December 1964

Review of Psychiatric Literature on Adopted Children

Author Affiliations

Child Psychiatrist, Hennepin County Mental Health Center, and Assistant Professor in Psychiatry and Pediatrics, University of Minnesota (Dr. Lawton) and Instructor, Division of Clinical Psychology, University of Minnesota, assigned to Hennepin County Mental Health Center and General Hospital (Mr. Gross).

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1964;11(6):635-644. doi:10.1001/archpsyc.1964.01720300065008

In the event that you were born on the Polynesian island of Mokil, the probability of being an adopted child would be one chance out of three.1 On Mokil, since 1775 nearly one third of the children have been adopted; almost all of them are adopted shortly before birth or within a few months after birth, but the child remains with his mother until he is weaned, and maintains a close and affectionate relationship with his natural parents as he grows up.

In Western culture the institution of adoption has not been as consistently applied either in the cultural mores or in a more legalized manner. The history of adoption by Kornitzer2 serves a useful function to acquaint us with the various and sometimes surprising social and legal positions in regard to adoption in various areas of the world. It is the purpose of this paper, however, to

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