Separation, loss and new bonds: Attachment in adoption
Keywords:Adoption, attachment behaviours, internal working models of attachment, indiscriminate friendliness, institutionalization
Children’s integration into new families through adoption creates a context in which new emotional bonds can be developed, but it is a process that also implies separation and loss. Adoption offers a unique opportunity for the study of attachment, and at the same time, attachment theory helps us better to understand one of the most important processes implied by adoption. This article summarizes the main empirical findings about attachment in adopted children, including indiscriminate friendliness. Research has shown that adopted children can build secure attachments with their adoptive parents, but the available evidence also shows that the influence of past adversity will mediate the process and that emotional recovery will happen earlier at the behavioural level than at the representational one.