Why is my child living with someone other than their parents?

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I see that Mother's Day and Father's Days are coming up. Normally, I would send a gift or card to our child's parents from us or something our sponsored child can color for them; however, it appears that there MAY be an unusual situation with our 9 year old girl from Togo. The information given to us when we started sponsoring her in January stated that she was living with friends. It made no mention of any family. Her introduction letter (a fill in the blank type format) has her mom, dad, and a brother's name filled in into the predesignated spaces. The letter states nothing about who she lives with. Is there a way to find out what is truly going on? I don't know why she would be living with friends if she does have family...Perhaps she is having relational problems with them? What would be appropriate for me to do as these special holidays come up? Should I try to ignore it and hope that she brings it up on her own in the coming years of letters? I don't want to upset her by asking a question if something is wrong? What do you think?
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  • unsure

Posted 6 years ago

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Official Response
Kimberly, I so appreciate that you care and have concern about your child and her situation! Hopefully, I can explain a little to put you at ease a bit. 

In most cases, when a child is living with someone else other than their parents and their parents are still alive, it is because the parents either are living in another area for work opportunities or they work very long hours just to make ends meet and are not able to really care for their child. The parents then would have a family member, family friend, or a youth hostel care for their child in their place. In these situations, they may go visit their parents on school breaks or their parents may come visit them for a time. I know that a situation like this is completely foreign. The parents of our sponsored children face some incredible challenges in poverty and the option of daycare is not really available in their context. They are trying to do the best they can in their very difficult circumstances. Regardless, we do look after the children and do frequent home visits to make sure that the child is doing alright and developing well. 

It is very likely that she has contact with her parents and sending a Father's or Mother's day card would be fine. That said, it is a good idea to be sensitive to all situations. We can definitely send an inquiry to verify the living situation that your child is in if you would like. Let me know if you would be interested in this.