sponsor a child I think I just had my first parental moment.

You know the scene in any coming-of-age movie when a teenage girl is about to go to her first dance and she appears at the top of the stairs and her parent (usually a widowed father) stands there with tears in his eyes and a huge lump in his throat, totally entranced by his daughter’s newly uncovered beauty?

That’s how I feel – entranced by a new level of beauty.

While I was working in our child database I stumbled across a new picture of my sponsored girl – one I haven’t received in the mail yet – and I’m not exaggerating when I tell you my heart skipped a beat. Apparently sometime between three months ago and now, she grew up.

She’s so beautiful it brings tears to my eyes.

You see, I started sponsoring Karina when she was 6 years old. She was this sparkling, dimpled-faced little sweetheart who was so bursting with joy that she had to bite her lip to keep it contained.

Over the next seven years, I received several more photos, each one a slightly older version of the same adorable little girl.

A couple years ago I finally traveled to Honduras and met her. Our relationship went very quickly from theoretical to unforgettable. But even though she was now a teenager, Karina was still my sweet little girl.

Then I saw the new photo. And I realized I no longer sponsor a child.

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  1. jennifer
    Nov 18, 2009
    at 8:00 am

    She is a beautiful girl. And she seems so happy. I’m so glad you were able to meet her.

    I’m feeling exactly the same way. I started sponsoring Mateo when he was 6 years old as well. He just turned 12 in July and I saw a new picture of him online last week. I can’t believe how much he has grown! He is becoming a young man!

  2. Amy Wallace
    Nov 18, 2009
    at 8:17 am

    What a transformation. I know that when I get the updated pictures of some of my kids, I don’t even recongnize them. I guess I just always think that they’re going to be children.

    Look at me – I’m 20 and already talking like a sentimental parent :)

  3. Nov 18, 2009
    at 9:24 am

    AH!! How exciting! She is just beautiful! I pray for many more happy photos for you :)

  4. Nov 18, 2009
    at 9:54 am

    What a beautiful journey . . . Thanks for sharing.

  5. Michelle
    Nov 18, 2009
    at 10:29 am

    Wow. I went through this with my own child, who is now 16 and taller than me. For some reason I never thought about Ludis changing so much…. I’ve only sponsored her for a year and 1/2 and she hasn’t grown all that much. Thanks for the advance notice that my sponsored child is going to have a limited amount of time to be a child too…. I’ll have to send more childlike things to her while she can still appreciate them! :o)

    The pictures of Karina are wonderful. Thanks for showing us how she grew over the years into the beautiful woman she is now!

  6. Nov 18, 2009
    at 10:33 am

    She is beautiful! I love seeing the transformation. I see this in my own children that I sponsor. One I’ve sponsored for over 10 years and he’s now 19!!

    This was a great post….thanks!

  7. Mike Stephens
    Nov 18, 2009
    at 10:39 am

    congratulations on being able to stay faithful in sponsoring! I hope I have a similar story!

    Romans 4:20 (Amplified Bible)
    20No unbelief or distrust made him waver (doubtingly question) concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong and was empowered by faith as he gave praise and glory to God,

  8. Nov 18, 2009
    at 11:09 am

    Oh my gosh she is beautiful. I love reading stories of those faithfully sponsoring their children…and you get to see them grow up. God is so good.

  9. Nov 18, 2009
    at 12:46 pm

    Wow, Becky! This is so awesome. Great post!

  10. Laura
    Nov 18, 2009
    at 4:39 pm

    Becky, she’s so beautiful!!! I started crying when I read your letter/blog… I just signed up to be a sponser for a little girl and I can’t wait to see her grow!!!! LOL God Bless You and your “adopted” child!!!!

  11. Jenna
    Nov 18, 2009
    at 6:05 pm

    Wow! She did grow up!

  12. Chuck Guth
    Nov 18, 2009
    at 6:41 pm

    That is the neat thing about sponsorship….you can see the difference and watch the change. Thanks for posting and sharing….next blessing? LDP?

  13. Nov 18, 2009
    at 7:57 pm

    That is funny, that you wrote about that, because I just happened to be thinking about that very thing today. That’s the goal that we are striving to achieve to raise up mature well developed Christian adults.

    Did you get my email, Becky?

    Blessings,

    Kees

  14. Nov 19, 2009
    at 8:50 am

    Great stuff Becky. Thanks for sharing!

  15. Nov 19, 2009
    at 9:34 am

    “Beautiful” is certainly the right word! My mom recently sent me one of the bookmarks from the most recent updated photo of her “child.” Rina was 10, when Mom began sponsoring her…a very sober-looking child. In the first photo update she still looked serious; a smile was beginning in the next. This latest one knocked me back: She’s a lovely young lady of 16, now, with a sparkle in her eyes! Pure joy!

    These changed lives really are the gospel, aren’t they!

  16. Nov 19, 2009
    at 8:38 pm

    What a tremendous blessing when you can impact a person life so significantly…throughout the course of her life.

    God Bless,

    Brian
    http://www.hopetoholdonto.com

  17. Nov 21, 2009
    at 8:38 pm

    She is beautiful! Like so many others, we have experience the same thing several times. We recently celebrated the graduation of our first sponsored child Yonalda who we started sponsoring at age 6.

  18. Kenny LaRose
    Nov 24, 2009
    at 9:49 pm

    When I got into my less recent e-mail tonight I found that I had over-looked an invitation last month to contribute an extra $20 (above my monthly sponsorship) and for a moment I thought “oh, well. They’ll prob’ly take care of that.”
    But something didn’t feel good about it. Then I thought, “getting off the hook for twenty bucks won’t make me feel as good as giving it myself. This is a real, live boy we’re talking about. Maybe he’s thinking about me right now. Maybe he talked to someone today about me. Maybe he’s showing all his little friends my picture and the drawing I sent him.” I “arrested” the previous thought and got out my debit card and a couple minutes later I experienced again the joy of “better to give than to receive.”
    My little boy (sponsored child)gave me this feeling without even knowing it. There is no other feeling like this. He has given me the privilege of a life-time. In the quietness and semi-darkness of 10:38pm in Unity, Maine I am not “in the sight of men”. I cannot bask in the warmth and glow of recognition. This silent gift-giving is just one more treasure of the many that Jesus has given me since He quietly slipped into my life on the last night of Re-hab in 2005, and continues to pour Himself into every one of my days, and lets me feel the way I feel tonight. I am possibly the happiest man on earth at this moment, thanks to Benjamin and Jesus. And Compassion.

  19. Alan
    Dec 15, 2009
    at 8:34 pm

    I truly understand this feeling, I too sponsored Marlon at 8 years old and watch him grow until just this year. I did not keep up with when he was getting out of the program, and I booked my first trip to see him this coming April. However, I don’t know if I will be able to or not. It left a hole in my heart. I feel a little lost not being able to keep up with Marlon now. I just trust that the Lord is still watching over him.

  20. Dec 16, 2009
    at 9:53 am

    Alan, if you’ll call 800-336-7676, you can explore the possibility of staying in touch with Marlon. It may or may not work out and being in touch would not be as easy as it has been (no translation service, for one thing). But maybe there would be a way, if both you and Marlon want it.

  21. James
    Dec 16, 2009
    at 9:59 pm

    This is such a great post. Me and my girls started sponsoring a 5 year old last May, we look forward to watching her grow her picture was so sad we couldn’t resist trying to help put a little smile on her face. We got our first letter from her last month and it was so cool knowing that their really is a person that we are helping. She is only 5 but the pictures were great.

  22. Dec 17, 2009
    at 12:11 pm

    Hi, James,

    Yes, you’re making a huge difference in the life of that little girl. If she is 5 years old, she might not totally grasp the concept of sponsorship yet, but her family certainly does and you are a very important person in this little girl’s family. If you send her a photo, that photo will have a very important place in the home there. They probably really want to meet you.

    Blessings,

    Kees

  23. monica thompson
    Jan 19, 2010
    at 3:48 pm

    She has grown into such a beautiful young lady! I love getting new pictures of the 2 boys, Rex and Antony that we sponsor! I am hoping someday by God’s grace to be able to visit both of them!
    God Bless You,Monica

  24. May 6, 2011
    at 10:04 am

    Wow I will have so much fun when I start to sponsor younger kids. I love the little ones (in fact at the moment I have a baby sleeping on me). I sponsor older kids because at my age, finances are iffy, but I don’t want to back out of a sponsorship. one of my kids is 21 (just 3 months younger than I!!) and the other is 17. so they don’t look like kids at all :) I think it’s kinda cool that Tamirat and I are the same age. It’s humbling too, to see how much God has given me, I can directly compare my life to my peer halfway around the world.

  25. May 6, 2011
    at 3:13 pm

    and man, she is beautiful

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