Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Goodbye Busi

Busi went home yesterday. I sat trying and trying to write about it last night, couldn’t stop crying, and realized that all in all it’s just not possible to sum up in a blog post a story and a life that has so dramatically changed your own.

There are no words to describe the painful, scarring beginning that Busi had to her life. Any attempt to truly tell her story would fail miserably because there aren’t words for when people are treated as less than human.  

There are no words to capture the God-given joy dwelling in her perfect little body despite all she’s been through.

There are no words to praise her for the way she’s completely changed my heart and thoughts, and those of every auntie, therapist, and visitor that’s ever been blessed to know her.

There are no words that can adequately tell the redemptive story between Busi and her mother, one that took years but was totally worth the wait.

There are no words to describe the hole in my heart now that she’s gone.

Busi's first day with us.

I spend more one on one time with Busi and Joel than any of our other children. I spend hours each week taking them to therapy, stretching them, and feeding them when they’ve gotten home from therapy late and missed lunch. Dwelling on their needs and also their accomplishments takes up a lot of my time, and it forms a bond that is deep for us.

So when Busi’s mom showed up on Friday to get her, it just crushed me. It didn’t matter the meeting we’d had with social welfare earlier in the summer preparing for this moment. It didn’t matter that I knew it could be coming any time. It didn’t matter that I’d been praying for this very day to come.

What do you do when the thing you’ve been praying for so long is the same thing that wrecks your heart?

I taught Busi’s mother all of the stretches we do daily with Busi. I cried silent tears as I would stretch one side of her body, and then have her mom try the other side. With each stretch and each day she gained more and more confidence in stretching Bus, and it was so neat to watch.

When we were done stretching the first day, I asked Busi's mom if she believed in God. She said yes. I asked her if she thought God made mistakes. She said no. I told her over and over again how her daughter is so very special, that God didn't make a mistake when he was forming Busi either. I told her to testify to everyone she meets about God's perfect creation in Busi. And we sat and cried together with all the aunties, a room full of mothers loving their baby. I had to keep telling her how happy we were she was here to get Busi because I wanted to make sure she didn't mistake the tears for something they weren't. And then I told her, "Bina Busiku, we have 73 babies in this place, and we have so many visitors that come here and see them. And do you know which baby almost everyone loves and remembers and asks about more than the others? Busiku. And she's yours! You are so, so blessed."

An un-staged picture of Busiku being adored
After four days of training and bonding, it was time for Busi and her mom to go home. We all gathered around them and prayed. And cried. And hugged. I loaded them up in my truck for one last stop.

It's blurry, but oh so sweet.
Francis, our physical therapist here at Namwianga, is one of Busi’s biggest champions. And for the last year of her life, he has poured his love and affirmation into her as he willed her little body to do more than we thought it could do. He got her sitting, he got her using her right hand, he got her to show jealousyJ, and he made her feel like the most important girl in the world. He always says he’ll name his first born daughter Busiku because of her. He could make her come alive like very few can. And as I took her into his office one last time, his heart was breaking, too. I brought Busi’s mom in to meet him. He took Busi from her, picked her up, kissed her sweet face, gave her back to her mom. He’d pick her up again, hug her tightly, and then give her back to her mom again. With tears in his eyes he called Busi his daughter, his #1 patient, and told her mom how he would never, ever forget her firstborn. Busi’s mom blessed him over and over again for the work he did with Busi and with one final hug and tears in all our eyes, we headed off to town.

We found the lorry that was going to take them back to their village, far in the bush where there is no cell service. I awkwardly lugged her huge wheelchair out of the back of the truck, and then the umbrella stroller that allows her to sit closer to the ground with her friends. Then we lugged the huge suitcase, holding her special cups and bibs and therapy toys. 

 I sat and watched awhile after I got them all settled in with the lorry. Busi’s mom had chitenged Busi on her back, and I watched multiple people come up to her, asking about Busi. She proudly smiled as she was looking at her, obviously talking about her. I have no doubt it’s going to be a tough road for this mama. But she wants Busi, and there is a tremendous power in being wanted.

I’ve had so many questions swimming around in my head since Busi’s mom arrived last week. What if her mom doesn’t take care of her properly? What if she gets sick and there’s no way to let us know? What if she stops stretching her after awhile and she’s in pain? What if the people in her village treat her like an outcast? I’ll probably keep wondering, deeply wanting the best for this perfect child.

But as I drove away from the bus stop, JJ Heller’s song “Your Hands” was playing in my car. These lines kept hitting me:

When my world is shaking, heaven stands.
When my heart is breaking,
I never leave your hands.

Your hands that shaped the world
Are holding me.
They hold me still.

How comforting to picture the very hands of God that created this whole world holding sweet Busi, protecting her, loving her. Picturing those hands has carried me through these last two days, and I’m sure it will continue in the days and weeks to come. Please join us in praying for Busi, her mother, and their whole community. and thank you for all the prayers you've said on her behalf over the years.
Busi and her mama

Busi's very first day of therapy last year-- look at those precious legs! They kill me.
This smile is too perfect.
My very, very, very favorite picture of Busi ever, playing dress up.
Pure delight.
Busi's first time to sit-- the proudest moment!
After she lost her first tooth!


  1. The tears won't stop.............
    Thank you for sharing Busi with me...I only know her through pictures and stories from you but I deeply love that girl!
    Thank you Meagan for allowing me to share in her life and fall in love with her.

  2. Oh Meag, I am sobbing again. Clara stopped in her tracks and fell in my lap looking at the pictures. She snuggled her little head into my chest and looked at Busi. She asked about her and I told her about her. Busi is so sweet and so beautiful. I love you and I am praying for that special family.