Our Both Hands Project

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When I was 21 years old I traveled to Belize to participate in my first mission trip.

It was there that God broke my heart. He broke it into a million pieces and then in exchange he gave me his heart.

His heart for the orphans.

It was during one of the projects we were working on, that a little boy, attached himself to me. He followed me around, sat on my lap, and stayed by my side the whole day. He didn’t speak much, but his smile made my heart melt. I was later told that he did not have his own home and parents, instead he stayed several different places, with his aunts and uncles, neighbors, etc. during the week.

My heart shattered.

It was then that my mind and world was opened up to the millions of orphans all around the world.

I had been living blind to the problems so many children faced.

The poverty.

The pain.

The heartache.

I decided when I left Belize, I will one day adopt.

When I was 17 years old my Pappy died.

I remember the day as though it was yesterday. He had been sick for two years and we all knew the day was coming. It does not matter how prepared you are though, when you lose someone you love it is always painful. I went to my mamaw’s home after school, I arrived just as the funeral home was taking my pappy’s body away. I walked to the back bedroom, my grandparent’s bedroom, where my pappy had laid for months. There was my strong and beautiful mamaw. Her face was distraught. She was in pain. She had just lost the love of her life. I felt helpless. She laid on her bed, for what seemed like hours and wailed. I could feel her pain.

When we lost my pappy, we lost a part of my mamaw as well. They were a unit. It was always mamaw and pappy. They were together all the time. Then we all had to watch helplessly as my mamaw tried to navigate a new world. One that didn’t involve my Pappy.

Married for 51 years.

I saw first hand the struggle a widow has.

The pain and heartache living without the one you love.

The uncertainty of the future.

The loneliness, even if you are standing in the same room as someone else.

My favorite book in the bible is James.

It’s only fitting that one of my favorite verses takes residency inside of this chapter.

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world. James 1:27

If you read a verse before this one it says:

Those who consider themselves religious and yet do not keep a tight rein on their tongues deceive themselves, and their religion is worthless James 1:26

Worthless religion. Even if you consider yourself religious, but you don’t be careful what you say? That’s worthless.

I don’t think it’s a coincidence that James follows with the religion our God does accept. Because we can be a christian and say that we love God’s people. We can be a christian and say that we will take care of those in need. But actions are stronger than words. Actions show what is truly in your heart, while words just show what you want others to see. We make excuses for why we don’t possess God’s heart for people.

It’s to expensive.

I’m to busy.

Someone else will do it.

I know because I have made those excuses.

As christians, we need to die to ourselves every single day. We need to ask God for his heart. Because our hearts? They are selfish and flawed.

Taking care of widows and orphans.

God shows us his heart right there in this verse.

He shows us how pure and simple Christianity can and should be.

Take care of the widows and orphans.

I’m going to say it one more time.

Take care of the widows and orphans.

The ones who have no control over their circumstances. They didn’t ask to be in the situations they are in. They are the most vulnerable. Filled with heartache and pain many of us cannot understand.

How? How do we take care of the widows and orphans? It doesn’t have to be complicated. It can be as simple as donating or educating. It can be as big as fostering or adopting.

It can be as easy as bringing a widow a meal. It can be joining a team to fix up her home.

There is not one way to do what God asks. Find your way.

We are in the middle of adopting a little boy from Vietnam. As many of you know, adoption is expensive. Ben and I decided we were not going to let finances be an issue with this adoption. We would work our behinds off and trust in God to provide a way to bring our son home.

When I came across Both Hands, I was ecstatic! Both Hands is an adoption fundraiser. I am sure many of you have run a 5k race or participated in some other sponsorship fundraiser. That is exactly what Both Hands is. Except instead of running a 5k race, we gather a team together and fix up a widow’s home. That is one hand.

Then Ben and I, along with our team members, send out sponsorship letters to ask for sponsorship while we work on this project. The funds go towards our adoption to bring home our son to his forever family. The other hand.

What an amazing and beautiful project to be a part of.

What a way to truly be in God’s heart.

Taking care of the Widow and Orphan.

God has led us to a Widow, whose home needs some TLC. We are excited to serve her!

If you are interested, we would LOVE for you to consider being a part of our team!

If you feel like you want to sponsor Ben and I while we work on her home, you can donate here!

Sometimes a need can seem so big, and we are only one person. You may be thinking what can I do? The truth is you can do a lot!

What does love look like? It has the hands to help others. It has the feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has the ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. That is what love looks like. – Augustine

Love has the hands to help others.

Until next time,

Jenna Jury

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Their Lives Are Just As Important As Yours.

This past weekend we had our first adoption fundraiser garage sale. What a good success it was! So many people donated. My sweet girl ran her very first lemonade stand and sold cookies with it. She was exhausted. She promptly told me she was never doing a lemonade stand again. She had raised around $50 and I told her since she had worked so hard all day she could keep the money. She instead brought the money over to her mamaw and said “here I want my baby brother to come home.” Talk about hearts melting!

I really enjoyed myself this weekend, so many people were kind about our adoption. They asked wonderful questions and for the most part made positive comments. There was something that I noticed though, well actually it’s something I have always known, but it was brought back to the forefront of my mind this past weekend. Many people do not ask questions to listen and learn the actual intent or heart behind something. Most people ask questions as an opening for themselves to insert their own, usually unwanted, opinion.

Here’s the thing, I absolutely LOVE answering questions about our adoption and our precious boy. There’s not much more that brings me joy than talking about our children. However there are a few questions that I think are absolutely absurd and shouldn’t be asked. It just reinforces my opinion that many people lack empathy.

Empathy: the action of understanding, being aware of, being sensitive to, and vicariously experiencing the feelings, thoughts, and experience of another of either the past or present without having the feelings, thoughts, and experience fully communicated in an objectively explicit manner; also : the capacity for this.

So many today lack empathy. It is evident by the many “internet trolls” that exist. When people lack empathy they believe they are warranted to ask stupid questions and make dumb statements about things that do not concern them. On the internet and in person. It’s pretty ridiculous to be honest.

So back to the questions I have been asked about our adoption. There are a few that I think are silly. There is one specific one so far that grinds me to my core though. It’s been asked to me a few times and I am sure it will be asked  in the future. It comes in many forms. The most common is the way I was asked this past weekend.

A nice enough older gentleman came to our garage sale. I actually recognized him by is very particular questions he asks. He has attended my last few garage sales. He bought something from me then he noticed it was an adoption fundraiser garage sale. “oh” was his reply. “well, can I ask you a personal question?” he jumped right in. Sure! I responded. I love questions about our adoption. “Couldn’t you find a baby to adopt from the US?” I am not sure why it left me flustered. This wasn’t the first time we have been asked this. Sometimes they say “Did you try US adoption first?”Why international, when there are so many children in the US that need homes?” But the way this man asked it, is the most common. It always leaves me flabbergasted. I really need to come up with an automatic response like “They wont’ let me adopt in the US because I’m a hardened criminal.” or “how many children have you adopted from the US?” yes, that one ( which my friend came up with) may be a little bit less extreme :). Anyway, after I pulled my jaw off the floor I said “our hearts are for the little boy in Vietnam.” To which he replied, “oh” and launched into a ten minute, one-sided, conversation about how his son and daughter in law wanted to adopt but it was so expensive etc. He barely stopped when he asked questions like “why is it so expensive?” etc. so I could respond. Which brings me back to my thought, a lot of people don’t ask questions to hear the answers and learn. They ask questions to insert their opinions. I had my answers ready,

there are legal fees involved, travel, paperwork, etc.

US adoptions, unless through foster care, are just as much.

how much does your car cost?

but he didn’t stop to listen to them. I just politely shook my head and said yea I know, so expensive. Then he was on his way.

The reason this question and encounter really grated my nerves was because right now our little boy is sitting in an orphanage. He is being taken care of but his needs can be met better here in America. Yes, there are children that need homes in America. but does that negate the beautiful and special souls who need homes that weren’t born in the US? People do not decide where they were born. Just because a child was born in the US does not make them more important or more relevant than those that need homes from overseas.

So to answer the man’s question; no, we did not find a child we wanted to adopt from the US. We found a child we want to adopt from the small country of Vietnam and we cannot wait until he is a part of our family. Because his life, is just as important as the lives of the children in America. His live is just as important as yours and as mine and as my daughters. We are privileged in America. That doesn’t mean our lives are more important. So instead of asking silly questions, maybe you can help the children in the US that need homes while we work on bringing our son home.

Until next time,

Jenna Jury

 

 

When I First Knew I Wanted to Adopt

My husband and I are in the middle of adopting a little boy from Vietnam. I am hoping soon we will have an update for all those who have been following our journey thus far! Until then I wanted to take some time and talk about the first time I knew I wanted to adopt.

My mom was adopted by her aunt and uncle when she was a baby. Well, she was officially adopted when she was six years old. She has told me the story of being in the court room and talking to the judge and then her aunt and uncle told her “you can call us mommy and daddy now.” However, they had her since she was a baby. Adoption has been a part of our family for a very long time. My mom took in my two cousins over five years ago. However, I did not know for sure that I truly wanted to adopt until I went to Belize for the first time in college, on a missions trip.

I had never been on a mission trip before. This was a first for me and I was unsure of what to expect. While we were in Belize, we cleaned a church, helped out at schools, visited a couple of churches, visited an orphanage and volunteered several other places. Each experience I gained a little something.

However, the one experience that touched me to my core was volunteering at one specific school . It was a one room school. Little children came from all around this area, to listen to the service. No adults were with them. I remember being told that many of them don’t have a specific place to live. They roam the streets, or live with aunts and uncles or friends. This experience reached into my soul. I had heard of children being home less before. I had never seen it though. I had never been where I could see the poverty that many people live in. I didn’t understand. Not until that minute, how privileged we were in America, how spoiled we were.

I was barely entering my 20’s. God smacked me in the head with this wake up call. These are my children too he whispered to me. You are supposed to take care of them. His church, the ones who love God, he calls us to take care of the orphans and widows. I understand not everyone can adopt. But you can do something. And you should. This experience left me with an ache in my heart. A burning desire to adopt. To do something. A desire to be who God has called me to be. We may not be able to do a lot. But we can do something. At the very least we can pray for the ones who decide to do something. Something small or something big.

The next time we want to complain about how long our food is taking in that fancy restaurant, we can stop and remember the little children who don’t know where their next meal is coming from. We can stop ourselves when want to to complain about the small house we’re living in, remembering that there are children who have no homes.

The other day our dishwasher broke, right after our dryer and our truck. I shook my head and told my husband “first world problems.” These aren’t really problems. These are inconveniences. Here in America we consider our small inconveniences to be a real problem. But having to hand wash your dishes, hang dry your laundry, or go with one vehicle, those are simply inconveniences not problems. Having to worry about where your next meal is coming from. Where you are going to sleep tonight. Not receiving enough love and affection. Having your needs unmet, and there being nothing you can do about it. Having to walk down the street worrying about whether someone was going to rape you or kill you. Those are actual problems. There are real people, real children, with real problems. My husband and I may not be able to do much, but we have decided to do something. My wake up call were those little children on the street of Belize.

Jury Adoption Update – April 10, 2018

Hi everyone! Many of you know, but in case you do not, I will fill you in. My husband and I are currently in the process of adopting a little boy from Vietnam. We announced it to our friends and family in January, although we knew that the process would be (and still is) very long. We have had so many people rally around us with support and prayers. I wanted to give an update to those of you who have been wondering what is going on with our adoption right now? I haven’t updated because well, there’s not much to update on. Our little guy, let’s call him L for now, just turned 3, I am hoping and praying he is in our arms by his next birthday.

Right now we are in the ending stages of our home study and getting our dossier filed. The paperwork is a mountain! Once those two are approved we can get a clearer idea of when we will be able to go in Country to bring him home.

The two biggest questions we receive are “When is he coming home?” and “Have you met him yet?” We do not yet know when we will get to bring him home. We are praying sooner rather than later, however it mainly depends on the paper work approval. Along with a few other things that I don’t want to bore you with. So if you could continue to pray for us in that aspect, we would truly appreciate it. As for us meeting him. No we have not met L and we will not get to meet him until we go to Vietnam to bring him home. I usually get a funny look when I say that. I can only guess what people are thinking. “Why would you want to bring a perfect stranger into your home?” It’s a chance we are willing to take for several reasons. The main one is because Jesus calls us to be his hands and feet. He tells us to take care of the orphans and the widows. We can’t do that on the sidelines. We can’t turn our heads and hope someone else will do it. Because what if they don’t? The alternative is never better.

In the meantime, we have been doing fundraisers to help us fund our adoption. There are several other ways we are funding our adoption as well. Savings, making and selling different items, we will be applying for grants as soon as we are home study approved.

We did a t-shirt fundraiser through Bonfire.

We had two t-shirt designs. One was Ben’s and the other was mine. Whoever lost got pied in the face.

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So we tied! However, my stubborn husband refused to let me pie him in the face. So B and I took one for the team. Anything to bring my L home.

We have dear friends who have also donated their time and effort into fundraising to help us bring our son home.

Momentum Insurance held a fundraiser for us. Where they were able to donate $100 to help L come home to his forever home!

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My Dear friend the Buckeye Queen, held a fundraiser selling her delicious and yummy buckeyes and buckeye cookies. In the end she was able to donate $201 to sweet L!

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Another one of my friend’s is currently holding a fundraiser for the months of April, May and June. Book a family mini session with Cyndi Mccullough Photography and she will donate the proceeds towards our adoption!

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God has truly blessed us with such amazing friends! We love you all who have helped us thus far! We will also be holding an adoption garage sale in a few weeks, so if you’re in the area we are taking donations, or stop by and see what you can find 🙂 In the near future I will be posting some goodies I will be selling, all proceeds will be going towards the adoption as well.

Oh and we wrote a book 🙂 Faith Actually: Living Life After Tragedy. A story of our heartbreaking loss of our son David and how we were able to find our faith again through God’s promises. You can buy it here.

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Thank you everyone for being so wonderful!

If you would like to help us bring L home as well you can go to our Youcaring fundraiser page to donate!

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We cannot wait to see L in our next family photos!

For more updates on our adoption please follow me on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter!

until next time,

Jenna Jury

Choosing to Adopt

Why did you choose to pursue international adoption?

We have been asked this question a few times since starting our adoption journey several months ago. I anticipate that we will be asked this question, and many more like it, throughout our adoption process and after we bring our son home.

When I was a Freshman in College, I had the opportunity to go on a mission trip to Belize. I had never been on a mission trip before. I was excited for the opportunity, but I had no idea what to expect. When I tell people I have gone to Belize, most exclaim “It’s so beautiful there! I would love to go!”

Here is the thing.

I didn’t go to Belize on vacation. I didn’t go to the tourist attraction. I went to the actual Belize where people live. There were orphans on the streets. Some without clothes. I was told that many stayed with extended family members, others didn’t have any family. Most were poor. With barely anything to call their own and nothing to their name. No parents to love them. No family to encourage them and help them. It broke my heart. These beautiful babies. Children the Lord had created for a purpose and a reason, with nothing. I wanted to bring them all home. It was then that God planted a seed in my heart to adopt.

Why choose internationally?

My husband and I looked into adopting from the US. We looked into fostering to adopt. However, the Lord is not calling us to adopt domestically. Not right now anyway. To be honest both Ben and I have a heart for children from poorer countries. Ones that do not have the same opportunities children in America have. I know you may argue that, that’s not fair. Children in the US need homes too. You’re right they do need homes. So do children all over the world. We shouldn’t forget the children in every corner of the world, simply because there are children near us that need help as well. Every life is important, no matter where they are at.

When we started our adoption journey, we prayed long and hard for what the Lord desired of us. To give ourselves to a child that we didn’t know, one whose life started with a tremendous loss. We surrendered wholeheartedly to God and he has blessed our steps thus far, every step of the way. I had talked to several agencies, friends who have adopted, family who had adopted and we prayed. We prayed continuously that the Lord would guide our direction.

We still do.

One day a few months ago I received an email from Rainbow Kids. They send emails out to subscribers who want to know more about waiting children. I glanced at it and I saw him. This little boy caught my eye and tugged at my heart. I clicked on his file and felt a connection right away. This little one was born at 26.5 weeks. He was around the same age as my youngest daughter. I decided to look him up on the agency he was listed with.

The requirements for his adoption were the same as China, it said.

My heart fell. China is the only country we don’t qualify for at this stage in our lives. I texted my mom and told him how I felt a pull towards this little one. “There’s probably no chance.” I said. “Inquire about him anyway.” she replied to me. So I did. The agency was quick to get back to me. “He is from Vietnam, the requirements are much different than China.” they replied.

Really? I thought to myself. This is amazing. We met every one of the requirements. I decided to show him to Ben. Ben, being the man he is, needed to pray about it. And he did. For a month. As impatient as I was feeling, I resolved myself not to mention the little boy unless Ben brought him up. I knew what I felt the Lord tugging on my heart, God would put on his as well. and He did.

About a month later, Ben asked me, “are you ready?” “Ready for what?” I asked. “To pursue this adoption, of this little boy?” Yes, absolutely. I was emailing the agency the next day. They sent me the required paper work. We went through the questions, the applications, the interview. A few days ago we were officially matched with our son!

This little boy, the one who tugged at my heart so profusely, was born at 26.5 weeks. He was left at the hospital by his biological mother. No other circumstances are known. We have no idea why she chose or had to leave. We may never know. He has been in the orphanage since he left the hospital. The travel to bring him home will most likely be a year from now, but we are praying for so much sooner.The process is long, the process will not and has not been easy.

So why choose adoption?

Because God loves the orphans.

Because these babies start life off with a tremendous loss.

Because everyone deserves a chance.

Because life is not truly about us.

Because if not us then who?

Honestly, adopting isn’t even about growing our family. Yes we want to. However, it is mainly about the child. It’s about what that little boy, and every orphan, deserves. We cannot live life as though it is about us. Because it isn’t. Life is about the least of these. Isn’t that what Jesus taught us?

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’- Matthew 25:40

 

Pray Big and Pray Hard

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Learning to Pray Big and Pray Hard

Today is December 1st. December is a hard month for my family, I’m not going to lie. December is the month all my precious children were born. It is also this month that my first child and only son, David,  passed away. December 18th, 2011. I have always been a Christian. I have always loved God. I didn’t understand the power of prayer though until I was an adult. When I faced those Decembers I learned how to truly pray.

I learned how to pray hard when I was in the hospital with David. After he was born. After he died. I learned what truly praying hard, praying with all your might, actually meant. I learned how to pray when I no longer wanted to exist. When I didn’t want to get out of bed. When I was begging God to just take me too. So I could be with my son. I learned what truly praying hard through grief, depression and anxiety looked like. I learned how to pray hard when I was in the darkest tunnel life had to offer me. When I saw no way out. Then, after all the praying hard, I saw peace. I saw joy. I saw a future, even though it was without my son, it was still a beautiful future.

I learned how to pray hard.

I learned how to pray big when I was pregnant with my second child. A girl this time. I had the same diagnosis I had with her brother. The same exact gestational week I was diagnosed with Pre-Eclampsia. I prayed big. I learned to pray for a miracle. Praying that some how, some way her precious life would be spared. A month on hospital bed rest. Then my strong-willed fighter was born. She is our Christmas baby. Born on December 24th, just an hour and 21 minutes from being born on Christmas day. She spent a month in the NICU. She was finally able to come home. After all the praying big.

I remember when I was pregnant with B and on hospital bed rest.

I saw a new doctor what seemed like every day. They took their rounds. I don’t remember many of them, but one specific doctor stood out to me. One that I will always remember. The first time I met him, he read my diagnosis, high levels of protein in my urine. However, my blood pressure was normal, I wasn’t swelling. There was no other indication that I had Pre-eclampsia. Except for the existence of protein. After he read the diagnosis, he told the other doctors and me. “So basically, we are just waiting for you to get sick.”

I looked at him as serious as can be and said “I’m not going to get sick.”

I was relying on my faith in God and praying big. I could have easily felt defeated. As though there was no hope for me or my little girl. Praying big required big faith. That is what I was determined to do. The doctor sorta chuckled and said to me “yes you will, there is no question about it. It’s just a matter of when.”

I could have listened to his words. I could have let the fact that he was a doctor with an education and science behind him get to me and discourage me. I didn’t though. You see, God had made me promises. Big promises. Before I was pregnant with David, my first child, a dear Lady I went to church with gave me a note, A word from God she said. She was not sure what the note meant, but she knew God wanted her to give it to me. At the time I didn’t understand it either. I tucked it away in my bible. I didn’t happen to see it again until the first day I was on hospital bed rest. I had grabbed my bible and the note fell out. Here is what it said:

Remember ye not the former things, neither consider the things of old.”
‘Behold I will do a new thing now it shall spring forth; shall ye not know it? I will even make a way in the wilderness and the rivers in the desert.”
“Put me in remembrance, let us plead together, declare thou, that mayest be justified”
Isaiah 43:18,19 & 26
“My dearest daughter look to no man, but look unto me. Do not listen to man, but only look to these words I give you and wait on me and again I will do as I said I will. Praise me in the hard things and in the good.”

When I read this note I realized God had given these words to me for right then. The doctors were telling me I was going to get sick. They were telling me the chances of going further in my pregnancy than what I did with David was slim. Some even hinted that she may not make it either. I chose to hang on to God’s promises and pray big. I made the decision to look to God only and not man. He asked me not to listen to man but to look at His promises that He had given me. That is what I chose to do. I knew in order to do that, I had to pray hard and I had to pray big.

When the same doctor came in four weeks later, he read the diagnosis again, and said “well, I can’t believe you are not getting sick, how come you are not getting any sicker?” He meant it as a rhetorical question I am sure. I took the opening anyway and said “I told you I wasn’t going to get sick. It is God. He made me promises and I trust in what he says.” The doctor just looked at me, shook his head, and said maybe. I never saw him again. If he actually believed me, I will never know. I learned how to pray big when I was pregnant with B.

All of that happened in December.

This December my husband and I are praying big and praying hard for a different reason. A new season in our life is quickly approaching.

As my husband and I enter into the next chapter of our lives we decided to create something for ourselves. Something to remind us what God has brought us through and what he has done in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These are not new concepts.

You can buy these signs anywhere these days. What makes them special for us is we made them. We built them together. Just like we have built our life together. They are not perfect, but they represent what we have been through and what we have learned together since being married. Since losing David and having our girls. I will post the final photo as soon as both are finished.  They will sit on our mantel, serving as a reminder to us just how faithful God truly is.

Which brings me to this. We will be making and selling these signs, along with several other sayings and scriptures. I will let you know as soon as our shop is up and running. The profits made from these signs will be going to something very important to us. We are not ready to share quite yet what that is, but soon. I just want you all to know how much both my husband and I love each and every one of you. Many of you have been here since the beginning. You have cried with us and rejoiced with us. Our journey would not be the same without all of you in it. Many of you have prayed hard and big right along with us. For that we will always be grateful.

Thank you.

Jenna