"The only decent art I've ever created has been out of the overflow of my heart."
These words spoken humbly by the well-honored artist Steven Curtis Chapman, couldn't be more sincere, or"according to him"accurate. With more than ten million records sold in a career that began in 1987, Steven Curtis Chapman has recorded
fifteen projects with Sparrow Records. He's received five GRAMMY awards, an American Music Award, 50 Dove Awards (more than any other artist to date), has recorded 44 No. 1 radio hits as well as numerous other honors.
His platinum and gold albums include: Speechless, Heaven In The Real World, Declaration, Greatest
Hits, Music Of Christmas, Signs Of Life, The Great Adventure, More To This Life and
For The Sake Of The Call.
Born and raised in Paducah, Kentucky, Chapman is married to Mary Beth Chapman and they have six children - Emily, Caleb, Will Franklin, Shaohannah, Stevey Joy and Maria.
It was daughter Emily who, at age 13, persuaded Chapman and his wife to adopt a child from China, after reading about the plight of orphans in that country.
"Emily is the one that started it all," says Chapman. "When she was just a teen, she kept trying to persuade my wife and I to look into adoption. We resisted at first, but she wore us down! Now, we look at all she has done and all the joy and happiness she brought to us with her campaign to get us interested in this worthwhile cause."
After the adoption of Shaohannah, Chapman quickly became one of our country's leading advocates for adoption. Chapman and his family have passionately committed themselves to helping orphans worldwide, especially in China where millions children are waiting and hoping for a new life in a loving home, and in America where nearly one million await homes.
To help, the Chapman family has established Shaohannah's Hope, an organization to provide information and financial grants to families who desire to adopt.
"It's a foundation we started, named after our daughter, the first of our three adopted daughters from China," says Chapman. Her name is a combination of Chinese words that mean: laughter and gift of God." Says Chapman, "There were so many families who we spoke with after we got home from China with Shaohannah who told us they thought about adoption or they really felt impressed to do it, but once they investigated it they found the financial burden overwhelming. A Chinese adoption can cost $18,000 to $20,000, and a Russian adoption is even more expensive. Domestic adoption can be really expensive too, depending on the situation. So, we had all these families saying, 'We can't afford that.' And that was where Shaohannah's Hope began, knowing that there are children waiting to be adopted and families wanting to adopt them, but the costs were overwhelming."
So far, the organization has been able to provide assistance grants helping to make possible the placement of over 700 orphans in families.
For their efforts as leading supporters for adoption, in 2001 Chapman and his wife were named the "Angel in Adoption," an award given by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption for their advocacy and outstanding contributions to adoption. Other past Angels are Muhammad Ali, Bruce Willis, Jane Seymour and the late Dave Thomas (Wendy's). Chapman performed at the 2002, 2003 and 2004 Adoption banquets held in Washington, D.C. and he is also an Advisory Board Member of the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI).
The Chapmans have also co-authored children's picture books in a series about adoption. The first installment, titled "Shaoey & Dot: Bug Meets Bundle" (Tommy Nelson Publishing), features Shaohannah, nicknamed Shaoey (pronounced "show-ee"), and a whimsical retelling of the adventure of her adoption from China. The second book, "The Christmas Miracle," released last fall, and the most recent installment released is "A Thunder and Lightening Bug Story."