It runs in our family, apparently.
My daughter is adopted.
My cousin is adopted.
My great-great grandfather was adopted.
Yep, that's right. In mid-19th century Great Budworth, England (in Cheshire), my great-great-grandaddy, Thomas, was adopted. There are no legal papers -- these things weren't done with legal procedures back then, so I've learned. But my research clearly shows that he went from being Thomas Starkey Wilkinson (his name at the time of his christening in 1837) to Thomas S. Sunderland, sometime between 1841 and 1851. In 1841, he was still Thomas Wilkinson, living with his elder brother and his mother -- who was, possibly, a live-in housekeeper to one John Sunderland or possibly rented rooms from him.
By 1851, John had married Emma (Thomas' mother) and Thomas' last name was Sunderland, as were all the brothers and sisters who came after him.
I hope his adoptive relationship was a happy one. There is no way of knowing, of course, But he did keep the Sunderland name for the rest of his life and he bestowed it on his offspring. That puts a good light on the outcome of John Sunderland's marriage to my great-great-great grandmother, Emma Wilkinson, and his adoption of little Thomas Wilkinson.