Adoption has been around since the beginning of recorded history. While cultures around the world have differing procedures for when it is done and how, there are some united factors. When a child needs a parent and doesn’t have one, the child is adopted by another adult. In the United States, adoption has been a formal proceeding, handing guardianship over from one adult to another legally that have changed drastically over the last century.

During the second half of the 1800s, there were around 100,000 homeless children who were taken from the cities in the east of the United States and adopted by families in the midwest farmlands. In an effort to provide homes to the children, and help meet the needs of families who worked the land. Many of the adoptions weren’t formal or official. If children were kept in the city, when found homeless or orphaned, they were placed in public or private institutions for care. Of these children, they were typically older kids because infant mortality rates were too high for infants and newborns, primarily caused by a lack of wet nurses.

During the early 1900s, the development of baby formula created the ability for adoptions of babies to become more prevalent. Rather than institutionalizing homeless and orphaned children, Theodore Roosevelt encouraged placing children in families. By the 1960s, there was very high demand for adoptions. In that 40 year span between the creation of formula and Presidential Roosevelt’s statement, giving a child up for adoption started to become a more common thing for birth mothers as the demand grew for adoptions to take place of babies and infants.