Will I ever get another picture of my child?

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I only have one picture of my child. He looks so unhappy. I want to know if there are any other pictures of him that I can see?
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Emily Marie Fleming

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Posted 4 years ago

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From what I understand, Compassion keeps up to two photos per child in their file -- the most current profile photo and the one before that. Their profile photos and other info are updated every 18-24 months. So if the child has been in the program awhile, you can ask for his previous photo also. You can also ask for the JPG images if you haven't already, which is a little higher resolution for printing, showing on screens, etc.

I understand your desire to have more photos, especially when a child looks unhappy. I have one child whose face and body language seem so cheerless in her photo, and one who just looks so serious. The cool part is that the so-serious-looking child is one of the new sponsorships that had an intro video, and fun personality shines through the mostly-still-serious look. It's a good reminder to enjoy the photo without putting too much stock in my interpretation of it. That said, I do love having the photos and eagerly look forward to the updates.

Compassion serves over 1,571,490 children through at least 6,520 centers in (I think) 26 different countries, which means they've created the infrastructure to hold over 3 million photos, which they share with us as sponsors and correspondents, in addition to use in the field. I think managing photo day at just our local elementary school would be quite a task. The thought of getting all those pictures and profile updates from all those places in all those different cultures and many technological limitations is absolutely overwhelming. So while it'd be nice to have more, and especially more candid shots, I can understand why they don't.

Of note, Compassion is doing some system overhaul work. Some of this has been rolled out already, like the online letter writing tool, occasional updates from center staff, limited video intros, etc., while other parts are still in process. From what I've seen so far, major changes are predictably slow and worth the wait. I'm excited to see what they develop.

I'm just a fellow sponsor, not a Compassion employee. I imagine one of the ladies will reply to you tomorrow. Meanwhile, here are a few references that might be helpful, especially Susan's replies:
How often do we get updates? https://support.compassion.com/compas...
Compassion stats: http://www.compassion.com/where-we-wo...
Receiving JPG photos: https://support.compassion.com/compas...
Future possibilities: https://support.compassion.com/compas...
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Sarah, Official Rep

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Hi Deborah! Thank you so much for blessing Nagoor with your sponsorship and with extra gifts. My goodness, you are even encouraging him every month with a letter! Nagoor has been receiving your monthly contributions of $38 each month. According to our records, we received a few gifts for him in July, August, and September. It does take two to
three months for your gift to be received by the family and another two to three
months for their acknowledgement letter to be received by you. He is probably just receiving the July gift right now :). We want you to
know how the family benefited by your generosity, so if you don't receive a
letter by the end of January, please contact us so we can research this further
for you. Because the gifts you sent were each under $60, you may not receive a photo of what he was able to purchase. Gifts under $20 are acknowledged in the next letter by the child. If the gift is between $20-59, they write a special thank you letter to the sponsor. Gifts given over $60 are responded to with a photo and a thank you letter. Please let me know if you have any questions! :) 
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Deborah Carwile Mason

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I have never sent a gift under $25.00. If I send to many $ gifts they tell me I can not send over $100.00 to him a year. I do want to be able to send Christmas money which I have already done.
Next will be Babu's birthday money for January.
How does Babu spend his money? Does someone shop for him? I still want to know if he has a well near by for clean water.
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Deborah Carwile Mason

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Also, does Babu get shots and medical attention when needed?
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Deborah, I just called and we were able to speak on the phone. It sounds like everything is taken care of now and that we were able to answer all of your questions. Please let me know if I can help in any other way. :)
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Deborah Carwile Mason

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Everything is fine now, thank you and God bless.
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Emily, I'm so sorry that your boy looks so unhappy and if you're disappointed in only having one picture of him. I completely understand your desire to see more pictures of your child, especially in a culture where we take photos daily and have many, many easily accessible pictures of our own every day lives as well as friends and strangers even.

Debi gave such an incredible explanation and I hope it helped answer your questions and clarify our program a bit for you. The only other thing I want to mention is that, unlike our culture, often times the children we work with have never seen a camera or it is very seldom that they take a photo. On photo day at the project, there are also up to a couple hundred other kiddos standing in line waiting to take a picture for their sponsor as well. Children also want to look nice for their picture in hopes that they will find a sponsor quickly and we also value your child's dignity and want to help them feel better about being in picture. For this reason, many times, the children will pass one outfit around during picture day. With these three factors alone, when your child gets up there to take his picture he is likely tired and hot from standing in line, and possibly a little frightened or unsure how to act in front of a camera since he doesn't get as much practice or exposure to pictures as we do here. It also might be more intimidating taking a formal picture by yourself with all of your friends from the community standing there watching, versus getting a picture taken candidly with multiple people! We always encourage our sponsors that a child may seem sad in their photos but be a vibrant, playful, child in person once they walk away from the foreign object flashing at them :). My prayer is that in his next photo to you, he will be smiling!

I was trying to locate your account because I'd love to tell you when you can expect to receive another picture of your boy! :) Regrettably, we have a couple of different people with your name in our system and so it was difficult to find your account as we also have different email addresses on file than the one you provide on Get Satisfaction. Do you sponsor Kevin in Mexico? If so, he was just recently registered into our program earlier this year and so this is the first picture we have and the next photo update will be around February of 2017. However, I want to also note that if you ever send him a gift of $60 or more, you'll get a photo of him with the gift he was able to purchase, along with a thank you letter :). These are always a special treat!
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Sarah, Official Rep

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Hi Emily! I would be happy to check and see if we have another photo of your boy on file. If you would reply with his child number, it would help me find which account is yours. I do want to mention that Debi gave a beautiful answer. In addition to everything she mentioned, I wanted to give you a few other resources that I found very encouraging when I was a new sponsor. I've had a few children whose photos make them look like the most unhappy kids on the planet too. Compassion has a few blog posts that speak directly to this issue including: http://blog.compassion.com/your-sponsored-childs-photo-what-does-it-tell-you/. I also found a blog by chance that was a huge encouragement to me. At http://emilypfreeman.com/choosing-the-one-you-least-expect/, Emily gives you a great perspective on how the photos of your child never tell the whole story. It is an inspiring read that I encourage you to check out :)! I hope that helps!
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Photos definitely reflect just one moment.  During a tour, I picked a boy to sponsor from the website.  I wasn't sure about him, because though young, he looked like an angry bully :)  However, he was the only one available at the center we would be visiting.  When I met him, he was a very calm child, and had the sweetest smile and best giggle -- a wonderful boy.

I believe some of it is also cultural and that some areas see the serious photos as better.  I had received a number of serious photos as thank yous for gifts, so one goal of visiting my girls was to see them smile!  When they showed me the records of one girl, I saw very similar versions of photos I had received, except in their copy my girl was smiling!  (Side note -- amazing accountability -- photos and itemized lists of everything purchased with my gifts, signed off by the guardians.)  I mentioned while there that I liked photos with smiles, and one really took the hint!  (The other's photos are as serious as ever, so I enjoy the ones I took myself!)

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