Over 4,000 international adoptions take place in Spain every year. Although the process of adaptation of these children is very similar to that of those living with their biological parents, some studies show that they are more prone to being hyperactive, to having behavioural problems, a low self-esteem and doing poorly in school. A group of researchers at UAB carried out a psychological study aimed at examining adaptation among adopted children with a sample of 52 children from different countries aged 6 to 11, and a control group of 44 non adapted children. Countries of origin included China, Nepal, Bulgaria, Russia, Ukraine, Columbia, Guatemala, Haiti, Peru and Ethiopia.
The research reveals that there are relatively no differences in the adaptation processes of adopted and non adopted children. This seems to be due to resilience variables - both individual and familial - which counteract the effects of negative experiences and propitiate a favourable development, similar to that of children who have not undergone these experiences.
The most differentiating aspect among adopted children is that they are less likely to somatise psychological problem and thus suffer less from problems related to somatisation, i.e. the appearance of physical symptoms caused by anxiety or psychological conflicts. With regards to differences between girls and boys, variations seen in the adaptation abilities of adopted boys were not observed among girls.
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