However, I did want to share something that we do that has turned into a tradition of sorts, and could be something for you to consider - especially if you're newly returned to the U.S. and facing a language barrier, or if you've adopted (or are fostering) an older child.
One of the first things I ever did one-on-one with our oldest daughter (age 12 at the time of adoption) was to take her to a paint-your-own-pottery place. In the beginning, the kids were all at different schools, and school holidays and vacations rarely aligned with each other. This would leave me with days to kill with our oldest who was refusing to speak to me (and definitely did NOT like me). I knew she liked to draw and paint, however, so one day I told her that we were going out to lunch and then to a pottery shop. Despite her scowl and "I don't care" shrug of the shoulders, I could tell she was excited to be doing something, even if it meant being with me.
I introduced her to 5 Guys (burgers & fries), which she reluctantly ate (and now loves) and then we drove over to our local pottery shop and I told her she could pick anything to paint. It took her a while to decide - but it took me even longer to choose, and I suddenly heard her thickly accented English saying, "Come on, Carrie! You take so long!" It was almost the most she'd said to me (other than angry outbursts in Spanish), and she was actually smiling because she was giving me a hard time. For the next hour, we sat in relative silence while we painted, but it was the most pleasant interaction we'd had since we'd met.
Of course, when the other four heard about what we'd done, they all wanted to go and do the same, but I held off for a few months, wanting it to be something special for her. Something that she and I had done together, giving us a first good memory. These days, we grab my mother and head over to the pottery store every spring and fall break from school. One can only paint so many mugs before it becomes excessive, so this last time I decided to start an ornament collection. An ugly sweater memory of how quietly painting gave us common ground, even if it was only for an hour.
If you've recently adopted and are struggling to find common ground, why not try something out of the ordinary? Paint pottery, visit an ice cream shop where you can select your own toppings, trek out to a corn maze or pick your own pumpkins. Mere hours after we arrived at home with the kids, we were all out at a cut-your-own Christmas tree farm, making our first memory as a family. We went again last year. And this year, our oldest heard about an Operation Christmas Child event that the youth from our church were going to help with, but before she signed up, she wanted to make sure it wouldn't interfere with our tradition of Black Friday Christmas Tree cutting. Traditions matter, so look for something you wouldn't normally do and start building those memories.