We are thrilled to announce that we have a new daughter! Josie has blessed our lives since God first brought her to us last spring, and on Sunday, we became her legal guardians!
We wanted to celebrate this significant day in some way, and were given permission to bring her to Lancaster county for the afternoon! She’s currently living two hours away in a residential rehab facility for six months following bilateral foot surgery in June.
She is working so hard and making great progress in school and her therapy sessions, and has only seven more weeks until she is discharged for good! We are praying that her room will be finished by then so she can come directly here!
Katie and John Michael were our travel companions on Sunday. I’d been trying to scheme up some way to get some more face-to-face talking time with Josie, and a long road trip provided us with plenty of opportunity for connecting further about some deep and important issues.
And plenty of time for goofiness and laughter! We just love to make this girl laugh!
We stopped at home briefly to look at the addition, to help her visualize where her new room will be.
And then on to our friends’ home for their annual fall fest, where Josie was lovingly welcomed!
Ben-bean, look who’s here!!
She enjoyed a couple of very bumpy off-road hayrides with her usual gusto, as we knew she would!
The time we could spend at the fall fest was so brief, but so sweet. It brings me to tears to remember the tender welcoming-in and gentle helping hands our church family offered her.
And then it was campfire time! It was still so hot we had to sit a distance away.
One of the concepts that is tough for Josie to wrap her mind around is lengths of time. I have noticed that she grasps abstract ideas more readily if I can paint word pictures for her. To help her visualize the passing of time until the day it’s time for her to leave rehab and come be part of our family, we made laminated count-down calendars for November and December. She was thrilled about this idea! Now she will be able to cross off the days as they go by and watch the distance to December 23rd grow smaller and smaller!
As we sat outside our house looking at the beginnings of the addition, I helped her visualize coming home to our house in December by painting a word picture of how cold and dark it will be, with Christmas lights on the front and back porches, and inside, at the end of the living room, there will be a Christmas tree.
I had also used part of our lengthy talking time on the road to begin to answer her question, asked out of confusion, with no trace of resentment or bitterness, “Why?”
Looking directly into my eyes, trusting me to tell her the truth, “Why?”
There will be many more conversations as time goes on, but right now, we want her to know four true things.
I explained each truth to her, and went over all four statements several times, until she could repeat them back to me. She memorized them quickly. They are now hanging on her bulletin board in her room at rehab, so the staff members who work with her can help her go over them. I can also review them with her when we talk on the phone.
Josie knows, loves and trusts the Lord Jesus in a simple and real way, and these four truths resonated with her.
One. It is not my fault. [Kids ALWAYS blame themselves for things like this and this must be addressed head on.]
Two. My mommy and daddy want what is best for me, and they truly believe it is best for me to be in the Musser family.
Three, and most important. God knew all about this. He is good, and He will use all four of my families to make me who He wants me to be. [We talked about this one for a long time. God can see the big picture of her life. He had this as His plan all along, and He has used Josie’s first three families in special ways in her life to prepare her to be part of our family from now on. He has designed all four families to help her become the person He is molding her to be. She is already an extraordinary young lady, we have big visions for her, and we are eager to see what God does with her life as she matures into adulthood.]
Four. The Mussers will be my family until I am a little old lady with white hair. [This one makes her laugh! We are planning a special ceremony as part of a Sunday morning, to stand before our church fellowship and commit to be her family for the rest of our lives.]
Josie, here is what I see when I look at you. You are a smart, patient, strong, sweet-natured, hard-working, pleasant, determined, good-humored and capable young lady, and with God’s help, you are going to do more and go farther than you can imagine right now.
You are a treasure and we love you to pieces.