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English Common Law, for instance, did not permit adoption since it contradicted the customary rules of inheritance.
Although not normally adopted under Roman Law, the children, called alumni, were reared in an arrangement similar to guardianship, being considered the property of the father who abandoned them.
Institutions informally adopted out children as well, a mechanism treated as a way to obtain cheap labor, demonstrated by the fact that when the adopted died, their bodies were returned by the family to the institution for burial.
This system of apprenticeship and informal adoption extended into the 19th century, today seen as a transitional phase for adoption history.
Rapid immigration and the American Civil War resulted in unprecedented overcrowding of orphanages and foundling homes in the mid-nineteenth century.
Charles Loring Brace, a Protestant minister became appalled by the legions of homeless waifs roaming the streets of New York City.
Adoption was a customary practice of the Roman empire that enabled peaceful transitions of power The Code of Hammurabi, for example, details the rights of adopters and the responsibilities of adopted individuals at length.
The practice of adoption in ancient Rome is well documented in the Codex Justinianus.Under the direction of social welfare activists, orphan asylums began to promote adoptions based on sentiment rather than work; children were placed out under agreements to provide care for them as family members instead of under contracts for apprenticeship.The growth of this model is believed to have contributed to the enactment of the first modern adoption law in 1851 by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, unique in that it codified the ideal of the "best interests of the child." Despite its intent, though, in practice, the system operated much the same as earlier incarnations.Modern systems of adoption, arising in the 20th century, tend to be governed by comprehensive statutes and regulations.Trajan became emperor of Rome through adoption by the previous emperor Nerva, and was in turn succeeded by his own adopted son Hadrian.The orphan trains eventually shipped an estimated 200,000 children from the urban centers of the East to the nation's rural regions.