Odds and Ends
3 9, 7:57pm
Actually, only two cultures in world history have ever had the idea of adoption in the sense of the adoptee becoming a full member of the family--ancient Rome (where the adoptee was almost always an adult) and the US and Europe starting in the late 19th century. Other cultures certainly had the idea of raising other people's children, but they weren't regarded as regular members of the family. Fosterage, the sort of adoption early medieval Scandinavia employed, was explicitly not membership in the new family. The foster-child's birth family and ancestry remained a defining part of his social identity.