Hao La. This phrase was used much in our time while in China – it means, “It’s ok.” April and I were wanting to learn some Chinese phrases that would be a particular comfort to our children and we were told that ‘hao la’ is equivalent to our ‘it’s ok’. When the girls would cry through the night, “Hao la.” When Faith would not calm down on the ride to her home city to apply for her passport, “Hao la.” When the girls had their TB tests a couple of days before we left, the nurses would draw blood and machine gun the phrase at the girls, “Hao la, hao la, hao la, hao la.” It’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s ok. I wound up adapting the phrase and would use it when we would get harried, “Everybody say, ‘Hao la!'” April would echo the ‘hao la’ portion and we have the kids doing it now that we’re home.

The phrase that we’ve often used for the girls is one that we’ve needed to be reminded of the past couple of days. Hao la – it’s ok. It has been quite difficult since we’ve been home. Faith has been having terrible trouble sleeping. She is having mini night terrors. This causes her to wake up every 20 minutes, scream for a minute or two and then lay down and go back to sleep. As you can imagine, this has left April and I quite weary. Having seven children before Hope and Faith, we know the weariness that comes from newborns, toddlers, teethers, high fevers, vomity nights, stinky Rota virus blowouts, trips to the ER, walking the floor to comfort whines and sighs and everything in between. You can usually find a little bit of time to catch some rest in the midst all of that.

But night terrors. Whew – there’s no rest found. You just ride the wave, waiting for the next scream – the ‘terror’. We’re hoping that this is a quick phase, perhaps an adjustment to a new time zone, a new home, new faces or all of the above. Yesterday was really tough. April was up with Faith from 11-2 a.m., I heard Faith’s cries and relieved her for the rest of the middle of the night shift. When Hope woke up at 6 a.m., I was ready for April to take over for me so that I could get some much needed rest but April came upstairs exhausted having listened to Faith cry all night.

This was the first time in quite awhile we were having the ESP mind wrestling match. I shot April a look that conveyed, “I’ve been up with Faith all night and if you think that you’re going to be the one that’s going to bed, you’ve got another thing coming.” April fired a look back that said, “I’m tired. You’re going to need to ‘man up’ and take one for the team so that I can keep my sanity and get some rest.” Again no words were spoken but having been married for over 20 years, we know what the other is thinking (at least what we perceive that they’re thinking) by a look.

April went downstairs to our room to consult a book about night terrors. She had been gone for 30 minutes so I went down to check on her and sure enough, she was fast asleep in the bed with the book right beside her. Everything was ‘HAO LA’ for April! I dutifully but crabbily took care of the girls and boys for the next six hours while April slept but I was impatient with the boys, sinfully impatient. I was able to seek their forgiveness for my sinful heart. I’m thankful to be able to point my boys to the cross when their papa sins, the same cross they need to look to to be forgiven for their sins.

April came upstairs around 1:30 p.m., well-rested and relieved me to get some sleep. I was finally able to doze off around 2:30 p.m. and slept until 6:30 p.m. We were both so thankful to the Lord for granting much needed rest. We had a decent evening at home and game-planned on how we would tackle Faith during the night. It was decided that I would sleep with Faith in Graceann’s room. Her room is in the far corner of the upstairs. Our hope was that if Faith cried, it would not disturb April, Hope and Grace (now sleeping in the basement).

The girls fell asleep around 8 p.m. which was a good start. We put Faith in the pack-n-play around 9 and she slept quietly until midnight. I went to bed around 11 but I was still awake from my long nap in the afternoon. I was able to nod off around 11:30 but Faith woke up with a whimper 30 minutes later. I put her in bed with me and she did much better throughout the night. She only woke up a dozen or so times (much better than the 25 or so times the night before) and I was able to get decent rest. She didn’t wake up screaming either. She would sit up in the twin bed, look at me, smile and lay back down. It’s as if she was checking that I was still there and when she saw that I was, everything was okay and she would go back to sleep.

April and Hope slept great. Faith was up at 4:50 a.m., Hope joined her at 6. We gave them their first morning bath. It is so sweet to see them playing together in the water. They share toys with each other and Hope is very much loving her little (big – Faith is nearly a head taller but six months younger) sister. Faith is not nearly as interested in Hope though.

Tonight we are praying that they sleep even better. There is a sense in which this has to get under control as I need to go back to work on Monday. But the Lord gives grace, He knows our frame – He remembers that we are dust. We trust that whatever He gives us, He will also provide the strength to bear up under it. Thank you for your notes of encouragement, love, meals and prayers. We have been so well cared for particularly by our brothers and sisters in Christ. We are going to have meals for at least the next couple of weeks. Your help has been much needed and we thank God upon every remembrance of you.


Having fun with Jake.



Fun with Sissy.

1 Comment on “Everybody Say, “Hao La!”

  1. I love this post for so many reasons! It is so REAL. We need to see past the adorable photos and see the REAL as we are about to embark on this journey. Thanks for being real. And pointing us to our Lord and Savior as well. We are going to start practicing our “Hao La’s”!!!!
    Can’t wait to get to China!!!!

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