Sunday, April 2, 2017

"We Rode the Orphan Trains"

They were “throw away” kids, living in the streets or in orphanages and foster homes. Then Charles Loring Brace, a young minister working with the poor in New York City, started the Children’s Aid Society and devised a plan to give homeless children a chance to find families to call their own.

Thus began an extraordinary migration of American children. Between 1854 and 1929, an estimated 200,000 children, mostly from New York and other cities of the eastern United States, ventured forth to other states on a journey of hope.

Andrea Warren has shared the stories of some of these orphan train riders here, including those of Betty, who found a fairy tale life in a grand hotel; Nettie Evans and her twin, Nellie, who were rescued from their first abusive placement and taken in by a new, kindhearted family who gave them the love they had hoped for; brothers Howard and Fred, who remained close even though they were adopted into different families; and Edith, who longed to know the secrets of her past.

Listen to these and other child orphans as they share their memories of transition and adventure, disappointment and loneliness, but ultimately of the joy of belonging to their own new families.

My Thoughts...

Last week I read "The Chaperone" in it Cora the H was referred to as one of the orphan train children. Not being familiar with the Orphan Train Children I decided to read a book about real "Orphan Train Children".  

We may think that the problem of abandoned and orphaned children, and  children whose parents cannot care for them still does not exist in America. However, when this book was written in 2001, there were more than five hundred thousand children in foster care, and many of them living in homes that are not very good. Some are eligible for adoption. 

States are also grappling with abandonment laws that would allow parents to leave infants at hospitals and police stations without being prosecuted as criminals. Such laws, officials hope, would save the lives of unwanted children.

Yesterdays orphan train riders are today's foster children, and they are children who live with grandparents, other relatives, non relatives, or single parents. The Orphan Train children found new families through adoption. They were the children who learned that "family" can transcend biology, that strangers can learn to love each other, and that their bonds as family can be strong and true.
Yes that was a sad time in history, however, it was so encouraging to read how some found happy forever homes, but sadly some were placed in homes that weren't as nice. But in the end they survived to appreciate their own families when they grew up and became parents. 

I don't know if 'enjoyed' is the right way to describe my feelings about this book, however, I found it very educational for me. Especially since my father died when I was 4 years old and my mother was left with 8 children to finish raising on her own. She kept us all together and because of my mother I am who I am today. My mother is my hero, and I'm so glad she was able to keep our family together even though it wasn't easy. But I had 5 older sisters who took care of me along with my mother, I always said I had 5 mother/sisters, and 1 mother. I also had 2 brothers who helped out wherever they could. Being the youngest I never wanted for anything, most of all love, I knew I was loved, and isn't that what is most important in life? As you can see this book has touched me in ways that I didn't even see coming my way....

I bought this book on Amazon and it is now part of my personal library.

1 comment:

  1. Gigi Ann, thank you for this wonderful review of the book. Your personal story is very touching.