‘Love them to bits; spend time with them; have fun with them’: New Zealand parents’ views of building attachments with their newly adopted Russian children
Johnstone, Jocelyn; Gibbs, Anita
• Summary: Focus groups and semi-structured interviews were conducted with 15 parents from New Zealand who had adopted Russian born children. The aim of the research was to explore the ways in which parents establish and build their parenting and attachment relationships with their ‘new’ children. • Findings: Findings revealed the immense commitment, child-centred focus, and conscious parenting of parents. The range of strategies used to build relationships and attachments included: quality time, play, touch and holding, and communication. Parents’ high levels of commitment were established through preparation to adopt, especially the acquisition of knowledge about and understanding of attachment issues. Support groups, notably other adoptive parents were also critical to enhancing relationships between children and their adoptive parents. Fathers were actively engaged in the process of building attachments. • Applications: Intercountry adoptive parenting is a special kind of parenting, especially because of the challenges presented by children often neglected or abused prior to adoption. Helping prepare parents for both the rewards and challenges of intercountry adoption and supporting them post-adoption still needs to be improved by professional social work services. Acknowledgement of parents’ and children’s resilience and strengths that they bring to the new relationship will help create realistic expectations on the part of professionals and would-be adopters.
Publisher: SAGE Publications
Rights Statement: Copyright © 2012, © SAGE Publications
Keywords: attachment; children; intercountry adoption; parents; parenting; social work
Research Type: Journal Article
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