1. Lorravan
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    Lorravan Member

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    Life in an orphanage

    Discussion in 'Research' started by Lorravan, Apr 10, 2013.

    I'm writing a story where the MC is living in an orphanage, but I don't really know a whole lot about what goes on in an orphanage. If anyone here could answer a few questions I have, that'd be great.

    1) At what age are older kids forced to go out on their own?
    2) Do the orphanages celebrate holidays (ex: would they celebrate christmas or take the kids out during halloween, etc.)
    3) What kind of education are the kids provided with? Do they get taken to public schools during the day, or does someone come to the orphanage and teach the kids privately?
     
  2. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Where is the orphanage located? There aren't really any orphanages anymore in the U.S. Kids are put into the foster care system. Other countries do still have orphanages, and the care can vary. Sometimes the care is truly horrific.
     
  3. Lorravan
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    Lorravan Member

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    Let's say it's an orphanage in the US (even though it's probably unlikely in modern times) in a large city (San Francisco sized)
     
  4. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    I can't answer that because there aren't any in the U.S., and I'm certain none in San Francisco. Some states will utilize some sort of group home for teens that can't be placed due to certain issues, but they are not orphanages in the true sense and usually are only used until an appropriate foster home can be found.

    Given that they don't exist, you can make up whatever you want. But the story won't be realistic. Not everyone is bothered by that, though.
     
  5. Lorravan
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    Lorravan Member

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    Well, I guess making things up is better than trying too hard to be realistic.
    Thanks anyway, chicagoliz.
    :)
     
  6. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    You may want to check out some of the threads (especially a few recent ones) about the importance of research. Right off the bat, I'd have a hard time reading your story, because it would be very difficult for me to get past the premise if the story purports to take place in the real world. But as I said, other people aren't bothered as much by inaccuracies.

    What is your story about? Is it absolutely vital that it take place in an orphanage?
     
  7. Lorravan
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    Lorravan Member

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    Well, it's supposed to be in my MC's backstory. He's supposed to grow up in an orphanage, then get adopted. He ends up not liking the family who adopts him, so he runs away. That's not the plot, though, it's just the backstory.
     
  8. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    If that's the case, I think the foster care system would work better with your plot. No?
     
  9. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Or if he absolutely HAS to live in an orphanage...

    #1- Maybe he's in another country that runs the orphanage? As chicagoliz said, we don't have orphanages here in the United States anymore. They've been replaced by the foster care centers.

    #2- Assuming this is set in the United States, and he absolutely has to live in the orphanage, then maybe go back a few decades? A century? Would it hurt the story if it weren't set in modern times?
     
  10. Link the Writer
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    Link the Writer Flipping Out For A Good Story. Contributor

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    Please delete. Double post. I swear, this isn't my fault. My stupid connection did this to me.
     
  11. DeathandGrim
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    DeathandGrim Contributing Member

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    I have no idea, I only have an idea from movies and media

    I'd say make up your own depiction of an orphanage
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    liz and link have good advice to offer... mine is to take it!
     
  13. Lorravan
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    Lorravan Member

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    I think I'll just switch from orphanage to foster care. I can work with that. Thanks guys!
     
  14. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    a 2 second google search shows: (copied and pasted)

    Historically, orphanages in the United States have been defined as institutional or group care facilities that house children who are unable to live with their parents from the time of their admission until adulthood. While there are still some orphanages in the United States today, child welfare systems are less likely to use orphanages as placements for children and youth in foster care. Preferred placements include family settings and, when necessary, residential facilities that include services to help the children and youth reunify with their families or find other permanent families.

    Full article here - https://www.childwelfare.gov/outofhome/types/orphanages.cfm


    While you say this is just backstory - does it really have to be "just" backstory? Can't his early years define him as a parent? What wnt on in the orphanage that defined him in later years. While the best care in the world may have been on offer, maybe there was one nurse/care assistant a little dubious... a paedophile maybe or someone who showed him magic tricks and how to hussle or simply took the time to teach him how to shave.

    Your orphanage / care system could open a lot of possibilities for you
     
  15. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, as I indicated earlier there are some group homes utilized by some states to house some of the kids in their foster care system, but they are not orphanages as most people think of them, in the traditional sense. These homes often are for older kids who have more difficult emotional issues. There are also some institutions for children who have major issues, such as RAD (reactive attachment disorder) and these are often comprised largely of children who have been adopted from abroad, but had been in an orphanage during their early years. So, institutions that could be considered true orphanages in the United States are so small in number that saying they are nonexistent is not far off from the reality. There are, I am certain, NO infants, babies, toddlers or very young children in any of these orphanage-like institutions. And the OP asked about San Francisco, where the percentage of children in the foster care system who are in some sort of an institution, rather than with a family, is less than 2%.

    Unless the character has some sort of real emotional or psychological issue, it's far more likely he was in the foster care system. It's possible he could have been in some sort of group home for a short time, if he was a teen and it was hard to place him. The big problem we have is that kids age out of the foster care system without having a family to turn to for assistance -- things like getting rent and security deposits and furnishing a first apartment, applying for loans, enrolling in a college, etc -- they're all on their own, and that's a tough spot for an 18 year old in today's world.

    I agree completely with your point that this experience would affect how he would parent. Also, it is possible he encountered someone who could have either hurt him or mentored him -- a teacher, counselor, social worker, or one of the foster parents (who for some reason might not have been able to adopt him) or an older foster child also in one of the homes -- there are a lot of possibilities.
     
  16. erebh
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    erebh Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yeah I don't see the point in the author writing about his MC's childcare if nothing important or future defining occurs. Possible pages of nothing...

    Like somebody else said, maybe he was "rescued" from a Romanian orphanage; from what I've seen on TV they are pretty scarey places and couldn't definately have life-long effects on any individual. Those effects don't have to be all miserable and torturous either, it could be the kindness of the person who helped him escape, supplied him with false documents and safe passage...
     
  17. chicagoliz
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    chicagoliz Contributing Member Contributor

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    Ceaușescu's orphanages were one of the most horrible societal and human rights disasters of the last half of the 20th century. Many of the children died and those who survived have huge psychological issues. Romania is full of sociopaths due to the conditions in these institutions. It is extremely difficult to undo the type of damage these institutions inflicted. Some of the orphans were adopted by families in the United States and in Europe, but even these kids often had huge issues. I'm not sure that's where the OP is looking to go, though, for his story. It sounds to me like he's focusing more on an adult (perhaps a young adult) who has always needed to rely almost solely on himself, because he did not have a family who was there for him. This trait and the influence of his childhood could come into play in a wide variety of scenarios.
     
  18. GriffinGarcon
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    GriffinGarcon Member

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    Lorravan,

    That depends on what country your orphanage is at. As was told in the first post, there are no orphanages in the US anymore, and for a good reason. It was almost impossible to stop child physical\sexual abuse there by the teachers\keepers. But there are a lot of orphanages still in other countries. For example Russia is famous (or, rather UN-famous) for its horrific orphanages with all kinds of unspeakable violations taking place.
     
  19. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    I think this will help you out to get a feeling of what it is like for an orphan to be an orphan. It certainly opened my eyes to a few things, even though I sort of was subconsciously aware of them. I mean, you can imagine that orphans feel lonely, but there is more to it than that. This video demonstrates how (many, or at least some) orphans feel that somehow them being orphans is their fault, they try to look for flaws within themselves. Considering that only makes the brutal treatment we sometimes hear about even more devastating.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w8KoS7lZIGo
     
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  20. Nikolay
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    Nikolay Member

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    You better be quiet about unspeakable violations, especially after PRISM and Syrian opposition supporting, especially after Guantanamo prison, where people are imprisoned with no charges for a years, under tortures.
    Let Russians answer for Russia.
     
  21. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    Do you disagree/deny with what GriffinGarcon said? In a world that is largely connected I don't think there is that much misinformation going around anymore. Look, if something is said about your country that isn't true, feel free to speak up, but merely stating that Russians should answer for Russia is circumventing the issue. So please, if you feel something untrue has been said, point it out, don't just suggest yet, bring up the evidence.


    Or perhaps I am misunderstanding what you are trying to say, in that case please elaborate.
     
  22. Nikolay
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    Nikolay Member

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    Look back my message, I've edited it.
     
  23. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    @OP sorry for derailing the thread, I hope it doesn't bother you!

    If a friend of yours shot someone, would that give you a valid excuse to murder someone as well? I say this as a point of comparison. Just because some else does evil, that does not give you an excuse to do evil as well. I am not American, I am not going to defend PRISM or what the US government is doing with Syria but neither should you defend what goes on in your own country. Pointing fingers won't help anyone, anywhere at all. Besides, why not prove yourself to be the better country and fix the issues with Russian Orphanages? I am sure almost every country has its flaws but you seem to say that unless everyone else fixes their shit first, that only then we may complain or even talk about your homecountry and the things that go on there.

    I kind of understand that you might feel Russia is misrepresented in Western Media, but hey, I think Russian Media misrepresents "The West" as well.
     
  24. Nikolay
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    Nikolay Member

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    He is not my friend, he's a provocator.
    I will not proove that's been "just stated".
    If someone wants to proove "unspeakable violations" in Russia, let he does it like his professional job.
    Let he goes to the courts and proove these acts, by himself, to the judge.
    Let him help to these Russian kids straightly.
    But not just say "as it's been known, Russia is a bad country. Also they have "unspeakable violations" at orphanage, as you knew it before". That's just a provocation.
     
  25. Macaberz
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    Macaberz Pay it forward Contributor

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    You can take it as a provocation, or you can prove yourself the better, more knowledgeable person by proving them wrong. It's only a provocation if you take it as one. Now I could go on google and find you evidence that bad things are happening, but seeing as you seem to be mistrustful of western media, I am just going to link you to this video which is posted by a russian user (and I believe it was originally leaked by a russian as well). Now this is just one example of course but considering how easy it was for me to find this, you might want to reconsider your stance.

    Warning: the video has been marked as 18+ so I'll put it in a spoiler:
    Note: Вы говорите вещи для меня я никогда не началась более. Это, вероятно, потому, что вы положили текст на английском языке по машинному переводу. Я не упомянул Griffin ваш друг, я попытался сделать сравнение.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cZK4YTSt-D8

    http://rt.com/news/russian-orphanage-children-beating-442/
     

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