"We never called the place an Orphanage because we never felt that it was an Orphanage. It was our home."It's tough being an orphan. No parents, no home and a large chance you'll be placed in the horrible Orphanage of Fear. But some fictional orphans get lucky, and go to the Orphanage of Love instead. At the Orphanage of Love, there's enough food for all, and it tastes good. The rooms are spacious and well lit, the beds are soft and laundry is done frequently. The staff genuinely care about their charges and competently take care of them until good foster homes can be found for their precious angels. (Because no matter how wonderful the Orphanage of Love is, actual parents are even better.) Mind you, employee screening isn't perfect, and sometimes a Child Hater will somehow get on the staff and abuse the orphans until he can be exposed. Also, money is generally in short supply, so the heroes will often have to raise a bundle of cash to keep the place running or avoid having it foreclosed on by a Dastardly Whiplash land developer. Expect the heroes of the story to try Saving the Orphanage through whatever wacky means necessary. Expect the orphans themselves to get into the same act.
open/close all folders
Anime & Manga
- Pony Home, the orphanage that Candy of Candy Candy grew up in alongside her friend Tom and Annie, is one. Managed by Miss Pony and Sister Lane, it's a place where Candy often drops by when she's tired or dispirited.
- Same to the one Nadja lived in at the beginning of Ashita no Nadja. When Miss Applefield dies in an accident, however, it's dismantled.
- The Maxwell Church from Mobile Suit Gundam Wing was very poor, but otherwise it did well and was run by the kind Father Maxwell and his assistant Sister Helen. Pity it was blown up in the war and the only survivor, Duo, was quite traumatised.
- In Cowboy Bebop: Ed was raised in one of these. Her father is actually alive, but is such a flake that it really was the better living situation for her.
- Rosette and Joshua Christopher from Chrono Crusade grew up in an Orphanage of Love named Seventh Bell after their parent's deaths. It's very understaffed (seeming to only have a single aging woman named Ms. Jean watching the kids) so the orphans seem to end up doing a lot of the chores, but they're well taken care of and seem to be spoiled rotten. It seemed like the ideal place for them to live, until Joshua went insane when he put a pair of demon's horns on his head, destroyed the orphanage and froze all of the orphans and Ms. Jean in stone.
- Epsilon of Pluto runs one of these for human war orphans.
- Tohma from Magical Record Lyrical Nanoha Force was sent to one of these after his hometown was destroyed. He would have gone on to be Happily Adopted if the plot hadn't come along.
- Dee from FAKE was raised in an orphanage like this, It was nearly destroyed by a developer who wished to build on it and the orphanage's owner who raised Dee, a nun, is nearly killed.
- Hana no Ko Lunlun has the heroine running across one in the South Italian countryside (not exactly mentioned where in Italy, but considering she had just left Sicily, it could be anywhere in Calabria), run by a nun named Sister Mariana and with kids from the age range of 5 to 15. The eldest children, lead by the Hot-Blooded Emilio, fret over cute little Lucero's Ill Girl condition and desperately seek for the money they need for her operation, so they're overjoyed when there are rumors about a hidden treasure coming from World War II. It wasn't a treasure... but an old bomb.
- Najika of Kitchen Princess had one of these in the Lavender House, which the director of her school tried to shut down, in order to blackmail Najika into losing a cooking contest. It didn't work.
- Trigun - Wolfwood grew up in one of these... which is ironic since it is a Tyke Bomb group.
- It's implied that Father Anderson is the head of one of these in Hellsing. Since for most of the series we see him being a monster-hunting Blood Knight zealot, seeing him treat the children with actual gentleness and kindness is something of a shock. The kids at the orphanage, in turn, seem to love him dearly, and some of the members of his Iscariot Organization are people who grew up in his orphanage.
- In Future Diary the orphanage that the 8th runs seems to be one of these, considering how far her kids go to protect her. And she seems willing to fight for the sake of the kids as well.
- Kabuto of Naruto ended up in one after his original home was destroyed in a war and he lost his memory. While by no means perfect, the children and one of the caretakers accepted him as family. Even years since last seeing them, his fellow orphans think of him as a brother. Also offers a much grimmer example of protecting it from closure: while still a child, Kabuto became a spy for Konoha to prevent Danzo shutting off the aid.
- While not an actual orphanage, the majority of the wizards in the title guild of Fairy Tail are teens or young adults without family ties, who have come to look at the guild as their family. A lot of them have even been there since they were small children.
- In the Saint Seiya anime, the title character and his older sister Seika spent some time in one of these before Seiya was forcibly taken in by the Kido Fundation and Seika disappeared in search of him. It's featured once in a while since Seiya's Unlucky Childhood Friend Miho still lives and works in it, so in his (almost nonexistant) free time Seiya tends to hang out there, sometimes with Saori and the other Saints joining him. This is a plot point in one of the non-serial movies: Eri, the newest worker at said orphanage, is at the receiving end of a Grand Theft Me by Eris the Goddess of Revenge.
- Whether Death Note's Wammy's House is this or an Orphanage of Fear zigzags depending on which way your Fanon leans. Whichever way, the place cranks out Tyke Bombs like it's manufacturing them... Actually, it is.
- While Mello, Near, and L seem to have been content with the place, others (like A and Beyond) are not so fortunate. It seems to depend on what level of Tyke Bomb you are.
- In Pokémon Special, Earl's Pokémon Academy doubles as this. As the place was low on funds and falling apart, Crystal decided to work for Professor Oak to pay for everything the kids needed. Her selfless attitude inspires Emerald to become a Pokedex Holder.
- In The World God Only Knows, Keima is surprised to find that his partner Elsie grew up in one. After the war, many young devils lost their parents, so she was at a government-sponsored home with five hundred other children. She's as upbeat about this as she is with everything else, and even notes that the biological daughter of the patron was like a big sister to all of them.
- In Combattler V, Hyouma Aoi was raised in one that was run by a kindly nun. It certainly explains how badly he takes seeing children in risk.
- Subverted in One Piece: Charlotte "Big Mom" Linlin spent some time in one run by the famous Badass Preacher Mother Carmel... but in reality, Carmel was a slave trader who took in unwanted kids to then sell them to pirates and the Marines. She wanted to pawn off Linlin to the highest bidder, so she took the incredibly big and powerful little girl in and pretended to love her while enabling her worst habits... and during Linlin's sixth birthday it bit her and the other orphans in the ass. Literally.
- The Belgium comic book series ORPHANIMO!!! is all about an orphanage of love. The last five orphans living there love the place and its owner so much, they sabotage every attempt of the owner to find them adoptive parents. A rich and powerful industrialist however wants to buy the orphanage to use the ground for his latest building. The orphans, of course, try to prevent this in every way possible.
- For Superman, the Smallville Orphanage (where the Kents left him at, before returning to formally adopt him) was usually also shown as such.
- In the New 52 reboot of Batman, the ultimate Talon Bruce Wayne's brother Thomas Wayne Junior was seriously injured in his youth and sent to a prominent children's hospital by his parents Thomas and Martha Wayne to recover in secret. Thanks to the Waynes' funding, the hospital fit this trope. Sadly, when they were killed the funding dried up and the hospital became an Orphanage of Fear. Talon wants revenge on Bruce for their parents' deaths which lead directly to his life becoming a living hell. At least, that's his story, Batman points out several flaws in it, but never learns the truth either way.
- Midway Orphanage in Batman/Superman: World's Finest (1990 miniseries), at least once The Fagin is no longer a co-manager.
- An example can be found in the World War I serial "Golden Eyes" And Her Hero "Bill"- after selling off the jewelry and miscellaneous Plunder she "reclaimed" from the German officer who tried to shoot her, Golden Eyes finds she has "enough and more in [her] small fist to provide for around hundred French babies—orphaned by War!" The next paragraph finds her at a "beautiful chateau," far from the front lines, surrounded by happy children who call her "petite maman." It's unclear whether or not Golden Eyes founded the orphanage or if she's just a generous benefactor, as the war orphans are never mentioned again.note
- Skyhold Academy, a Boarding School in Thedas, is actually something very much like this, but they keep it secret from most people. The students who board there during the school year are either orphans or come from abusive backgrounds, and the school is on a mission to rescue them and give them a safe place to grow up.
Films — Animation
- The orphanage in Meet the Robinsons where Lewis and Goob grow up appears to be one of these, complete with kindly matron Mildred. Interestingly, the DVD commentary says that Mildred is careful to not coddle the children too much, since they need to be able to leave when adopted without emotional hang-ups. The biggest problem at Lewis's orphanage is, well, Lewis himself, though he gets better.
- The orphanage where Tim lives in Nocturna doesn't really feature too much in the movie, but it appears to be more or less this trope; children are given the run of the place during the daylight hours and there are plenty of toys to keep them amused. The only hitch is that Tim tends to be given rather a rough time by the other children because of his noisy bedtime ritual.
- The Care Bears Movie has as its framing device a man named Mr. Cherrywood telling a bedtime story to kids at an orphanage. From what little we see of it, the children seem to love the staff.
Films — Live-Action
- The main plot of Blossoms in the Dust. Activist Edna Gladney, appalled by the thoughtless treatment of orphaned and abandoned children, founds an Orphanage of Love dedicated to taking care of such children and matching them with adoptive parents.
- St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage is, despite being run by The Penguin, an Orphanage of Love. It must be, because The Blues Brothers wouldn't have risked everything to save it otherwise. They also found out that their mentor, Curtis, would be thrown out on the street once the sale of the orphanage was final.
- St. Gabriel's Home for Orphan Girls in the original Angels in the Outfield is definitely this.
- So is the foster home in the remake.
- The UN refugee camp for displaced children in The Search, run by hardworking, kindly Mrs. Murray, who is trying to find homes for children displaced by World War II.
- The orphanage in Love Affair, run by a kindly headmaster who hires Terry to teach music and singing to the children.
- The orphanage in Mighty Joe Young seems to have been one of these, a kindly, concerned staff and a large, well kept building. Unfortunately, it catches fire. Luckily, Mighty Joe Young is there to ensure all the children are saved.
- Madame Rosa: Madame Rosa runs an unlicensed orphanage in her own apartment. But she plainly loves her little charges, as shown by how tenderly she tucks them in.
- The Cider House Rules had a loving, if shabby around the edges and low on funding, orphanage-and-abortion-clinic.
- In Kushiel's Legacy, Imriel grows up in a temple of Elua, and although his mother is alive he doesn't learn this until much later.
- "In an old house in Paris, all covered in vines, lived twelve little girls, in two straight lines. The smallest one was Madeline". Though it's technically a boarding school, Madeline herself is an orphan (in the live-action movie, anywaynote ) and the other kids' parents never really figure into the plot.
- Plumfield Estate School, the orphanage/school that Jo and her husband run in Louisa May Alcott's Little Men.
- In Jane Eyre, Jane gets sent off to Lowood - a boarding school that is basically for orphans and poor children - which goes from an Orphanage of Fear to Orphanage of Love over time.
- Harry Potter: The orphanage in which Voldemort grew up is more or less described as a pleasant, if gloomy, place to be raised (and it doesn't help that this was during the Depression) — Tom Riddle himself was the problem.
- Jean Webster's book Dear Enemy is composed of letters written to various people about the goings-on after the heroine takes on the responsibility of an orphanage, which used to border on Orphanage of Fear until she came along. The "Enemy" of the title is the doctor with whom the heroine cannot get along (for most of the book, at least). The orphanage suffers from a lack of staff and money, but at least manages to get some community support when a fire burns the place down and the orphans get sheltered with various townsfolk for a while.
- The orphanage in Adopt-A-Ghost certainly applies, to the point at which the children love the matron and other orphans so much that they try to avoid being adopted if possible..
- Which Witch?, at the end when the old matron-turned spider is replaced by a sweeter woman.
- In The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency, Mma Potokwane's orphan farm is run by a caring woman who firmly believes that a child needs love.
- The orphanage/boarding school Georgie is sent to in The Lottery Rose would qualify.
- In Brat Farrar by Josephine Tey, the protagonist's backstory features such an orphanage:
It was a very good orphanage; a great deal happier than many a home he had seen in passing since. The children had loved it. They had wept when they left and had come back for visits; they had sent contributions to the funds; they had invited the staff to their marriages, and brought their subsequent children for the matron's approval. There was never a day when some old girl or boy was not cluttering up the front door.
- Mother Karen's home in Spellbent and Shotgun Sorceress by Lucy Snyder is one of these. Mother Karen herself rivals Fred Rogers in the "Friend to all children" category and is unfailingly kind even when monumentally stressed out. What she can't do, she relies on the teenage orphans (raised under her sterling example, of course) to do.
- In John C. Wright's Chronicles of Chaos, the boarding school straddles the line between this and Orphanage of Fear. On the one hand, they are treated affectionately and given an excellent education. On the other hand, the teachers are under orders to kill them if they start remembering things.
- The foundling hall in Michelle Sagara's Chronicles of Elantra is run by a caring and fiercely protective Leontine woman who treats the orphans as her own and does everything she can to keep them well fed, well clothed, and well educated.
- Natalie Savage Carlson's twenty Orphelines lived happily in a small private orphanage run by Mme. Flattot and her assistant Genevieve. There were several books about these little girls, who regarded themselves as a family and didn't want to be adopted.
- Downplayed in Steve Berry's The Third Secret. The Romanian orphanage is... a Romanian orphanage. But the nuns and priest who run it are very kind. There just isn't enough money. Fr. Tibor's holding the place together with Scotch tape and rosary beads before he's murdered. But Fr. Colin is inspired to make the orphanage his life's mission, and he's bringing his considerable personal fortune with him.
- In Sharpe's Prey, the orphanage at which Astrid works is this. Sharpe, who grew up in an Orphanage of Fear, takes a while to actually understand the concept.
- In Hours, Bethel Woods Orphanage is well run and well funded, even providing an allowance for performing extra chores. Just don't talk about "shimmerings", the mysterious program that children are randomly selected for when they reach a certain age.
- Numerous implied ones in the web-novel Domina. With the exceptions of Derek, Laura, and Akane, pretty much everyone born in the city is an orphan (and even those three are missing one parent each), so orphanages are discussed in the same way parents are discussed in normal cities. The kids complain about their patrons and matrons, but clearly feel safe enough to go back to them at the end of the day. It probably helps that the local Reasonable Authority Figure has a habit of completely annihilating anyone who harms children.
- The Yorkburg Female Orphan Asylum in Mary Cary, Frequently Martha would qualify, especially after the arrival of Miss Katherine, who comes to live there and work as a nurse without a salary and makes a lot of changes: better food, nicer Christmases, and improvements via some donations s from her rich brother.
- In the Dreamblood Duology, there's the Hetawa's House of Children. Everyone seems to come out of it as Happily Adopted, as it provides for and educates children who would otherwise have had to grow up in poverty and on their own.
- Deconstructed a bit in Dresden Files. Harry, who lived in one, points out that no matter how kind the people in the system are to you, it is still a system with lots of people to deal with.
- The A-Team: Face was raised in an orphanage from a young age. While he was a bit upset that he never had a real family growing up, every time he reminisces about the orphanage it's a happy memory. We even get to meet a couple of the nuns who raised him in one episode and the kids under their care look fine.
- Played with in Argentinian soap-opera Chiquititas. It starts as a true orphanage of love, all the girls get to eat good food, sweets, a nice place to sleep and go to school. However, as soon as the plot starts marching on and the real reason for why the orphanage was built on the first place is revealed to both the characters and the viewers, it slowly descends into an Orphanage of Fear. Then, when the Big Good finally gets full control of the orphanage by the third season, it goes back to orphanage of love again.
- Million Yen Women deconstructs the idea from the orphan's point of view. Midori was abandonned by her parents at a young age. She ended up in an orphanage run by a couple who made it a rule to be called "mom" and "dad" by their wards and asked them to treat each other as siblings. Possibly due to her history, Midori never liked the setup, considers it to have been an abnormal upbringing and wanred to get out as fast as she could. The only other orphan she considered anything close to an actual relative was an older boy who was asked to show her around upon her arrival.
- From Yakuza 3 onwards, Kazuma runs one in Okinawa. His kids have a loving father figure who feeds them, gives them shelter, educates them and overall is one cool dad... and if someone messes with them, he'll savagely beat them til they puke their sternum out.
- The entire playable party (plus Seifer, minus Rinoa) in Final Fantasy VIII grew up in one. GF-induced amnesia made everyone except Irvine forget.
- Milla Vodello in Psychonauts has a backstory where she worked in one of these. Until the orphans tragically died in a fire, an event that haunts her subconscious to this day.
- Jade from Beyond Good & Evil operates her Lighthouse Shelter, specifically for war orphans. They run a little low on cash sometimes, but there's warm beds, plenty of food, a Big, Friendly Dog, and, you know—lighthouses are inherently cool.
- This is in Kou Ichijo's backstory in Persona 4. This causes him to be looked down by some members of the family who adopted him.
- Persona 3 implies that Akihiko Sanada and Shinjiro Aragaki also grew up in one; in Akihiko's Social Link in the PSP release of the game, he mentions that the orphanage lacked good food and toys, but everyone was well-taken care of.
- The third world in Mystic Ark could essentially be summed up as this ( Even though they never had parents to begin with and Cecille (the caretaker) created everything from the ground up with the help of the Wisdom Ark), though for a good half of the time you spend in that world, Chimera, influencing Cecile, turns it into the opposite, especially during the final part of your visit there when the orphanage is overrun by monsters.
- In MS Saga: A New Dawn, the hero and his cowardly sidekick were raised in one, complete with the kind, matronly caretaker. Of course, this being Gundam-related, it gets attacked by Zakus and burned down with everyone but the two of them inside.
- In World of Warcraft both the horde and the alliance both have an orphanage in their capital cities for children who lost their parents due to the war. Both are run by caring and loving women, and they all seem to have lots of fun there. And once a week every year they host a holiday event whee players take a kid on a world wide trip to give them a perfect day out.
- Unfortunately, the Lord British Postulate extends to these kindly matrons. When they relocate to take their charges trick-or-treating, some of the less desirable elements may target the matrons.
- Hanako Ikezawa from Katawa Shoujo lived there until she came to Yamaku. There's a subversion, though: while the staff treated Hanako kindly, she was kind of a Parental Substitute for the youngest children in her last days there and she got to enjoy the place's small library, she still couldn't make friends, and it didn't keep her from being bullied outside of it in her middle school years.
- In the backstory of Jade Empire, there was one in Tien's Landing. The monstrous Emperor decided to flood the town while the orphan-keeper was out buying food. He tried to save his orphans, but failed to get them all out. Ten years later, the ghosts of the orphans want peace and the old man is still beating himself up and drowning his sorrows at the tavern over his failure. Your Spirit Monk can allow him to be killed by the angry ghosts, or earn a heartwarming moment by allowing the old man to make amends by giving the tots a proper burial.
- Fire Emblem:
- In Fire Emblem Awakening, Libra the War Monk builds and mantains one of these in all of his endings note . If he's married, his wife (and presumably their child) will help him out take care of the orphans — with different results, depending on who his lady is: Miriel is a bit stand-offish, both Lissa and Nowi become One of the Kids, Tharja is Tsundere to them, Sully is the local Cool Big Sis, etc.
- Before Awakening took place, there was the orphanage in Genealogy of the Holy War where Patty and Faval (or their expies Daisy and Asaello) used to live. Either Patty or Daisy will become a thief to help feeding the kids, while either Faval or Asaello will be hired by the enemy nobleman Bloome under the promise of getting enough money to sustain it. Both can be recruited into the group.
- In Thracia 776, Misha works for the Silesse army to help feeding and raising the children of one of these. She can be recruited into the main group, however.
- In Blazing Blade's epilogue, Lucius (who Libra above was based on) also opens an orphanage, what with him being a war orphan as well. It's implied to be the same one that Nino's children, Lugh and Raigh, grew up in between that game and Sword of Seals, which unfortunately doesn't bode well for Lucius, since that orphanage was destroyed during Bern's invasion. (The closest to a subversion of this bad ending would be his shared one with his master Raymond aka Raven, in which Lucius remains as Raven's vassal as they go Walking the Earth.)
- In Fire Emblem Echoes: Shadows of Valentia, the White Magician Girl Tatiana tells Alm that she was raised in one belonging to the Church of Rigel. She became a Cleric/Saint as thanks to the church staff that was so kind to her.
- Rutee Katrea of Tales of Destiny grew up in the Dunamis orphanage, and her desire to help them out financially drives her money-seeking ways. After the events of the game, she and Stahn get married and eventually take over running it— their biological son Kyle even takes "Dunamis" as a surname so that the other orphans don't feel left out.
- Hatoful House, in the backstory of Hatoful Boyfriend, was a bit short on money. There were thirteen birds and a caretaker there, and medicine cost much more than food. Older orphans would contribute by working and bringing their salaries back. Still, the Ill Boy worried about being a burden aside, they were happy. Everyone there was a war orphan, their parents killed by humans. It's human terrorists who came and killed most of them.
- In Demonbane, Sister Leica runs one in the church she's in charge of, taking care of three orphaned kids. They all adore her, and she treats them as though they were her own children.
- minus.: One is portrayed◊ after minus sends a little girl back in time (to the beginning of the 20th century).
- The title character of Selkie was adopted from one, and it continues to be an important setting throughout the story.
- In Disney High School, several characters (Aladdin, Flynn, Peter Pan) live at the Goob Home for Lost Boys, run by Cornelius and Franny Robinson. It hasn't been seen on-page yet, but they're dishing out money for their kids to attend a fancy private school, so it's clearly a nice place.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends, but with imaginary friends whose owners have grown-up and left them. It has a surprisingly very very very small staff for such a one-of-a-kind place, but everyone there generally enjoys their stay. Mr. Harriman and Mrs. Foster are essentially administrators. Many of the orphaned friends do a lot of work to keep the place running, though Frankie has to take up the slack.
- Jem: Starlight House isn't an orphanage, it's a foster home, but the same principle applies. How amazing it is is lampshaded when three of the girls run away and get called out for leaving such a positive place to live on the streets.
- The Cookieville Minimum Security Orphanarium from Futurama is as close as it gets to this trope, operating in a Crapsack World on a shoestring budget. All of Leela's memories of the place are good (save for the teasing about her eye), the director genuinely cares about the kids and he generally works hard on making them happy and finding them new parents.
- Of course, this being Futurama, it's more of a Hilariously Abusive Childhood that Leela has fond memories of in a manner similar to Phoebe (and some other folks) in Friends, complete with much of the humor coming from her talking of it as if it were great fun. For one example of what it's really like, they didn't have any books... because they ate them to avoid starvation since they didn't have any food. Leela also remembers genuinely fondly of how the warden used to tell her "You're worthless and no one will ever love you!"
- In My Little Pony Tales, Patch used to live in one of those before being adopted, and she seems to have pretty fond memories of the place, as she still has friends there and loves to help other orphan ponies.
- The San Lorenzo orphanage in The Adventures of Puss in Boots: Señora Zapata might seem strict and bossy, but she genuinely wants what's best for the kids, and Dulcinea is there to soften her sharp edges. Taken to extremes in "Lost and Foundlings": the first time someone actually wants to adopt one of the orphans, Zapata and Duclinea are in tears at the thought of losing one of them, while doing a hilariously bad job of showing a brave face for the sake of the children. None of them want to leave either, and in the end the prospective parent moves into the orphanage!
- The Animaniacs episode "The Big Candy Store" features an orphanage lovingly run by a sweet Irish nun. The mean candy store owner Mr. Flaxseed's refusal to donate candy to the kids for Easter sets him up for karmic retribution from the Warner siblings – and when the Irish nun and her fellow sisters see him mistreating the Warners, they unleash some serious Mama Bear payback of their own.
- The Children's Home in Warsaw run by the Friend to All Children Janusz Korczak appears to have been this. The children had their own court, they were treated fairly, and the two heads worried themselves silly if a child refused to eat. Despite offers from virtually everyone (Jewish Council, Polish Resistance, German Police) to keep him safe, director Korczak went with the 192 survivors to Treblinka. He didn't want them to be worried, so he kept them oblivious to the facility's purpose for as long as possible, and he didn't want to live without them.
- The Coram Hospital, revolutionary in its day.
- The Palmer Home makes an effort to be this.