Does this seem right?

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My best friend and I have children in the same Compassion center.  We have grown to love our children deeply do to the letters and simply praying for them.  Recently, my friend was called and told that she could no longer write her correspondent child because the financial sponsor had stopped supporting her child and unless she was willing to take over the financial sponsorship the correspondent sponsorship would be terminated.  I would like to express how very upsetting and wrong this is.  First of all, we are all called to serve where we can, and for some of us it can only be through letters because we do not have the financial resources.  Secondly, I think it is wrong of Compassion to let a correspondent sponsor build a relationship simply to cut it off before the sponsor is ready.  Hours have gone into praying for this child and writing this child.  It really seems cruel and heartless, not compassionate at all.  I hurt for my friend, and I am sorry I asked her to be a part of this ministry now that I know something like this can happen.  I definitely think you need to make it clear to a correspondent sponsor that this could potentially happen.  It makes me fear that this might happen to me as well.  Why should I bother to keep writing if you are simply going to rip the rug out from underneath our relationship one day?
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Julie Slevans

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  • very hurt and disturbed

Posted 5 years ago

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Haley Whelan

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Hello, Julie! 

First of all, I'm so sorry for the hurt of losing contact with your friend's correspondent child. I would be so sad to lose contact with any of my children; the Lord so builds them into our hearts! 

There are a few things to take into account, however. Since the child's financial sponsor was unable to continue supporting the child, Compassion will be beginning the process of seeking a new sponsor for the child, so the child can continue to participate at his/her local Compassion Center. This will involve building relationship with this new sponsor through letter writing; therefore, other contact could not be maintained. 

Secondly, in reference to where you said, "Why should I bother to keep writing if you are simply going to rip the rug out from underneath our relationship one day?" ...Please don't be offended, but think about it this way: our relationships with these children aren't about us. These aren't really 'our children'. They might be gifted to us for a time, for the purpose of pouring truth and love into them. But it's ministry. It's not about what we get out of it. The purpose is to let these children know that they are inestimably valuable, treasured, and loved by us and their Creator. It's about sharing the Gospel. So, if unforeseen circumstances arise, and we feel hurt... quite frankly, too bad. It's about pouring love out on those who Jesus loves. It's part of the privilege. 

I hope that helps. :( I'm so sorry for the hurt! How hard it is to love sometimes. My family lost our foster baby a year ago (after having him for a year), and I've never experienced something so difficult. So I definitely understand the ache. 

Much love in Jesus,
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Debbie Skacel Tovar

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I am a correspondence sponsor to numerous kids, and have been for years.  We have to realize as correspondence sponsors that we are not actually sponsoring this kids, but are providing a service.  Most people make a decision when they are deciding to take correspondence kids whether or not to only take them if they can sponsor them financially if the financial sponsor quits, or if they want to go out on a limb, as I have, knowing that at any time we could lose these kids because the financial sponsor quits.  Unfortunately, there are also the kids that leave the program, and however you lose them, it's always hurts.  I am sure the child has more than enjoyed the time that your friend was able to write to them.  And no matter how a relationship ends, they can always be on their prayer list.  I am so thankful that Compassion has this program, for those of us who are limited in the amount of financial kids we can afford.  They are the only large organization that uses some of their resources to have a program like this where they care enough to let the kids get letters.  It's not a perfect system, but without it, the kids don't get any letters.  Your friend might be able to get a relative or a friend to sponsor the child with the idea that she would still be able to write.  I also assume this is why this program isn't 'advertised' so that people will know what the risks are of getting into this kind of writing relationship, and knowing that it could end just when you wish it wouldn't.
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The other 2 answered very well. I just wanted to add that I will add you and your friend to our prayers. I am a new sponser and haven't even had contact with my Kiddo's (1 I financially sponsor and 1 I am just a correspondence sponsor) yet but I went into this knowing full well that there will be time's it will be heartwrenching, there will be times my heart will break. As hard as it is, it is important and it's worth it. The other responses are right though, it isn't about us, it's about these precious children and giving them encouragement and sharing the gospel with them. This doesn't negate the fact that it hurts deeply. We just have to lean into God for his comfort and healing.
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Julie Slevans

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I totally get what you are saying that it isn't about me (or my friend in this case), and I totally think my friend gets that.  I'm just sorry that she is hurt because of a ministry that I asked her to become a part of.  I understand that her child will remain in the program and that he isn't kicked out because she can not sponsor him, but I feel Compassion should be able to work out a way to keep these two connected.  I guess that is all I'm really saying.
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Teresa Dawn

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The others have already answered this, so I don't need to repeat what they said.  I just want to add a couple things.  1)  Another way you can "lose" a child is if the financial sponsor decides they want to write to them again.  I've seen that happen with my friends kids quite a few times.  I'm not telling you this to discourage you, but just so you can be aware and if it happens it won't come across as quite a shock.  and 2) That I'm sorry it happened!

Your friend should be able to write a final letter to the child via snail mail.  If it's marked "Final Letter" on the top it will still go through so she can tell the child goodbye. 
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I understand what you're saying, however the girls new sponsor may very well want to start a relationship with the girl and as harsh as it is, it wouldn't be fair to deny the sponsor that. A compassion employee will probably respond Monday during their business hours, but I believe I have seen that they can make a note on the account that if the new sponsor doesn't want to write the child that your friend wants to be the correspondence sponsor for the child again. But an employee will have to verify that for sure.

It would hurt deeply, I haven't even had a letter yet and I already feel connected to mine, and my (actual) kids are already saying they are like a brother and sister just one they've never met before. We aren't as far in as your friend and it would already feel like a piece of our family was gone if we should lose them for whatever reason. But ministry is a lot of things but easy isn't one of them, also everyone that writes or sponsors a child is a ministry in and of themselves and it's painful at times in any ministry. I would encourage your friend to ask for another child to be the correspondence sponsor. Because she cares so much and those are the people these kids need to have on their side. I am praying for Gods comfort and peace for your friend and that her child gets a new sponsor soon.
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Hilary Hopkins

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I'm so sorry that your friend is hurting over losing her correspondent child. I know losing a child for the first time can be so upsetting. I have lost both correspondent and sponsored children. Either way it is so hard! Just a couple of weeks ago, I lost a little girl because she moved. This has been very hard for me because I met this girl last August, and was planning a trip to see her again this summer. Knowing I will likely never see or hear from her again has been hard, but I know God has a plan for her, and I can still pray for her. Again I am so sorry that your friend lost her child.
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Maggie Fasig

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Julie - first, let me say that my heart goes out to you and your friend for the deep hurt you feel right now. It speaks to how tenderhearted and loving you are and the depth of response you had to God's calling to be a part of this amazing ministry. Loving as much as you both obviously do is risky, even more so given the circumstances of how you came to be connected to these precious children. I hope that in time you both will come to know that you have been a huge blessing to this little one, and you love this child in a way that no one else could, and God arranged it all so that it would be exactly what the child and your friend needed at that point in time. When we hurt this much, it can be hard to trust that God is working all things for our good. I will pray that His peace will reach through your pain soon. Second, I am very glad that you posted honestly about your experience and feelings. I am a new sponsor and finding that there is all kinds of information, ideas, suggestions, feedback that other sponsors are posting and through them I am learning alot. Compassion staff is very good about posting responses and also taking to heart our ideas and feedback. I'm sure that they will consider how program information is communicated to sponsors (financial or correspondence) and continue to improve it so it best serves the children and sponsors. Lastly, I do hope you and your friend will stay actively involved in this ministry. The need to share your love through Christ is enormous!
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Julie, it sounds like you have been very hurt and are frustrated with Compassion right now and for that, I am truly sorry. My heart goes out to your friend as I can see this recent situation impacted her deeply and my prayer is that God would comfort her in the way that only He can. Like others have already mentioned, these children are accepted into our hearts as family and like any relationship that God gives us, when it is severed for reasons good or bad, there is an aching in our hearts for that loss and it's hard to bear at times. Because we have Christ in us, we are moved with Compassion for the things that break His heart and for the things that He loves; and Jesus loves these children which is why we so easily get deeply attached to them. So many sweet members of this community have kindly mentioned several things that were also on my heart when I read your post, but I want to reiterate how much Compassion values both you and your friend for the ministry you invested yourself in when signing up to speak truth and hope into a child living in extreme poverty. We are so honored to work alongside individuals who take this so seriously and have allowed God to use you in such a powerful way.

I do want to say that I understand this process is difficult and my heart aches for the disappointment you both feel with this program. We certainly understand that our ministry and the programs we have in place are not perfect and we're always looking for ways to improve them. Part of Compassion's ministry is our belief in one to one sponsorship. Our Child Sponsorship Program offers an opportunity to minister directly to a child in the developing world. The sponsor's role isn't simply to help fund programs, it's to participate.This is why we always offer the opportunity to write letters to the child you financially sponsor. If a sponsor chooses not to, it is then that we offer a correspondent for that child because we also know that not everyone is able to give financially and we also want these individuals to have the opportunity to invest in a child's life. When a financial sponsor cancels, we always offer the correspondent sponsor the opportunity to take over the sponsorship so that they're able to maintain that relationship but we know this is not always possible. To be as fair as we can with everyone involved as well as maintaining a one to one relationship with a child, this is the best way we have found of going about this program.

We value the hearts that are invested in writing to these children and we try to explain this program the best way that we're able when a sponsor chooses to correspond with a child. I am very sorry if this was not mentioned to you and your friend when you began corresponding and I have passed this feedback along to my supervisor. I hope you can understand the reasoning behind placing a child not only back up for financial sponsorship but also giving the writing responsibility to the new sponsor as well if the current correspondent is unable to take over the financial responsibility of the child. I assure you that our intention is not to break the relationship you have built with your child and in most situations, you're able to write a final letter to your child to say goodbye and give them final words of encouragement. Most employees in our office also sponsor or correspond with children and have experienced this same heartache. Although this unfortunately does happen in child sponsorship, the fruit of your friend's impact is life changing and her child will have those letters and her words to hang on to for years to come. My hope is that your friend knows how much we value her and that she is welcome to correspond with another child but I understand if this program is not a fit for her at this time. Please send our love and sincerest apologies to your friend for her loss and that I will be praying for her and her child. 
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Richard Belflower

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First let me say that I am saying a prayer for you and your friend right now!  I also understand the heartache of having to say goodbye. I will explain later if you desire to read further. Let me say this also could be a GREAT opportunity for your friend and for others in her sphere of infuence!  It may be too late for this child or maybe not.  But your friend could also reach out to those in her church and simply ask if someone would be willing to share in the life of a child by paying for the sponsorship while she writes the letters.

We see this often with youth groups who all chip in and then the letter writer corresponds with the child and then shares the letters they get with others that are financially supporting that child.  Then the blessings are beyond measure to all involved.  It takes courage and vulnerability to approach a pastor or youth leader.  But it is really worth it.  I hope all who read this will take the challenge to reach out to any and everyone they can to help them maintain the relationships they have built!

It can be a challenge to keep communications flowing between those financially supporting your child but it can be done if you are committed to it.

  • Here is my story.  We had been sponsoring a child from Thailand for about 12 years when that call came that our child was graduating the Child Development program and that we would need to writer her the FINAL letter!  :(  We were so sad!  Although this is not the same situation as your friend the sadness is the same.  But that's not all!  We wrote our final letter!  Because she graduated my wife and I agreed we would sponsor another child and we did.  A little girl with a real sassy cute look about her from Honduras.  :)   Then the next call came!  Our child from Thailand had been accepted into the leadership program at a cost of $300 per month.  There was no way we could afford that and still can't.  So I set about asking God to intervene and then I asked friends, family, and churches and businesses if they would help me sponsor her so I could maintain the relationship through our letters and God provided!  That was almost two years ago and the Lord continues to provide and I am continue to ask others to join me in this effort.  I am overwhelmed and blessed by so many who joined me in providing for Wimol.  Please view this an an opportunity to expand God's kingdom in ways that only God can work through you and then you will marvel at and praise Him for all good things he brings your way like this.

I am advocate with compassion and have shared this option of correspondence with many but it never occured to me what would happen if the child was no longer funded.  Thank you for asking this question because it will help me in future communications.

God Bless you Julie and all the other correspondence sponsors.  You are providing hope where there is little or no hope.  I encourge you to count the cost!  But also look for opportunites share in your ministry to these children!
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Mellanie McCreary

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I think it's incredibly generous of Compassion to allow correspondents at all! (I am both, a correspondent and a sponsor, by the way.) How many organizations allow people to participate who don't contribute anything financially? Very few. I think the fact they offered the option in the first place, even if there have to be unfortunate conditions upon it, is amazing. 

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