Celebrating our first Korean Lunar New Year as a threesome

Last year, all we had was a photo.

When we attended the Families Through Korean Adoption Lunar New Year celebration a year ago, we had just received our referral two days before the event. We were still a bit shocked that it had finally happened, and heady with the joy of knowing our son's face. As we watched all those families at the event, still conscious of the fact that we were one of the few there without children, new friends showered with the first oohs and ahhs as they looked at our photos.

This year, we've come full circle. That sweet face we shared in photos at last year's Seollal was sprinting around the party in person. We had a chance to catch up with our friends. And once again, I was surprised and touched at how significantly our lives have changed in just one year.

Here are some highlights of our night:

© Cheese Curds and Kimchi
  • He wore his hanbok for the first hour of the party. It's such an ornate and beautiful piece of clothing. It was given to him by his foster family so it's especially special to us. I have to admit that I was a bit scared he would tear it or stain it. He's only worn it once, on his first birthday, and I was surprised to see how much better it fits him now. So I sucked up being worried about it and tried to enjoy seeing him wear it because soon he'll outgrow it.
  • Little Man slept on the 1 1/2 hour car ride, and when we arrived, he was fully rested and ready to par-tay! He hit the ground running. In fact, he ran so much that he actually threw up. All over my camera. And me. Of course, that didn't slow him down a bit. He was in heaven! I wasn't as thrilled about riding home with the wafting scent of puke, but I did enjoy watching him have such a good time. He also discovered a love of bleachers and perfected climbing up and down them.
  • Learning to do a sebae: Children perform a deep bow to wish elders a happy new year. The traditional greeting at this time is "saehae bok mani badeuseyo (새해 복 많이 받으세요)" which translates roughly to "Have a blessed New Year." Children are usually gifted with money and words of wisdom after their bow. Little Man tried to learn how to bow, but he was really confused about why all these adults were staring at him and what we were trying to get him to do. He was pretty happy about his "money" though!
  • Coloring a dragon mask: 2012 is the Year of the Dragon, a year of good fortune that represents hope and courage. The Dragon is a good sign to be born under, but another really interesting fact from a Korean Times article states, "The Year of the Dragon comes every 12 years, but the Black Dragon arrives every 60 years, making 2012 even more special. The birth rate is expected to rise next year, as many married couples will want their baby to be born under the energy of the dignified, powerful black dragon. (Read the whole article HERE.)
Photo by The Man. © Cheese Curds and Kimchi
  • K-Pop dancing, Tae-Kwon-Do demonstration and magic show: I was baby wrangling during this part of the program but The Man shot some awesome photos!  
  • We also couldn't help ourselves....picked up a set of these cool Korean blocks for Little Man from the Hanji Crew who were selling items at the event. Two Korean adoptive moms run the company and the proceeds benefit Korean Cultural Groups. Great people, great cause, and they have super great stuff!

{image credit}
  • Ddajki game: This is a traditional game where you try to flip your opponent's playing piece over by striking it with your own. Little Man thought throwing the pieces was fun. (Of course, throwing anything is fun!) Click HERE for instructions on how to make your own. 


  • And of course, we ate lots of great food! There are these lovely women from a Korean church who cook for our group. Love that.

We are already looking foward to next year's event!

Celebrating Seollal (Lunar New Year) in Korea {Visit Korea}

Korean Festival: Seol {Click Asia}

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