Don’t pick up orphans!

We almost took in our first orphan fox cub of the year the other day, but the member of the public who called us about it acted exemplarily, doing all the right things to keep the baby with its mother. While out in her garden, a lady spotted a tiny brown baby, no more than a few days old, and called us before doing anything. Following our advice, she put the cub (while wearing gloves) on a hot water-bottle to keep it warm, leaving it in exactly the same spot she found it. Within three hours, the cub was gone and the lady heard some rustling in a bush nearby, which was probably the mother carrying her baby back home!

This story shows that it’s important to think before picking up baby animals. Most mothers may leave their young for short periods of time while feeding, which is not a reason to think that they are abandoned.

If you ever find a baby wild animal, please call us on our 24 hour Emergency Helpline 09061800132 [Note calls are charged at 50p/min plus your telephone company’s access charge to help with funding] or you local wildlife centre.

When do you think we will have our first orphan of 2016 at Wildlife Aid? And what do you think it will be?

Remember when white people got mad over the Emancipation Proclamation, then looted and burned down an orphanage that housed at any given time between 600 and 800 Black children (some of whom are pictured in the photo above)?

“On the 13th July at 4 PM, an infuriated mob … surrounded the premises of the [Colored Orphan] Asylum and 500 of them entered the house … they deliberately set fire to it … simply because it was the home of unoffending colored orphan children.”

The Association for the Benefit of Colored Orphans, held by the Patricia D. Klingenstein Library of the New-York Historical Society

The Riots at New York: ‘The Rioters Burning and Sacking the Colored Orphan Asylum’ (Source: Harper’s Weekly)


My neighbors found this little jellybean, seemingly abandoned by an office building, and brought her to me  This is my 5th day trying to keep her alive and well. She’s got some worrisome parasite issues, but she’s gained a little weight since her first vet visit and has just started trying to wobble-walk on four feet rather than crawl. She’s falling asleep here after having been fed (not sure if the purring is audible in the video). It’s quite a contrast to moments prior when she was performing one of her tyrannical, squeaky marches in demand of justice…or the bottle. I’m not sure which. Probably justice.

Anyway, it’s my first time trying to hand-rear a baby this little (around 7-10 days when she first arrived).  It’s been quite the learning experience…an exhausting, anxiety ridden learning experience, but a rewarding one too. Doing the best I can and very much hoping she’ll make it.  Wish us luck!

Researching Orphans and Orphanages

Anonymous said: Opinions on orphanages and/or orphaned characters? Cos I’m writing one but IT’S SUCH A CLICHE I’M DEAD

Well, don’t die. That’s the first thing. This is not even a little bit worth dying over.

I don’t know what time period you’re talking about, or where your story is set. That’s not so great news, since it makes helping you out very difficult. WriteWorld isn’t a research blog, but I’m willing to do a few Google searches for you because you seem a bit overwhelmed. In the future, please don’t ask us to do research for you. We’re not really into that.

As far as our opinion on orphanages and orphaned characters goes, I (C of WriteWorld) think that if you want to write about them and you can pull it off, then you should write about them. Orphans have always been popular in stories, especially stories aimed at young people for some reason, but just because an orphan is a popular sort of character doesn’t mean you can’t write about them. Popularity doesn’t necessarily indicate a cliche, though a popular trope can sometimes become cliche. Cliches arise when a lack of original or deep thought eats a hole through the heart of a particular subject, making it groan-worthy and/or disrespectful. You can read over the topics on the TVTropes page linked below and find clear examples of tropes that have become cliched. But I’ll leave you to that. For now, let’s talk research.

Where should you start? Well, how much do you know about orphanages generally? Did everything you know about orphanages come from stories in movies, TV, and books? Read these articles on orphanages, adoption, etc. to gain a very broad understanding of the subject.

Do you know the difference between orphanages and group homes? Yahoo Answers user Wildgrl explains the general difference very well:

An orphanage is run by a private organization, such as a church, ministry, hospital, outreach clinic, etc. It provides long term care for children with no known parents, but also supports runaways as a safe-house / halfway house and shelter.

A group home is a facility that is jointly run by the states Dept of Family Services and the Dept of Corrections. They are often dual-use facilities in that they house foster youth and transitional kids that are coming out of a juvenile corrections center.

These aren’t the only valid definitions for orphanage and group home, and both are worth exploring more deeply, but I understand that you just want to know more about orphanages. So, on that note…

I’m just going to assume that you’re talking about modern-day, privately-run American orphanages for children with no living biological parents. If that’s the case, I recommend that you check out these articles and resources as well as do research on your own:

Or how about actually visiting the websites of modern-day orphanages?

You could even look up an orphanage near you and volunteer! Ain’t nothin’ quite like going to a place and actually experiencing what it is like to be there.

And here are just a few articles, resources, and IAMAs on modern-day orphanages from around the world:

There are TONS more resources on this topic on the internet. You could also check your local library for resources on orphanages, group homes, adoption, foster care, etc. You could research experts on this topic and interview them. There might even be a few fellow writers here on Tumblr who could help you out, either with research of their own or from their personal experiences with orphanages and/or group homes.

Remember, you’re writing about real things that affect real people. Please do more research than this. Please. I’m begging you. I literally just pulled together some articles I thought were interesting from the first few search queries I made. That’s barely enough research to write a Tumblr post on this subject, let alone an entire book.

If you need some help learning to conduct your own research, check out our research tag. There are great resources there to get you started.

Thanks for your question, and I hope this helps!


The Signs as Horror Films
  • Aries:The Nightmare On Elm Street
  • Taurus:The Cabin In The Woods
  • Gemini:Orphan
  • Cancer:The Blob
  • Leo:The Shining
  • Virgo:The Babadook
  • Libra:The Haunting
  • Scorpio:Psycho
  • Sagittarius:Dracula
  • Capricorn:Carrie
  • Aquarius:The Silence Of The Lambs
  • Pisces:Jaws

“I was an orphan by the time I was 11. I was always moving, so my sense of home was never a place. My mom was a choreographer and a painter. When my five siblings and I drew on the walls of our home, instead of getting in trouble, my mom put butcher paper on the walls of every room in the house so that each one could have a theme, like “the jungle” and “underwater.” When she died of breast cancer, I didn’t have a legal guardian, so I became a property of the state, and my whole world was shattered. My two little brothers (they’re twins) were put with foster care parents and my other siblings went to live with my aunt on my dad’s side. I was removed from the buzzing city that I grew up in in Australia and sent to live with a woman (a friend of my aunt’s on my mom’s side) who I never met before. It was me, the woman, her daughter, and her full-grown male dingo in the countryside. Every night, the dingo would come into my room and sit with me. I was grieving so heavily and this native animal became my support network. Interacting with him was a release. Animals are much more empathic and selfless than humans. They’re not with you because they expect to get anything out of you. They’re with you for the most primal form of nurturing. I could give animals love, which completed something within me.” 

– Nai Palm in today’s new episode of the What’s Underneath Project. For Nai Palm’s entire story, watch her video!