Finnish Adoption Study (FinAdo)

  • Background

     International adoption started in Finland in 1970. The first legal act of international adoption was given in 1985. Since then, 2 598 international adoptions have been made in Finland before 2005, mostly from Russia, China, Columbia, Thailand, India and Ethiopia. Despite the rapidly growing number of internationally adopted children in Finland, very little is known about their physical or psychological health after adoption.               

    The child’s early adverse experiences are known to have long-term effects on the developing brains. The studies conducted in Europe and U.S. suggest that although the majority of the adoptees are psychologically and socially functioning well, adopted children suffer more from mental health problems, have higher prevalence of psychiatric illnesses and developmental delays, higher risk of suicide, more sleeping problems and social maladjustment than their nonadopted age-mates. Consequences of early adverse experiences are common among adopted children such as symptoms of reactive attachment disorder.

    In Finland, there are no official procedures for the medical examination of international adoptees despite the high prevalence of their serious medical problems. Guidelines for the medical examinations are urgently needed.

    Although the early adversity can seriously harm infant functioning and later development, the future adjustment is suggested to be largely dependent on the characteristics of the adoptive families. Less is known about the psychological and social relations that mediate the effects of these characteristics on the physical and psychological development of a particular child.


  • The aims of the study

    The aim of the FinAdo study is to determine the physical and psychosocial factors, related to background, adoptive families and service use that associate with physical and psychological development of international adoptees. Our aim is to provide new knowledge on the health status and development (psychological, cognitive, social) of international adoptees, psychosocial factors buffering or intensifying the negative effects of adoptees’ risk factors. The results can be applied in projects and planning of special sevices which aim to reduce health problems of international adoptees and their families, personnel planning, and education. The recommendations for the first health evaluation after arrival in Finland have already been published (Finnish Medical Journal 2012). 


    In Finland, there is no centralized system for arrival studies. Although increasing number of the internationally adopted children are reported to have special needs according to the reports of the birth country, there is no data about the reliability of this information. There are no studies of the time-schedules for rehabilitation or interventions for adopted children with structural defects and about their effectiveness in Finland. This study collects also this kind of valuable information.


  • Funding

    FinAdo study is financed by:


    Finland’s Slot Machine Association (RAY)

    Foundation for Pediatric Research (Lastentautien tutkimussäätiö)

    The Hospital District of Southwest Finland, EVO-grant (TYKS. EVO)

    Varsinais-Suomi Regional Fund (Lounais-Suomen kulttuurirahasto)

    The Signe and Ane Gyllenberg Foundation (Signe ja Ane Gyllenbergin säätiö)

    Yrjö Jahnsson Foundation (Yrjö Jahnssonin säätiö)

    Tiukula Foundation (Tiukula säätiö)


    Personal funds:


    The Finnish Brain Foundation (Aivosäätiö) (LL Hanna Raaska),

    The Arvo and Lea Ylppö Foundation (Arvo ja Lea Ylppö Säätiö) (LL Hanna Raaska) 

    The Jalmari and Rauha Ahokas Foundation (Jalmari ja Rauha Ahokkaan säätiö) (LL Hanna Raaska).

    Jenny and Antti Wihuri Foundation (Jenny ja Antti Wihurin säätiö) (FM Aino Launis)

    The Paulo Foundation (Paulon säätiö) (Dos Helena Lapinleimu)





 + The second seminar took place 28.11. 2012 at the PELA.



+ The second phase of the study (the FinAdo 2 clinical follow up -study) has now started recruiting participants. Please contact Doc.  Helena Lapinleimu tel. +358 040- 486 8968.



















 + News


Design Marko Elovainio