International Adoption Info

Newsletter #107 for Internationally Adopting Parents
April 2, 2009
PAL Center Inc.


6th Annual Education Conference


April 17-18 at
Texas Christian University
Fort Worth, TX

For more information



Sunday, April 26, 2009
8:15 am - 5:30 pm

UJA Federation,
130 E. 59th st. Manhattan

BGCenter Presenters
Boris Gindis, Ph.D.
Ida Jeltova, Ph.D.

In Round Table

1:15 - 2:30 pm

For more information

You receive this newsletter
as a former client or correspondent
of the Center for Cognitive-Developmental
Assessment & Remediation,
or a former student
of the BGCenter Online School,
or a user of the International Adoption Articles Directory.



Latest Articles
from the

International Adoption Articles Directory

New Articles

Failure to Thrive Syndrome

Gerald Fitzgerald
Understanding non organic failure to thrive syndrome for a baby
Failure to thrive is a restriction in normal physical development which might lead to slowdowns in the normal development and normal maturation.

Harriet White McCarthy
Failure to Thrive
When a newly arrived post-institutionalized child receives a diagnosis off failure to thrive, what does that really mean to his new parents and family? In older adoptees, a diagnosis like this can be devastating. Whereas most very young children with this diagnosis "grow out of it" quickly with good food and parental devotion, the damage done to an older child requires much more intensive therapy to overcome. This is the story of one child who came to America at age five years and received a diagnosis of Failure To Thrive. You will follow the progression of therapies from developmental pediatrician to Occupational Therapist to Psychologist and finally to school support.

B. Gindis, Ph.D.
Cognitive, Language, and Educational Issues of Children Adopted from Overseas Orphanages. Part IV
Traditionally, in education and in cognitive psychology, the causes of cumulative cognitive deficit have been attributed mostly (if not exclusively) to a "culture of poverty," that is, to ongoing cultural/educational deprivation resulting from poverty. In contrast to this "single cause approach," the determinants of cumulative cognitive deficit in international adoptees may be associated with a combination of medical (e.g. failure to thrive syndrome), socio-economic (neglect, abuse, poor nutrition), and cultural and educational deprivation in early childhood. Consequently, the remedial efforts should be multifaceted.

Dr. Gindis answers your questions

Q: We have significant problems with home work assignments: our boys (9 and 11 years old) adopted nineteen months ago from a Ukrainian orphanage, are not able to do it on their own and resist our help. Our relationships are tense; we are spending ridiculous numbers of hours on homework which is not healthy for all of us.

A: First, homework may be a new cultural territory for some orphanage residents: there was no such activity in the orphanage-based schools (so-called "school-internat" or boarding school) on the elementary school level (grades 1 through 4). All school assignments there are completed during long school hours and the rest of the day is filled with different activities. In this case, it is difficult for a child to accept the notion of continuation of the school at home where parents turn into teachers/tutors.

Second, homework is based on a self-directed, self-regulated behavior. Unfortunately, post-institutionalized children are lacking exactly this capacity: immature self-regulation is a "trade mark" of a recent orphanage resident. Therefore, homework for them may be no less that an acute distress.

Third, adoptive parents - as parents in general - are not the best teachers for their own children in many cases: they do not have "teaching authority" in their child's perception, may lack patience, may not know the "tricks of the trade" of teaching, and/or the right methods of helping their struggling child. As a result, completing homework with parents may result in tears on both sides. But what is more important, parents' tutoring can negatively affect attachment: it may be confusing for a child who is not used to parent-child relationship yet; thus parent's tutoring can foster tension and chronic conflict situation.

What can be done? First, make an appropriate arrangement with the school. Talk to teachers and school administrators explaining them that due to the specificity of your situation you may be in a precarious situation attempting to monitor and enforce your child's homework activity. Ask for the suggestions, ask the school to modify/rearrange homework assignments for your child, suggest introducing special time in the school day (earlier in the morning, or during the recess, or after the school) when school personnel will be working with your child on homework assignments.

If you can afford this, hire someone else to do homework with your children. A visiting tutor will eliminate the danger of mal-attachment with you.

Educate yourself on this issue, carefully think through the logistics of completing homework in your house, implement your plan wisely and consistently.


To unsubscribe
send e-mail to
with the subject: unsubscribe