WASHINGTON – Steven Curtis Chapman, Katherine Heigel, Josh Kelley and Ne-Yo were in attendance at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's annual gala Wednesday. Heigel, Kelley and Ne-Yo were among the 113 honored as "Angels in Adoption." Chapman, a previous honoree, sang two songs for those in attendance.
Chapman, an award-winning Christian music artist, had planned to attend the gala as an honoree on Sept. 11, 2001, but the terrorist attacks that day derailed those plans.
"Although we never we never made it to ... this event because the world was changed," Chapman told the audience, "... a lot has changed in this world for sure, but we're so thankful some things, like this, haven't changed. We just see it growing with more and more and more compassion to help children who need families, and we're honored to be a little part of that."
Chapman has adopted three children with his wife, Mary Beth Chapman, and started a ministry for orphans called Show Hope. His experience as an adoptive parent has inspired many of his songs, Chapman explained. He played one of those songs, "When Love Takes You In," along with a video, which was originally prepared for the Sept. 11, 2001, gala, showing adoptive parents and their children. He also sang "Cinderella," a song about treasuring time with one's children.
Ne-Yo, an award-winning singer, songwriter and record producer, was honored for starting a foundation for orphans. In remarks to the press, he said that a business partner first brought the issue to his attention.
"A lot of the people who worked with us came up through group homes and things of that nature," Ne-Yo said. "What we realized is, the system is functional but it doesn't work. There's definitely a standpoint of food, shelter, things of that nature, but as far as inspiration to be anything other than a kid that came from a group home, not so much. So that's where we put together the Compound Foundation to let these kids know that your circumstance is not a stopping block, it's a speed bump."
Actress Katherine Heigel and her husband, singer-songwriter Josh Kelley recently adopted two children.
Heigel said she avoids getting involved in partisan political issues but appreciates the bipartisan nature of adoption that the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's gala demonstrated.
"Senator [Mary] Landrieu (D-La.) was saying that the whole beauty of it is that it's a bipartisan issue and they can all come together and support something as amazing and as important as taking care of the world's children," Heigel said.
"We're here for a good cause, if people didn't get along it would be pretty weird," Kelley joked.
Chapman said that for Christians considering adoption, "James 1:27 is the go-to verse ... because it is the definition of true religion. For me, it's one of the clearest scriptures.
"There's so much in Scripture that's mysterious, or could be interpreted one way or another and you kind of have to wrestle with it. But that one is so clear. Here is true religion, here is the definition: 'care for orphans and widows in their distress.' That seems to be, pretty much, summed up in about as clear a way as you can get it from the heart of God, saying, this is what religion that I desire looks like. And that's really the fuel for us, it's continued to carry us forward. I can sing religious songs all day long, we can talk about religion, but if we really want to know what God says about it, it's taking care of orphans."
Most of this year's 113 "Angels in Adoption" honorees were not celebrities, but they all helped, in some way, the lives of orphans. They were treated to three days of events in Washington, D.C., including meetings with members of Congress, a tour of the capital and an ice cream social.