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Overwhelming Donations, Prayers Honor Maria Chapman

Overwhelming Donations, Prayers Honor Maria Chapman

Shaohannah's Hope, the adoption and orphan care ministry founded by music artist Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, reported that it has been overwhelmed with donations to honor Chapman's daughter Maria Sue.

The organization has raised over $310,000 toward Maria's Miracle Fund in just two weeks, the ministry announced Tuesday. A report by The Associated Press Thursday puts that amount to $360,000. Thousands have contributed to the fund, which honors the Christian singer's 5-year-old adopted daughter, who tragically died on May 21 after being accidentally struck by a car driven by her older brother.

Additionally, over 19,000 people have posted their prayers and condolences to the Chapman family on a blog site dedicated to Maria Sue that is accessible from the ministry's website.

"People have not just been praying for the Chapman family, but crying out to God for them and their healing," Scott Hasenbalg, the ministry's executive director, said in a statement.

Chapman and his wife established Shaohannah's Hope in 2003 after adopting Shaohannah from China. The organization, based in Franklin, Tenn., helps reduce the financial burden of adoption by giving away grants to participating Christian couples. Over 1,600 families have benefited from grants averaging $3,000 from the ministry, according to The Associated Press.

Maria, who had celebrated her fifth birthday just days before she passed away, was the youngest of three daughters the couple had adopted from China. Following her death, the Chapmans had requested that donations be given to Shaohannah's Hope Ministry in lieu of flowers.

Although the Chapman family is still going through "extreme sorrow," Hasenbalg said the Christian singer recently pointed to the cross and said it is "the resurrection of Jesus that will get us through this, but it doesn't mean it won't be hard," according to The Associated Press.

The Chapmans said they will work with the group's board of directors to decide how to spend the money, as reported by The Tennessean. Hasenbalg said the incident has given the ministry a "deeper sense of responsibility" to help more families looking to adopt.

"We are committed to working hard together as a team to be a good steward of the support that has been poured into this ministry," he added.

"We are filled with sadness for this tragedy, but also gratitude to all who has responded with their love, prayers and support."

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