While he’s hard at work supporting the release of his Christmas project and two new books, as well as preparing for a 21-city arena tour with MercyMe, Steven Curtis Chapman and his family have also traveled thousands of miles on another mission: to find forever homes for orphans all around the world. In just the past few months, on behalf of their adoption foundation Shaohannah’s Hope, the Chapmans traveled to China, Uganda, Africa and El Salvador.
After two visits to China this past May and September, Chapman and Shaohannah’s Hope met with Chinese government officials during the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Washington, D.C. to distribute funds to support several government and private projects. In May, Shaohannah’s Hope donated $10,000 for the “Tomorrow Plan,” a government project assisting over 30,000 orphans in need of corrective surgeries. Also in May, at the Chinese government’s request and to help raise further awareness for this project, Chapman performed on one of China’s biggest broadcast networks for their show “Loving Heart for Orphans.” His initial performance on the program reached over one billion people and subsequently has been shown several times in the last four months.
Shaohannah’s Hope is currently working on plans to help build a new foster home south of Beijing to take in severe special needs orphans, which are the hardest to place into an adoptive family, and assist these orphans in receiving corrective surgeries with the objective of getting them adopted. The foundation is also supporting a ground-breaking effort called “Care For Children,” a program striving to place China’s one million orphans in permanent homes. Thus far, “Care For Children” has placed 32,000 children with foster care families or are adopted by Chinese families. In many cases, the orphans begin in foster care and end up adopted by their foster family.
In August, the Chapman family and Shaohannah’s Hope traveled to the war-torn region of Northern Uganda, Africa, to learn first-hand about the war and its victims as well as minister to the people. At a local shelter in Kitgum, Uganda, the Chapmans and Shaohannah’s Hope met with some of the children of this area, called “night commuters.” Each night, these young night commuters have to leave their parents and local villages to find shelter and safety to escape from the rebel terrorist forces called the LRA, Lord’s Resistance Army. The LRA, attempting to take over the area through its children, kidnap the local children by raiding their homes at night. They then brainwash them and train them to become killers. In just two years, over 12,000 children have been abducted and turned into LRA soldiers. Many of these victims shared their heartbreaking and horrifying stories of being forced to kill their own families. Along with these children, Chapman was able to meet with hospitalized victims of the LRA.
Discovering the desperate need of help for this particular region during their visit, Chapman and Shaohannah’s Hope turned this exploratory trip into instant action and began their work there by helping to rebuild an orphanage in Kitgum. Currently, this orphanage cares for 25 parentless children under the age of five. Due to so many more homeless children roaming the streets in this region, the newer facility will provide shelter and care to an estimated 50 orphans.
Also while in Africa, Chapman was invited to perform for President Yoweri Museveni and his family and over 40 cabinet members at President Museveni’s house in Uganda.
During her visit to El Salvador in May, Mary Beth Chapman represented Shaohannah’s Hope as it is one of several organizations that has agreed to sponsor and oversee a committee of El Salvador officials as they modify their child welfare placement system. In addition, they are implementing a more focused and streamlined international adoption process with the objective to make international adoption of children from El Salvador more accessible. It is Shaohannah’s Hope support, influence and expertise that is helping to shape the El Salvador system to help shape the future outlook of the adoption of orphans in Central America. Furthermore, Mary Beth was able to visit some of the children waiting for homes, and funds have been granted to several orphanages in the area to help meet certain needs of their facilities.
HURRICANE DISASTER RELIEF:
Over $50,000 was granted to relief efforts by Shaohannah’s Hope through several of its partners in the affected Gulf Coast region. These partners have supplied basic care needs to the orphans in the areas and are working to reconstruct the damaged orphan care facilities.
SHAOHANNAH’S HOPE UPDATE:
In 2005 alone, Shaohannah’s Hope has assisted over 275 families, twice as many families than from the first two years as a ministry. Children that have been assisted by Shaohannah’s Hope being adopted into American families have come from all around the world: China, Russia, Korea, India, Guatemala, Vietnam, Haiti, Romania and the United States. Applications for Shaohannah’s Hope assistance have continued to pour in, receiving over 450 applications alone this summer.
Shaohannah’s Hope launched HowToAdopt.org this past August. HowToAdopt.org is a comprehensive website created as an informational and instruction tool for families interested in adopting a child from the United States or anywhere around the world. The purpose of this resource guide is to provide the necessary steps to link willing families with waiting children through adoption. Please visit www.HowToAdopt.org .
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