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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.
Anime and Manga
- The one Candy of Candy Candy grew up in, named Pony's Home, is one. She still drops by there when she has free time.
- Nadja lived in one at the beginning of Ashita no Nadja, known as the Applefield Home after their Team Mom owner. When Miss Applefield dies in an accident, however, it's dismantled.
- The Maxwell Church from 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.
- Rosette and Joshua 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 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, 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 Two. 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 (though, since a lot of these orphans then go on to become part of the Church Militant, the reader may not consider it to be a good place to grow up).
- In Mirai Nikki 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.
- In Saint Seiya, the siblings Seiya and Seika lived for a while in one of these until Seiya was forcibly taken in by the Kido Organization and Seika disappeared while searching for him. In the present it's handled by Seiya's Unlucky Childhood Friend Miho, and Saori and the Saints (who are all in their mid-teens) tend to spend some hours there in between missions to play with the kids.
- The Belgium comic book series Orphanimo! is all about an orphanage of love. The last 5 orphans living there love the place and it's owner so much, they sabotage every attempt of the owner to find them adoptive parents. A rich and powerfull industrial 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.
- While it was pretty dickish of Superman to put his cousin Supergirl in an orphanage after her arrival in the Silver Age, at least he cared enough to make sure it was a really nice one.
- St. Helen of the Blessed Shroud Orphanage is, despite being run by The Penguin, one of these. Because The Blues Brothers wouldn't have risked everything to save it otherwise.
- It was mostly because their mentor, Curtis, would be thrown out on the street once the sale of the orphanage was final.
- 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 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.
- The orphanage in which Voldemort grew up is more or less described as a pleasant, if gloomy, place to be raised -- Tom Riddle himself was the problem.
- From a certain point of view, Hogwarts itself could be seen as one of these as far as several students are concerned. Which makes it all the worse in the seventh book when the school is run by Death Eaters.
- 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 orphanages 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 stradles 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.
- In the Champions supplement Allies, the Tokusatsu-inspired Zen Team operates out of such an orphanage as part of their cover. The children weren't fooled for long.
- 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 and 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.
- 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, 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 in one until she came to Yamaku. There's somewhat of a subversion, though: while the staff treated Hanako kindly, she got to enjoy the tiny library there and was kind of a Cool Big Sis for the youngest children, she still couldn't make friends outside of it, and was bullied until she came to Yamaku.
- Fire Emblem:
- In his solo ending, Lucius from Blazing Blade is said to run one. Bad thing, in the Binding Blade prequel it's mentioned that Chad, Lugh and Raigh come from an orphanage that was destroyed in the war, all but shouting that the unnamed priest who handled it was Lucius. (His and Raven's shared ending in Blazing Blade, however, has them Walking the Earth together)
- Awakening states that whether he marries or not, Libra the War Monk (an Expy of Lucius) will build one after the war. If he does marry, his wife will generally help him out with it.
- In Three Houses, some of Mercedes von Martritz 's endings (mostly those from the Crimson Flower route) have her opening one with her mother.
- The orphanage in Meet the Robinsons where Lewis and Goob grow up appears to be one of these, complete with kindly matron Mildred.
- 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.
- 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.
- Starlight House isn't an orphanage, but the same principle applies.
- An episode of Animaniacs has the Warner siblings meeting a kind Irish nun who runs one of these.