An essential problem with both orphan advocacy and the adoption debate is that we really know little about children who have been separated from their parents. I have argued that they tend to be hidden by national governments. And this is far from a problem that is unique to poorer countries. I am tremendously curious about orphans in Japan, for instance–why are there so many? What kind of “permanency planning” do they receive?
A short piece in the Japan Times online in 2002, describing an upcoming television program on a few of Japan’s very rare foster parents, indicated that “There are many orphanages throughout Japan, and at the moment they are filled to capacity. What goes on there is a secret, and the media rarely reports on these institutions, unless something odd occurs. Last year, several orphans “escaped” from an institution in Chiba, saying they couldn’t stand the jail-like atmosphere. the story disappeared after a day.” Available at http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/fd20020728cs.html
Nothing that I can see in current orphan advocacy gets at this problem of hidden social orphans. It would be invaluable to hear from people, themselves generally unknown, who work in these situations and understand what the factors are in the creation and maintenance of a social orphan population.