Wrong child?

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I signed up a couple months ago and choose a sweet little boy with 3 siblings. I received my first letter from "him" today and in the letter he said that he has 2 sisters (supposed to have 3 siblings) and the translator said this "She thanks you for sponsoring her"
I choose this certain little boy for very specific and prayerful reasons. I wouldn't say no to helping this child if she were a girl but I am wondering if maybe I received a letter from a different child by accident?? Or could all of his information have been wrong? He certainly looked like a little boy in the photograph and all documentation says he has 3 siblings. I suppose one could have passed but not likely in 2 months... Please help.

Thank you!
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KariAnn

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Posted 3 years ago

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Teresa Dawn

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 I have found it VERY common for translators to get the he/she pronouns mixed up.  I always check those if I can understand the kids language.  Very often I get letters asking me about my "son" (I have only a daughter and I can see that my child wrote daughter but the translator said son)  or a child will ask for prayers for a grandma and the translator says grandpa.  It seems really really common.  And in some cases the child uses a word such as "child" or "Sibling" that the translator translates in one way or another (boy or girl) and picks the wrong one.  Even the he's and she's and his's and her's.  Is the name and ID# on the top of the letter the same as your child's?

As for the siblings thing, my kids siblings change letter to letter it seems with some of my kids lol!  Sometimes the info includes cousins living with the kids (quite common in 3rd world countries) or siblings move away to live with other relatives or go to school and the kids only include the ones with them at the time.  I have one girl who lives in a small close-knit tribe that considers everyone in the village a "relative" and since there is so many health issues to do alcohal in that village and every other letter she has a new caregiver die :( (Both parents, uncle, cousin, brother-in-law) and is always moving around, she always has different "siblings" listed.  Another child moved in with her grandma and her two brothers, then her mum had another baby with and moved in temporarily, then lost custody of thta baby, then moved out again and took one of the brothers... etc etc etc... 

That's not to say that your letter is the wrong one, just check the name ID at the top, but an example of why that happens sometimes even if it is correct :)
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Teresa Dawn

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(Also one more thing to note... you mentioned that the change probably didn't happen in "two months" but your child's info was not written on the day you sponsored your child.  It could have been up to two years old or more by the time you sponsored the child compared to when that information was recorded..  Maybe even more as I have noticed sometimes the "siblings" thing doesn't get updated when the other info does. 
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Lindsay

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One other thing, and my apologies if Teresa mentioned this already because I just skimmed the posts before drinking my coffee, if the information said "There are 3 siblings in the family", as my child information often reads, the 3rd sibling would be your child. Even if it's not worded exactly that way, it could be what was meant.
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Beth

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I also noticed, when I started sponsoring, that the # of children was confusing, just like Lindsay said. I assume it is just a cultural difference in the way it is worded.
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Emily

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Hi KariAnn! I'm sorry for the confusion in the first letter you received from Fahadou! I can imagine how it would have come as a shock to see some contradicting information and I'm so glad that you posted in this forum so that other sponsors could give you their experiences and so we can help you. I'm glad that Teresa was able to give you such great insight, as she's been a sponsor with us for a while and has many children. She's absolutely right in regards to her ideas on what may have happened both in your letter addressing your boy as 'she,' as well as the number of siblings not seeming completely accurate. 

Fahadou was registered into our program in May of 2014 and we update child information every two years. It's very possible that there's been changes in Fahadou's family since that time which is why the best way to stay up to date with your child's life is through writing letters back and forth :). When the field staff provide us with sibling information, they often include cousin's or any other children that are living in the house with that child. This makes me think that Fahadou mentioned only his direct siblings in his letter to you but that there might very well be a cousin or other family member living in the household that is under the age of 18. 

In some areas, the dialect that the children and translators speak, does not specify gender. Since there is often no pronoun for he or she, staff are sometimes not very particular on using the pronouns when they write or translate for their children. This can be confusing in some letters received from the field. I do apologize for this confusion but I know you also sponsored Fahadou very specifically and I understand that you want to be sure. It may have just been an error that we can ask the field staff to be careful of in the future when they translate letters for your boy. I'm happy to check up on this for you! If you're able, please email me a copy of the letter you received from Fahadou and I will verify these questionable concerns with our country office in Burkina Faso. You can email the front and back copy of the letter to socialmedia@compassion.com. :) 

Thank you so much for choosing to love and support this sweet boy! We are so excited to partner with you and watch the impact you make in his life!
(Edited)
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KariAnn

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Thank you Emily. I will send you a copy of the letter shortly. I also feel silly for asking, but could you help me with the pronunciation of Fahadou's name?
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Emily

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Awe, I wish that I could, KariAnn! We don't have a system that enunciates these children's names for us but we're hoping to have one that will someday because we're curious about many of their names too! :)

If I were to give it my best shot, I would pronounce his name: Fa - ha - doh OR Fa-ha-do.
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Jennifer

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There are ou's at the end of many BF children's names, including two I met. I'd go with that, but end it with "doo", like Scooby!
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Beth

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KariAnn, you will find that not everything translates perfectly. You just have to be understanding when you read the letters. But I'm sure both you and your sponsored child will love receiving each other's letters, despite the translation issues! I'm just thrilled that Compassion makes it possible to communicate with children who speak a different language!
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KariAnn

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Thank you everyone! I feel better about this.

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