Definitions from Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition and Ballentine's Law Dictionary as are available for each term in each dictionary.
  • Black's Law Dictionary: 2nd Edition

    To accept, appropriate, choose or select; to make that one's own (property or act) which was not so originally. To adopt a route for the transportation of the mail means to take the steps necessary to cause the mail to be transported over that route. Rhodes v. U. S., Dev. Ct. Cl. 47. To adopt a contract is to accept it as binding, notwithstanding some defect which entitles the party to repudiate it. Thus, when a person affirms a voidable contract, or ratifies a contract made by his agent beyond his authority, he is said to adopt it. Sweet. To accept, consent to, and put into effective operation ; as in the case of a constitution, constitutional amendment, ordinance, or by-law. Real v. People, 42 N. Y. 282; People v. Norton, 59 Barb. (N. Y.) 191. To take into one's family the child of another and give him or her the rights, privileges, and duties of a child and heir. State v. Thompson, 13 La. Ann. 515; Abney v. De Loach, 84 Ala. 393, 4 South. 757; In re Sessions' Estate, 70 Mich. 297, 38 N. W. 249, 14 Am. St. Rep. 500; Smith v. Allen, 32 App. Div. 374, 53 N. Y. Supp. 114. Adoption of children was a thing unknown to the common law, but was a familiar practice under the Roman law and in those countries where the civil law prevails, as France and Spain. Modem statutes authorizing adoption are taken from the civi] law, and to that extent modify the rules of the common law as to the succession of property. Butterfield v. Sawyer, 187 111. 598, 58 N. E. 602, 52 L. R. A. 75, 79 Am. St. Rep. 246; Vidal v. Commagere, 13 La, Ann. 516; Eckford v. Knox, 07 Tex. 200, 2 St W. 372.
    —Adoption and legitimation. Adoption, properly speaking, refers only to persons who are strangers in blood, and is not synonymous with "legitimation," which refers to persons of the same blood. Where one acknowledges his illegitimate child and takes it into his family and treats it as if it were legitimate, it is not properly an "adoption" but a "legitimation." Blythe v. Ayres, 96 Cal. 532, 31 Pac. 915, 19 In R. A. 40. To accept an alien as a citizen or member of a community or sinte and invest him with corresponding rights and privileges, either (in general and untechnical parlance) by naturalisation, or by an act equivalent to naturalization, as where a white man is "adopted" by an Indian tribe. Hampton v. Mays, 4 Ind. T. 503, 69 S. W. 1115.