Ideas for bonding with older sponsor child

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I began sponsoring a 20 year old earlier this year. I've sent her letters and have yet to receive a letter from her, although I did receive a letter from the minister of her church program. Yesterday, I sent her a gift.

My question is, what can I do to connect with this young lady? I want to know more about her as a person and help to serve as a mentor in her life.

I'm only 26 myself. Her mother died before I began my sponsorship. Was she hoping for a maternal figure instead of a big sister? Does she just not know what to say, or is there a letter on the way?

I don't want to let her down, and we only have until April 2018 to establish effective communication.

Does anyone else who has sponsored the oldest children have ideas?

Thank you.
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Posted 3 years ago

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KristenH, Champion

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Hi there! I sponsor a few older children and at times it can be difficult to connect to them. Many times they have had several sponsors who have dropped them so the kids are hesitant to put effort into yet another new relationship. I've found the thing that helps most is to write  - a lot! 
I write at least once a month to all of my kids Ask questions about things they're interested in, talk about things going on in your life. Let them know they're valued and prayed for. Ask her to pray for you!  Eventually she will open up! 
It could be too that there are letters on the way to you and just haven't reached you yet. When did you start sponsoring? It can take up to four months to get the first letter and depending on how often you write you can hear from her between 2 and 6 times a year. Compassion just overhauled their entire system for letters and ran into a few problems with it so there are a backlog of letters waiting to get to us!  Hopefully your girl's letters are there and just trying to get through! 

Another suggestion would be to ask to join the secret Compassion Correspondent group on Facebook. There are a lot of sponsors who write older teens on there and they are full of good ideas for letter writing, devotional ideas, extra mailings, etc. You can ask one of the ladies that monitor this forum to add you to the group if you'd like and I think you'd find it helpful! 
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Thank you for your encouragement.  It's so sad that many kids were dropped by sponsors.  Older children need support, too, not just the little ones.  I was Osius' age just six years ago and I would have appreciated having an older sister myself.

I started sponsoring Osius on June 3rd.  She lives in Haiti, so I do have additional worries because of Hurricane Matthew.

I've requested to join the group on Facebook.  It sounds like a lot of fun!  Thanks again!  :)
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Denise Bailey

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I agree with Kristen above about joining one or more of the available Facebook groups. The email to request to be added to Compassion Sponsor and Correspondents Facebook Forum is:

I would like to add that one thing that helped me to connect was to write a letter about something I was passionate about in my life.  To a girl I sponsored in Ethiopia I wrote about marriage and choosing a good man, one that loved God and would not practice polygamy.  To others in Kenya I wrote about the HIV crisis and how upset I was about it and they wrote very nice letters back about it and what Compassion had taught them.  I used to keep guinea pigs and I wrote quite a long letter about guinea pigs, raising them and that in South America they are a common and valuable food source.   I even got response back about the guinea pigs!  

My favorite countries to sponsor are Uganda, Ghana and Kenya because they speak English and it does make it easier to communicate.  Join the Facebook groups and perhaps ask for a correspondent from one of the English speaking countries. It is free because someone else sponsors them but for one reason or another doesn't want to write to them.  I actually have some correspondents AND I sponsor two kids that I asked two other sponsors to write to them for me and they accepted.  I knew the people from Facebook and decided they would be better for those two kids than me to write to the kids.  

The country I have received the least amount of letters from is Ethiopia.  I have two girls and I still only receive two letters a year from them.  I try to write to them six or seven times a year.  But they do write very sweet letters when I get them.  Hope to see you on the Facebook Forum, Briana!
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Thank you for your suggestions, Denise.  :)

The older girl I sponsor lives in Haiti.  My parents used to sponsor a girl in Haiti who is my age, from the time she was 8 until she graduated the program, and she speaks English.  I'm not sure if this is the norm.  I know there are variations of French spoken in Haiti, and I took French classes in high school should I ever visit Haiti, which I would still love to do when I can.  I have also sponsored another girl in India since 2014, who is now almost 5 years old and writes often with the help of her child program.  Because of her age, her letters follow class guidelines, which makes it easy to get to know her. 

I've requested to join the Facebook Forum.  Thanks again!

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