February 8th, 2008

Chances of (lack of) adoption

Hey all.

The setting is a modernized fantasy world, roughly equivalent to the present day, and I'm trying to double-check the mundane bits to have a good foundation for the fantasy bits. Though the social care system I've dreamed up so far (as well as the "modernized" country overall) has definite American influences, input regarding other countries might also be helpful.

I have a character in the equivalent of his teens who was found as a newborn and bounced around in foster care ever since, with no family located, and I'm figuring the probability of his never being adopted. When he got older he developed violent tendencies and assorted emotional problems, but I still have the issue of why he wouldn't have been adopted as a baby, especially since I gather babies are usually in higher demand than older children.

So far: He was discovered in a state of health consistent with premature birth and resulting complications (underweight, etc.) - though probably not too premature and not too serious complications, since he's quite healthy at the time of the story and survived without medical attention for several hours until he was found (in a well-kept-up transit station during early summer, if that matters). Also, he's - I guess the closest real-world analogue would be an ethnic minority (that is, minority species). Most people in the region aren't blatantly prejudiced, but there is some amount of quiet friction.

In the reality of whatever country you're familiar with, in this day and age, would you consider these plausible reasons for his chances of adoption being low? If not, what other ways might there be to account for this? And in general how likely would it be for someone to grow up entirely in foster care from birth (or close to it)? If this would be a really extraordinary case I need to take that into account.

Googled mainly various combinations of: adoptability/adoption, adoption rates, infant/infancy, premature birth, minority, placement.

Thank you for your time.

ETA: Okay, I think I've got this sussed. Thanks again, everyone!

MOD POST: announcement about deleted posts

Because the trend of deleting posts has continued, I'm going to be tracking all posts in the community, and taking action against posters who delete when I feel it's appropriate. As I explained last time, I'll be judging on an individual basis whether or not a deletion was okay, but in general, deleting because you want to shut people up is bad.

So here is my advice if you're concerned about being reprimanded or banned unfairly:

1. If it can wait, you can contact me explaining your reasons for wanting to delete, and then abide by my decision.
2. If it can't wait, you can delete and then contact me explaining why you done it.

If I don't hear from you about a deleted post, I'll try to gather information on why it was deleted, and if I think the situation is unclear I'll be contacting you. If I can't contact you, I'll ban you temporarily to get your attention, so you can contact me asking "WTF WHY WAS I BANNED. ;_;"

Members who notice a deleted post, it would help me out if you contact me and tell me what was going on, if for example it seemed like there was fighting in the comments or if the poster was getting criticized. Comments are much more of a hassle to track than entries.

Okay, now is when you get to ask questions.

Candle lighting question

Hi! I'm working on a historical fantasy novel set in 1802, and there's one little detail that's driving me crazy: how exactly did people light candles? (Besides just dipping them into a fire, the obvious solution...but they must have done something to light those fires originally!) Did they use tinderboxes to light the candles? Or tinderboxes plus paper spills? Or tinderboxes plus sulphuric matches plus paper spills? Or was it some method I've never even heard of? If anyone has any ideas (even if they're just ideas of good places for me to look for the information), I'd be so grateful.

Saltpeter-based homemade weapons (MAKE THINGS EXPLODE :D )

A character of mine has found a decent supply of saltpeter (potassium nitrate); he's in a hostile environment, and plans on trying to cook up something explosive or distracting. What can he make with very limited supplies? (Pretty much household supplies, I'm afraid, though he did happen across some acids, ammonia, formaldehyde-- is it possible to use a small grenade-type thing to make a formaldehyde-based gas grenade or something? *Is an English and art student, not a chemestry student*)

(Sulfur for traditional gunpowder is, unfortunately, out of the question. Charcoal is a less unlikely supply, but I'm not sure how much of a kick just the two have.)

He does have sugar, so AFAIK he could technically make smoke grenades, though I'm no expert on any of that. At all. In any way shape or form. (I'm not sure if he would be, either-- one of his parents was a scientists, so he knows basic stuff like gunpowder and some more common chemicals, but generally he's had big high-tech weapons in the past.)

Searches: Homemade weapons, homemade explosives, saltpeter explosives, saltpeter and sugar, potassium nitrate (Google); Potassium Nitrate, Gunpowder (Wikipedia). Found this site in one of my google searches, but it's not helping much beyond smoke grenades and applications for the other less-than-friendly things the character's found.

Thanks in advance~, especially since I'm asking this about twenty minutes before I'm cut off from internet for a day and a half. XD
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