Why doesn't my child answer my questions?

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How come my kiddo doesn't answer any of my questions in letters? Would think they'd present sponsor letters to reply to.
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Brett Goodlin, Stewardship Specialist / Finance Division

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Posted 7 years ago

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Amanda Roberts

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Good question, Brett! Usually what happens is once the child receives your letter they bring it home with them, where it is usually stored in a safe place. The project staff may schedule letter writing time for children at the project, and chances are your child would not have the letter you last sent them at that time. This is one of the reasons your questions may not be answered. We suggest you keep your questions brief in each letter, and highlight or underline them so the child and project staff know that it is important to answer those questions from you.
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Haley, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Operations

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We also see, sometimes, that a child is shy and may not answer questions that are more personal in nature. You may want to keep your questions pretty "light" - something like "What is your favorite food," or "What sport do you enjoy".
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Eliza Martin

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Some other things that may explain why the child hasnt answered your questions-
-sponsors tend to ask ?'s we want to know but not necessarily ?'s that are child friendly, like maybe you asked about how houses are constructed in their village- that is not something most kids would know- so try "what is your favorite holiday and how do you celebrate it?" or something kid friendly:)
-if the project is a distance from where their mail is delivered, the children may write letters, a worker may make the trip to the city and drop the bundle of mail off to be mailed and then come back with the mail- so very simply - your child did not have your letter when they wrote you and by the time they write you again 2-4 months later- they just dont remember what you wrote
-we tend to write like we talk and that very often includes local speech patterns- such as in Maine they say "wicked good" to mean "awesome" but can you imagine what a translator is going to do with that in Honduras? That is 2 antonyms! Or what about "pop" - that is a sound, it is your dad, it is a beverage depending on the part of the country you are from- so what is you ask your child "Do you like pop?" how does that translate in India? Or how about asking your child in Bangledash if they enjoy pizza????
Hope that helps!
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cmayer83

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I receive occasional letters from my sponsored child, but they never reflect information that I have sent in letters to him. It makes me question whether or not he gets them. Is there something that I can say or do to ensure getting relevant responses? I just want to be reassured that he is receiving them and would like to grow in my relationship with him.
Thanks, Chris Mayer (sponsored child TZ-960-0249 Frank Lushonisha Mende)

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Is my child getting my letters? Responses are generic and never specific about questions asked..
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Lizzie, Champion

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I am sure your child is getting your letters. You can highlight your questions. this makes them more prominent, so it is more likely that your child will answer them.
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sweethomepress

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We have seen the same thing over many years of sponsoring a child who is now 14. Nothing we have said in our messages has ever been acknowledged in any way in the messages we receive back. We ask simple questions about likes, school, holidays, etc. Nothing complicated. We trust Compassion, and I understand the reasons offered. But perhaps reassessing the process could help donors feel more ownership and more engaged.
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Jeff

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My wife and I have sponsored a child in Ethiopia since 2010 and just started sponsoring a second child in Kenya.

However we just received a letter from our child in Ethiopia and are very disappointed that this letter is pretty much the same wording we get from the few letters that we have received over the last couple years.

Now we are wondering if someone is just writing a “form” type letter?

We hear the same information over and over again, even though we ask specific questions to get to know him and his life better.

This child is turning 13 years old, so he is not so young he doesn’t understand our letters.

We are considering stopping our sponsorship.

This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Very little feedback from sponsored child.
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Shaina Moats

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Hey Jeff, I'm sorry you're frustrated with your child's letters. We are working to make improvements to the correspondence process. You can read about them here: http://blog.compassion.com/changes-to...
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Jeff

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It will be curious to see if the responses from the second child we just started sponsoring follows the same pattern of non-response.

We don't write complicated letters, but would like to see some acknowledgment of questions, gifts, etc.

We do understand not to write slang, complicated, or very personal questions...but this is supposed to be a relationship and getting the same information for years isn't cutting it.
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KristenH, Champion

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I think some countries are just better at letter writing than others. My boy in Ethiopia doesn't ever really give me any information, but my boy in Kenya does. They both only write a few times a year though. My girl in Tanzania has written 18 times over the last year and really seems to enjoy letter writing. I understand your frustration, and though I don't know how often you write I will say that I've noticed the more I write the better chance I have at getting a response from my Ethiopian child. I try to write him 1-2 times a month.
Also, if you haven't yet, please come join us on www.ourcompassion.org It's a site specifically for sponsors and you may be able to connect with others who sponsor in the same project as your child. They may have other ideas for writing tips that worked for them!
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Michelle Wright, Champion

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Our young man in Ethiopia is similar. Out of our 12 CI kids, he is the one who writes the least often and has the least to say to us. We just keep on writing once or twice a month just like we do for the other kids. In this case, we accept that we may not ever know much about Yishak but God connected us for a reason so we will be faithful to do "our part" and support and encourage all that we can.
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Jeff

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Thanks, I appreciate the advice.

It will be interesting to see how our second child, a 10 year old girl in Kenya, does in comparison.

We are maybe not doing what we are supposed to be doing either, because we write once, wait for a response, write, back, etc. This pales in comparison with what you are doing (1 - 2 times a month).

Thanks again.
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KristenH, Champion

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You're welcome! I hope your correspondence with your boy in Ethiopia improves and I hope you are happy with your new child in Kenya. My boy in Kenya writes 3-4 times a year but his letters are wonderful! He doesn't always answer my questions, but he writes in English and he loves to tell me about his life. He really is a joy!
Another great thing about joining OurCompassion is that sometimes people who are going on a sponsor trip will offer to take a package for your child. I had the opportunity twice to do that and the kids were THRILLED! Anyway, I will stop rambling! I do encourage you to continue to write, send along stickers, etc. The letters mean so much to these kids, even if it doesn't always come across in their responses.
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Josiah Yoder

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As a very recent sponsor, I'm thankful for the new program for young compassion children where they fill out kid-friendly form letters asking questions about their life. I think it started this year, and my compassion child's answers to simple questions like what her favorite color or animal are have really helped me to get to know her better, even early on.

Compassion has taken a good step in response to the sorts of concerns raised here.
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Jacque Prebula

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Why am I getting the exact same letter responses from my childs care organization there is more to say than hygene issue?.


Same responses from my child. Not answering questions put to him.
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Lisa Baker

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
Little variance in letters.


I have sponsored Batamuriza Sylvie ( RW3570186), now 16, for about ten years. I know little more about her than I did ten years ago. Her letters have rarely varied and almost seem from the same script every time. Any questions I ask never seem to get answered. I also worry because in every yearly picture I receive, she has never smiled and seems to carry such a heavy burden on her shoulders. She seems so troubled. Is there any way for me to learn any more about her situation?
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Jacque and Lisa, I'm so sorry for the frustration and disappointment you're feeling with your child's letters. I know that it can be tough to pour into the life of your child with loving letters and not receive much back. I recommend underlining or highlighting your questions so that they stand out to your child. If you continue to see the same content in the letters and he does not answer your questions, please send us a letter sample. We will then ask his tutors to work more closely with him to help improve his letters. You may send us a copy of the letters you've been receiving in one of the following ways:

-Email: Attach the scanned letters to an email to socialmedia@compassion.com
-Fax: Fax the letters to 719-487-4828
-Mail: Send the letter copies in the mail to:
Compassion International
Attn. Susan, SDR
Colorado Springs, CO 80997
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Addyson

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This reply was created from a merged topic originally titled
my questions are not answered plus when will I know if my child is saved?.


I have sent many questions to my child and I understand that it may be a bit much, but I want to ask her about her Christmas and how she celebrates. I just don't think I will get an answer. I also want to be able to know if my child is saved and I know that that is hard to get that on a bunch of accounts but it would be nice.
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Abby!

Asking you child about how she celebrates Christmas is a wonderful question to ask in a letter! However, please keep in mind that it takes two to three months for letters to be sent. It could be about six months before you receive the reply letter with the answer so don't loose heart if you don't receive the answer right away. In the future, I would recommend underlining or highlighting your questions to help them to stick out to your child and the center staff will know to help to make sure she answers them.

We do keep a record when a child in our programs accepts Christ. Regrettably, our current information system makes it difficult for us to share information like this with our sponsors. We are currently working on updating our information system though, so you may see this type of information on your account in the future. Also, your child may share with you unsolicited when she receives Christ. The children often are so excited that they will share even when they are not asked. However, I'll certainly pass along your feedback! 
(Edited)
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Larry Scott Whitaker

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I am not sure where to post this question, but this thread is close to subject. We recently received a letter from our child's area, our info was on the reply letter forms but the letter was not from our child and not for us but another sponsor. We called and forwarded the letter to the main office. So we never got notice if indeed our child had written and it was accidentally sent to another sponsor or what. Then a little over a month ago we received a letter from our child, but.......there was no translation :-(  First, how do i get this translated? ( i tried Google translation to no avail) Second, If I send it back to main office, will I ever see this letter again?  Very sad, cause we really look forward to hearing from her!    Also, how will I hear a response about this?
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Susan, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Oh no, Larry! I am so sorry that you received the wrong letter and then received a letter without a translation. :( I'm sure you are very anxious to hear what she has said to you in her letter! If you are able to scan the letter that would be best. That way you can keep the original. Please scan and email to socialmedia@compassion.com. We will have it translated and sent to you as soon as possible. 
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Melandy .

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I'm concerned because my child in Tanzania keeps asking for pictures and I send them.  "How many are in your family?" and "Do you have a pet?" she asks.  I've told her many times about the 4 in our family, including when the youngest two were born, and about our cat, and sent pictures of all of us on multiple occasions.  I just got another letter asking the same thing.  I know she's young, but we've sponsored her since 2011.  You'd think she'd have seen a picture or two by now.  It's just frustrating for those of us TRYING to engage and feeling like we're getting form letters in response.
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Sarah, Sponsor and Donor Relations, Social Media

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Hi Melandy! I've had several of my own kids ask me these same questions multiple times, and I completely understand how it can feel frustrating to answer the same question over and over. Kids truly love seeing photos of their sponsors and asking for pictures is one way in which it makes them feel closer to you. It does not mean that she hasn't received your photos over the years. In fact, the photos that you send with your online letters are printed onto the letters themselves and arrive together :). Also, children can often have a difficult time, especially at a younger age, with the concept of writing letters. Many of the countries we work in have cultures that rely on verbal conversation and have never written letters. Most of the children in the program had never written a letter to anyone before joining Compassion, and it can be strange and difficult for them to understand the concept of holding a conversation via written word. Our center staff recognize this and try to help the children by writing sample questions on a chalkboard for the children to use when writing their letters. It sounds like she is using the same ones over and over again. Maybe those are the first ones she sees when she looks at the board or are questions she understands. It is really hard at times with younger kids, and I completely get that! Though I can't guarantee this, I've found that choosing one topic to discuss in my letters with some of my kids who do this too helps. I try to take a little time to research something about their community or culture and keep the number of questions I ask in return to one or two. It gives them something very familiar to talk about. Or if you read back through her letters and can pick out certain people she mentions, it's a great way to ask her to share more about them too. I've learned a lot about my kids by sharing about my best friend and asking them to share about theirs too. I know it isn't easy to feel like you have to pull information out of your child, and I will be praying you are able to form a better bond with her as the years progress and she gets older.

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