Her book, “Choosing to SEE: A Journey of Struggle and Hope,” is back on the NYTimes Bestseller list this month, five years after its first publication. She’s taking part in “The Mother & Child Project” to bring global attention to maternal and child health issues in developing countries. And she’s the President of Show Hope, “A Movement to Care for Orphans,” which she co-founded with her husband, singer-songwriter, Steven Curtis Chapman.
Mary Beth, it’s been five years since you wrote “Choosing to SEE,” a book you wrote in the wake of the loss of your daughter, Maria. In that time, you’ve become a grandmother and life just unfolds as it does for all of us in unexpected ways. Has God been showing you things you haven’t seen before?
At the answering of this, we just became Grammy and Pop Pops for the 3rd time! We now have Eiley, Della, and Noble. And of course they are all perfect! Our 4th grandbaby will be here late July. Certainly God is moving us forward and blessing us with these new wonderful little people. God is also continually healing our hearts through the loss of Maria. One way in particular is through Will’s new wife, Jillian (Edwards) Chapman. She has been a tangible answer to many prayers prayed for our son. She is a beautiful singer/songwriter jillianedwards.com . Also, check out our sons’ band, Colony House. Another way that we are seeing the healing power of God in their lives is to see them out and about on tour, faithfully proclaiming that moving forward is indeed a gift from God.
Speaking of a gift from God, He worked a miracle in the life of a precious child at Maria’s Big House of Hope who’s very special to you. Fahlin was a little girl I personally fell in love with when I visited Maria’s Big House of Hope in 2012. I even inquired about adopting her but was told her case was so difficult, a lot of doctors in the states didn’t think they could help her. But this past year, God made a way for your brother and his wife to adopt her! Tell us how we can be praying for her and what the Lord has taught you along this miraculous journey.
Fahlin…What an amazing miracle and testimony to the faithfulness of God. I, too, had known her for a long time and had NO idea that she was going to by my niece. The bottom line was there was NO way that Fahlin would have a family, but God made a way – and that is what she needed, a family. God has truly taught us to SEE the goodness in the land of the living. Her laugh, smile and wit reminds us that there is goodness all around us. We honestly ask everyone to pray for a miraculous healing of her heart. God can do it…just like he gave her a family. So really we need prayers for a miracle and for wisdom on how to proceed with her story. I’m careful how I talk about it because it is hers to share and I want to be sensitive to what she reads in the future about her own story.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve either given or received as an adoptive mom?
It’s ok to be scared and it is a normal response to be fearful. That doesn’t mean anything other than you are a normal human being. Stepping out in faith is just that – stepping and praying all the way.
I was excited to learn recently that Show Hope is changing its focus to help families in-country to adopt children. What countries have expressed interest in receiving adoption aid? And do you find there’s less of a stigma in cultures around the world towards adoption?
Show Hope is not changing its focus. We are expanding it. We still cannot fund all of the grant requests that we receive. While statistics may say that international adoptions have declined by 70%, the applications for Americans adopting internationally at Show Hope is not declining! That to me is AWESOME! Not the part about not being able to fund them all, but the part about our applications not slowing down. Why? To me it says that the church is still saying we’re here and we want to give these children homes. With that said, we have begun to partner with Buckner International and Bethany Christian Services to assist in their in-country foster to adopt programs. One is in Kenya and the other is Ethiopia. How awesome will it be to start hearing the stories of children being adopted into Christian families in their country of birth? Obviously as we look to expand, it will be with countries that are open to the idea and have indeed seen the importance of keeping families together.
Your family is core to your life. You just celebrated 30 years of marriage to your lovely husband, Steven Curtis Chapman. Do you still surprise each other after all these years together?
Surprise as in hide around the corner and try to scare him to death? Yes, always. I’m a practical joker at heart, and my love language is to “surprise” in more ways than one. But yes, we surprise each other in a lot of ways. The way we laugh together, the way we argue together, the way we work it out together. There are still lots of surprises that happen on any given day in our home. But, I wouldn’t want to be surprised by anyone more than Steven, especially with his surprise gift giving. He is the best!
You can restore the hope of a family to orphans all around the world by becoming a Show Hope sponsor.