I know the title is a strange question – but stop and consider what your answer is. If you are reading this, then your answer is most likely no – the child is not an orphan.
Yet, if you are a prospective adoptive parent and you use the UNICEF number of 143 Million Orphans as your rally cry to “solve the orphan crisis” – you must also then agree that children of single parents are orphans – regardless of the country they live in, because that criteria is included in what UNICEF uses to come to 143 Million Orphans. Also included are double orphans where neither parent is living, social orphans who have full families, but have been put into orphanages so they are fed or sheltered. And even those double orphans still have aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents…
It really is that simple. Your definition of orphan – is not the definition used by UNICEF in compiling that number, and family preservation is still an option for many of those children.
You can read a very enlightening article published in Sage Journals and is an open access article written by Karen Smith Rotabi who is Assistant Professor of social work at Virginia Commonwealth University and Kelley McCreery Bunkers who is an International Child Protection consultant and she has worked in a number of countries including Romania, Guatemala, and Ethiopia.
You can also listen to a podcast about this article here:
In an Era of Reform – A Review of Social Work Literature on Intercountry Adoption – Podcast and then click on podcast.