Monday, May 26, 2008

In Honor of Maria and Her Precious Family

Maria Sue Chapman (2003 - 2008)

I debated whether to post this here for fear of trivializing the Chapman's tremendous tragedy, but I also wanted to honor them and their sweet Maria and be reminded to continue to pray for them. I know thousands of prayers went up for them this past week all around the world and condolences have been many, but they're going to need even more prayer in the coming weeks and months.

If you're not in the adoption community it might be hard to imagine this, but every one of these little angels are so close to my heart. They're like my own in some way. I love them to pieces and I'm proud of them almost as my own. So, this tragic loss hit especially close. My heart has been so heavy and I honestly don't remember when I've cried more.

The Chapmans have been so faithful to God's call in so many ways; Steven, of course, with his beautifully inspired music, and in the last six or so years, in the call to be the voice for orphans around the world. They've challenged Christians to embrace the call to care for orphans and established Shaohannah's Hope which has gone far beyond finanacially supporting more than a thousand families with adoption expenses. I'm sure heaven has offered Maria a new vantage point as she and God have peered down to earth to see all the children and families blessed by her and her family. And I know she sees the world's orphans and continues to advocate for them.

We're most definitely one of those families God pointed out to Maria. God has used the Chapmans to speak to us in both of our adoptions, and Maria's story in particular. While we were still unsure about pursuing our first adoption, it was Steven and Mary Beth who spoke clearly to our hearts at an adoption conference and put our fears to rest.

God used them again in our second adoption as we were considering a child with a congenital heart defect. Just moments after Pat and I were discussing whether we would request her file, we turned on the radio to hear Steven sharing Maria's story during National Adoption Month. He explained that Maria had a heart defect in China but was perfectly healthy when they brought her home and we felt God speaking clearly to us through their story of Maria and went ahead with adopting our sweet Mei Lin. I'm not certain we would have our Mei Lin if we hadn't heard Maria's story.

Thank you, Steven and Mary Beth, for letting your lives shine and touch so many.

"Cinderella" is dancing with her heavenly father now.

Those must be the most amazing dance lessons!

Maria's memorial celebration was terribly sad, but beautiful and full of hope. It brings me hope to see that the family is strong and full of faith, but they continue to need our prayers. I can't imagine how one would get through such a tragedy without faith in a God who heals broken hearts, restores, brings hope and peace, and ultimately has a plan beyond that which we can see or understand.

And if I've learned one thing from all this, it's to treasure those I love and consider every day with them the most precious of gifts.

Here's a song Steven wrote about his daughters. At the end he explains what inspired this song.

Hug your children tight and as Steven said because Maria loved butter, "let them eat the whole stick," :).

If you'd like to send your condolences and read more, you may go to:

2 incredible comments!:

Amy said...

This is a very touching post. We should all try to bring some kind of honor to Maria. Her life made a difference.

mommy24treasures said...

I love everything you wrote and I do understand completely how close you feel to Maria and the entire Chapman family. I too have such a special love in my heart for ALL of the children of China...