January 27, 2014


Despite the fact that my daughter shares none of my genes, my mom swears she is just like me when I was a kid.

We certainly do have a lot in common.  In fact, Jubilee is a perfect companion for me.  I seriously don't know what I would do without her.

It's as if G0D looked at all the orphans in the world and handpicked this one just for us, and us for her.

Wait, that's exactly what he did.

January 26, 2014

He takes care of our every need

There weren't many boys born in 2007, at least not in the circles we run in, over here in East Asia.  Zion plays with boys a year older, and boys a year younger, but nary a one who is exactly his age.  When you're 6, a year makes a big difference.

The exception is my friend Jessica's eldest son, Jordan, who lives in another province.  Jordan and Zion have known each other since before their first birthdays.  We met them in Florida before coming overseas, and every couple of years since we've met up with them on this side of world.  Whenever that happens, Zion and Jordan attach themselves at the hip.  Both boys are kind, obedient, and empathetic.  Honestly, other than our beloved Zekes in Shreveport, and our dear Sam in Kansas City, there isn't another boy on earth with whom Zion clicks better.

And this month, the L0RD surprised us by arranging for Jordan and his family to be at the Juniper Tree at the same time!  There are big changes coming up for this sweet family, and we're not sure when we'll see them again.  But we have a feeling this won't be the last.  G0D has a way of surprising us - and taking care of our ever need.

January 25, 2014

The Thai tooth fairy

Zion lost his first tooth!

Well it wasn't exactly lost.  It was yanked out, by a funny Thai madame dentist with a knack for twisting balloons into machine guns.  The patient's two brothers were thrilled with that.

First, Zion is weighed in.  No scale-busting going on here.

Next, Bright explains to Zion, and the doctor, how the procedure works.  Zion is hanging on Bright's every word.  The doctor is wondering who let this kid into the room.

Just when Zion thinks he is ready, the momentum is broken by an oversized fluoride treatment that brings much grimacing.

When that is over, it is time for the yanking.

And the deed is done!

The next morning, there were three, crisp, red, 100-baht bills under his pillow.  That amounts to about $10, which is the going rate in the Rupp household for the very first lost tooth.

Or yanked tooth.

Congratulations, Zion!

(Notice he is once again wearing his St. Patrick's Day shirt.  We pack light for Thailand.)

January 22, 2014

Jubilee, then and now

This is a still-shot from a video that the orphanage sent us with her file at the beginning of 2011.  Jubilee is 19 months old in this picture.  We would not bring her home for another six months.
Three years later.

January 19, 2014

lucky day

Amazingly, while wearing his St. Patrick's Day shirt (it happened to be what I dressed him in today) Zion found a four leaf clover!

I'm not Irish, and I don't believe in luck, but this kinda makes me go, "Hmmm."

January 17, 2014

The closest I come to advocating

I contribute to a blog that advocates, and supports the families of, Chinese special needs adoptions. 

It's a great spot.  Many people find information and comfort there, in a world where adoption is becoming more and more common (praise G0D). 

But thinking of something to write every month can get difficult, especially when Jubilee's adoption happened 2 1/2 years ago, and most things to be said about it have already been said.

So yesterday, when I sat down at my dinosaur of a laptop, which is plugged in to an outlet on the plank-wall of this Thai bungalow, I thought and thought about something to write.

She's beautiful, but I don't want to brag; and besides, her looks are obvious.  She's good-spirited and bright, but there I go bragging again.  What about adopting a toddler with a special need from another country? Well, it's no walk in the park, but most people already know that.
Eventually I thought of something to say that I hadn't already said, but I'll tell you, my pool of ideas is drying up.  The truth is, adoption is just so...simple.  A child is a child is a child.  They laugh when they're tickled, they test the boundaries, they ache for love, they don't like crunchy vegetables in their pasta sauce, and they will call you Mommy if you show them you're not going anywhere.

Should you adopt?  Probably, but not because I said so.  Who am I to tell you what to do?  I'm just a girl with four kids, one of whom happens to be adopted.

January 14, 2014

The best sandwich on earth

If you're ever in the area of Chiang Mai, Thailand, go here to eat.

Amazing is right.

January 13, 2014


Many women come here to the Juniper Tree, from all over Asia, to have their babies.  I did.  We're like blue whales, migrating to warmer waters to have our young.  One such woman is named Randy.  For days we greeted her - and her lovely large belly - at the breakfast table, sorry to see her there, because it meant that she was not at the hospital.  The due date came and went, days ago, and still Randy was there, every morning, with her redheaded husband and her toddler son. 

"Praying and waiting," she'd say with a smile. 

We've all been there, haven't we?  Or we will be, at some point.  There are times when important things are right around the corner, and we can't help but assume a posture of waiting.  Waiting on a baby to be born, or a coming wedding, or even death - when a fatal illness has become too painful anymore to bear.  My sister-in-law is in another category of waiting altogether; a member of that heroic few who live the rest of their lives waiting to hold their child again.

But too often we wait for lesser things.  We wait for the water to boil, for the popcorn to pop, for that important email to come through.  We wait for the snow to fall, for the snow to melt, for our shoes to dry, for the sun to set, for the baby to cry himself to sleep.  We wait for our show to come on, for our phone to ring, for our bad haircut to grow out. 

We wait lots of our lives away, I think.

Today Randy went into the labor.  She wasn't at the breakfast table.  Her redheaded husband was there, his hair all mussed up and his eyes dancing.  He was scooping cornflakes into a bowl for his laboring wife.  It was an exciting morning for everybody.

And then, as the morning dragged on for them, Randy's labor tapered off and eventually stopped altogether. She could be seen walking about the grounds, willing the labor to return.  Her husband fidgeted with his phone, absently watching the toddler son, looking nervous.  At one point, I passed the anxious pair and their son, and I said, "Your last day as a family of three, huh?"

The husband looked at me, as if that fact had not occurred to him before.  I walked on past them, but I couldn't help but wonder if maybe the little family of three would take a sec and enjoy life as they know it, before it changes forever. 

After all, the sweetest moment is the one we're in, isn't that what they say?  I tend to agree.

January 08, 2014

like superglue

They'll bond to anything.

They'll bond to blankies and teddy bears and the like, of course, but also wads of toilet paper, a thin red string, a worn-out pair of shoes from two winters ago, you name it.  They bond.  It's what kids do.

We figured that out real quick with Jubilee 2 1/2 years ago when she had known me exactly 5 minutes and already wouldn't let me put her down on the floor.  Inside of a few hours she would not let me out of her sight.  I had to take her with me to the bathroom, to refill my coffee, everywhere I went.  She was bonded to me.  Immediately.

Now I admit, it took me a little longer to bond to her.  Adoptive parents-to-be should know that.  Expect it.  I think it's because we're adults, and somehow as we get older we loose our superglue powers.  We become more like paste; the home-made kind, of flour and water.  After a long, long while the bond is set, but not before.

But kids, they are definitely superglue.  We have been at the Juniper Tree what like 4 days now?  Is that all?  Yes, and the kids already have friends they swear are the best friends they've ever had.  Zion's one such friend, the redhead pictured below, is so dear to Zion's heart that Zion can't even remember his name:)  He leaves today for Bangkok, and Zion cried and cried yesterday evening to hear the news.

"My friend...my friend...what's his name again?"  Zion sobbed bitterly.
"Elliot," Daniel supplied.
"Elliot.  My friend Elliot is leaving tomorrowwwwwwwwwwwww!!!" 

Oh the heartache.

I guess that's the downside to bonding.  It hurts when the bond is broken.  And maybe that is the reason we adults have turned to paste.

What a pity.

January 07, 2014

our home away from home away from home

We came here four years ago to have Brave.  We linked up with my parents here two years ago, for them to meet their new granddaughter, Jubilee.  We've come here at other times to tackle medical issues, and we are here this time for Daniel's continuing education.

The Juniper Tree is truly our home away from home away from home.

That's a lot of homes.  And yet, do we Rupps really have a home?  We sure have a home in Heaven.  Oh dear, that makes this our home away from home away from home away from home.


Whatever you want to call it, we love it here.  We love it very much.  Happy January in Chiang Mai to us!
The cabins here are built on stilts, and furnished with donated beds and chairs.  This place is for people who do what we do, and costs about $30 per family per day, with meals and laundry included!
But the kids (except for Jubi) don't eat enough while they're here.  They don't like pad Thai (except for Jubi), and so we feed them lots of bread (and consequently lots of prunes).
The view from our school room window. 

January 02, 2014

a pleasant dream

Last night I dreamed that Daniel got a new position.  It turned out, he was unmatched in his ability to build and repair the shuttles that went to and from the new International Moon Colony.  I got to go with him on one of his shuttle runs, and I milled around the colony for the afternoon, under a blue sky with wispy clouds (not a scientifically sound dream, I admit).  There I ran into Brad and Angelina and their kids, who were taking a little time away from all the hullabaloo on earth.  I walked the one street, paved in cobblestone brought from earth of course, and perused the small building with windows and siding in which Moon visitors could congregate for coffee and light conversation.  Everything was very quiet on the Moon, and quaint, and it was a very strange feeling indeed to wake up on my own mattress under a pile of covers, in a crowded city with no fresh air to breathe and no time to spare before the kids would be asking for their breakfast.

But it was a pleasant dream, and I had a nice visit while it lasted.