Attachment theory and children in care
by Harriet Fancott
As the millenium comes to a close, we thought a recap of the most important changes in adoption over that period would be fitting. For simplicity, however, we decided to stick to the last decade.
The Adoption Act: The biggest catalyst for change within the BC adoption community over the last decade came with the new Adoption Act, which was introduced in 1994 and came into force Nov 4, 1996. The 1994 Act replaced the 1957 Act and was hailed as one of the most progressive in North America.
For a period in this country’s history (1868 to 1925), more than 80,000 children from British orphanages were transported via steamship to Canada. They were settled with rural farming families in Eastern Canada. The younger ones, three to five years, were often adopted and grew up loved and happy. Many of the older children, ranging in ages from four to 17, were treated as chattel. The conditions they endured were harsher than those from which they had been "rescued" in the slums of Britain’s industrialized cities.
In this discussion paper, I hope to open a door for reflection and discussion within the adoption community, meaning adoption agencies, support services, and adoptive and prospective adoptive parents. It is time to examine our underlying values and biases in adoption, and address how the adoptive system advantages some, while disadvantaging others.
The permanent ban on adoption from Romania highlights the political nature of international adoption. Romania is a country from which many Canadians adopted throughout the 90s to 2001, when the government brought a moratorium into effect.
The Romanian government has faced pressure from all sides, from countries whose citizens are eager to adopt, and from the European Union (EU), which appears to have political biases against international adoption.
These are the findings of Dr. Elinor Ames' research on the Development of Romanian Children Adopted to Canada. In 1990, Dr. Ames, an adoptive parent and professor of developmental psychology at BC's Simon Fraser University, began her research on the effects of institutionalization on children adopted to BC from Romanian orphanages. That same year, 1013 children were adopted from Romania to Canada, the single largest influx of intercountry adoptions in Canadian history.
by Brenda McCreight, PhD, RSW
by Dana E. Johnson
The most difficult area in adoption medicine is predicting the needs of children adopted from orphanages. We are only beginning to understand how these kids are doing. Studies have been too few to say with certainty what percentage is normal (even if we could define "normal"). Also, the situation changes with time. Some children resolve problems, while others begin to exhibit them as the years pass. Because studies only deal with a two-to-five-year period after adoption, no one can speculate on long-term issues.