THE painting Adopting a Child by Frederick Bacon Barwell (1857), calls our attention to the great forward strides effected in adoption procedures. The Committee on Adoptions of the Academy has recommended that, whenever possible, adoptions be consummated through established agencies. While the Committee has not taken the stand that only agency adoptions can be successful, we do believe that adoption agencies, on balance, can render superior service because they have the resources required to serve the diverse persons involved in this delicate and sensitive human relationship.
This English genre or narrative painting affords an interesting insight into what is involved in an adoption. If one is permitted to mix retrospective analysis with speculation about the future, one could predict that the adoption portrayed in this picture would terminate in difficulties.
The central figures are the natural mother and her child. In modern adoption procedures we recognize the importance of casework for the natural mother in her great decision to yield her child for adoption. The poignant despair revealed in the features of the mother indicates the lack of such necessary help to this unfortunate female. The absence of legal and moral privacy between the natural parent and the adopting parents derogates the possibility of a successful transfer of the child from one home to another.
- Copyright © 1967 by the American Academy of Pediatrics