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.
- Work with informed professionals in adoption agencies that the community regards as offering quality adoption services.
- Take the time to explore your own feelings about substance abuse in general and your experiences with substance abuse—in your own personal background, with family and friends, and in the work place.
- Take the time to explore your own feelings
Why did you adopt special needs children?
At the time we had three birth children who were boys and we wanted to experience raising daughters. We had fostered special needs children for many years and felt we were able to meet the challenges that come with parenting special needs children.
How long did it take?
Celine and husband Dan Green live in a small town nestled in the BC mountains. Like many, they could not produce children biologically and found the intercountry adoption option too costly. However, they were sure about one thing: They wanted children. As independent business people well connected to their small community, said Celine,"we had a lot to offer a child, and we wanted more fulfillment in our own lives."
The Decision to Adopt
Kathy and Rick Miller already had four birth children between the ages of nine and 16, when they decided to add a sibling group of two to their family. "We enjoy children a lot," said Kathy, who has a degree in Child and Youth Care. "We have lots of parenting experience, and we felt we had a lot to offer as a family." She and Rick, who is a teacher, wanted more children, but felt that it was better "to expand our family by adding children who genuinely needed a home, rather than biologically."
Trauma and Brain Development
The brain develops from the inside out. A newborn’s brain has about 100 billion cells. At birth, the primitive brain, called the brainstem, is sufficiently developed to insure that vital functions can be maintained independently for a short period. Baby can breathe, the heart beats, the body temperature self-regulates, reflexes are operating. This is nature’s way of insuring that survival has a chance.
We encourage you to develop a few simple style guidelines that would foster more accurate, objective, and respectful coverage of adoptive families in the media.
Adoption is a one-time legal event in a person's life, not a lifelong status or personal trait. The fact that a person was (not is) adopted should be mentioned only if it is essential to the story, on the same basis as mentioning a person's race. If relevant, it must be clear in the context of the story.
At one point we actually referred to it as 90 months of failure. But it was through the pain of years of infertility that we finally opened up to the option of adoption. It always seemed like having to settle for second best-runner up-the silver medal. If only we knew then what we know now, we would have started the adoption process so much earlier.