• Michelle

An Open Letter to the Child Coming to Joy Ranch

Dear Precious One,

It is SO good to meet you! We know you probably have a lot of mixed emotions about being here. We want you to know that we are glad you're here (though you might not be glad to be here...and we understand that.) Whatever your situation, whatever the reason that brought you here, we are thankful that we get the chance to know you.

We want you to know that you are a part of our family. It’s one big, crazy, chaotic, fun-loving family. It’s different and it’s loud and it’s silly and it’s probably unlike anything you’ve ever seen. But, it’s a family none-the-less and now that you're here, you're a part of the crazy! We love you like you are ours and will be your biggest cheerleaders, advocates and supporters.

Of course, we know you have your own family that you love and long to be with and that's wonderful! We don't ever want to replace them. You love them, they love you and those are special relationships that nothing can replace. We are just "extra" family, here to love and guide you for this season.

We also know that your time with us is probably temporary. It may be a few weeks, it may be a couple years. But in the grand scheme of life, it won’t be long. We are just one stop on your journey. However, there is no doubt that you will leave an imprint on our lives and we hope we will leave one on yours. You will always be welcome here, no matter where life takes you.

You may think it's somehow your fault that you're here. Please let us assure you, it's not. There are lots of reasons kids come here, but it's never because they are "bad." No matter how you feel or what anyone says, being here is not a punishment and it's not your fault. A wise person we know likes to say there's a "reason and a season" for everyone who comes here. And it's true. In your season here, we pray that you will come to understand the truth of who you are and the plan God is working out in your life and it's all for your good, even if it doesn't feel that way right now.

While you're here, you'll hear us talk about Jesus quite a bit. We will read the Bible and pray and go to church together. We don't know what you know about Jesus or what your experiences have been with church, but our prayer is that you will experience Jesus like never before and know him in a personal way through your time here. He is the best comforter, healer and friend you could have.

I think this is a good time to mention that we aren't perfect around here. You'll see us mess up and we won't always handle things perfectly. And you won't, either. That's okay, because in a family like ours, you will see grace as we apologize to each other and forgive each other and grow together.

There's going to be a lot to take in and get used to in your first few days and weeks here. Even this letter is probably a lot to take in! We'll go over the cottage rules and guidelines, chores, laundry, allowances, schedules and all that as we go.

But the most important thing you can take in right now is that you are seen, you are wanted, you are welcome, you are loved here. By the One who created you and by your new Joy Ranch family. We look forward to showing you that.

Welcome to our family.

With love,

Your House Parents

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(276) 236 5578

813 Joy Ranch Road

Woodlawn, VA 24381

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