About Parent Network for the Post Institutionalized Child (PNPIC)

The PNPIC began in 1993. Four “moms” from different parts of the country connected, and began sharing information. They soon realized that there was a significant amount of information available on the effects of institutionalization, and they worked together to find resources to identify and find remediation for the behaviors that their adopted children demonstrated. They began to share this information with others, and they quickly realized they had to find a way to relate the information to the families who had contacted them throughout the country. They agreed on some guidelines and began to publish a newsletter in 1995. Since then, they have heard from thousands of families and professionals. They have made every effort possible to educate families about post-institutionalized children, and have made many contacts in the medical/therapeutic community to further their understanding. In addition to their newsletter, THE POST, they are very active in planning conferences around the United States for families and professionals. Their introductory newsletter which is on this website, describes the potential problems of post- institutionalized children. Other issues of their newsletter contain articles written by professionals and address, among other topics, medical, social, psychological and educational issues and treatment strategies for “their” children. Please use the order form to subscribe to THE POST and to obtain other information that they have available. They accept checks and money orders.

The PNPIC is not involved in the adoption process itself; they talk about issues that agencies generally don’t want to discuss - the effects of institutionalization on a child.

They are frequently asked by pre-adoptive families how they can avoid some of the problems they have been hearing about in the media. There really isn’t a good or simple response to that question. Its a wonderful idea to adopt a child from an institution - but the harsh reality is that it is often not a “happy ever after” story.

Many families are lead to believe that with love, attention, medical care and good nutrition the adopted child will become “typical” in six months. It just isn’t true. Their research has shown that most children coming from a deprived background will have some issues that will not go away on their own and other issues that may never go away. Professional intervention is inevitable. Dr. Victor Groza, who conducted a study of over 400 Romanian adopted children, concluded that 20% of the children “overcame their pasts and are thriving” ; 60% “have made vast strides, but continue to lag behind their peers” and 20% “have shown little improvement and are almost unmanageable”. These statistics have subsequently been validated by a study done by Dr. Dana Johnson /Dr. Laurie Miller and by a Canadian study done by Dr. Elinor Ames. Be aware, too, that a child’s behavior in an orphange setting is not necessarily the behavior you will see in a home setting. It is almost impossible to predict and fully evaluate a child who has learned to cope in an institutional setting. Educate yourself. Learn about the types of problems associated with institutionalization. Know what you can handle emotionally, financially and physically. Make your decision on what you can handle - adoption is a lifelong commitment - so make it a decision based on fact, not on emotion.

They have appeared on a number of television shows and in the print media. Their children have significant developmental differences as well as developmental delays. They had no idea of the challenges they would face or how their lives would change. They are lucky that they have been able to cope with their children’s problems and needs. Not all families have been so fortunate. Neither of us, for a moment, regret that they adopted their children. they wish that their adoption agency had been honest about the kinds of issues they would face, and provided us with information on where to get help the moment they got off the plane from Romania. they wasted two valuable years thinking that the problems would magically disappear with love, nutrition and medical attention! they cannot imagine life without their children - their challenges are great, but their love is unmeasurable.

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