Ellen Herman

Department of History, University of Oregon


HIST 365, Winter 2004, Week 6
Outline and Key Terms

Historical Adoption: Legal and Social Arrangements

1. Background to the Research Project

2. Adoption: The Basics

3. Adoption: Contemporary and Historical Statistics

4. Adoption: Why does it matter?

6. Adoption as a Legal Operation


Today, five million Americans are adoptees, 2-4 percent of all families have adopted, and 2.5 percent of all children under 18 are adopted.

relative, non-relative, and informal adoptions

1970: 20th-century adoptions peak at 175,000 annually

early America: adoption by will, indenture, private legislation

Massachusetts Adoption of Children Act, 1851

modern regulatory machinery or “safeguards”: record-keeping, investigation, supervision, probation