Same Letter Different Day

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This conversation has been merged. Please reference the main conversation: My child keeps writing the same things in the letters

My sponsored child recently graduated from the program. In the beginning, I believed strongly in this ministry, going through the training to become a volunteer child advocate & working tirelessly to increase awareness & help raise up sponsors. After a few years however, I began to loose heart. From the outset of the relationship, every letter I received from my sponsored child (and I have saved them all) had the same content - none of which was ever response to the content of my letters - not one of my questions was answered - not one attempt to connect was successful. I found myself essentially answering the same questions each time I wrote a response, only to have him ask them again as if it were the first time we had corresponded.
I contacted Compassion, but was given simplistic and what felt like evasive answers. While I continued to pray for the child and provide financial support, I eventually stopped writing letters and working as an advocate. I have lost confidence in Compassion and am therefore unable to commit to sponsoring another child - and that makes me sad on so many levels.
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Marji Hughes

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  • sad

Posted 5 years ago

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Susan

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Marji, I am so so sorry for the disappointment and frustration that we have caused by your child's letters and our responses when you asked about them. I am very saddened that you have lost confidence in us.

We typically give out tips to sponsors on how to help improve the quality of their child's letters. However, if a problem like this persists, we can send an inquiry to our field office and ask that your child's tutors work closely with him to make sure that he answers your questions, acknowledges receiving your letters, and provides more quality letters. I am really saddened that, because your child has now completed the program, I cannot send an inquiry at this point. :( I wish there was some way that I could make this right for you. However, thank you so much for sharing your feedback with us! Please know that I have passed this feedback along and we will keep this in mind as we seek to improve our organization as a whole. 
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Marji Hughes

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This is the response I had hoped for all along. My purpose in writing was, ultimately, to help keep others from having this same experience.
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Leslie Sheldon

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I'm sad, too, after reading your comment, Marji, because it sounds like you belong in this ministry. You were a wonderful child sponsor because you kept your commitment to your child until he graduated from the program. Most people would have dropped their sponsorships upon becoming discouraged. You kept writing to your child, at least for a while, even though you didn’t feel you were connecting with him.

I’ve found child sponsorship to be such a wonderful opportunity to serve God. I truly hope you will consider sponsoring another child because the results can be amazing for the child, his family and their community. Compassion International is rated very highly for its effectiveness, and your experience doesn’t represent the “normal” child sponsorship experience with the organization. I hope you won’t give up because your next experience could be so much more rewarding.

I sponsored my first child 20 years ago (through another organization) and have sponsored 15 children through four difference organizations. I've never had a sponsorship experience that was disappointing. I currently sponsor 11 children in 11 different countries through Compassion International, and I feel confident in Compassion's ministry. Child sponsorship has become a no-brainer for me, and I hope that I can someday visit some of my sponsored children to see for myself the work that Compassion does.

Through my child sponsorship experience, I try to stay focused on what I can do to combat poverty, not what I’m getting in return, but I’ll admit that receiving letters from the children is extremely rewarding. One of the most satisfying things we glean from the children's letters is confirmation that our efforts are worthwhile. I’m very happy to be developing relationships with the children I sponsor, and I’m sorry you missed out on that.

Perhaps you could ask Compassion to set you up with a new sponsorship with a student center that makes letter-writing a higher priority. I receive wonderful letters from my girls in Haiti and Ecuador (they are only 13 and 12, respectively). I have younger children whose letters are written by tutors at the projects, and the tutors do a terrific job of helping the children answer my questions. Yesterday I received a letter from my 6-year-old girl in Colombia. The tutor always attaches an additional sheet of paper to the letter because she always writes more than can be contained on one page. I was specifically thanked for my letters, photos and stickers I sent. I also receive nice letters from children in Mexico, Guatemala, El Salvador and the Philippines, which are written by a tutor or a parent. Last summer I sent a birthday gift of just $10 to my young girl in Mexico, and I received a photograph of her holding two items of clothing she purchased. The photo was a nice surprise because photographs of children with their gifts are only sent to sponsors who send a gift of at least $60. I was on the verge of tears as I drove away from the post office that day because I could see from this little girl’s smiling face what child sponsorship was doing in her life, and I was thrilled to be a part of that.

You could also ask to be a child correspondent. That might be a great way to help restore your faith in Compassion and in the child sponsorship program. You wouldn’t have the financial commitment, but you could begin a letter-writing relationship with a child whose sponsor doesn’t write to him.

I'm sorry you didn't get a chance to know if your sponsorship was making a difference. I believe the child you sponsored all those years did benefit from your sponsorship and does treasure the letters you sent to him. Your monthly fees helped keep your sponsored child’s student center running, so indirectly you were helping all of the children at that project. Please consider making a difference in the life of another child.
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Margie Manchester Scotten

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I am very tired of never getting my letters answered and the same questions get asked all the time.  He is 16 now and after about a 7 or 8 year sponsorship I would like a little more like a response to a letter I send.  If a volunteer is helping him then THEY should help him to answer our letters.  Sponsoring has become a hardship for us but I will not give up on him.  That said, I think we could get a little more communcation.
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Mimi Platt

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I have also been discouraged with the lettters from my sponsored child.  He does not acknowledge anything we send, or any questions we ask.  He used to send drawings, little sketches he drew of cars, animals, etc. and we would ask him about the ones we could not identify. At first he responded, but not for long.  Now he doesn't acknowledge anything we say or ask, he only says he is ine and wishes us God's blessings.  I feel that the helpers may be telling him what to say, rather than asking him what he would like to say.  But I keep writing, and expect that some day he may actually write a letter himself.  He is just turning 10 this year but I thought by now he would know how to write.
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Susan

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Margie, I'm so sorry that your sponsored teen is stretching your patience with the quality of his letters to you. :( It looks like you contacted us in the past and at that time we were going to send an inquiry to make sure that his tutors work more closely with him to help improve his letters. However, we never received a sample letter from you. It is helpful to have an example of what is going wrong with the letters so that we can clearly communicate with field staff what needs to be fixed. The children are required to write to their sponsor two regular letters each year and then up to six reply letters if their sponsor writes to them. I have noticed that the more often a sponsor writes, the more practice a child will get to write back, and the more likely a relationship will develop and the letters will improve over time. Some children are more shy than others and that often comes out in the letters. Also, many of our young men tend to struggle with the letter writing. You've been sponsoring your young man for quite a while though and I hear your frustration with not getting much back over the last seven years. I'm sending an inquiry today to ask Yader's tutors to work extra closely with him to help improve the quality of his letters. 
(Edited)
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Susan

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Mimi, I'm sorry to hear that you're also discouraged with your child's letters. We train our volunteers to make sure that even if the children are writing on letter templates, the answers to questions come from the child. You are completely right that children between the ages of eight and eleven begin writing their own letters as they are able and feel confident. I sincerely hope that his letters do improve as he matures and grows. I would encourage you to highlight or underline your questions to your child in your letters to help them to stand out to him. If you continue to see him not answering your questions, writing the same things in the letters, and not acknowledging your letters to him, please let me know and we will have a tutor work more with him to help improve his letters. 
(Edited)

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