Prospective parents may require therapy

Adoption social workers will have to increase their sensitivity to
prospective adopters’ previous experience of loss or trauma if more
adoptions are to be successful, new research suggests.

The Adoption and Attachment Representations Research Project
measured the attachments and psychological development of 65
maltreated children aged four to eight years old, and their
adopters, over the first two years of placement.

“The majority of children, even those who were very damaged,
benefited from their adoptive placements over time,” said a
spokesperson for the project. “However, 11 of the 65 did not
progress. These children had adoptive mothers with unresolved adult
attachment issues. We speculate that they were pre-occupied with
their own problems and memories.”

The project, which involved the Anna Freud Centre, Coram Family and
Great Ormond Street Hospital, suggests that if adoption workers
identified these problems at the pre-placement stage, the parents
could seek therapeutic help. This would mean children and adopters
being matched more successfully.

– More on the project can be found at

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