This has been an interesting and long thread. As an transnational adoptee from Korea, I am not going to answer the question because it’s an unfair one that posits me having to take sides. I can not speculate on the "what ifs." I am sure for the many adoptees I know who were abused by their adoptive parents that yes, an orphanage would have been preferable. There are also many adoptees who would say unequivocally that international adoption is better than orphanage. But for myself, I won’t answer that question.
That said, I will say that in my particular country, I have found out that orphanages do not exist for children like myself – those meant for adoption. In Korea, for the past 20 years or so, children for adoption have lived in foster homes. The true orphanages don’t house "orphans" they house children whose families have temporarily placed them there for other reasons – usually divorce or death of one parent – with the intent that the child will return to the home. Often, these children do go in and out of the orphanage at various times in their lives.
This is not true for all countries, and each one has a different system. Again, the reason I say that one can not make blanket statements. There are countries where parents send their children to boarding schools for years and there is little "parenting" done. Are we going to analyze ALL institutions or just those where it’s clear that there are "legal orphans" since some countries have very few literal orphans.
It’s a complicated issue, and so my response is let’s work on changing the way societies deal with the social welfare problems that create this discussion in the first place; lack of adequate health care, lack of reproductive rights for women and warfare.
Until those three issues are addressed, we might as well continue to stick the chewing gum in the hole in the dam and hope it holds.