An orphanage is a house or institution where children whose parents are deceased or are unable to carry out their parental obligations are raised. The presence of orphanages have progressively decreased in America with the institution of the foster system or intimate group homes. However, orphanages remain a vital holding house for adoptable children abroad. There are a few exceptions, such as Korea, which, like America, has a sophisticated foster care program.
Romania is the European country with the highest number of children in its orphanages. The number has steadily declined over the years, but in 2010, there were still about 19,000 children in orphanages in Romania. About an eighth of orphaned children in Rwanda are in orphanages. Tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands of Chinese children are thought to be in orphanages. The welfare of children in orphanages overseas is somewhat dependent on adopters. When adoptive parents head overseas for a placement, they're expected to make a donation to the orphanage to be used for the benefit of the remaining children in the adoptee's orphanage.
Because orphanages are often overcrowded and understaffed, nutrition, education and emotional support may not be given the amount of attention required for a well-rounded upbringing. While few adoptees who have lived in orphanages harbor poor feelings about their orphanage lifestyle, it is not as familial and nuclear as an experience with a foster family can provide.