ADOP'TION, noun [Latin adoptio.]
1. The act of adopting, or the state of being adopted; the taking and treating of a stranger as one's own child.
2. The receiving as one's own, what is new or not natural.
3. God's taking the sinful children of men into his favor and protection.
Adoption of arms, an ancient ceremony of presenting arms to one for his merit or valor, which laid the person under an obligation to defend the giver.
Adoption by baptism is the spiritual affinity which is contracted by god-fathers and god-children, in the ceremony of baptism. It was introduced into the Greek church, and afterwards among the ancient Franks. This affinity was supposed to entitle the god-child to a share of the god-father's estate.
Adoption by hair was performed by cutting off the hair of a person and giving it to the adoptive father. Thus Pope John VIII adopted Boson, king of Arles.
Adoption by matrimony is the taking the children of a wife or husband, by a former marriage, into the condition of natural children. This is a practice peculiar to the Germans; but is not so properly adoption as adfiliation.
Adoption by testament is the appointing of a person to be heir, by will, or condition of his taking the name, arms, etc. of the adopter.
In Europe, adoption is used for many kinds of admission to a more intimate relation, and is nearly equivalent to reception; as, the admission of persons into hospitals, or monasteries, or of one society into another.