Traditions are the perfect way that you can intentionally teach and maintain family values, increase bonds, and establish group identity and familial belonging. Traditions offer stability and something both to look forward to and reflect back upon throughout the years.
For families who had recently acquired a new member through adoption, setting traditions is the best way to ease any awkwardness or shyness. Adoptive and foster families may find traditions are an especially helpful and meaningful way to ease some of the struggles that are common in most families. These yearly traditions can be like family member appreciation and development.
Hold a Potluck Dinner
At least twice a year, plan a potluck dinner with extended friends and family. Encourage your adopted and foster children to invite a friend, each! Do not take no for an answer and offer to pick up the guests if necessary. This get together is one way for members to pride themselves in their family unit and share it with those outside.
Have a competition for the best potluck meal and dessert with special honorary titles or handmade trophies for the winners. Let your kids take pictures and frame the prints for each winner. Of course, you want your kids to take part in the cook-off, so plan ahead with a few recipe ideas that are simple enough to put together.
Camping with the Family
Find a time of the year where your family can go camping. Nature affords an opportunity to break from the noise of life. The beauty of the outdoors can lend to individual reflection, gratitude, and inner (and often as a result, relational) peace. A good time may be during the peak of Spring Break.
Other options include the start of summer or as a part of a New Year’s or after Christmas getaway. Local to Orange County and Kern County residents is Mountain and River Adventures Campground. Kern River Campground and Buena Vista Aquatic Recreational Area are other options, but the area is ripe with camping options.
Game nights are an affordable and relatively easy way to loosen up and have fun together. Build girls versus boys teams, parents versus kids teams, or pair up an older sibling with a much younger one. Change teams up through the nights if a team is not working well together, but do so with a light attitude and in the spirit of fun and adventure.
For adoptive and foster care parents, these tips can be of great help to gradually break down walls and move towards being a family, made possible with Orange County and Kern County organizations like ChildNet Youth and Family Services.