All who desired to join their church, meaning their tribe, were adopted so they might be one family and unified in all things. I love that truth, that the church (with a lowercase "c", meaning the collective body of Christ's disciples) is a family--Christ's family--and should be unified in all things. That is the essence of Zion -- to live as a family in righteousness and peace, follow the Spirit at all times, and be unified and equal in all things (see Moses 7:18).
The children born into their tribe-church, whether born to Suran's descendants or those previously adopted, didn't need the rite of adoption. In LDS terms, they were "born in the covenant." However, children of parents who were unbelieving or less-than-faithful to the Law were adopted in so they could receive a portion of their inheritance. This process of adoption is the grafting of wild or broken branches into the covenant tree, using the favored analogy of the Lord and prophets throughout the ages.
Adoptions were performed by washing with water, referring to a baptism or other sort of ritual washing, and laying on of hands. After washing, the adoptee would be taken by a priest into the inner walled court where they would meet one of the patriarchs of Suran's tribe: Ahkman, Shurak, Kodal, or Gura's husband. Water taken from the temple basin was put into a "sado" and then sprinkled on the head of the adoptee and patriarch. (I'm not sure what a "sado" is, and it seems Elisha might not have either, since the original term isn't translated. It appears to be some sort of small container.) The priest then grasps the heads of both--the patriarch in his right, the adoptee in his left--with his thumb in the center of their foreheads (an interesting specification), and pronounces their union and binding (i.e., sealing) as father and child. One last thing that I just realized is that, physically speaking, it's much easier to place the thumbs correctly when the two being bound are kneeling or sitting facing each other. It's more awkward to contort the arms, hands, and thumbs into place with them facing the priest.
In the next post, we'll discuss how the early LDS Church performed similar ordinances of adoption by sealing individuals to "patriarchs" like Joseph Smith and others, which differed from the modern practice of sealing individuals to their lineal parents.