This was the question my parents and Show Hope Founders, Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, asked themselves when dreaming how to further address the medical needs of children who have been orphaned.
That dream, which began percolating in the early days of 2020, became a reality later that fall when we, at Show Hope, awarded our first two Medical Care grants.
“For me personally, this [grant] makes it possible for me to be faithful to the ministry that God’s called me to, and be faithful to my family, and not sacrifice either one,” said Steven Link, whose family are church planters and one of the first Show Hope Medical Care grant recipients.
“I’m willing to do whatever it takes to advocate for my child. I think every parent would say that. You’ll do whatever it takes but to what end—sacrificing what?” continued Kristin Link, Steven’s wife and mother to Aaro, who was welcomed home through intercountry adoption. “What this grant does is provide hope. It’s a win for the whole adoption community.”
Of the more than 15 million children who have been orphaned around the world—having lost both parents—and the estimated 125,000 children in the U.S. Foster Care system who have had parental rights terminated, a majority of these children have complex medical and special needs. In 2014, one report showed that 88.5 percent of children involved in unrelated, domestic adoptions had special needs, and according to the adoption agency Holt International, 68 percent of the intercountry adoptions they processed in 2019 involved children with special needs.
“After diligent research, numerous conversations with healthcare professionals and families, and Show Hope’s own years of experience, we are convinced that families would certainly benefit from additional support to ease the financial burden of accessing quality medical care for their children welcomed home through adoption,” my parents explained. “And so our hope is: As families come to know these financial resources are available, they will feel more supported in their journeys to love well the children who have been entrusted to them through adoption.”
Founded in 2003, Show Hope is a faith-based, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization with a mission to care for orphans by engaging the Church and reducing barriers to adoption. For nearly two decades, our work has remained focused on reducing the primary barriers to adoption, including the financial, medical, and knowledge barriers. In the book “Becoming Home,” published by the Barna Group, Jedd Medefind writes, “While nearly two in five practicing Christians have considered adoption, only 5 percent have actually done it.” With that in mind, at Show Hope, we strive to continue to address the following issues.
- The Financial Barrier: The cost of adoption can range between $25,000 and $50,000. That is outside the financial reach for most families.
- The Medical Barrier: Many children who have been orphaned live with mild to acute healthcare needs, requiring access to medical and therapeutic intervention.
- The Knowledge Barrier: Many who have the ability to make a difference in the lives of waiting children do not take action because they are unaware of the need or feel helpless to do anything.
Since our inception, Show Hope has seen the landscape of adoption change dramatically with the total number of intercountry adoptions processed annually declining by 87 percent. And yet, the costs associated with adoption and the number of children being adopted with mild to acute healthcare needs continues to rise.
Medical Care Grants
So in an effort to further reduce barriers to adoption, namely the financial and medical barriers, our new Medical Care grants are helping families navigate and access adequate healthcare for their children after being welcomed home through adoption. By leveraging expertise gained from nearly two decades of awarding Adoption Aid grants, we stepped into this work, knowing there is a need for financial assistance among families who have adopted children—either domestically or internationally—with medical needs. And though just a few months into the work, we have already awarded more than $65,000 in grants to nearly 15 families.
Meet the Palacios Family
For the Palacios family, who welcomed home their daughter through domestic adoption, a Show Hope Medical Care grant not only provided financial support but also a relief both mentally and emotionally.
“Medical bills can be stressful financially as well as mentally and emotionally. The medical grant we were awarded covers the bills we raked in while waiting to meet our daughter’s deductible last year and before she qualified for Medicaid’s Medically Dependent Children Program,” the Palacioses shared. “This grant allows us to spend our money on family trauma and grief counseling to help us navigate the year we had and process as a family the life of hospital stays, seizures, and near death experiences. The emotional and mental care that this has provided us is a beautiful example of the way God cares for his children[;] he wants to give us good gifts and comfort us in our sorrows, and Show Hope has done just that.”
How to Get Involved
So what can you do to support children and families like the Palacioses and the Links?
First, pray for the children who have been orphaned, specifically those with complex medical and special needs along with the families who are stepping out in faith to love and care well for these children. (For more specific ways to join Show Hope in prayer, visit the “How You Can Join Us in Prayer” blog post.)
Second, help “spread the word” about Show Hope’s new Medical Care grants endeavor. If you know a family or families who have adopted children experiencing medical needs, consider pointing them to Show Hope’s Medical Care grants webpage. There, they can request more information and begin the application process.
Lastly, prayerfully consider a gift to Show Hope’s Medical Care grants. These grants are made possible with God’s faithfulness through the generosity of donors and supporters.
I, along with my parents and the entire Show Hope staff, have been astounded by how God has used countless prayers and support to launch this newest endeavor, Medical Care grants, and we are eager to see where we go from here. There is still much work to be done, and we look forward to serving more children and families in the years to come. As we move forward, we are trusting we will continue to see the kingdom of God shine a light through the fragments, reminding us of what is most true: I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you (John 14:18).