Growth and Development in Internationally Adopted Children: Extent and Timing of Recovery after Early Adversity

22 December, 2010

Reference: Palacios, J., Román, M., Camacho, C. (2010). Growth and development in internationally adopted children: extent and timing of recovery after early adversity. Child: care, health and development, 37, 2, 282–288.

Abstract: Background. Following initial adversity, internationally adopted children arrive with significant growth and developmental delays. Post-placement recovery has been widely documented, but little has been known about its extent and timing several years after placement and in children with diverse pre-adoptive experiences.

Methods. A total of 289 children adopted from six countries into Spanish families were studied. Growth and psychological development were considered on arrival and after an average of over 3 years.

Results. Growth and developmental initial delays affected a substantial percentage of the children. Post-adoption recovery seemed quicker and more complete in weight and height than in head circumference and psychological development. Initial and later values were correlated, but growth–development relation on arrival subsequently lost significance. Most of the catch-up happened in the first three post-adoption years.

Conclusion. Adoption offers an impressive opportunity for recovery after previous adversity, although continuity between past and present persists. The improvement is more marked in some areas than in others and more substantial in the first post-adoption years.

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