EFFECTS OF INSTITUTIONALIZATION
WHO ARE THE CHILDREN?
Very few residents of orphanages and baby homes throughout the world are truly orphans, that is, children whose parents are deceased. Most children living in institutional care have been abandoned by their families. Abandonment occurs for many reasons, including parental illness (mental or physical), inability of the parent(s) to care for the child because of family discord, drug and/or alcohol use, mental retardation, imprisonment, or lack of emotional, financial or other resources.
Some children are placed in orphanages after parental rights have been terminated, often because of abuse or neglect. As in the U.S., poverty, single parenthood, parental psychiatric disease (especially maternal depression), and/or drug or alcohol abuse increase the likelihood of abandonment. Political and economic constraints (such as the "one child policy" and preference for boys in China) may also lead to abandonment.
From THE HANDBOOK OF INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION MEDICINE by Laurie C. Miller. © 2004 by Oxford University Press, Inc. Used by Permission.