I still haven't received a new photo after sending money in February.

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Today I received a letter from Tutor in reply to my letter of May 2017. It did make reference to the general and family gifts I sent in February and mentioned that Tutor got a bicycle. I'm really glad to know that - a kid needs a bike.

But there was no mention of a forthcoming photo; this wasn't the actual gift acknowledgement  and itemization letter that is due me.

This letter writing has proven just frustrating enough that the shine is beginning to wear off; it's becoming a chore since it seems that I write 3 letters for each 1 that I send. This latest letter from Tutor was submitted for translation on 9/11/2017 and I'm just getting it today. Likewise,
my other kid, Thanapat, has submitted a letter on that same date and still nothing.

Another concern: in my last letter to Tutor, I wrote, "my wife has passed and is in heaven. We never had children so you are my surrogate son, so you may think of me as a Godfather. That doesn't mean that I replace your own father though, I am only your benefactor. Everyone needs help, including me."

In his letter, the amanuensis replies, "he is very glad you allow him to call you dad." I don't mind at all if he calls me dad as long as that in no way diminishes his relationship with his father. I have, in most of my letters referred to myself as "Mr. Mark" hoping they'd get the hint and call me by that. I believe children should, as in the ancient days of 50 years ago, refer to their elders as sir and ma'am and not be on a first name basis.

Welp, that's my rant. Thanks
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mark bowen

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Posted 1 year ago

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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Mark,

I sincerely apologize for all the frustration, sadness, anxiety, and confusion in regards to your letters from Tutor. I am also very sorry to hear that the letter writing has lost its luster and become a chore for you. I realize that it can be difficult to pour into the life of a child and get little back. I hope you can see letter writing as a mentoring relationship. Your letters of encouragement communicate to your children, that they matter and that you care about them and want to be a part of their lives. Your children may not be able to fully communicate their thanks to you for being in their lives, but let me assure you that your letters will stick with them for a lifetime. To me, that is a fantastic and heroic legacy - mentoring and pouring into the life of children who may never be able to re-pay you.

 A letter travel time of three weeks is actually quite fast. Letters can take between a week to a few months. 

It looks like you sent your very generous gifts in July 2017. This means that technically Tutor has until January to send the thank you letter and photo. According to our records, these gifts are still in process and have not been fully "delivered" yet. Once something is purchased and the thank you letter is sent, the gift will be changed to delivered. It sounds like maybe you noticed that the letter you just received is actually labeled as a reply letter and not a thank you letter. Possibly because the staff member who helped dictate this letter for Tutor is also the student center accountant (as it says in the letter), they were aware of the amount you had sent and decided to thank you right away for this gift even before they had the gift thank you stationary in hand. The actual thank you letter and photo is likely still on its way. 

Please let me know if you did not receive the thank you letter that was sent in July (7/19/2017) for the smaller gifts (under $60) that you had sent in February of this year. He purchased toys, cars, trains, and coloring books. I am sending an inquiry today to request a thank you letter and photo regarding the larger gift that you also sent at the same time in February. I sincerely apologize for how long you have had to wait for this letter. 

I am very sorry to hear of the loss of your wife. :( 

I would encourage you to be direct with how you would like Tutor to refer to you. Culturally speaking, he may not understand your hint and what you are wanting from him. Personally, I find his reference to you as "dad" to be affectionate and sweet, but I am sure that he just wants to please you and would appreciate you telling him exactly how you would like to be addressed.
(Edited)
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Mark, 

I sincerely apologize for the concern that this drawing has caused for you. You had mentioned that this type of thing "does more harm than good." Could you elaborate on what you meant by that? I want to better understand  your concern in order to fully address it.

When I look at this drawing, I think it indicates that the staff are giving him the kind of mentoring, love, and attention that our program is all about. The staff members actually care about each child in their classrooms and when a child asks them to help them draw a beautiful picture for their sponsor, the staff help them out. While he should be drawing the final picture himself, this does not bar the staff from showing him some skills or providing pictures to model his own after. I have seen my own sponsored kids draw drawings that were clearly copied from stickers, pictures, or something they saw in their world and not something they came up with themselves. I also did similar things as a child and early artist. Beginner artists learn skills by copying other greater works of art until they have the skill and creativity to come up with truly unique pieces. This is just what I think of when I look at your child's artwork. 
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mark bowen

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My impression was that Tutor had very little to do with the finished work. If I'm right all he learned is that to represent someone else's work as his own is acceptable.
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Mark, again, I am very sorry for the concern. What are you hoping to see in this situation? 
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mark bowen

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Susan, I don't really know. I just want the best for these boys.
Thanks
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Teresa Dawn

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Mark, if it helps, I know that in my example of kids asking an adult to draw for them the kids were never trying to represent the work as their own.  It's very common where I teach kids in Sunday school to hear them ask the teacher to draw for them but they also announce to their parents "Look what my teacher drew!" quite excitedly.  They are wanting someone to draw from them simply because they feel they don't know how and they want to give a picture of that thing.  Ex.  Some kid really wants to give their mum a picture of a rose cuz he knows his mum loves roses, but he doesn't know how to draw it, so he asks the adult to draw for him and finds joy in the giving but not at all trying to lay claim. 
It's difficult to judge it when we can't hear/see what goes on but I've seen that sort of situation in person over and over in person and truly, it's just the child learning the joys of giving you what they think is "best", not understanding yet how we cherish THEIR work regardless of whether someone else could draw it better and if you were their in person to say you liked their drawing and it WASN'T from them, they'd probably be very quick to correct you rather than pretend they did it.  

That being said, Susan mentioned the child should be doing the finished product (though I've definitely had a few pictures that you could tell were NOT done by the child) and yours it wouldn't surprise me if it's done by the same child but they've been taught a few new techniques or copied something this time, like a sticker or something. 
I know myself I am NOT an artist but I can draw 100x better if I'm copying a picture than if I'm just thinking up an image in my head. 
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mark bowen

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Susan, thanks for your reply and encouragement. I was referring to the February gifts for which I'm owed a photo and a list of purchases. I realize that the deadline for the gifts I sent in July to both Tutor and Thanapat is January 2017.
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Teresa Dawn

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I'm not sure if this helps, but photos are only given for gifts above $60US.  

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