As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, families everywhere will gather to celebrate gratitude, unity, and the enduring bonds of love. For families who have opened their hearts to children through adoption who have a history of trauma, this time of year holds a special significance as well as unique challenges. Building new traditions can be scary, but it’s an opportunity to build core memories that can foster healing and attachment.

Thanksgiving Family Dinner.

Why Core Memories Matter for Adopted Children

Children who have experienced trauma, particularly those who are adopted, frequently face a tangle of deep emotions. The warmth and support of a family during festive occasions such as Thanksgiving can be pivotal in their path to healing. Crafting joyful, lasting memories through shared family experiences does more than just fortify family ties; it lays down a stable and affectionate groundwork crucial for the emotional well-being of children.

Thanksgiving Crafts: Creating Together

Crafting together as a family is a wonderful way to engage and connect. Here are three simple craft ideas that are both fun and therapeutic:

BONUS: These require very little prep work for the busy Mom and Dad! You can use items around the house to create these crafts.

  1. Gratitude Tree: Have each family member write what they are thankful for on a leaf cut-out and attach it to a homemade tree. This visual representation of gratitude is a beautiful reminder of the love and appreciation within the family.
  2. Thankful Placemats: Let each child design and decorate their own placemat for the Thanksgiving table. This activity gives them a sense of contribution and belonging.
  3. Family Memory Book: Create a scrapbook filled with family photos, drawings, and notes. This project allows children to reflect on happy memories and anticipate creating new ones.

Cooking Together: Nourishing Body and Soul

Mother and son rolling out sugar cookies together

Cooking is far more than a mere act of preparing food; it is a heartfelt journey of creating warmth and togetherness. In the kitchen, amidst the rhythmic chopping of vegetables and the harmonious sizzle of spices, people come together, breaking down barriers as they cook together. It’s a space where stories and secret recipes are shared, where laughter and aromas blend seamlessly, creating an atmosphere of familial warmth. Aromas possess a subtle yet profound power to heal and comfort. Never underestimate the power of vanilla!

Each stir of the pot and roll of the dough becomes a shared moment, a memory etched in the family narrative of those in the kitchen. Cooking, in its essence, transforms an everyday necessity into a celebration of connection, love, and the timeless art of feeding both the body and the soul.

  1. Baking a Pumpkin Pie: Involve your child in the baking of a traditional pumpkin pie. The act of measuring, mixing, and tasting can be a delightful sensory experience. Pumpkin Pie is simple enough to allow even the youngest of children to participate in making.
  2. Decorating Cookies: Bake sugar cookies and let children decorate them with icing and sprinkles. This allows for creativity and expression in a fun, tasty way.
  3. Assembling a Fruit Turkey: Create a fruit platter in the shape of a turkey. This healthy and creative activity is perfect for younger children and promotes healthy eating habits.

Remember, the goal is not perfection but connection. Be present, patient, and encouraging. For children with a history of trauma, the reassurance and acceptance found in these shared activities can be profoundly healing. As we gather this Thanksgiving, let’s cherish the opportunity to build core memories with our children. Through crafts, cooking, and shared experiences, we create connection, love, and belonging that lasts a lifetime. At Madison Adoption Associates, we believe in the transformative power of family and the healing potential of love. Let’s make this Thanksgiving a memorable one for every member of our family, especially those who have joined us through the beautiful journey of adoption.