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Orphanage

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I just want to know if children in an oprhanage were taught how to cook or you know cook basic foods like eggs, etc....
#1 - July 18, 2011, 03:05 AM

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What time period are you writing about?  Modern China? Victorian England? Early 1900's in the U.S.A.?  Research and then create.....maybe the orphanage in your writing is atypical of the time period.
#2 - July 18, 2011, 05:28 AM

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I agree with Scribblegirl. A bit of research on orphanages in the geographic area and time period you're writing about would be a good idea. But orphanages must vary a great deal, so whatever your plot demands could work.
#3 - July 18, 2011, 07:29 AM
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Many of the children in US orphanages of the early 20th Century may have gone to public school depending on the size of the orphanage and the community it was located in, they would have learned the same things that most children learned and did chores at the orphanage. 

Time clarification and location of the orphanage is very important.  Don't go Dicksonian unless your are setting your orphanage in
England at that time.
#4 - July 18, 2011, 08:04 AM
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I was raised in an orphanage in Texas should anyone ever have questions about the modern era.  Like others I'm not sure what time period the original questioner is needing info on.  While the general conditions are going to vary a lot depending on when/where most orphanages have made a lot of effort into making sure the children acquire life skills as well as learning the value of work so their daily life would almost certainly include a lot of work including housework and kitchen duties.  If they are in a rural situation animal care and tending gardens/crops would also be a part of their daily chores.  Most children in orphanages do attend public school and may also have tutors who come after school to the orphanage to ensure everyone's homework is completed.
As Melissa said orphanages do vary enough that you can have them doing almost anything your plot requires.
Let me know if I can help anyone further on this issue.
#5 - July 18, 2011, 11:50 AM

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My mom and her 3 siblings were in an orphanage in Saskatchewan in the late 1950's early '60s, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. They attended public school, but were treated badly by other children and teachers because they were from the orphanage, the other kids would throw rocks at the kids from the orphanage, things like that. My uncle was pulled out of school and sent to work as a farm laborer when he was 12. Usually the boys all got sent to the farm at 14, but my uncle was big for his age, so he was sent early and my mom didn't see him for about two years. My mom was strapped almost daily at the orphanage for things like being late for breakfast because of all the chores they had to do first. I think this also included kitchen duties, scrubbing floors, things like that. The strapping at the orphanage meant they'd be late for school, which earned them another strapping. The other kids in the orphanage also resented them because they were not up for adoption. My grandfather was an underground miner and when his wife left and abandoned the children he had no family that could take them. They found out after being there for a couple of years that the orphanage would intercept the letters and gifts he sent and they never got them, the orphanage's excuse being it wasn't fair to the kids that didn't have parents. They were at the orphanage for about 5 years before my grandfather remarried and was able to get them back. I think my mom was there from about age 6-11.

When I was about 17 we saw on the news a story about the orphanage my mom was in, as it was their one hundredth anniversary, and I've never seen my mom so upset. I'm sure there are those that didn't have such a bad experience as my mom, but I thought I'd share the perspective.
#6 - July 18, 2011, 12:41 PM
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My mother's mother died when she was only 35 and left five small children.  My mother was seven.  One day they overheard their father (who was almost destitute) talking to his brother on the phone and saying that he didn't know what to do and that he'd probably put the children in an orphanage.  All the children began to cry and begged him not to do it--so he didn't.  Instead he got married again right away.  He married a woman with some problems of her own, but I think she did her best.  They proceeded to have five more children.  There were many problems in that family, including schizophrenia (one of the daughters) and deaths of three of the children.  But all the rest of them survived and became well-functioning adults.

Not that this is particularly relevant, but it wasn't unusual for single parents to put their children in orphanages in the early 20th century.
#7 - July 18, 2011, 01:44 PM
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If it is modern day you are looking at, I don't know of any orphanages in my area. I did adopt two children from a homeless shelter run by the Catholic Charities, and I think this type of situation is more common than children actually going to an orphanage. They are placed somewhere by social services temporarily, and then if no possibilities present themselves for foster families the kid(s) are moved to a situation like where I adopted my sons.
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#8 - July 19, 2011, 08:35 AM

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There are such places as (and for the sake of the children I will not name the three I know of off the top of my head) Children's homes.  The do have group homes with house parents.  These kids do go to public school when possible or are schooled at the Homes.  They are usually children that have been in and out of foster care, children that are beginning to show some emotional problems from being moved around so much, or may be children that cannot be adopted out because the parents have not relinquished their rights yet or have not be declared unfit parents and had their parental rights taken away. 

However, most adoptable children now are in foster care.
#9 - July 19, 2011, 06:24 PM
You must do the things you think you cannot do.  Eleanor Roosevelt

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My husband grew up partly in a children's home that was Catholic run and then they moved him into a state run (I think) independent living program. In the first, he had to go to counseling and do chores and had lots of checkins. In the other, he had to get his GED, and was taught lots of life skills. Quite honestly, when we met in my early 20's he was far better at cooking, cleaning, goal setting, and budgeting than I was. It's taken me 10 years to catch up. He was a teen in these programs, though.

Arty - my heart is breaking for your mother. That sounds like Dickensian England - I had no idea things like that were going on in the '50's.
#10 - July 19, 2011, 08:17 PM
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Same anon here! I am  so sorry, it took me ahm so many months to post in this thread.

My mom and her 3 siblings were in an orphanage in Saskatchewan in the late 1950's early '60s, and it wasn't a pleasant experience. They attended public school, but were treated badly by other children and teachers because they were from the orphanage, the other kids would throw rocks at the kids from the orphanage, things like that. My uncle was pulled out of school and sent to work as a farm laborer when he was 12. Usually the boys all got sent to the farm at 14, but my uncle was big for his age, so he was sent early and my mom didn't see him for about two years. My mom was strapped almost daily at the orphanage for things like being late for breakfast because of all the chores they had to do first. I think this also included kitchen duties, scrubbing floors, things like that. The strapping at the orphanage meant they'd be late for school, which earned them another strapping. The other kids in the orphanage also resented them because they were not up for adoption. My grandfather was an underground miner and when his wife left and abandoned the children he had no family that could take them. They found out after being there for a couple of years that the orphanage would intercept the letters and gifts he sent and they never got them, the orphanage's excuse being it wasn't fair to the kids that didn't have parents. They were at the orphanage for about 5 years before my grandfather remarried and was able to get them back. I think my mom was there from about age 6-11.

When I was about 17 we saw on the news a story about the orphanage my mom was in, as it was their one hundredth anniversary, and I've never seen my mom so upset. I'm sure there are those that didn't have such a bad experience as my mom, but I thought I'd share the perspective.


Ohmy! Your mother's story inspired me! Especially when you mentioned this "They found out after being there for a couple of years that the orphanage would intercept the letters and gifts he sent and they never got them, the orphanage's excuse being it wasn't fair to the kids that didn't have parents."

Anyway, Thank you so much blue boarders for helping me up!
#11 - March 28, 2012, 11:21 PM

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Since this was brought up again recently, I just recalled that an orphanage/children's home in Memphis (Tennessee's Children's Home) was one that a large scandal was uncovered in 1950 when the director Georgia Tann died.  She essentially sold babies and small children to many people in high society including movie stars.  During the depression when some parents had no options but to place their children in the home for care, she placed the children out for adoption and destroyed the papers.  In 1991 60 Minutes did a show about the scandal and tried to reconnect some of the families since almost all of the paperwork had been destroy.  At the time I was working in TN and The building was still standing.  I don't recall if it was empty or not at the time, but we did not pursue whether or not it was an historical building at the time.  Feeling were running too high at the time.   It was one of those places that was so nice looking on the outside and I believe was well kept up and maintained on the inside and the children always presented "well" to those in Memphis society circles.  A Memphis doctor, also helped Tann with the baby trade by taking unwed mothers to her and taking the babies away and telling the mothers the babies died. 

I think the state had one heck of a scandal to explain on how this went on for so long.
#12 - March 30, 2012, 01:10 PM
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New!
Also, in certain areas and at certain times in history, they were called Boys' Homes or Girls' Homes, and possibly other names. Orphanage isn't always the correct term. But your research will direct you.
#13 - March 30, 2012, 01:23 PM
« Last Edit: March 30, 2012, 02:25 PM by TracyH »

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(An aside:  Movie stars used to "adopt" their own children to avoid scandal of unwed parenthood.)
#14 - March 30, 2012, 01:58 PM
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Blimey. I have nothing useful to add but am blown away by these stories. You/your parents/grandparents have my full admiration for surviving such experiences.
#15 - March 30, 2012, 02:02 PM

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