National Adoption Week is observed in the third week in October every year. This year, it takes place from October 17 to 23. The objective of the week is to improve the level of awareness about adoption. This is done through several different lenses — from adoptees to adoptive parents. They talk about being adopted, adopting, and how it all feels. The awareness campaign, in turn, aims to find homes for children awaiting adoption. Through the course of the week, supported by the Department of Education, organizations working for the adoption of children bust adoption-related myths.
History of National Adoption Week
While different from adoption practiced today, forms of adoption have been around for a really long time. “The Code of Hammurabi,” written between 1755 B.C. to 1750 B.C., mentions the rights of adopters and the responsibilities of the adoptees in detail. Furthermore, adoption in ancient Rome was reasonably common, and also mentioned in the Codex Justanianus. These adoption practices, however, were more focused on serving political and economic interests. Abandoned children were often picked up for slavery sometimes they’d be taken in by families and raised as wards.
By the Middle Ages, there was immense importance given to bloodlines — power and property could only be passed to ‘natural-born’ heirs. In many European countries, adoption wasn’t even allowed or was made extremely difficult because it stood as a contradiction to Laws of Inheritance. Eventually, abandoned children were treated as oblates and thus required to live in monasteries — this ultimately led to institutional care for orphans.
After the American Civil War, American orphans were moved to the Eastern part of the country and indentured. The Progressive movement led to the American president Theodore Roosevelt proclaiming that the nuclear family was to be the primary caretaker of orphaned and abandoned children in 1909. The American model of adoption eventually made its way to the United Kingdom. The U.K. passed its first adoption law in 1926. Adoption is now international.
National Adoption Week timeline
“The Code of Hammurabi” is written and mentions adoption.
The “Codex Justinianus” mentions adoption in ancient Rome.
Roosevelt endorses adoption.
The United Kingdom passes its first adoption law.
National Adoption Week FAQs
What is an adopted child called?
An adopted child can be referred to as an adoptee.
Which gender is adopted more?
In the United States at least, girls tend to be adopted more.
Do orphanages still exist in the world?
Orphanages are rare now they’ve been replaced by foster systems.
How to Observe National Adoption Week
Read up about adoption laws
Being aware of adoption as a practice is only possible if you know the laws surrounding the practice. Read up on them.
Make National Adoption Week trend
The aim of National Adoption Week is to raise awareness. Help the cause by talking about it on social media.
Donate or volunteer
If it’s within your means, donate to and volunteer at an organization that works to get children adopted.
5 Interesting Facts About Adoption
Before baby formula was invented in the 1920s, most adoptees were older children.
About 40% of children in the U.S. foster system “age out” before they are adopted.
The number of orphans
The number of orphans globally is more than the populations of the U.K. and France combined.
About seven million Americans are adopted individuals.
The biggest reason for adoption
The majority of adoptions take place because of infertility.
Why National Adoption Week is Important
It’s an excuse to learn about history
The practice of adoption has a long, often sad, history. National Adoption Week is a perfect opportunity to learn about it.
It raises awareness about adoption
There are many misconceptions about adoption. National Adoption Week serves a purpose in dispelling them.
It addresses issues in modern adoption
There are many issues with the current adoption system. National Adoption Week points them out and pushes for change.
National Adoption Week dates