It was a normal, busy, Chapman day last week. You won’t even remember it, but you came trotting into my bathroom while I was in the shower and you simply said, “Hey mom, I’m leaving now for the game." That little exchange while I stood there with shampoo in my hair, dripping into my eyes, would cause me to cry and daydream for the next 30 minutes. You went to the game, not knowing the impact of those words at that moment. What did you do? You called me mom.
I want to tell you that I am sorry that it wasn’t always your choice to call me Mom. Eighteen years ago I stood in the hallway of a hotel waiting to meet the little person in the picture that I had stared at for the last several months while waiting to become a family. It wasn’t your choice for us to become your family. What started out as a desire on our part to become parents through adoption represented for you, Shaoey, a devastating loss and separation from your own family. I AM SO SORRY THAT YOUR STORY STARTED THAT WAY. I want you to know that I am so sad that you had no say in your story. The people who would make one of the hardest decisions of their lives to give you a life and a family would never be able to ask you or tell you their reasoning. This kind of sacrificial love is so hard to grasp. I know down deep, it was not your choice to call me mom. It hurts my heart that because of a society that is so complicated, your story was not your own to decide and because of that, it was decided on by a lot of other people, governments and paperwork that you would indeed be adopted by us, and that you would indeed learn to call me mom.
I loved you from the very moment I saw your picture through dial up Internet. A baby with fat cheeks, who was waiting for a name, and was waiting for a place to call home. What ignorant assumptions on my part! I just assumed that because I loved you, you in turn would certainly love me. Just know that I know it hasn’t been that easy and I wish I would’ve have done a lot of things differently. Thank you for hanging in there with me!
Dad and I have had the privilege of participating in one of the most amazing stories of love ever written. The story of Shaoey Chapman! I know it is one of hurt, separation and grief. But, I also know that it is one of happy, togetherness, and restoration! Thank you for letting me be a part of your story, the story of you! How is it that I got chosen to be your mom? I know ultimately that God had an amazing plan and I’m just so thankful that I was the on chosen for the job! We knew early on that you had been gifted with an amazing gift - your mind. Professionals said it would get hard because you were just so smart and people would misunderstand you. They were right. Helping you steward what God has clearly given you was a task that I know I didn’t do right much of the time, but I want you to know that my heart was for you 100% of the time. You have such a gift! I know that you will offer it back to the One who is the giver of all gifts, just know you are capable of anything!
As you got older and relationships were getting harder, God asked the biggest favor ever. He asked us to say goodbye and let Maria go be with Him way earlier than we ever anticipated, and certainly never planned for. The guilt, trauma, and hard that was handed to you at such a young age while everything else was so difficult, put a strain on you and on our family that I wasn’t sure we’d survive…but, Chapmans are survivors and we are family. Maria mandated early on a message to us. She used to say that she “loved it when her whole family was together,” and part of honoring her was surviving and being a family and being together in purpose and mission.
Thank you, Shaoey. Thank you for being willing to do the hard work, continuing to do the hard work, and making a commitment to survive when so many people would give up, give in, or check out. You, my precious Shaoey, are a strong one and the years of hard have made you into a tower of strength that God is going to use throughout your life when victories and trials come your way.
I have loved watching you grow up and I continue to be so proud of the friend that you are and the student that you are. Anyone who knows you, knows that they will get a straight answer with as much love as possible. SJ has had the best big sister to be in high school with and I know that she is going to miss you terribly on the rides to school in the mornings. The way you have mentored your nieces has been so much fun to watch. Thank you for pointing them to Jesus. That means more than any letter grade you could possibly get.
YOU! You are an overcomer and God has a magnificent plan for your life. I have loved watching every chuckle and every tear pour out of your body. I am always for you and with you as you step into this next journey of life that will have me screaming ROLL TIDE for the next few chapters. You need to know that I am and always will be your Number One fan.
I am proud beyond words of your accomplishments, and stand with you in all you endeavor to do in college and beyond. I know you are so excited for this next chapter called college and I am excited right a long with you. With college, brings unique challenges, and I want you to know that I am only a phone call away. I can’t wait to pick up the phone and hear “hey mom,” on the other end of the phone. Because… I know that I am…I love you Shaoey, and I always will.
To Infinity and Beyond,
The verse that I want to give to you is simply this:
For with God nothing shall be impossible.
This verse is true for every situation. Trust God Shaoey, lean on him, stay in His
word, and trust that He has good things in store, and that with Him as Lord of
your life, you can do anything you set your mind too. Don’t ever forget that you
need God and He is with you. Choose your friends wisely and choose what you
do with your time wisely as well. He will see you through.