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Welcome to the Tropes Adoption Agency. If you do not have an index, get yourself one here.


  • Abandoned Pet in a Box: A (usually young and adorable) cat or dog found in a cardboard box, who usually gets adopted by the hero.
  • Adopt-a-Servant: Someone adopts a child to work for them.
  • Adopt the Food: Turning a potential meal into a child or pet.
  • Adopted into Royalty: Someone gets adopted into a royal family.
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  • Adopted to the House: Taking in a homeless acquaintance until they can find a permanent home.
  • Adoption Angst: A character finds out they are adopted, and doesn't take it well.
  • Adoption Diss: An insult that has to do with being adopted.
  • Adoption Is Not an Option: A couple wants a child but never considers adopting one, even if they hypothetically could.
  • Adoptive Name Change: Someone gets their name changed upon being adopted.
  • Adoptive Peer Parent: Someone adopts a son or daughter who's too old to be their biological child.
  • Adult Adoptee: Someone is adopted into a family despite being legally (almost) an adult.
  • Anachronistic Orphanage: A traditional orphanage in a setting where there logically shouldn't be one.
  • Artificial Family Member: Somebody who was made instead of born and sees their creator as family.
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  • Baby as Payment: A child is used as payment for something and (usually) raised by the adult that paid for them.
  • Children Raise You: Someone (usually an inexperienced parent) is forced to adopt a kid, who teaches them how to be a better person.
  • Circus Brat: Often (but not always) an orphan or runaway who grows up with a circus or carnival.
  • Criminal Found Family: A group of criminals adopts each other.
  • Doorstop Baby: Someone (usually the mom, although sometimes the dad or another person) leaves a baby on someone else's doorstep, usually leading to the person whose doorstep it is adopting the baby.
  • Evil Orphan: A couple adopts an orphan (normally a young girl but sometimes a young boy) who turns out to be evil.
  • Family of Choice: A group of friends sees themselves as a family.
  • Family Relationship Switcheroo: Someone claims to be a different sort of relative (e.g. a parent pretends to be a sister, a grandparent pretends to be a parent, etc.)
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  • A Father to His Men: A military leader acts as a parent to his (or her) inferiors.
  • Foster Kid: A child who's basically temporarily adopted.
  • Good Stepmother: A stepmother who is benevolent and intelligent.
  • Happily Adopted: A character is perfectly happy with being adopted.
  • Heartwarming Orphan: An orphan child who normally ends up being adopted and is a good character who makes the audience emotional.
  • Heritage Face Turn: Someone has been fighting against a group, but then they find out that they were adopted and their biological parents were part of that group (or a variation) so they stop fighting against that group.
  • Honorary Uncle: Someone's parents' non-related friends call themselves the kids' uncles or aunts.
  • Imprinting: A baby animal forms a bond with a person, another animal, or even an object, normally believing him/her/it to be a parent.
  • I'm Taking Her Home with Me!: Someone, usually a child, wants to adopt a cute animal or kid.
  • Interspecies Adoption: Somebody adopts a child who's a different species.
  • Like a Son to Me: A character describes a younger friend as being like their son or daughter.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Two best friends of the opposite genders who see each other as siblings and are occasionally falsely thought to be dating.
  • Muggle Foster Parents: A Super Hero raised by adoptive parents without powers.
  • Nephewism: A child is brought up by their aunt or uncle.
  • New Parent Nomenclature Problem: Someone who was adopted or similar but whose birth parents are still alive feels unsure about calling the person "mom" or "dad".
  • Oblivious Adoption: Someone doesn't know they're adopted.
  • Orc Raised by Elves: Someone from a villainous group is adopted by heroes.
  • Parental Substitute: An adult and a child are good friends and the adult sort of acts as the child's parent.
  • Pet Baby Wild Animal: A child tries to keep a baby wild animal as a pet and either the pet dies, the pet must be set free, or the pet stays as a pet.
  • Platonic Co-Parenting: A child is raised by two or more people who are not romantically involved, often having been adopted (officially or unofficially) by at least one of them.
  • Promotion to Parent: The eldest sibling acts like the younger siblings' parent.
  • Raised by Grandparents: A child's grandparents raise them.
  • Raised by Humans: A human adopts an animal as their child rather than pet.
  • Raised by Natives: An orphan child is adopted by people from a world different from the one the orphan is from.
  • Raised by Orcs: A child is raised by a species that's mostly or always evil.
  • Raised by Rival: A child is raised by the rival or enemy of their parent.
  • Raised by Robots: A robot raises a non-robot child.
  • Raised by the Community: An entire community of people not related to a child raise the child.
  • Raised by the Supernatural: A supernatural being raises a non-supernatural child.
  • Raised by Wolves: Animals raise a human kid.
  • Red-Headed Stepchild: A redhead who's teased for being ginger (not necessarily related to adoption but the name comes from adopted redheads).
  • Replacement Goldfish: A character tries to replace their dead acquaintance (often their child by adopting another one).
  • Resentful Guardian: A character is not happy about their new role of having to guard another character.
  • Secret Project Refugee Family: A group of people who've been experimented on or created in a lab adopt each other as a family.
  • Sink-or-Swim Fatherhood: A man is expected to raise his child but he's inexperienced.
  • Team Dad: A bossy leader (or almost-leader) of a group, who's usually a man.
  • Team Mom: Somebody, usually a woman, who is the friendly leader of a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits.
  • Wicked Stepmother: A stepmother who's mean to her stepchildren.
  • Wild Child: A child who grew up feral.