Adoption From Abroad - Three Quarters Of Children Do Well, Ireland



Children who are adopted from abroad eventually adjust to their new lives and do well, although up to a quarter of the children experience some persistent problems following their adoption.

This is the conclusion of Dr Elizabeth Nixon and her colleagues at Trinity College Dublin. Their results will be presented at the British Psychological Society's Annual Conference in Dublin today, Thursday 3 April 2008.

She and her colleagues looked at 180 children and teenagers who had been adopted in Ireland from countries such as Romania, Russia, China, Vietnam and Ukraine. The children, now aged two to 17 years, had been, on average, around one and a half years old when they had been adopted.

The researchers found that half of the children displayed levels of difficulty immediately following their adoption such as feeding, sleeping and sensory problems. Many of these problems were short-lived and lessened over time but there were a number of persistent problems, such as language and attention difficulties. One quarter of the children had ongoing problems with distractibility and hyperactivity and one in ten had ongoing attachment difficulties.

Children who were adopted after 18 months of age and who had spent longer times in institutions displayed greater problems.

Dr Nixon said: "Adopting children from abroad, especially Eastern European countries, has become more popular. Our research shows that the majority of the children are doing well, but for some children problems persist due to their adverse start early in life.

"The problems and issues which the children display can be resolved with the assistance of suitable therapeutic services. Ireland's pending ratification of the Hague Convention will mandate the government to provide these services."

British Psychological Society