Sunday, 24 October 2010

That Time We Met SCC

So, if you know Jeff well, you know he has a great sense of humor and spends most of his time making jokes. Now, Jeff is also rather quiet, so it is very possible that you don't know this about him. But, it is important to know that for the purposes of this story that we often have running jokes.

When we were in the process of adopting Tommy, we applied for a number of grants. One of those grants was from Show Hope, the adoption assistance/orphan care organization started up by Steven Curtis and Mary Beth Chapman. When you apply for this grant, they tell you that you will receive a letter in a certain period of time letting you know if you qualified. After a few weeks had passed from our application date, Jeff and I began joking that we would get a phone call from SCC letting us know whether we got the grant. So, every few days I (as the person who picked up the mail) would report that we had not gotten our phone call from SCC yet, or Jeff might ask if SCC had called yet. It was slightly more elaborate at times, involving The Great Adventure album references, and so on. Finally we did get our letter, and we did receive a grant. It was such a blessing to us. But, no phone call from SCC, of course.

About a month or so ago we got an email inviting us to volunteer for Show Hope at an event in a town about an hour away from us. We jumped at the chance to give back...and to show off our adorable child. Last night we attended the "Evening With the Chapmans" tour and worked the Show Hope booth as a family. It was very simple, we just showed up for a brief training and then manned the booth and helped people fill out forms during the pre-concert, the intermission, and after the show, and passed out packets at one point during the show. The rest of the time we got to hang out with other Show Hope families and watch the concert for free. It was so encouraging to be in a group of other adoptive families and have a chance to talk about our experiences. Plus, it is always fun to get to see a free concert.

I cannot say enough about the Chapmans and everyone involved with Show Hope that we met, and their incredible commitment to adoption and orphan care. Julia Chapman (daughter-in-law) was actually the one who ran the booth and did our training. Apparently there was a much larger than expected response (go Illinois!), and seeing her face as she tallied up the sponsorship commitments we received, it was obvious that her heart was in it. While the show was not about adoption specifically, the subject repeatedly came up as the Chapmans frequently refer to their kids. Three of their six were adopted, and the experience has had a huge impact on their lives.

Show Hope sponsorships address orphan care on two fronts: providing for kids who are in immediate need of medical care and may never be adopted as well as making it possible for more people to create forever families. The model of Show Hope sponsorship is not one to one (one sponsor to one child in need), like you see with many organizations. Most organizations that provide child sponsorships work with children living in families, or at least with a relative, and thus are geographically stable. Orphans in many countries move around. They may transfer from orphanage to orphanage, into and out of foster families, or hospitals. They simply aren't as easy to track. Also, many of the kids that receive help from Show Hope are special needs, and likely need more costly medical care than a sponsor might be able to provide in one month. Thus, sponsorship is split between two separate (but important) ministries. Half of the money goes to orphan care. The majority of this is in China, because Show Hope has a special needs hospital there where they house about 130 special needs orphans, some of whom need simple surgeries to be deemed "adoptable" other who may need long term care and may or may not be adopted, and some who need a hospice where they can die with dignity.

The other half of the sponsorship money goes into the adoption aid program, to provide grants for families who need assistance with their adoption costs. Grants range from $2,000 to 7,000 based on need and available funds. They give about 30 grants a month, but turn down about 100 qualified families every month simply because they don't have the funding to do more than that.

I shared in a previous blog that I've never been a big SCC fan. Nothing against him, my family just never listened to him. We mostly listened to Rich Mullins, Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith (ask Kevin how he feels about Go West Young Man), and the incomparable Don Fransisco. I didn't (until last night) know his kids names, or much about his family other than a cursory knowledge of Maria's death (as in, I read an article in the news and read about it on the Show Hope website). I've also mentioned that I love love love the album he wrote in the aftermath of that loss. I can't listen to the album often. It is a hard listen because it is real. If you ever wondered what it really feels like to bury your child, listen to that album. When I hear it, it absolutely takes me back and it resonates with my experience. This is both very healing but also very difficult, thus, I can only handle it from time to time.

Last night's show was at least half older songs, ones that I recognized from ACTS (our church's high school choir) or that Jeff knew from his childhood of listening to SCC. Apparently the audience was allowed to submit requests, and he even did a verse of Got to B Tru. Very funny. Then Geoff Moore (who I had never heard of before last night) came and did some songs with SCC and then talked about Show Hope. Enter the volunteers passing out packets, then intermission. I have no idea what the other concert goers did during this time, but I was mobbed by people who wanted to sign up to support Show Hope, and I helped them out with that. Afterward SCC did a few more songs, and then Mary Beth came and talked about her experience with losing Maria. Then SCC did a few songs from his Beauty Will Rise album, which was awesome for me. Tommy was sleeping at that point, so I just sat in the aisle holding him and crying. Thankfully it was dark.

All that to say, if you either like SCC or care at all about adoption, or maybe just like people who are very sincere about what they believe - go to this show. Just go. That is about as ringing an endorsement of anything music related that I will ever give.

After the show we had a few more people interested in information, and then when most everyone had cleared out we helped break down the booth. At that point Geoff Moore came over, which I thought was cool because he is on the board of Show Hope, and my Jeff thought was cool because he was a fan of Geoff Moore and the Distance. He met Tommy and chatted for a minute, and then we got back to cleaning up. At some point Jeff told me he was certain if we hung out long enough that we would meet SCC (this was actually an extension of the conversation we jokingly had in the car on the way over, wherein I deemed it a 5% chance that we might meet him, and Jeff said he bet it could go either way). I laughed. Then we said goodbye to everyone, Julia Chapman informed me that she loved my shoes (which are super cute), and we got Tommy dressed in his pajamas and headed toward the parking structure.

On the way out we were stopped by this man, who asked about Tommy's adoption (hey, is he domestic?). We got to talking and it turned out that he was the director of Show Hope. He thought Tommy was awfully cute (because he is). At the end of the conversation we said something about how great it was for Show Hope to help bring Tommy home. He said, "wait, he's a Show Hope kid?" We said yes, and that we had been there volunteering at the booth. He responded "Come on, I have someone you have to meet." He takes us through a small group of people, into a room, and then says, wait a minute I need to check, knocks on the door and says, "Steven! There's someone here you have to meet." The whole time this is happening, I'm thinking "where are we going?" until we walk into what was clearly backstage and then it was like "oh my gosh, are we going to meet SCC? That's crazy!" So, we got to meet SCC. He was very nice, pretty much exactly what you would expect based on how genuine he seems on stage. So, that was the rather exciting conclusion to our long night.

The less exciting conclusion involves me getting a terrible headache, having a miserable ride home, and then accidentally squirting soap directly in my eye while trying to get ready for bed in a haze of pain. Nevertheless, overall a great night.


Emily said...

So... is he going to call, or what?

Also, I wish you guys had sung him a little "saddle up your horses" with ACTS tour harmonies.


Heather said...

Great story.