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April9, 2014

Adoptionis the process of assuming parentage of a child through permanentcommitment to lifelong responsibilities of child care from thebiological parents. In broader sense, it is the establishment of newlegal binding of child to parent relationship through a courtinitiative. Through adoption the adopting parent assumes a permanentparental responsibility to the child. As such the adopting parentagrees to take responsibilities and rights of the child childmedical treatment and marriage consent. The adopted child becomespart of the adopting parent family with equal rights for care anddependency to the adopting family. Adopted child can rightfully claiminheritance from the adopting parents. Adoption takes various formsit can be formal or informal, related or unrelated, domestic orinter-country and foster care adoption(Lawrence, 2001).

Formaladoption happens when a legal courts process approves for permanenttransfer of parental responsibilities and rights from the biologicalparent to the adopting parent(s). Related adoption takes place whenrelatives or related members of the child take responsibility forchild care the new parents become stepparent. Unrelated adoption onthe other hand may take the form of child bearing by individuals whoare unrelated to the child. Similarly, domestic adoption meansadopting of children within a particular jurisdiction for instance,adoption within a given country borders or within a country butbetween inter-states like in the U.S. Inter-country adoption is theforeign adoption of a child not born within or by members of aparticular country.

Mostinter country adoptions are unrelated adoption while foster careadoption takes place domestically. Modernization has changedregulations and conditions of adoption than it used to be duringtraditional times there are comprehensive statutes regulatingadoption process regardless of the adoption type. In many societiesand countries, laws have been enacted to regulate adoption in regardto parental responsibilities, inheritance rights and filiations whileothers continues with adoption through less formal processes andcontracts.

Historyof adoption

Adoptionpractices may be traced back to ancient times where societies tookparental care for the abandoned children or children whose parentshad died. Modern form of adoption is believed to have emerged fromthe United States but ancient history has records of adoptionextending many centuries BC. Ancient Rome which was the most powerfulempire practiced adoption as indicated the Codex Justinianus. Theadoption practice was used to create political ties through adoptionof male heirs from wealthy families. In addition, abandoned childrenwere adopted under the Roman law in a guardianship status. It isrecorded that other ancient civilizations such as India and China hadritualistic practices in which children were adopted for religiouspurposes. History records that, with decline of the Roman culture,most European nations developed strong anti adoption laws whichbarred child adoption practices. However, adoption practicescontinued through informal process. Cultural changes in the Europeannations shifted focus on anti adoption practices to adoptingabandoned children who were left in churches(Wayne, 2000).

The19thcentury American Civil War and rapid immigration brought with itunprecedented increase in homeless children. These children werelater shipped to rural areas for adoption with the efforts of aprotestant minister (Charles Loring) in what came to be referred asthe Orphan Train movement (Charles Loring Brace, 1872). The childrenwere not really adopted and most of them were abused and exploited asfarm workers and household servants. This exploitation led to thedevelopment of many other welfare agencies who were dissatisfied withthe treatment the destitute children got. Various aspects in regardto child adoption took place in America culminating to enactingAmerican adoption law that sought to seal child adoption and preventchild exploitations.

Societyperception also changed with regard to illegitimate children. Thisenhanced more children adoption. This trend was picked by othernations where adoption laws were established for instance in Englandadoption law was established in 1926, Netherlands in 1956 and Swedenin 1959 among others. This shaped the trend for modern adoptionpractices. The period between 1926-1960 in America witnessed highdemand for infant adoption due partly to introduction of infantformula and rising perception that child development was largely aresult of nurture and not nature. After WWII American governmentbegan serious engagement in protecting the plight of many homelesschildren(Sullivan &amp Lathrop, 2004).

Importanceof child adoption

Sincehistorical era adoption has provided an important social refuge formany homeless and abandoned children. Poverty, war, family disputesand separations leave many children in destitute states withouthome, care and provision for basic needs. Mostly parental deaths leadto many cases of child adoption where related family members takeresponsibilities of providing for the bereft children. This helps inproviding the children with family life for growth which is necessaryfor moral, social and psychological development. Through adoptionchildren are rescued from early sufferings that can lead to childlabor, sexual abuse and delinquency. Modern adoption has been takingplace in many poor countries to alleviate the sufferings of manychildren(United nation, 2009).

Infertilityamong couples leads to children adoption especially in cultures wherechildren are valued in the family. Many families in the modern worldwho can not conceive for many reasons have taken up child adoption.In some instances where parent diseases can be passed to children,makes the parents favor adoption than siring children with inheriteddisease. Additionally, when couples feel that they have exceeded thenumber of offspring they can support economically, adoption providesa good mechanism to lower the number of children in their household.On the other hand, for most couples who due to work, financialcapacity or studies barriers may prefer adoption to bearing their ownchildren. Furthermore, high (opportunity) cost of having an own childmay influence parents to adopt(Wayne Carp, 2009).

Adoptionhas been embraced in most countries due to monetary benefits thatadoptees get from the state for child rearing. At individual level,adoption of children helps in cognitive development for childrenrescued from dysfunction or inappropriate environments. Throughadoption children are able to complete their education, be selfsufficiency and reduce negative outcomes that may be associated withchild engagement in negative activities. Available studies show that,most of the adopted children are able to progress with theiracademics, health status and psychological development. Adoptionhelps to address many social aspects related to family life. Mostunmarried women who conceive while still young opt for birth and thenoffer their child for adoption (National Council for Adoption, 2011).

Throughregulation of child adoption practices in many societies there is anenhanced development in social welfare programs to cater for specialneeds of homeless children. Trans- racial adoption as well asinternational adoption has enhanced social interconnectedness insolving social problems. In the aging societies in developedcountries, adoption laws have enhanced old couples to adopt youngchildren who can take care of them as well as providing them withcompanionship. In instances of natural catastrophes which leave manychildren homeless and orphans, adoption facilitates helps to givecare to the vulnerable children. In addition, there are children withspecial needs or disabled whose parents may not have capacity to carefor them. In such situation adoption becomes an important element inalleviating their suffering (Maza, 1944-1975).

Childadoption has also enhanced establishment of policies to safeguardchildren against abuse and exploitation. It is through child adoptionpractices that most governments have spent considerable amounts increating programs and institutions. These institutions areresponsible for rescuing children from harsh environments such asviolent or mentally unstable parents. Adoption has also helped inlowering abortion related cases. Many young women who get unwantedpregnancies now have option of adopting their babies than riskingabortion. In another perspective, adoption has enhanced the growth ofsocial welfare among the society members(Plomin, et al. 1997).

Morepeople are now concerned about the plight of children in thecommunity. Adoption has become a source of satisfaction toindividuals who want families but due to unavoidable reasons can notconceive. International adoption has also enhanced relations betweencountries thus creating social, political and economic ties. Adoptionpractices are enhancing globalization, culture sharing and societalintegration. According to psychological studies, adoption of youngchildren helps in developing the children sense of identity thismakes them feel secure and loved thereby eliminating early childdepression. Adoption has also made it necessary for many governmentsto create funds for vulnerable children. In many developed nations,adopting parents get monetary incentives (Bachrach, et al. 1989).


NationalCouncil for Adoption (2011): AdoptionFact book,National Council for Adoption, Washington, DC.

Maza,P. (1944-1975)‘Adoption trends’ ChildWelfare Research Notes #9. Washington, DC: Administration forChildren, Youth, and Families, 1984.

Bachrach,C.A., Adams, P.F., Sambrano, S., and London, K.A. 1989, ‘.Advancedata: Adoption in the 1980s’. Advancedata from vital and health statistics no 181. Hyattsville, MD:National CenterforHealth Statistics,

WayneCarp, 2009, ‘Adoptionin America Historical Perspectives’United States University of Michigan Press

Unitednation, 2009, ‘Childadoption Trends and Policies’NY United Nations Publications

SullivanR. and E. Lathrop, 2004‘Openness in adoption: retrospective lessons and prospectivechoices’ Childrenand Youth Services Review Vol. 26 Issue 4,

Plomin,R., Fulker, D.W., Corley, R., &amp DeFries, J.C. (1997). ‘Nature,nurture, and cognitive development from 1–16 years: Aparent-offspring adoption study’Psychological Science, 8, 442–447.

E.Wayne Carp, 2000 ‘FamilyMatters: Secrecy and Disclosure in the History of Adoption’,HarvardUniversity Press, pages 103–104.

Lawrenceand Pat Starkey, 2001 ‘ChildWelfare and Social Action in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries’,page 223

CharlesLoring Brace, 1872, ‘TheDangerous Classes of New York and Twenty Years` Work among Them’New York: Wynkoop &amp Hallenbeck, 1872), i-ii, 225-227, 234-235.