Feeling sad & hurt that I may not be getting truth

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The first electronic letter I wrote to my sponsor child was Nov 2016. Today 2/18/2017 I finally received my child's first letter, but it's not in response to anything in my letter to him. It's more of an introduction letter as if maybe my child didn't receive my letter. This was disappointing to me, but even more disheartening is the information I was given on my child and family conflicts with what is written in my child's letter I just received. Why would this happen?
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Pam Peiser

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Posted 3 years ago

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Jamie Riemersma

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Hi Pam,

  I am a sponsor, like yourself, and have been sponsoring for many years now.  I wanted to address a couple things in your post, to help you understand what may be going on.  The ladies who monitor this forum will be back on Monday, and will be able to provide you more detailed information then.
  Firstly, while Compassion has been working hard to improve the letter writing process, and speed up delivery times, it can still take 2 to 3 months for our letters to reach or kids, and theirs to reach us.  So, if you wrote your child a letter soon after sponsoring him, more than likely he has just received that letter this month, and definitely did not have it when he wrote to you.  But going forward, he will have your letter to look back upon.  Also, in order to get us that first letter quicker, many of the centers have the child write their first letter when they enter the program, before they even have a sponsor.  That may have also been the case for your boy.
  As to your second concern, why the information you were originally given differs from the information in the letter, I can think of a number of reasons.  I've corresponded with 15 children since starting with compassion, and I've run into some of these information conflicts myself.  I had one girl who's age changed; in her case, birthdates aren't as important as they are here.  When she was registered, whoever registered her didn't remember exactly when she was born.  A few years down the line Compassion was given her actual records; she was 3 years older than first reported!  I have one boy who I had a lot of trouble figuring out how many siblings, and what gender siblings he had.  There was some confusion with translations that were eventually figured out, and through further correspondence, I found out he had a cousin who was living with them who he sometimes counted as a sibling, and sometimes didn't.  I also had a little girl who's first letter was written almost a year before it was sent to me, since she had been waiting a while for a sponsor.  The information in her second letter did not match with the first, because her family situation changed in that year she was waiting for me to sponsor her.  Again, the ladies who watch this forum can give you more information, but I wanted to give you some of my own experience, in case it might help you understand what might be going on.
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heather o

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Pam, I am sorry you feel hurt and as though you have been lied to. I can assure you, as another sponsor, you have not been lied to. Your first letter is an introductory letter that is usually prewritten for quicker delivery to the sponsor. It is currently taking 2-3 months for letters to get back and forth between sponsor and child. Most likely your letters crossed each other. Information is updated along with photos every 2 years, so things can change between the last update and your introductory letter. I have also noticed that family dynamics can change drastically and quickly for our kiddos as well. My family and I sponsor several children and correspond with many others so letter writing is a familiar process for us. It usually takes a while for letters to start to flow regularly and it varies from child to child how quickly your relationship develops. I hope this helps some! Thank you so much for investing in your sponsored child's life and incouraging them with letters. God bless!
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Hi Pam, Likewise, I am a sponsor, and want to also assure you that due to processing time I would only expect that those first 2 letters crossed in the mail. I have for sure received 'first letters' that were written by the child and put on file just waiting until that lucky day when someone chose to sponsor them!

Regarding apparent conflicting information, I have found that the staff from Compassion who answer questions posted in this forum do a wonderful job. Hopefully they will be able to clarify the apparent conflicts. Have a good weekend, and I hope you develop a wonderful relationship with your child!

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Pam Peiser

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Jamie,Heather,Beth, Thank you all for sharing your similar experiences. This certainly helps me understand the reasons why this could happen. I think it would be extremely helpful for this type of information to be made part of the sponsorship information upfront that way it's not such a shock when it happens. Thank you, Pam
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I am so sorry for the frustration and disappointment in regards to your sponsorship so far and Alfred's first letter to you. Most of all, I am very sorry to hear that this first letter has left you disturbed and caused you to question the integrity of Compassion. I hope to earn back your trust in this ministry.

It looks like Alfred's first letter was written at the beginning of January and he would have received your first letter near the end of December. That said, the first letter stationary is designed as an introduction and the purpose of the letter is explained to the children and staff that way. He may not have realized that he should reference your letter to him. Letter etiquette like this is regrettably not always widely known in other cultures. That said, we have designed the stationary to help the children (and staff) learn to write good letters. Future letters will be called reciprocal or reply letters so he will know that he should be responding to your questions and comments in the letter.

I look forward to researching and helping to clear up the contradictions in this letter. Could you clarify what is contradictory in the letter? I want to make sure I am looking at the same thing that you are. In reviewing the letter myself, I noticed that when he lists his family members, he lists his mother and grandmother. His mother's name matches what we have on file (the first and last name are switched which is common in Africa) but we do not have his grandmother listed as a guardian in our records. It is possible that his grandmother just came to live with them recently or maybe she doesn't live with them at all but he decided to list her as a family member in his letter. On the bright side, now you know that he has a grandmother and her name and age. 
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Pam Peiser

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Hi Susan, the information card on Alfred in the original sponsor envelope states that there are 2 children in the family and that Alfred lives in a village. The Introduction letter I just received indicates no children and that he lives in a town.
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Christina, Employee

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Hi Pam! I'm so sorry for the confusion about Alfred's information :(. It appears that Alfred's information was updated in April of 2015 and then again in November of 2016. The welcome packet you received for Alfred must not have included his most recent information, and I'm so sorry for that. I am requesting to have his new welcome packet sent to you now, and you should receive it in 1-2 weeks. I can see that his previous update did state there were two boys under 18 years old in the household, and now it states there is only one boy in the household. The second boy could have been an uncle, cousin, or an extended family member who has now moved out or is now older than 18 years old. Our records do show that his community name is Akesi Village. It's very possible that his community is referred to as a town or a village. I know of a few towns that are named a village :). I sincerely hope this has helped ease your concerns about Alfred's information. We appreciate you letting us know of this issue so that we could have the opportunity to help you :). Please let us know if you have any further questions. 

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