"Once our eyes are opened, we cannot pretend we don't know what to do. God, who weighs our hearts and keeps our souls, knows that we know, and holds us responsible to act." Proverbs 24:12

“There are no strangers here; Only friends you haven’t yet met.”- William Butler Yeats

Friday, May 23, 2008

No sweeter sound!

This is part of the choir that Scott and I are blessed to hear every night at prayer time singing Shout To The Lord.

After such a rough start, I can't believe how deeply this little girl has stolen my heart!
(By the way, for those that do not know, Anna Grace just turned 3 last month).



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Thursday, May 22, 2008

The Chapman family needs our prayers!

© 2007 Tucker Photography.
Left to right Will Franklin, Maria, Steven, Shaoey, Mary Beth, Stevey Joy, Caleb and Emily.

Dove Award winner, Stephen Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth have been huge advocates for the children of China since the adoption of their first daughter, Shaoey. This loss has affected not only this wonderful family, but the entire adoption community. Our prayers are being lifted that our Lord grace them with His inexplicable peace that surpasses all understanding. May they reach out to Him for comfort as their hearts mourn the tragic passing of their youngest daughter, Maria.


"At approximately 5pm on the afternoon of Wednesday May 21st, Maria Sue Chapman, 5 years old and the youngest daughter to Steven and Mary Beth Chapman was killed last night by a car driven by her teenage brother in the driveway of the Chapman family’s Williamson County home in Tennessee.
Maria, Chapman, youngest of six children, was playing in the driveway when she was struck by a Toyota Land Cruiser. Several members of the Chapman family witnessed the accident.

More than five years ago, Chapman and his wife, MaryBeth, founded The Shaohannah’s Hope Ministry after bringing their first adopted daughter, Shaohannah, home from China. The ministry’s goal is to help families reduce the financial barrier of adoption, and has provided grants to over 1700 families wishing to adopt orphans from around the world.

The Chapman family is so grateful for the incredible outpouring of love and support at this difficult time."

Maria Sue Chapman, adopted and youngest daughter to Mary Beth and Steven Curtis Chapman, was killed Wednesday night in a tragic accident in the family driveway on Wednesday evening. She was LifeFlighted to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital but for only reasons God can explain she went home to Him... not to Franklin as we all so desperately wanted.

Your prayers are needed for all in the Chapman family. This is a family who has so generously loved and given to so many. Just hours before this close knit family was celebrating the engagement of the oldest daughter Emily Chapman, and were just hours away from a graduation party marking Caleb Chapman's completion of high school. Now, they are preparing to bury a child who blew out 5 candles on a birthday cake less than 10 days ago. These words are unthinkable to type. - Jim Houser (Manager)

(Please remember to turn off background music to watch video.)

In lieu of flowers, the Chapmans request any gifts be directed to Shaohannah’s Hope.

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Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Congrats to a true star!!

David Cook is a true star and an American Idol.

David Cook originally set out to enter American Idol in Kansas City at the request of his younger brother, Andrew. Andrew had asked David to come along for moral support as he tried out for the show. The camera crew insisted that David also try out. Both brothers auditioned, only one made it, David. And he made it all the way to the top!

Tonight, after taking a beating from Simon Cowell last night, David Cook (much to everyone's surprise) was voted the new American Idol! And yes, Simon apologized to David this evening by saying that "he bordered on disrespect"!

I found out only last night that the "AC" initials on his guitar stood for his brother's name, Adam Cook, who at 37 years old is in the last stages of brain cancer. Adam traveled to Los Angeles to see David perform earlier on in the competition thanks to a radio station that raised over $40,000. to grant Adam's wish since he needed a medic plane and round-the-clock nurses. David's brother did have to stay home for the two day finale due to his condition.

I must say that God is so good in giving this family so much joy at a time when they are feeling so much loss. I really wasn't a huge Cook fan and have been cheering David Archileta on all this time, but tonight am so thankful that God filled this family with so much.

David appears to be a man of humbleness and integrity. My prayers are with the Cook family and I again, thank God that he allowed Adam his wish of seeing his brother be named this year's American Idol!

(Please remember to scroll down to the bottom to turn off music before viewing video).

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Some cute "AJ-isms"!

As I'm changing his diaper, AJ passes gas. The following conversation transpires:

ME: (with a surprised voice) AJ! What was that?!!
AJ: Mama, my butt was talking to you!

Daddy was wrestling with AJ on the bed, pinning him down and declaring himself a winner every time.

SCOTT: . ...and the winner is Daddy!
AJ: Daddy, no play anymore! (pouty lip protrudes from cute face)
SCOTT: AJ? You don't want to play with Daddy anymore?
AJ: Daddy is toooooooo big!

Proof that he indeed DOES listen to what we say.

ANNA GRACE: I want to go outside.
AJ: No, Anna Grace! You can't go outside.
ANNA GRACE: Why? (with whiney emphasis)
AJ: Because I said so! (heh....a common phrase used by us)

I can't tell you guys how much we adore this little man. He keeps us laughing all day. He is so sweet and loving, while throwing in a bit of a tempestous attitude and a little obstinance. He's definitely a PERFECT mix! I LOVE YOU, AJ!
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Monday, May 19, 2008

More orphans, more sadness. more updates

Beijing motorists stop and stand beside their cars honking their horns for three minutes to honor the victims of last week's devastating quake

Such sadness fills my heart as we hear of heroes such as Teacher Zhang Huibing and the devastation that continues as countless orphans continue to appear daily.

Please continue to join me in prayer. May our God hold each person affected by this disaster in the palms of His hands and may He fill those that have lost family members and friends with the unconditional peace that only He could bring.

Here is the latest news from Half The Sky Foundation.

Dear Friends,

It’s Monday afternoon here in China. As I write this, the entire country just held 3 minutes of silence to commence a 3 day period of national mourning. It began at 2:28 pm, marking the very moment the massive quake struck in Wenchuan County, Sichuan. Flags flew at half-staff, the people wore white flowers and, heads bowed, held hands. Across the country, horns and sirens wailed in grief.

There are 32,477 people confirmed dead, more than 35,000 still missing.

Sadly and predictably, we are getting more information about children newly orphaned. We are now bringing together people and resources to prepare and train caregivers to help children through the next difficult phase of recovery. Unlike emergency relief (not our specialty but we're learning fast!), this is an area where HTS does have great expertise to offer. We will give all we can to these children who have many hard days ahead of them. I will be sharing our plans as they evolve.

Meanwhile, we continue to focus our attention on the most urgent needs of affected children – children in institutions and children orphaned or displaced by the disaster.

What follows is our most recent news. I’ve posted a few photos on our website:
http://halfthesky.org/work/earthquake08.php and will update as more arrive.

Ziyang Social Welfare Institution – Building sustained severe damage. They care for 48 children, 20 of them under four years-old. They request 50 cribs and cots, bandages, 10 milk pots, children’s clothes, 100 sets of bedding, bowls, spoons, chopsticks, toys and stationary supplies.

Deyang and Nanchong Social Welfare Institutions both have received notification that they should prepare immediately to receive newly orphaned children. All the children are living in tents. HTS will provide additional tents, beds and other requested items.

Guangyuan SWI – The children remain in tents. They were notified that they will be receiving several newly orphaned children (perhaps 50-60)very soon.

Shifang saw many of its schools destroyed, hundreds of children and their teachers buried. They sent us this heartbreaking story during the rescue efforts at Hongbai Primary School:

‘We found him!’ Teacher Zhang Huibing’s body was finally discovered,frozen in a posture of pushing against the door frame. According to the students saved by him, when the earthquake happened, Teacher Zhang was on the platform of the classroom on the second floor, which was very near the door. He yelled to the students, ‘Run outside! Hurry!’ And he somehow held the door frame up with both arms as the children ran out, one by one.Just as all the students were safely evacuated, the building collapsed on him. Teacher Zhang, who was only 30 years-old, had a four-year-old child of his own.”

As I mentioned in my last note, Mianyang has become a major refugee center. Of the more than 20,000 refugees in the city’s Jiuzhou Stadium,“scores” of them are young children. We are told, but this is not confirmed, that the entire center area of the stadium is reserved for toddlers and infants. Most are said to be from Dujiangyang, Beichuan and Mianzhu. Ma Lang is on her way to Mianyang now, so we will learn more soon.

Many children who have lost or become separated from their families are being brought to Chengdu, but not yet to the Chengdu Children’s Welfare Institution. Some have been taken to the Sichuan Children’s Center (an after-school and weekend activity center for children.)

About 30 children, from Yingxiu and Dujiangyang, were taken a Chengdu city park, the Qingyang Sports Center, which has been converted to a refugee camp. Some children have been united with family members. We’re told that some from the media are actively trying to reunite families. Most of the children in this camp who survived were in their teens. They told us that many younger children in their town did not survive because those in the primary schools and kindergartens were napping when the quake hit and could not run.

The youngest camp resident was 16 days-old. The military police made a special effort to bring her and her very young mother down to the camp from Yingxiu. The baby was only 11 days-old when her daddy perished in the earthquake.

Perhaps today's most heartbreaking story was about some of the 70 injured children who’d been carried down from the affected areas to Huaxi Hospital. Most of the children were reunited with parents or relatives; some were even well enough to leave the hospital after treatment. But a few children remained alone and unclaimed.

They were required to sign their own consent forms so that the doctors could amputate their limbs to save their lives. Half the Sky spent much of the weekend purchasing requested supplies and shelter, organizing distribution and continuing to assess needs. In addition to the much-needed and wonderfully generous monetary donations from our amazing community of supporters, we have been flooded with offers of in-country help from from volunteers.

As you can imagine, many requested items are getting harder and harder to come by. Just today we doubled our refugee tent order to 200 – all that was available immediately – and already have requests for more. Shoppers in Chengdu have begun filling a no-longer-habitable room at the Chengdu CWI (Children’s Welfare Institution) with everyday goods destined for hard-hit areas.

Others around China are working on fulfilling our giant shopping list. Some are flying in to Chengdu, hand-carrying items from our medical wish-list. Our wonderful friends at Gung-Ho Films, a Beijing-based film production services company, are offering logistics support, including shopping, shipping and door-to-tent delivery!

I can’t really express how moved we are by your generosity and your trust in Half the Sky to ensure that the children benefit from your gifts. Today 3 more HTS Beijing staffers and 2 Gung-Ho staff traveled to Chengdu to help facilitate our relief efforts.

We all feel privileged to be able to help. If you would like to donate to Half the Sky’s Children’s Earthquake Fund,it would be great if you would do so at Global Giving as (even though they take 10% for processing and we do not (100% to the kids but at cost to our programs) it allows HTS staff to focus on relief efforts while keeping our programs going.

If you prefer to donate directly to Half the Sky, of course that’s fine. Here are the various ways: You can donate by calling Half the Sky (+1 510525 3377) or on our website:

Many companies have announced they will match employee gifts for earthquake relief. Please check to see if your company will double your gift!

If you would like a Canadian tax receipt, please donate at

If you would like a Hong Kong tax receipt, please call us at +852 25205266 or online at

Thank you so much for your kindness and concern.

with love,

Jenny Bowen
Executive Director

Half the Sky Foundation
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