A music video entitled “A Greater Love” from Telly Award-winning artist and five-time top 10 Billboard singer Jennifer Shaw garnered Best Writer and Best Cast/Performance honors at the Great Lakes Christian Film Festival.
The song is featured on Shaw’s latest full-length CD, “Nothing to Fear,” produced by Lifeway’s Songwriter of the Year, Paul Marino. Shaw wrote the song for her first adopted son, Noah.
“Our son, Noah, was nine when we adopted him, and he has a very serious heart condition,” says Shaw. “We knew about it when we were matched by the adoption agency, but just before we traveled, a cardiologist that we had sent Noah’s file to for review told us that he was concerned that we didn’t understand the severity of Noah’s condition, and that it was likely we were bringing Noah home for hospice care. This was extremely difficult news. We hadn’t even met Noah yet, but we already loved him, and we knew he needed a family. God made it clear to my husband and I that we were to bring Noah home anyway, and ‘A Greater Love’ was the message I wanted to give to Noah and to the world — that God’s love is greater than any love I could ever show, and if Noah knew that love, he would gain eternity no matter how long his life is here. When Noah came home, he was actually still operable, so today his health is greatly improved. He is such a blessing to our family.”
Shaw’s parenting skills were put to the test early when her biological son, Toby, was diagnosed with a severe case of Sensory Processing Disorder.
Shaw chronicled her family’s journey in the critically-acclaimed book “Life Not Typical: How Special Needs Parenting Changed my Faith and my Song”, which is now used in the Resource Library of Autism Speaks, the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization.
Shaw also wrote the song “Your Child” which garnered a Telly Award for its music video which featured several real-life special needs children and their parents.
Shaw’s involvement with children’s organizations and her multi-year partnership with Compassion International has taken her to orphanages around the world where she learned that children over the age of three are rarely adopted, and their chances were even lower if they had medical issues.
Shaw, along with her husband and their three biological children, have adopted three Chinese children, all of whom had health challenges.
“I think one of the great fears about adoption is how it will affect the existing family unit,” says Shaw. “I know I was afraid of how my biological kids would handle it. We talked through all our fears and reservations as a family. But God uses everything for good, and by challenging our kids to love people outside their comfort zones as siblings, I have seen my children grow in compassion and empathy, and they have been blessed through this process.”
Shaw says she now understands that the earlier struggles she endured — her near-death from a pregnancy, her father dying of ALS, and parenting a special needs biological child — all prepared her for this season of her family’s journey.
“All of those difficulties we went through taught me to totally rely on God, and that He really does use all things for our good,” says Shaw. “A lot of things I used to think were very important are no longer priorities. We are put on this planet for one purpose — to know Jesus and to make Him known. God’s faithfulness in the past is what gave me the courage to do something that initially made me very fearful — adopting older children from another culture who have medical issues. But taking God at his word and believing that there was nothing to fear have brought me the greatest joys of my life. I can’t imagine my life now without all six of my kids.”
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Here is a video interview I did with Shaw about churches and special needs children.