Orphan (Encyclopedia)

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An orphan is a minor child who has no legal parents and are a ward of the state they reside in. An orphan may have been relinquished by his/her parents, the parents may be deceased, or the parents rights may have been terminated for neglect, abuse, abandonment or other reason.

Children who are orphans are usually placed in foster homes where they are either adopted by a family or they live in foster care until they become of legal age to live on their own.

Some orphans are fortunate enough to become adopted through the county or state offices through a public adoption agency. Some of these children have been in the county or state foster care system for a short time, some have been in the system for a long time. Some potential adoptive parents who are licensed to do foster care can take in these orphans until they are able to complete the adoption. Once the adoption has completed the finalization process, the child is no longer considered an orphan. The adoptive parents are able to use the certificate of adoption from the finalization to receive a new birth certificate that will show the adoptive parents as the parents of this child as if that child was born to them.

There are orphans all over the world. For those who are considering international adoption, the United States allows orphans to be adopted from other countries as long as the child is considered an orphan by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services office. There are specific rules and regulations when adopting a orphan from another country. That child must meet U.S. rules and regulations as well as the foreign country rules and regulations.