Henry, D. (1999). Resilience in maltreated children: Implications for special
needs adoption. Child Welfare, 78(5), 519-540.
Children in the child welfare system face renewed issues of loss as they enter adoptive placements. Every move is a loss and an exercise for the child in establishing the perception of a “safe” environment. Resilient children who have been abused develop coping skills to adapt to their abusing “unsafe” environments. When these children become part of an adoptive family, these coping skills need to be recognized as providing important cues to the child’s world, rather than as challenging behaviors. The author deconstructs the words of resilient children into five themes that can help provide access into the children’s world, a fresh viewpoint from which to assess the adopted children’s reactive behaviors, and a foundation on which an adoptive relationship can be built.