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CNN Larry King Live

Tragic Accident Tests Faith

Aired August 07, 2008 - 21:00   ET


LARRY KING, CNN ANCHOR: Tonight, Christian music superstar Steven Curtis Chapman opens his heart about a terrible tragedy and a tremendous test of faith.

STEVEN CURTIS CHAPMAN, FATHER OF MARIA SUE, WHO DIED IN MAY: Ladies and gentlemen I give you Maria Sue Chapman.


KING: His 5-year-old daughter, Maria Sue, died after her 17- year-old brother Will accidentally backed over her in the family's driveway. One child lost -- another struggling with grief and guilt. Heartbreak that could tear a family apart brought this one closer together.

Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth are here, along with Will and his older brother and sister -- healed by faith forgiveness and something else, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Good evening.

You may know Curtis Steven Chapman as a Grammy-winning Christian musician. But on May 21st, the Chapmans suffered the heartbreaking loss of their youngest daughter Maria Sue. Maria Sue was fatally injured in the driveway of their home when she was accidentally struck by an SUV being driven by her teenage brother, Will.

Steven and his wife Mary Beth are here with their unimaginable story. And we'll meet other members of the family in a little while.

How are you -- how are you dealing with this?

S. CHAPMAN: Well, a day at a time. Sometimes intervals of about 15 minutes at a time.

KING: It never goes away, though?

S. CHAPMAN: Yes. Yes.

KING: How about you, Mary Beth?

MARY BETH CHAPMAN, MOTHER OF MARIA SUE, WHO DIED IN MAY: Yes. You know, I wake up in the morning and I ask God, you know what, give me the strength and the mercy that you promised to -- to let me make it through another day. And I do. And I am amazed at the strength of my husband and my family. And it is, at times, a minute -- a minute at a time.

KING: Your three older children are birth children and the younger ones are adopted, right?


M. CHAPMAN: Yes, sir.

KING: Mary Sue was adopted?

S. CHAPMAN: Maria Sue.

M. CHAPMAN: Maria Sue.

KING: Maria Sue.

From where?

S. CHAPMAN: She was adopted from China. All three of our daughters are all adopted from China.

KING: And you went over there to get her?

M. CHAPMAN: Yes. Well, for Maria, me, my -- he's standing by and Shaohannah, our oldest of the adopted.

KING: And she looked like an awfully jolly kid.


S. CHAPMAN: Maria was cute. She the laughter of the Chapman home, for sure. And we -- that's been one of the hardest things about her not being here, you know, is the mornings are way too quiet. That's what we often say. It's probably some of the hardest times are the mornings, because it's so -- so quiet without her. She was definitely the laughter, as you can tell from those videos she was just in tonight.

KING: And that was supposed to be a celebratory day, right?

Lots of good things were happening.

M. CHAPMAN: Oh, yes. The week -- the week right before, my oldest daughter, Emily, who's 22, got engaged. And the day before the accident, we had actually gone and picked out her wedding dress and Rhia (ph) -- Maria as we -- was so excited. She was probably excited the most. And so were celebrating that. And just lots of reasons to be happy.

KING: All right. So Will get got in the SUV and Maria was in the driveway.

What happened, Steven?

S. CHAPMAN: Well...

KING: You were in the house?

S. CHAPMAN: I was actually on the front porch. And, you know, we've kind of -- we've decided to, you know, we sort of have tried to let Will gauge how much of the story we really tell because we just want to honor him and (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Well, he'll be here.

S. CHAPMAN: And he'll be here. But...

KING: But then what did you see?

What was your perspective?

S. CHAPMAN: Well, from our -- I mean our perspective I was, in fact, my wife and I had been in the house working on some wedding -- I'm writing some of the music for my daughter's wedding. And I was working on that. And my wife was working on, I think, their guest list or something. And it seems like we've been working on that a lot lately. But, so if you don't get invited, we're really sorry. We're trying to get everybody there. We apologize. Now, we'll get a chance to do that on television.

But I was on the front porch having a conversation on my phone. And Will drove up. He actually had been gone for -- in fact, I think he was at an audition for a musical at school and came driving up the driveway, driving slowly. And, in a lot of ways, we've sort of talked about this. I think, in a way it was almost God's plan to allow me to even be standing on the front porch and sort of observe this, because I saw Will uncharacteristically not talking on his cell phone to his girlfriend Ruthie, who he spends a lot of his time on the phone with -- not talking on his phone, driving slowly up the driveway --

KING: So he was driving into the house?

S. CHAPMAN: So he was coming into the house.

KING: Not backing out?

S. CHAPMAN: Right.

M. CHAPMAN: Right.

S. CHAPMAN: And he came around to the back of the house or went around. I was on the front side on the porch. And from what we understand, Maria was on the playground just up the hill, kind of in the backyard playing on the playground with her two older sisters, Shaohannah and Stevie Joy. And she wanted to do the monkey bars and she couldn't reach them. And, of course, this is all part of what we're continuing to deal with in terms of -- you know, everybody feels some responsibility. Everybody takes it on.

Our sweet Shaohannah and, you know, she -- her sister was asking her to put her up on the monkey bars. And as she has explained to us, she said I wasn't able to reach her all the way up there. I'm not strong enough. And Maria said I want to get on the monkey bars. And Will Franklin, who is the most amazing big brother -- I mean I would put him up against any big brother in the world, the -- just a great brother to his little sisters.

And Shaohannah saw him coming up the driveway. And she said, "Hey, here comes Will. He'll get on you the monkey bars."

And he would. It didn't matter what was going on. In Will's life, he would stop and play with his sisters.

KING: So what...

S. CHAPMAN: And so what we understand is, is he just came around the corner, he didn't see her and she was running to him and struck her at that point.

KING: You didn't see it then?

S. CHAPMAN: No. No. I was -- I was in the front.

KING: We'll pick up from there right after this.



S. CHAPMAN: Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Maria Sue Chapman. That's a crowd. You're ready. Go. You're on.


KING: The Chapmans have been gracious enough to share their family photos and videos with all of us. And you can go to and you'll see the links at the top of our Web page. And while you're there, you can send the Chapmans an e-mail and we can ask them tonight. Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife, Mary Beth. We'll meet three of the other children in a little while.

Were you -- what did you -- were you anywhere near the accident?

M. CHAPMAN: I was. My home office is within view of the -- I put that playground there so I could see it from my office. I had all the wedding stuff spread out in the dining room. So I just heard Shaoey come running in. And so I wasn't there. When I ran out, it had already happened.

KING: She told you?

M. CHAPMAN: She ran in. I just remember a lot of commotion and I ran out and Will was holding Maria.

KING: Was she -- had she passed away?

M. CHAPMAN: I believe so. I believe so. My husb...

KING: Did you take her -- did anyone take her to the hospital? M. CHAPMAN: My husband and I both performed CPR -- called 911 and performed CPR until LifeFlight came. And then they LifeFlighted her to Vanderbilt. It's an awesome hospital in Nashville. And she was pronounced dead on arrival.

KING: Did you yell something, Steven, like, "I forgive you, Will" or "I love you, Will?"

S. CHAPMAN: Yes. Yes. I was told that that happened.

KING: You don't remember?

S. CHAPMAN: Honestly, I don't remember a lot of what happened. I do remember...

M. CHAPMAN: I remember it.

S. CHAPMAN: ...running around to the back of the house and finding my wife, of course, just in hysterics. And, actually, when I first picked up Maria, I thought it was my other daughter. Maria had a little tutu on. She loved to dress up. And at first, Stevie Joy is really more of our dancer. She's the one usually danced -- dressed up in a dance outfit. And so I really began immediately praying for Stevie Joy and then kind of recognized that it was Maria as I came a little more to my senses.

And, of course, she was, you know, it was just hard to tell. It was a lot of blood. And I, you know, of course, began just, you know, reminding God that of all the great things he had done through history and that he could, you know, give her life again. He could breathe life back into her.

KING: You didn't lose your faith or question your faith at that moment?

S. CHAPMAN: You know, at that moment, I've got to say, Larry, I mean it was -- I was crying out to my -- to my father. I was crying out to the guy that I know as my heavenly father. And, you know, I...

KING: Angry?

S. CHAPMAN: I really wasn't angry. I really wasn't angry at God. And until you walk through that, I think I'm not sitting here saying, you know, I'm so -- we're so strong and I made even a choice to do that. It was just my immediate natural reaction was -- I mean I know I heard myself saying a lot, God, you can't ask this of me. You can't ask this of my family. This is too much. We can't do this.

But -- but as I was driving out of the driveway and they had come and taken over working on Maria and had then taken her in the ambulance to the LifeFlight, I jumped in the car. And as I was driving out, one of my biggest concerns was, as you can imagine, is knowing that my son was putting himself through so much guilt and torture at that moment.

And I had hugged him. I had gone out and seen him. But as I was driving out, I saw him kind of crumbled up in a ball on the ground. And his brother was just kind of on top of him, just holding him and praying for him. And I rolled the window down or stopped. I had the driver. I wasn't driving. And I said, "Stop," and rolled the window down. And I just -- I was told I yelled, "Will Franklin, your father loves you."

KING: Mary Beth, we're going to meet the older children.

How are the two younger ones dealing with this?

M. CHAPMAN: Oh, we have really, really great days and we have really, really awful days.

KING: They're how old now?

M. CHAPMAN: They are eight and almost six -- almost nine and almost six. Little Stevie Joy starts kindergarten in a couple weeks and Shaohannah will be a third grader. And we have an awesome therapist -- a trauma therapist working with them, a counselor who's really, really helping them understand the grieving process. And we have really good days and really, really hard days.

KING: We have an e-mail question from Dawn in Alexandria, Louisiana: "Monday night, very close friends of ours accidentally hit their neighbor 2-year-old son with their car. He died.

How can I comfort them and the little boy's family?

S. CHAPMAN: You know, we've learned so much about -- I think you learn a whole lot about what you won't do or say if you ever walk into someone else's journey of grief -- not that people have done it poorly. We are the most loved and supported people on the planet with what we've walked through. And I -- we just, wherever you are...


S. CHAPMAN: ...and whoever you are, thank you for your prayers, for your support of our family. It's been unbelievable, all over the world.

KING: What advice would you give them?

S. CHAPMAN: I think for them, you know, I would say be really slow to feel like you have to say anything. In fact, the most comforting things that we heard -- and that's probably the best way for me to answer it -- is when people would say, you know what, there are no words. I'm not going to try to put words to this. I'm not going to try to say comforting things. I'm just going to sit with you in the grief.

We put those who we, you know, for us, the comfort has been -- obviously, our faith has been -- the comfort of our father in heaven and the prayers of so many. I'd say prayer for them and then just be there. Sit with them. Just sit in the grief with them.

KING: This may surprise people. More than 100 children were killed in back-over accidents last year -- usually back-over. In 70 percent of the cases, a family member was at the wheel.

We have a question from Maria in Suffolk, Virginia related to this: "I have a 5-year-old daughter and my heart breaks for your loss. What can we do to protect other children from the kind of tragedy that took Maria Sue? God bless you both."

Is there anything?

M. CHAPMAN: Well, obviously, I drive a 2007 Honda Odyssey now and it has a camera. It has a -- when you put the car in reverse, there's the camera.

KING: That should be in every car.

M. CHAPMAN: Every car.

S. CHAPMAN: Yes. Yes. And that's a hard one, too, because I know there are a lot of people that would want to -- and rightly so -- try to say what do we do to avoid this kind of thing. You know, for us, again, it's real hard for me to say -- in fact, it's impossible to say had my son been driving a different vehicle, this wouldn't have happened, because then I begin to say OK, SUVs or cars are sovereign. Cars are the reason we, you know, people live or die. And that becomes a huge theology discussion, obviously.

But, you know, for us, we have -- our comfort has come in saying yes, it's right to say what can we do to avoid accidents, obviously?

I mean our family has probably been saved from accidents from riding in a big vehicle at some point. I mean the SUV my son was driving was a 12, 15-year-old car that had been passed down through all of us.

But you know, it's hard for me to go to that place of saying yes, this wouldn't have happened if there would have been a different vehicle, because we believe God is the one that has the power of life and death.

But for sure, you know, there are Web sites. There are lots of good discussions, cameras for backing up. You know, we still have questions about our accident, honestly, Larry, about even if it was a backup or from the front. We don't even know for sure.

KING: All right.

Well, Will knows, doesn't he?

S. CHAPMAN: Well, he does. But then Shaohannah, his sister, saw something different.

KING: Really?

S. CHAPMAN: And I think in that moment, even as we've tried to walk through it with the trauma and all of that, the counseling, something happens to your brain...

KING: Wow!

S. CHAPMAN: don't even necessarily know what happened, so.

KING: We're going to get a break.

Emily, Caleb and Will Chapman will join us right after the break.



S. CHAPMAN: This was, you know, the day that she went to be with Jesus. And she had written on the paper. And she had written, "Sin." And I didn't even know that she knew this word or knew how to write it. And she had a little butterfly drawn under it. And I picked that up and I just -- I heard her voice and I heard the voice of God just saying see.


KING: Steven Curtis Chapman and his wife Mary Beth remain with us, joined by three other members of the family.

Emily Chapman, she is the 22-year-old daughter. She's going to be married in October.

Caleb Chapman is the 18-year-old.

And Will Chapman is the 17-year-old son.

The obvious first question is for Will.

How do you deal with it?

WILL CHAPMAN, MARIA SUE'S BROTHER: Obviously, it's been hard and not -- not fun a lot of the times. But just, I think -- I don't know. The best way, I don't know, dealt -- I guess dealt with it and it's just, of course, continuing to just remember just choosing to remember where my little sister is now and (INAUDIBLE)...

KING: Do you think she's in heaven now?

W. CHAPMAN: Yes. Yes, sir.

KING: Did you see this coming?

Was there any chance this was preventable?

W. CHAPMAN: No, sir.

KING: So you don't have thoughts of oh, boy, I could have done this?

W. CHAPMAN: Of course I have thoughts of oh, I could have done this after, of course, doing it. But nothing where I was -- I saw her. Of course, it was all a big accident and just a horrible accident. And it was just...

KING: You knew right away you'd hit something?

W. CHAPMAN: Yes, sir. It was just pretty clear that I felt something and so...

KING: Caleb, you were right there?

CALEB CHAPMAN, MARIA SUE'S BROTHER: No. I was inside the house. And I heard mom yelling for dad and I ran out.

KING: And you grabbed Will right away?

C. CHAPMAN: Yes. Will was running just away from -- because once dad had gotten out there, he kind of just -- I think he had called 911 and he started heading down our driveway. And, yes, I ran after Will to hold onto him.

KING: Where were you, Emily?

EMILY CHAPMAN, MARIA SUE'S SISTER: I was at work. I had just left and was running errands.

KING: Did they call you?

E. CHAPMAN: Um-hmm. Caleb called me.

KING: You came right home?

E. CHAPMAN: I was told to head toward the hospital. And by God's grace, I was just a few blocks away from where my fiancee works. And so I went straight there and had him drive me to the hospital and then met up with them at the hospital.

KING: How important, Will, was the family support?

W. CHAPMAN: Super important. I couldn't have done it without them, especially just Caleb. Right after the accident, I started just running, because I just didn't know what else to do. I just wanted to run and just be away -- as far away as the site of the accident as possible and just started running and was planning on just running as far as I could. And then Caleb, not too long after that, just kind of ran and tackled me and just kind of jumped on me and was -- and Shaoey was right there with my younger sister. And she was right there with him.

And it was just like you can't leave, you can't leave and just -- was just on top of me saying everything's going to be OK. We love you. You can't leave. And just -- it was just that -- that was super important.

KING: No one, Caleb, was angry?

C. CHAPMAN: No one was angry.

KING: They were hurt, but not angry? C. CHAPMAN: I don't think so. No one was -- no one was angry. I mean I'd be dishonest if I didn't say I had a very ignorant anger toward God, because who am I to say -- because I shouted, I just -- right after holding onto Will, I looked up kind of into the sky and screamed, "Why?" three times. And even as I questioned that, like why does this happen, it confirmed my belief in everything. It's like my natural reaction is to yell, "Why?" to God. And I'm angry. And it just proved -- but then I realized, I'm proving how real God is to myself, I think.

KING: Maria Sue's funeral was on May 24th. Caleb, whose high school graduation was the next day, spoke to mourners about the passing of his little sister and the special pain of his younger brother.



C. CHAPMAN: I feel like as my dad held Maria, as she took some of her last breaths, I held my brother. I held my brother as he -- as he took his last breaths. But God, you know, we prayed for healing for Maria. But he healed her in a way that we all didn't like. But he's going to heal my brother in a way that I think we're all going to like a lot.



KING: Emily, how do you explain this faith?

E. CHAPMAN: Man, it has been -- the last few months have been a challenge.

How do I explain this faith?

I -- you know, the day before the accident, I was riding home from buying my wedding dress. It was a great day. And I was with my brother's little girl, his girlfriend and my soon to be sister-in-law. And I said, you know, we were talking in the context of people that have significant others pass away. And just because I'm on cloud nine and just got engaged and talking about that. And I -- man, I just can never imagine that happening and don't even talk about my little sisters. I you messed with them, I would just -- I don't know how I could comprehend that.

And I've talked with some people that have walked through tragedy and they keep -- they always say, you know, God's mercies are new every morning. And right now, I have maybe enough mercy to get through a great day. And I can't comprehend enough mercy to get through a really, really hard day, because I haven't walked through that yet.

And not 24 hours later, I was sitting in the hospital receiving the news that my 5-year-old little sister had passed away. And I understood in that moment, I can't explain it, but God's mercies are new every morning. And I woke up the next morning and he has sustained me since. And I have planned a wedding with my mom. And I'm still getting married on the day I set, the day I got engaged. And the faith is -- man, it's just, God is so real. He says in the -- in the scripture, it says he's near to the broken-hearted. And I have never felt it more -- more in my life.

KING: We'll be back with the incredible Chapmans.

Don't go away.



S. CHAPMAN: OK, while we're sitting in here washing dishes, Maria and I decided to write a little song for you. Right, Maria? Ready?


S. CHAPMAN: You just wash the dishes and dance while the sing the song.


S. CHAPMAN: Here we go.



KING: We're back with the Chapmans. That's the late Maria Sue. It's hard to say that. We're going to go to calls and e-mails for this group. E-mail question from Priscilla in White Wash, Maryland -- we'll have Mary Beth try this: Have you gotten mad at god about this? Have you asked god why your family, why Maria?

M. CHAPMAN: Yes. , I've been mad. I've been sad. I've jumped up and down. I've crawled under my bed. I've went in my closet. You name it, I've done it. And I know that I will never understand, this side of eternity, why Maria, why Will. I have a list of questions in my journal, you know, why. So to answer that question, yes, I've been really angry.

KING: Never anger at Will?

M. CHAPMAN: Never.

KING: We have a caller. We'll go to Carrolton, Kentucky. Hello.

CALLER: Yes. Hello?

KING: Hello. Go ahead.

CALLER: My question is -- first of all, I want to say that the song "Cinderella," me and my two daughters love to listen to that song. I just wanted to ask the Chapman family if it is difficult for them to listen to that song now?

KING: Is it hard, Caleb?

C. CHAPMAN: I remember, I play guitar for my dad. And so after all this went down, we all questioned, are we ever going to go back out on the road? Are we ever going to be able to play music again? Because that's something that just reminds us of joy, and Maria was so much of that joy. So we ended up getting back out on the road and I remember we all dreaded that song in the set. It was like, dad told us, we might not do it. I'm just going to have to see. When the show comes, I'm just going to have to see if it feels right. The song prior to it just kind of -- just led him into "Cinderella" real naturally.

Of course, it was so tough hearing it because the lyrics are -- the catch is, "the clock will strike midnight and she'll be gone." So, yes, it was tough, but dad ended the song, and I didn't know he was going to do this, and instead of ending it, the clock will strike midnight and she'll be gone, he said, the clock -- the clock will strike midnight but the truth is, the dance will go on. And that he'll dance with his daughter again.

KING: So you still play it, Steven?


KING: You have to be very proud of this?

S. CHAPMAN: Yes, I'm sure.

KING: By the way, they've all been for some reason, except for Emily, tattooed in memory of Maria, right?

S. CHAPMAN: The cat is out of the bag.

KING: Yours is on your wrist.

S. CHAPMAN: Yes, yes.

KING: Are you going to show yours, Caleb?

S. CHAPMAN: There she is.

KING: Right on his arm.

S. CHAPMAN: And there's -- there's Will with --

KING: The big M on his chest. E-mail from Calvin in Gastonia (ph), North Carolina: "a lot of people might ask how a good and loving god could allow the kind of pain your family is enduring. How would you respond?" Steven, why would he allow it?

S. CHAPMAN: That's a great, great question and one that we have all wrestled with, and I've absolutely wrestled with. By saying I haven't been angry at god, I've been real angry. My anger has really been aimed at the one who I understand has -- the Bible says has comes to steal, kill and destroy, the enemy of god, Satan. But if you've ever read the book of Job, you know that somehow god allows things. I believe god allows evil. He doesn't crush everything that's evil, or who of us could stand before him, if we've ever had any evil in our life.

KING: But this wasn't evil?

S. CHAPMAN: Well, but what happened was -- what happened to my daughter, I believe, was evil, that she died in the driveway of my house. But my anger has been aimed at the one who I believe ultimately destroys and kills, the enemy of god. Why did god allow it? I believe god was there. I believe god had tears in his eyes. I believe god weeps over -- over death. Jesus wept at the grave the Lazarus. In the Bible, Jesus weeps at death.

I don't think we'll ever know. Caleb said something at the memorial service for Maria about how we're looking at a picture, a painting so close -- and sorry to steal this, Caleb, but can I have your permission, son? I probably taught it to you somewhere anyway, and then you passed it back. No.

He was talking about how we look at a painting, a huge mural, and if we're looking this close, it makes no sense. As we move it back further and further, we begin to see what's happening, what's going on there. Again, there's a million theological questions. If Billy Graham stays with us, our dear friend, let's let him come back and help tackle this one.

But I believe, with all my heart or I wouldn't say, or I wouldn't be foolish enough to drag our family here and say, we still have faith and believe.

KING: You obviously do.

S. CHAPMAN: Because we believe that god, for some reason, with tears, with great grief in his own heart over evil allowed this, but -- and we'll understand it some day when we see our sweet Maria again.

KING: The Chapmans are speaking publicly about something that's very private. We'll ask them why they're letting us in our their lives when we come back.





KING: We're back with the Chapmans. Before we get to some more calls and e-mails, why, Steven, speak out? Why? This is a very personal, terrible tragedy. One could make a case for just going away and hiding.

S. CHAPMAN: Yes. Well, yes, and at first that's what we did.

M. CHAPMAN: We're good hiders.

S. CHAPMAN: Yes, we all -- and my biggest fear, honestly, of doing all this, Larry, is that, you know, this is kind of what I do. I've been doing this for 21 years, as far as performing and being in front of cameras or in front of audiences. My biggest fear with this is just even when my prayer today is I don't want to be on. I don't want to sit there and all of a sudden be Steven Curtis Chapman, the performer, and just let us be honest and just real about this journey.

KING: Why do you want to go on?

S. CHAPMAN: The reason for that is, you know -- and we read it before we came out here again today -- I think the word of comfort. We realize -- one of my first thoughts when this happened, we had just come back from China. We were sitting in the Shanghai airport in China when the earthquake hit. We didn't feel it. But we do a lot of work in China with orphans. We had been there doing some of that work. We're on our way home. We got home and started to hear the numbers of how many had died. We'd just been with our friends there. Our hearts were broken.

Even as we were in the emergency room grieving the immediate news of Maria going to heaven, I immediately thought of the people of China and I thought, we have -- we have a comfort. We don't have words. We don't have an explanation, as we've fumbled over trying to explain how, why, all that. But we do have a comfort and we do have a hope.

KING: You want to share that.

S. CHAPMAN: We want to share that. There are a lot of people suffering.

KING: You're being seen in Beijing now, everywhere in the -- I guess I understand. Colonial Heights, Virginia, hello?

CALLER: Hello, Mr. King. I just want to tell the Chapman family, my condolences to your family. The lord must have so much faith in your family to know that you can bear this. And I just want to ask you, when you've had time to grieve and heal, do you think you'll adopt again?

S. CHAPMAN: Oh, boy. That's a little touchy question there, because our time in China, mom sort of found some twins that she fell in love with. Right now we have a little debate going on about that.

KING: Do you want to bring them home?

M. CHAPMAN: If it were that easy, yes. If it was that easy, yes.

KING: What would you think if you had twin little sisters?

C. CHAPMAN: If it's supposed to happen, I'm all for it.

KING: Good answer.

S. CHAPMAN: There's a politician.

KING: Will?

W.. CHAPMAN: That's crazy, but -- I don't know. Like Caleb said, if it's right, I guess it's right. But I don't know.

KING: Do you have a big enough house?


M. CHAPMAN: Sure. We'll all double up.

KING: The more the merrier.

KING: We have an e-mail that applies to that. It's from Eddy in Shrub Oak, New York: "My wife and I have been trying to get pregnant for almost two years, to luck. We're interested in adopting. Worry about the costs. Why is adoption so expensive?"

S. CHAPMAN: Well, I can answer -- I can't answer that question why it's so expensive. I can say we're doing what we can through an organization that she sort of started -- we started as a family in honor of the name of our oldest daughter, adopted daughter Shoahanna (ph), Shoahanna's Hope. We give financial grants to families that are in the process of adopting, because we immediately had a lot of families come to us after we returned with our first daughter.

KING: Does adopting a Chinese daughter cost a lot more?

M. CHAPMAN: You know what, cost per country varies. For one child from China, I would say, travel, all the adoption, legal, both sides of the country, probably 17,000 to 20,000 dollars.

KING: We'll be right back with the Chapmans. Don't go away.





KING: That was Steven's hit single "When Love Takes You In," a song he wrote about the joys of adoption. Has faith helped you through a difficult time? That's tonight's quick vote question. Go to and tell us.


KING: The Chapmans have told us about Shoahanna's Hope. That's a ministry founded by the family to care for orphans by engaging the church in helping Christian families reduce the financial barrier to adoption. If you want more information on all of this, go to, that's one word.

Email from Christine in Bangor, Maine: "We love you and are praying for you. How will all this happen affect Emily's upcoming wedding? Was Maria Sue was going to be part of the wedding party?"

E. CHAPMAN: Yes, Maria was going to be one of my flower girls. Actually, when the accident happened, mom approached me and asked if -- if I would be OK. I had decided that -- my first thought was I was going to have just a ton of cousins and friends run down the aisle and toss flowers. Mom had bought a sack of the traditional Chinese silk dresses that you see while she was in China a few weeks before the accident happened. So I was going to use those as my flower girl dresses.

When the accident happened, mom asked if it would be OK if we buried Maria in her flower girl dress, since we already had it. So she was buried in that beautiful stress. Stevie Joy will be my flower girl at the wedding, my other five-year-old sister. And we're going to celebrate on October 4th and it's the -- the weddings in my front yard. We're going to laugh and enjoy that day, and remember that --

KING: Will, do you get psychological help?

W. CHAPMAN: I do. I have -- I have a counselor that I go to just to kind of like talk about how life's going, just what I'm up to.

KING: It has to affect you.

W. CHAPMAN: Yes. It's definitely affected me, but obviously I've had a ton of help not only just through the counselors, but through my family. Like I said, I have like three counselors that I'm going to see right now.

KING: You have an amazing family. Las Vegas, hello.

CALLER: Hi, I just -- please forgive me for crying. I just wanted you to know what an inspiration you all are. And we've been through tremendous sorrow in our Christian family also. And it's a comfort, Psalm 139 that says "before one day came to be, God knew how long we would live." I wonder how has this changed you? How will you live your life from here on out? Will it impact the way you live your life? Again, we love you and we're praying for you. We will continue to.

KING: Caleb, want to try that?

C. CHAPMAN: How will we live our lives from here on out? Yes. The night of the accident, we gathered over Maria's body and held hands and we kind of made an oath that we would honor Maria by honoring the one who gave her to us. And so the way I'm going to live my life from here on out is not be ashamed of what I've been created to do, and that's just share the gospel, share Maria's story, and by sharing Maria's story, I get to share the hope that I found through tragedy.

KING: We have an e-mail from another gentleman named Caleb in Tulsa, Oklahoma: "Steven, I read that at a recent concert, you talked to the audience about there being little bread crumbs on our journey through life." What do you mean?

S. CHAPMAN: Well, that's one of those -- in talking with counselors and different ones, somebody mentioned this, and I just kind of -- we sort of adopted it. We feel like there are these little reminders of Maria and also of just -- we were talking about how we think Maria is watching this interview, sitting on Jesus' lap, just watching us and hearing the stories about her. We shared, you know, the tattoos, the little C. That was one of the first what we feel like was a bread crumb on the journey, little things that say, you're on the right path and keep heading this way. You know, I've left you this reminder.

Maria had -- we showed it in that clip. Maria had the morning of the accident drawn a picture of a flower and had written a word that she had never written before. She knew how to write her name. That was all I had ever seen, and maybe, I love dad or I love mom. But she had never written any other words. And when she first died, Caleb and I, especially, kept saying if we could just see, if we could just have a dream, something, god, we believe it. If we could just see something that would tell us that she's OK. And the day after the accident, we went home to get some clothes for the funeral, for the memorial. Sitting on the art table was this little picture that Maria had drawn the morning of the accident. She had drawn a six pedaled flower, only one pedal was colored in. We have six children. Only one is whole now, we believe, in the arms of Jesus.

KING: What were the words?

S. CHAPMAN: She wrote the word S-E-E. She wrote the word see. And she had never written that before. She was saying, see, I'm good, I'm OK. And --

KING: And we've all got bread crumbs. We'll be back with our remaining moments with the Chapmans after this.


KING: Steven, has this -- we only have a about a minute -- changed you in any way as a performer?

S. CHAPMAN: Yes, yes, absolutely. I don't think I even know yet how much it adds, but it sure has given me a deeper sense of compelling and what I sing. I think I sing with more confidence. I know a lot less about god, but the things I know about god, I know a whole lot more, for sure.

KING: Ever doubt, Mary Beth?

M. CHAPMAN: I have no doubt where Maria is, and I have no doubt that I'll see her again.

KING: Never questioned your belief?

M. CHAPMAN: Never, never. You know what? I tell my closest friends, I told them when it got to the darkest, darkest point, and we went as far down as we could, we might not have even landed feet up, might have landed right on our face, but the foundation was solid and it was there. And we landed and it's a day at a time.

KING: You have a great family.

M. CHAPMAN: Thank you. I'm proud of them.

KING: Happy wedding to you. October 4th. And you all say, Mary Sue will be there. Good luck, Caleb, and especially, Will, good luck to you. This is the most difficult of times. Appreciate you coming. There's much more about the Chapmans, including their home videos on our website. You go to, click on the links at the top of the page. While you're there, download our latest podcast, T. Boone Pickens. You can also tell us who you would like to see on our show. Tomorrow, change your mind, change your life; how mind really does matter. Study of the brain. That's LARRY KING LIVE, Friday night. Time now, man with a brain, Anderson Cooper and "AC 360." Anderson?