Interesting factoid about open adoption — The Bump
Adoption

Interesting factoid about open adoption

?Although open adoptions are thought to be a relatively new phenomenon, in fact most adoptions in the United States were open until the twentieth century.?

Apparently this is on wikipedia, quoted from an adoption blog I read this morning.

Anyone have more details or know anything more?

Re: Interesting factoid about open adoption

  • I wonder if it's because most adoptions in the 19th centuries and earlier were inter-family? I.e. My grandmother adopted my uncle who is my dad's cousin by blood (adopted her sister's son). This was obviously 20th century, but it would apply to probably a good proportion of earlier adoptions.
  • From what I read in adoption for dummies, it was really simple back then. (forgive the horrid analogy) but more like changing the owner of a car, go before a judge, do some simple paperwork that everyone was aware of. I also think a lot more people got sick and couldn't care for their children, and there was much more of an "it takes a village" mentality toward child rearing, so adoption was probably more openly accepted ? 
    IMG_1373 Cool Winston
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  • Until the 20th century, adoption as we know it today was very uncommon.  (Random tidbit: There was no adoption law in the UK until 1926!  On this side of the Atlantic, adoption laws were instituted beginning in the mid-1800s.)  Most adoptions were interfamily adoptions, which are of course more likely to be open... And then there were informal adoption arrangements, in which the child didn't have any legal status and may or may not have been treated as a full member of the family.

    Interestingly enough, Georgia Tann, the notorious Tennesee baby-seller, actually had a lot to do with promoting closed adoptions and sealing adoption and original birth records of adoptees in the US.

  • Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 st1:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";} I am in my last quarter of college at Central Washington University, and we actually discussed this a couple of weeks ago in my Human Services class. These notes are from Professor Cheryl Johnson

    During the 1700-1800?s, attitudes toward orphaned children were harsh

    ?     ?Street children? often sent to almshouses or forced into indentured apprenticeships

     

    ?         After the Civil War, huge increase in # of orphans?but also, a shift in how orphans and other disadvantaged children were viewed

     

    ?         ?Orphan asylums,? or orphanages, began appearing in the 1700?s, but there were very few until the mid-1800?s

     

    ?         Charles Loring Brace started the foster care movement in 1853

     

    ?         Founded the Children?s Aid Society of New York to deal with the ?tide of poor foreign vagrant children.?

     

    ?         ?Orphan trains? transported as many as 200,000 children from NY and other eastern cities to the Midwest, Canada, and Mexico, between 1854 and 1930.

      Normal 0 MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman";}

    ?          Some of these adoptions were successful; children found good homes and new families.

     

    ?         Some failed, and children were cast out or passed from one home to another

     

    ?         Most of these children were completely cut off from their biological families and cultures forever.

     

     

     

    Despite problems, the orphan trains were a novel approach to a genuine social problem:  homeless orphans living on the urban streets. One can?t help but wonder, however?did Charles Loring Brace have a less-than-altruistic motive behind establishing the trains? Brace was an evangelical Protestant reformer who saw most Catholic parents (especially Irish immigrants) as unworthy and depraved. He wanted to remove their children and place them with Protestant farming families where they could ?escape the inferior culture inherent in their homes and communities and become upstanding citizens.? Brace earned a reputation as a             ?child-stealer?? ?rather than as a child-saver, as he saw himself.

     

    ?         In response to the orphan trains, the Catholic church and other sectarian groups began to build orphanages, placing orphans (and children whose parents couldn?t care for them) there instead of sending them out of their home communities, away from friends/relatives.

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