It’s in my blood

I remember reading a book in grade school about kids on an orphan train. No one ever knows what I am talking about, but I am pretty sure it was this one:

I have just ordered it from A.mazon.


In the 1800’s in New York city, there were many homeless children living on the streets, poor houses, orphanages, and other less than ideal conditions. Charles Loring Brace, a minister, thought that if these children could get into a rural area with a good family, they would be much less likely to become healthy, law-abiding citizens.

So, Brace took out ads in newspapers all across the midwest and southern states for families who would be open to a child. He figured that in addition to doing an act of charity, they would also be getting some extra help around the house.

1853 is considered a critical year in the creation of the foster care system, as the first “orphans” (some were truly orphaned, some had parents who could not take care of them) were placed on a train to head west.

Between 1853 and 1929 over 20,000 children were adopted by families across America. Many were adopted by couples who could not have children or more children biologically. Some ended up being nearly indentured servants.

In 1904, my great grandma came west from New York to Wisconsin on the “Orphan Train” and was adopted by a loving couple who was unable to conceive children. She lived a long life (92 years), married, and had 9 children of her own. My uncle has the dress that she was wearing the day her two year old self got off that train.

Her blood is in my blood.

Source: Success as a Foster Parent by NFPA

About EratMama

30 something midwestern gal, married to another 30 something midwestern gal, conquering depression, rockin' foster parent.
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One Response to It’s in my blood

  1. Carrie says:

    Wow, that is so amazingly cool about your great grandmother!! I actually loved those books as a child, and I also loved other orphan books (like the Boxcar Children and The Children on the Top Floor). And my work has a connection to Charles Loring Brace (which is probably more than I should say on the internet, but I can’t resist the connections 🙂 ).

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