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Q: Is it true that all former orphans have at least some attachment issues if adopted beyond infancy?
 
A: Based on the research available, all PI children, even those adopted as infants, will come home with some degree of attachment issues. According to contemporary understanding of this issue, attachment is formed when the primary caretaker (the person meeting the child's needs) responds in an effective and timely manner to the baby's needs. When there is a break in the relationship with the primary caregiver, this can lead to attachment difficulties. Because of the nature of any orphanage, our children's needs are being met by multiple caregivers according to a schedule rather than when the child actually needs it. Our children are not given the opportunity to complete the Cycle of Need successfully or to form a healthy relationship with a primary caregiver. Therefore, theoretically none of IA PI child come home on the secure end of the attachment continuum. Moreover, adoptive parents are strangers to their children and when they come home there may be an initial bond, but true attachment is something that forms over months and years... not in the matter of a few weeks. Actually, it would be a miracle if any IA children were totally, completely attached to adoptive parents when they come home or even within the first two or three months! There are things adoptive parents can do to help move them to the more secure end and to make that process quicker.
 

 

Psychological services for internationally adopted children. Copyright ©1998-2017
Last update on September 12, 2017

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