Presentation Details

The Second International Conference on New Directions in the Humanities

New Lives, but a Legacy from the Past: A look at the Growth Recovery of Children from Russian Orphanages now in New Zealand, with Implications for Social Work Services

Assoc Prof Christa B Fouche, Wendy Hawke.

Over the last decade and a half, New Zealanders have followed a world wide trend to adopt an increasing number of children from the orphanages of the former Soviet block, with over 500 children entering New Zealand between 1992 and 2003. These children have come from a background of physical and emotional deprivation, and through adoption they move countries, migrating to a new family, new community and new culture. Their past impacts on their growth and development, and some require services from social workers and health professionals. Growth data was collected on 200 of these immigrant children now in New Zealand, to examine the growth delays at the time of placement and the extent of subsequent catch-up growth, and to evaluate these in the context of overseas studies. This paper examines the differences in growth recovery between the children adopted at different ages, with the implications for social workers and policy makers who make decisions about children in care across national boundaries.


Assoc Prof Christa B Fouche  (New Zealand)
Associate Professor and Director of Social Work Programme
School of Social and Cultural Studies
Massey University

Christa Fouché completed her doctoral studies in Social Work at the Rand Afrikaans University in South Africa. She spent many years in academia while being actively involved in social work practice. She is now an Associate Professor in the School of Social and Cultural Studies at Massey University in New Zealand.

Wendy Hawke  (New Zealand)


Wendy Hawke is Director of ICANZ and has been involved in social work practice with children adopted from institutions of Eastern Europe for many years. Her master's research in social work focused on the growth patterns and growth recovery of these children and forms the basis of this paper.

  • Institutionalised children
  • Migration
  • Adoption
  • Growth delays

(Virtual Presentation, English)