While the practice of adoption has been around for millennia, the recent history of adoption in the United States can be tracked to the 1850s, with the passage of the first "modern" adoption law in Massachusetts that recognized adoption as a social and legal process based on child welfare rather than adult interests. The 1850s also began the era of the orphan trains that relocated children from New York to live with families throughout the United States and Canada. In this section, find information on the history of adoption practice in the United States, including major Federal legislation dating back to 1974.
The Adoption History Project
University of Oregon
Provides a history of adoption practice in the United States.
Children's Bureau Historical Publications
The Maternal & Child Health Library at Georgetown University
Presents a digitized collection of U.S. Children's Bureau publications from 1912 to 1969.