Orphanage Care vs. Foster Care


MLJ Adoptions has international adoption programs in Bulgaria, Democratic Republic of Congo, Honduras, Nicaragua, Samoa and Ukraine. In each of these programs we observe children living in orphanages and in foster care. I have seen wonderful orphanages and terrible orphanages. I have observed many wonderful foster care families during my work in international adoptions. It is always a delight to spend time with orphanage and foster caretakers that truly love their jobs and the children.

Through my work in adoptions from Bulgaria, I found the Bulgarian orphanages were very well equipped with medical staff, facilities and resources and I would expect them to have exceptional living conditions. While this may not be the case across the board in Bulgaria, I was impressed with the orphanages and their staff while I visited their country.

Although, there may be a preference for foster care prior to an international adoption, many adoption professionals still believe that orphanage care can be a good option for some countries. Foster care is extremely expensive and most countries have little financing to implement a foster care system.

Foster care may provide more one-on-one attention for the child which could create a good basis for attachment in the future with adoptive families. There may also be instances when orphanage care in countries with little resources, suffer due to lack of funds. However, foster care expenses can be provided by the adoptive parents and therefore, the child may have more resources for medical treatment, nutrition and overall care.

Often orphanages that have a close family structure find that transitioning a child from their orphanage living situation to a foster family and then to the adoptive family has been seen as a negative approach. However, we have also seen orphanages that have little to no resources find that transitioning the child in this manner may be best for the child due to the little resources at the orphanage for food and medical care. We have seen that this is the case in our African adoptions as the orphanages are desperate for donations and financial assistance. We encourage you to not only adopt but to give back to these orphanages in desperate need!

Although, I truly feel that orphanage care and foster care can both provide loving and nurturing environments, I believe the most important issue is for the adoptive parent to be prepared for their child’s needs after adoption. Whether your child comes from an orphanage or foster care, the adoptive parents must educate themselves on potential nutrition, care, emotions, attachment and behavior issues associated with transition from orphanage or foster care to their forever family. For more information check out our Adoption Education and Support Services.

MLJ Adoptions is a Non-Profit, Hague-Accredited adoption service provider located in Indianapolis, Indiana, working in Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific Isles. We are passionate about serving children in need.