Sunday, February 24, 2008

The Year of the Rat

My family and I went to a Lunar New Year Party today. The adoption organization that we belong to sponsors it every year and we dutifully make the hour trip. They have a session where they show children how to play the drums and dance. My son loves it and talks about it for days. A local Korean restaurant caters the event and we enjoyed it (even though we had gone to a different Korean restaurant yesterday). I had kimchi, rice and vegetable pancakes. My son inhaled the Korean barbecue beef (which he thinks is ambrosia), bean sprouts and a little rice.

On the way home, I started thinking about what it meant to be the year of the rat. After all, in my world, rats are not exactly something that you want to be compared to. Some quick internet searching showed me that the (lunar) rat is a sign of prosperity and material wealth. People born in the year of the rat are leaders. There are also the standard bad things that can be associated with people born in the year of the rat, but that is to be expected…the whole yin/yang theory.

I always wonder what has changed over the years. My automatic reaction to the rat is to shudder. I think of disease and beady red eyes. Quite frankly, I think “yuck” and “double yuck.” Of course, we also have more recent history that includes plagues and other various diseases that rats have been blamed for. However, thousands of years ago, someone looked at the rat and saw prosperity. The human mind is amazing and complex.

Link: Korean Times

Link: Chosun


Third Mom said...

Hi, Mo, Belated Happy New Year!!

새해 복많이 받으세요!

jauzi90 said...

south or north korea?

Mommavia said...

Not related to this post, but was wondering how your adoption process is going?

ashli said...

Please forgive me if this post is inappropriate. I'm kind of at a loss here and would like to talk with someone who actually knows what they are talking about and doesn't seem to have an agenda. My husband and I have two children, and we were thinking of adopting a little one from Korea. International because it's a sure thing (we had a painful, failed domestic adoption) and Korea, because of the travel policy (insane fear of flying on my part after losing a family member in a plane crash). At any rate, we were looking into Korean adoption via Children's Home Society (who works with Wide Horizons). We're reading books, learning, exploring, examining. Spot of background: I was raised by my grandparents after living with my original mother and father (divorced) on and off for a few years, and while I loved my grandparents dearly, being abandoned by my original parents was (and still sometimes is) complicated (I'm 37!). Point being that I know adoption has DIFFICULT, COMPLICATED, lingering aspects to it; I'm not confused about that. However, I'm coming across stuff like from and I'm wondering what this means and what to do. Egads, I'm the dreaded, hated white woman. It's not something I can help. I was kind of born this way. Were you adopted by white people? Do you feel it's harmful to Korean children to be adopted by parents of a different race?

Also, I'm concerned about what I see to be the great downfall of international adoption: no openness. Is there a way to search for your child's parents? Is there a way to keep them updated of their child's progress? Is there a way to preserve any semblance of the relationship, foster unity for the mental and emotional health of the original parents and the child? What can be done to this end? And what about sensitive issues like encouraging one's child to learn Korean in order to help facilitate reunion at some point? Would a person appreciate this or resent it? Wouldn't it depend on the person? Are we damned if we do and damned if we don't?

I think I'm pretty discouraged right now. Sorry for dumping some of my concerns on you, but who would know better than you? I can't ask anyone in the adoption arena. Children are their bread and butter, and as Christian as they say they are, I fear they have an agenda.

Again, please forgive me if I have caused any disruption or pain, or if this post is offensive by its very nature. I assure you it was not my intent--I'm just clueless, so please forgive any negativity my ignorance may have caused.

Mo said...

jauzi90 - South Korea

Mo said...

ashli - please feel free to contact me at