March 1, 2015
A parent’s role in a child’s life is an extremely vital one. The absence of a parental figure in a child’s life can be detrimental to the child’s cognitive and social development. Many orphans are deprived of a connection with a parent and ultimately, these children are robbed of early bonding with a parent, which is needed for healthy attachment. The attachment theory suggests that children (during infancy and as toddlers) develop an understanding that their parents will be there for them, which encourages them to explore the world with an embedded psychological comfort that they are safe to do so (Arnold, 2012; as cited in Bowlby, 1969, 1973, 1988).
Children are institutionalized and deprived of a healthy childhood and can severely affect a child’s brain and behavioral development. Many children suffer from many behavioral, mental and health issues. Studies have confirmed that institutionalized children are severely damaged with dramatic reduction of brain activity, social and behavioral issues. As a result, this affects their ability to form strong, healthy relationships with other human beings.
Institutionalized children are not stimulated in a healthy and loving way and in turn, self-stimulate by self-mutilation or self-inflicting physical pain. Depriving a child for even a month of affection can set a child physically, mentally, and emotionally back one to two months. Many children are in need of being adopted, but the adoption process is so complex, it makes it nearly impossible to adopt a child in the prime early years of his or her life.
When a child is finally adopted, the family goes faces many communicative matters that come with adopting an international child. Discourse dependency is a social constructionist view that helps to examine and render the cultural positionality of transracial, international adoptive families (Galvin, 2006a). When a child looks inherently different than their parents, it sometimes invites invasive questions and remarks that otherwise would not be asked had the child look like their parents. Many of the questions or remarks are in some way challenging the family’s identity. Suter and
Ballard’s (2009) study demonstrates the value of language and communication. Parents were asked to identify questions and information they would choose not to share (i.e. cost of adoption, child’s story, etc.) while others were uncertain of the questions they would not answer, arguing that it is an invasion of one’s privacy (p. 115). Suter and Ballard (2009) argue that these remarks or comments scrutinize the family’s identity. Stamp (2004) insists that language can often create a hostile context that can also disconfirm a family’s identity (Cissna & Seiburg, 1986). Additionally, Galvin (2006a) recognizes typical external boundary management processes that adoptive families face (i.e. legitimizing, defending, explaining and labeling); furthermore, families with adopted