Maya's first formal family tree assignment came from Chinese School, not regular school. So not only does she have to produce a family tree, it has to be in both pinyin and Chinese characters!
Two issues make a family tree difficult in our family. First is the daddy-less girls thing. We have no branches for the father side of the traditional family tree. And in Chinese, it really shows, since you have different grandparent names for father's parents and mother's parents.
Second is the adoption issues. What if you want to include birth parents? There isn't a spot for them on a traditional family tree.
So Maya wanted to make an actual tree for her family tree assignment, with her as the trunk. She decided she wanted to include her birth parents, but wasn't sure how or where. Should they just be other leaves? Should they be fruit among the leaves? We finally hit on roots -- so those brown nodules among the roots are her birth parents. We couldn't find the Chinese for birth parents, so they say Chinese ma-ma and Chinese ba-ba. The leaves include big sister, four cousins, aunt and uncle, and Mimi, Grandpa & mama. With the leaves kind of randomly placed on the tree, the absence of a father-branch isn't so noticeable.
Maya had a great time making the tree after we came up with a design. If you're facing the same kind of project, here are some links to help with the dreaded family tree assignment: