relationship

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Hi,

One of the reasons we started giving is for my 12 year old son, Asher, is to develop a relationship with correspondence with the child. We have only received one letter since starting. We will not continue sponsoring unless we hear more frequently from Lesther himself. Please advise.
Thanks, Karen Hougo
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Karen Hougo

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Posted 5 years ago

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Denise Bailey

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Hi Karen, I am another sponsor and have been sponsoring since 2002. Someone on Compassion will answer but probably not till Monday. I have run the gamut with some kids only writing twice per year and others six to eight times a year. For me as an adult, I don't worry about it, however if my child were involved and they were sad or disappointed I would want to know what could be done! Which country does your sponsored child attend their project? Example: I had a great relationship with an older student in Ethiopia. When she graduated I sponsored again and I only get two letters a year! I am not going to drop her , I am an adult and I can deal with it. Plus I was blessed by an Ethiopian I was introduced to on Facebook and they went to see her on my behalf and I got lots of info and pictures so I learned more about her family. Another question is how long have you sponsored this child? It can take time to build a relationship. If it has been six months since you received a letter Compassion will send a field inquiry to ask why there hasn't been a letter. You do have to request the inquiry. Another question you can ask about this child is how many sponsors they had before you and how many letters they received. The child could be discouraged and not even think they really will have a sponsor that loves them this time. If you have a question about the country your child is in as far as my experience or my Compassion sponsor friends experience with a specific country I would be glad to help before Monday. Thanks so much for sponsoring!
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Andrea Watt

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It may also depend on how often you are writing. Children are supposed to write a minimum of 2 letters a year, but write more if you are writing to them frequently. I get about 6 letters a year from most of my children.
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Emily

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Karen, I appreciate your patience in us responding to your inquiry as we were out of the office over the weekend. I hope that the information Denise and Andrea have so kindly provided, has been helpful. I am so very sorry that your son has found the letter writing relationship with his child disappointing thus far :(. I know it can be frustrating if you're not receiving letters. I so appreciate your families generosity and that your own son wants to be involved, that is truly remarkable!

Please know that we value the relationship that he is wanting to build with a child and the impact that your family is making in helping to pull this child out of poverty. We have found that letters from sponsor's make a significant impact on a child's self worth but we also know that it can be difficult to build a relationship if it is only one sided. That is why Compassion has developed the reciprocal letter writing program in our projects. This means that in addition to the two required letters, your child will also respond directly to your letters every sixty days. This creates more meaningful correspondence between you and your child, as you each respond to one another's letters. Children whose sponsors do not write, will only be required to write two letters annually. This is why we encourage you that you're welcome to write as often as you would like :). If you just recently began sponsoring in the last year or so, Lesther may still be working on catching up to any letters you have sent. 

Regrettably, I was unable to locate your account under your name or email address. If you would like, please post your child's ID number here and I would be happy to take a look at your account for you and see if you have any letters on the way. Because letters take 2-3 months to be delivered both ways, there might be a letter in processing for you! I'd also be happy to review your child's sponsorship history. As mentioned above, some children who have had multiple sponsors and didn't receive letters previously, might have a more difficult time putting in the effort to write if they don't think the relationship will last due to past experiences. But this improves over time as they find their sponsor really does want to learn more about them and build a lasting friendship :). It is always so encouraging to me when sponsor's like you and your family have a desire to invest in a child's life through letters! 

I also want to mention that depending on how old your child is and Lesther's writing abilities, a tutor at the project might still be assisting him in writing letters. In the countries we work in, many younger children are not able to write their own letters yet. Some do not start school until a
later age or may even have to skip attending school altogether due to family
circumstances. Our project staff work hard with your child to help improve their letter writing skills so that they are able to start writing to you on their own :). As Denise mentioned, if you have not received a letter from Lesther in six months, please let us know and we can send an inquiry to our field staff to ensure that your child is doing alright. If needed, we can request that our staff work with your child individually to help him with his letter writing. 
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Mellanie McCreary

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I have children that are not very different in age from my sponsored children. I am very careful to tell my biological kids that our sponsored kids are not penpals. Penpals are different, but to truly have that friendship, there needs to be more equality. Our sponsored child has less access to resources like paper, stickers, etc. Less free time. Is not a native speaker of English. They also get money and financial support from us, which can be intimidating for a child to navigate-- it might cause mixed feelings. For those reason, I explain to my kids, if they want a penpal, we can arrange that, but it isn't fair to put that kind of expectation on a child living in poverty. We write all the time, no matter how many letters we do or don't get, because I have explained to my kids that our sponsored children need the mail much, more more than they do! (Please don't take my words as a criticism of anybody's motivation for sponsoring, it's only our family's approach!)
(Edited)
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Denise Bailey

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Hi Mellanie, I think it is great that you are teaching your children how special the sponsorship opportunity is and I have always been okay with fewer letters. However with questions being asked and answered on here I have started thinking about the benefits for them of them writing more letters and now I think I have been missing out on helping them develop more through letter writing! They will develop skills in writing , communication, answering questions, asking questions, building a relationship with a person in another culture and importantly loving and caring more deeply for their sponsor and family! I am going to communicate with my sponsored children that don't write as much as they technically are supposed to that I would love more frequent letters from them and would they please try to write more often! I am so glad this topic came up! I have been sponsoring for twelve years and never thought about the benefits to them of writin me more often.

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