Is there a reasonable way to refactor the events so that I don't have to manually go through every single usage and change the variable to the family variable before I delete the instance variable?
You could say the same thing for behaviors and effects as well.
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My objects are already in the family, and breaking them apart in an attempt at merging them would be more trouble than it's worth I'm assuming.
If you create a family variable with the same name as one of your child instance variable, you should be given an option to "promote" the variable to family scope, and all usages in the project are replaced with the family usage.
If this was implemented for variables, behaviors and effects, I would hail it as the greatest added feature of all time.