One hundred and fourteen children (60% girls) adopted from India through five major adoption organizations, were recruited consecutively. This paper describes the environment of the children in India and in Sweden, discusses the certainty of the ages and reports their condition at arrival in Sweden. The median age at arrival was 9.3 months, 62% being below one year of age (range 3-72 months). Infectious diseases similar in kind and frequency to those noted in child populations in developing countries, were found. Height/age and weight/age mean values were approximately -2 standard deviation scores (SDS) of the NCHS/WHO standard, which is similar to the anthropometric status of Indian average children. There were no significant sex differences. Thirty-seven birth weights were known, the majority below 2,500 g. Psychomotor retardation was found in 29% of the children. In the children with stunting and in those with weight/age less than -3 SDS at arrival there were high percentages of psychomotor retardation, anaemia and combined wasting and stunting. Therefore these children should be regarded as a risk group and be followed up with special care.