Adversity, Adoption and Afterwards

A mid-life follow-up study of women adopted from Hong Kong

Written by Julia Feast, Margaret Grant, Alan Rushton, John Simmonds and Carolyn Sampeys
Price: £14.95
Publisher: BAAF
Publication date: 2013
ISBN: 978 1 907585 64 7
Adversity, Adoption and Afterwards front cover
About the book

Children who have experienced orphanage care and have then been placed for adoption have rarely been studied into adulthood. The extent to which early adversity, especially lack of personalised care, creates problematic developmental pathways has been a longstanding question for those interested in human development.

This unique follow-up study of a group of women adopted from Hong Kong institutions in the 1960s by British families offers a rare opportunity to pull together and analyse information from the early orphanage years, the women’s subsequent lives in the UK, and their current psychological and social status. Adversity, Adoption and Afterwards examines a range of aspects of these women’s lives including:

• What happened to the girls after they left the orphanages?
• Was their adoption successful in promoting their development when they had had such an atypical start in life?
• What protective factors were associated with successful outcomes?
• What happened to them when they became young adults?
• What is life like for them now?
• What was the range of their experiences?
• Does their sense of belonging to their communities relate to their psychological health?
• What difficulties have they encountered and what do they see as the benefits of their heritage?

The book presents the main findings of the study, combining statistical analysis of some of the key outcomes with qualitative analysis of face-to-face interviews with the women which provide evocative and compelling stories of the course of their lives. The use of standardised measures enables important comparisons to be made with other samples, thereby helping the reader to understand how these women’s experiences and outcomes may be similar to and different from those of other adopted and non-adopted women raised in the UK.

Adversity, Adoption and Afterwards will be of interest to a wide range of audiences, both academic and professional, and also to those interested in and affected by adoption.

The authors

Julia Feast OBE is the Policy, Research and Development Consultant at CoramBAAF.

Margaret Grant is a Senior Researcher at CoramBAAF.

Alan Rushton is a Visiting Professor at King’s College, London.

Dr John Simmonds is CoramBAAF’s Director of Policy, Research and Development.


‘A wonderfully riveting account of a highly unusual study from which all of us can learn a lot.’

Professor Sir Michael Rutter


Read a full summary of the findings here (PDF opens in a new window)