ADOPTION

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ADOPTION, the admission of a stranger by birth to the privileges of a child, has come down to us in the Roman law. Its purpose was the acquisition of paternal power, which could either be ceded to the person adopting by the natural parent (adoption in the strictest sense), or be obtained by the assent of a person no longer under the patria potestas, or of his guardians. This second sort is called arrogation. According to the ancient civil law, the adopted child left the family of its parents or guardians, and became a member of the family of the person adopting it. The emperor Justinian abolished this prin ciple in regard to adoption properly so called. Adoption was intended to supply the want of offspring in those persons who might have been parents. Eunuchs, therefore, and persons already having legitimate issue, were excluded from this privilege. The person adopting must have been at least 18 years older than the person to be adopted. Guardians were not permitted to adopt their wards, nor a poor man a rich child. Females, strictly speaking, were not permitted to adopt, but might, with the permission of the sovereign, secure to any child the right of support and inheritance. In Germany, the rules respecting adoption are derived from the civil law, but require the sanction either of the sovereign or of the judiciary. (Civil Code of Austria, 1. 179; Prussian Code, part 2, tit. 2, ยง666.) The adopted child receives the name of its adopter, but does not share in his rank if he be a nobleman, except by the special permission of the sovereign. In Prussia, a married couple must have lived many years without children, before they are allowed to adopt a child. The modern French law (Code civile, a. 343) also admits adoption, but only on certain conditions. The code establishes three kinds of adoptionVadoption ordinaire, la remuneratoire, et la testamentoire. Those who wish to adopt must have supported the person to be adopted for six years, or the adopter's life must have been saved by the person to be adopted. Excepting in this last case, the latter must be as much as fifteen years younger than the former. Adoption (excepting as before) cannot take place until the person to be adopted is of age, and must be ratified by the district court as well as by the court of appeal. There is nothing corresponding with adoption in the law either of England or America. In Asia, adoption is a veiy common practice. The ceremony is frequently performed merely by the adopting person exchanging girdles with the person adopted. The Turks declare adoption often before the cadi, and a writing regularly witnessed is drawn up The law of Mahomet prescribes still another very curious ceremony of adoption. The person adopted is required to pass through the shirt of the adopter; and hence the phrase to draw another through one's shirt is, among them, expressive of adoption. An adopted son is called akietogli, that is, the son of another life. Several writers have applied this ceremony as explanatory of many passages both of the Old and New Testaments.