An adoptive parent who is capable of giving love typically has a positive self image and maintains a sense of compassion for the adopted child and for himself, yet remains separate and aware of the boundaries between them. Such a parent acts respectfully toward the child, and is not abusive or overprotective. The tone and style of communication is natural and easy and indicates a real understanding of the individuality of the child. The loved child actually looks loved. He or she is lively and displays independence appropriate to his or her age level. He or she is genuinely centered in himself or herself. 
The adopted child subjected to emotional hunger is desperate, dependent, emotionally volatile or deadened. An onlooker can observe these important differential effects on children and can often trace them to the specific feeling states of the parent.
Although there are some exceptions, the concept of emotional hunger has not been sufficiently investigated in the psychological literature. Yet it is one of the principal factors negatively affecting child-rearing practices. 
The immaturity of many adoptive parents manifested as a powerful need to fulfill themselves through their adopted children has serious negative consequences on a child's development and subsequent adjustment. By recognizing important manifestations of this core conflict within themselves, many parents in the Compassionate Child-Rearing Adoptive Parent Education Program have changed responses to their adopted children that were based on incorrect assumptions, and have significantly improved the quality of their family relationships. Finally, from our studies of family interactions, we have begun to question the quality of the maternal-infant bond or attachment formed in the early hours and days of an infant's life. As students of human behavior, we feel it is incumbent on us and on developmental psychologists to clarify the extent to which this bond or attachment may be based on emotional hunger and the needs of immature parents for an imagined connection to the child rather than on genuine concern and love for the child.
It is painful but bearable for people to experience these feelings of hunger and face their own emotional needs. Unfortunately, most individuals choose to deny or avoid this pain as they did when they were young. They seek outlets or choose courses of action that help them deny their pain or kill off the sensations of loneliness. They create fantasies of connecting themselves to others and imagine that they belong to each other. When these fantasy bonds are formed, real love goes down the drain. The emotions of love and respect for others disappear as we become possessive and controlling and as we make use of one another as a narcotic to kill off sensations of hunger and pain.
A fantasy bond can become a death pact in which the individuals narcotize each other to kill off pain and genuine feeling. Often it serves as a license to act out destructive behavior because the individuals belong to each other and have implicitly agreed that their relationship will last forever. The myth of the family love and regard for the individuals that comprise it is a shared conspiracy to deny the loneliness and pain of its members. It is a concerted refusal to acknowledge the facts of life, death and separateness and live with integrity.