"Who's going to love Maria"

I know a lot of folks make fun of me and my whatever-you-want-to-call-it "following" of Steven Curtis Chapman and while it's silly at times, it's important to remember that he's just a man. A person, a human being just like you and me and, today, it's important to remember he's just a Dad. This is the story as I've read/heard it told: Many years ago, he penned a song called "Maria" (you can find it on "The Great Adventure") about one of his daughter Emily's then young classmates who was in a difficult family situation. About 5 years ago or so, he's in China and meets this lovely family who have this adorable little baby girl in their arms who tell him that they are her foster parents because she had been diagnosed with a heart condition at birth. This (American, I believe?) couple was praying for a family to adopt her because their time as her foster parents was about up. That baby's name was Maria. Immediately, he says the words he wrote more than a decade before came flooding back to him. Who, who's going to love Maria? With Emily and 2 teenage boys, Shaohannah and Stevey (recently adopted from China) at home, no one was exactly on board at first but it didn't take long for the Champans to add Maria to their family. Thankfully, once at home in Tenneesee, no doctor was able to find any heart problem and she was given a clean bill of health.

Why am I sharing this story that isn't even mine to share? Because the Chapmans are in the midst of unbelievable trial, of unimaginable grief. While still celebrating oldest daughter Emily's engagement from this past weekend, the Chapmans were, no doubt, taken by shock when little Maria, now 4 1/2 or 5 years old, was hit by a car in their driveway last night. She was Lifeflighted to the hospital but, for reasons no human can understand, her life on earth could not be saved. Maria Sue Chapman is gone. They may be celebrity, a celebrity family, but I'm sure we all know that that doesn't mean they grieve any easier than we would. Today, they're likely not caring about Steven's 17-or-so recording projects or the fact that their 2 teenage boys are also now recording artists. Today, they're just a family and today, they're grieving in ways that I pray I never have to know.
This is not at all
How we thought it was supposed to be
We had so many plans for you
We had so many dreams
And now you've gone away
And left us with the memories of your smile
And nothing we can say
And nothing we can do
Can take away the pain
The pain of losing you

We can cry with hope
We can say goodbye with hope
'Cause we know our goodbye is not the end
And we can grieve with hope
'Cause we believe with hope
There's a place by God's grace
There's a place where we'll see your face again
"With Hope" by Steven Curtis Chapman
Written several years ago while helping another family cope with the loss of a child

The Chapman Family

L to R: Will Franklin, Steven with Maria, Shaohannah, Mary Beth with Stevey, Caleb, and Emily

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