Orphan Trains were developed before adoption laws were created and marked the start of adoption in the United States.
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Start Of Adoption: Orphan Trains

In the picture, notice the children all standing on display. The term “putting up a child for adoption” comes from the Orphan Trains stopping at the train stations and putting children up on the platform for farmers to pick the children to work on their farms. This was the start of adoption.

History of Adoption: Orphan Trains

The history of adoption is steeped in negativity due to its unethical beginnings. In 1854, an estimated 30,000 abandoned children were living on the streets of New York City, and the Orphan Train Movement began. It was an attempt to protect homeless, poor, and orphaned children long before social welfare or foster care came into existence. The Orphan Trains operated between 1854 and 1929, relocating more than 200,000 children from the cities.

Orphaned, abandoned, abused, or homeless, many were the children of new immigrants and the poor and destitute families living in major cities. These children were placed in alternate homes throughout the United States and Canada during this time.  

In 1912, the U.S. Children’s Bureau was established with the mission of helping states support children and families and to alleviate the financial burdens of that time. As state and local governments became more involved in supporting families, the Orphan Trains became a thing of the past.


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Most of the children put up for adoption during the Orphan Train Movement had no identifying information, no birth certificates, and no medical history for themselves or their families. The children had no information about their birth families, relatives, or genetics.  

Several states began to develop laws surrounding adoption practices and guidelines for placing children from state to state. Today, the Interstate Compact for Placing Children (ICPC) department in each state governs the documents and process for a child to be placed in another state through adoption. 

How We Can Help Today

At Florida Adoption Center, we make sure we adhere to all legal aspects of the adoption process. We work diligently to gather all information such as background history, medical concerns, and all the necessary information needed to make the process of returning home to another state as seamless as possible.

We feel every child, every mother, and every father deserves to know their history, story, and family. Contact our team today if you have questions about adoption or if you are pregnant and need help

Florida Adoption Center, LLC, where LOVE makes a Difference.  Call us at 321-250-5683/ 321-766-5638 or 1-855-899-5683 for more information or assistance with your adoption journey. 

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