Seems like my children aren't receiving my letters

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Everyone in my family sponsors a child through Compassion and we also sponsor children through other organizations like Gospel for Asia.  We have been with Compassion for...I believe 4 years...and all of the letters that we have received from all of our children seem like they don't receive anything we send them.  Nothing is mentioned of the pictures we send, drawings, stickers, etc.  Some of them don't even mention our names. (We've sponsored 1 or 2 through our company, but we always say our names in our letters, not our company).  The reasoning I heard is that these children are not used to writing letters and that they're given prompts on what to say...and I can understand that.  However, we recently started sponsoring one child through Gospel for Asia and recently received our first letter from her.  It was a night and day difference.  She thanked us for the stickers...she mentioned how she like the boys' drawings...she answered questions.  That really got me wondering why there was such a huge difference...and sadly...questioning if our kids are really being sponsored by us and if our funds are being used the way Compassion says they are.  I question if I should pull of my sponsorship, but I don't want to act rashly and leave our kids hanging.  Is there any way we can get proof that our funds are being used accordingly?
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Lynnette

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Posted 4 years ago

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Beth

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Hi Lynette. I can understand your concerns, but I hope that you don't jump to conclusions. I sponsor 4 children through Compassion, and I am blessed to be building a relationship with 3 of them. I can assure you that my boys have responded to things I have written them in my letters, or thanked me for some of the things I have sent.

Each child is different. One takes an interest in things that my son, who is near his age, does. The youngest definitely writes at a different level, but that is to be expected. There are many things that could make a difference - the country, the part of a country, the age of the child, the educational level, the social-emotional level of a child, or even the staff at the centers. I am a little puzzled by one of my sponsored children, but I do not know their situation, so I do not take it personally, nor do I use that as a reflection on Compassion as a whole. But I am very grateful for the part that I can have in my sponsored children's lives, and the part that they play in my life!

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heather o

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Hi, Lynnette. I am sorry that the letters from your kiddos are not as specific as you would like them to be. I have to echo what Beth has said. I have 2 sponsored children and quite a few correspondent kiddos with Compassion and the letters differ from child to child and country to country. Some of my kiddos don't really answer my questions, but most (not all) thank me for their letters and photos. I can assure you that your children get everything you send them and that they treasure each and every letter and goody they receive. My 18 year-old Bolivian girl just wrote a short but sweet letter telling us how her whole family reads and cherishes the letters I send her. Our boy in Uganda has written letters to my children in addition to our letter and others from some of my younger kids are more form letters with little information.

I would recommend watching some of the YouTube videos from former sponsored children that have graduated the program if you are questioning the validity of sponsorship. They speak volumes on the difference sponsorship and letters make in a child's life. My daughter and I have had the pleasure of hearing two former Compassion children speak on this difference; the last was a lady from the Philippines who has gone on to become a Physical Therapist. Her story will make you cry, it is an awesome testimony to the importance of sponsorship to our list kiddos. God bless!
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Jennifer

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And to provide reassurance regarding accountability, I'll reiterate info I've mentioned before elsewhere. When I visited my sponsored child, they showed me my child's records, and there were photos, itemized lists, and prices for every gift given over the course of years. It was impressive!
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Sarah, Official Rep

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Hi Lynette! These wonderful ladies are incredible sponsors who I am so grateful for. Their responses are valuable and heartfelt (so thank you ladies!) Because I don't know much more about Gospel for Asia besides their name, I can't really speak to why your kids in that ministry write such great response letters. I can absolutely help you with Puspa, Muriell, and Suksan :). Compassion completely understands that the letter writing process can be frustrating, but we do greatly appreciate the commitment you have made to bless each of your kids with letters despite the lack of response to your extra goodies and questions. The staff in each of our countries do an amazing job with teaching the kids how to respond to letters, but these kids can still struggle with the concept of writing a letter. You are probably the only person your child will ever write a letter to, and sometimes the kids have trouble grasping the concept of having a conversation by mail, especially when they are as young as Puspa and Muriell. It's completely foreign to them. They often take their letters home and put them in a special, safe place. When it is letter writing day at their project, they may forget to bring your letter back and not have any reference to your letter's content. These children also communicate verbally with everyone around them. We highly suggest highlighting one or two of your questions in your next letter to draw the staff's and your child's attention to the questions. I would also suggest taking time to write your kids more often. Our kids are required to write at least twice a year, but can write up to six letters a year if they are written to consistently. I suggest taking ten minutes every three or four months to send them a quick, encouraging note. The more they start to learn about you, the more they will open up about themselves as well. Lynette, I've personally had to discover ways to ease the awkwardness of letters with a few of my own kids too. It's never easy, but I don't want you to give up. Each of your kids is a real child living in poverty who needs to know the hope that Christ brings. You are helping to encourage them every single day with your letters. They may forget to respond to questions or thank you for the stickers, but your letters mean more to them than you will ever know.
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Beth

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I just want to share how I highlight the questions (when I remember to do so). If I'm typing a letter on my computer to print out, I may underline the questions. When I'm writing a letter online through the Compassion web site, the only way that I know of to bring attention to the questions is to type them in all capital letters.

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Lynnette

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Okay thanks ladies for the responses.  I understand that the children may not be the best communicators via letters, and so I had no expectations for years.  We were always excited to simply receive a piece of paper anything from them.  But a few years later, I started realizing that they didn't really seem to know anything about us...including our names...and then I saw the difference in letters I received from kids from other organizations.  We support 3 different children from 2 different organizations similar to Compassion.  These kids are also young and from impoverished areas in Africa and India, but they actually "write" back.  They know the sponsor's name and our family's name and they mention things from past letters that we wrote or sent.  I love supporting a ministry that helps the impoverished...I just want to make sure our money is actually being used that way and that our kids are actually real.  I hate to have these doubts in the integrity of a ministry. I noticed that other people have the same concern as mine.  Maybe more can be done to assure sponsors that their money is truly going to the children they support.
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newsponsor

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Do parents help children to write letters for sponsors? Especially the younger children? Or only Compassion staff members help the children to write letters for their sponsors?
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Beth

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My friend has received a letter from a younger child written by her mother, and other letters on behalf of the child are written by staff.
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Sarah, Official Rep

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Lynnette, we do have a whole page on our website dedicated to the financial integrity of Compassion. Charity Navigator is also an outside source that we encourage sponsors to use to investigate Compassion's integrity.
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Sarah, Official Rep

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Newsponsor, Yes, both parents and center workers are able to help children write letters to their sponsors. My little boy in the Philippines has help from his very sweet mom when he sends letters to me :).
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Mary Lee Marshman

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I have the same concerns.  Lynette, I'd like to hear more about the other group that you donate to where kids write back.
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Diana Hitchens

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I just wanted to mention that different kids respond differently. We sponsor an 8 year old boy from Tanzania and an almost 5 years old girl from Mexico. Our boy does fill in the blank letters and writes something like this 'Thank you for gifts. Please send mazes.' with a tiny little pencil drawing of a triangle or square. We get a kick out of it. Our girl goes on about her family and town with large colorful drawing with lots of shapes and animals. We always laugh at the difference. You may just have kids who aren't as into the letter writing etc..
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