Letters are almost non-existent

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We rarely hear from our sponsored child anymore. While we used to receive 6 or more letters per year, last year we received only one... and a second one only after we inquired about this. We cannot understand why the letters have stopped coming, especially when the system was supposed to have changed, allowing sponsors to receive contact more frequently when choosing the email option for receiving letters. Can you help us understand why communication has basically stopped? Thank you.
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Julie Bersano

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Posted 3 years ago

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Christina, Employee

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Julie, I am deeply sorry to hear that you have not been receiving very many letters from your precious child, Anahi Mallon. I hear your heart's desire to foster a meaningful relationship with your sweet girl, and we cannot thank you enough for the many encouraging letters you and Mia have sent to her! I see that in June of 2016, we transferred Anahi from your account to Mia's account. In addition, we have undergone many system updates, and we agree that it has not been an easy season of change. During this transition, regrettably, we were experiencing a delay in processing letters which may have affected the frequency of letters you received. However, in 2016 I see that Anahi wrote you 2 letters, and she wrote Mia 3 letters. I also see that 1 letter from Anahi was just delivered on March 10, 2017. Have you and Mia received all of these letters? If not, I would be happy to resend these letters to you :)! Thank you so much for your grace and patience throughout the past year of changes and updates! We appreciate you and Mia hanging in here with us and blessing Anahi with your love and encouragement! 
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Julie Bersano

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Thank you soooo much for understanding, clarifying, and responding. I talked to Mia today; she is 16 now and very attached to Ahahi, writing to her, as well as praying for her every night. We thought it would be good to put the account in her name since she is older now :) However, after talking with her, we could only discover receiving 2 letters total in 2016, and none so far this year. Yes please, if you could please resend these letters that you have discovered in your system, we would be ever so grateful. Might I also inquire how the letter form March 10th was delivered? Mia has checked her email and has not found a link to a letter.  We will  double-check again, but we are certain that letters have not been getting to us over the last calendar year, except for 2 total. Thank you so much! We can't wait to hear back from you. <3 <3
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Susan

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Julie, I am so sorry you have not been getting the emails. You are setup to receive the email and physical original documents of the letters. You might have Mia check her junk folder for them. I do know that we have been having periodic issues with the email delivery though. I am emailing you now with all of the letters I can send you. Regrettably, we had just started scanning the letters in April 2016. There was one letter from January 2016, and I am regrettably not able to send you that one, but I am sending you all the letters after that. 
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Julie Bersano

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Thank you for the links to these letters. We did not know that any of them existed until now. Are we just supposed to go onto the website and check periodically?  I was under the impression that we would get an email from Compassion directly with a link to pull up a letter when it became available.  Also, one thing we have never received is the actual PHYSICAL letter that Anahi has written to us. We used to receive her actual letters a couple of years ago. We even have that option checked as our desire, yet we never receive letters from her anymore. I am not talking about the print from Compassion itself, but the actual letter.  Please might I ask, what happens to the actual physical letters that the children write and color? We used to get them and we never do anymore. What does Compassion do with these original letters?  In addition, it is sad to us that a couple of the letters listed on the Compassion site are not able to be viewed or uploaded. So, we never even got to read them. And of course, we never received those (2) letters in original, physical form either. We just do not understand why we do not receive original letters from Anahi. It seems that letters are getting lost and misplaced in this new system of uploading and copying via Compassion.  Can you address any of these questions please, and Thank you! 
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Shannon Massey, Employee

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Hi Julie, 
As Susan said above, I do see that you are signed up to receive an email notification when a letter is view able online and then also the physical original roughly three to four months later. When a sponsor decided that they would like to receive the original letters, they are still scanned for translation but they are placed safely aware in a shipping box to be sent out to the sponsors. All other letters are recycled after being scanned. Because we have to ship these letters from the country office, it does take that additional three to four months be received. So there is a definite possibility some of them could still be on the way to you. Do you know when you selected to receive the physical original? Have you recently changed your address from the one on MelBourne? I am hoping we can figure this out for you! 
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Julie Bersano

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Thank you. We never opted 'not' to receive the physical original. We just stopped getting the physical originals whenever Compassion changed the letter delivery process and began the 'scanning' method.  Once that happened, it is like we never received actual letters anymore. We liked the actual letter. It was already translated in its' original state. Also, our child hand- colored pictures and now we never get the original colorings. This is sad because she works hard to color beautifully and the 'high quality print' just isn't the same.  It seems that scanning the letters would be more costly and recycling the letters just doesn't make sense to u when they could just be sent out to the sponsor in their original state. It just seems ironic that Compassion developed this new system in efforts to speed letter delivery up when prior to this change, we had no issues receiving the original, translated letters. Our address changed a year ago but that wouldn't affect it because we had everything forwarded. 
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Shannon Massey, Employee

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Good morning Julie, 

A huge reason that we did our letter update was because we wanted to reduce the amount of time that it takes to deliver letters both to the sponsor and to the child, so that it would be easier for our sponsors to develop a stronger relationship with their children. It also helped cut costs on shipping the letters from country to country, and on top of that, we are now able to keep a copy of each letter so that if anything ever happens we can resend you the letter. There are additional benefits, but in my opinion, these are some of the major ones. 

When we made this update, we started scanning all the letters into the system and sending them via an electronic document to be translated and then delivered. This cuts down on months of time, just from doing that little step. Regrettably, we did have a few complications with the new system and this has caused some setbacks, but when all this is resolved I am confident that we will see a very speedy turn over time. We have seen things begin to speed up dramatically for some of the letters, but the letters that were in backlog are still taking some time to send through. With all that said, over the next few months, we are hoping to have all resolved and see tremendous improvements to this system.

Furthermore, when this system was updated last April, we automatically began only sending a copy of each letter and an email with a notification of the new online letter. However, we have also given our sponsors the option to receive the physical original if they would like. But because we are sending only a fraction of the letters we were before, the letters are sent less frequently and will arrive three to four months after you receive the copy.  

In your case, I was just given an update that we have been unable to send any of the physical letter over this last year because of our bug that was found in this system. However, they just began sending these again and you should receive all the physical original letters, that had been held over the next few months. Going forward, the system should work as intended, and since you have chosen to receive the physical original letters, they should start showing up soon! :)

I know this is aggravating and confusing. Thank you very much for your understanding during this time!   
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Julie Bersano

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Thank you for explaining. I am still a fan of the old system when we used to receive letters regularly in the mail, but I look forward to this system working efficiently in the future. There are 2 letters from Anahi in 2016 dated Feb 28th and April 12th on the website; we never received either of these. There is not a "view" button to open up these letters either. So, these letters were not scanned(?) and we never received them either. We wondered about that. Thank you!
(Edited)
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Sarah, Official Rep

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Hi Julie! I do see two letters from the first few months of 2016 that I am resending to you by mail. I am also sending them to you by email so you can read them right away. I am hoping they are the ones you are talking about. The letters were scanned, but for some reason were not delivered to you in the mail. It is possible that they are letters that were delivered to us physically before the system changes. If that is the case, we don't have copies of them to be able to send :(.  I just sent the email to you. Let me know if I found the right letters or not!
(Edited)
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Julie Bersano

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They are not the correct ones, or at least, they do not correspond to the dates listed under the "my letters" tab on the website.The first one that you sent me was dated February 17th, 2016 on the letter itself. The second one that you sent was the one listed as August 22nd, 2016 on your website. On the website, there are dates for letters entered on 2-28-16, 4-12-16, and 8-22-16. Knowing this, I am wondering if the dates on the Compassion site are for an earlier time than when the letter was actually received by the sponsor.  In that case, the letters from 2016 that you sent me would have had to have been the 4-12-2016 and 8-22-2016 letters respectively, and the letter dated on the website as 2-28-16 must be a total loss, as we never received a 3rd letter in 2016. And, we might not ever receive that one if that was before the scanning process began. For this reason, I am not a fan of this scanning system as it seems that when the letters are handled that much, some slip through the cracks in the process. Sometimes, the old-fashioned method of mail delivery pen and paper seems better to me.
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Sarah, Official Rep

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Julie, I knew those letters may not be the correct ones, but I wasn't seeing letters with the February date you gave me. I looked into your account again this morning and can confirm that the letter dated February 28th was actually one that was physically mailed to our office before we ever began scanning letters, which is why you cannot view it online. It had a date on it from late November. The February date you are seeing was actually the date they input the information for that letter into our new letter system. With our old system, there were instances when letters would be lost between our office and the sponsor, which is actually one of the great benefits of us being able to scan letters now. Before this system, we weren't able to get another copy of the missing letters, but we are now able to print a copy and send it to the sponsor because it's on digital record. I am so sorry, but that February 28 letter is one that we do not have a copy of :(. I am so glad that I could at least get the April letter to you, but I know personally how it feels to be missing a letter from your child with no way of getting it back. I sincerely apologize that this letter was lost :(.
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Julie Bersano

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Thank you for researching this so thoroughly, and for explaining this process in detail.  We appreciate it :)  :) We will work to remember the real focus of this whole process, which is to be thankful for and pray for this child. We are thankful for the letters that we have received, and delight in knowing that she is well and happy. Amen for that!

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