Letters seem fake.

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We are starting to doubt that our child receives and replies to our letters. His letters are always generic and questions are never answered.
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Laura Wuestner Anthony

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  • sad... hoping he gets our money

Posted 10 months ago

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Gayla Reed Wingate

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oh pray that is not true.  The children are very real.  They grow up, interests change. The child I have sponsored is 19-20 years old now.  I get fewer letters and fewer words in each letter.  Does sound generic to some degree.
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Laura Wuestner Anthony

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I think it is a noble idea to write letters to the kids but my hunch Is that it is logistically extremely difficult to make it really work... and unfortunately, it just raises seeds of doubt. Maybe It would be easier to arrange Skype sessions somehow with the kids
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heather o

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That would be awesome but there are two problems with Skype sessions. 1 is internet speed in some parts of the countries and 2 Compassion cannot ensure the safety of what the child would be exposed to. While the majority of people would never do anything inappropriate there are people who would and the child would be traumatized. I wish it were possible but the safety of these precious kiddos has to be put first. God bless!
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Christina, Employee

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Gayla, I’m so sorry to hear that you have been receiving letters that have less writing in them than you are used to. Please know that we are incredibly grateful for the tremendous impact your love and support have made in Humphrey’s life over that past 14 years you have been sponsoring him! Sadly, sometimes older student may write fewer letters as they come closer to their estimated graduation. Now that Humphrey has only a few more years left in the program, he may be feeling more pressure to succeed like many older high school students feel. One thing I have learned is that a child is a child no matter where they come from. An 18-year-old is going to face many important life decisions, so Humphrey may be facing many challenges and changes in his life right now. I believe that this season of life is a very crucial time to receive encouragement, support, and love. I encourage you to keep sending Humphrey your uplifting letters, and please continue to inspire him to stay motivated to pursue his dreams :). God bless you!
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Andrea Watt

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Until 2 of mine graduated I had met all of my kids in person. They are all real, some kids just aren't good at writing letters. I certainly wasn't when I was 8 and my Mom made me write thank you notes.
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heather o

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I have written to 50+ kiddos, probably closer to 60 during my time with Compassion. Letters are as unique as each of the children. Some write a line or two and that's it; others have written very long and detailed letters. It depends on several factors in my opinion and experience. One is of course age of the child, two culture difference, three is the child's personality, and four is number of sponsors the child has had in the past. If a child has been through several sponsors it could be harder for them to open up and invest in letter writing. Letter writing is a foreign concept for many of these children and they may be significantly behind in their studies, as I am sure you know. As for question answering that I have found differs from child to child, what the question is and also I have to remember that they may not remember what I asked of them if they don't have my most recent letter with them on letter writing day. Many treasure their letters and "secure" them in their home so they may not be readily available for reference. I just wanted to share my experience and let you know each letter is very real from your very real and wonderful child. God bless!
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Sarah Heacock Schreffler

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Some of the letters seem very generic, yes. I am thankful I get letters from multiple kids because I can see flashes of individual responses in some. I do think my best relationships are with those kids who put things like this in their letters. Here is a cut from a letter from my 5 year old in Tanzania I got this week!  You see that name there "Ruthie"? that is my daughter. He's asking about her health because in a letter back in August (August 23) I mentioned a concern we had with her hearing. Which prompts me that I never followed up on that so I'll be sure to write it in my reply.  In the same letter he specifically mentions the picture I sent him of "A horse and a cow" (Coloring picture) and "He's happy to know your family and your favorite things" -- indeed, in that same letter (my introduction lettter to him) I mentioned a few things like favorite color, favorite subject in school, etc.
   
Back in November, I got a note from my child in Peru (Another 5 year old) saying "The solar eclipse didn't happen here" -- In September I had sent a letter about the solar eclipse and talking about our experience of it.  so that brief mention let me know he'd gotten it!
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Christina, Employee

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Laura, I am deeply sorry to hear that you have some concerns about your child’s letters that have caused you to doubt the integrity of Compassion and whether your child’s letters are real. Please know that we are so grateful that you responded to God tugging at your heart to sponsor your child. I hear your heart for this ministry and your desire to foster a relationship with your kiddo. We also want to help every sponsor to have this opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with their child. 

Regrettably, I was unable to locate your account, so I am not sure how old your child is. Children under the age of 9 typically use our form letters because it is easier for them to understand the concept of writing and to fill in the blanks. Sadly, some children feel timid or have a lack of confidence when it comes to writing. Many children are also behind in their schooling because their parents could not afford to send them to school, so they cannot write on their own yet. Please rest assured that your child is the one who receives your letters and will answer your questions. If your child still needs help, then their tutor is simply writing down their answers. As children get older, they will begin to write their own letters without the assistance of a tutor/mentor. 

I understand that it can become discouraging when your child is writing the same types of things and not answering your questions. As Heather said, many kiddos take their sponsor’s letters home to keep in a safe place and may forget to bring them back on letter writing day, so they may not remember the questions you have asked. I encourage you to not give up :). Keep asking your questions, and if you don’t get answers to your questions the first time, please ask them again. Also, many sponsors have had success in receiving answers when they number their questions in a list and/or highlight them. A common reason letters appear to be very similar or vague is due to one possible answer. For children beginning to write on their own, coming up with something to write may be very difficult. So many precious children just want to impress their sponsor and show them how much they appreciate their support, but they are very nervous and may not know how to express these emotions via letter writing. On letter writing day, the tutor usually writes a suggested script up on the board that students can follow when letter writing and some students simply copy this down if they don’t know what to write. Regrettably, this results in letters sounding very generic. I encourage you that hopefully your kiddo will become more comfortable and begin to write more personal letters; it may just take some time for them to get there.

I’m so sorry to hear of the doubts you have about Compassion and whether your one-to-one sponsorship of your child is real. We sincerely look forward to earning your trust and proving our hearts for serving our sponsors and children with excellence.
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Sharon M Ulstad

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It makes me sad to read these complaints. I have been a sponser for 28 years. I highly recomand everyone watch the movie the Queen of Katwe that will give you and idea of the extreme poverty your child might be living in daily and coping with life challenges we cannot imagine. As my children have grown up and now my current son is in University he has shared more of his dreams like taking a hot shower. I dont always get the answers to my questions but after meeting a man that went through the program in Uganda at a Compassion event I volunteered for. He told me the most life changing thing for him was being told he was LOVED! And this is the most important thing to comunicate. Compassion International is a great work of the Lord making deciples and that is the most important mission beside their basic needs and LOVE! 
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Patty

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The children in the sponsorship program are the poorest of the poor.  The sad reality is that the majority  of them won't be breaking out of the cycle of poverty.... that's who we are all writing too.  But we can give them hope and love from Christ which is why writing regardless of their answers is what counts.  WE are essentially serving and loving just as Jesus taught us too.
We sponsor 2 children( Julien in Burkina Faso, age 7 and Megan in Bolivia who is 11 years old ). 
  
Suggestion that worked for us to start a relationship and get the kids in writing and being more responsive:
We started the sponsorship 2 years ago and wanted a relationship with both so I essentially flooded them with letters --- 6-10 letters a month with lots of photos-- introducing them to my family, my city, my friends, favorite foods, photos of us holding up their letters and pictures,etc.  Yes... sounds like overkill but we figured.... ok... how is letter writing realistically going to work especially when these kids living in poverty are up against so many obstacles?  

Julien is younger and has not attended school yet but we can tell from his letters that his tutor writes that he is interested in our lives and is asking questions about what we wrote although not always--- but he is also responding by copying what we write about.... so if we write about our friends,.... he begins to tell us about his.... There is no running water or electricity in his household.

Megan from Bolivia... we can already tell she is above average in her studies from her writing and opening up about her life-   we are beginning to see the change in her spiritually and emotionally as the area she is from, the Project director wrote us a letter that many of the children she cares for suffer from unstable family lives because of alcohol and parents just not being present for the children because of "parties".  So I think somehow, are letters and the volume of them are building trust and security for these kiddos.  

We also have the opportunity to give gifts as sponsors.  So, we have sent family and birthday gifts to them regularly to just show them more love.  Not to sound like we want to buy their friendship or a relationship..... but with the reality that how do we have a relationship and build on one when we are thousands of miles away and the possibility of us meeting are slim?   I understand that as sponsors, we are the ones essentially who have the power and control---- we have the dollars and we have the choice to love and to give it unconditionally. 
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Sarah Heacock Schreffler

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I really love this "Choice to love and to give it unconditionally"  I keep having to tell myself the same thing.  "It's not about me. It's about (Daniel,Diganto,Yesmyn, Andreina... insert child's name here)" Encouraging them. Reminding them of God's love and that there is someone else in the world who loves them.

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