The Orphan Train


The piece of literature or excerpt that interested me most was the short story “Poe’s Life”.  The second of three children born in theearly 1800’s to parents who were traveling actors and who died when Edgar wasjust three years old.  Edgar wasseparated from his siblings who went to live with other families while he wastaken in by a wealthy tobacco merchant and his wife.   Poe’s life as a struggling, yet successfulwriter of poetry, novels, textbooks, a book of scientific theory, hundreds of essays, and magazine articles lived a life mostly of poverty having little orno money.  His story of love and loss istruly heartbreaking and rarely heard of from a goal oriented, self-driven and successful individual like Poe who proved his ability to overcome obstacles andtragedies.  As an adult by his peers,rivals and in death, his distorted image was recognized as a fortunate, drunken poet, writer, and womanizer with no friends or morals.  In Poe’s mind, reality depicted a much more deserving 40 year existence.  Since his death over 165 years ago, Edgar Allan Poe has been revered as a literary genius and inspirational poet.


The connection of Edgar Allan Poe’slife story along with my 15 year experience of being a ward of the State and placedin multiple foster care homes brings my attention and hopefully yours to “The Orphan Train.”  As we continue to watch the world turn in this 20th century, society is being affected by many things in many ways.  One of the biggest tragedies that I have recognized is the rise in the number of homeless adults and children.  This increase hascome from loss of jobs from high income levels including senior staff members such as {Presidents, Vice-Presidents, CEO’s, CFO’s, Directors, Managers, etc.},to minimum wage and white collar workers. With these losses and reductions, people tend to seek out various formsof medication, illegal drugs and alcohol to mask their pain and cope.  Parents become unfit and unable to afford to feed, clothe and house their children and/or family members.  Many individuals of our failing society have now lost their children to Foster Care, Orphanages and Group homes since the parents are in crisis, causing turmoil and forcing Child Protection Services and sometimes the State to get involved, in order to protect the children’sbest interest and well-being.    This increase in the homeless increases the number of displaced and neglected children of all ages needing to be placed in foster care, orphanages and other temporary housing in need of a “forever” home.  The hope and goal is to reunite these children with their families.  However, statistics show and the numbers are staggering, this reunion is rare.


“The Orphan Train”, initiated by the Children’s Aid Society, began relocating orphaned, abandoned, homeless and neglected children within the United States as well as Canada and Mexico to new homes in the mid 1800’s because they believed that the futures of these children could be changed.  This train {little better than cattle cars} transported children who shared a common, grim existence ranging in age from 4 to 18 and sometimes younger to towns where interested host families would gather to view, inspect (muscles and teeth) andinterview the children to assist them in making their selection.  For approximately 75 years this train helped inexcess of 120,000 children find families that made them feel loved, wanted and to enjoy the sense of family again.   This train was perceived to be an ambitious, unusual and even controversial experiment but forced America to incorporate organized foster care.  This movement also led to many child welfare reforms, child labor laws, adoption, public education, health care and evennutrition and vocational training.  Therewere other agencies who became involved in placing children into foster homes such as the {New York Juvenile Asylum} now known as the New York Founding Hospital as well as the {Orphan Asylum Society of the City of New York} now known as the Graham-Windham Home for Children. Asylum’s?


Isn’t it amazing how this event in history seems to be revealing its ugly head once more?  I don’t believe there will ever be an “OrphanTrain” again, but the need to find loving, safe and forever homes for children exists and is still considered a crisis.  Statistics prove this need is even worse than during the Orphan Train movement.   Millions upon millions of children and adults throughout the United States are in need of forever homes and housing.


Just as Edgar Allan Poe was stripped from his parents through their death, separated from his siblings (who went tolive with people they didn’t know) lived with and was adopted by people he didnot know, the children on the “Orphan Train” were also removed, abandoned, homeless and encourage to completely sever ties, connections and relationships to theirpast.  People on a daily basis are forced to abandon their homes or relocate for various reasons.  Children are even placed with other family members or friends because of these decisions which include poorly made choices.  Some families are forced to move back home with their parents to make ends meet. Unlike the 1950’s when only one member of the household was required to work to provide, families now require either multiple jobs so that at least one family member can stay home or both family members must work.  Due to the unaffordable rise in child care itis the children who pay the ultimate price.


Life is challenging, crazy, exciting, rewarding, fulfilling and a different journey for each of us.  An ugly picture of the world’s crisis hasbeen created by the leaders of our time in this journey called, “life”. Thetrend of all future events is determined by our future leaders (children).  Let’s help take care of them and show them the way!


Children left in the streets to fend for themselves

This has always been a sad but true part of Society. Even Hundreds of years later there are Children Waiting to be adopted by a GOOD FAMILY.

SHEROES United is committed to the highest level to see to it that no child is left behind. That no child should be placed in a home that is unfit. These children deserve quality of life. They should not be used as Slaves, or trafficked or kept hidden away. They should not be victims in a society where adults are paid to FOSTER Children only to keep them in the most despicable surroundings, and they are required to do things that are unspeakable.

We are dedicated to being their VOICE until they are able to share their VOICE freely. We welcome your stories of Foster Care. Good, Bad, or Ugly. We want to be able to paint a picture that not many see. If you have any questions or would like to talk more about our programs please contact us. If you are an organization that would like to team with us we are VERY Interested in talking with you. We are the Caretakers of these Children. And we will fight for them until they find their way home…