What Is An Orphan?

What is an orphan? 

In the United States, a common definition for orphan is "a minor bereft through death or disappearance of, abandonment or desertion by, or separation or loss from both parents." Most Americans probably think of the image of Orphan Annie, but when thinking internationally that may not be accurate. The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) label any child that has lost one parent as an orphan. This idea was first adopted during the mid 1990's when the AIDS epidemic left millions of children without one or more parents. In many countries there are "single orphans" (have lost one parent) and "double orphans" (have lost both parents). It is estimated there are over 140 million orphans in the world today. 

Many consider children in the United States foster care system to be modern day orphans. Though most of those children have biological parents, they have been removed from their home and in many cases their parents have lost their legal rights. Children are trying to navigate life living in foster homes, group homes, or shelters without their biological parents. The definition of "orphan" is not as simple as we often make it out to be. 


Who will the Solace Family Home help? 

The simple answer is The Solace Family Home exists to provide a place of refuge for children in need. 

The complicated answer is the Solace Family Home will have children without any living biological parents, some with one living parent, and others with both parents still alive. Most will have some family (uncles, aunts, grandma, cousins, etc.) but some may have no one at all. The Solace Family Home will help orphaned as well as at-risk children, who may come from a home with unsafe living conditions. Often in developing countries there are family members that would like to help care for the children but they do not have the income or resources to do so. 


Will the children stay connected to their family? 

Yes. It is actually common for children to live in an orphanage but also go back to their village or community to stay with family while on extended break from school. Again, this may not fit the image we have of how an orphanage should run, but it is common in other cultures. Obviously, if a child comes from an abusive or dangerous home they will not return unsupervised.  

Our desire is not to remove children from their culture or their country. In fact, the opposite is true. We have dreams that children will grow up, receive an education, learn a trade, and go back and improve the village or community they are from. We believe that someday children from the Solace Family Home will be leaders and innovators in their country. 




Ryne Isaac