A Ride on the Orphan Trains with Andrea Warren

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood

The orphan trains were an early experiment in American history in which well meaning adults in large East Coast cities put children that didn’t appear to be in the care of an adult on a train heading west to be adopted by farm families . For some children this meant they traded a life of scrounging on the street for food and living out in the elements for a warm bed and regular meals. Other children who were only temporarily without care knew they were leaving whole families behind in the city and didn’t want to go. Then there were children who were confused and didn’t know which way to turn. Some of the families these children were placed into did give them a warm bed and a spot at the family table. Other children languished in the barn and were treated as indentured help. Looking into America’s adoption history can help us see where we have come from and teach us lessons on where we should go. Learn along with us.

Find out more about all of Andrea Warren’s projects on her website

Read the books Andrea has written based on her interviews with Orphan Train riders. And Purchase them here and here.

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