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Adoption is the practice of raising a child, one not biologically related to the adult in question, as one’s own. Adoption refers to both finding a home for a child in need and finding a child for a family who wants one. In its earliest stages, families adopted a child to continue the family lineage if biological children were not possible. Adoptions were carried out in the interests only of the adopting family, as in ancient Rome. Eventually, however, adoption became a solution to problems of children’s welfare, especially with the emergence of social services and social workers focused on the needs and rights of children. This entry provides a brief history of selected adoption practices, from antiquity to the modern day.

Early Concepts of Adoption

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