Introducing Josie!

November 4th, 2015

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.


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26 Responses to “Introducing Josie!”

  1. Missy says:

    I’m so happy for you and Josie! I hope you all will be blessed.

  2. Rebekah says:

    Oh this is wonderful! Welcome sweet Josie!

  3. Esther Paris says:

    Hey! Watch your tongue with the white-haired old lady comments!!

    Welcome, Josie! You are richly blessed to have four families who love you so much!!

  4. Becky says:

    Josie is a treasure….I’m so tickled that we’ll get to know her better in the years to come.

  5. Deanna says:

    I love to hear her laugh! She loves that fourth truth alot!

    I was so very happy to have her here for the fall fest! We look forward to many more campfires and s’mores, and good times!

  6. Heather says:

    Love those four truths – so important for her! Welcome Josie!

  7. Jane says:

    “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. ”

    Susanna, what a an amazing gift you give this beautiful girl with these words especially. I will respectfully repeat those words to some of my counseling clients in the coming years, substituting “all my four families” to “all of your trials”

    You are all beautiful. God bless you and your new, bigger family!!!

  8. Sarah says:

    Congratulations! It made me so happy for all you to see this. May God richly bless Josie and the rest of you through one another.

  9. Angie R says:

    Oh beautiful girl! You are going to bless your new family so much and so will they bless you. I am so happy for you guys! Praying for the road ahead as there is much to learn and sure to be bumps. But also, just as sure, lot and lots of blessing!

  10. sabrina says:

    So beautiful! She is a treasure. May you all bless each others’ socks off!

  11. Joan says:

    What a sweet, sweet little face…and such a happy girlie. You are all blessed!

  12. Jen Lehr says:

    What a beautiful smile! So excited for her and for your family! Surely many blessings are in store!

  13. Rachel Y says:

    im so happy for everyone that things are working out! ?

  14. What a wonderful, beautiful post to see today! I am rejoicing with you all!!!

  15. Meg says:

    Congratulations to you, your family, and your newest family member, Josie! What a wonderful day that must have been for you all. I for one am very excited for this new chapter! Josie has that undeniable light around her that will take her very far in life, I know it. That sparkle in her eye is so special. I can’t wait to watch her continue to thrive and prosper. Good luck in all you do, sweetheart! Susanna, I love your heart. You’ve been through so much yet you continue to keep your heart open, even when it is difficult. Even in all the struggles you face, you keep going. I know sometimes it’s hard to go on when your heart hurts, but you and your family continue to bring goodness and light into the world. I wish you all the best with Josie’s transition :)

  16. Welcome, sweet Josie girl! <3

  17. Kelly Sangree says:

    You were right – that smile knocks socks off!

  18. Melissa says:

    What a joyful person she is! This is so much of God’s timing…perhaps some of the pain and sadness of your recent past will be lifted by Josie’s sunny smile. He has given her–and you–the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Is 61:3). Welcome Josie!

  19. MamaV says:

    Hurrah! I’m So happy to see this!

  20. JennyO (Jen T.) says:

    Amazing!!! So happy for you and your family. Congratulations on your new daughter ! :-D. Love you, friend!! Jen T.

  21. Jodi says:

    What a beautiful, joyful post! I just want to read it again and again. So very happy for you and for Josie and for the whole family!

  22. Bri says:

    What a wonderful story God is working out for she and your family <3. I LOVE her delight in staying until "she's a little old lady with white hair". Precious!!!!

  23. Maria says:

    What a precious, beautiful treasure!

  24. Loren in AU says:

    As with all of your children, Josie just looks like she ‘fits’ and was made to be a part of your family!!
    Congrats to you all!!!

  25. Cassandra says:

    Oh, my. What a difference a day can make!

    She’s all that you described and more.

    It sounds like her cognition is strong and sure. That will make the transition easier in many ways. Certainly everybody’s life will be richer beause she is there.

    Do tell us about you, though. If you want to, that is. Will you homeschool your new little Miss? I’m sure you have been going through all the algorithims for your new schedule. But I suppose at this point it is part guess work as none of us can really know how things are going until we are knee deep in the midst of it all.

    Another girl. How fun. This child has no idea yet about the abundant life she will live as Josie Musser. The two names just fit! Make room for another Christmas stocking, Susanna !

    Be blessed today.

  26. Susanna says:

    Hello Cassandra,

    Based on our personal experience and knowledge of Josie and her needs (remember this relationship began as respite, or as we said to Josie, weekend sleepovers) as well as of how her needs mesh with our family’s dynamics, the criteria for her to live here full time were crystal clear.

    One of those criteria, along with a first floor handicapped-accessible bedroom and bathroom, a vehicle with a ramp or lift, a back sidewalk with a landing area accessible to such a vehicle, and a home health aide to take her through her morning routine seven days a week (and to routine medical appointments) is enrollment in our local special education program that is appropriate for her current needs. She will receive individualized specialized instruction and therapy there, as well as the degree of inclusion that will enhance rather than jeopardize her academic progress.

    Due to many factors, including the array of specific needs Josie has, our excellent working relationship with our outstanding local SPED director, the quality of the program and staff she oversees, and the fact that Josie loves school, we are confident that she will make great progress there, and that it will enrich her life.

    We will keep the after-school time and non-school day time as full of family time and as free of schoolwork, therapy, and medical appointments as is humanly possible. :)
    It truly does take a village to thrive as a family affected by disability. If God had not put all these pieces into place, that would have been our answer NO, because it would be impossible for us to meet Josie’s needs and function as a family on a full time basis without this specific structure in place. If God had not provided these supports that are necessary for Josie to be part of our family full time, we intended to go on offering one or two weekend sleepovers a month to her family whenever possible.

    Thanks for asking this excellent question. :)

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