One fine day in China

(Another post written many months ago. I had planned on publishing this a while ago, but considering how honest you thought I was in the last post, which now is 7 months old, I thought maybe this one was way too honest, ha! So I never shared it. But, you guys, I am getting ready to share all that God has done for me, for Rowan, for our family in the past year, and remembering how hard it was at the beginning is part of it all. Life is hard, God asks us to do hard things all the time, half the time I feel like we don’t do what He asks of us because of fear, but it is so, so worth it to obey. This post is a story of God’s faithfulness. And so is the story of this year. God is good.)

There were a number of difficult days in China, nothing worse than our second day with Rowan, which I briefly wrote about last time. But things calmed down and we got through our first week. The second week we were in a new city to do our US visa paperwork and appointments. One of the requirements for a US visa is a medical checkup. We didn’t want to take all four kids with us, so Pete and I decided that I would take Rowan and he would take the girls and a friend for the morning, while the parents of the girls’ friend (another adoptive family in our group) helped me with Rowan. We figured three adults, 2 recently adopted kiddos, medical tests, what could be hard about that? (Actually, we didn’t think that at all. We knew it would be hard, we just liked to fool ourselves!)

What I didn’t count on was that the morning of the appointment, one of my daughters woke up and told me her head itched. Where we live and what we do have conditioned us to know what that means. And sure enough, I found lice in not one, but 2, of my girls’ hair the morning of our medical appointment in China, when I was tired to my very bones and wondering how we would survive the day to begin with, and very near tears most of the time. My friend (the one whose daughter was going to be hanging out with our girls that day) had the best reaction ever when I told her at breakfast and gave her an out from hanging out with us. First, she used a very accurate word which summed up exactly how I felt but which I shall not repeat here…use your imaginations. Then she said that she would rather they get lice from friends than from who-knows-where, and she sent her daughter to play with mine. Who does that?!! Real friends is who, friends who are in the trenches with you! Nothing better, and our story will forever include this other family who blessed us in more ways than just this…

Well, the medical appointment was as expected. Rowan was a mess, crawling all over the floor, which meant I was all over the floor. The doctors couldn’t spend much time with each kiddo and so when Rowan didn’t know what to do for each assessment because he had never been to school, they had to write intelectual delay all over his paper. And while we had had glimpses of a little boy who could learn and talk and listen during the past two weeks with him, I couldn’t help the fear from sinking deeper when I saw those words.

We made it back to the hotel, we tracked down lice treatment (thank you previous traveling families for leaving things with guides!), and I did the best I could combing out hair in a cramped hotel room full of 4 kids. We topped off the day with a panic attack from one of our other kiddos. Two hours on a bathroom floor (on top of towels that probably had lice…are you itching yet?!?) touching pinky fingers because that’s all that was tolerated.  At midnight I dropped into bed, utterly exhausted and wondering what God was doing. He told me…I think because He knew I would crumble without His voice!

He was telling me not to fear, because He created Rowan and looked at him in perfect love, no more or less than me or anyone else.

He told me that He knows the number of hairs (and lice) on my daughters’ heads.

He was telling me that He is the healer, the One who can mend broken hearts and minds. And that even if it’s not all okay in this life, it will be in the next.

Life has gotten more “manageable” since China, despite our current living in between as we wait for visa paperwork. But what I learned in China refreshed me in a way that is beyond human understanding. By all accounts, I should be completely done, exhausted, at my limit…which in some ways I am, but in the ways that count, I feel more content than I have in a long time. I know beyond all doubt that what we did in adopting Rowan was what God wanted us to do. And in coming to the end of myself in obedience to Him, He gave me that strength to run and not be weary, to walk and not faint, and even to soar on wings of eagles.


  1. I loved this post–although I am very itchy after reading it! I admire you both. Emily, you are such a good writer. Have you thought about publishing?

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