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Adoption

  • By: Laurie E. Woods
  • In: Encyclopedia of Motherhood
  • Edited by: Andrea O'Reilly
  • Subject:Sociology of Gender, Parenting, Maternal Health

Adoption has been a part of parenting for centuries. The Babylonians, Egyptians, Hebrews, and Hindus of ancient times all made reference to adoption in their laws and codes, and adoption is also mentioned in the Bible.

Early History of Adoption

Roman law permitted adoption, but unlike today, where it is usually done in the best interests of the child, earlier adoption occurred primarily to benefit those doing the adopting. Roman adoption law provided an opportunity for childless couples to maintain family inheritances by adopting sons who would carry on both the family name and religious requirements that families have sons. Adoptees were all male and usually adults. English law did not address adoption because there did not appear to have been a need, since inheritance could occur ...

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