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If you adopt a child that means that you take over responsibility, including legal responsibilities, for the child from one or both or the child’s biological parents. Before you adopt a child, at least one of the following must be true:

  • The child’s biological parents have died.
  • The child’s biological parents have voluntarily and formally agreed to the adoption.
  • An officially sanctioned children’s aid agency has seized the child and had the parent(s) deemed unfit parent(s) through whatever laws and procedures are applicable in that jurisdiction.

If none of the above is true, it’s not called adoption. It’s called kidnapping. I know; I know. It’s a subtle difference, but an important one.

It’s not only children that can be adopted. Motions can also be adopted. In this case, a (usually formal) group formally agrees to accept a proposal put forward by one or more people in the group.

A motion, whether eventually adopted or rejected, can be about anything. The following are just two examples:

  • Shareholders of an organization can adopt a motion encouraging the board of the company to pay the CEO a gazillion dollars. That motion is likely to be adopted only if the CEO owns more than 50 percent of the shares of the company or he or she pays off enough of the other shareholders to get the motion passed.
  • The members of a political party can adopt a motion to incorporate a new policy in the party’s platform. Whether or not the motion is adopted, the party leadership is likely to ignore the policy come election time if they don’t like the policy or if they don’t think it will garner enough votes. So much for policy motions.

You can also adopt a position or attitude. For example, if you adopt a haughty tone people will likely consider you to be an upper class twit.

One can also adopt an idea, method or process. For example, the customer service departments telephone companies can adopt a philosophy of “the customer is always wrong and not deserving of our respect.” At least, that’s how it seems to me sometimes, despite my call allegedly being important to them.

In addition, if a government assumes responsibility for a road, possibly from another level of government or from a developer that built a whole subdivision, including the public roads, the government is said to have adopted the road. Ah, isn’t that sweet?

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