Humanity's perseverance to death in dark times has always been defined by one thing - life.
The ability to give, make, create it.
7 hours is all it took to deny them of that.
Surrendering isn't always easy, but against overwhelming odds, sometimes, it's the right thing to do. To fight another day, some day. Whatever cause Breen had, or the prices he negotiated, he did gave humanity that chance. One bargain was heavier than the other, and amongst the bartering came a topic - children. Simple question: What to do with them? Draining Earth dry until the restoration of communications with offworld command is the new status quo, little merit do the underage have in this regard, same with work. Keeping them under the same life support as adults would just be waste of resources for no better immediate cause. Yet, dastardly silver tongued as he is, Breen provides an alternative. An orphanage for conversion to the Universal Union's cause. A child's brain is young, easily malleable and converted, the quantity is almost negligibly in comparison to the beneficial outcomes and potential use. And in the following research there will be a high demand for fresh, young minds.
Lucrative options aren't set aside, yet even with the Combine's approval, it's never so simple with them, as the prices paid always have a hidden tax.
Separated, taken, stolen, given away, it's all the same. Not with the orphans themselves. Devil hides in the details, and they wanted to know all of them. First they group up, then scan down, followed by tests. Segregation of cherry picked individuals with more prominent features from the rest results in being sent off to undisclosed locations across the globe, depending on their proposed specialty. Other less fortunate, albeit debatable on that, are delivered to standard facilities. If the Combine cant get what they want out of you, they'll at least make you inclined to their cause.
Unlike most of the Combine infrastructure, orphanages in the majority are augmented human buildings, best seen fit for the cause. As only key places are replaced with Union tech and materials, since long term occupation isn't required, and being able to salvage or re-purpose used equipment is more important. However, also unlike the usual modus operandi, human made items are used more in filling the broader gaps, where Combine's touch would usually be seen, although still pertaining the cold tacked on roughness. It may vary from facility to facility, but the general conscientious stays as that, even to the lesser ones.
What is in line with Combine's M.O., and to a certain degree exceeding it, is the location surrounding each orphanage. Desolation or seclusion, depends on the purpose of the facility, but away from the general public view is the constant, and heavy patrols visible in the vicinity leave food for thought: What exactly are they doing there?
"Welcome children, welcome to your new home."