Cement Family Bonds Through Traditions
Every family has its own rituals that reinforce unique bonds. The rituals can be as simple as eating pancakes every Sunday or as complex as dip-net fishing for King salmon in Alaska each summer. Traditions such as these help create bonds in adoptive families. The most enduring traditions cost little money, like the family who takes one evening a month to focus on one member, to describe in verse, drawing, or recording just why that person is special. Your family traditions will remain important as your child becomes an adult.
Your traditions may change as your child leaves your home. It may no longer be possible to have Sunday movie nights if your child has moved away. Your child might not arrive home for Christmas until that morning, meaning you will have to shift your Christmas Eve traditions to fit her schedule. Part of being a family is being flexible enough to change your traditions to encompass your child's growth.
Your child may also use her new independence as a way of testing whether she really is a part of the family. If you don't wait to grill the hot dogs on the Fourth of July until she gets there, she might wrongly interpret that to mean she really isn't a member of the family. Your role is to make sure she knows how important she is, but help her understand the entire family cannot revolve around her. Some traditions have to stick, and if she is late, that's okay.
As your children grow, you may need to create new traditions to meet the growing family's needs. You could plan to meet at a seaside cottage for a week in the summer each year or create new ways to keep in touch when you are apart.
For example, one family writes a bimonthly newsletter for members who live all over the country. The responsibility of editor rotates yearly. The designated editor makes sure each sibling and the parents have a current address list, then sends out a request for articles, jokes, or comments.