Adapting the family tree with our own holiday rituals

Years ago, when my daughter was in kindergarten, the infamous family tree assignments started to come from school. To allow for the fact that Choice families don’t have a father’s side to fill in, we came up with our own solution. Now it’s become one of our holiday rituals.

At Thanksgiving, we do a “family flower,” to establish the people that have been important to us that year. Our name as the center. The petals for the family and friends that are closest to us. The leaves and roots for those who have sustained us over time.

Maybe this is a ritual you’d like to adapt in your family? If so, please share!

Our flowers in 2012 (it’s always interesting to see how dramatically they change year to year).

2012 flowers

— Mikki


  5 comments for “Adapting the family tree with our own holiday rituals

  1. December 1, 2013 at 11:07 am

    My daughter will be entering kindergarten and I will simply use as much of the donor info as possible should such an assignment come up. Teacher will also be made aware of our family situation if necessary.

  2. Anetta
    March 18, 2010 at 3:13 pm

    Having just survived the 2nd Grade Family Tree, I can honestly say that it turned out to be a valuable experience for both my son and for me.

    It forced me to really think about how to approach the topic, to sit down with my son and really explain that he does have a biological father (it had been more of a nebulous concept), and to field the many pointed questions my little 8-year-old had on the topic for me.
    It all ended beautifully… I was fortunate enough to be able to watch my son give his 15-minute oral presentation on his family tree. Once he was done, the first question from a fellow student was, "Don’t you have a Dad." Without even blinking (while my lips were trembling from nervousness), my son responded, "Yes, I have a biological father. Next question."

  3. Laraf123
    March 9, 2010 at 6:22 am

    I love this idea! I actually have worried about this very assignment even though my boys are only 3 and 1. I’m going to save this in my idea file!

  4. aiyana
    March 8, 2010 at 8:19 pm

    I love the flower. Great way to own your story. My daughter is now 13 so much of that is behind us. I made sure that her teacher knew our story. She was a wonderful support. It turned out to be a really good time to again talk about the fact that there are lots of different families and that ours was just one type. We practiced how to handle prying questions that she did not feel comfortable answering. It turned out to be fine because the teacher did the lesson very appropriately. Now that she is in Middle School with all of the girl drama I am glad we dealt with all of that and reaffirmed how special our family is just the way it is.

  5. Diane
    February 24, 2010 at 8:16 pm

    This is a fabulous idea. My son is 15 months old and I always worry slightly about how school projects may make him feel uncomfortable. This is a nice solution to a not-so-uncommon school assignment.

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