The History of Adoption

Posted: 03/18/2008 in Adoption, Information

Adoption is ancient arrangement. It is spoken of in the Bible. Greeks and Romans, Egyptians and Babylonians all had adoption systems. Adoption is the process whereby parents are supplied for parent-less children or for those children whose parents are unable to provide for their care. It also provides children for childless couples, or in modern society for childless individuals as well.

The concept of adoption was not legally recognized in the United States until the 1850’s, with the inception of the first adoption statutes. While transfers of children to substitute parents had occurred informally since American colonial times, adoption statutes legitimized the informal adoptive arrangements which previously existed. During the early years of American society, no formal procedures existed for recording births or name changes. This facilitated an informal ability to gave adoptive arrangements. Very often these informal placements were economically motivated. Farm families had great need for child labor. The advent of industrialization in the United States resulted in massive immigration to major cites where families often were unable to support or care for their children. Informal transfers of these children to other families, by either the indigent parents or the charitable institutions where parents sometimes left their children, promoted these types of placements. This situation provided the impetus for the orphan trains between 1854 and 1929.

As the number of informal adoptions rose, the need became greater to have a formal process for adoptions. In 1851 Massachusetts enacted the first adoption statute. Adoption pursuant to the Massachusetts statute required judicial approval, consent of the child’s parent or guardian, and a finding that the prospective adoptive family was of sufficient ability to raise the child.

As the number of informal adoptions rose, the need became greater to have a formal process for adoptions. In 1851 Massachusetts enacted the first adoption statute. Adoption pursuant to the Massachusetts statute required judicial approval, consent of the child’s parent or guardian, and a finding that the prospective adoptive family was of sufficient ability to raise the child.
As the number of informal adoptions rose, the need became greater to have a formal process for adoptions. In 1851 Massachusetts enacted the first adoption statute. Adoption pursuant to the Massachusetts statute required judicial approval, consent of the child’s parent or guardian, and a finding that the prospective adoptive family was of sufficient ability to raise the child.

Record Closure

During the 1930’s. 40’s, and 50’s, social workers began sealing birth and adoption records.

Found this aricle really fascinating. Don’t recall how I even ran into it really. I just posted a few parts of it. The rest is intersting to read. Learned a lot more then I ever knew.

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Comments
  1. Kim says:

    What a very fun read. Thanks for sharing it with us. I hate how ‘secretive’ adoption used to be. So thankful for it today!

  2. Wow, this is fascinating!On Sundays we watch this movie called “Praise to the Man” about Joseph Smith. And the part that talks about the Smith’s adopting the twins always makes my husband cry. (I always cry at the part where they lose one of them.) This article just reminded me of that part, because of the time period.

  3. Jill says:

    Very cool! Thanks. I’ll have to print that for a keepsake!

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