I read this article with interest. It is the conclusion of a study by Dr. Patrick F. Fagan.
There are a number of significant findings in this study. One of those was the fact that the earlier a child is adopted the better. All of the well-intended protection for children who must wait for adoptive parents to be cleared to adopt them, not to mention the enormous fees to be paid, seems to actually amount to counter-productive interference. Foster programs have not had very positive outcomes statistically. For an enormous number of individuals in the system, the results have been devastating. One would do well to ask, Why not remove the prolonged foster care route altogether and make adoption much more assessable? Yes, there are risks–to anything. But statistically it makes sense to get children into their own family!
What caught my attention beyond some of these findings was from the following section of the study:
"The Adoptive Mother: Attachment and Child Adjustment
According to attachment theory, children form secure attachments to caregivers who are sensitive, responsive, and predictable. This holds true in adoption. An adoptee's attachment security as an adult depends heavily upon his perceptions of his adoptive parents' love and care for him. Not surprisingly, the sensitivity of the adoptive mother strongly influences adoptee development.
Having a secure attachment history contributes to a child's social competence and ability to relate to others. The self-perception of secure (or insecure) children will enhance or diminish their ability to function psychologically. Though this is the normal attachment pattern for children with their biological mothers, the process is equally critical for successful adoption outcomes, as the following results will show.
While still in infancy, children develop the capacity to form attachments and recognize different people. Most have developed a preference for one particular person by six months; by nine months, the attachment has deepened and they can distinguish between strangers and familiar faces. Once they reach 12 to 14 months of age they develop strong connections to their "primary attachment figures"–usually their birth mothers.
When children are adopted later than infancy some level of strain between mother and adopted child will occur. Despite such difficulties, having an adoptive mother is of great benefit to these children, because adoptive mothers spend more time with their children than do mothers in any other family structure, including mothers in intact families. The more time a mother spends with her child, the more sensitive she tends to be, resulting in the finding that increased time spent with the child is associated with a higher HOME score (a score which indicates an enriched and positive home environment)."
Adoption Works Well: a Synthesis of the Literature, Marriage and Religion Research Institute 2011
Association for Wise Childbearing subscribes to the beliefs found in the upper paragraphs here. What is interesting is the impact that is had on the mother (and hopefully, and ideally, the father as well) when attachment occurs between parent and child. Attachment Parenting proponents focus primarily on benefits to the child. Here it was found that the influence felt by the parent, and subsequently and ultimately in the home when the family is bonded, is an additional noteworthy advantage to all. A stronger, less-penetrable home–another considerable benefit to the child.
So the more time parents can spend bonding with their children, being a part of their children's lives through their growing up years, the more positive and enriching the home-life, and ultimately the more well-adjusted the individuals will be that come from that home and go out into the world to serve within it.