Do you love your sponsored child? Really love your child?

We already know I’m an emotionally disconnected person, so help me out here.

Explain to me how you know that what you feel for your sponsored child is actually love.

Come on y’all. I want to know what love is. Sing it.

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  1. Sep 18, 2008
    at 7:05 am

    I would say the love I have for my sponsored children manifests itself in the joy I feel when I receive a letter, the sadness I feel that I cannot see them face to face regularly, the desire to do all I can to improve their opportunities in life. I am sure that if or when I meet them face to face, my love for them will grow even deeper. I consider them an extension of my family…they are my children too and I care about them deeply.

  2. Sep 18, 2008
    at 7:35 am

    But is that love? Or is it just joy and sadness, a desire and/or need.

    Is love the emotional equivalent of a rainbow? The accumulation of all the emotions you feel?

  3. Sep 18, 2008
    at 7:38 am

    I have a daughter who visits family for part of the summer and my heart aches when she is away because I miss her so. I often have the same feeling when I think about my sponsored child. I miss her even though I’ve never met her.

  4. Sep 18, 2008
    at 8:03 am

    Yes — I love my sponsored children. When I finally got to meet Josue in Haiti, we immediately hugged and started talking (with an interpreter) like we’d known each other all our lives (well, it was nearly all his life!). One time when I told him I loved him, he asked me how I could love someone so far away. I told him it was about the fact that I care about him, pray for him, and that Jesus had given me a true love for him as a person. I think only God can give us that kind of love for someone we’ve never met. I will never stop praying for him. Now I sponsor his little brother, although I haven’t met Enold yet. The love can be there even before you meet–and then, to me, it’s only confirmed when you meet.

  5. Cheryl J
    Sep 18, 2008
    at 8:57 am

    Ah, but don’t you realize that love is a conscious decision? It is seeking the highest good for the other person. Yes, it involves feelings, too. But love is not just feelings. When some disaster hits the country or area one of my sponsored kids is in, I scour the news several times a day – every day – to see if it appears they might be safe or not. I pray for them. I write them. I anxiously await news to find out that they are OK. Kenya is not a country that you get lots of letters from. I kept writing my little guy when all the unrest was happening from the election in December. I finally said, “I have to hear back from you so that I know you are safe.” I know that Compassion will call me if there is a problem, but I also know that could take awhile. I finally got that letter and my heart was at peace again for him.

    While I feel badly when I hear terrible things are happening to groups of people around the world, pieces of my heart are not affected like they are when one of my kids might be affected.

  6. Sep 18, 2008
    at 9:03 am

    I would say that the love I have for my sponsored children is a form of agape love…. (defined by Wikepedia as referring to the self-sacrificing love of God for humanity, which they were committed to reciprocating and practicing towards God and among one another).

    To quote another source… “Sacrificial love is not based on a feeling, but a determined act of the will, a joyful resolve to put the welfare of others above our own. But this type of love does not come naturally to humans.”

    So it’s more than a feeling…it’s an act of worship for me. It’s an extension of loving God.

  7. Sep 18, 2008
    at 9:08 am

    I do. I chose to love my sponsored kids when I first selected them, though there were no “feelings” yet for a child I knew nothing about. Feelings followed very quickly when I began getting letters and attaching a little personality to those pictures.

    How do I know?

    Love by choice: I know I love them because I will do anything that I possibly can for them, to help their situation, to make sure they feel loved, and special, to encourage them to be everything God created them to be.

    Love by feeling: I guess I can tell because my reactions toward my particular sponsored children are much stronger than toward just any child. I hear that a kid is getting teased at school, my reaction is, “Oh, that’s a shame.” My sponsored child writes and tells me he’s getting teased at school, I’m heartbroken on his behalf and wish I could jump in and rescue him, and set out to encourage him however I can to help him through it.

    I think about them, miss them between letters, rejoice when I see the “Message from your Sponsored Child” envelopes and tear into them immediately trying to guess which child it will be, cry when they ask me when I’m coming to see them because I know that right now, I can’t…

    Love is hard to define and describe to someone else. It’s just something you know.

    And I know I love my kids.

  8. Sep 18, 2008
    at 9:22 am

    I think it’s a little of what everyone else has said. It’s excitement when I see that envelope that says, “Message from your Sponsored Child inside.” Smiling when I see her new photo, and wishing her hair wasn’t in a ponytail so I could see it better. Caring about what happens to her when a hurricane rips through her country. Praying for her father, because she asks me to.

    All those things show that while my love may not outwardly be as strong as for my own children, I love her in her own special way…

  9. Sep 18, 2008
    at 9:29 am

    Love by choice and by feelings. Reminds me of a conversation I recently had.

    Love: a conscious decision to seek the highest good for the benefit of another. An act of worship.

    Me thinks you ladies very wise

  10. Misty
    Sep 18, 2008
    at 9:57 am

    I prayed for many years for a child, I wanted to be a mother so badly. It took me awhile to realized that God had a unique way of answering my prayers, He gave me kids, thru Compassion. I looked thru photos on the website and felt a pull on my heart and soul when I saw a photo of my son or daughter and knew that God was giving a small portion of their care to me, and that I had to treasure that, and them. God selected my children for me, all I have to do is listen to His voice and the love flows from that. I too get overjoyed with a letter from my child, and rip it open as I walk back to the apartment, I too scour the news on the web when a country (like Thailand right now) is in political or environmental crisis. When a child says something bad happend I want to fix it, when a child says they did well in school I feel as proud as any parent would. The love I have for my children was a gift from God.

    God bless

  11. Sep 18, 2008
    at 10:30 am

    Just want to add something to my previous posts…the love I have for my sponsored children is irrational to me. God has placed this intense feeling (for lack of a better word) in me when it comes to these children. I guess it’s compassion… I’m sure not all sponsors experience it, but I sure do. My sponsored kids are on my mind almost constantly…

    • Helen ONeal
      Sep 24, 2011
      at 9:43 am

      wow, Jill–your paragraph here mirrors how i feel and think about my sponsored children…almost exactly!

  12. Sep 18, 2008
    at 3:11 pm

    I found out how attached I am when violence broke out in Kenya last December. I prayed for my little Veronica constantly and checked the site to see if her center was listed as high risk. It never was, but that didn’t relieve my fear. The relief came when I received a letter from her letting me know she was alright. I loooove that little girl!

  13. Sep 18, 2008
    at 3:17 pm

    I know not all sponsors love their sponsored kids, at least not as previous commenters have described their love, and not as I love mine. When I hear sponsors say they just don’t have time to write letters or send little gifts, and they don’t seem concerned about it, I’m pretty sure they took on a financial commitment, only. They’re doing a good thing by providing financial support, but they aren’t providing for the child’s emotional and spiritual needs.

    I have even had a man walk away from the table after arguing with his wife that he didn’t want any responsibility beyond sending money; nor would he allow his wife to handle the correspondence. If he was going to sponsor a child, it was his “thing.”

    On my last sponsor tour, I chatted over breakfast, near the end of the week, with a retired couple. They had never been very regular about writing, because they weren’t getting much satisfaction from the child’s letters. But now that they had met her, they thought they might be interested in writing a little more often.

    I love my girls. I’m thrilled to know I’ll be seeing two of them in the next 3 weeks (!), and I ache to realize that I may never be able to meet the others, in this life. Thank God that they know and love Jesus! We will meet, one day.

  14. Ken M.
    Sep 18, 2008
    at 3:42 pm

    I love my sponsored children. How do I know? I don’t refer to them as the children I sponsor. They’re my children. Even though I didn’t birth them or father them I still assist with the care of them through my sponsorship so they’re my children, too.

    All of them are in my prayers and my thoughts. I still pray for them when they are taken off the sponsorship list. I have lost 2 kids due to the parents taking them off the sponsorship list and each time it felt like a hole was in my heart, especially when I lost my 2nd one this summer.

    When I see the tan colored envelope with the label, “Message from your sponsored child”, I know that my face lights up and I can’t wait to open it. During my correspondence I ask God to help me say the right words that will encourage them and leave them with a positive feeling about themselves. With each letter they become more real to me. I pray that God opens the door to allow me to see them face to face.

    I love my sponsored children.

    • Helen ONeal
      Sep 24, 2011
      at 9:46 am

      Great post…and DITTO here!

  15. Sep 19, 2008
    at 9:27 am

    Agape love is a verb, not a salutation and not an emotion. It’s the kind of love that enables a Christian to bring Hitler a cup of coffee. Emotional love does not have the capcity to do that. It’s the kind of love that enabled Christ to say, “Forgive them…they don’t know what they are doing.”

  16. mindy kendall
    Sep 20, 2008
    at 8:22 pm

    I, too, scour the country headlines daily, and sometimes hourly, of my children. They are the children of my heart. when I know they are in the middle of a hurricane, i pray non-stop for their safety. i pray for them to know God and to desire to serve Him. I love my letters from them, each child has his/her own scrapbook with letters and photos. when my child from haiti left the project, i wrote one last letter to her and told her i would pray for her for the rest of my life. she is still a child of my heart. Once a child has stolen your heart, they are yours as much as your own birth children. Fransisco’s mother kept crying and hugging me and thanking me for loving her son.
    the tears keep flowing with love for these precious little ones.

  17. Sarah
    Sep 22, 2008
    at 5:24 am

    I agree with Compassion Dave. Love is a verb. :)

  18. Jin
    Sep 24, 2008
    at 12:35 am

    Love has many faces, I believe. Sometimes it becomes a feeling of sadness, sometimes happiness, sometimes worries and the like. These are those feelings i have while i’m praying or writing for my sponsored child.

  19. Mara K
    Sep 24, 2008
    at 6:09 pm

    Cheryl J said it just right, love is a “conscious decision” and beyond that, the kind of love we can have for our children is a gift from God.

    I prayed for God to give me a heart for the poor and needy. I knew he had answered my prayer when I was genuinely drawn to the ministries and children I support.

    As I develop a relationship with them through letter writing, praying, thinking, dwelling, sharing, etc, my love for them grows more and more.

    Love truly is a verb…

    And true love, as a decision, doesn’t wait for what one gets but moves forward, always moves toward the other. Jesus pursued us and in turn, we should pursue those little ones that desperately need to know that the Love of Christ is more than just words, it is manifested through his faithful children giving not only money but giving themselves.

  20. Feb 9, 2010
    at 8:39 pm

    This Comment is late for this blog. The Haiti earthquake is going on a month past. I have wanted to sponsor a child for several years now, but did not take any initiative. I initially felt a little callous about Haiti, I asked the Lord to forgive me, and give me true love for the poorest lost.
    At the same time I am learning about the Trinity, and that everything God does is an outworking of that eternal Love between Father Son and Holy Spirit. Now 1 Corinthians 13 begins to take on new meaning.

    I heard a representative from Compassion on Moody radio calling out for help for Haiti. I was moved, came to the website to make a donation. While here, I looked at the children that need sponsors. Over a couple hours I decided we need to help a child from Haiti. I have 2 little granddaughters sleeping safely in the next room. (It happens EVERY TIME: I’m tearing up thinking about it!) I need to look for a girl in Haiti 4 or 5 years old.
    Oops! Sponsor children are not available yet because they don’t yet know who survives and where they are!
    So now I pray, many times a day. At work, someone may catch me tear up. I don’t know who she is yet. I know she’s alive, because the Lord has chosen her for us. I pray that she doesn’t go to sleep hungry. I pray that she has someplace dry and safe to sleep tonight. And I pray she will be safe tomorrow and be fed. I pray for the staff who will locate her and register her, and for her parent(s).

    You may say this is the germinating seed of love. I think it’s a miracle. I think it’s the Love of God refracting through me to be shed abroad in the world. It’s more than a decision, because it’s a miracle. My 50 year old heart was waxing cold (“why keep me here another 50 years Lord?”).
    Suddenly I am warm all over. I want to embrace my wife and daughter and grandchildren to assure them that they are loved.
    It won’t be about doing what I “ought” to do any more. If the Love of God is shed abroad in my heart I will love to do what He loves.
    This, for now, is my deep conviction, and my prayer.

    It is my prayer for All my family, our church all of the staff at Compassion, and church and staff in Haiti, that we all love our children with the Love of Jesus, who knew hunger, homelessness, and rejection for us.
    Lord Jesus, Please keep our little girl safe and comfortable tonight.

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