You have described a fairly typical situation: many parents report that
their hosted children were not particularly interested in them the moment
they met their friends at the airport. Later these children would send
all kind of messages from the orphanage saying that they do want to
be adopted by their hosting families, but joining other kids at the
time of their departure, they may behave very differently.
There are dozens of "logical" (from the orphanage child perspective)
explanations of their behavior, but I have to point out once again that
there is absolutely no way to tell, judging by the behavior at the airport,
if the child will or will not be capable of attaching to the adoptive
family. It's not possible to predict attachment issues even during the
initial adjustment period after the adoption. Attachment is a process
of creating the relationship between several people, it's not given
to an adoptive parent by default, and it's not "granted" to
a parent-to-be as a token of gratitude from the child (do not expect
any gratitude from adoptees, at least not until adulthood, if at all).
Figuratively speaking, attachment is a "two-way street" with
no agreed upon rules.
Can anything at all be done to evaluate the risks of poor attachment
in the international adoption? Yes, certain things can be done.
First of all, evaluate your motives, your feelings, your expectations.
Are you up to a difficult task of bringing up a child with trauma and
orphanage in the past? Can you rise above personal hurts and frustration
(there will be plenty of that)? Can you love and give time and attention
to a child who may be difficult to love and may take years to change?
The child would not understand the language in the beginning, but our
attitudes are perfectly transferable without any language, and the attitudes
are the most effective instructors in our lives. These attitudes will
affect the attachment more than anything else.
On the other side - child's side - the most predictive sign of future
attachment issues is the previous history of the child: an exposure
to trauma, a lack of any attachment figure in the child's life and the
presence of certain patterns of the child's behavior in the orphanage.
The more pronounced these issues are, the more chances are there for
the child to experience difficulties with attachment. But remember,
all things considered, these are chances - not necessarily guaranteed
problems. International adoption is very much about taking chances.
The honest and detailed answer to those sometime uncomfortable questions
may be the only reasonable and reliable answer you can get in response
to your concerns. For more info and opinions please see the Newsletter
#29: Attaching to my child
and other attachment related articles
on our sites.