Yes, hello Amy. What? No, I haven't been ignoring you. I've just been busy writing. That's what I do, remember? You don't think it's a serious profession? Well, I certainly beg to differ.
Okay, what's up? You want to know how long I was an orphan? Well, I really don't consider myself ever being an orphan, but I guess you could say that technically I was. But remember - I was adopted at five months of age. Why do you ask?
You saw an orphan on the street when you were in the city? He was begging?
Hmmm. Let's see what information I can give you about orphans in the 1800s.
First of all, during the Victorian era when you currently live, much is happening regarding the advance of technology and social reforms. There is a middle class developing between the poorer working class and the wealthy families. But an orphan (as you succinctly reminded me I once was) has no status whatsoever and is more often than not considered simply "abandoned".
Some authors such as Charles Dickens have already written before your time in the 19th century about the conditions in which orphans have to survive in England. His novel "Oliver Twist", is an example. It is unfortunately thought by many during this time that orphans are not to be trusted; they have the reputation of being involved in criminal activities.
Yes, perhaps they are stealing things, even food, in order to survive. More often than not though, they are being forced to work at a very young age, perhaps as servants.
In the mid 1800s, nearly every state in the United States have created orphanages to house the orphans. But in 1909 President Theodore Roosevelt will declare that it is better for children to live in foster homes.
Starting in the 1920's many orphanages will close down.