ADOPTION adoptio, a taking or re ceiving of one in place of a child, from to optarr, to choose, select). A legal institution of much importance in early society, because of the importance attached to the perpetuation of household worship (particularly the worship of deceased ancestors) ; also because before the in troduction of testaments an heir could be cre ated only by adoption. In Roman law there were two forms of adoption: viz., adroaation and adoption in the strict sense. Adrogation was the earlier form. It was possible only where the person to be adopted was an independent person (sui, juris), i.e., was not under the authority of a father or grandfather. It took place origin ally in the patrician assembly (comitia curiata) with the cooperation of the pontifices. Under the emperors it was effected by an imperial re script. Adoption in the strict sense was the transfer of a person from the authority of his father or grandfather into the paternal author ity of the adoptive father. It was accomplished by formal acts in the presence of a magistrate. It was usually requisite, alike in adrogation and adoption, that the adoptive father should have no children at the time, and no reasonable pros pect of having any. lle was also required to be eighteen years older than the person adopted. Females could not be adrogatcd, nor, until the third century, could they adrogate. They could be adopted, but they could not adopt. The effect of adrogation was to place the adopted person in the same legal position for nearly all pur poses as a child born in wedlock. The same re sults originally attached to adoption, but Jus tinian introduced important restrictions. Adop tion was unknown to the law of the Teutonic nations; and though most of the States of the Continent have borrowed it, with some modifica tions, from the Roman law, it has never existed as an institution in England or Scotland, either at common law or by statute.
As English common law made no provision for the adoption of children, the subject is regu lated by statute in many States of the United States. While State legislation upon this topic differs in detail, its characteristic features are as follows: Any inhabitant of the State, of legal age, and competent to contract, may adopt a child, provided that the spouse of a married adopter. the living parents of the adopted, and the child, also, if above a certain age (usually twelve or fourteen years), consent in writing to the adoption. In some States the transac tion is consummated by an order of court, in others by a deed duly acknowledged and re corded. As the claims of an adopted child are in derogation of the common law rights of the heirs and next of kin of the adopter, our courts are disposed to put a strict con struction on these statutes, and to treat as invalid an adoption which has not been made in a manner which conforms to every stat utory requirement. As a rule, the legal relation between adopting parents and adopted children is that of natural parent and child, including the powers of parental control, the duties of filial obedience, and reciprocal property rights by inheritance. In a few States, however, the adopting parent does not inherit from the adopt ed child. Consult: Stimson, ntierican Statute Laic (Boston, 1880) ; Schauler, 7'renti•e on the Law of Domestic Relations ( Boston, 1900) ; Woodruff, Selection of rases on Domestic Rela tions and the Law of Persons (New York, 1897) ; and see Pm:ENT AND CHILD.