November 27th, 2011

amy winehouse

Adoptif vs. Adoptive

Did French not have an adjective to distinguish between a foster child and an adopted child during the eighteenth century? I am researching Florimond Claude, le Comte de Mercy-Argenteau, and am finding that French sources say that he was the "fils adoptif" of Claude Florimond de Mercy, whereas English sources say that he was the foster son of the same (German Wikipedia uses Adoptivsohn, as well, instead of Pflegesohn).

I can find the noun fosterage that describes the practice and enfant accueilli to describe a modern-day foster child. However, I cannot ascertain whether an enfant accueilli could also refer to a young man who had undergone fosterage. There is the possibility that the mix-up is a result of Claude Florimond adopting and bequeathing his title upon Florimond Claude when he failed to have children, but I would like to know whether I am reading this wrong and adoptif can refer to foster and adopted.

Also, if anyone knows what "foster care" and "foster child" are in any other languages, I would be grateful for the information. My family had a great many foster children when I was growing up, and I often run into the problem of not knowing what the appropriate terms would be (it seems not to show up in many dictionaries, for some reason).