It’s Your Birthday, and I’ll Write If I Want To

Time to celebrate! It’s been a year that we’ve been sharing monthly letter-writing ideas, printable items, and crafts to send to your sponsored child on the Second Friday Letter Writing Club board. I’m excited about the ideas that many of you have been pinning for us, great ideas that can be mailed to our sponsored children around the world.

Letter Writing It's Your Birthday
On that celebratory note, our theme this month is birthdays! For birthdays in our family, we usually decorate the house a bit and make special meals for the birthday person. But I wonder what kinds of things my sponsored children do on their special days? And then I see a list like this one:

  • Clothes
  • Shoes
  • Food
  • Underwear
  • Shampoo
  • Animals
  • School supplies
  • Mattress

Many people may not believe that this list represents items that many of our sponsored children will purchase with any birthday money they receive as gifts from their sponsors. Sure is humbling, isn’t it?

Over the next year, let’s make an effort to send a special mailing to our sponsored children for their birthdays.

In order for your birthday letter to arrive in time for your sponsored child’s birthday, you should mail the items approximately 2-3 months in advance.

I know there are birthday card tutorials and many other printable birthday items on Pinterest. Will you help us find a few this month?

Leave a comment below with your Pinterest profile link if you want to join us in finding birthday-related pins we can share with our sponsored children.

39 Comments |Add a comment

  1. J.J. March 9, 2016

    How do I send a letter to my child? I just Started to sponsor her today and I would love to write to her.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan March 10, 2016

      Welcome to the Compassion family, J.J! We are so excited for you to begin building a relationship with your child and encouraged that you’re so eager to send her loving letters of encouragement and hope :). There are a couple of ways you can write to her!

      In about 15 days, you’ll receive a welcome packet from us with stationary to write to your kiddo. You can use this to send a letter to her. It will have instructions on your sponsorship and how to get started. However, I definitely understand wanting to write her immediately! So you can also use your own stationary to write her a letter. Please write your name, sponsor number, and child ID number on your letter so that we can send it to the right child and give you credit for the letter on your account. Please send your letter to the following address:

      Compassion International
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997

      This is the full address and no street address is necessary.

      You can also write a letter using our online writing tool. You do this by creating a My Account on http://www.compassion.com and selecting ‘Write My Child’ on the left side of the page. We also have a mobile app that you can write to your child right from the phone, wherever you are!

      For both of these options, you need a sponsor number. Because you just began sponsoring your child today, you don’t yet have a sponsor number. When we create an account for you and add your child to your account, we’ll have a sponsor number we can provide you with! Did you sponsor a child online or at an event? It can take a few days to process an online sponsorship or up to four weeks for a sponsorship from an event. If it was online, I would encourage you to email us at socialmedia@compassion.com next week and we can provide you with your sponsor number so that you can get started!

  2. Peggy March 5, 2016

    Will I have to wait 6 months to get a letter from her?

    1. Sarah
      Sarah March 8, 2016

      Peggy, it does currently take 2-3 months for your letters and gifts to be delivered to your child and 2-3 months for her reply letter to arrive in your mailbox. That being said, it may be up to six months from the time you write a letter before you hear back from her. We know how hard it can be to develop a relationship with a child when there is such a long amount of time between letters. We are currently working on improving the letter experience for sponsors and children.

  3. Peggy March 5, 2016

    I just sponsored a little girl in Bolivia on 2-17-16. When will she fimd out she has a new sponsor? She lost her last sponsor in October 2015. Will I have to wait 6 months to get a letter from here?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan March 7, 2016

      Hi Peggy! Thank you so much for choosing to change the story for sweet Jackelin! I’m so excited that the wait is over for her and she now has you as a sponsor to love and encourage her! We appreciate your heart to see her released from poverty and chase after the dreams God’s put in her heart :).

      Jackelin finds out that you’re her sponsor within the first month of you beginning your support. She likely already knows or will know here in the next week or so! You will actually receive an introduction letter from her within the first four months of sponsorship. But I would encourage you to write right away because I know she’ll be thrilled to hear from you and get to know you!

      1. Peggy McClara March 8, 2016

        A customer service lady told me that Compassion takes 10% from money that I send my child, so if I want the child to have $20 I need to send $22.00. I read one of the blog responses from Compassion written two years ago saying money is not taken from the child’s gift. Please clarify.

        1. Sarah
          Sarah March 8, 2016

          Hi Peggy! I am so sorry for the confusion about sending monetary gifts to your child. Compassion used to send 100% of the gift to the child, but we did begin using 10% of monetary gifts for administration and delivery costs beginning in the summer of 2015. No matter what amount you send, you are still blessing your child in a tangible way with your gift :).

          1. Peggy March 10, 2016

            Please add on the website in the “Additional Giving”, “Give a Gift FAQ” and “Make a Payment” options that 10% of the gift is taken out of the child’s gift for administration purposes. I wanted my child to get $20 and now she will only get $18. This is information we need to have on the website for those of us who didn’t know at the time and had to find out after the fact. When you say that a minimum gift to a child is $10, they are only getting $9.00. It isn’t fair to them. Yes, they get some money, but not the amount the sponsor wants to give. Why don’t you just increase the $38 monthly sponsorship amount to $40 a month for everyone and quit taking from the child’s gifts? I think that will be much more convenient and easier for us all and you still get the extra money for the administration purposes you need to get the money to the children.

            1. Sarah
              Sarah March 11, 2016

              Peggy, the notice is written on the “Additional Giving” page. I am so sorry for the disappointment we caused you with sending your child that gift. Although she doesn’t receive the full $20, your gift is still blessing her in a tangible way. In the past, Compassion was able to absorb the extra costs that delivering gifts accumulated. Over time; however, it began impacting the overall support available for each individual child in our program. With this change, your child will still be abundantly blessed by your thoughtfulness while each individual child in our program continues to receive the same life changing support that they have for over 60 years. We chose to pull 10% from the gifts instead of raising sponsorship rates because not every sponsor gives gifts to their child.

  4. Rachel May 18, 2015

    What kinds of gifts can we send? I understand sending money is great but my kids and I would enjoy sending coloring books, crayons, small books, maybe a small stuffed animal and such.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan May 18, 2015

      Hi Rachel! We love when our sponsors get creative with the letters they send to their children. Your family is making a huge difference in the life of your child and letters are so important!

      You’re certainly welcome to send pages from coloring books and excerpts from books that you and your children think your child would enjoy! Although books can be difficult to send, it is possible if done correctly. Everything we send must be paper, 8 1/2″ by 11″ and no more than 1/4″ thick. Also, these items cannot look valuable or there will be a high risk of theft or high tariffs placed on those items. It could also hold up a shipment of letters. This is why, for most thicker covers we will tear the covers off of these books to help get them through the mail safely and efficiently. As long as your books match these slim guidelines and you tear the cover off before mailing it to us, we will be able to send them. I would encourage you to check out our Pinterest page for even more fun ideas!

      In regards to sending larger items, although we certainly understand your heart in wanting to send tangible gifts to your kiddo such as a stuffed animal or crayons, care packages cannot be sent. Regrettably, the cost of shipping often exceeds the value of the gift you want to send. Because Compassion is committed to stewardship and integrity, we want to be able to ensure everything you send, reaches your child and we cannot do that with large items because of the risk of loss or theft through customs. Another reason is that the time that it took for our staff to deliver the package to your child and that delivery services are rarely operational as they are in the U.S. I want to encourage you however, that if you send coloring pages to your child, the project she attends has crayons and other coloring items that she can use to enjoy what you send :). I’m sure you will also be receiving several drawings from her as well in her letters to you as our kids love to draw!

  5. Joanmarie Schweizerhof January 13, 2015

    I have been writing my sponsored child through the CI website. My child’s birthday is in April so I sent a monetary gift and note for his birthday and wrote him a long letter with photos today. Under “It’s your birthday and I’ll write if I want to” you mention there are things you can print and send to your child. How can I obtain these things if I do not belong to Pinterest and how can I send them to my child through CI? I would like to be able to send him little things more often if possible or at least something more for his birthday.

    1. Susan Sayler January 13, 2015

      Hi Joanmarie! Many of the pins that sponsors have shared on our Second Friday Board are simply print out items that they found by searching the internet. You might try searching for things like free coloring pages or activities for kids. Sometimes I just print some out and send the paper in with a card or letter. 🙂

  6. Glenn Christie January 12, 2015

    Hi Susan—- I have a bad habit of forgetting to get Christmas cards or any holiday cards in time to get them to my little girls in time and of course—- the stores don’t have them available 2 to 3 months ahead of the holiday. What do most sponsors do in this case? I’m not computer savvy so I can’t make them on the computer. Any ideas? Glenn

    1. Susan Sayler January 13, 2015

      Hi Glenn! Many sponsors will purchase Christmas cards after Christmas. That way, they can purchase cards on sale and they will have them on hand for next year’s Christmas cards to their sponsored children.

  7. Linda September 18, 2014

    Is it helpful to have my letter translated by a friend before I send it to my sponsored child? Or, is it preferred that the translation takes place through CI?

    1. Susan Sayler September 18, 2014

      Hi Linda! You are more than welcome to translate or have a friend translate your letter for you. However, we will have a translator at our country office look over the letter to make sure that it makes sense in the local dialect before sending it on to your child.

  8. Tammy September 3, 2014

    Could you tell me the address we should be sending cards, letters, etc.? It would be nice if it was more readily available. I have searched for it and haven’t had any luck. Thank you!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan
      Emily Vanhoutan September 4, 2014

      Hi Tammy! I am so sorry if you were having a difficult time finding our address! I so appreciate you wanting to send your child sweet cards and letters! You can send handwritten letters to the following address:

      Compassion International
      [no street address necessary]
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004

      Please make sure to write your child’s name, reference number, your name, and sponsor number on anything you send so that we can ensure it is processed correctly. For future reference, you may find our contact information on our website!

  9. Reva Gray August 3, 2014

    some posts say that the children receive the letters and online giving within 6 weeks. I am wondering if my child will get her Sept. birthday money in time. i sent it in June to India via online. Is there different timing for different countries? thanks

    1. Susan Sayler August 4, 2014

      Hi Reva! It takes about two to three months for monetary gifts and letters to be sent. Online letters are printed out in our USA office and sent with other physical letters. This means that the turn around time is roughly the same for online letters as it is for physical letters. While the timing is not that different between countries per say, the timing differs depending on how far the student center is from the country office and how remote it is. It sounds like your child will receive her birthday money in time for her birthday! 🙂 Do you mind sharing where did you read that the letters and online giving will be received within six weeks so that we can correct this? Thank you!

  10. Debbie Gilham July 24, 2014

    How will I know if my child got his birthday card and money?

    1. Susan Sayler July 28, 2014

      Hi Debbie! You will receive a thank you letter from your child for the card and money within six months of when they are sent.

  11. Kathye Shy July 10, 2014

    Sorry, I forgot to check that I would like to receive your follow up comments via email.

    1. Susan Sayler July 11, 2014

      Kathye, are you wanting to subscribe to the Compassion blog or only receive followup comments from this post? To subscribe to our blog, please scroll up to the top of the screen, and type your email address into the “Subscribe” box in the upper right hand corner.

  12. Tracy July 2, 2014

    I just sent my child a letter online. It was a birthdy letter and I also opted to send some money for his birthday online. His birthday isin a month. Because I sent it online- will he get it sooner? Maybe even by his birthday?

    1. Susan Sayler July 3, 2014

      Hi Tracy! Thank you for thinking of your sponsored child! I know that he will be so blessed by this letter and gift whenever he receives it! Regrettably, it takes two to three months for letters and gifts to be sent even if the transaction is done online. We print out online letters and send them in the mail. We also wire gifts all together at the end of each month to be more economical and make sure one-hundred percent goes towards your child. I’m so sorry he won’t get it on time, but as I mentioned I know that he will really appreciate that you though of him and were wanting to bless him in such a tangible way.

  13. Patty May 26, 2014

    My sponsored child’s birthday is coming up in a month. I would love to let her know how much I care about her even though we have never met. what can i do to to show her how special she is?

    1. Yvonne Reynolds May 28, 2014

      Patty, you are already showing her that you care about her and think she is special because you are her sponsor. That means the world to her! But here are a couple of things you can do: 1. send a monetary gift. The Compassion staff will take her shopping, you will be surprised what these kids purchase with their birthday money. 2. send her a special birthday letter, telling her how special she is to you and to God. 3. continue to pray for her to know that God believes she is special.

      1. Mark July 1, 2014

        You might also consider sending a few special paper items in your birthday letter, such as picture post cards, coloring pages, photos, etc.

        And I agree about the monetary gift – it’s astonishing how much can be bought with even a modest gift.

  14. Rachel May 16, 2014

    I’m sponsoring a 15 year old boy whose birthday is in August. This is my first birthday with compassion. Any ideas on what would be special to do?

    1. Susan Sayler May 16, 2014

      Hi Rachel! That’s so exciting! I usually get a birthday card at the store (or make one! 🙂 ) and I write a short note to my child. In the note, I like to wish them a happy birthday and maybe comment on how I felt when I got to be their age or something I was doing at their age. This is a great opportunity to share a testimony or advice for them as they grow older. Maybe enclose some stickers or a bible verse card with the greeting card. Then I like to send a monetary gift. You can send anywhere between $10 and $100 but we recommend sending $20 for birthdays.

      1. Mike Short June 9, 2014

        I’m new sponsor and my little girl’s birthday is in August. How to you determine the timing for mailing a card so that it arrives on time?

        1. Susan Sayler June 10, 2014

          Hi Mike! It’s a good idea to send a card two to three months prior to your child’s birthday to ensure arrival in time. Maybe send one this month in June to get it there for an August birthday.

  15. Leslee May 13, 2014

    I wish I had found our boy in time to get him something to him for his birthday. We sponsored a little girl, Emily, through church and I was on here today looking around. I decided to look at the children and found and fell in love with Edgar. His birthday is June 1. I did write him on the online form because I am too anxious to wait for our packet but I am saddened to know he won’t get it until after his birthday. He waited 497 days for a sponsor. What an amazing gift it would have been to know God found his sponsor in time for his big day 🙂

    1. Yvonne Reynolds May 15, 2014

      Leslee, what a precious gift you are giving to Edgar! It may take a bit for him to receive his first letter from you, but he will probably be notified pretty quickly that he has a new sponsor! Maybe even before his June 1st birthday!

  16. Bonnie Wilson May 8, 2014

    I wrote to our sponsored daughter in Uganda of how we would have a cake for her and a special meal for her if she were here to celebrate her birthday. She wrote me back and said that “only rich people celebrate birthdays in her world”.

    1. Yvonne Reynolds May 13, 2014

      Yes, Bonnie. It sure is humbling when we hear things like this from our sponsored children.

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