Factors Affecting Attachment in International Adoption
Although a relatively small (22 adoptive mother–child pairs) study, the results on attachment security six months after international adoption were fascinating. Contrary to what is commonly believed, age at adoption, developmental status, length and quality of pre-adoption care, and adoptive mother’s feelings of attachment were not significant predictors of the child attachment status 6 months post adoption. The two factors that were significantly predictive of healthy attachment between a mother and child 6 months post adoption were the number of pre-adoption placements and the child’s stress level. Children who had fewer pre-adoption placements had higher attachment security; similarly, children who had lower stress levels had higher attachment security. Results suggest that consistency of pre-adoption care is more important than its length or quality. Further, children having foster versus orphanage care prior to adoption differed in quality of pre-adoption care and in certain attachment behaviors, but not in overall attachment security.