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A Song for China’s Lost Little Ones

June, 2006
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Steven-2Steven Curtis Chapman, the “king of Christian music,” has fallen in love with China, especially its underprivileged children. 

  On May 24, Chapman arrived in Beijing for a charity concert to help raise funds for disadvantaged Chinese children requiring heart surgery. His whole family accompanied him, including his six children.

  “It is a dream come true for me really to give back a gift to China because I feel like China has given us such a wonderful gift – our first Chinese daughter Shaohannah six years ago,” he said. “What I have to give must be meaningful and immediately I realize that as a singer and song writer, I can give back a gift of music, maybe a gift of music in the way of helping more children in China.”

  In fact, the singer’s family has adopted another two daughters in China. Chapman himself is one of the leading advocates for international adoption and established a foundation for adoption assistance and advocacy called “Shaohannah’s Hope,” named after the first of their three adopted Chinese daughters.

  So far, the organization has helped about 800 children find families.

  “We make it a bridge between children who need families and families who are willing to give them a home,” he said.

During the concert, Chapman sang the songs written for his adoptive daughter called When Love Takes You In, Mother’s Love and his new release Blessing, which is being played all over Asia and has hit No 1 on the radio in Bangkok two weeks ago, is No 1 in Hong Kong now and is just being released on the mainland.

  “I can make concerts, but maybe it is better to have my blessings on the radio waves,” he said.

  He said it was a “miracle” when Shaohannah joined their family.

  “We never really imagined this adoption and China on our minds until one day our oldest biological daughter Emily, who is now Steven's20 years old, talked to us that she wanted a little sister,” he said. “She has two younger brothers but no little sisters.”

He said Emily was convinced that this was something very good for them to do, so she began to pray for it.

  “At the same time, our hearts began to change to be open to this idea,” he added.

  He recalls making their first trip to China about six years ago in Changsha in Hunan Province.

  In the hotel, they got ready to meet Shaohannah for the first time. “My wife was very afraid and not sure what it was going to be like having a child that wasn’t born from her,” he said. “The moment Shaohannah put her arms on her, she said she was completely feeling that is our daughter, a child from her heart.”

  He expressed how much their adopted daughters changed their lives.

  “Now we have three Chinese daughters in our family and they turned our life completely upside down in a very good way,” he said. “My little  girls are probably the most spoiled in the world, as their big brothers and sister love them so much. In fact, many people have been wondering whether there was any sibling rivalry or issues of competition or bad feelings between them, but these never ever happened.”

  Despite his children having been blessed with plenty of material wealth, he said they have acquired new virtues after they gained new family members.

  “I really believe that they have made my other children so much better people: They love better, they are less selfish and they understand whShaohannahat it means to sacrifice or to help others,” he said.

   “(My children) have a good family, a very nice school to go to, cool clothes and shoes. Part of my hope is they recognize the blessings they have and live with gratitude for what they have. There are words in the Bible: To give much as given, much is required. We need to recognize that we live in a world where there is much need. And we are the ones who have the blessings to share and help.”

  He said his three adopted daughters love music. “They love to sing along with the songs, and they love to watch their dad singing,” he said. “They are very big fans of my music.”

  On his ninth trip to China, he noted how he has seen a lot of changes.

  “When we first came I was beginning to hear a little bit of the coming Olympics,” he said. “Now the first thing I noticed is that everywhere in Beijing there is something about it.”

  He added that he has seen the government create many good programmes for children in the last few years. The “Tomorrow Project” is one such programme enabling children from the orphanages to receive surgery. More programmes are also helping place children from orphanages in foster families. Steven-3

  “Children need to be in homes and we expect to see more and more adoptions within the Chinese families. To have a family is the hope for children, or to have someone love them. If they couldn’t find a home or be adopted, the hope for them is the message that they can be loved and really cared for in an institute or an orphanage as much as in a home.”

  He said he and his family will always have a special place for China in their hearts.

  “I never thought we would spend a lot of our life in China and now we feel in a strange way that coming back to China is almost like coming home,” he revealed. “It is very good for our daughters to spend some time in China, as well as for us to do something to help the other children here. We went home with a part of China and we realized we had left a part of our heart here. And we had to keep coming back and we love to come back.”

By Xing Yangjian

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