ATTACHMENT AND BONDING
ATTACHMENT AND INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION
The incidence of attachment issues among internationally adopted children is unknown, as is the outcome of children with these problems. Attachment research on international adoptees to date has focused on a specific group of children: those adopted from Romania in the late 1980s to early 1990s. These children came from institutions where they suffered extreme neglect and deprivation. These studies on attachment address the ability of children to develop a first attachment after infancy.
In a comparison of Canadian-born children with Romanian children adopted to Canada after either greater than 8 or less than 4 months of institutionalization, several important findings emerged. Not surprisingly, the longer-institutionalized children had lower attachment security and more indiscriminate friendliness, but there was no relation between these two behaviors.
Some of the characteristics that differentiated each group are shown in the following table:
|DIFFERENCES IN ATTACHMENT SECURITY
| More Typical of Longer-institutionalized Children
Wants to be put down, then fusses and wants to be picked right back up
Is demanding and impatient
Easily becomes angry at parent
When upset tends to stay where he or she is and cries
Plays roughly with parent: bumps, scratches, or bites
Is quick to greet parent when parent enters a room
| More Typical of Non-adopted Controls
When picked up puts arms around parent
| More Typical of Shorter-institutionalized Children
Shows a pattern of using parents as a secure base from which to explore
Follows parent when asked to do so
Recovers quickly from crying if held
From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.