Adaptation of Chinese-born adopted children
Bobrovitz, Candace Denise
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Resiliency, the ability to adapt effectively after exposure to severe adversity, has received limited attention in children who have been raised in orphanages abroad, then subsequently been adopted by families in North America. The purpose of this longitudinal study was to investigate the development of young children adopted from China and to examine the protective factors that might account for enhancing their competence and adjustment. In particular, the areas of competence that were related to the home and school settings (peer relations, rule governed behavior, and academic achievement) were explored. A small sample of five adoptive families was recruited. The children had been adopted from an institution before 21 months of age and were between five to eight years of age at the time of the study. Both qualitative and quantitative measures were used to explore the problem under investigation. Standardized measures included a behavior scale (Child Behavior Checklist-CBCL), a family environment scale (Home Observation and Measurement of the Environment-HOME), a basic concept and readiness scale (Vineland Adaptive Behavior Scale-VABS), and a play scale (Test of Playfulness-ToP). Interviews were conducted with parents about their child's competencies in both the home and school environments. Results revealed that all of the children had adequate scores on the VABS Adaptive Behavior Composites and overall T scores on the CBCL 6-18 were within the normal range. Correlations between adoption age, total T scores on the CBCL 6-18, and number of siblings did not reveal statistically significant relationships. Competence scores on the CBCL were all within the normal range. The home environment and familial relationships were suggested as possible protective factors for enhancing the children's resilience. Implications of the findings are discussed with recommendations for further research.