Saturday, July 2, 2011

Happy Birthday Camden!

Hopefully our little guy is sleeping soundly right now after what we hope was a very enjoyable day for him.  In Korean culture a child's first birthday is met with much fanfare.  Long ago in Korea, the mortality rate of infants was quite high due to a number of circumstances.  According to my research, if a child made it to his/her first birthday the likelihood of him/her living a long life greatly increased, thus the first birthday was a very joyous day for Korean families.  Although the same issues of infant mortality do not exist today, the first birthday (or Tol as they call it across the pond) remains a very important day and cause for quite a celebration.

Our hearts ache that we weren't able to be with our guy today, but we were assured by our agency that his foster family and the adoption agency both will celebrate his big day. 

Him not being here doesn't mean we aren't celebrating, because we are.  The kids are going to be making cards for Camden and we have a delicious cake that we are anxiously waiting to cut into after dinner.  If he were here, we would have pulled out all of the stops and celebrated in traditional fashion. 

Take a look at what a traditional Tol celebration looks like in Korea...

The table the child is seated in front traditionally houses up to 12 different kinds of rice cakes, accompanied by a bowl of rice, various fruits, and sea mustard soup.

The traditions don't end there. Along with the food on the table, there are also a number of other items that the child will be able to pick from.  The tradition of picking from the items is called Toljabee.  This is the tradition I would have liked to experience with all of our kids, as Koreans believe the order that the child picks the items will predict his or her future based on the meaning behind each item  (and who doesn't want to see into the future?).  

The items include:

Bow and arrow: the child will become a warrior

Needle and thread: the child will live long

Jujube: the child will have many descendants

Book, pencil, or related items: the child will become a successful scholar

Rice or rice cake: the child will become rich
 Ruler, needle, scissors: the child will be talented with his/her hands

Knife: the child will be a good cook

Since I haven't had the pleasure of meeting our little Camden yet, I will be very interested to hear how he picked.  Although our other little ones never got to experience Toljabee, I have a pretty good feeling I know what their first pick would have been...

Parker - Book or pencil...the kid is smart

Lleyton - Bow and arrow...we could have this event every single day and Lleyton would pick the bow and arrow every single day

Addy - Rice or rice cake...Not sure how she is going to get rich but if I had to guess I would say I like her chances for ending up on the arm of a wealthy athlete or musician

We miss our little guy (if it's possible to miss someone you have never met) but we are excited to celebrate his birthday without him while taking plenty of pictures to share with him later on down the road. 



Pictures from today's festivities...


  1. Oh..Happy Birthday to ur little one!! I remember when Lily celebrated her bday in China without us last August. It was bittersweet..we were so happy for her to reach that exciting milestone knowing what she had overcome...but oh so sad we weren't able to be there. We picked her up in September so we were close:- ( We r planning on making it up to her this year!!:-) And is possible to miss someone u haven't met. Celebrating with u! Thank you Lord for sweet Camden!!:-)

  2. Happy Birthday sweet boy, many blessings & prayers from the Gutman Family!!!