You want to sponsor a child, but you don’t know where to begin.
“Exactly how does one go about choosing a child?”
It is a daunting prospect when you consider the impact your sponsorship will have on the child and the child’s family. How do you choose whom to help and whom someone else must help?
Here are 10 suggestions:
1. Choose by country.
Is there a particular location you are interested in? Is God repeatedly drawing your heart to a certain region? If so, you may want to choose a child by country. Compassion works in 26 countries around the world. Warning: Whichever country you choose, you will come to care for it deeply. Drought in Ethiopia, hurricanes in Haiti, flooding in Bangladesh — these will no longer be just headlines in a newspaper for you. Your heart will be tied to that part of the world.
2. Choose a child who has been waiting the longest.
There are children who have been waiting patiently for months, hoping and praying that the Lord will bring them a sponsor. Are you the answer to their prayers? Go to our website and look for photos with a red heart. These children have been waiting 6 months or longer for a sponsor.
3. Consider a child who is mentally or physically challenged.
Do you have a heart for children living with a medical condition? Perhaps it is a population you work with. Consider taking your ministry global and sponsor a child who is mentally or physically challenged.
Your sponsorship will help that child access treatment and support. Your letters and prayers will bring him or her hope. Go to the Sponsor a Child section on the website and click on Advanced Search to locate one of these children.
4. Let your kids pick.
When many of us talk about sponsorship, one of the things we point out is how it has transformed the lives of our kids. Our kids have learned caring, sharing and empathy. They’ve learned to write letters. Sponsorship has piqued their interest in the world around them.
Give your children ownership in the sponsorship process. Let them choose. The thought and care they put into that decision just may surprise you.
5. Talk to a Compassion Advocate.
Roughly 2,500 sponsors have taken their commitment to Compassion to the next level and become Advocates. Advocates plan and assist at events where they share Compassion and encourage people to sponsor.
Advocates have access to child packets and they may know of a child whose packet has repeatedly not been chosen. They are praying for sponsors for these children.
Talk to an Advocate and see if they have a child on their prayer list. There are many Compassion Advocates who post on this blog. Seek them out. Or call us and ask for an Advocate in your area.
6. Find a child who shares your birthday.
My neighbor kids come over at least once a week and ask me to look up the Compassion kids who are born on their birthdays. It’s a special link they have to a person in another part of the world. Kids think it’s cool to share a birthday — your Compassion kid will, too. Use the Advanced Search function to search by birth date.
7. Choose by age.
Are you interested in corresponding with an older child? Perhaps you want someone who is close in age to one of your own kids.
Compassion allows you to search by age.
Use the Advanced Search function or the age range drop-down arrow on the Sponsor a Child page.
8. Browse the website.
Compassion has hundreds of photos of waiting children loaded onto our website. Many people come to the website simply to look around and learn about the program.
Then they see that one particular child whom they just can’t forget. A sponsor is born. Look around a bit. You may find a child who grabs your heart.
9. Let Compassion decide.
If you are ready to sponsor but prefer not to choose, Compassion will select a child for you.
Compassion’s toll free number is (800) 336-7676. A customer care representative is there and ready to help. Or go to the website and choose the “Select a Child for Me” option.
10. Pray, pray and pray some more.
Isn’t it ultimately God who leads us down the right path? Pray for guidance. Pray that God will bring you to that one child whom you are perfectly and ideally able to love, nurture and encourage.
My hope is that one day you will meet your sponsored child. And when you do, perhaps he or she will ask,
“Why did you choose me?”
Have you written a blog about how your Compassion kids came into your life? Please link it here and share your experience with others.
We originally published this post on May 17, 2011.