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National Adoption Week – October 21-27, 2024

National Adoption Week is observed in the third week in October every year. This year, it takes place from October 21 to 27. 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

1755 B.C. — 1750 B.C.
“The Code of Hammurabi”

“The Code of Hammurabi” is written and mentions adoption.

6th Century A.D.
“Codex Justinianus”

The “Codex Justinianus” mentions adoption in ancient Rome.

Legal Adoption

Roosevelt endorses adoption.

The U.K.’s First Adoption Laws

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

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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

  1. Baby formula

    Before baby formula was invented in the 1920s, most adoptees were older children.

  2. Aging out

    About 40% of children in the U.S. foster system “age out” before they are adopted.

  3. The number of orphans

    The number of orphans globally is more than the populations of the U.K. and France combined.

  4. American adoptees

    About seven million Americans are adopted individuals.

  5. The biggest reason for adoption

    The majority of adoptions take place because of infertility.

Why National Adoption Week is Important

  1. 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.

  2. It raises awareness about adoption

    There are many misconceptions about adoption. National Adoption Week serves a purpose in dispelling them.

  3. 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

2022October 17Monday
2023October 16Monday
2024October 21Monday
2025October 20Monday
2026October 19Monday

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