How do I know that our sponsor child is active at her Compassion Center?

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After losing our sponsor child in India after 4 years, my wife and I decided to find and older girl from the Philippines to sponsor. This decision was made in part because my wife is from there and she knows how difficult it can be for a teenage girl. Norlyn (PH084400023)  had been waiting for quite a long time for a sponsor and we immediately decided to sponsor her. We wrote write away and received our first letter from her on 4/17/17. The letter was dated 4/8/17 so it didn't take very long under the new process for us to receive our first letter from her. We were a little disappointed with the first letter, considering her age, but we just chalked it up to shyness. We have written two more letters since then and have not received any new letters from the child. To be honest, we have run out of things to say and ask about because we really don't know anything about Norlyn outside of what we were told in the sponsorship package and she hasn't written back since her first letter. We have asked a lot of questions in both letters. Norlyn is 17 so it wouldn't be surprising if she had to focus on work of some kind to help the family but if she isn't active in the program then I don't see where our sponsorship is really going to benefit her. If she isn't active in the program, we would rather sponsor a child who is going to benefit from our sponsorship but we don't want to pull the rug out from under Norlyn either if there are circumstances keeping her from writing at the moment. What do we do?
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kevjanbrown .

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  • frustrated!

Posted 1 year ago

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Denise Bailey

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Join some of the Facebook groups for Compassion sponsors!  It is so helpful.  There are sponsors on these groups that share their letter ideas with the rest of us and even let us copy their letters to send to our kids!  It is fun and I have actually become more creative on my own because of their ideas.  For starters you could send an email to socialmedia@compassion.com  and ask to be added to Compassion Sponsors and Correspondents Facebook Forum and if you are on Facebook search for Compassion Sponsors The Philppines and ask to join the group.  
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Kevjan, I am so sorry to hear that you are getting so discouraged and disappointed after just a few months of sponsoring this girl. According to our records, she is still attending and is doing well at this time. I am glad to hear that you received the first letter so quickly. Regrettably, it typically takes some time for the letters to get on schedule at the beginning of a sponsorship. Letters can take anywhere between a few weeks to a few months to be delivered so it does typically take several months to begin receiving replies to your letters. That said, it looks like she is working on two reply letters right now for the two letters you had sent. You should receive these two letters in the coming months.

I hope to give you a few ideas to encourage you in the letter writing process. In her first letter, she says she really really likes books, music, and dancing (what a typical teen girl!). That said, I could see that it might be tough to relate to those things in letters. I would write the letters and talk to her as if you are mentoring a teen locally. Here are some tips and ideas that I just brainstormed to hopefully help with the next few letters:

  • Share life advice and encouragement you (or your wife) would have liked to hear when you were a teen. This one is maybe most important and tends to stick with the students longer than questions or other information.
  • Maybe ask what kind of music she likes to listen to and dance to. Share what kind of music you like and why. You could even do a whole letter on the topic of music and share the lyrics of your favorite song. 
  • Write about your last vacation and historical landmarks you saw. 
  • Share stories, bible verses, or quotes that have been meaningful for you. 
  • Try asking her specific questions about her life that you would like to know about. She is an only child living with her father and mother who are food venders. Maybe you could ask what kind of food they sell or what kind of food she likes best? I have found that food is one thing that all cultures tend to appreciate and understand. Many sponsors find that writing in themes helps. 
Please do let us know if we can help in any other way or if you have any other questions. We're happy to help!
(Edited)
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kevjanbrown .

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Thank you. We have asked many of the questions that you mentioned and are waiting on her responses. Actually, our last letter consisted of mostly questions so that we could get a better understanding of her life. I can see where she may need some time to work on that. As I stated, we definitely don't want to give up on Norlyn. Her age and the fact that she had been waiting a long time for a sponsor were some of the reasons that we chose her. I'm glad to hear that she is writing replies and will just seek patience from God while we wait. 
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John Davis

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I understand how it can be frustrating as I too am a new sponsor. We received our first letter two weeks after they wrote it. We have been waiting 2 months now. During this time our child has received two letters a family gift and a blessing on her birthday. I realize that patience is a fruit of the Spirit and maybe that is what God is working on us. How I continue to stay hopeful is by looking at the long term picture. You see we are sharing God's kingdom in the life of a child, the child's family , and their community. In God's time we will see the fruit blossom. Thank your faithfulness and your kind and loving heart.
Your post has now helped me to stay kingdom minded.
Blessings in Christ
John
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Sarah Heacock Schreffler

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I remember how -hard- it was to wait for the first letter! (It took over 4 months for me because my first sponsored child left the program between the time I sponsored her and when the first letter was due!)  And even now... its been nearly 6 weeks since my last letter from any of my kids and everytime I get anxious, I just use it as a reason to start writing the next letter.  If I am thinking of giving, it becomes a little easier to wait.
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kevjanbrown .

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Okay, it's now the end of August and we still have not received any letters from our teenager we are sponsoring since the very first, uninformative letter back in April. Now we are being asked to remember her upcoming birthday. She'll be 18 on this birthday and I'm a little hesitant so send because I don't believe that she is involved in the program any longer. I don't understand how someone who had been waiting for so long to be sponsored would completely ignore people when they choose her. We wrote our last letter at the end of June and have nothing new to write about because we don't really know anything about Norlyn other than what's in her profile and the brief info in her only letter. I don't need letter writing advice and I really don't need to hear about how it sometimes take a few months to get letters back. When we still had our child in India we received regular letters from him and got to enjoy him growing up over the 4 years we were able to sponsor. Two months ago I was told that she was working on responses to the two letters we sent but haven't seen anything. Please give us some information an Norlyn so that we can make a decision about what to do in the future. If she isn't interested in writing and sharing her life with us, then perhaps this isn't a good match.
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Shannon Massey, Employee

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Good morning KevJan, 

I am so sorry to hear that you still have not heard from your precious young lady, Norlan. I do understand how discouraging it can be and how it can make you feel like she may not be interested in writing you. And although I do see that she has a couple letters in the works, I understand that you are feeling negative about this relationship already. Regrettably, we do have to wait a full six months before we are able to send an inquiry in to the center to see if there is a problem or a reason she has not been writing. If you are willing, I would encourage you to wait for your next letter to come before deciding to switch to a new child. We do know that many of our older children in the program have a lot of responsibilities. Many of them are in school, working, helping with their families at home or watching siblings, as well attending the center and keeping up with studies. I can't be sure that this is the case, but it may be. We just never really know why a child is not writing often or with detail. It may be hard for her to feel excited about your relationship because she has been abandoned before and she may just be scared that she may lose you too. Again, I do not know this for sure, but I do know this has been the case in the past with other children. 

Please know that although we hope you will pray about this relationship and see what God wants you to do, we will completely understand if you choose not to continue with her. We want you to have the opportunity to build a strong, meaningful relationship with a child in need, and if you feel as though you are being led to be with another child, then we will make that change for you. 

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