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Show Hope: A Foundation Helping Families Overcome Adoption Barriers

Photo courtesy of ShowHope

Recently, CEO Sam Cobb interviewed Emily Chapman Richards, Executive Director of Show Hope, a nonprofit founded by her parents, Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, dedicated to adoption advocacy and orphan care support. Real Wood Floors partners with Show Hope in a shared mission uniting loving families with children who have been orphaned.

Show Hope: Two decades of hope.

Photo courtesy of ShowHope

Show Hope’s Mission Statement:

To care for orphans by engaging the Church and reducing barriers to adoption.

When Emily was 11, her parents began the international adoption process. Personally aware of the expenses associated with adoption, they felt something needed to be done. Given her father’s musical platform and their family’s love of missionary work, the seeds were sown for Show Hope. Today, the successful foundation seeks to address three barriers to adoption. The first one is financial.

Emily told us, “My parents knew a handful of families who were interested in pursuing adoption, but the financial barriers to complete the process were overwhelming and paralyzing. Adoption costs can range from $25,000 to $50,000. Those figures are beyond the reach of most families, and then on top of that, it’s expensive to set up your home life to be able to provide the necessary resources for therapeutic intervention, behavioral services, or other child needs post-adoption.”

Emily continued, “The genesis of Show Hope was to reduce the financial barrier. That’s the foundational pillar of our work. We award Adoption Aid grants, which provide financial assistance to Christian families who are adopting.”

Since 2003, Show Hope has awarded over $30 million dollars through their grant program and helped more than 6,800 children from more than 60 countries unite with adoptive parents.

In addition to the financial barrier, a medical barrier exists for many children. As a way to show gratitude to the country of China, where the Chapmans welcomed home three daughters through adoption, the family began to dream of ways to provide medical care for children who had been orphaned there.

For nearly 15 years, Show Hope supported multiple Care Centers in China with an aim to provide care for children with acute medical and special needs—even building, furnishing, and supporting the flagship Care Center, Maria’s Big House of Hope, named in honor of their daughter Maria who is now with Jesus. To date, more than 2,700 children have been impacted by Show Hope’s involvement in the work of the Care Centers, and while its funding of the Care Centers in China no longer continues, each child who received care there is a testament to God’s faithfulness and an expression of hope through the Care Centers Legacy.

“The final barrier that Show Hope seeks to address is the knowledge barrier,” Emily told us.

“So many families,” Emily continued, “so many individuals don’t understand how many children are in need of family. Fifteen million children worldwide have lost both of their parents. Here in the U.S., nearly half a million children are in the foster care system.”

Show Hope has several programs to help address the knowledge barrier issue. Their Pre + Post Adoption Support program gives access to trained counselors who help caregivers and parents. Many of these parents have adopted children with trauma and adverse experiences. Show Hope also hosts an annual parenting conference and has recently revamped their website, HowtoAdopt.org, to provide timely resources for parents interested in adoption.

While intercountry adoptions decline, Show Hope’s funding increases.

Photos courtesy of ShowHope

The number of international adoptions is fewer than you might think. Over the last two decades, intercountry adoptions have been in decline, a lot due to politics and government-decreed adoption bans. Emily shared with us that according to U.S. government statistics published in 2019, there were 2,900 intercountry adoption visas issued. China accounted for 819 of these visas, a number that is down significantly. The height of intercountry adoption was in 2004 when more than 22,000 visas were issued.

As the visa numbers have declined, the impact of Show Hope’s Adoption Aid grants has increased, which Emily is excited about. This past year, through Show Hope’s disbursement of Adoption Aid grants, 10% of all U.S. intercountry adoptions were impacted, which is up from 8.6 % the year previous. From what she observes through her involvement with Show Hope and conversations with prospective adoptive families, she believes that even as the process becomes increasingly expensive and the process more arduous, people of faith are on the frontlines ready to respond and do what it takes to help offer a child a home. She believes part of that is likely due to church support.

In the early 2000s, Emily’s family and Show Hope deeply felt called to realize their mission outlined in James 1:27, “To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” They believe this a specific calling for faith congregations to act. At that time, very few churches had an adoptive or foster care ministry. Congregations were not talking about adoption as a proactive way to build families. Emily said, “Not everyone is called to adopt, but we are all called to play our part.” The church responded, and after two decades, Show Hope plays a vital role in the adoption landscape for people of faith.

Show Hope’s Adoption Aid program unites families.

Photos courtesy of ShowHope

In Show Hope’s beginnings, Emily’s parents were focused on providing grant money through the Adoption Aid program. Their program is direct grant-giving, which awards grants that are a percentage of the full percent because Show Hope loves to see communities, families, and church networks get involved to realize a family’s dream of adoption.

When Show Hope started, there weren’t any nonprofits awarding grants for Christian adoptive families. Thankfully that has changed, and today, many organizations award grants for Christian families. This allows families to not rely solely on Show Hope as their only way to get funding. A family can secure a few grants in order to meet their financial goals.

If you are interested in learning more about Show Hope’s Adoption Aid grants, please visit the Show Hope website.

HowtoAdopt.org: A great online resource for those interested in adoption.

In 2009, Show Hope launched the HowToAdopt.org website as part of their mission of awareness, outlined in their original bylaws.

Show Hope realized a great deal of adoption information existed on the internet, but it could feel daunting to potential adoptive families.

Show Hope wanted to launch a website to answer common questions and talk about common misconceptions. Given the changes with adoption over the last decade, their program and communications departments recently updated HowToAdopt.org with a new look and educational materials. The foundation’s goal is for website visitors to come away feeling like they have some answers and tools to help them realize what God’s call could look like for their family.

Emily said, “We have about 8,500 unique visitors each month without any dedicated advertising, so that’s exciting. These folks may never apply for a grant, but we appreciate our role as we shepherd them along in their journey.”

Adoption in the time of Covid.

Photo by Nick Bolton at Unsplash

Emily told us, “With the pandemic, the world is standing still in many ways, and that is true for many in the intercountry adoption process where travel is necessary. Travel bans and mandatory quarantines have slowed the process.”

Many adoptive families are stuck waiting to travel and bring their children home, and some right on the cusp of leaving to go have had to stay put. A good number of the adoptive children have medical issues, and so they have to wait too, and essentially wait to get the necessary medical attention they desperately need.

Some adoptive families have lost income, or even jobs, so that puts more stress on how they can complete the process, creating a greater need for the financial barrier to be reduced.

Both financially and emotionally, the process has become lengthy. Adoptive families can face a two-week quarantine in Asia, spend at least another two weeks there while adopting, and then come back home to a two-week quarantine in the US. This means potentially six to eight weeks away from home, and in many cases, unable to work.

“On the other side of Covid-19,” Emily remarked, “we may very well see a rise in the number of vulnerable children in increasingly desperate situations such as having lost caregivers or parents to the virus.” But there is good news; there is Show Hope. Emily and her staff talk about how the work of Show Hope may never have been as vital as it is right now.

Want to get involved?

Photo courtesy of ShowHope

“The first and foremost way we desire for people to partner with us in prayer,” Emily said.

“We know that God has called His church to care for orphaned and vulnerable children,” Emily continued. “So pray for us in our decision-making process and pray for adoptive families impacted by our work. Beyond that, our website mentions ways to give and also offers a prayer guide.”

Please visit ShowHope.org to discover more information about this amazing foundation and ways you can get involved.

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