600 families have been helped. The overriding idea of Show Hope is permanency for children, so out of that came our desire to also do long-term orphan care. We wanted to help the children who weren’t being adopted, whether it’s with, say, a surgery or finding a safe place to live. That resulted in the founding of Maria’s Big House of Hope in China. It’s a 60,000 square foot orphan care facility, and we hope to eventually build more facilities in other countries.
LHJ: What do you want people to know about adoption that they might not already be aware of?
S: Adopting our daughters has not only changed the size of our family, but the shape of our hearts. When people say, “You have done such a great thing for that child, you gave them a home,” we always say “thank you.” But we are the ones whose lives were made so much richer, even through the hardest times. We went through losing one of our adopted daughters in such a tragic way, but [without her] we would have missed so much of who we are and what life is about. We believe we need those children as much as they need us.
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