Letter-writing-ideas

“…And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us some e-mail.”
– a 4-year-old girl reciting the Lord’s Prayer

Perhaps this little girl didn’t get it quite right, but she certainly illustrates the point I want to share with you today. Our sponsored kids want to hear from us! They need our letters, our cards, our photos and, yes, even our e-mail.

One-on-one sponsorship is set up to give each of us the opportunity to shepherd and encourage the children of our world. We need to be there for our kids. We parents know how quickly our children grow up. Well, your sponsored kids grow up just as fast! Don’t waste the opportunity to connect with them — to know them.

Now here is a confession. I have been a sponsor for over two years — two years of very regular, very wonderful correspondence — but I need some help! I need some ideas on how to keep my correspondence fresh, and educational and exciting.

So readers in blogland — sponsors, advocates, former Compassion kids, Compassion staff — please share with me some creative things you’ve done, or seen done, for the children. Is there anything that really stands out as special or unique?

Sponsors, is there something you sent that you felt really great about? Is there something a child received that really wowed them?

Please share…

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  1. Sarah C
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 4:59 am

    I almost always send stickers and pictures with my letters. My child John in Tanzania once decorated his response letter with the stickers I sent him. I was really amazed at his heart!

  2. Susan Paine
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 5:08 am

    My daughter and I sent Valentine letters to our children briefly explaining how Valentine’s Day is celebrated in America. We included several children’s Valentine cards for them to give to their friends as a way to share God’s love as well as their own love for their friends.

    • Danielle
      Oct 22, 2013
      at 8:59 pm

      What a great idea!

  3. Kalaya
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 5:55 am

    I’ve always sent lots of photos to my children and discussed what is going on with them and who is in the photo. The children really seem to enjoy seeing photos of my children grow up through the years, too.
    Although I think that just the fact that the children hear from us, no matter what we send, is the most important. I have a little girl in India whose project worker once wrote “Every time she receives your letter she is very happy and excited and sometimes doesn’t do her homework because of the letter.”
    I don’t think we can underestimate how much our letters mean to our children.

  4. Feb 6, 2009
    at 6:02 am

    Hi,
    We start our letters with a greeting, followed by a numbered list of questions for Ana (in Mexico) to answer. We then do a short 1-2 paragraphs updating her on our life, and these paragraphs include answers to her questions. We then end our letters with a numbered list of prayer requests. Both the questions and prayers lists don’t go beyond 5 each at this point. This method has really helped us to build the strong communication and relationship with Ana.

    Ana is also very good about telling us what she is able to do with the money we send, and we appreciate that very much!
    We tell her about our career as musicians and how we are part of the Compassion artist network. In our last letter, we told her how our first sponsor at our events wanted to sponsor a child in a Spanish-speaking country, because then her and her child could share that commonality. We’ll see what Ana thinks of that. :-)

    We accepted a challenge from someone to write once a month, and that is our goal for this year.
    Question: This may sound like a silly question, but is Valentine’s Day an international holiday?
    As we’ve accepted this once-a-month letter writing challenge, we look forward to seeing what everyone else does to keep their communication with the beloved child they sponsor fresh and growing!

  5. Feb 6, 2009
    at 6:17 am

    I usually enclose something extra whenever I send a “snail-mail” letter. Lately I’ve taken to sending emails through the website, but when my nephew was born I wanted to send a photo, so I switched back to paper letters, at least for the time being. :)

    I’ve heard about being able to send photographs as an attachment (I think someone mentioned it in a comment like this…) but I’m not sure about the quality of the print when it’s delivered to the children, or the timing–I wanted to make sure that the picture arrives with the letter in which I tell about it.

    Something I’ve heard someone else do: enclosing several postcards/sticker sheets/bookmarks/etc and asking the child to share them with children who don’t get letters from their sponsors (or at least those who didn’t get a little “happy” with their letter).

  6. Sarah H.
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 7:59 am

    I just received a letter from my sponsored child, Goodness, who is 6. She said in her letter that she really like the waterproof bandaids that I sent her. I know how you feel because I feel like I am running out of ideas.

  7. Lindy
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 8:37 am

    Wow, Sarah! I like that band aid idea! What a useful little gift! I love gardening, so I took close up photos of some of the flowers in my garden and then glued them on cardstock cards I’d made, with a note inside. Our children seemed to enjoy these.

  8. Joyce
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 8:41 am

    Go to http://www.biblegateway.com/, which is a searchable online Bible in 50 languages. You can look up a verse and get the translation into your child’s language. Then use your imagination and creative talents. You can design a card or bookmark, etc. If you are a stamper or scrapbooker, the possibilities are endless. I made a scripture memory card with Nahum 1:7 in Haitian Creole (Kreyol) embossed in gold on a piece of colored card stock. For a family gift, I stamped and colored a tropical beach scene, then underneath, wrote my child’s surname and a Kreyol blessing. You can use calligraphy or print the verse from your computer in a special font for added effect.
    I am waiting to hear how my boy and his family liked these items. I hope they will be treasured keepsakes.

  9. Feb 6, 2009
    at 9:02 am

    I try and write at least twice a month to each of our sponsored children: Joan in Uganda & Musee in Kenya.

    I send coloring pages, stickers, & photos: of our family, where we live, animals in our yard, etc. I always ask questions to get their minds thinking…about animals, different seasons where they live, what they’re doing in school, etc.

    I look forward to hearing more ideas!

    By the way Sarah- I LOVE the bandaid idea!

  10. Joyce
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 9:24 am

    Another idea: send newspaper or magazine articles you find which portray your child’s country in a good light. I found a full-page color photo of a Port-au-Prince church packed, standing room only, with joyous worshippers, in a Christian magazine. This was at a time when all the news from Haiti seemed to be about corruption, violence, and hurricane disaster. I sent the photo to my sponsored child and wrote how happy it made me to see that God has many worshippers there, and how He surely hears their prayers. My 16-year-old boy was delighted and wrote back, “I always tell my friends how much you love me.”
    I think it is a great morale booster for him to know that his tiny country is noticed by the outside world for something other than poverty and need.
    If you know about a successful artist, musician, athlete, or other renowned person from your child’s country, write to him/her about that person’s accomplishments. The only caveat I keep in mind is not to focus on people who have found success or fame by leaving their country. In fact, I pray that my sponsored children will find a successful future where they are. I never mention this, but I pray that no one in their families will take the desperate, dangerous route of trying to emigrate illegally.

  11. Barbara M.
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 10:11 am

    It is encouraging to read about these ideas. I correspond with several children and often find myself wondering what to say or send that I haven’t done before. Family pictures and stories seem to please the most. I try to let them know that they are truly a part of our family. Sending pages out of a book of their interest works well as the whole book can eventually reach them. I appreciated Joyce’s information about the Bible in other languages. Are they any other sites that have languages translated like this?

    • Maria R
      Jun 10, 2013
      at 9:48 pm

      Google translate online will translate for you, even the more polite expression/grammar if you capitalize the pronouns. I don’t know if this automatic computer translation is 100 % accurate though, and that could lead to awkwardness.

      • Ann Marie
        Jan 25, 2014
        at 7:04 pm

        As a Spanish teacher, I can tell you that Google Translate isn’t 100% accurate, but most of the time it’ll give an idea of what you’re talking about. The translators that Compassion has seem to do a fairly decent job.

  12. Steve Williams
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 10:41 am

    Great question. My latest part of promoting Compassion in our church has been encouraging sponsors to write more letters. I’ll be watching the responses here for things to suggest.
    I was able to give my child something when I visited him that was a really big hit. You could do the same with your letters. I made copies of all of the pictures I had received from him over the years and scrap-booked them next to pictures of myself at the same age. It helped me show and write about the things we have in common. He is 18 now and was amazed to see himself as a youngster. The children love to see pictures of themselves, and I doubt they have many.
    I also have my young daughters write a note and draw a picture in the letters.

  13. Sara Benson
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 11:50 am

    I usually write to my kids through snail mail because I like to include little things (The only time I use email is when it has been a little too long since my last letter and I want the letter to get there quicker)

    I like to include, postcards, pictures, stickers, flashcards, and any flat paper thing I can find. I have found some sticker books and coloring books at the dollar store that are skinny enough to send (1/8 in or less). I have also made bookmarks with pressed leaves.

    One idea I heard was to find one of those cards that you can record your voice into and then record a message/song for your child. If you do this I would suggest writing the message out as well so that it can be translated.

    For one of my girls who was accepted into the LDP, I made a scrapbook out of cardstock (not bound). Each page had a letter from and pictures of my family members who were now helping me to sponsor her. We also put pictures of the area where we live. We got a letter back form her thanking us and telling us how excited she was to get it. She said that the other kids all said that she was so lucky. She told them that she was not lucky, but blessed.

    Another Idea if you use snail mail is to go online to http://www.compassion.com/account/FR421_Letterform.pdf and download the compassion form letter. I print out forms on bright colored and patterned papers and then write my letters on those forms. I know that you can also use your own stationary if you include your name and sponsor number as well as your child’s.

    For me one of my favorite kinds of letters to receive are ones that tell me all about the child’s family and their activities. So I like to tell my kids about my typical day and my activities. When we went to visit my family out of state, I told my kids all about that vacation and made a scrapbook page out of an 8.5/11 piece of card stock. I included pictures of us and also a small printout of a US map with my state and the state where we went in different colors so that they could see where we went.

    I don’t try to make the letters really complicated or long. For starters that makes the job tougher for the translators, and secondly I would rather send short letters more frequently than sending long letters only occasionally. In each letter I like to tell them a little about what is going on with me, ask some questions about their life and remind them that I am praying for them and that I love them.

  14. Feb 6, 2009
    at 12:54 pm

    For my younger girls whose info says they like playing with dolls, I’m sending a picture of myself at that age with my doll as well as some stories about the doll. I’ll also ask what her dolls name is.

    I also like to include Pencil Fun books, small books that you color with a pencil to reveal the rest of the Bible story. My kids really like those.

    I almost always write about the Bible story I told my preschoolers that Sunday.

    I also try to ask questions or at lest mention the child’s friends or family by name.

  15. Feb 6, 2009
    at 1:04 pm

    There are great ideas on here. I started sponsoring a child a few months ago and have sent three letters via email. But I think I’m going to start doing snail mail and implement some of what’s already been shared!

  16. kristinn
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 1:40 pm

    thanks for all the suggestions–was just thinking as i was writing the other day that i thought i had written this before :)

    i photocopied the sponsor letter form onto different colored papers and micaelly has mentioned a few times that she likes how colorful her letters are. i usually always include photos, stickers or little note cards…have found a few bookmarks that we’ve sent. coloring pages…but i’m trying to come up with something now that the girls we sponsor are older. any ideas for teenagers?

    one thing that we have done is sent recipes back and forth. it began with her asking what are some of our favorite foods, so i shared and wrote out the recipes on colorful cards. she said that they made a few of them at the project so the kids could learn what people in america eat. she has since sent recipes from clipped out from magazines. i try to find recipes in magazines, online, etc. to clip out and send back (always being sensitive to what may or may not be available to get in their area…)

    our compassion girls always draw and color beautiful pictures on the backs of their letters in return–i love them and we’ve kept them all in scrapbooks!

    keep on writing everyone!!!!

  17. Feb 6, 2009
    at 1:53 pm

    I’ve sent emails every 2 or 3 weeks. I should probably send a few regular mails to sent small stickers, pictures and stuff!

    I have a question. My child will only be 7 next month, but how can I be encouraged my sponsorship is making a difference? In 8 months, I’ve only received one letter, which included a beautiful colored picture!

  18. Barbara M.
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 2:16 pm

    Steve, I really struggle with that one too. Often the letters I receive are more “fill in the blank” type communications. I do confess to getting a little discouraged with this at times and then wonder if it really DOES matter that I try so hard to make my letters heartfelt and meaningful to them. I always have to go back to the reason I am doing this, that is to give instead of receive. I must confess there are days when I would LOVE to get a heartfelt reply. From reading this blog I know some sponsors do get those kind of letters. Any encouragement for those of us who get “fill in the blank” letters? My children are all much older than 7. Thanks.

  19. Sara Benson
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 2:36 pm

    Hi Steve,

    That is a good question. First of all the good news is that you are due for another letter soon :)
    Remember that It takes some kids longer to develop writing skills than others, and most projects are set up where the children only write 3 letters a year. If your child is from a more remote area, it makes sense that you may have only gotten one letter so far.

    By what you said You can be sure that you are making a difference in your child’s life. There was a post awhile ago about how many children in Mexico actually get letters from their sponsors, it is an awfully low number. Some kids never get a single letter from their sponsors. Every report I have read about letters emphasizes how much they mean to the children. One of my children wrote that she was so happy when it was “letter day” at her project. Because unlike all of her friends, she always knew that a letter would be waiting for her.

    My suggestion is to keep writing and praying for your child. In time s/he will be able to tell you how much of a difference your sponsorship has made.

    Oh, and congrats on getting a picture! I am still asking some of my kids to draw one for me.

  20. Joyce
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 3:08 pm

    Steve, Barbara,
    Be patient and keep on writing. We have sponsored 5 kids, and with a couple of them it took a year or more to get meaningful responses. Some do not live in a culture where writing letters is normal, or where they expect adults to express interest in knowing and listening to children. Also, some have lost sponsors and are reluctant to place their trust in a new sponsor right away.

    At first, I too would get very discouraged when each letter would say basically the same thing: “I am fine, my family is fine, how is your family, please pray for me, I pray for you.” Especially after putting so much thought into my letters. I prayed hard for God to open their hearts to me. Some are just more open than others. Of the 4 writers (the fifth child is too new to have written us yet), only one answered my repeated requests to know the names of siblings or parents. For their own reasons, there are just some things they choose not to reveal.

    Another thing I have learned is that my sponsored children (from Haiti, Colombia, and India) never write anything that is negative or could be construed as a complaint about their circumstances. “Pray for rain, for we need a good harvest” is about as bad as it gets.

    Be encouraged; you are making a difference in their lives. Some day you will read “My mother and father thank you for sponsoring me” or “With your Christmas gift, we bought some cement and fixed our house” or “With my birthday gift you sent, I bought candy for my classmates” or something equally precious!

  21. Feb 6, 2009
    at 4:15 pm

    This year I have been trying to write and explain what holiday(s) we are celebrating during that particular month in America…so my Feb. letter talked about Valentine’s Day and I included a Bible verse about love.

    I also send LOTS of photos. We live in a very snowy area so in Jan I sent photos of my girls next to a snowman they had made. Then I included a coloring page of a snowman for our sponsored child.

    We have also moved quite a bit the past couple years. We just moved again this past summer so I found a great outline of the 50 states…I colored in the one we live in and then marked the other places we have lived. I also marked where our families live. I got great responses from all our sponsored children about this.

    I have also started checking out children’s books at the library to read to my own girls…books about a certain country. So this week we have a book about the Philippines and I will write to my girl in the Philippines and tell her a little bit about what I learned about her country. I did this at Christmas…found a book about how Christmas is celebrated around the world. One of my sponsored children has already responded that she was excited I was learning about her country.

    Because I correspond with quite a few sponsored children, I basically write a form letter every month…some times through email and sometimes through snail mail. I gather up all the letters I have received and make sure that I answer questions or respond to individual children to make it more personal. But the form letter makes it very possible for me to keep up on a monthly basis with all our children.

    I think the number one thing that every sponsored child needs to hear is that we love them and know God is going to do great things with them….that we believe they can be successful in their lives. They need to hear hope and encouragement in every letter.

    This is a great conversation…thanks for starting it, because we all have and need new ideas!

  22. Feb 6, 2009
    at 4:45 pm

    Wow — it’s great to hear all this passion about writing sponsored children! You have no idea how much these letters (and added items) mean to them! When I’ve been to Compassion Projects, many of the children have their sponsor letters and photos in their pockets to show us. Children that are not getting letters often ask us to go find their sponsor when we return to the states, to ask them to write. So — like I said — it’s really, really important to these kids! Keep up the good work, and thanks for all these great suggestions! I have one more — baseball cards go over real big with the boys in the Dominican Republic!

  23. Lindy
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 5:20 pm

    For Steve and Barbara, We have been sponsoring for about 20 years now. Some children just never do open their hearts to you; others begin to share more and more as time goes on. Then there are the few–I estimate it is about one-fourth of our sponsored children–who just pour out their hearts and consider us to be a part of their family. That is a great joy. But for even the reluctant writers, I pray so much that what they gain from the project will bless them all their lives, and that some of the seeds planted in Jesus’ name by the project staff or by our letters will bear spiritual fruit even in their adult lives. Enjoy the journey!

  24. Bob
    Feb 6, 2009
    at 6:58 pm

    Lots of great ideas… Here’s a couple more…

    1. Scrunchies… if you have young girls, they will love them. Put them in a ziplok sandwich bag and staple them to your letter.

    2. Postcards of your town… drop by the local airport if you live in a smaller town, and invest a dollar in short-term parking. You’ll be surprised at all the local trinkets you can find in the gift shop.

    3. If you sponsor children from Spanish-speaking countries, you can send 5″x8″ softcover Bible stories… To keep the mailing within the thickness guidelines, mail the book in an 8.5″x11″ envelope, with the book opened at the middle…

    4. Stickers, notepads, finger puppets, family photos… head on over to the “dollar store” and wander the aisles in search of treasures.

    5. Send them their own photo… let their family have one of the wallet photos you get each year!!! Sign the back with a message of love and hope.

  25. Feb 6, 2009
    at 7:48 pm

    Steve and Barbara, I used to feel much the same about letters from my sponsored children, especially the first three. But when I was challenged to think about children here–and myself, as a young child–I realized that not all children become expressive in letters for some years. And this former instructor of freshman composition can tell you that an awful lot of adults never do learn to enjoy writing, or to express themselves clearly and well that way!

    Of our 5 sponsored kids (not counting our LDP student), one is too new to have written to us, yet. Of the other four, I get letters that vary in their expression and information; sometimes their hearts runneth over, and other times they sound pretty rote. (I wonder if some of my letters sound that way to them!)

    Every single thing we send (or take) to our sponsored kids is a treasured item. I heard of a family in the Dominican Republic whose house flooded so often that their most valued items were hung from the crossbeams in the home. Chief among those items was every letter ever received from the sponsor!

    If you are ever able to visit any of your sponsored kids, you will probably find that your time with them will change their letters, at least, eventually.

    But one of mine still writes very seldom, and very little. I have seen her three times, now, and in person, she is so expressive! But her letters give me a strong impression of her sitting at her desk (or wherever), fidgetting impatiently, and getting the task over with as quickly as possible. And I know she loves me!

    I think I’ve learned more about delayed gratification from sponsoring these children than through any other part of my life. It’s worth it.

  26. Sara Benson
    Feb 7, 2009
    at 12:11 am

    I like the baseball cards and recipes ideas. I will definitely have to try that.

  27. Feb 7, 2009
    at 6:52 am

    Great encouragement from everyone! I think I’m going to take a picture of my family holding the Compassion photo of him. I would think that would be so cool to get something like that!!!

  28. Feb 7, 2009
    at 8:01 am

    One suggestion that hasn’t yet been mentioned — kids’ siblings. I had always assumed the siblings had their own sponsors and got their own special things but when I learned that typically only one child in a family is sponsored, I began always sending all those little goodies for siblings as well. i.e., instead of one sheet of stickers, I’ll send three, and tell the child in the letter they are for her to share with her brother and sister.

    I also like to put together picture-letters in Microsoft Word, it’s quick and easy and since I have 5 sponsored kids, it makes it really easy to write to all of them consistently. I typically put together a “package” once a month for snail mail, with a picture-letter (basically a letter telling about something special — a vacation or a birthday party or more recently playing in the snow with pictures placed throughout it so the child can see the event and not just hear about it) and some little treat like stickers…I can print out the same letter only changing a line or two for each child that way and save a lot of time. When I get a letter from one of my kids, I respond immediately to it via email. I also try to just randomly go online and send a “thinking of you” type email just to remind them that they’re loved and prayed for.

    For those who aren’t getting much back from their child, I think frequency of contact and persistence in sending love is the key to eventually breaking down their walls and getting into their hearts (along with constant prayer for that, of course!) I have always sent letters but when I first started sponsoring, I sent maybe 3 or 4 a year. My kids now get SOMEthing from me every couple weeks. It made a big difference in how the kids started responding. I think it made them start to feel like they knew me, and reassured them that I must really care about them to write them so often, and they in turn began to be much more responsive in their letters. That said, there are still big variants, I have two kids the same age and one I’m still getting the form letters with an occasional comment on something I’ve written, and the other is just the most darling little thing you’d ever care to meet and her personality and affection shine through in every word she writes. But I don’t think my letters have less impact on the first child — on the contrary, maybe eventually they’ll have more because that child apparently needs to be loved… So my advice is to just shower love on your kids regardless of what kind of responses you get from them, and pray for their hearts to be opened.

  29. Danielle
    Feb 7, 2009
    at 7:58 pm

    I’m loving all these ideas! I try to send a letter once a month and almost always include stickers or photos. I’ve sent letters through email a few times when I want it to get there extra fast, but I think written letters are more personal so I mainly stick with that.

    One thing I have done is made cards for the game Memory. I used some blank business cards and put a sticker on each one and also included some directions. I figured they would enjoy the cards even if they didn’t like the game.

    Another time I printed a picture of myself and my niece on a business card. Small and sturdy.

  30. Maria H.
    Feb 7, 2009
    at 9:45 pm

    A few more ideas . . . I have sent a couple of balloons in a letter. I have heard that some children have a lot of fun with balloons. My church has “children’s bulletins” with Bible pictures and activities that I have sent to my child. I have sent some small paper dolls. I try to find things with my child’s name on them, like these name cards http://www.universaldesignsinc.com/index-3-monarch.html. I also like to look for things at local Christian book stores or cbd.com.

  31. Feb 8, 2009
    at 7:23 am

    About the balloons: We have to be sure there are no small children in the home, as young’uns have been known to chew on uninflated balloons and end up choking on them. I think that’s the warning that I saw sometime last year.

  32. Sarah H.
    Feb 8, 2009
    at 9:05 am

    Thanks for all the great ideas everybody!

  33. Kristen
    Feb 8, 2009
    at 9:10 am

    I enjoy being crafty and making things, so I made a picture for my little girl that said “Jesus loves you” in her language (Spanish). I cut each letter out of different colors and textures I found in a magazine.

    When I was younger, I used to like making these little friendship bracelets out of embroidery floss, so I made her one of those too.

  34. Barbara M.
    Feb 8, 2009
    at 11:12 am

    Thanks to all of you who offered the words of encouragement about the “brief letters”. The ideas are all great. I have sent maps of the world to my children so that they can see where they are in reference to where I am. I thought they might find that interesting. Also, I am wondering what becomes of all this contact once a child leaves the program. Does the relationship just end after years of building, leaving us to wonder what ever became of “our children?”

  35. Rebecca
    Feb 8, 2009
    at 2:02 pm

    Hello!

    Its amazing reading all of your fantastic and creative ideas! Very touched by all the passion and love all of you have for these kids living in poverty. =) I just started sponsoring a 5 year old boy from Haiti and want to send him my first letter and some extra stuff in it as well… Most of the suggestions here seem more relevant for girls than for boys…

    does anyone have any suggestions to help me? =) thanks!! I’m intending to send a couple of photos n some colouring sheets…

  36. Ken M.
    Feb 8, 2009
    at 5:35 pm

    Rebecca,
    I just started sponsoring a 5 year old boy from Brazil. His bio stated that he likes soccer so I picked up some soccer ball stickers for him along with stickers of the planets. If you have his bio it can give clues to what he enjoys and you could look for stickers, postcards or pictures that relate to his interests. Maybe stickers of popular sports in Haiti, cars, funny faces. Maybe even postcards of your hometown.
    Another boy I used to sponsor was 6 at the time I started to sponsor him. Since I live in the Washington, DC area I sent him these postcards of sites in DC. The postcards were like professional photos. I found them in Barnes and Nobles Books. In a letter to me, the correspondence monitor stated he and his friends marveled over the postcards and would like to see the White House.
    Ken

  37. Dwight
    Feb 8, 2009
    at 5:53 pm

    My experience is… I received a form type of letter from the project director when the child left the program. It was a very cold letter and left me wondering…asking questions. The child I sponsored was very open about all the struggles and I received very personal letter until the child was dropped from the program. The last letter I received arrived at the same time the project director sent the form letter. I chose not to replace the child with new child…it was difficult and frustrating. I had visited the project and knew the situation, how few staff member they had and how young most of the staff members are… as children age out, the program become less effective. When the child turned 18 the Sunday school/ VBS type program was no longer what the child needed. I still sponsor 2 children and wonder how much effort I should put into writing letter… do I really want to build a relationship with the child…it is had when they leave the project. I still pray for the first child I sponsored and wonder if it did any good and if they really benefited from it. I pray when I get to heaven some day I will find out.

  38. Rebecca
    Feb 8, 2009
    at 6:19 pm

    hi!

    sweet! yeah my boy loves soccer too! I’ll go looking out for some stickers and such. Personally, I’m love traveling and hence travel quite a lot… so i have pics of me in diff parts of the world. I was wondering if it would be ok for me to share that with my little boy.. since it was highlighted that we shouldn’t write about or discuss things that might accentuate our differences in wealth n such. any idea?

    i guess i find the world very fascinating and would love to share the photos I take of different parts of the world with him. =)

    thanks!!

  39. Jo
    Feb 9, 2009
    at 1:59 am

    These ideas are great, I love sending extra things with the letters that I write, I also send stickers etc, but i also found a few websites that I am able to print bible stories out with pictures, colouring pages of all kinds of things, eg bible picture, teddies, animals, princess. I also send things like bookmarks. Also In the Wesley Owen Bookshop (Im from England and am not sure if they have these shops in the US, but they do have a website which you can buy things from) they sell small childrens books with stories from the bible, which come within the size that we are allowed to send to our sponsored children. When I started sponsoring my three children I made them a photo album of my family, it was about 8 photo’s stuck on card and attached together with each photo stating who was in it, there age and what their hobbies were. I have had letters back from all three of my children saying how much they loved the albums and that they carry them everywhere with them.

  40. Sarah
    Feb 9, 2009
    at 7:19 am

    Dwight,

    I felt the same way when my sponsored child in Peru left the program. I had only sponsored him for a few months and I was sad that I wouldn’t be sponsoring him anymore. I still pray for him each day and hope he is doing well.

  41. Renee
    Feb 9, 2009
    at 8:57 am

    Oooo, I love all these ideas! The valentine one is especially good for this time of year…I’ll need to go find some cards to send…

    Another idea for y’all. The boy I sponsor in Nicaragua likes to draw, so I drew out simple, step-by-step instructions on how to draw a truck and a car. (I used a simple drawing book from the library as a pattern — look in the children’s section for easier ones. I’m not much of an artist, but these worked for me.)

  42. Sara Benson
    Feb 9, 2009
    at 9:38 am

    Kristen – I like the idea about the bracelet. I am going to make some for my girls.

    Barbra- That’s a good question. From what I have heard, when a child graduates from the program the sponsor can request to give their address to the child so that they can communicate directly. This does become harder because of translation, also the child would have to pay postage to get his/her letter to you. But it is still possible. I would suggest that as your child nears the age of completion (different in each country) talk to him/her about keeping in touch once s/he graduates.

    Dwight – My thought is Yes. Yes you did make a difference in your child’s life. From what you said all you have to do is look at the letters you got from him. Also the fact that you got to meet him. Yes your prayers and correspondence were worth it. You may not know the full details till you get to heaven but one day you will look back and God will say “See that letter you wrote, see those prayers you said? Each and everyone made a difference.”
    Have you ever thought about praying specifically for the program directors for that project that God would give them wisdom and direction, that they would be able to more and more effectively serve the kids whom they have now?

  43. Feb 9, 2009
    at 1:01 pm

    Great GREAT ideas! I have a child I sponsor, and one whom I am a correspondent for. My sponsored child, who is 7, writes regularly. I normally write her twice a month. I do snail mail with something in it every 3rd or 4th letter. I printed about 25 pictures of my family and the scenery near here this fall, and have been sending them in small batches. I’ve also found math workbooks at the dollar store (less translation), and stickers to send.

    The correspondent child, who is 18, hadn’t written AT ALL since I started writing her early last July. I was actually starting to worry. I got my first letter from her Saturday. I’ll just keep writing, as this is supposed to be about them and not us LOL. But as the other posters have noted, this has been a tremendous blessing.

    Upendo seems most delighted by when I write about church activities. I also keep her updated on what my kids are doing (my one son is 6 mths older), and ask questions about her life. I get hand drawn pictures every time — they are priceless!

  44. Heather
    Feb 9, 2009
    at 5:15 pm

    Any ideas on older children?? These ideas are mostly for younger children. I have a 18 year old..Really hard to send things to. I did send a few stickers-all girls love stickers(even me!). The other girl is easy..she’s 6 years old! :)

  45. Dwight
    Feb 9, 2009
    at 6:17 pm

    Heather
    I sponsored 2 older kids… I found they liked money more than any thing. I email my letters and try to send a birthday an extra child gift and a small family gift each year. What do teenagers want in any culture… clothing… in most places 10 USA dollars goes a long way! I find they buy 3 or 4 things… shirts, pants…something that would cost $100 in the USA costs them a few dollars. When I visited them I could see that teenagers understand what they don’t have. In any culture it’s nice to have something new to put on and show the world that someone loves me.

  46. Sarah H.
    Feb 10, 2009
    at 6:59 am

    Susan,

    Thanks for the valentines cards idea! I just found some really cute Christian valentines at our local Christian book store. I am excited to hear about who they give their valentines to.

  47. Carly
    Feb 10, 2009
    at 11:36 am

    I recently sent my kids some of those plastic glow in the dark stars. I haven’t heard if they made it to them or what they thought of them yet. I included a verse about how God has named all the stars in the heavens and then another verse about His care for us. Hopefully they get them and enjoy something new!

  48. Allen
    Feb 10, 2009
    at 2:23 pm

    With the older kids I sponsor, as a previous poster mentioned — I still sometimes send stickers. I also send bookmarks and postcards/brochures of places I visit. An idea I have but haven’t tried yet: at Hobby Lobby and some other stores like that, they have pictures/quotes mounted to basically hard cardboard stock. Some of those might be within Compassion’s sending limits and appropriate for older children.

  49. lydia
    Feb 11, 2009
    at 8:14 pm

    I sponsor a girl from Haiti who is eighteen. would sending her her coloring pages and other things mentioned in this post be too childish for her, or would it still be special and fun since it’s not something she has easy access to?

  50. Barbara M.
    Feb 14, 2009
    at 9:11 am

    I like Dwight’s idea of small monetary donations for the older children. I too wonder if they find my stickers and similar objects too childish. Any other suggestions for the older children? Also, I like to send pictures of family but without even trying to show it, it is obvious that in the pictures we are well dressed just wearing regular clothes and they can at times see our house or vehicle in the picture. I wonder about how this makes them feel. Then I think I shouldn’t send photos. Any suggestions?

  51. Dwight
    Feb 14, 2009
    at 10:58 am

    Barbara
    I have visited 2 of the 3 children I sponsor. One thing I noticed was that most of the people in the slums had access to a TV… so they know about how others live. And the assumption they have is ALL Americans are very rich. My experience… as they age they start to understand the reality of life and what they don’t have. It is no different from someone living in a housing project in Chicago; they wonder if they can have a better life. For a teen hope is a powerful thing…in any culture. The reason a child can not break the cycle of the housing project in Chicago is a lack of hope for the future. The same thing is true in Manila, Tokyo or any other country. Japan is as rich as the USA but many people commit suicide. When I visited some of the slums we passed out some candy to the younger kids. I will never forget the big smile one of the 5 or 6 year old kids gave us. But I don’t know if candy would have meant the same thing to a teenager. If you really care…and I assume you do, figure out who your child is, write them every month, visit them (big cost but cable TV, eating at McDonalds… is a big cost over time but we do what we value) and tell them that you pray for them and love them. I am a guy not into crafts, stickers… but like most children in poverty in the USA and around the world kids lack good solid father or parent figures. If God has gifted you in crafts do it… but do it in the name of hope and love…older kids need this more then crafts. … Good compassion video on you tube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p198d_Gx0RU&feature=channel_page

  52. Barbara M.
    Feb 16, 2009
    at 10:03 am

    Dwight, Thank you for your comments. I agree that the most important thing is building the relationship so that they know someone REALLY cares. I would be interested to hear how it went when you met your children in person. How did it change your relationship with them?

  53. Dwight
    Feb 16, 2009
    at 7:32 pm

    Barbara, it changed…
    The relationship had 3 stages. Stage one I wrote a reply letter a few times a year…very general information. Stage 2 was after I sent a family $ gift… she was about 13 years old…. The types of letters become more personal and more real. At times the letters sounded positive at times the letters sounded hopeless. She said that she prayed that I would visit them some day. Stage 3 was the visit about 3 years latter. It was “an answer to prayer” she said but I also think it was overwhelming at first for her. Her father was out of her life and she lived with basically all women…her mother grandmother, sister…:). The trip made me realize that she saw me as a father figure…long story… this really changed my attitude. I started taking the letter writing more seriously. The letters I received became much more hopeful about the future. She talked about forgiving her father for abandoning the family. When I visited the family they did not seam very friendly…or thankful about compassion. My writing letters, sending money and visiting was a tangible thing that showed love from a father figure and maybe a parent figure that she desperately needed as a teenager.
    She went to college and eventually left the program…I pray she is finishing her studies… she would be in her 4th year of college. I sponsored a new child in the same project but after a few months the father abandoned the family and they relocated back to the country side and transferred to a new project. I am assuming it is common in the Philippines for fathers to abandon families. The other child I sponsor and visited also did not have a father… long story….

  54. Feb 17, 2009
    at 8:58 am

    Dwight, when your second child from the same project moved and was transferred, you continued to sponsor the child, didn’t you? My impression has certainly been that the sponsorship will continue, unless the sponsor terminates it.

    One of my girls may be transferred to a different project, unless her parents reconcile–which I’m praying that they will do, with the caveat that the father/husband recognizes his need for Jesus Christ, quits his drinking and abusive behaviors and becomes the spiritual head, under Christ. I will continue to sponsor Maria.

  55. Dwight
    Feb 17, 2009
    at 9:24 am

    Yes Vicki, they moved to a new project and I could still sponsor them. The mother stayed in the Manila area and the children went to live with the grandmother. And the grandmother placed them/ transferred them into a local compassion project… so I was able to continue with sponsorship.

    Side note…the second child I sponsored had a father that left the family when she was 4 but returned when she was 14 years old…. What an answer to prayer and the miraculous saving grace of Christ! Amen

  56. JustJill
    Feb 22, 2009
    at 6:17 pm

    Thanks for the ideas. My experience has not been very positive. When I write, I ask questions, but never get answers from my foster child. She lives in India. I send letters with pictures and stickers. I don’t get thanks for what I send. I am wondering if she is getting them. I will pray to the Lord for guidance.

  57. Loren
    Mar 2, 2009
    at 12:13 pm

    I sponsor a 15 year old boy in India and an 8 year old girl in Columbia, I can come up with things to send the girl but am struggling with things to send to the older boy. I know money is a good option but i want to send a little something extra. Any ideas?

  58. Barbara M.
    Mar 2, 2009
    at 12:28 pm

    Dwight, Thank you for your response to my question about your visit and how it impacted your relationship with your child. What a blessing for you to be able to do that! I do think that you did become a “father figure” for her. What a blessing for YOU! For JustJill, I know that feeling. I am somewhat new at this but am learning that patience is very important and steadfastness in continuing to show love is very important. There have been times when I would walk down to my mailbox with a letter and feel I might as well leave it in the ditch as I felt it wasn’t having an impact. And then the day of their return letter! Made it all worth while. Please continue to reach out!

  59. Barbara M.
    Mar 2, 2009
    at 3:44 pm

    A question….we are allowed to send envelopes 8.5 by 11 and yet the only mailers I can locate are either 6X9 or 9X12. Are the 9X12 allowable? This size allows much larger pages such as coloring pages, but I wonder if 9X12 will pass through without a problem. Does anyone know?Thanks!

  60. Sara Benson
    Mar 3, 2009
    at 10:27 am

    Hi Barbra,

    The envelope itself can be any size. Only the contents are limited in size.

    When the envelope gets to Compassion in Colorado, all of the things you send will be taken out of your envelope and put with other letters to be sent to your child’s country. (your things will still go to your child)

    Just make sure that any items you send are 8.5 by 11 or smaller. If you want to send big coloring pages, you can fold them in half before putting them into the envelope.

  61. Christi
    Mar 9, 2009
    at 12:42 pm

    @Carolyn F
    We have sponsored two older boys in Ethiopia….I suppose they lost their sponsors, since they are both 18. They are currently in the 10th grade, so I have no idea how long they will be in the program.

    They do not write very often…not like some of the little ones we sponsor. But, their first letters after Christmas were MUCH more personal.

    I struggle with what to send them. Puzzles and such would be very hard with translation.
    I am very interested in ideas for the older children.

  62. Mar 9, 2009
    at 3:34 pm

    Christi, I also have a sponsored child in Ethiopia who is 18. The older kids are a little bit more of a challenge because you can’t really send the cutsie little kid stuff. :)

    I’ve just taken the cue from things he says he’s interested in. Some examples:

    * He said he is interested in seeing icebergs someday — so I’ve sent him postcards and bookmarks with icebergs, polar bears & penguins.
    * He’s very interested in nature, in general, so I’ve sent pictures of what nature looks like in our neck of the woods, (i.e. Iowa — prairies, deer, etc.)
    * My husband writes for a newspaper and he expressed interest in that, so I sent him a copy of the Sports section that my husband works on.
    * I sent him pictures of the new president, as Obama has an Africa connection, (relatives in nearby Kenya.)
    * I sent him musical greeting cards w/Christian pop songs.

    I kind of enjoy the challenge of finding things to send him.

    Sometimes I send him a list of questions for him to answer — favorite color, favorite sport, favorite story in the Bible, etc. — and he’ll send his answers and a list of questions back for us. It’s so fun! I do enjoy his more adult perspective on the country he lives in and life in Ethiopia.

    I really encourage everyone to consider sponsoring an older child in addition to a younger one!!!! :)

  63. MollyB
    Mar 10, 2009
    at 10:24 am

    I’ve sponsored a little girl (almost 5) in the Dominican Republic for a year now, and have sent her basics like stickers, photos and post cards. I just signed up to sponsor a 16-yr-old girl in India, and so have been brainstorming on things to send an older girl.

    As a former art teacher, I remembered scratch art paper, which has a rainbow or glitter layer covered in a black coating you scrape off with a stick to make the picture. They make stickers out of the material too, and I sent some to my little girl yesterday. There is also that blue “sun print” paper that you put in water and leave in the sun with small items on it and it makes a simple ‘photographic’ image of whatever you put on it. I’m going to send that to the older girl. What about fun band-aids? They make them with holographic patterns and so forth. Or pretty origami paper and simple instructions (if you’re artistic you could draw your own so they didn’t need words that would have to be translated). Or, watercolor coloring pages – the kind where the paint is on the paper and you just rub water on it? You can also buy flat paper “weaving sheets” that are just shapes with slits cut in them that you weave paper strips through to get a woven pattern. I recommend looking through a good art supply catologue – there’s all kinds of fun (flat!) stuff that is good for little kids, but also fun for older ones! I also plan on sending my older girl postcards of famous works of art, historical costumes, and other things like that – I live in Chicago and the Art Institute’s gift shop is FULL of great stuff. You can also buy art prints that are small enough to send.

    Any good educational ideas for the older girl? I can send the my little girl stuff in Spanish, but it’s hard to find things in Hindi!

  64. Christi
    Mar 10, 2009
    at 10:51 am

    Ours are both orphans….so I try to include their siblings as well.
    I concur with sponsoring these older ones…you have the opportunity to shape these older ones with the Love of Christ before they go out into the world.

    I’m sending them both more questions this time!!!

  65. Christi
    Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:04 pm

    I really like your ideas!
    Now, I have from Peru and one from Columbia – where should I go to buy Spanish Bible stuff?

    I’m going to pull out my old art supply catalogs….you have great ideas!

  66. Christi
    Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:05 pm

    BTW – Oriental Trading has some neat little things, some Biblically based….for very little. http://www.orientaltrading.com

  67. Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:18 pm

    Christi, maybe depending on where you live, your local bookstore might have Spanish-language Bibles and other materials.

  68. Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:19 pm

    Oops (not trying to pad my presence, here!)–I meant to say, your local Christian bookstore; don’t know about the big-box places, but they might have something, too.

  69. Sara Benson
    Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:30 pm

    Originally Posted By Lisa Miles Sometimes I send him a list of questions for him to answer — favorite color, favorite sport, favorite story in the Bible, etc. — and he’ll send his answers and a list of questions back for us.

    I really like that idea. some of my favorite letters are the forms where the kids fill in their favorite thinkgs and information about where they live (Kenya does this). I think I will send all my kids a letter today asking a bunch of questions.

    And I agree that finding things for the older ones is challenging but fun.

  70. Sara Benson
    Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:35 pm

    This was posted above.

    Originally Posted By JoyceGo to http://www.biblegateway.com/, which is a searchable online Bible in 50 languages. You can look up a verse and get the translation into your child’s language. Then use your imagination and creative talents. You can design a card or bookmark, etc. If you are a stamper or scrapbooker, the possibilities are endless. I made a scripture memory card with Nahum 1:7 in Haitian Creole (Kreyol) embossed in gold on a piece of colored card stock. For a family gift, I stamped and colored a tropical beach scene, then underneath, wrote my child’s surname and a Kreyol blessing. You can use calligraphy or print the verse from your computer in a special font for added effect.

    You can also probably search the web and find something that you can get printed. If you get a verse from this website then you could print it on business cards and send it to your kids so that they can memorize them.

  71. Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:36 pm

    Christi–try a Christian bookstore, if you have on in the area. Down here in the New Orleans area we have Family Christian Stores and Lifeway. Depending on where you live, they may have Spanish-language books (probably mainly in the states where there’s a market for it, like near Mexico, south Florida, large cities, etc.)

    If there isn’t a section in your local bookstore, you may have to order online. I do that when I have to, but I love being able to flip through several options and choosing the one I like best! :)

  72. Christi
    Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:49 pm

    Talk about padding my presence….lol!
    We have a Lifeway store here….and a strong Spanish presence, even though we live in Ohio!

    I’m also using Bablefish.com to do some minor translating…I don’t know how reliable it is, but I know enough Spanish to be able to get a feel.
    Thanks again!

  73. Mar 10, 2009
    at 1:55 pm

    Just a quick p.s. to say that I am LOVING everyone’s ideas!!! Thank you a million times over. Not only has this reinvigorated my correspondence, but I’m forwarding this thread on to some new sponsors I know. What a treasure trove of ideas to have straight out of the starting gate. :) Think of how many smiles these ideas will ultimately put on children’s faces. What a blessing!

  74. Karen
    Mar 12, 2009
    at 6:55 am

    To all you sponsor moms and dads: I was up until 4:30am reading your blogs. This was after several hours viewing the heart breaking photos of the children. My feelings were somewhere between parent and grandparent, with an overwhelming desire to make things “right”. I am seriously considering sponsoring a child or two. I’d love to sponsor more, but I’d have to win the lottery, and since I don’t play, well…After reading your feelings I can sense your excitement and your confusion. It’s given me a reality test on what to expect. These aren’t puppies being rescued from the pound who will lick our faces every night when we come home. These are real live people, 3 dimensional, most of who have been through things we can’t imagine. And even if we’ve experienced a fraction of what they have, this hope that you’re giving them is intangable, faraway, unimaginable. How hard is that for a child of any age to grasp. I do believe those though, who say keep writing, keep giving. I think we’re their designated cheerleaders. We can’t make it “right”. Only God can. But we can be a window or a door, or a stumbling block. It’s like the little boy with the loaves and the fish; he wasn’t responsible for feeding the 5000, only for giving his lunch to Jesus. He obeyed. Did he do it willingly and joyfully? Did he expect anything in return? I don’t know. The point is, he gave what he had. Sorry, I’m rambling – I’m just trying to sort it out. I feel a little overwhelmed, what age to sponsor, a boy or a girl, etc. My husband isn’t exactly on board. Our priorities aren’t exactly in the same order, if you know what I mean.

    One of the things I was wondering about gifts, though, is this: Must gifts only be something that will fit in an envelope, or may we send packages?

    I thought of something for older girls, although I don’t know what you all will think, I’m new at this, remember. What about the fragrance sample cards found in magazines? Do they still do that? Or samples of hand cream, bath gel, etc.

    That’s all the flat stuff I can think of for now, but maybe it will spark something in someone else. I can’t wait to hear

  75. Joyce
    Mar 12, 2009
    at 9:46 am

    Karen, you have a very tender heart. I pray that your husband will soon be “on board” and I know that the Lord will lead you as you grapple with how to serve the least of these while also honoring your husband.

    A good suggestion was made on this blog somewhere about being a correspondent to a child whose sponsor does not write, if you are not able to sponsor a child yourself. Many people write to more children than they sponsor. You can find out how to do this by calling Compassion at 1-800-336-7676 (press 0 to skip the recording and talk to a representative). There is a brochure entitled “Letters, Gifts and Your Sponsored Child” that answers all the questions most people wonder about. It includes suggestions for paper gifts as well as limitations on size. Packages cannot be sent, due to foreign customs systems and the high risk of theft. The telephone representative can tell you whether fragrance samples are allowable.

    If or when you decide to be a sponsor, you can’t go wrong in choosing any child that you see on the web site. All of them have been identified by the church or other Compassion partner in their own communities as being in need. If you want to narrow down the field, select the link “Search for a Child to Sponsor” and select “yes” for “Longest Waiting”. These are children who were judged needy enough to enter the program, who have been participating while waiting for more than six months for a sponsor. Sadly, many of them have been waiting a year or more. If the choices still overwhelm you, you can always select the link “Let Compassion Select a Child for You”. You will receive a packet in the mail which you can then accept or decline.

    Again, I really appreciate your heart. Don’t let yourself be overwhelmed to inaction because of the scope of the need. Think of the guy on the beach tossing starfish back into the water. When asked why he bothered, since he couldn’t save them all, he said that’s true, but it matters to each one he does save!

  76. Christi
    Mar 12, 2009
    at 9:57 am

    Karen – I just got through talking to my daughter, who sponsored a child through another program, and they were cut off when the project went under for mismanagement – and they were not allowed to write a final letter. It broke their heart, and now, they do not want to sponsor again.
    I have been combing through these posts, and encouraging her that Compassion is NOT like that.

    I am so embarrassed that I have not taken the importance of the two teenage orphan boys we sponsor seriously. In reading the blogs, I realize that not only have they lost their parents, they probably lost their sponsors…for whatever reason, and we are a new ray of hope for them. They are both in Ethiopia….and I am more committed to write them, ask them questions and pray for them to be healed spiritually. Now I understand why they are a bit aloof!

    Any child the Lord leads you to sponsor will be touched forever. I wish I could sponsor them all – but I realize, I have to be personal with each child, and I cannot be personal to millions! ;-)

    Thanks for the ideas for teenage girls, I’m going to talk to an Avon lady and see if she can give me samples…..and maybe I’ll sponsor a teen girl!

  77. Christi
    Mar 12, 2009
    at 11:59 am

    I did sponsor a teenage girl – fell in love with her online….the web info about her.

    This is contagious!

  78. Mar 12, 2009
    at 12:51 pm

    Karen, I was so touched by your comments and I hope you decide to sponsor a child — you really seem to have a sponsor’s heart. And Joyce is so right — any child you choose is a child who needs your love, prayers and encouragement. You can’t go wrong.

    And I pray that your husband is moved by the experience. Who knows how it will change his life. :)

    Christi, YAY!!! for sponsoring a teenage girl. You’re awesome. :)

  79. Mar 12, 2009
    at 2:22 pm

    Karen, your comments touched me, too. And I think anyone who stays up until 4:30 a.m. to read these posts and comments is responding to Christ’s call to feed his sheep and to care for those in need.

    If your husband is not on board, then I second the suggestion that you call the number you were given and ask to be put on the list of correspondent sponsors. Writing to the children, encouraging and loving them, praying for them, that’s where the real ministry takes place in sponsorship. There is the risk that the funding sponsor will terminate the sponsorship for whatever reason, but you will be given the option of taking over, if you can. Your husband might be more amenable to the idea, by then.

    Besides…I’ve sponsored for over 6 years. In that time, my husband considered it my “thing,” which he supported, but wasn’t interested in doing, himself. In December, he began sponsoring a 9-year-old boy in Ethiopia. :o) God has ways, you know….

  80. Tina Adams
    Mar 12, 2009
    at 2:48 pm

    Thanks to everyone for your great ideas. I just sponsored Clodia from Haiti yesterday and I’m so excited. When I think of her I just want to cry. I can not wait to add a little joy into her life. Keep all the great ideas coming … since I’m new at all this.

  81. Mar 12, 2009
    at 7:27 pm

    Tina, I just wanted to say WELCOME & God bless to both you and Clodia. (What a pretty name that is!)

  82. Sara Benson
    Mar 12, 2009
    at 7:39 pm

    Congratulations Tina! I am praying that God will develop an awesome relationship between the two of you.

  83. Tina Adams
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 5:13 am

    Thank you all for your warm welcome and prayers.

    I was thinking of ideas for the older girls. What about some pieces of fabric … maybe quilting squares. I was looking up what you can buy with different types of donations and in Haiti it said used sewing machine. So it lead me to believe that maybe some of the woman are seamstresses. Now I know not all of our children/families will have one, but do you think they would have needles and thread? (Actually, we could send thread wound on paper…not sure about the needles, however.)

    Maybe the girls could learn a craft along the way. Sewing a quilt if they got enough squares.

    Remember I’m a newbie … so what you think??

  84. Barbara M.
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 8:48 am

    Karen, I agree with Vicki about the “husbands”. Mine has also stood in the background and watched me do “my thing” with the children. However, as time passes, and God works, he now seems pleased to see my efforts. Please be encouraged and allow at least one of these children into your life. It will bless you and “perhaps” your husband at some later time. And how about that? Vicki’s husband now has his very own child from Ethiopia!!

  85. Christi
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 9:04 am

    Tina – you will be sooooo blessed, I think even more so that Clodia! At least I think I am more blessed with my Compassion Kids than they are!
    How old is Clodia?

    Tina – I REALLY like your idea of the quilting squares! I have tons of Quilt-a-Month blocks from when I was teaching my daughters to sew. I’m going to get them ready for MY new 15 yo daughter!

    Do you think a 9 year old could handle a quilt block? I know Jo-Anns often marks down the previous year’s blocks….

    Another question to anyone – if I do send quilt blocks – how could I send the backing?

    Oh – another thing, at a Dollar Store I found the little art things that are black over come color background with the animals outlined. I’m going to send these in my next packet!

    You all are a blessing to my compassion kids and me!
    Thanks!

  86. Christi
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 9:10 am

    Husbands – my husband was definitely on board from the beginning – but didn’t do much.

    I have him sign the letters – encouraging him that he brings in the money that enables us to sponsor.
    This last time, he decided to send a special note to the two teen boys – the scripture “how can a young man cleans his way…” Psalm 119:9. This is the FIRST of his own ideas!
    And – that got him looking at all the children again….

    Also, I wrote about my daughter and son-in-laws problem with another program. He was so hurt by losing the girl, he does not want to be emotionally tied again. Maybe the guys are more sensitive than we think.

  87. Tina Adams
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 9:35 am

    Christi,

    Clodia is 10.

    I’m not a quilter … I didn’t even think about the backing. (I thought you just sewed squares together.) LOL.

    But maybe some other real quilters may have some ideas.

    I’m not sure if a 9-year old could quilt, but don’t you think this would be a great starting point. They could make bean bags out of the squares, doll clothes.

    Looking forward to hearing more fabric ideas!!

    Tina

  88. Tina Adams
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 9:40 am

    Oh one more thing … this is for everyone.

    I read on the Compassion site about having to label everything with my number and the child’s number, etc.

    I made labels this morning, the ones that are 30 on a page. So, I’ll be able to stick them on everything I send

    Just wanted to share that idea.

    Be blessed!

  89. Christi
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 10:05 am

    Tina, I’m so glad you shared that…..I do that too!
    I use the smaller ones – 80 per sheet, and make half for the Compassion Kids and Half for me – though on the 30 you could put their name and number and your sponsor number on one!

    And – if you want any little quilting squares….my email is christartist@gmail….I’ll share.
    I know these children have learned many things at an early age….and I was sewing and quilting at 10. I like the idea of a bean bag or something….that would all fit into a ziplock bag….my concern would be how to get them a needle.

  90. Tina Adams
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 12:09 pm

    I’m wondering about the needle, too. I wonder if we sent a monetary gift we could specify that it be spent on local sewing supplies and such. I remember seeing something on Compassion’s send a gift section about “check here if you have a special comment about this gift.” Guess I’ll try to find out more.

  91. Tina Adams
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 12:12 pm

    @Christi

    Yes, Christi, I fit all the info on one label. I can stick it on everything. Now I have zero excuses for sending letters or little gifts in the mail. I want to send her many letters, so I’ve been thinking of ways to streamline.

    I haven’t even gotten my packet yet. I just signed up this Wed on 3/11.

    :-)

  92. Sara Benson
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 2:21 pm

    Originally Posted By ChristiDo you think a 9 year old could handle a quilt block? …. if I do send quilt blocks – how could I send the backing?

    I do think that a nine year old could handle a simple quilt block or sewing project. I started learning when I was about that age.

    I was thinking about the needles and other things that would be nice to have. Maybe you could send a child gift and ask specifically that they buy a nice sewing kit for your child. That way you could send the fabric and patters/ideas and the kids would have everything else that they need.

    As for backing either it can be bought with the special gift, or sheets can be used. But maybe a smaller project would be better.

    Btw. I just called Compassion and the rep said that fabric should be fine as long as it fits within the regular guidelines.

  93. Karen
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 2:21 pm

    Congrats, Tina, on your new daughter. I was going to post last night and tell you all to congratulate me, I’m expecting! (To see the picture of the child I’m sponsoring!) After much crying and praying, and praying and crying, and doing it all over again, I know this is what God wants. I had come close to sponsoring a child last year through another organization, but put it off. Maybe in some strange way it was best. (At least for this child) I just couldn’t decide on which, so I’m putting my trust in God to choose one for me. But still so many of those faces haunt me. I’d like to sponsor more, but can you believe it – my husband lost his job today. My first thought was to call the 800# and explain, but surely God will supply $32 a month…And after all, I did put my trust in Him. This year has been so much about obedience. I’ve always had trust issues, so that’s why I can’t back out on this poor child. God would never back out on me. Please pray for us, my new, dear friends.
    P.S. I love the idea about the quilt squares. If I get a daughter, I will send her some, and I will learn to quilt, and we’ll each have a “unity” quilt.

  94. Caitlin
    Mar 13, 2009
    at 10:27 pm

    I must admit that as a female, I find it much easier sponsoring a girl than a boy. I sponsored 10 (nearly 11) yo Magarette in Haiti first, and sending gifts has been incredibly easy. I found a paper doll book (I sent her a doll and a few sets of clothing, and every once in a while I send some more clothing articles, to keep it fresh, Barbie makes an impressive book, 3 dolls and over 100 outfits!), stickers out the wazoo, I also found a 8×11 rainbow writing pad, I mostly write my letters on that, but also include some blank rainbow paper for her own use, when I run out of this pad, I’ll be getting the cloud paper next, I also enjoy finding decorated cards w/ blank insides, for notes. I had to search around a bit but I finally found a coloring book that is not terribly babyish, it is full of detailed flowers, animals, birds, and insects, it’s so impressive I have to stop myself from coloring them (I’m 23 in years, probably 10 at heart). Now that I know that fabric will get through, I’m heading off to get some pretty ribbon from a craft store to send several short lengths of it, taped to paper, for her hair ( I notice in her picture she uses quite a few hair ribbons)!
    For older older, they may appreciate a few sheets of quality sketch paper. If they’re learning to read music, why not send them a few of your favorite songs w/ the musical notes between the words?
    As for boys, I just put in for a random longest waiting child and got 5 yo Alok from India. I was stumped, in person, I get along with boys so much easier than in letters. So, I’m off to find some “manly” coloring pages, and some cricket player cards, but also am planning to send him paper airplane instructions when he gets a little older (and some decent “flying” paper), they make activity books that have all the folding lines and instructions printed on brilliantly colored paper w/ stickers to decorate. also looking for those stock card punch out animals that come in pieces and you punch out and put the slits together to make a 2-d scene (they were so much easier to find when I was a kid…chuck-e-cheese here I come!). Well, I think I’ve made this letter too long already, but one more note:

    When I was young (5-13) I struggled with an undiagnosed visual disorder close to dyslexia which affected mostly my math, reading, and hand writing. I remember passionately hating writing letters because no matter how hard I tried to make my writing pretty, or not to mix up the letters, it never matched up to what I or my teachers thought it should be, and I was ashamed of how my “stupidity” slipped out every time I picked up a pencil. I imagine that many of these children, just getting the privilege to go to school now often feel the same frustration, not being accustomed to writing letters, and maybe still being new the idea of writing at all, so when I do not get a letter from one of my kids for a long time, I easily find myself remembering how I loved to receive letters from my Granny, but would cringe at the thought of embarrassing myself with a reply. But my Granny, she kept writing, reply or not, and looking back, I find the love overwhelming, and I know I felt it then. Just know, your writing blesses your child, no matter what reason they haven’t written. Even today, my handwriting isn’t terribly pretty, but because of my Granny, I can structure a decent letter, and am not afraid to overcome that ugly handwriting with words that I hope are more powerful than their lack of physical charm. Because of that, I make great effort to tell my kids how beautiful their handwriting is, and as my Granny often did, how much I can see an improvement from the last time, so they must be working hard. (I even told Magarette once that her handwriting had outdone the translator’s, I hope I didn’t hurt his feelings!)
    Again, sorry for the length.

    -Caitlin

  95. Tina Adams
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 7:06 am

    @Caitlin

    Thanks for the post Caitlin … I like the idea of hair ribbons. I too am a kid at heart … I’m 36 and still love coloring. But that is the artist in me.

    The disorder you mentioned, is it dysgraphia? My nephew has it.

  96. Caitlin
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 8:11 am

    Irlen’s, or Scotopic Sensitivity Syndrome (SSS). The light filter in my eyes don’t work, so certain lights that most people filter out, I don’t, and it causes details like letters and lines to look like they’re moving, floating, vibrating, and doubled. It also affects depth perception(I have always had a strong tendency to misjudge stairs…and have fallen “up” several stairways by stepping too short and missing the stair!). Lol, until I was 20(I was diagnosed my junior year in college…some help that was), everybody just thought I was clumsy, and I didn’t know that not everyone had to stare at the paper until the double became single. After that discovery though, things began to come to logical explanations!

  97. Karen
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 10:22 am

    Caitlin,
    How lucky you are to have had such a loving Granny. I cried as I read your post, remembering my own grannies. How lucky and loved your “children” are to have you, and how lucky we older moms are to have your fresh and youthful approach. Your ideas are great. I can’t wait to find out if I have a boy or a girl. My love for this child is so real it’s overwhelming. I always wanted lots of children, and I have two, a daughter 18, and a son, 16. They are anxious to know their new brother or sister. I was in a craft store yesterday and wanted to buy everything!! My heart is sooo big, but my wallet, not so much. I’m sure you all know how that goes.

    Does anyone know if I can find out sooner about by child? Fifteen days is such a long time – and to think I waited 9 months – twice!

  98. Danielle
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 11:01 am

    Karen,

    You can check your account on the Compassion Website, that will be updated before you receive the child’s packet.

  99. Caitlin
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 11:15 am

    Thank you. I am terribly fond of my Granny. She stopped writing me letters last summer though, because she went to be with Jesus. But I still have stacks of her letters.

    As far as the finding out, when I signed up for my random child (Alok), it only took a day for them to load his picture and the majority of his info on my online compassion account. (It took a week and a half for the paper info to show up). Have you tried clicking the “My Account” button on the the toolbar(after you log in), if it’s already loaded up it’ll show you your child’s name and # in the lower middle of the page, and then you just have to click Child info on the side bar and it should bring everything up.

    I hope for your sake, it is already there. I nearly died in anticipation in the one day’s worth of waiting for Alok’s picture!

  100. Mar 14, 2009
    at 12:16 pm

    Karen, if you call the 800#, they can help you set up your online account. There, you’ll be able to look at all the information that’ll be in your child’s profile (and a bit more!), as well as write letters that will be emailed directly to your child’s country to be translated. It’s a bit quicker than being routed through Colorado, but you won’t be able to send the little gifts we’ve mentioned in all the above comments.

  101. Sara Benson
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 12:44 pm

    Wow Caitlin, you have some great ideas!! I can’t wait to see what my kids say about all the new things I will be sending them!

    I love to hear that there are so many people not only writing to their kids but going above and beyond.

  102. Mar 14, 2009
    at 4:25 pm

    Karen, I just wanted to say how thrilled I was this morning when I got online and saw you decided to sponsor!!! :) You will be SO WONDERFUL for that child. Now I’m excited to find out if you get a girl or boy and what country he or she is in. I hope you’ll come back and share that with us. You all are in my thoughts and prayers!

    What makes us sponsor at a certain time and how we are lead to that one particular child — it’s one of those wonderful mysteries of God. :)

  103. Caitlin
    Mar 14, 2009
    at 8:00 pm

    Glad to help, I’ve enjoyed gleening ideas from the rest of these posts as well!

    If you paid for your sponsorship online with a credit card, you should have an online account set up already.

    P.S. on the letter writing, I just got back from the store, just looking for ribbons and foam airplanes, but I tripped across some foam 3-D animal puzzles at Michael’s (2 animals for a $!) thickness exactly 1/8″, and also, miniature kites(dollar tree)! Wing span of 4″, no sticks or assembly, flattens out nicely. Not nearly as impressive as a full sized kite, but it really did glide (Yeah, I tested it…back to that 10 yo heart thing!). I’m excited. Magarette’s getting one that looks like a butterfly, Alok gets one painted like a plane. Also, I found some pocket combs that fit the limit, and some plastic barettes (no metal all…the ones I never could get to stay in my hair, but other girls did), and some headbands. This new lift of restrictions is doing wonders for my imagination! just thought I’d pass my sudden realizations on.

  104. Christi
    Mar 17, 2009
    at 6:24 am

    Caitlin, thanks for sharing your story, and your wonderful ideas!

    Congratulations Karen – and you know that God will provide. He never sends us in a direction that His grace can not keep us…and He never sends up on a mission that His providence cannot provide.

    I still have not gotten Rosa on my Compassion list….if she doesn’t show up today, I’ll call in. I have her first letter all ready!

  105. Ramona S
    Mar 19, 2009
    at 5:43 pm

    Caitlin,

    Those are some wonderful ideas. In fact, everyone’s post has added to my enthusiasm to write letters. I have just received my sponsoring packet 2 days ago, and I have already written and sent a letter along with some stickers. I also found a very thin photo album (fits in an envelope). I am thinking about putting some pictures in there and leaving the rest the child to complete. I don’t know how common photo albums are in Tanzania, but I am hoping that it will come in handy. What do you guys think? Also, since some of you have suggested material, is it appropriate to send something like a very thin scarf that basically fits the standard dimensions?

  106. Heather
    Mar 19, 2009
    at 5:56 pm

    @Ramona S
    Hey Ramona!! :) Congrats on sponsoring a child! I think the photo album idea is a great one especially if you are planning to send alot of pictures. I doubt the child has anything to store them in. Pictures aren’t common in many areas of the world. I hadn’t thought of that idea!
    Oh-I think a very thin scarf would be okay to send. I haven’t seen anything forbidding it in the rules but maybe an employee at the 1 800 number could give you the exact details.

  107. Ramona S
    Mar 19, 2009
    at 6:01 pm

    @Heather
    Thank you! I will give them a call.

  108. Sara Benson
    Mar 19, 2009
    at 8:12 pm

    @Ramona S
    Let us know what they say! I would love to send a scarf to some of my kids. I know by sending money I could request a scarf be bought, but I also like the thought of picking it out for her.

  109. Ramona S
    Mar 20, 2009
    at 8:54 am

    I called compassion today and asked whether it’s permissible to send a thin scarf in the letter. They said it’s okay to try. If they think it does not fit the regular dimensions of the letter or anything of that nature, they will return it. I think it’s worth a try…

  110. Ramona S
    Mar 20, 2009
    at 9:47 am

    If anyone is interested, I found this disney website, that has some pretty nice ideas that we can send to our children. I really like the bookmarks and the photo frames.http://www.printstation.disney.co.uk/

  111. Christi
    Mar 20, 2009
    at 2:35 pm

    Ramona, did you say where you found the thin photo book? I’d like to find one.
    I saw a small scrap book a few years ago….but that would require glue and stuff.

    Let us know where you found it! Thanks!
    An d thanks for your ideas

  112. Ramona S
    Mar 20, 2009
    at 5:06 pm

    I found the photo album at Target. Look in the $1 section, it’s the only place that offers it in that thin size.

  113. Christi
    Mar 20, 2009
    at 5:49 pm

    Thanks Ramona….I love Target’s $1 section….now I’ll look for new things with a different perspective!

  114. Mary
    Mar 23, 2009
    at 7:22 pm

    I made a 6 sided paper snowflake to accompany a photo of us in the snow and explained what snow is like and how the snowflakes fall from the sky. Our sponsored child lives where it doesn’t snow.

  115. Caitlin
    Mar 23, 2009
    at 10:54 pm

    I didn’t cut the snow flake out! didn’t occur to me!. Similarly, though, I explained snow, and then explained the scientific cause of snow, along with pictures of us in the snow. I have one of those weird brains that enjoys uselss little scientific facts…hopefully my kids do too, because, like I said, cutting a cool snowflake out, never occurred to me!

  116. Alyce Heidt
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:00 am

    @Susan Paine -

    What a wonderful idea to send extra cards for your kid to give!! There is no greater feeler than to have a generous heart and feel gratitude!!
    Good for you and thanks for the suggestion!!!

  117. Alyce Heidt
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:03 am

    @In Him
    What is “Compassion Artist Network?” I don’t know about that yet! It sounds like something I might be interested in. Also, as far as Holidays…especially Valentine’s Day…it can be ANY DAY (to share the love of God)!! I think regardles…kids love to get cute cards!!

  118. Alyce Heidt
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:07 am

    @Joyce
    You sound so Creative & Passionae about what you’re doing. I would love to learn how to do that. WHERE do you FIND “Blessings” in the language of your childs native tongue??? Please pass along this to my email…I would appreciate it!!! Thanx!!

  119. Alyce Heidt
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:08 am

    @Sarah H. – Sarah…you might want to enclose some chewing gum…they are flat and not bulky…and the kids would love them!!

  120. Alyce Heidt
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:10 am

    @Ramona S

    Ramona…thanx for the suggestion!

  121. Christi
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:12 am

    Mary – that is such a neat idea!
    For spring, I think I’ll do something like that with a flower.

    We play at photography – and my husband took an awesome photo of a goldfinch, pulling tufts off or a teasel plant. our children LOVED it!

    I’m going to buy the little photo albums this weekend – again – Thanks Ramona.

    Should I call the 800 number to see about a sewing kit being available to a girl? I don’t want to send the quilt blocks unless they can get a sewing kit.
    With my new 15 yo girl….Rosa, I want to help her in anyway possible to learn skills as well.

  122. Christi
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:18 am

    @Alyce Heidt – I can’t find where you heard about the Compassion Artist Network – and I would love that information, too!

    And Joyce – I would like the info on finding blessings in their native language….I don’t have problems with the spanish – but ET – there I have some problems.

    Thanks

  123. Alyce Heidt
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:31 am

    @Sara Benson
    Sara…I love the idea of asking kids questions!!! It makes letter writing so personal..and it sure is one way to get to know them intimately!! I will also go to Biblegateway! I am sponsoring a young lady (15) from India. So it will be a little challenging for me. Thanx for all your ideas!!!

  124. Alyce Heidt
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:44 am

    @MollyB
    Molly, I have just signed up to sponsor a 15 yr. old from India..Sankari who lives south of Madurai and speaks Tamil (hope this language is on Biblegateway)! She also loves art and is very domesticated. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. I will send her stickers (as I’m 61 and love them) stamps, papers and pray about whatever God would want her to have! I haven’t gotten my package yet so I am reading everyone’s comments and ideas. What a wonderful way to reach & touch others through His Love & in His Name!!! Its so exciting!

  125. Alyce Heidt
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 7:47 am

    @Joyce – Joyce..I really LOVE your ideas..concerning sending “Praiseworthy Articles” to your child about his/her country!!! What a great assignment!! Keep the ideas coming!! Bless You!

  126. Mar 24, 2009
    at 8:49 am

    Christi – here’s another voice chiming in on sending things….

    I was able, recently, to send a whole bunch of sewing stuff to my 15-year-old girl in Rwanda, through friends who went to visit. However, I dared to send those things only because she had told me she was learning the skill of tailoring (sewing), and that she liked it.

    Why not ask your girl (if she’s old enough) what skill(s) she is learning at the student center, and what she likes? Is she learning tailoring, or does she want to be a hairdresser, or some other trade?

    Just some suggestions….

  127. Joyce
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 10:24 am

    Christi,
    I just found a pdf with the Easter story, including artwork, in Amharic. It would be great to print out, especially with a color printer. Check out this link: http://www.selamta.net/Amharic%20Literature/Eastern.pdf. Amharic (the Ethiopian language) is not on Biblegateway.com. But if you google “Amharic Bible” you will find some great links.
    Joyce

  128. Marci in MO
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 6:04 pm

    Google may offer the widest range of data, however, I would recommend trying…
    Goodsearch.com

    By using this search engine, a portion of each search goes back to Compassion as a donation.

    When you see the question…

    WHO DO YOU GOODSEARCH FOR?

    Type in…
    Compassion International (Colorado Springs, CO)

    {you can type in compassion international and it will bring up three choices, you just need to choose the one where you would like your donation to go to.}

    Then…
    Search now and money will go to your designated cause.

  129. Caitlin
    Mar 24, 2009
    at 6:10 pm

    One the sewing kits, from what I’ve read, so long as it fits the dimensions, everything is okay EXCEPT the metal items(so, no to the needles and pins). I recently read the you are allowed to send ribbons, fabric and light scarves (once again, only if you can make them fit the dimensions), and also understand that what ever you send might get rejected because of shape/weight (from what I’ve read, they call you and let you know about it)

    On the languages: my little boy speaks the Indian language, Santhali…and I’ve yet to find ANYTHING in that language… not even a Bible, or tourism phrases! So if anyone out there has such a coveted resource, I’d love to know.

  130. Christi
    Mar 25, 2009
    at 1:09 pm

    @Joyce – that is a beautiful idea……and beautiful writing.
    I will get this in the mail for my two guys! Thank you!

  131. Christi
    Mar 25, 2009
    at 1:10 pm

    @Vicki Small – Vicki, that’s a great idea – I’ll just wait until I hear from Dayana or Rosa, and if they are interested. We’re not hooked up with a local group, so I don’t know about anyone locally going.

    Someday……in God’s time!

  132. Mar 25, 2009
    at 3:58 pm

    Christi, if you’ll e-mail me, I’ll respond with an idea or two about finding people who are going to your sponsored child’s country.

  133. Mar 25, 2009
    at 6:00 pm

    How about the idea of sending a boat? Boys under 10 would probably love them.

    Y’all remember the folded boats that doubled as pirate hats we made as kids?

    Probably best to make them out of wax-coated paper (I wish wax paper came in fun colors). I first thought of butcher paper (since I work at a school), but it’s not all that waterproof.

    I was told that my boy likes to try to catch small fish by hand in the local river, so I think I’ll send him a boat and see how he likes it.

  134. Caitlin
    Mar 25, 2009
    at 8:19 pm

    @Vicki Small – know anyone going to East India or Haiti who wouldn’t mind carrying something? If you do, may I fill your email?

  135. Mar 25, 2009
    at 9:34 pm

    @Caitlin – No, I don’t, Caitlin. If I hear of any trips coming up to those places, I’d be glad to let you know. Or you could go to Compassion’s website, click on Sponsors and Donors, and then on Visit Your Child (left sidebar), look for group tours on the schedule.

    I do understand the drive to send things to our kids!

  136. Mar 26, 2009
    at 2:43 pm

    I sponser a boy in Mexico. I also have found a hand puppet that he can make. It’s flat and has the bag and all the parts to make these little puppets. It doesn’t require scissors or glue. Also, I found modeling clay and I took my rolling pin and rolled it flat to fit the dimensions. I’m not sure if this one made it or not…let’s keep our fingers crossed!! I have also sent bandaids, cards, alphabet flash cards, stickers…any new ideas would be great.

  137. Sandra
    Mar 31, 2009
    at 6:31 am

    Wow, Thanks everyone for all your ideas.I will be coming back to read again and again.

    My daughter and I are planning a Saturday once a month when we can get together with other sponsors for an afternoon of making cards,sharing ideas and writing letters together. We also thought we could make a scrapbook page to send (an idea we got from here) of our family, our town and state.
    Another idea was we could make a calendar page of something about that month and put a pocket in it with little notes of encouragement or scripture (a another idea from here). They can open it on a certain day though the month. We also want to encourage sharing ideas and praying together for the sponsored children. We really hope this group will help and encourage sponsors that are not writing their child.

    Thanks again for all the ideas that I can share. Keep them coming.

  138. Sandra Satodkar
    Mar 31, 2009
    at 1:43 pm

    Thanks everyone – I got some new ideas from you!

    One thing that is perfect to send: those tiny cards at the
    Christian store that are priced at 15 or 20 cents each. They are on a turn rack, and can fit into a small, clear stand or a keyring. They are very colorful
    and have one sentence on them.
    A great way to send lots of
    encouragement and there are many styles to choose from! I
    buy 5 of each at a time for our
    five sponsored children.

  139. Wendy Funke
    Mar 31, 2009
    at 3:05 pm

    @Dwight

    I asked what could be done about losing your sponsor child once they leave the program and got this response back from Michele at Sponsor Donor Relations at Compassion via email:

    “We do offer a program where you can continue to write to your child,
    provided he or she stays in the Compassion area. Once your child has
    formally left the program, upon request we can send you our Continuing
    Correspondence form. You would fill out the information and return it to
    us. We would then forward it to your child, and it would be up to your
    child to respond. The form takes Compassion out of the correspondence
    loop and releases us from liability. Your letters to and from your child
    would not go through Compassion any more. No translation services would
    be provided.”

    So perhaps you should ask for this Continuing Correspondence Form? I’m assuming you’d be able to actually give your sponsor child your address by way of this form so they have the option of writing you after they leave the program.

  140. Mar 31, 2009
    at 4:18 pm

    Wendy, thanks for all that information! I can imagine the lack of translation services could be a stumbler.

  141. Apr 2, 2009
    at 10:36 pm

    So anyone from Louisiana? I’d love to connect with others from here for ideas and things.

  142. Tina Adams
    Apr 3, 2009
    at 8:11 am

    @Dyan

    Hi Dyan,

    I am from Louisiana! Near Baton Rouge. You should check out the “Where do you sponsor a child” blog, too. I found a fellow Louisianaian there, too.

    Tina

  143. Tina Adams
    Apr 3, 2009
    at 12:18 pm

    Hi everyone … I found these 2 ideas from a download I got from the Compassion Site. It’s part of many materials to promote Compassion Sunday. This particular download was “Family Sponsorship Ideas.”

    I thought it was good enough to share with everyone looking for letter writing ideas.

    Hope you enjoy!
    Tina Adams

    ****
    Teach your child through your letters.

    Your sponsored child and your own children can learn vital lessons together if you use your letters to teach your sponsored child about a variety of subjects. Short lessons on geography, animals, health, nutrition, history or places can open up a whole new world that your child may not be exposed to otherwise. Include coloring pages when possible to help reinforce the lessons you are sharing.

    Provide fun and educational inserts in letters.

    Brainstorm with your own children about ideas to make each letter special. For example, include stickers of insects with a short description of the insects’ names and where they can be found. Include postcards of famous landmarks in the United States and briefly describe their history. Provide a paper doll and include a different outfit in each letter — this is especially fun if you can find a paper doll that comes with costumes from various cultures. You can then provide facts about that culture in the letter.
    ****

  144. Apr 3, 2009
    at 12:18 pm

    @Dyan

    I’m from the New Orleans area. Where are you located?

  145. Wendy
    Apr 3, 2009
    at 2:32 pm

    Can someone please clarify for me exactly white sized envelope I can send to my sponsored child (Rwanda and Peru). I have previously been told nothing larger than what would fit in a stardard size envelope (9.5″ x 4″), however, I’ve seen posts where people are sending 8.5″ x 11″ calendars. I’ve also seen posts of people sending light weight scarfs…how is this being done and what are you packing these items in?? Can someone please clarify the mail restrictions for me? Much appreciate!

  146. Apr 3, 2009
    at 5:27 pm

    Generally, the rule of thumb is if it’s flat, less than 1/8″ thick, and can fit in an 8.5×11″ envelope is what I’ve been telling people at concerts, etc. What I’ve just re-discovered is that the official word is gifts must be paper-based.

    http://www.compassion.com/sponsordonor/connecting/tips-for-mailing-small-gifts.htm

  147. Dyan Johnson
    Apr 3, 2009
    at 9:34 pm

    I’m from Rayne, Louisiana. About 40 mins from Baton Rouge and a few hours from New Orleans.

  148. Apr 4, 2009
    at 10:50 am

    The list of allowable items was expanded, last year, and the 1/8″ thickness was also increased to 1/4″. I have a list with the rules we got as of last June (’08) in a .pdf file; I’m happy to send it on request. A click on my name takes you to my blog, whence you can e-mail me.

  149. Apr 4, 2009
    at 2:05 pm

    @Dyan Johnson – That’s so neat, Dyan! It’d be neat to be able to get together sometime. I’ll be in Baton Rouge at the River Center on the evening of April 17th, btw. (but I don’t know my way around well enough to decide to meet anywhere else, unless I can get a detailed map/directions! ha!)

  150. Apr 9, 2009
    at 7:51 am

    @Judith Tremblay – Wow that would have been awesome to get together. Unfortunately, I have a previous engagement that day. I did see one more sponsor who is from Baton Rouge…maybe she can help you with a map. Baton Rouge is a really pretty city you will enjoy it.

  151. Ramona S
    Apr 9, 2009
    at 7:15 pm

    Since almost everyone is sending coloring pages, I was thinking about making a little “coloring book” of some of Jesus’ miracles with a brief explanation of the miracles on the back of the pages. They can enjoy coloring while learning about Jesus.

  152. Ramona S
    Apr 9, 2009
    at 7:17 pm

    Also, I found a flat binder pouch at Target. I think it fits the dimensions and it might be useful to the kids, since they can put their things in there: pens, crayons, paper, etc.

  153. Dionne
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 8:27 am

    @Barbara M.

    We have sponsored children for many years, and we have not kept in touch with any of them after they left the program. We do, however, continue to pray for them. Several of them are most likely parents themselves now–at least that’s how I imagine them. I still left them up in prayer from time to time.

  154. Dionne
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 8:40 am

    If you haven’t gone to the Share Compassion portion of the website, yet, I encourage you to do so. All of you can see many more children sponsored through a Compassion Sunday. The details are at compassion.com.

    Lots of sposnsors read from their child’s letters aloud in church to encourage others to sponsor children. If you have children, you can also have them read the child’s letter aloud (age dependent).

    Isaiah 58: Speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves!

  155. Jan Woodford
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 9:24 am

    @Barbara M. -
    I recently got a “fill in the blank” letter from a new correspondent child in Ethiopia. He is 20, and due to graduate from the system next year, so i’d hoped to develope a relationship with him quickly, hoping to make a difference in that short time. Yes, i was disappointed in the fill in the blank letter, but I’m loading him with letters from my end, and pictures, picture postcards,stickers that might appeal to boys,sports related picture items. He’s heavily into soccer. He’s a challenge, that’s for sure, but I’m going to do all that I can in the short amount of time I will have with him. Sometimes letter writing to young people like this is a one sided conversation. The more I pray for him, the closer I feel to him, even though he doesn’t respond.

  156. Barbara M.
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 9:46 am

    Thank you Dionne for your comment about your contact with your sponsored children after they have left the program. I would be interested in hearing from others about this subject. KEES, you have many children. Have you kept in contact with any of them if they have left the program?

  157. Barbara M.
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 12:04 pm

    @Jan Woodford – “Fill in the blank” letters…….Thank you Jan for your comment. I think the thing that I struggle the most with is I want very much to be of help in some way to these children and when I receive a “fill in the blank” letter I almost feel like I am a bother to them. I at times wonder if they don’t feel somewhat annoyed that now they have to respond. I know that many children appreciate the letters but some…..I don’t know. Like you, I will just keep writing and praying for them.

  158. Apr 15, 2009
    at 12:45 pm

    I’m still fairly new to receiving letters, having only received two from a sponsored child, written by his parents, both expressing their gratitude at their child being sponsored, and one from a correspondence child which was like an introductory letter–telling me about her siblings, favorite activities, etc. I don’t know if this last one would fall into the category of a “form letter”–I’ll wait and see how her future letters are.

    But something I was reminded of, regarding letter writing in general–for many of these kids, writing letters is not something commonly done in their culture/community, so it may be a bit awkward for them. I would hope that the 20 year old would have had time to develop letter-writing skills during his time in the program, but I suppose it’s an individual thing, how easily they take to it. And our letters and our prayers are key, I believe, to letting the kids know how important they are to us and to God. I intend to keep writing over the years, no matter how infrequently I receive letters, and I hope to not get too discouraged if the letters never get much beyond form letters–with God’s help!

  159. Apr 15, 2009
    at 1:43 pm

    I know what a let-down some kids’ letters can be, especially when we’ve poured our hearts into writing our own letters to them.

    But for a few years, I taught English Composition courses (stop groaning!), and I can tell you that not everyone is comfortable with sitting down and writing even a letter, no matter how much they may love the intended recipient. Of my four sponsored girls, the one I have met three times sends the least substantive letters. She is now 10 years old. Maybe her letters will change, in time, maybe not.

    Our newest sponsored child has sent two form letters, so far, from Ethiopia. He is 9 years old, but not doing well in school. He not only waited a long time for a sponsor, but may well have been so malnourished, when he was younger, that his brain didn’t develop as it should have. I’m praying he’ll be able to catch up.

  160. Barbara M.
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 4:05 pm

    @Vicki Small – Vicki, I always enjoy your comments. I wonder what it is about Ethiopia? That is the country where most of my “form letters” are written. My other children seem to “take off” on their own and leave the form behind. What a treat when that happens. Plus Vicki, ever since you mentioned that you taught English composition I find myself always worrying now that I will form my sentences incorrectly. Silly me, because I know you are not reading all of our comments and then mentally correcting our errors. Please keep sharing your thoughts!

  161. Carrie Haddican
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 6:01 pm

    Thank you for all of the ideas! We just started sponsoring a child this month so I am excited to get started with the communications. I am confused though because I thought we could only send written things or photos because Compassion’s site says: Delivery and customs systems prohibit us from delivering packages to your sponsored child. Items that are not flat, not made of paper, or are larger than 8″ x 11″ and 1/8″ thick can be delayed in customs for weeks. Further, the risk of theft or loss of a package en route is high, and the duty charged by foreign governments often exceeds the value of the package.
    So, because it says items not made of paper can be a problem I am surprised to hear we can send scrunchies or some of the other items mentioned. I can see where stickers and cards are ok but are you sure that these other things actually make it to the child or are they taken out at the Compassion International office? Have you confirmed the are ok? I am so glad to finally be a part of sponsoring a child. I look forward to the experience; we feel blessed to be a part of it all. Thanks for clearing up my confusion.

  162. Jan Woodford
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 9:42 pm

    @Vicki Small
    Vicki, you’ve made some good points. I think that it would be good for us to remember that these children may be poorly nourished and that could affect their letter writing.

  163. Jan Woodford
    Apr 15, 2009
    at 9:51 pm

    @Tina Adams
    Tina, I like your ideas on things to send. Today a Raccoon ran across the road in front of me. When I went home I googled Raccoons and printed up pictures of raccoons to send to each child. I wrote a little basic information about the habits of Raccoons ( gathered from Google). It was something new to write about.

  164. Caitlin
    Apr 16, 2009
    at 1:39 pm

    @Vicki Small – (small voice)I liked English composition.

  165. Apr 16, 2009
    at 4:27 pm

    @Caitlin – :o) So where were you when I was teaching?!

  166. Caitlin
    Apr 16, 2009
    at 4:47 pm

    Oh you know, lol, lockers, trashcans, running, trying not to get beat up by the rest of the students! Developing all the skills scrawny little nerds must in order to live until graduation.

  167. Sara Benson
    Apr 16, 2009
    at 7:15 pm

    @Carrie Haddican
    Good point. If you ever have a question about a specific item, you can call Compassion and check (800-336-7676).

    I have not personally called and asked about all of the items that we have been talking about but I do know that the wording from the website is a little old.

    Vicky said..

    Originally Posted By Vicki SmallThe list of allowable items was expanded, last year, and the 1/8″ thickness was also increased to 1/4″. I have a list with the rules we got as of last June (’08) in a .pdf file; I’m happy to send it on request. A click on my name takes you to my blog, whence you can e-mail me.

    For example I had asked before if I could send ribbion to some of my girls and the Compassion rep said no, only paper items. BUt when I called a few months ago the rep said that it would be fine if I wrapped it around a card and it still was flat enough.

    The basic guidelines are:

    > no biger than 8.5 by 11
    > no thicker than 1/4 of an inch
    > no metal

    If something is not acceptable and has to be taken out, Compassion will let you know.

  168. Sara Benson
    Apr 16, 2009
    at 7:16 pm

    @Vicki Small
    Hi, Could you send me a copy of the revised attachments list?(fishterp7@hotmail.com)
    Thanks

  169. Apr 17, 2009
    at 8:18 am

    @Barbara M. – Barbara, I quit teaching in 2001 in order to work with my husband in our small business. You’re right: I do not read other people’s writing and mentally correct their mistakes! Thank you for making me point, tho’! :o)

  170. Hannah
    Apr 18, 2009
    at 8:13 pm

    About boys….
    I’m no expert, yet I do “teach” school-aged children and it just so happens that the majority of them (11 out of 15) are boys!
    The young gentlemen really enjoy things that MOVE! Paper airplanes might be nice – or those paper “helicopters” that spiral down to the ground. Stickers of things that move might work, too. Also… something I am hesitant to introduce to my “class” are those hopping paper frogs.

  171. Caitlin
    Apr 20, 2009
    at 8:02 am

    very good points! I also tracked down some of those foam airplanes I used to play with as a kid.

    So….I was thinking back to some of the simple things that entertained my brothers all throughout the ages, and the one consistent thing I came up with was rubberbands. Call me Crazy, but I find myself seriously tempted to send some. Has anybody tried rubber bands? Any feedback?

  172. Amy K.
    Apr 20, 2009
    at 8:47 am

    @Bob

    These are great ideas… but are they allowed? I’m new (again) to this and would love to send such clever ideas of little gifts, but I thought they had to be paper. Are you certain these items have gotten through?

    Thanks for the brilliant ideas!!

  173. Jan Woodford
    Apr 20, 2009
    at 9:53 am

    @Caitlin
    I, too, wonder if some of these ideas would be allowed. When i tried to send balloons to my Compassion kids I received a letter from Compassion telling me that it wasn’t allowed because Customs made it too expensive. Since then i’ve stuck to paper book marks, paper dolls, stickers, picture post cards, shaped memo pads, and photos of family members and our dogs.

  174. Caitlin
    Apr 20, 2009
    at 10:19 am

    The rules on the website are somewhat outdated. Confusing, I know! I am also semi-new to this, so I finally called compassion for some straightening out. Pretty much, so long as it is NOT metal and not perishable (like gum or seeds), and fits with in the 11″x8.5″x1/4″ size limits, you’re fine. If for some reason, something is a problem, they’ll let you know! I’ve sent rulers, ribbons, a 4″ wing span kite (pressed down flat), and other such items…so far none have come back, and they’ve been gone an awful long time (over 3 months on some). Some people have checked and been told they can send fabric and scarves, again, as long as it fits the dimensions.

  175. Jan Woodford
    Apr 20, 2009
    at 11:22 am

    Well, maybe I misunderstood what they were objecting to! I’d sent a bunch of different things. I just assumed that it was the balloons that they objected to, since they kept the envelope from laying completely flat. They didn’t say what the objection was.

  176. Apr 20, 2009
    at 1:49 pm

    I can’t speak to any customs-related issue with balloons, but we have been cautioned about those. Even if your sponsored child is old enough to keep from swallowing them, they may fall into the hands of a younger sibling, or other young child, who could end up choking on them.

  177. Caitlin
    Apr 20, 2009
    at 10:24 pm

    @Jan Woodford – Hey, just to clarify, because of the censor delay on these boards, I never saw your post! Please don’t take it as me scolding you, I was just sharing my new found info in response to Amy’s post (which was the only one I could see at the time) and anyone interested.

    As far as why the balloons didn’t go through, I have no clue, except maybe Vicki’s reason…and I was thinking this over later, maybe it varies from country to country as far as what can and can’t get through?

  178. Jan Woodford
    Apr 21, 2009
    at 8:02 am

    Caitlin, I didn’t take offence at all. What you said made sense. And, it may not have been the balloons. The letter that I got didn’t specify what the objection was, just that gifts other than paper wouldn’t be allowed because of the high customs. When i think about it, I believe that I was also sending sticks of gum, and of course, that would be considered perishable, so maybe that was the problem.
    I’m going to try sending hair ribbons to my girls. I’ve wanted to before, but didn’t think that they would be allowed.

  179. Caitlin
    Apr 21, 2009
    at 10:03 am

    Great. I sent hair ribbons to haiti and haven’t had it rejected yet.

  180. Anna
    Apr 23, 2009
    at 10:34 pm

    One thing I’ve been wondering: does every Compassion child have access to coloring pencils? I have some coloring pages to send, but I’m not sure my kids have pencils. Could I send them some, or are they too thick? Although I suppose there are coloring pencils at the Compassion center. The same question goes for scissors and glue, are they available to the kids? I’ve seen e.g. some cute animal mask kits, and I’d love to send some to my kids, but they require some or all of the abovementioned items.

    If anyone knows about this, I’d be very thankful for the information. :-)

  181. Apr 24, 2009
    at 7:00 am

    Here’s my input, for what it’s worth:

    Chances are they have some supplies at many projects. In promotional/informational videos (such as for Compassion Sunday), I’ve seen clips of children coloring.

    Also, when sponsor tours arrive in a country, one of the things on the packing list is supplies for the projects (particularly art supplies). Now, I haven’t been on a sponsor tour, but I’ve been reading up on them, since I’m planning/saving up for a trip in 2010.

    So, it’s likely they have access to colors/colored pencils, and possibly the rest also–depends on their initial supply and how quickly they use them! :)

  182. Apr 24, 2009
    at 8:29 am

    @Anna – Amy, you would not be able to send any of those items. They are among the kinds of things we take when we visit our kids, as the centers may not have enough of them. But no, you can’t mail them. Sorry!

  183. Jan Woodford
    Apr 24, 2009
    at 8:51 am

    Several of my children draw me color pictures. Some are drawn with felt tip pens, some with color pencils. So, they have those things. I don’t know about scissors, and when i send them something that needs to be cut out ( like a paper doll) I cut them out for them, just to be sure.

  184. Anouschka
    Apr 29, 2009
    at 3:56 am

    Hi! Really nice to read this!

    I have also a couple of ideas:

    1. Blanco notebooks, just with a wish or encouragement on the first page. They can use it for school or to drawn.

    2. Little paperbags in a nice color.

    3. My husband and I collected soccer stickers, after two months we got all the stickers of the album. We told our sponsorchild that we collected it specially for him and we send the whole book to him. He likes socces a lot, so we hope he is very happy :)

    4. Pictures!

  185. Linda T.
    Apr 30, 2009
    at 4:37 pm

    We have been sponsoring since our daughter was 13 (she just turned 28). Our first girl in Ecuador was the same age as my daughter, 13, she dropped out of the program at age 15. We got another girl, age 9 and sponsored her until she dropped out at age 16. We are now on our third Ecuadorian girl. She was 5 when we started with her, I think, and now she is 10. I do still think of the 2 girls that came before her, and pray for them. It’s hard to lose them and not hear from them again. But God’s supply of love is unlimited!

    The best thing I have sent is a scrapbooked alphabet book. I made and sent few pages at a time, the pages were 4 x 6, with holes punched in them. I sent ribbon to tie them together. For each letter, I attached a picture or sticker and printed the word in Spanish and in English. (I just typed “Spanish translation” on my search engine and you can find all sorts of free translation sites.) On the “D” page, I copied her Compassion photo and stuck it on and wrote D is for Daniela. I have also sent her a partially scrapbooked card along with stickers and ribbons so she could finish it herself.

    I am so excited to read all these fresh new ideas. After so many years of sponsoring, I have gotten into a rut. Why didn’t I ever think of paper dolls?!!?

  186. Amy K.
    Apr 30, 2009
    at 5:33 pm

    Here’s a situation I’d like to receive some insight on. I just received the intro packet and am stymied about what to say regarding my husband’s occupation. He is a military officer, but that may have some disturbing connotations in other countries. (Our child is in Tanzania.)

    Any thoughts on how to explain “occupation” in an appropriately sensitive and non-threatening way?

  187. Trish8399
    Apr 30, 2009
    at 7:19 pm

    @Anouschka

    I email and write letters to my 5 year old child in Peru. Her tutor usually sends a letter that she colors. I can’t wait until the day she can write to me on her own.

    I find it hard to know what to say to her at times because I don’t want her to feel bad. We have so much to do and have so many material things in the USA and I do not want to make her feel bad.

    I wish that we could send more than just a very small item to our children.

    I sent her paper dolls and clothes, and also found some small books in a book outlet store in Spanish. Bible Color pages and hair ribbons, balloons, kids-themed band aids and blank cards for her to draw on and give to friends are great.

    I want to send her more pictures, but find it hard when we have something nice in the background or are wearing something nice.

    This blog site is wonderful. Let’s keep it going so we give each other new ideas.

  188. May 1, 2009
    at 6:09 am

    @Amy K. – What is his particular job (MOS)? Can you word it in such a way that it’s softer? Like weatherman, or engineer…something it might translate to in the civilian world.

  189. Linda T.
    May 1, 2009
    at 11:04 am

    Does anybody still do x-stitch? Back when I first started sponsoring, I made a bookmark, doing counted x-stitch on paper made for that…. sounds like you could do it on cloth now. I x-stitched a heart and “God Loves Maria” in Spanish.

  190. Anna
    May 4, 2009
    at 11:15 am

    Thanks for the information on the coloring pencils, everybody! I’m going ahead and sending some coloring pages to my 4-year-old in Kenya. :-)

    Paper dolls are a great idea, and some craft stores sell sheets of those old-fashioned Victorian style paperdolls. They’re usually a bit more pricey, but the quality is great! I bought a set of Victorian bunny dolls for my other sponsor child, and I hope she loves them as much as I do – I almost feel like playing with them myself! :-D

  191. Rhonda
    May 4, 2009
    at 2:55 pm

    THANK YOU! We’ve sponsored a little girl in Ecuador for a year and a half. This Sunday we picked up two more kids, a girl (aged 12) in Indonesia and a boy (aged 10) in Bolivia. My husband and I were just talking about the letters we’ve received from our girl in Ecuador and how “form letter” they are. Only one has been colored on, and we responded how much we liked the picture, but it hasn’t happened again. Reading all these posts has given me great ideas for things to send (I primarily email my letters – that needs to change!) and has given me ideas for our new kids.

    THANK YOU!

  192. Jeanette
    May 4, 2009
    at 3:10 pm

    @Anna – I know that coloring and paint books are on the list of items we can send that is on the Compassion web site, so they must have crayons or pencils and watercolor paints, too.

  193. Jeanette
    May 4, 2009
    at 3:15 pm

    @Jan Woodford – I tried sticks of gum once and got it sent back so that was probably the problem.

  194. Sara Benson
    May 4, 2009
    at 4:16 pm

    @Linda T. – I really like your idea of the A,B,C books. Did you decide to follow the Spanish alphabet, or the English?

    I think I will start this for my Hispanic kids. Especially the younger ones.

  195. Sara Benson
    May 4, 2009
    at 7:00 pm

    @Rhonda – I sponsor in Ecuador too. If you want to email me(fishterp7@hotmail.com) I would love to chat about our kids.

    Sara

  196. Trish8399
    May 4, 2009
    at 7:40 pm

    I have sent colorful socks to my Yuditza in Peru and have never had them sent back to me. In fact, I did get a note from her tutor – because Yuditza is only 5 – that she loved them!

    I also went on the internet and searched for free printable paper dolls and ran them off on card stock paper. Yuditza colored them and plays with them all the time.

    One other thing that she loves is balloons!!! Happy Birthday or any other decorative ones that she can blow up – latex ones..not the mylar.

  197. sandy and jeff
    May 5, 2009
    at 3:37 am

    i have sent small plastic stencils, and no rejection. in fact my girl was very happy when thanking me so i know she got it.

    also, i have found 5×7 stationary and matching envelopes in a bag at the dollar store…i told her she didn’t have to write to me on it, just to do what she wants with it.

    we exchange recipies.

    i sent $ for her to buy a camera to send me photos, since they don’t have camera’s usually.

    we can also send foam cut outs or sheets of foam, that they can cut out..look at walmart crafts.

    i try to send a letter with at least stickers every sat…on payday, i go to the 4 store and buy what i can afford,,i keep it in a box and have so much fun, sending it it only takes a stamp to colorado for us…..and the happiness the child gets is so wonderful…

    i even got the activity papers from burger king and sent alot of them and told her to share with the other kids

  198. Jeanette
    May 5, 2009
    at 11:18 am

    I looked on Amazon and found some paper dolls that are in African coustumes. I also found an ABC workbook in Ahmaric which is too big to send, but I can send a few pages at a time. I also found a small book for younger children in Ahmaric. Ther wasn’t really anything appropriate for older children.

  199. Caitlin
    May 5, 2009
    at 12:11 pm

    @Trish8399 – I’m so glad you’ve already experimented sending socks! I am in the process of sending a few socks myself, and I was really crossing my fingers that they wouldn’t come back. I noticed in a majority of the pictures of girls from Haiti, the girls wear bobby socks with lace on them, so when they were selling those socks during Easter, I took a risk on sending them!

  200. Dyan Johnson
    May 5, 2009
    at 3:16 pm

    These are all great ideas. I have made the handmade friendship bracelets out of the floss string to send and also ones that were beaded..with the beaded bracelets I didn’t put a clasp on it..I left it so it could be tied. I’ve also sent puppets, coloring books, an all plastic pencil holder. Keep the ideas coming guys.

  201. Amy K.
    May 5, 2009
    at 6:37 pm

    Caitlin, would you please keep us posted on what does or doesn’t happen with the socks? I’d love to send some as well if it works!!!

    And Dyan or other creative types: does anyone have a tutorial to remind me how to make the string friendship bracelets? My junior high memories aren’t strong enough to pull that up… LOL.

    Originally Posted By Caitlin@Trish8399 – I’m so glad you’ve already experimented sending socks! I am in the process of sending a few socks myself, and I was really crossing my fingers that they wouldn’t come back. I noticed in a majority of the pictures of girls from Haiti, the girls wear bobby socks with lace on them, so when they were selling those socks during Easter, I took a risk on sending them!

  202. Curtis
    May 5, 2009
    at 8:25 pm

    Odd question from a first-time sponsor:

    The introductory stationary form has a line for occupation. I am a computer network/server administrator. This just seems to be an overly complicated concept for a 6-year-old in Uganda. Any ideas on a simplified thing to put for occupation?

  203. May 6, 2009
    at 6:15 am

    @Curtis – Why don’t you just put “computers” or “computer work”? I’ve seen more often in profiles that students are receiving technology education, so it’s possible she knows what a computer is. And she’s 6, as you say…that’s about as far as she’ll understand. :) Good question, though!

  204. Jan Woodford
    May 6, 2009
    at 7:43 am

    @Curtis – Curtis, That’s a good question, but I’d guess that your child might know what computers are. I know that my girls in India are taking classes in computer, and I believe that my girl in Indonesia is, too. Maybe you could just say that you work with computers.

  205. trish8399
    May 6, 2009
    at 12:29 pm

    I have sent socks to my girl in Peru many times and they have never been returned.

    She has written thank yous for them – so I know she received them.

  206. Carrie Haddican
    May 6, 2009
    at 1:37 pm

    Hi,
    I have a question about the socks you send. Do you separate them and smash them in between something to keep them within the dimension requirements? I would think they would be too thick to send, especially with ribbons and if you keep them together. I look forward to hearing how you send them.
    Thank you in advance for your help.

  207. trish8399
    May 6, 2009
    at 2:13 pm

    One more thing…

    I make labels on the computer that have my Yuditza’s name on them with a flower or smiley faces, etc. She loves them also. They are a personalized gift!

  208. trish8399
    May 6, 2009
    at 2:14 pm

    @Carrie Haddican

    I send simple socks within the letter that I send.

    They are not heavy knit socks.

  209. Carmen
    May 6, 2009
    at 3:50 pm

    I sponsor little Joy (9) in a rural, coastal part of the Philippines. She often draws pictures and writes out the English words for me and writes Bible verses in English. She studies English and Tagalog in school, but also speaks a regional language. I have studied linguistics and languages a bit, and I wanted to learn more about Joy’s native language. I had to do some digging, but I eventually found an online dictionary with her (somewhat obscure) regional language, Waray-waray. I also found that my university library has exactly two books dealing with the language! After studying her letters and these resources, I figured out how to write a few phrases, like “We are friends” and “I love you” and she was so surprised and overwhelmed that I had written something in her family’s own language (not the national language). I have asked her to please teach me some other words in her language. I hope that this makes her feel like the local culture of her faimly and friends is important to me. She is always thanking me for teaching her things, so I want her to know that I value the chance to learn from her as well. :-)

  210. Curtis
    May 6, 2009
    at 5:01 pm

    @Jan Woodford and @Judith Tremblay – Thank you for your comments. It is encouraging to hear that children are getting technology education in at least some of the cases (if not possibly all the Compassion countries). I was pretty sure he would know what a computer is, but I indeed was thinking that being so specific as to say something like ‘network administrator’ would mean nothing at all at that age (I even find that many adults I know don’t understand what I do until I give them a long explanation). It sounds like I’d be right to not be so specific. “Computer Work” seems to be a winner here to me. Thanks!

  211. Veronika C
    May 6, 2009
    at 6:13 pm

    @Christi – Christi, I know this is off the thread topic, but I just wanted to comment: Your daughter needs to consider that closing a program for mismanagement is probably a good thing. I know even Compassion has had to do this a time or 2, and it’s done with much deliberation and many attempts to make things right, first. YES, it is very difficult on all sides involved, but they wouldn’t want to support a program that is mismanaged, either. It’s questionable, after all, how much benefit the children will be receiving. Above all, remember, God sees it all and is still in charge.

  212. May 6, 2009
    at 6:45 pm

    I agree with Veronika, but will add that, if that very difficult decision to shut down a project is made, Compassion allows for a final letter. At least, I presume that’s possible, when a project is being shut down; I know it is, when I child leaves the program.

    Wess Stafford told us at a conference, not many years ago, that there was a time, before he was named the president, when the entire operation had to be closed in one country. Money sent to that country–and from the country office to the projects–had not been handled with integrity. Compassion had tried to work with them, but in the end, integrity demanded that the work be shut down in that country. It was later re-opened with different folks running it.

  213. Jeanette
    May 6, 2009
    at 7:21 pm

    @Veronika C – The fact that Compassion does such a good job with oversight and making sure the projects are not mismanaged is why I have been using them for over 20 years.

  214. sandy and jeff
    May 7, 2009
    at 2:02 am

    in the walmart crafts, i found a small box that was a photo album making kit..it was a small foam cover, had about 8 plastic sheets for the photos and 6 sheets of foam cut outs,,,,,i took it out of the box and it mashed flat enough to fit in the envelope..was on the clearance rack for $4….it did have two metal rivets to bind,,,,so i took them out and replaced with ribbon…

    a folder that kids use in school , with 2 pockets in it to carry papers. it was about 2 inches too big for the manilla envelope, but it worked great to fold the two edges,,i had plenty of room in the pockets to put pretty computer paper and some scrapbook cutouts in it…these folders come in such pretty designs and so cheap.

  215. sandy and jeff
    May 7, 2009
    at 2:09 am

    @Carmen – carmen,,,what town and what center is Joy from…..
    i have a girl in iloilo city and bacolod city….i chose them because i had been there a few years ago visiting my fiance and his family….my kids and i are working on tagalog because there are over 80 different languages there,,,my friends all speak visyan and tagalog…and my 2 sponsored girls both speak hilyganon and tagalog…….since you are so interested in Joy’s life, i’d love to keep in touch with you. sandy

  216. sandy and jeff
    May 7, 2009
    at 2:13 am

    @Carrie Haddican – it is best to put things that can seperate, in a ziploc baggie and you can just put a sticker on it or a small paper inside with her name and #

  217. Linda T.
    May 7, 2009
    at 9:05 am

    @Sara Benson

    It does get complicated, doesn’t it? :-) It’s been awhile, but I think I went with the Spanish word first. For instance: “C is for Caballo” and then I also printed “horse” on the page.
    I left out the few that are not in our alphabet.

  218. Linda T.
    May 7, 2009
    at 9:10 am

    @Trish8399

    That’s a great idea! I went to 2 different stores the other day and didn’t find any paper dolls. So printing off my own might be a great solution.

  219. Terese
    May 7, 2009
    at 1:49 pm

    Thanks for all the great ideas for gift enclosures! I have written many of them down.

    I just made simple construction paper and ribbon “books” for each of our kids. We put their photo (color-printed off the internet) on the cover and wrote simple stories inside based on what we knew about each child.

    I will check back for more ideas!

    Terese

  220. [...] 1. I’ve got a lot of interesting ideas about how to write interesting letters to my child (and how not to get discouraged should I get a child who doesn’t warm up to me right away) from here. [...]

  221. Carmen
    May 7, 2009
    at 10:01 pm

    Hi Sandy,

    Joy is from Payao, which is on the western coast of Samar, south of Calbayog City. Her father is a fisherman. She is a very sweet girl; the only girl in her family and calls me her “sister.” :-) I hope that I can visit her someday. I think that is wonderful that you are learning Tagalog. There are a lot of resources out there for that; unfortunately not as many for the less common languages!

    thanks for the response, and I would enjoy hearing about your two sponsored girls as well.–Carmen

  222. Jan Woodford
    May 8, 2009
    at 11:53 am

    This is so exciting! I have just added two new Correspondence children. One is in ID243, which is a match with Lisa R’s. The first match I’ve found! The other one is in EI416, which is near Carol’s EI415 on the map. Both of my new children are girls. ID 243 is 10 years old, and EI416 is 12. The Indonesia girl will have a birthday in June, so I’ve sent off a quick birthday card and present, although it probably won’t get to her in time. I also see that each child is near another child that I sponsor or correspond with, although not in the same projects. Lisa R., and Carol, I’ve put my email address on the spread sheet, and i’d love to hear about your children.
    Jan Woodford

  223. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 12:13 pm

    It is very hard for me to think of things to say to my 4 1/2 year old. I have a gandson that age and there comprehension is pretty limited. She is new, so I have gone through my family members and my pets. I even told her about Mother’s Day and said maybe she could do something special for her mamma.
    Got any suggestions? I’m not looking for things to put in the letters, that is easy.

  224. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 12:14 pm

    @Jan Woodford -When did you request them? I still haven’t gotten mine.

  225. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 12:17 pm

    @Terese – How did you manage to copy their photo? they won’t let you copy and paste it so it is either tiny or if I tr to enlarge it it is way out of focus.

  226. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 12:17 pm

    @Jeanette – I mean print their photo.

  227. Jan Woodford
    May 8, 2009
    at 1:31 pm

    @Jeanette – Jeanette, I requested my children quite while ago, and I’ve bugged them a little since then. It seems like I’ve been waiting forever, though.

  228. Jan Woodford
    May 8, 2009
    at 1:33 pm

    @Jeanette – Jeanette, maybe you could tell your 4 1/2 year old little stories about your childhood:visiting your grandparents, pets you had, etc.

  229. Terese
    May 8, 2009
    at 1:35 pm

    @Jeanette

    Jeanette:

    I used a color printer to print off the small (roughly 2″ x 3″) photo that we get under “Child Information.” I put that and the child’s name on the cover.

    Then I googled up pictures of activities that each child likes and wrote a very simple story (1 sentence per page plus picture). I hope they like them!

  230. Caitlin
    May 8, 2009
    at 2:11 pm

    @Jeanette – When you first get a pack in the male, it comes with a letter with a close up picture of them. I scanned that letter, then cropped out the letter so it was just the picture and saved the picture to my computer. It’s not as complicated as it sounds. Afterward, I used the picture and some construction paper, put it in a frame, explained mother’s day in a letter, and told my kid to finish decorating the frame and give it to her mom. Just and idea

    As for the corresponding with younger kids, I was baffled at first with my 5 yo, so I went to church and spent some research time in Childrens Church with the five year olds there…what I came to realize, is that no 5 yo is going to find interest in a written letter for long. I found some interesting cards at Michaels that when folded look like a farm animal’s face, and they’re kinda small, which is about the attention span of a 5 year old. I write him really short letters like, “I’m praying for you today. My favorite color is purple, what’s yours?” and “I was looking at the clouds today and saw one that looked like a tree, isn’t it interesting how clouds can do that?” SHort exchanges that I send often, so he knows I am thinking of him, but I’m not going to bore him, and the little cards are interesting to look at. Beyond that, I learned in children’s church the value of pictures! It seems immature, but…so are five year olds. I break out my construction paper and markers and draw him a picture from time to time, and use that as conversation, too, “I drew this picture of a bird…now, birds don’t have stars on their feathers usually, but I think it would be pretty if they did…if you could design an animal what would it look like?” Another time, I traced my hand and then decorated the hand with doodles, the accompanying letter explained that while my hand doesn’t really have spirals and polka dots on it, I do have finger prints, and so does he. And into a short explanation about how God makes us all unique because he loves us enough to make us different.

    I think that drawings, postcards and photos might be more inclusive to the younger kids, because they have something that they can see without having it being read to them, and then you can include some short letter that can be read to them, so a relationship is being developed also.

    Also, maybe try telling tell her about how you day goes (In the morning I wash my face and brush my teeth, and then I water the garden…), or your favorite places to walk the dog… I hope something here is inspiring. Like I said, I’ve also been punting, but these descriptives and photos are what I’ve been leaning on recently.

  231. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 3:21 pm

    @Caitlin – Thank you, that is very helpful. I don’t have a problem with finding things to send, but I don’t do that as often as I would like, so I try to email her every few weeks. But those are some great ideas for what to write about.

  232. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 3:23 pm

    @Caitlin – I forgot, I lost my most recent photo of her. I need to find it.

  233. May 8, 2009
    at 4:29 pm

    Jeanette, you can always get more copies of your sponsored child’s photo from Compassion. Just call 1-800-336-7676 and give them your child’s name and number, and tell them how many you would like.

  234. Jeanette
    May 8, 2009
    at 5:16 pm

    I found it! Emebet’s picture. It was in a very sad letter telling me that her mother has passed away. Naturally I didn’t tell her about Mother’s Day. I’ll have to wait for Father’s Day. She is my 12 year old, but I know she would still love something with her photo on it.

  235. pastorprakash
    May 9, 2009
    at 1:21 am

    can i write an email to my child and get back replay through e mail from the project. bcz i dont want get replay late

  236. May 9, 2009
    at 8:15 am

    @pastorprakash – No, your letters from your child will come to you just as they have, before.

  237. Caitlin
    May 9, 2009
    at 10:21 am

    Nope, no e-mail replies yet. Currently, the e-mails you write don’t reach the child as e-mails, but typed letters.

  238. Jeanette
    May 9, 2009
    at 11:56 am

    @pastorprakash – No, they don’t have access to email, it goes to the countries head off ic and goes as a letter from there.

  239. Kimberly Paredes
    May 9, 2009
    at 8:26 pm

    I just love all these ideas!

    I made a cross out of cardboard, painted it pink with purple Asters and my child’s name “Aster” on the front. On the back I wrote a short “I love you” message. It turned out really cute. I hope she likes it.

  240. May 10, 2009
    at 2:52 am

    Kimberly, that sounds SO pretty. I’m sure she’ll adore it.

  241. Dyan
    May 10, 2009
    at 3:01 pm

    @Amy K. -Buy embroidery thread, sometimes called embroidery floss, at a craft or sewing store. Embroidery floss is thicker than normal sewing thread, and comes in many colors. You must have more than one color to create a striped effect. The more colors you choose, the wider the bracelet will be.
    Take the first color and wrap it around your wrist 2 times,or from your elbow to your finger tips(More accurate!). The length you now have is the correct fit for your wrist, but if you use more string than this it makes it easier to keep going at the end of the bracelet.
    Cut a piece this length from each of the other colors.
    Tie a knot at the top.
    the far left string and make a forward knot.# Pull the first string through the “opening” in the four and then pull it up and tighten to make a knot. Repeat this step again on the same string.
    Pull the first string over to the right and repeat the steps above, but using the next string in each case.
    Work this way for all the strings to complete the first row of all the same color horizontally.
    Start the next row using the string to the far left (green).
    Repeat all the steps until you have the row finished.
    Keep going until the bracelet is long enough to fit around your wrist comfortably. To make sure it fits well, try it on your wrist, there should be enough extra room that you can fit about 2 fingers in next to your wrist, since the bracelet can shrink in water and become too tight (although it will stretch back out when dry).
    Tie the loose ends of your fitted bracelet with a square knot, just like how you started the bracelet.
    Tie the bracelet onto your wrist (or your friend’s) at the right length with a knot, like the first part of tying a shoelace, but do it twice – this is a square knot. It helps if you can get someone to help you here, but it can be done alone.
    Trim any loose ends. You can also add charms or beads to the ends for decoration, simply slip them on the floss and tie a knot beneath them.

  242. Jeanette
    May 10, 2009
    at 8:24 pm

    I just remembered another idea for a card. I bought one that plays music. It was an easter card and it played somewhere over the rainbow. I think she will really like that.

  243. sandy and jeff
    May 10, 2009
    at 10:18 pm

    Originally Posted By Sara Benson

    Originally Posted By ChristiDo you think a 9 year old could handle a quilt block? …. if I do send quilt blocks – how could I send the backing?

    I do think that a nine year old could handle a simple quilt block or sewing project. I started learning when I was about that age.

    I was thinking about the needles and other things that would be nice to have. Maybe you could send a child gift and ask specifically that they buy a nice sewing kit for your child. That way you could send the fabric and patters/ideas and the kids would have everything else that they need.

    As for backing either it can be bought with the special gift, or sheets can be used. But maybe a smaller project would be better.

    Btw. I just called Compassion and the rep said that fabric should be fine as long as it fits within the regular guidelines.

    i read this and asked compassion, the lady said to send a quilt square or two but also send the cutout of backing at the same time, it will be like a puzzle waiting for the next letter to add to it……as for the needle, she said most of these people have to sew their own clothes anyway and they will probably have a needle….she also said that the reason they say paper items only is that at the post office in the other country, if they like what they see, they will steal it from the letter, items like this and socks……….and i know for sure this is true in the philippines,,,in manilla,,they help themselves to the mail and tape it back up and send it,,,my fiance and friends are there and thats what happens alot…sandy

  244. sandy and jeff
    May 10, 2009
    at 10:24 pm

    Originally Posted By ChristiRamona, did you say where you found the thin photo book? I’d like to find one.
    I saw a small scrap book a few years ago….but that would require glue and stuff.

    Let us know where you found it! Thanks!
    An d thanks for your ideas

    i found a foam photo album at walmart in a box, it was boxed for a child’s craft..inside it had the album cover that shut with velcro and 4 sheets of foam that had some shapes cut into it so the kid can punch them out. it also had some stick on beads and glitter glue..i just too the latter two out and added photos of my family and it fit in a 5 by 7 manilla envelope..the kit was on clearance for 4.oo……….if i can’t find more, i’ll just cut some out of a sheet of foam myself, also sold in walmart crafts. sandy

  245. pastorprakash
    May 11, 2009
    at 7:27 am

    It means that no sponsored children will never allow to contact sponsors?

  246. May 11, 2009
    at 8:29 am

    Hi, still rather new here. But I hope you all keep going with the ideas. I can’t wait to use them! I’m expecting my packet to arrive within the week. But I was so excited about writing my child, I already wrote an email. And I’ve printed off every single suggestion in this post, lol! This was a great idea!

  247. Jan Woodford
    May 11, 2009
    at 9:44 am

    @sandy and jeff – I am wondering if the child will tell me if I mention something I am sending them in the mail, and it doesn’t arrive? I love the idea of sending socks, handkerchiefs, ribbons in the mail, and I mention that I’m sending them. But will the child feel uncomfortable about telling me that there was nothing in the envelope?

  248. Caitlin
    May 11, 2009
    at 10:36 am

    @pastorprakash – I’m not sure, maybe I misunderstood your question. The children, for now, cannot contact you by e-mail, but they can write you by paper letters.

  249. Caitlin
    May 11, 2009
    at 11:08 am

    @Jan Woodford – I wonder about the same thing. Also, I don’t like the idea of my kids finding out that they almost had something they would’ve enjoyed, but it didn’t make it. It’s just a bummer. I don’t know if my strategy works, but until I find out otherwise this is what I do with items I’m not sure will make it. I don’t mention the item in the main letter. If I want to comment on what I sent, like “These are things i played with as a kid” or something, I send that comment on a separate sheet of paper, along with a note to the staff at the top of it saying that if the items do not make it through, please pull this note out.

  250. Valerie Long
    May 11, 2009
    at 11:26 am

    @Caitlin – Caitlin, that is such a great idea for the younger children! My youngest ones are 6 but that’s still such a great idea. I think I will have to borrow that idea and send more cards and pictures. :)

    This thread is *SO* helpful for getting new ideas. :) My children range from 6 to 13 so there’s a wide range of comprehension levels there. It’s always helpful to find ways to distinguish stuff for the little ones!

  251. Jan Woodford
    May 11, 2009
    at 2:52 pm

    @Dyan – Dyan, thanks for the instructions on making friendship bracelets. I didn’t know how, either, and I’m going to try it.

  252. sandy and jeff
    May 12, 2009
    at 1:54 am

    @Jan Woodford – jan……….i called compassion and asked how this works….she said that some things are removed in colorado, if inappropriate or size is wrong, or metal…if it is mentioned in the letter, the person who opens the mail,,will use a black marker and mark it out, then in the country when the teacher is translating the letter, the blacked out parts are just left out, so the child will never know if you sent something that was removed, whether by compassion or by being stolen in the other country p.o.

    these kids are so greatful to get the slightest gift, that don’t worry, they will thank you for what they get, and you’ll know.. if something is removed by compassion, in colorado, they will send you a letter immediately telling you why and that they donated it to charity.

    i sent hair clips on a cardboard once, thinking it was almost flat, and i got the letter from them, i had also sent a letter telling the girl i was sending it and she never mentioned it to me.

  253. sandy and jeff
    May 12, 2009
    at 2:14 am

    @Carmen – my daughter kimber has a 5 year old that is in cebu city, closer to your girl…my two are on the other side. they are 15 and 18..

    .i got some tapes of tagalog from the library and kept them for over a month and didn’t learn a thing…haha….they talk too fast..and letters are pronounce so different that ours.. and they say we don’t speak english, but , american slang, because they are taught “real english” in school..ex, o is pronounced e.
    when i can afford it, i’m going to get the “rosetta stone” tapes, but its over $250…what website did you find the language on?

    let me know if you ever plan to go to the philippines…i wanted to this june but its over $5,000.oo. when i went myself, it was only $1,000.oo ticket and $300.oo spending $….

  254. sandy and jeff
    May 12, 2009
    at 2:21 am

    musical cards are allowed to be sent…and also the cards that you can record your own message, the latter costs about $25. but how awsome for us to be able to talk to the child, for them to here our voice,,i even thought about sending them a blank one, have them record a message and send it back

  255. Jan Woodford
    May 12, 2009
    at 10:15 am

    @sandy and jeff – Thanks for checking into this, Sandy and Jeff.

  256. Dwight
    May 12, 2009
    at 12:16 pm

    sandy and jeff
    After my first visit to the Philippines I purchased Rosetta stone. When I went back I found it really did not help. They speak better English then I can speak Tagalog. But if your child is from Cebu they will not speak tagalong as a first language. I have sponsored 3 kids and they speak 3 different languages, plus Tagalog and English.
    I found the best thing was to learn a greeting or Two, unless you have Filipino friends at your church you can practice with. I have Filipino friends at church but it takes a lot of work to practice.

    Maligayang pagbati galirig sa Chicago (greetings from Chicago…)
    Maayong pagbati gikan sa Chicago (greetings from Chicago…)
    Magandang araw sayo, have a good day
    Mabuhay – greetings

    One thing to remember is that the Philippines have many different languages so your child may not speak the same language as my sponsored children. One of the older children I sponsor is teaching me some of her language…maybe ask them to teach you something and use it in future letters.

    Older Children read and write English and it’s a great help to them that we write in English. Our letters help them with grammar. The educated top class speaks English almost as a first language. The church we visited in Manila has services in perfect English. That church reaches out to the educated class.

  257. pastorprakash
    May 13, 2009
    at 12:14 am

    most of the children don’t know .what to call their sponsors. So when ever you write letters to you child . please tell them what should they call you. Aunt / uncle/ or name brother/ sister/etc

  258. pastorprakash
    May 13, 2009
    at 12:17 am

    in many places name is confused. the children don’t understand that the sponsor is male or female. It is also help them to understand you gender.

  259. May 13, 2009
    at 7:08 am

    @pastorprakash – Thank you for your comment. I had noticed that my sponsored child in Indonesia had called me “papa” even though I am female. My cousin was in the country about 4 months after I had sponsored him, and I found out that by that point he hadn’t gotten my first letter yet, or the profile/picture I had sent of myself. I’ll see if they recognize that I’m female from her visit and delivery of a photo album…if they automatically switch titles for me. If their next letter still calls me papa, I might suggest a new term.

  260. Kristen
    May 13, 2009
    at 8:42 am

    I just had something very interesting happen! I have 1 sponsored child and 2 correspondence children. I just logged onto my account and noticed one of my correspondence children was gone! I called Compassion in a panic and was told that his sponsor had decided that they would like to start writing to him! I just started the correspondence in late March and have sent 4 or 5 letters to him but haven’t heard from him yet. I am happy to hear that his sponsor has been moved to write to him. I feared that they had stopped their sponsorship. I am sad to lose the little boy but hadn’t heard from him yet and hadn’t formed a huge attachment. I am now in the market for a new correspondence child! Oh the waiting…

  261. Dwight
    May 13, 2009
    at 11:20 am

    Pastor prakash
    Thank you for the advice about what the children should call us. Culturally it is hard for me to tell them what to call us. So you think it is ok to have the children call us Aunt / Uncle even though we are not really related? This will not offend the parents or caretakers if they do not have parents. What do the parents think of us if we ask them to call us Aunt / Uncle or mother of father?

  262. May 13, 2009
    at 11:26 am

    I’m surprised you hadn’t been notified, but you probably have a letter coming, soon. That’ll teach you to go into your account! :o)

  263. Caitlin
    May 13, 2009
    at 12:15 pm

    @Kristen – Sad to lose a correspondence, but how awesome for the child! Maybe his sponsor’s been reading the blog. I hope the sponsor keeps it up!

  264. Kristen
    May 13, 2009
    at 1:15 pm

    @Caitlin – I thought that, too – maybe the sponsor was inspired by these blogs and realized how important letter writing is. Whatever the reason I’m glad they have stepped up and I’m glad it wasn’t a child that I had established a relationship with! I do have a bookmark with his name on it that I made and haven’t sent yet. I think I’ll send it off to Colorado Springs and see if they’ll send it on to him with a farewell letter.

  265. Joyce
    May 13, 2009
    at 1:28 pm

    The girl we sponsored in India always called me Aunty Joyce. I know that is common in many Asian cultures. But can anyone tell me what would be customary in Haiti or Colombia? Our sponsored children there always write our full first and last names in their salutations. I would like to suggest something less formal to them, and I want to it to be culturally appropriate.

  266. May 13, 2009
    at 2:22 pm

    @Kristen – I’m a bit surprised that they’d give the privilege of writing back to a sponsor. Whenever I had talked to Compassion reps about the correspondence program, I asked what would happen if the sponsor decided to start writing again–I was given the impression they didn’t have that option; that Compassion got permission to assign a correspondent for the child and that was it.

    Weird.

    Glad that the sponsor is getting on the ball in writing, but potentially confusing for the child…

  267. Kristen
    May 13, 2009
    at 3:21 pm

    @Judith Tremblay – I too worried that he would be confused or frustrated by the switch. He is 9 so hopefully old enough to understand. The Compassion rep told me that the sponsor always has the option of deciding to start writing. I experienced something similar with a gift sent by the sponsor to one of my correspondent children. Compassion told me they would never turn down a gift from a sponsor. I appreciate wanting to get the money to the child regardless of where it came from but I also worried that this might be confusing for the child. I also plan on sending birthday and Christmas/family gifts to my correspondence children and wonder about the limits they put on how much you can send. If both the sponsor and I are sending money might the child/family go over the limit? The rep I spoke to didn’t seem to worried about it.

  268. Kristen
    May 13, 2009
    at 3:23 pm

    On a different note, I have some Disney Princess paper dolls that I would like to send to a little girl in Ethiopia but I know very little about their culture. These dolls are in some sort of slip and they have dresses to put on but some are low cut or strapless and Jasmine (from Aladdin) has a lot of bare midriff outfits. Are these appropriate to send? Anyone have experience with Ethiopian norms?

  269. LeeAnn
    May 13, 2009
    at 3:48 pm

    COLORING BOOKS for OLDER kids:

    There are two artists that I know of who make intricate coloring books for older children and adults. One is Marty Noble & the other is Ruth Heller. Marty has one that is of The Nativity. Some are just elaborate designs, while others are animals, ocean life, insects, etc. Older kids LOVE them! Even adults. You can get them at Barnes & Noble but the best place is Amazon, their selection is huge. These books cost about $6 each.

  270. May 13, 2009
    at 4:48 pm

    @LeeAnn – LeeAnn, thank you so much for this information! My husband, especially, loves to color as a means of relaxing, when he’s been working hard. Of course, I realize we’re talking about things to send to our sponsored children, and I will make use of some of these for ours.

  271. Rebecca
    May 13, 2009
    at 5:45 pm

    Does everything you send have to be paper? What if i can find items that are still flat and thin? Would those be okay if they were made from plastic, fabric, foam, or felt? I’m running out of “paper” stuff to send.

  272. May 13, 2009
    at 7:13 pm

    @Rebecca – Rebecca, click on my name; that will take you to my blog, and from there you can e-mail me. I will reply with a list of things you can send, and the 2008 update in guidelines. Not everything that’s flat can go.

  273. Jan Woodford
    May 13, 2009
    at 8:13 pm

    @Kristen – Kristen, I worried about these things, too, but it hasn’t been a problem. For instance, my little correspondent boy in Tanzania wrote and thanked us for the gift last year, and sent a picture of him wearing the new clothes he got with it. ( he looked so cute). The thing is, I hadn’t sent it that time, so it must have been his sponsor. I do send him gifts, and family gifts, but I know this wasn’t one of them. On several occasions Compassion representatives have told me that, as far as the child is concerned, I am his sponsor! If this seems deceptive to you, it does to me, too. But, I think it would be too hard to explain to the child. So I just told him how smart he looked in his new cloths. That is the only time that has happened. If you call the Compassion office, they will tell you if the child has received recent presents from his sponsor. I have done this several time with my correspondent children, because I want to be sure that they get something tangible for their birthdays. It means so much to the children, both financially, and as a token of love.

  274. sandy and jeff
    May 14, 2009
    at 12:27 am

    i called the office today to see if they had any correspondence kids for me yet after seeing here that folks are getting them now…and i asked alot of questions about my girls..found out that i am the 3rd sponsor for one girl , just in the last 8 years and the 4th for the other girl in 9 years…wow…
    i feel so bad for them forming a relationship with someone for so long then having to start all over…that may be why some people are getting letters that are so impersonal and all our questions not answered..
    i think it would be so heartbreaking for that to happen to a child..

    does anyone out there know this about their child? just makes me strive more to reassure them that i will be there but they may be withdrawn because of the past dissappointments..sandy

  275. sandy and jeff
    May 14, 2009
    at 12:39 am

    rebecca,,,,everything you just mentioned is ok,as long as what is inside the envelope doesn’t measure more than 1/4 inch…….

    i just called the office today to ask about plastic..i did send a 4inch plastic stencil once and she got it, but today i was wondering about tiny photo frames, address books, photo albums and craft kits…

    i found a box of all these things at the goodwill store today, all new. it looked like maybe a bible school left overs….

    anyway the REAL problem is that when the mail gets to the other country…the postal workers will take out what they want and send the letter!!!!! it has really happened to me, because i send so much mail to the philippines over the last 7 years…and alot of stuff has been removed and i don’t just mean compassion mail..i was mailing to a fiance and friends..the comp. office will tell you the same thing is possible.. sandy

  276. sandy and jeff
    May 14, 2009
    at 3:19 am

    @Dwight – is Mabuhay , tagalog, i think my friend taught me that?

    i’m also puzzled about all the questions as to what the child calls us…what is wrong with just using our name???

    but actually, when i went to the philippines, as we entered the first home, thru the gate, i heard a tot yelling, “tita sandy, tita sandy, she’s here..haha….i asked my friend what thats all about, she said it means aunt or mam, she said its the same as using mr. or mrs. in the usa. just respect for an adult………and tito, means uncle or mr. every home i went into, even on different islands, the same happened with children, before they even saw me, they were so excited for visitors.

    do you want to sell your tagalog tapes? sandy

  277. pastorprakash
    May 14, 2009
    at 4:28 am

    What i mean is. if u tell your child that who you are by gender, then they can call you according to their culture. if you dont want to hear’aunty or uncle” you can advise them to call by your name.
    But if the child dont know his/her sponsor is a female or a male. then what they call you. only the name.

  278. May 14, 2009
    at 11:00 am

    Originally Posted By sandy and jeffrebecca,,,,everything you just mentioned is ok,as long as what is inside the envelope doesn’t measure more than 1/4 inch…….
    sandy

    Actually, I believe the dimensions refer to the whole package, but I could be wrong. Maybe one of the staff can clarify that for us all.

  279. Deirdra Hammer
    May 14, 2009
    at 11:50 am

    @Sarah H. – Hi Sarah, We have been sponsoring 3 children ages 5,9,10 in three different countries for almost a year now. We also have been writing letters once a month. We too have sent band-aids, also sent photographs of secenery of where we live, and of us and family members. The dollar store has lots of great stickers that you may send. Coloring book pages are good to send too. One of the children is in Mexico and she said how much she likes basketball, but did not have a ball so we asked compassion to get her one, we have not heard back yet on that but I hope our little extra money got her that ball. That would be fun. I always wonder if our letters are boring or if they are making a connection with the child, I try to send a scripture verse with in the letter also and one of the children always responds to it and says she “by-hearted it” I think that is memorized it. Hope this helps.

  280. Deirdra Hammer
    May 14, 2009
    at 11:53 am

    @Joyce – Wow, that is wonderful. God bless your efforts with your child. I will check out that site, thank you for the information hope to use it as well with our sponsored children.

  281. Caitlin
    May 14, 2009
    at 12:07 pm

    @sandy and jeff – I sponsored Lilin in haiti when she was 10, so I knew that unless for some extreme reason they had broken the rule and allowed her to join after 9, that she had another sponsor. I was curious about it, so I called just a few days ago. I am her 4th sponsor! (first for one year, second for three years, third for two years). I am with you, I felt so bad for her losing sponsors like that.
    But I have to wonder if her sponsors were very good about writing, because she is the most eager letter writer! I had been bracing myself for boring letters, since I read on this blog that often times people get fill in the blank letters, and I thought if she’s had other sponsors, she may be afraid to open up again. But no. She’s only allowed to write me once ever 3 months or so, but when she does she writes long ones, answering every question, asking at least 3 questions, gives me at least one Bible verse, tells me her grades and when she has exams coming up, tells me what she needs prayers for, and tells me about what she’s learned at “Kleb” (Bible club). This last one I got was three pages, both sides! At first I thought she was a good letter writer because her last sponsor must have been excellent, but now I wonder if maybe it is because she has been waiting so long to get letters. Either way, I am glad to have her.

    I just wish I could figure out a way to let her know that so long as there is a way (and there should be, because I’ve calculated how much money it will take to get her through to the end of the program), I intend to keep her the remaining 9 years. That I’m not going anywhere. I imagine that she does wonder when I’ll disappear too.

  282. Susan
    May 14, 2009
    at 1:42 pm

    @Amy K.

    Amy-

    How did you decide to handle the husband’s occupation question? I am awaiting packets on 2 children, in Peru and Indonesia, and my husband is police office. I too, had been wondering if this would cause discomfort for anyone. (other than me, LOL)

  283. Amy K.
    May 14, 2009
    at 6:20 pm

    Hi Susan!

    I think I’m just going to find a way to talk about the computer/technology aspect. I’ll have to leave out the best parts of his job, but that’s probably plenty for now. :)

    My father is a 40-year law enforcement veteran, so I can understand your situation. Can you find a way to say that your husband is a person in the community who protects people and helps them when they need help? Let me think on that.

    Amy

    @Susan

    Originally Posted By Susan@Amy K.

    Amy-

    How did you decide to handle the husband’s occupation question? I am awaiting packets on 2 children, in Peru and Indonesia, and my husband is police office. I too, had been wondering if this would cause discomfort for anyone. (other than me, LOL)

  284. Heather
    May 14, 2009
    at 6:58 pm

    Thank you for the advice about what the children should call us. Culturally it is hard for me to tell them what to call us. So you think it is ok to have the children call us Aunt / Uncle even though we are not really related? This will not offend the parents or caretakers if they do not have parents. What do the parents think of us if we ask them to call us Aunt / Uncle or mother of father?
    Hey Dwight! I’ve hung around Vietnamese for around ten years and have worked with many. I know a couple familes that have told their small children to call me “Aunt”Heather even though we aren’t related. I know this is quite common in Asia and usually is to teach the child respect for older people.It doesn’t seem to offend them at all. I wouldn’t ask a child to call me Mother. If they wanted to call me Aunt that is okay.I mean..if my dear 6 year old child in Ethiiopia wants to call me Mother that is okay! :)

  285. sandy and jeff
    May 14, 2009
    at 10:53 pm

    @Vicki Sma
    ll

    i called the office about size..
    one fourth inches thickness of the contents..and whether one or many items, can only be that thick of contents per envelope.
    also no matter what the size, it must fit in an eight and a half by eleven inch envelope. she said they open all mail, read and inspect it. then put it in one of their envelopes. readdress it to the child and send it to the country..she said in colo…they have a box for each country and as the mail is redone, then put in its country box…and once a week it is mailed out…each country has its different ship date..she said she couldn’t tell me the dates for each country, but just that that is how the process works.. and they only have certain sizes of envelopes. and another reason for the restrictions, is that the countries scan the boxes before opening, if the scanner goes off…they have to take that box and go thru it, making all that mail be very late at its destination.
    quite a big undertaking for them and very expensive for the mailing…….i can’t believe all this is done on just our 32.oo a month…..so much goes into compassion from end to end. only God can make this work

  286. sandy and jeff
    May 14, 2009
    at 11:08 pm

    someone had written about , running out of thing to talk about or send,,,i just thought of this,,, i’m going to just use one sheet of paper, put a photo of one of my family members on it and the dog..and just write about them…like a scrapbook page, then next time do another page..that could last along time if using aunts, grandparents etc,,,gives them a picture our their whole sponsor family..

  287. May 15, 2009
    at 6:40 am

    @sandy and jeff – Great idea! You might consider punching a couple of holes in each sheet and sending some ribbon or something for the child to tie them together. Kindof like the other idea I saw earlier, about the ABC flipbook.

    Hey, to all you who’ve sent bandaids, how have you packed them? I hate to send them loose… but then, if everything is transferred to another envelope specific to the child, I suppose it doesn’t matter too much. But should I label each individual bandaid, or put them in a ziploc with one label…?

  288. Jan Woodford
    May 15, 2009
    at 8:19 am

    @Judith Tremblay – I send my bandaids individually~3 or 4 in an envelope, loose~and write the child’s number on the back of each one.

  289. May 15, 2009
    at 8:50 am

    @sandy and jeff – Thanks, Sandy, for making the call. That’s all good information!

  290. Caitlin
    May 15, 2009
    at 11:05 am

    @Judith Tremblay – I’ve labeled them individually at times, and at other times, I just send them in the ziplock (It depends on the size of my envelope that day) both work. I imagine the staff appreciate the baggies more than the loose bandaids, but I can’t really speak for them. It’s much less painstaking for me to use a baggy though.

  291. Dyan
    May 15, 2009
    at 2:02 pm

    I just called Compassion for a correspondence child. I’m so glad you guys mentioned that here. I love to write to my sponsored children..I write weekly. It’s so sad to think that some sponsors think their obligation ends with a check. Just knowing that I will be blessed by another child is wonderful.

  292. sandy and jeff
    May 15, 2009
    at 4:10 pm

    @Judith Tremblay – good idea….how did you get your photo on here..

  293. Tamm
    May 16, 2009
    at 1:53 am

    I have just sponsored my first child, Gorreth in Uganda. She is 8 years old and her profile said she hasn’t started school yet. I was wondering what kinds of things to send to her and write about. I just spent that past hour reading all of these posts. Great ideas!! I’m going to send her coloring pages and Bible stories that I do for my Sunday School class.

    I read a lot of you talking about correspondence children as well as your sponsored children? What is a correspondence child?

  294. Kimberly Paredes
    May 16, 2009
    at 6:45 am

    @Caitlin – I just found out that I will be the fourth sponsor that one of my childrens has had in the past 4 1/2 years! That is unbelieveable to me. I’ve only “had” her for a short time and have not yet received a letter from her (although I’ve sent her 3 already :) ). I can only imagine how it must feel to try to get close to a virtual stranger, half way across the world only to have them disappear in a year or less.

    For me, this is a committment to God and to this child. As long as I’m kicking, I will sponsor this girl until she graduates from Compassion…in approximately 11 years.

  295. May 17, 2009
    at 6:40 pm

    @Tamm – A correspondence child is one where the financial sponsor doesn’t write–for one of a variety of reasons. Could be sponsored by a company with no resources for letter-writing, or could be an elderly sponsor who cannot see well enough to write anymore. Or, it could simply be the sponsor, though capable, just doesn’t write. But they’re taking care of the financial aspect of sponsorship.

    I’m not sure what the length of time is that must elapse before a child is eligible for a correspondent…my guess is a couple of years. So, with the sponsor’s permission, Compassion will assign a correspondent–a person who writes letters to the child, and to whom the child will now write. Often the child will think of the correspondent as their sponsor. For younger children, it’s probably easier to explain it like that, rather than trying to explain it more thoroughly.

    Hope that helps!

  296. May 17, 2009
    at 7:34 pm

    @Dyan – Dyan, IMO, the sponsor who asks Compassion to find a correspondent for their sponsored child show more caring (oops – that’s a judgment!) than those who simply don’t write. Many of the funding partners who request that someone else do the writing and relationship building are individuals with a lot more money than time, so they sponsor many children for others to write to. Other such sponsors are corporations that pay for many sponsorships, but they obviously aren’t going to be writing, so they give Compassion permission to find correspondents. Thank God for those who have the money to support many children in the program! And thank you, Dyan, for being willing to stand in the gap between a sponsor and child! God bless you!

  297. May 17, 2009
    at 8:31 pm

    @sandy and jeff – photo…off to the side next to the comment? there was a post a couple of weeks ago that told us how to do that…

    http://blog.compassion.com/gravatar-icons-for-your-blog-comments/

    see if that helps! :)

  298. Susan McGuyer
    May 18, 2009
    at 11:00 am

    I am a grandmother and always get sweet letters with beautiful drawings from my child. I have sponsored her for a number of years and she is now twelve. Two years ago, I fell in my kitchen and broke my hip. I was very touched when I received a letter from my child that she and her family were praying for my recovery. I was very touched that a family in Tanzania who I had never met were praying for my recovery. I send her coloring pages, stickers, bookmarks, pictures from Christmas cards, pictures of my grandchildren, postcards, etc.

  299. Rebecca
    May 18, 2009
    at 11:03 am

    I contacted Compassion to ask what non paper items we could send and they said fabric items would be returned or donated to a local charity if their not of value. Also anything made of magnet or metal. They didn’t say anything about foam or plastic though.

  300. Kristen
    May 18, 2009
    at 11:51 am

    @Rebecca – Isn’t that interesting because people have mentioned sending hair ribbons and socks. I just bought some socks to send to my girls! Can anyone clarify this rule?

  301. Caitlin
    May 18, 2009
    at 12:11 pm

    I think maybe it depends on the country, and also, how well you package things. I’ve sent ribbons many times, and they’ve always gone through. I sent socks once, and they seem to have made it through as well. I’ve heard of others successfully sending scrunchies, and I’ve successfully send a headband. And the new regulations say that fabric can be sent, but it still has to be inconspicuous. I dunno, I’m not an “official” person, just thought I’d put my experience in.

  302. May 18, 2009
    at 12:28 pm

    Here is the additional information about what can be sent.

    *4/4/08 New Gifts: Sponsors can now send plastic, craft foam and small pieces of cloth along with all paper items to their kids. We still have the 8-1/2” x 11-1/4” size restriction. However, they can now use a quart-sized zip lock baggie, the flat kind without the slider. Some new items that can be sent: a small flat plastic ruler, 2-3 deflated balloons [NOT recommended for children under six—including younger siblings of registered/sponsored children], a handkerchief, a cloth bookmark, and a flat ribbon that will fit in an envelope or baggie. We still can NOT send any metal including jewelry, ornaments, magnets; perishable items (gum, candy & flower seeds), and larger items (soccer balls, clothes).


    Since we can send handkerchiefs, I think socks also work (esp since people have sent them and the children have written back saying that they received them). The reference to clothes must mean larger items that would fall beyond the size limits (shirts, pants, etc).

  303. Sara Benson
    May 18, 2009
    at 12:33 pm

    @Kristen – Others have called and been told that fabric is allowed. And like you said, some peopel have gotten socks and other fabric things through.
    I wonder if some of the reps have not gotten the new restriction information.

  304. Ann
    May 18, 2009
    at 1:22 pm

    Hi to everyone,
    I am a brand new sponsor. My husband and I have thought about doing this for a while and we chose a little girl in the Phillipines who was close in age to our son.
    I am a preschool teacher and love to gift my little students, so I was hoping to send little treats to my new little friend. Thank you for all of these exciting ideas. I have some stickers ready to go, and will love to include a little treat for her when I write. Thanks a lot!!

  305. May 18, 2009
    at 1:47 pm

    @Ann – Hello, Ann, and welcome to the Compassion family! I so appreciate your heart for this little girl!

    If you will click on my name, that will take you to my blog; from there you can e-mail me and ask for “The List.” I will send you a list of things you can send through the mail to your child. The most recent guidelines are included.

    I’m not sure that’s what you meant by “little treats,” but if you mean just little extras to go with your letters, this list will get you off to a good start.

    Blessings to you!

  306. May 18, 2009
    at 1:48 pm

    Oops–Judith gave the guidelines, above. (Good idea, Judith!)

  307. Ann
    May 18, 2009
    at 2:15 pm

    Thank you Vicki, we are excited! It will be fun to watch this little girl grow up since she is so close in age to our son….just 4 1/2 months apart. I’ll check out your blog.

  308. Pam
    May 18, 2009
    at 3:59 pm

    I try to take my cue from the letters the child sends. If they send bright newsy letters I feel free to chat back and let them know how we’re doing and what we’re doing. If they send very simple letters I try to keep mine the same.
    I mention the Lord in each letter and encourage the child to pray.
    I send stickers to young children. Older kids get a photo each year but I admit I have not had a good idea about an insert so just send the letter.

  309. Rebecca
    May 19, 2009
    at 9:13 am

    I just found this great site called blurb.com where you can take your own pictures and words and turn them into a book. The prices are fairly cheap and the books look store bought when finished. That may be a possibility for some of you that only sponsor one child like I do. I’m sure they would love having a bound book of pictures you have taken.

  310. Andrea
    May 20, 2009
    at 12:24 pm

    I just made a birthday card yesterday written in complete Spanish! I do not know Spanish at all since I have not learned it in school yet, but I found a website, http://www.spanishdict.com/translation, which will translate any sentence you type into Spanish from English, or vice versa. Could anyone who knows Spanish verify the accuracy of this website? I used it on my birthday card, but I wanted to make sure that it was accurate Spanish. Thanks!

  311. May 20, 2009
    at 2:14 pm

    Andrea, I don’t know Spanish well enough even to attempt what you’ve asked. I will simply offer the likelihood that the accuracy would depend a great deal on dialect. I’m betting it will be good enough for the translators to know what you’re saying and, if necessary, they will rewrite what may not be clear to your child.

  312. Kristen
    May 20, 2009
    at 2:30 pm

    @Andrea – I have used that website as well. My Spanish is good enough that I can read what it spits out and decide if it’s what I want to say, I just can’t think of the words on my own! It seems pretty accurate but you have to be very careful about what you say because it doesn’t know our “lingo”. For example, I wanted to write “Once upon a time” and I realized that when it translated it did it literally and those words may not be a familiar start to a story in Spanish like it is in English so I changed it. There were other times where if I forgot a comma it completely changed the meaning of the translated sentence. I agree with Vicki that it will be close enough and your sponsored child will appreciate your effort and will likely think your errors are cute! Here’s a thought…when it translates a sentence for you into Spanish, copy and paste it and have it translate it back from Spanish to English and see what it gives you. I have done this in the past. You may find the meaning a little different. Just a thought.

  313. Jeanette
    May 20, 2009
    at 5:45 pm

    I am glad to get the info on the new guidelines. I thing a colorful bandana would be a great thing to send to my girls.

  314. Sara Benson
    May 20, 2009
    at 7:28 pm

    @Jeanette – Be a little careful when sending bandanas to your kids, especially in South America. In some areas bandanas are used by gangs and could cause trouble for the kids. If you do send to these countries I would suggest sending a pattern other than the traditional bandana.

    (I have been on missions trips where we were not allowed to wear bandanas because of this reason)

  315. Caitlin
    May 20, 2009
    at 7:41 pm

    @Jeanette – Walmart has really pretty bandanas in bright, girly colors, and some have flower prints instead of paisley.

  316. Trea
    May 20, 2009
    at 10:30 pm

    @Brittany

    Hey I have an idea on Myspace they have picture print out boxes.. you choose the pictures from your albums and place them in the diagram then printout and cut and fold them into a picture cube! its simple and its a project for the kids to be proud of! for they asemble it and its a gift from you! ^_^
    I amd trying this in my next letter just thought I’d share the Idea :D

  317. Natalie B
    May 21, 2009
    at 12:04 pm

    I think writing the child’s name in glitter pens or colorful markers is another way to brighten up the letter and make it look more fun. Glitter glue, sparkle pens and sparkly stickers would be good ideas for little girls.

  318. Jeanette
    May 21, 2009
    at 2:58 pm

    @Caitlin – Thanks, I’ll check there.

  319. Jeanette
    May 21, 2009
    at 2:59 pm

    @Sara Benson – Mine would be going to Ethiopia, Do you know of any problems there?

  320. Andrea
    May 21, 2009
    at 4:16 pm

    Thank you, Vicki and Kristen. The copying and pasting it is a good idea to check the Spanish. I hadn’t thought of that!

    I have another question. I have this cute seed bead flower necklace that I wanted to send to my little girl in Honduras. I was wondering, has anyone tried sending little things like that? It is very thin and not big, but I wasn’t sure if they would take it out at Compassion or customs in Honduras. Any suggestions? Thanks!

  321. May 21, 2009
    at 4:28 pm

    @Andrea – Andrea, have you seen Judith’s comment (#301) in which she gave the updated guidelines for what we can send? If not, look that over and see if your necklace qualifies; frankly, I’m skeptical, and I would send it only if I were willing to lose it. Sadly, there’s a group of sponsors in Honduras as we speak; I know several people who would have been happy to take that for you!

  322. May 21, 2009
    at 5:31 pm

    I just adopted 2 children, one from India and one from Brasil and I have been reading through all of these excellent suggestions for gifts to include.

    I would add mini books from Qoop (http://www.qoop.com), which are 20 pages, bound, for $3.95 each (plus postage). They fit easily within the guidelines and the quality is excellent. We foster dogs for the SPCA and I am thinking of putting together books about our dogs for both children. (Books don’t include text, just photos)

  323. Dyan
    May 21, 2009
    at 7:13 pm

    @Andrea -I have made some seeded bracelets to send to our little girl in India. It has been a couple of months and I haven’t heard back that I couldn’t. The only thing I made sure of was that I didn’t put a metal clasp on them. I left the string loose so she could tie them around her wrist.

  324. Dyan
    May 21, 2009
    at 7:14 pm

    Hey all I need a little help here. I just got my correspondence child. He is 13 years old from East India. I have never had a problem coming up with what to send to my other kids when I sent letters, but I’m at a loss here. I don’t think stickers will do for a boy that age. What else could I possibly send?

  325. sandy and jeff
    May 21, 2009
    at 9:11 pm

    i called about the corres. boys i got on mon..one has been in the program for 3 years, he is 9 now. he has had 2 sponsors. the first one,(3years ago)sent him one email and thats it….the other just started with him in feb 09, and hasn’t sent a letter, but the boy’s birthday was may 14, the sponsor must have sent him a b-day gift of 25.oo, by phone and the operator asked about a correspondent coz they said they won’t be writing..

    my other boy has only been in the program since oct. and has had a sponsor for 4 months, but doesn’t want to write,,,,thats ok,,,its their loss and my gain!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  326. Caitlin
    May 22, 2009
    at 11:08 am

    @Dyan – Try paper airplanes, rubber bands (yes, just rubber bands, I work in a Junior high group, and those things cause no end of entertainment to those boys), foam airplanes (The flat ones who can win at chuckie cheese, with the plastic tips on the nose), sketch paper, water color paper, “how to draw dragons/cartoons/animals/whatever” books (They’re about the size of a coloring book), 3-D puzzles (The cheap ones that come flat and you put them together to make a dinosaur skeleton or something), book marks(mature ones), note pads, memo pads, scratch pads, scratch art paper, grown-up coloring books (Marty Noble and Ruth Heller both do some great intricate coloring books, and there are also optical illusion coloring books), stained glass window coloring books, rulers, world map(You can get a laminated binder sized one at a school supply store, exactly right measurements, one side’s the world, the others is the USA), I’m sending a 63 piece puzzle to one of my kids, 9 pieces at a time (we’ll see if it works), and as always, pictures of your life, your family, your pets, and postcards of places are always loved by all ages. Beyond that, once you figure out something he likes, things’ll get easier. It seems daunting at first, but before you know it, you will have bought too much and will be pacing yourself so you don’t send too much at a time.

  327. Dyan
    May 22, 2009
    at 1:10 pm

    @Caitlin – Thanks so much. Those are great ideas!! I was just a little lost on what to do for a boy that age (my sponsor kids are all under the age of 10). I already mailed him a letter and I decorated it with stickers…I told him I knew he was probably too old for that, but I thought it was pretty.

  328. Kristen
    May 22, 2009
    at 1:53 pm

    @Caitlin – Thanks for the great ideas. I just got assigned a 20 year old correspondence child! I just sent him a letter online but plan to send lots of pictures and postcards in the future.

  329. Caitlin
    May 22, 2009
    at 1:57 pm

    I understand! I grew up in a house full of boys, and now work with a bunch of Jr. Highers (as mentioned previously), those adolescent boys, they can be toughies! I had a hard time starting out with my 5 yo boy, though…Teenagers, preteens, I can do those, the babies? Well, let’s just say, I do my best. I find that when I get stuck for one of my kids, I go to my church and conveniently locate myself in/near the Sunday school room of children of my compassion kid’s age and just observe, listen to what they talk about, watch what they enjoy most, and take note of what they’re playing. That’s where I get my best ideas.

  330. Caitlin
    May 22, 2009
    at 1:59 pm

    p.s. I’ve also been known to explain to “my boy” that I know sometimes I send girly things, and it is not because I think he’s girly, but because I’m a girl, and I really liked them, so I couldn’t resist sending them. :-D I hope I don’t offend his “man-pride”

  331. Andrea
    May 22, 2009
    at 4:45 pm

    Thank you for the information all of you! I think I will try the seed necklace. It is not very expensive or anything and I can easily make or buy another one. Thank you all for the neat ideas!

  332. Carmen
    May 24, 2009
    at 10:04 am

    @sandy and jeff – Hi Sandy, sorry I haven’t checked this in a while. The website is http://www.bansa.org/ and if you click on “dictionaries” it will show you a list of around 20 different languages of the Philippines. I would type in certain words Joy had written in her letter, and it would give me the English translation. The dictionaries are not exhaustive by any means, but I was able to find most of the words I was looking for in the Waray/English dictionary. When I didn’t find a certain word she had written in the Waray dictionary I usually found that it was a Tagalog word.

    I wanted to go on the trip this June also–but as I am currently a poor college student, this is not possible right now! I would love to visit her someday though…

  333. Andrea
    May 25, 2009
    at 5:57 am

    I just got a 13 year old boy for a correspondence child, and I am so excited! I was wondering if anyone else has boys around this age and what do they send them? I thought about sending a paper airplane, but I don’t have any other ideas.

  334. Sara Benson
    May 26, 2009
    at 3:21 pm

    @Andrea – Here is a post by Caitlin that has a ton of ideas for older boys.

    Originally Posted By Caitlin@Dyan – Try paper airplanes, rubber bands (yes, just rubber bands, I work in a Junior high group, and those things cause no end of entertainment to those boys), foam airplanes (The flat ones who can win at chuckie cheese, with the plastic tips on the nose), sketch paper, water color paper, “how to draw dragons/cartoons/animals/whatever” books (They’re about the size of a coloring book), 3-D puzzles (The cheap ones that come flat and you put them together to make a dinosaur skeleton or something), book marks(mature ones), note pads, memo pads, scratch pads, scratch art paper, grown-up coloring books (Marty Noble and Ruth Heller both do some great intricate coloring books, and there are also optical illusion coloring books), stained glass window coloring books, rulers, world map(You can get a laminated binder sized one at a school supply store, exactly right measurements, one side’s the world, the others is the USA), I’m sending a 63 piece puzzle to one of my kids, 9 pieces at a time (we’ll see if it works), and as always, pictures of your life, your family, your pets, and postcards of places are always loved by all ages. Beyond that, once you figure out something he likes, things’ll get easier. It seems daunting at first, but before you know it, you will have bought too much and will be pacing yourself so you don’t send too much at a time.

  335. Andrea
    May 26, 2009
    at 8:12 pm

    Thans, Sara! And Caitlin, whose ideas are a great help!

  336. pastorprakash
    May 26, 2009
    at 10:08 pm

    A good site for your help in to understand different languages the language. I hope it will help all or you. if you need any further help. let me know. please write to me pastorprakash@gmail.com

    thank you
    In His ministry ministry

  337. pastorprakash
    May 26, 2009
    at 10:18 pm

    If you have any problem to sending any thing. and you wish to give the same to the child. why dont you send the amount as gifts. they you ask the project to provide the same thing to the child. the project workers will get the same thing from the market and will give to your child. even anything. for the confirmation you can ask a photgraphs of the presnetation of the gifts.

  338. May 26, 2009
    at 10:29 pm

    for a good help in translating your child letter to your language. please not this site. http://translate.google.co.in/#
    if you need any further healp u can write me on my blog.

    http://pastorprakash.blogspot.com/

  339. pastorprakash
    May 26, 2009
    at 10:38 pm

    for a good help in translating your child letter to your language. please not this site. if you need any further healp u can write me at gmail.com

  340. sandy and jeff
    May 28, 2009
    at 12:36 am

    @Sara Benson
    as for the older boys: i have bought- 2 pocket school folders. i do have to fold each outer side about 1/2 inch, but it works perfect because the pockets don’t go to the edge…(then they fit in the larger brown manilla envelope, which i buy in a pack of 6/$1. at the cheaper stores)…can be bought anywhere school supplies are, i paid 50-75 cents at walmart ..so many colors and designs…then i buy the paper to fit in it,,at walmart it was .50 for about 200 sheets. i just put alittle at a time, then they can use it for school or whatever.
    and i hit a gold mine at the goodwill stores…i have 2 stores nearby, and they have book sections, today i bought alot of older “guideposts” magazines and paperback books , one was even ” chicken soup for the soul”. they also had lots of scrapbooking stickers that were brandnew, for only .25 each.
    you can get pretty flat photo albums at the walmart photo counter for about $1.

  341. sandy and jeff
    May 28, 2009
    at 1:31 am

    @Carmen – does joy speak waray waray? my daughter, kimber, has a 5 yr old girl above cebu, and the family speaks cebuano, but kimber has found that the letters are in tagalog..she bought a tagalog book, and it all matches up….

    english is the #1 language and #2 is tagalog,,,almost a philippino’s speak both, and both are taught in schools, but because of all the differnet regions, they will speak a diff. one in the home.

    both of my teen girls speak hiligaynon in the home,,,but one writes in tagalog, the other in english and no translation is needed…

  342. sandy and jeff
    May 28, 2009
    at 1:40 am

    about whether your teen will like what you send?? i send things, then i say in the note, that if they like it,(ex. a word puzzle book) please tell me and i’ll send more, but if not interested then i tell them to give it to a sibling or a child that doesn’t get letters. i flat out just say,,,tell me what you like,,,puzzles, animals, cars etc..so i will have a better idea as to what to send…i tell them i won’t be upset, i want to send what will make them happy….but i also do send extra of somethings at times and tell them to share with others..

    i have even asked all my kids if others in their project get no letters or gifts,,so i will send them something…..you can never go wrong doing for others, even if its not your child

  343. sandy and jeff
    May 28, 2009
    at 1:45 am

    at christmas,, one of my girls told me what she bought for herself, then she used the x tra money to buy a gift for another needy child! i was so proud of her i teared up… and for that i’ll just send her more $ or little gifts,,,

  344. sandy and jeff
    May 28, 2009
    at 3:28 am

    one of my girls is in iloilo, philippines, i was there staying with friends 4 years ago…i chose her because she lives in that town, because i can tell her where i was and we have things to discuss, i also told her the name of my friends and the street they live on. compassion didn’t delete any of it, i know, because she wrote and commented about it.

    in my first letter to all my kids, i told them the town and state i’m from, and also that of my adult children, and i sent laminated maps and marked the area,,,compassion didn’t delete any of it,,,,i guess they just don’t want the actual street address or a phone number or email address..which i understand.

  345. sandy and jeff
    May 28, 2009
    at 3:33 am

    i chose one of my girls because she lives in the same town of my friends, and i’ve been there,,,this gives us things incommon to talk about………….i told her my friends names and the streets they live on.. ………..and i have told them my town and state and even sent marked maps…and it all went thru, coz she commented on it….

  346. Andrea
    May 28, 2009
    at 7:49 am

    @Sandy and jeff – I like your idea about asking them what they like. Then you can send them more of the things they like! What kinds of things have the older boys liked? I’m having trouble thinking of ideas for my 13 year old correspondent child.

  347. Caitlin
    May 28, 2009
    at 10:32 am

    Be careful about asking children what they want from you, because it will likely put them in a very awkward social position. They probably aren’t supposed to request things of adults, especially benefactors. It might seem to them too disrespectful for them to do to you. I would love to ask that of my older kids, I’ve sent her several packs of stickers, and she dutifully thanks me for everything individually, so I have to take a hint and see which items she is “more” thankful for, and use that as my directive. (for example, she thanked me for the alphabet stickers, and then went on to comment on them as well)

  348. May 28, 2009
    at 11:25 am

    Originally Posted By CaitlinBe careful about asking children what they want from you, because it will likely put them in a very awkward social position.

    Thank you, Caitlin, and I agree. I think we can ask questions that will give us the information, without tying the questions or answers to our sending gifts. “What are your favorite animals?” “Do you like butterflies?” I’m sure more creative minds can come up with better questions.

  349. sandy and jeff
    May 29, 2009
    at 2:06 am

    @Andrea – go to dollar stores, goodwill stores, walmart, and look in book sections and school supplies…i send starwars, spiderman and car and sports activity books..word puzzles books, 2 pocket school folders can be found in male designs or colors..when you hold it upright,(fold on the left), you need to fold the right edge about half and inch, but it works perfect the way it is made..i also put the white lined school notebook paper in it…..send tablets….all can be used for school, or for fun……at the same stores, plus bible book stores, you can find lots of small religious books,,,,i sent one today on “how to study the bible”, was .99 at the bible store, i even had the lady measure it,,exactly 1/4 inch,,,,at the goodwill store one day, i pd. a dollar for a huge bag of different size and colored envelopes…..i have shoe boxes for each of my kids…when i get a deal like these, i buy one for each kid, put in env. and even take to the p.o. and have the stamps put on.. and they go in each shoe box..some times i have many things in each box….then every sat. i take one per kid,,put a small note in each and drop in the mail….it could even be as simple as i sent once, plastic calender cards that were free at hallmark……..sandy

  350. sandy and jeff
    May 29, 2009
    at 2:28 am

    @Andrea – read what i wrote on #339..
    other things for the older boys, if they have common names, i got wallet cards at bible store, also ones that tell the meaning of their name,,,some stores let you type a different name and can find the meaning..
    get the tiny photo album and put your family photos in it……and or, take one piece of paper,(leave it plain or make it a scrapbook page), put a photo of one of your family members at the top, then write a summery of that person’s life (b-day, full name , relationship to you, schooling -college and subject, where they work, town and state they live in, if they have a family etc)..start with yourself, then spouse, then each child and even your pets, etc,,,, and just do one person per letter, that can drag out for along time, and maybe with the first one, send one of those pocket folders so the child will have a scrapbook of your family, that will be like a puzzle………… i even send the girls, plain folders and then i send scrapbooking materiels and she can decorate the outside herself..at a scrapbook store or craft store, you can buy pages with male things on them, but sometimes cost upt to 1.50 a page…hope these keep you busy for awhile, haha sandy

  351. sandy and jeff
    May 29, 2009
    at 2:39 am

    @Caitlin i didn’t mean to ask them what they want, coz you are right that it is uncomfortable or inappropriete………i really meant,,”tell me what you like or like to do”, cause why send puzzle books if they don’t like to do puzzles…i’ve never sent crossword or suduko because i don’t know if they would like that…for instance, i send alot of scrapbook materiel to the girls,,,first i asked do you like to do it, when i got a yes,but i don’t have materiels, i said what else do you like,,so one girl said flowers esp. roses, so i send her those things,,,,,my boy likes basketball and cars and drawing,,,,so he gets word find books about nascar, and basketball, bible, etc………

  352. sandy and jeff
    May 29, 2009
    at 2:54 am

    sorry for hogging space here haha
    i work midnight and aren’t on alot, so i get it out all at once,,,haha
    one last thing…..i have a boy with an aug birthday…i got a small gift bag that said happy b day…then in the party isle, i got a pin the tail on the donkey, printed b day balloons, activity sheets for guests and happy b day banner,,,they all fit in the bag while still folded, then i slipped it in a 9×12 manilla env…i just stuck a tiny note in that said ” this is what american kids use for their b day…so enjoy” i also sent him some puzzle and coloring books in other envelopes as his actual gifts.

    i had 4 big envelopes to mail to compassion the other day,(one for each child) it would have cost me 8.50 seperately,,,so the lady told me that since all went to the same place, i could use a cardboard env that they had, which was free, and for 4.95, you can stuff it with as much as you can, just so the flap goes down,,,,,,,,since i mail kids stuff each saturday, this is cheaper on book days,,,since so many of you have alot of kids, hope it helps sandy

  353. Loren
    May 29, 2009
    at 12:10 pm

    I sponsor an 8 yr old girl and what i did today was I colored a page out of a bible coloring book of Noah’s ark and talked about the story and included a bible verse. Then i also sent a copy of the same coloring page for her to color. She always colors pictures for me so i thought it would be nice for her to have a picture that i colored for her.

  354. Jan Woodford
    May 29, 2009
    at 9:36 pm

    I have always signed my letters Aunty Jan, or sometimes Love in Jesus’ Name, Aunty Jan. I have always done this because I was told that in most of these countries it’s considered rude for a child to call an adult by her first name withour preficing it with Aunt. That Aunt and Uncle are a term of respect, not just that of a relative. But I notice that none of my children call me Aunty! They almost always address me as Jan Woodford, or, in one case, after a gift, the girl called us Mother and Father. I write to children from India, Indonesia, Ethiopia, and Tanzania. Should I stop signing Aunty, do you think?
    Jan

  355. May 30, 2009
    at 8:28 am

    I’m new at this, but we had many foreign students visiting us through an exchange program. All the ones from So. America called me Mrs. Beverly, so I’ve started signing my letters to our girl in India and boy in Brasil as Mrs. Beverly.

  356. Carmen
    May 30, 2009
    at 2:23 pm

    @sandy and jeff – Hi Sandy, yes, Joy speaks and writes in Waray-waray. (I matched up the language from her letters with the info I found online and through the library.) She also learns English and Tagalog in school. She frequently writes English phrases, and her Bible verses that she writes are usually written in english. So sometimes I will put materials in the letters in English.

    Actually, for the first few years, Joy’s mother wrote all the letters to me for her daughter. That was so amazing! I felt like I could really get to know the family, and the mom was always so thankful and detailed in her letters. I still addressed my letters to Joy, but would write something like, “please tell your mother hello and thank you for helping you with your letters!”

  357. Rebecca
    May 30, 2009
    at 8:13 pm

    I’m getting a little frustrated. I contacted Compassion to ask about a certain item that I want to send and they respond with their guidelines on permissible items. However, alot of the items they list as you can’t send are on the okay to send list that was updated. Why do the employees working there not all have the same information? I fear I may send something okay to send, but it goes to a person with old guidelines.

  358. Tamm
    May 31, 2009
    at 12:52 am

    I have a few questions maybe one (or more) or you can help me out with. I just received a correspondence child. A beautiful little boy in East Inda. Does anyone know if I can send him a monitary birthday gift, or send a family gift?

    Also, I went to the dollar store today and went a little nuts! I found some great bible story books for kids that are small enough to fit the size requirement. What I’m not sure of though, is that they are English. Would it be appropriate to send these to my sponsored and correspondence children? Also, is there a limited amount that we can write to them? I would like to write every week or so, but I don’t know if that’s ok or not.

  359. Valerie Long
    May 31, 2009
    at 7:26 am

    @Loren – Loren, what a GREAT idea! I love to color and have *TONS* of coloring books and stuff so I’m always sending sheets to my kids, but what a great idea to send them one that *I* colored. :)

    I love this post and discussion. I’ve gotten so many new great ideas from it!

  360. Valerie Long
    May 31, 2009
    at 7:31 am

    I found some really cute small gift bags at Target in their bargain bins at the front of the store. There are also handmade cards to go with them. They come two in a package for $1. Then they have medium gift bags too for $1. They’re really cute. I’m sending one to my older girl in Ecuador tomorrow. I told her that I knew it was small but as it was her favorite color (pink), I thought maybe she could keep like hair ribbons or something else that’s small in it. I hope she likes it!

    I didn’t get any of the cards because they were all specific like birthday, Father’s day, graduation, etc. but some of the bags were more generic so I got a few more to send to some of my other kids too. :)

  361. May 31, 2009
    at 4:19 pm

    For kids who are older and artistic, I wonder if anybody has tried sending an origami figure and instructions for how to make it, along with some colored sheets of paper.

  362. Sara Benson
    Jun 1, 2009
    at 8:52 am

    @Rebecca – The phone representatives are not the ones who check all of the letter contents. They are trained to find answers to many different questions and therefore they may not all have the updated info especially since it is not on the website.

    There is a department that processes the letters and they will be the ones that are trained with the newest information. I don’t think that you have to worry about appropriate items being taken out.

    From what I have heard, if you send something in a letter that is NOT able to be mailed to your child, you will receive a letter/call informing you of that fact.

  363. Jun 1, 2009
    at 9:03 am

    @Tamm – Tamm, monetary gifts to our sponsored/correspondent kids are the norm. Anything else would have to conform to the limitations on mailing.

    A small book in English might be perfectly okay, in some of the countries; e.g., India. When my sponsored girls were younger, I found thin books with many photos of butterflies or animals and sent those. They did contain text in English about the fauna, and I have no idea whether anyone translated those for the girls.

  364. Sara Benson
    Jun 1, 2009
    at 9:04 am

    @Tamm – Congratulation on getting a correspondence child! It is an awesome experience to partner with another sponsor and encourage a child. SO to answer your questions…

    ~Yes, you can send monetary gifts to your corr. kids for birthdays, family gifts, or any other reason; just like you would send to your sponsored kids. There is a chance that the sponsor will also send a gift but that chance is slim.

    ~ There is no limit for how many times you write to your child. Having said that, the letters for each country are sent from the compassion office to the country offices *Once a week*. So if you decide to write more than once a week, letters may clump up and be delivered to your child in multiples.

    ~ As far as the books, I assume that it would be fine. The books will NOT be translated with the letter, but as long as it had lots of pictures I am sure that the kids would enjoy it. Maybe in your letter you could write a summary of the story so that it would be translated and the kids could read the letter, and then look at the pictures in the book.

  365. Jun 1, 2009
    at 10:05 am

    Just to save me a trip to the post office, can an 9×12 manilla envelope be sent for the same “forever stamp” postage as a business size envelope? (Assuming the weight is OK)

  366. Jan Woodford
    Jun 1, 2009
    at 10:13 am

    I found some thin, colorful plastic combs at Cash King. They come in an assorted package, and I have put the child’s name and number on each one with indelible ink, then put it in the manilla envelope that I keep keep for each of my children. There were a bunch left over, so I have given them to my daughter, who sponsors and corresponds with lots of children.

  367. Barbara M.
    Jun 1, 2009
    at 10:20 am

    Just wondering about a sponsor deciding to restart correspondence after the child has been given to a child correspondence person. My understanding is that once that happened the financial sponsor no longer had the option of contact. There seems to be some confusion on how this works. Can a finacial sponsor just come and go in the child’s life and are then we not allowed to write anymore? AND if the original sponsor wants them back but then again does not write……..what then? Wouldn’t the child be quite confused? ALSO has anyone tried sending light, thin socks and have they gone through?@Judith Tremblay -

  368. Jun 1, 2009
    at 10:47 am

    @Bev – Bev, you can go online to the USPS and click on a button to calculate postage. You’re given icons depicting different sizes and shapes of envelopes; you put in the weight (which means you need a postal scale) and you learn how much it will take. I’ve no idea how the Forever stamp factors in.

  369. Jun 1, 2009
    at 10:48 am

    Originally Posted By Sara Benson@Tamm – Maybe in your letter you could write a summary of the story so that it would be translated and the kids could read the letter, and then look at the pictures in the book.

    Sara, that’s a great idea! Pity I didn’t think of it, back then!

  370. Jun 1, 2009
    at 11:43 am

    @Barbara M. – Did you see the Write to a Child blog post? It’s about becoming a child correspondent.

  371. Jan Woodford
    Jun 1, 2009
    at 12:58 pm

    Actually, that happened to my daughter. Her letters to a correspondence child were returned to her, and when she called the Compassion office to find out why, she was told that the child’s sponsor had started writing to the child.
    As for the socks, someone earlier had said that they sent socks to a boy, so I thought that would be an ideal thing to send to my 20 year old correspondent child in Ethiopia. I bought the thinest socks I could find, but there was no way to fit them in an envelope so that they would be less than one fourth inch wide. Then I was going to send one at a time~that still didn’t work. I think the person that did that must have had a younger boy than mine. It might work for a little boy. I’m getting ready to send my girls plastic buttons, taped to paper in a face shape, like a pair of eyes,a nose, a line of them shaped like a mouth. If they are anything like me, I never have enough buttons when I need them.

    Originally Posted By Barbara M.Just wondering about a sponsor deciding to restart correspondence after the child has been given to a child correspondence person. My understanding is that once that happened the financial sponsor no longer had the option of contact. There seems to be some confusion on how this works. Can a finacial sponsor just come and go in the child’s life and are then we not allowed to write anymore? AND if the original sponsor wants them back but then again does not write……..what then? Wouldn’t the child be quite confused? ALSO has anyone tried sending light, thin socks and have they gone through?@Judith Tremblay -

  372. Jun 1, 2009
    at 2:38 pm

    The Tips for Mailing Small Gifts page on compassion.com has been updated.

  373. Jun 1, 2009
    at 2:48 pm

    @Chris Giovagnoni – Chris, I just tried it and got a Page Not Found. But you’re a hero; I know you’ve been trying to get that page updated for a while!

  374. Jun 1, 2009
    at 3:15 pm

    @Vicki Small – Are you still having the problem? The link is working when I try it.

    Brianne is the hero. She gotter done.

  375. Carrie Haddican
    Jun 1, 2009
    at 8:07 pm

    I was able to get on the Tips page just now. I want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU to whoever got the information on to a page to clarify what we can and can’t send.
    Also, I too looked for socks small enough to fit into the dimensions required for our 6 year old girl; I couldn’t find any. Are we allowed to vacumn pack socks etc maybe? We could then put a note explaining to our child that when it gets to them they just need to cut open the package? What do you think?

  376. Jan Woodford
    Jun 1, 2009
    at 8:50 pm

    @Chris Giovagnoni – Chris, thanks so much for doing that. I got into the page right away.

  377. jeff and sandy
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 1:56 am

    when letters or packages get to colorado, they are all opened and read,,,they may break the seal if you pack socks,,they just have to be sure you didn’t put the wrong thing in the package,,@Carrie Haddican -

  378. Lisa Herbert
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 1:56 am

    I’m jumping into this conversation late, but thought I would add some of the things I have enclosed that have been especially fun. For girls that like to play with dolls I have made paper dolls to send. I send them with clothes already glued on, so they can’t change clothes, but they also seem to be less frustrating for little hands to play with. One letter I received back had a drawing that seemed familiar. I realized she had copied the face of the paperdoll I sent. Go to http://www.makingfriends.com for free printouts of dolls and clothes that can be cut out and mailed. Labor intensive, but fun.
    I also enjoyed sending little homemade photo albums as described on the compassion website. That was a lot of fun, I used scrapbook paper to make it more fun.
    I always enclose colorful bandaids, stickers, pictures, always a little something extra with a letter that is mailed. Holographic stickers from the dollar store caused quite a response! Inexpensive and different. They come in long strips, and I generally open the packages and cut them in half. I may split the strips between kids or put both halves in one letter, either way cutting them in half keeps the size mailable.
    Since I have multiple children I alternate between sending a letter with the same updates to ALL children (that way I know what I have said to each of them) I write the basic letter up on my computer, add pictures illustrating the things I am talking about, and then add each child’s name and number as I print out. I also respond to each child’s individual letter in a handwritten letter. I try to do responses as I receive a letter so I don’t get behind. the “group” letters I try to do at least once a month. Sometimes I get behind on that so I email. I do try to be aware that since I have 3 children in one project, I am careful to make each of those 3 letters different so that they don’t feel as though they are getting a form letter.
    I have had my daughter make Origami creations to send also.
    There are so many good ideas on this blog! thanks everyone for the inspiration.

  379. Lisa Herbert
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 2:11 am

    @Bev
    OK, putting my postmaster hat on here.

    Forever stamps only work for the 1 oz letter rate. Whenever the rate changes, the Forever Stamp magically changes to be worth the new rate. However, it does not cover additional weight, or additional size.

    An 8.5 x 11 item is considered a large envelope. The other poster was correct, if you go to usps.com you can calculate postage based on weight and size.

    Here is a tip for anyone who sponsors multiple children.

    I like to put all of my letters for each correspondence “cycle” in a Flat Rate Priority envelope. I have found that I can fit 25 letters, and sometimes 25 larger than letter size if I fit them in just so. The Flat Rate Envelope is only 4.95 so you have to have 12 items before you save $$ on a regular one oz letter. But, if you are placing additional items in an envelope which increases the thickness there is generally a surcharge, so you would be looking at a lot less than 12 before saving $$.
    AND if you print out your postage online like I do, it is only $4.80 for the Flat Rate and Delivery Confirmation is free. Again, only helps if you are mailing multiple items at a time, and/or if they are overweight or oversize. Hope this helps a little.

  380. Lisa Herbert
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 2:16 am

    @Tamm

    You can send a monetary gift to a correspondence child. You cannot do so on the website, you need to call Compassion and they can help you with that over the phone, :)

  381. Michele
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 8:43 am

    When we send money thru our letters who do we make the check out to? Im assuming Compassion intl but im not shure. Can anybody clarify this for me?

  382. Valerie Long
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 9:02 am

    @Bev

    Bev,

    According to http://www.usps.gov, you’d need to put at least 2 forever stamps on it for 1oz. Size limits for just one stamp are
    “No more than 6-1/8 inches high by 11-1/2 inches long by 1/4 inch thick”

    Anything bigger than that but smaller than 12x15x3/4 in. is $.88 for the first ounce and $.17 for each additional ounce. :)

    If you need more info than that, check out the Post Office’s website. It’s pretty informative! :)

  383. Jan Woodford
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 9:52 am

    Originally Posted By MicheleWhen we send money thru our letters who do we make the check out to? Im assuming Compassion intl but im not shure. Can anybody clarify this for me?

    You make the check out to Compassion International, and I always put the child’s number on the check and my sponsor number as well, and write what it’s for ( Birthday, family, etc) in the notation area.@Michele -

  384. Jennifer
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 10:07 am

    @Sara Benson – My “son,” Suresh, from India, has always written personal letters. But they’ve gotten increasingly interesting / personal the older he has gotten. I know that they make a difference. He told me that he gets more letters than any of the other children in his center. That shocked and saddened me b/c my letter-writing tends to happen in spurts. Sometimes he may only get 3 or 4 a year!

    Since I recently got married and moved, and do not have a job, I have been more intentional about writing him. I have sent many photos over the years. He loved hearing about my nephew being born. I send him pics of the scenery where I live, and tell him about the weather. It doesn’t get so cold in southern India!

    We recently had the worst ice storm in Kentucky’s history, so I will be sending him pictures of the aftermath. I told him about my husband running his first marathon. And have sent newspaper articles / pics of the recent presidential inauguration here in the US. Anything and everything can be interesting and teach him about me / us / our life here in the USA.

  385. trish8399
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 10:40 am

    I did not know that we could send $ (check) to our sponsored child through the mail.

    I thought we were not supposed to list our address.

    Our checks have our address on them????

  386. Jun 2, 2009
    at 10:57 am

    @trish8399 – Your child won’t see the check. Compassion cashes it and sends the money to our country office. The country office works with the church partner to get the gift to the child.

  387. Jun 2, 2009
    at 1:19 pm

    @Jan Woodford – Somewhere, back in the archives of this blog, I believe someone from inside the GMC said sponsors should *never* put their child’s name/number on the check. Put a sticky note on it, or enclose a separate note saying you it’s for. I do believe you can put your sponsor number on the check.

  388. Jun 2, 2009
    at 1:57 pm

    @Vicki Small – Vicki is correct. This is from the gift giving FAQ on compassion.com.

    If you choose to send a check, please make it out to Compassion International and mail it to:

    Compassion International
    Colorado Springs, CO 80997
    USA

    Please remember to include your sponsor number on the check. Additional information, such as the child’s number and the purpose of the gift (i.e., birthday, Christmas, graduation, etc.), should be included on an attached note to ensure proper handling.

  389. Meredith Newmaker
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 2:24 pm

    @kristinn – I have older kids too and struggle with what to insert as well. I have found origami books that I copy pages from then include origami paper too. Amazon has origami books in spanish too!

  390. Jan Woodford
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 2:35 pm

    I don’t see it saying that we shouldn’t put the child’s name on the check, but I actually don’t think I did~I put the child’s number on the check, because that’s all there’s room for. I don’t see what the reason would be, though, for not putting the child’s name on the check~if theere were room~because the check would never get further than the compassion office, would it?
    Just wondering. I certainly don’t want to do anything I’m not supposed to do.

    Originally Posted By Chris Giovagnoni@Vicki Small – Vicki is correct. This is from the gift giving FAQ on compassion.com.

    If you choose to send a check, please make it out to Compassion International and mail it to:

    Compassion International
    Colorado Springs, CO 80997
    USA

    Please remember to include your sponsor number on the check. Additional information, such as the child’s number and the purpose of the gift (i.e., birthday, Christmas, graduation, etc.), should be included on an attached note to ensure proper handling.

  391. Meredith Newmaker
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 2:37 pm

    @Rebecca – My boys (7-9 years) love stickers! I send extra because they have told me they share them with brothers and/or friends.

  392. Jan Woodford
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 2:37 pm

    Oh, I see, you’re saying to put it on an attached note. OK, I can do that. It’s strange that no one has contacted me about that, though, because I know I’ve been putting the child’s number on the check.

    Originally Posted By Chris Giovagnoni@Vicki Small – Vicki is correct. This is from the gift giving FAQ on compassion.com.

    If you choose to send a check, please make it out to Compassion International and mail it to:

    Compassion International
    Colorado Springs, CO 80997
    USA

    Please remember to include your sponsor number on the check. Additional information, such as the child’s number and the purpose of the gift (i.e., birthday, Christmas, graduation, etc.), should be included on an attached note to ensure proper handling.

  393. Meredith Newmaker
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 4:06 pm

    One of my boys bought a computer with his Christmas money. He recited a poem about stars for us in his last letter (“Twinkle, Twinkle, little star….”) I would love to send a CD of my daughter playing it on the piano or another recording of it. I’m pretty sure he has a CD drive on his computer.

    Can we send CDs?

  394. Jun 2, 2009
    at 4:14 pm

    I’m throwing this in here, especially for everyone who has written to me asking for updated guidelines and the list of ideas of things to send through the mail. One sponsor has just let me know that the updated list on the website now prohibits a few of the things shown a year ago (in the list I had) as allowable. I don’t mean to be shouting, but *please refer to the website!* I will no longer send out the list that I have previously offered, as I assume the list on the website is now more up-to-date than my “update.”

  395. Sara Benson
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 4:48 pm

    @Jan Woodford
    Hi Jan,

    I am pretty sure the reason you shouldn’t put any child info on the check is for irs purposes. Since Compassion is a 501c3 there are special rules about donations. The irs does not want people doing a “pass through.”

    I have done a few missions trips and the donations had to be made out to the sending group and a separate paper had to be filled out to indicate that it was for my trip.

    You can put your sponsor number on the check because it just refers to you as the donor and not to your request for use of the funds.

  396. Jan Woodford
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 6:11 pm

    OK, Sara, that really makes sense, and thankyou for telling me. I’ll be careful not to but that information on the check in the future.

    Originally Posted By Sara Benson@Jan Woodford
    Hi Jan,

    I am pretty sure the reason you shouldn’t put any child info on the check is for irs purposes. Since Compassion is a 501c3 there are special rules about donations. The irs does not want people doing a “pass through.”

    I have done a few missions trips and the donations had to be made out to the sending group and a separate paper had to be filled out to indicate that it was for my trip.

    You can put your sponsor number on the check because it just refers to you as the donor and not to your request for use of the funds.

  397. Mike Stephens
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 6:54 pm

    @JustJill – Jill,

    if by some miracle you find this reply I am sending to you maybe this could shed some light on the issue. I visited Osmari my spnonsor child in Nicaragua last year. I thought the day went great as she was smiling in some of the photos. I sent a family gift later and she bought a bed with the gift. So I am not sure if she was sleeping on the floor or sharing a bed or on a blanket. But I am always fairly upbeat/excited/positive in my letters. But if she is sleeping on the floor every night, an excited letter doesn’t necessarily make her sleeping any more comfortable. So your sponsor child I am sure is extremely thankful for every letter you send and the sticker etc. but there is a lot of other stuff going on that even if you did or have visited you may not be able to see. Keep asking your questions, they will get answered. But if you really want answers to your questions go visit and ask as many questions as you want, take a huge list even and get all your questions answered in one go.

  398. Jan Woodford
    Jun 2, 2009
    at 8:05 pm

    I’m seeing the results of an experiment I tried on each of my kids several months ago. On Facebook I noticed people writing 10 things about themselves, then sending the list to friends, who were supposed to write 10 things about themselves and send it back. Wrote 10 things about myself and sent them to my children, explaining the game to them, and am now starting to receive numbered lists about themselves from some of the children. In turn, I’ve written back, commenting on some of the things I’ve learned about them. It’s been interesting.

  399. Hezra
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 7:13 am

    @Jan Woodford -Hey Jan, do you happen to still have that list kinda handy? I think that sounds really fun!

  400. Jan Woodford
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 9:20 am

    Hezra, there’s no list, just write 10 things you want the child to know about you, and ask them to tell you 10 things that they want you to know about them.

    Originally Posted By Hezra@Jan Woodford -Hey Jan, do you happen to still have that list kinda handy? I think that sounds really fun!

  401. Andrea
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 10:39 am

    @Jan Woodford – I like your 10 things idea. It sounds fun! I think I will try it out with my sponsored and correspondence children.

  402. Jan Woodford
    Jun 3, 2009
    at 2:20 pm

    I thought I’d share another experience I had recently. After our recent elections, I sent a picture of our former President and new President walking together in front of the White House~a picture I xeroxed from the newspaper. I told them briefly about our recent elections, and sent a map of the US with a mark of where I lived ( Oregon) and where the White House was. This wasn’t at all political~I tried to stress that this was a peaceful transition,( since I know that this is not the case in many countries). Of my 8 sponsored and correspondent children, the only one who mentioned it was my little boy in Tanzania, who said that the parents of their president lived right near him~ he often walks by their house.
    In the next letter I copied a map of Tanzania, laminated it, with a red dot where I think my child lives, and sent it. This received a great deal more appreciation from my child~of course, it is his teacher who writes~but he thanked me for the map and said that it was going in his file at school. It seemed to be something very prescious to him. Learning from this, I will try to make laminated maps for all the rest of my children as well: in India, Ethiopia,and Indonesia. And, as some of you have already suggested, i plan to look for more things to write about and send about each child’s own country, rather than about mine. It was a learning experience for me.

  403. Ben Page
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 11:12 am

    We are new to Compassion and we had a question regarding what to send to our child. We found several small cloloring books to send but we are not sure if our child has crayons and it appears that we can not send them due to size restrictions. Do the project centers have crayons for them to use or is there any way to send our child crayons. Our daughter is the same age as our sponsoreed child and she loves to color and we thought it would be great to have her color some of the pictures and leave the rest. Your help is really appreciated.

  404. Jun 4, 2009
    at 11:19 am

    I’m fairly new here too and have found many good ideas reading through this long thread. Many people say they tear the pictures out of coloring books and send them a few at a time (perhaps in a 9×11` envelope), which keeps within the thickness limit. So many people mention sending coloring book pages that I assume the children have access to coloring materials.

  405. Stephanie G
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 11:22 am

    I love the “10 things” idea. Will have to try that out. Most of my kids are old enough to be able to (hopefully) provide thoughtful responses to that.

    Also, for anyone who has access to Michael’s craft stores, I’ve found an abundance of stuff there recently to send to my kids including Stick-It felt soccer balls, Paper Origami(w/ visual instructions…no translation needed) and colorful Paper Airplanes with cool designs (all the kids have to do is fold). Each of those paper crafts come 6 to a pack (for $1) – good for those who sponsor multiple kids or like to send extras for kids to share with others.

  406. Jun 4, 2009
    at 11:40 am

    @Ben Page – Chances are your child has access to crayons or colored pencils. One of my children (in Peru) always draws a picture with her letter, and it’s colored. (My other child is too young/too new in school to write on his own, so his dad writes for him.)

  407. Sara Benson
    Jun 4, 2009
    at 1:55 pm

    @Ben Page – Yes, your child will have access to crayons or other coloring materials. Your child may not own them, but s/he will be able to use those at the projects.

    I am sure that your sponsored child will love to have some pictures colored by your daughter as well. Make sure she signs her name on her art!!

  408. Colleen
    Jun 5, 2009
    at 6:12 pm

    I have just recently sponsored a little 5 yr old girl who lives in Mexico, I live in California. I received my packet and sent off a letter with pictures. I really like the unique ideas everyone has come up with to include in the letters. I thought of something that my girls loved when they were young – those little sheets of soap that melt when you get them wet. I am going to try and find them and send some of those in the next letter I send. I just hope that someone still makes them. Thanks for sharing all of your ideas.

  409. Jeanette
    Jun 6, 2009
    at 12:07 pm

    There was a suggestion on this blog about making labels from you computer with the child’s name and number. I send a lot of little things so it sounded good only my printer is lousy. So I looked on the internet and found personalized rubber stamps. I think in the long run this will be cheaper than the computer labels because of the cost of the labels. Of course there are tyhings that will need labels anyway, but I am very excited to get the stamps because I send a lot of little things.

  410. Meredith Newmaker
    Jun 6, 2009
    at 1:33 pm

    Does anyone know if we can send CDs? They are flat, and I know one of my boys has a computer.

  411. Hezra
    Jun 6, 2009
    at 3:18 pm

    @Jeanette – I recently picked up some avery labels at walmart, and I was getting ready to print them, when I noticed online you can use some of the avery software for free. All you have to do is plug in the number for the size and add the info, it was really easy. And the option I used you didn’t have to download anything, but you could save them to your computer for future printing. You also have several options for little disigns to add to personalize them. I didn’t seem to have any problems with programs or printing, like I usually do.

    I really like the rubber stamp idea, I think your right about long term coasts and saving money. Since a stamp would probably work better for color pages and stickers.

  412. Jun 7, 2009
    at 7:46 am

    @Meredith Newmaker – I don’t believe we can send CD’s; they are not paper. Besides, the children are not likely to have anything to play them on.

    @Hezra – It’s true that we can use the Avery templates, but if you don’t buy the labels to print on, what are you going to use? One package of labels lasts a long time, although it’s true I don’t make a lot of them.

  413. Sara Benson
    Jun 7, 2009
    at 8:44 am

    @Meredith Newmaker
    The last time I checked, CDs were NOT allowed. I believe that someone (maybe Kees) had said that they sent a book that had a CD in it and that The CD did not get through. Compassion had to take it out and they called him to check if they could donate it or if he wanted it back.

    You could try contacting the Compassion Reps at 800-336-7676, but I am guessing that they will say no because of the requirements from the mail carriers.

  414. Sara Benson
    Jun 7, 2009
    at 8:48 am

    @Jeanette – The stamps are a good Idea but you just have to be aware that sometimes the children change projects because they move to another City, or for other reasons. I have a correspondence child who changed projects after about 4 months.

    But as long as your child stays in the same project, those stamps will make your labeling so much easier!

  415. jeff and sandy
    Jun 7, 2009
    at 11:51 pm

    @Meredith Newmaker
    sorry, no cd’s..i called last week about that, i figured if it was maybe christian music or stories, could be played at the project but …no….i guess coz people can put things on them that may be inappropiete, and the staff has enough to do with out having to listen to thousands of cd’s each week.. sandy

  416. jeff and sandy
    Jun 9, 2009
    at 2:36 am

    i was at the dollar store today, and i found some neat things, so i called compassion office while i was there,,,(the girl laughed) i found a beach ball and wind socks, plastic windchime and foam cutouts of all different shapes…lady told me all but the foam was ok…but a few weeks ago they told me that the foam cut outs were fine???i did send a foam photo album weeks ago, and didn’t get it back tho…the girl was puzzled….i also asked about letter beads and elaastic for making their own bracelets, and she said no, because it is concidered jewelery and thats not allowed..sandy

  417. jeff and sandy
    Jun 9, 2009
    at 2:46 am

    i called compassion while i was at a dollar store today,,,i asked about alot of things as i was looking at them…beach ball is allowed…puzzles,,ones in small boxes,,,the lady told me to flatten the box and put pieces in ziploc bag..or cut the photo on box front out and put it in the zip loc…

  418. Hezra
    Jun 9, 2009
    at 7:58 am

    @jeff and sandy – I also hear someone else say they were just sending several pieces at a time of a puzzle (in a ziplock). I guess it depends on how big the puzzle is. If you have too many pieces in a bag, they may pile up and that could quickley amount to more than a 1/4″. So I guess it depends on your kid, and their ability to wait to recieve more pieces, or the size of the puzzle and how few pieces there are to send.

  419. Jun 9, 2009
    at 8:02 am

    Given the very latest update with the restrictions that put us essentially back to where we were 18 months ago, and beyond, I’m really skeptical about that beach ball. As I read the latest, all I could see was paper. That still leaves a lot of room for creativity, but…a beach ball??

  420. sandy and jeff
    Jun 10, 2009
    at 2:50 am

    @Vicki Small – well , i was in the store while i called compassion…i told the lady that i found a flattened small beach ball sealed in plastic, and she said as long as it fit in the max size envelope it was ok.

    about puzzles, i had asked about the ones that were a dollar, with 100 or less pieces…as for them bunching up in shipping,,,what about laying them out on celephane and wrapping them tight so they don’t slide,,,just a thought…sandy

  421. Hezra
    Jun 10, 2009
    at 7:47 am

    @sandy and jeff – That’s a good idea, I know I was also thinking about using clear packing tape on the back that could be removed after it arrived. Or maybe a combination of the two would work well. Let me know what works for you, because I have one of those puzzels laying around that I was tossing the idea of sending, but wasn’t sure what would be the most effective method. What type of design did you get on the puzzle…just out of curiousity?

  422. Jun 10, 2009
    at 8:09 am

    You must have been at Michael’s, Vicki. I was just there yesterday and saw those beach balls. I almost bought one. I’m sorry I didn’t read your latest comment before I went to the store. They easily fit the dimensions of an enveope.

  423. Caitlin
    Jun 10, 2009
    at 1:17 pm

    When I send puzzle pieces, it’s to an older child. And I explained to her when I started how many pieces there were all together, and that I will keep sending pieces. I also put the puzzle together, then flipped it over and numbered off the pieces with a pencil. I send 9 pieces at a time (They’re large pieces to a 63 piece puzzle), but I always send pieces that will connect to the eachother and the last sets that I sent (I send them in the order I numbered them). I line three up on a strip of masking taping (sticky agaisnt the brownside of the puzzle) and stick them in a line in a ziplock baggy, and I tape three sets of three in a manner that I can still roll the bag up into a size small enough into a size that will fit my normal sized envelope. I haven’t sent the picture yet, will do that at the end, because this particular puzzle is an “I Spy” puzzle, that after it’s put together you try to find a certain amount of things in the picture, and because every piece I sends connects to the starter pieces I sent, and I don’t send a lot of pictures at a time, I think it will be fun for her to see the puzzle picture evolve. The next puzzle I send is going to be of a glow in the dark tiger, and I’ll send the picture first, because it’s more difficult, but I’m still numbering the back pieces. Just thought I’d give an idea of how I’ve been sending the pieces sso that they don’t bunch up.

  424. Sara Benson
    Jun 10, 2009
    at 8:08 pm

    I was thinking about sending a puzzle by putting it together myself, and then separating it into two or four pieces and sandwiching the puzzle quarters between thin cardboard. I thought that I would explain in the letter that they should take apart all of the puzzle pieces and then put the whole thing together.

  425. prakash
    Jun 10, 2009
    at 9:29 pm

    you can send money for the item with discription to the compassion and say them to purchase the same thing to your child

    @Sara Benson -

  426. Caitlin
    Jun 11, 2009
    at 12:39 pm

    A note for the beach balls! Some of the spouts are too thick, because of their caps, I managed to fix that by trimming some of the extra rubber around the plug!

  427. Hezra
    Jun 11, 2009
    at 2:30 pm

    @Caitlin – Thanks for all the info, I was thinking something along those lines, but hadn’t thought about the number! That should make it easier to grasp the concept, and for keeping track of the pieces. Now I have to decied which kid I’m going to try it on first!

  428. Terese
    Jun 12, 2009
    at 11:41 am

    Before the recent discussions about the new guidlines, I sent some hair ribbons and 6″ plastic rulers. I taped them down to a piece of cardboard so they were well under the 1/4.”

    I haven’t gotten a call from Compassion, so I am optimistic that they went through.

    Has anyone been unsuccessful recently in sending those items?

  429. Trish
    Jun 12, 2009
    at 2:01 pm

    I’ve sent hair ribbons many times and they have never been sent back. I also sent hair rubber bands…but because of the metal they could not send them on.
    One thing that my little one loves is stationery with her name and a design on. You can easily make this yourself either on the computer or by hand. Also notecards are good. They have little or no access to these things and enjoy them.

  430. Pam
    Jun 12, 2009
    at 8:49 pm

    @Tina Adams – It’s funny that you would say that you use labels to identify your enclosures. I just did that very thing 10 minutes ago when I put a letter together for my little boy Isaac. I’m new to this blog, today is the first day I ever read it. I wonder if the kids would like a sheet of address stickers with their name on them in different colors and fonts to label their belongings at home. I wonder if we can make our own stickers with bible verses, things like #1, Love you ect for them to decorate their things.
    I also thought of sending sports cards. My Isaac likes soccer. I don’t know if there are soccer cards, but I’m planning on looking at WalMart tomorrow.

  431. jeff and sandy
    Jun 13, 2009
    at 5:26 pm

    @Hezra – i just saw a small puzzle in a box at the dollar store…had a duck and a kitten on it…100 pieces and some with 50 pieces, i wasn’t gonna tackle any bigger than that..

    i did buy flash cards of letters and numbers and math problems, and they were half inch thick so i put half in a letter with a note saying why half and the same day a sent another letter with the rest, so he would get it all hopefully the same time, or not too far apart………thats hard to wait when youre little!!

    i called the office about sending more than one like that, the lady said , the more the better, doesn’t matter to them, a box goes to each country each week also..

    because i have 4 kids.. the post master told me that if you get a cardboard envelope from them (free), but ask which one,,,for 4.95 i can stuff it with as much as i want as long as the flap closes, no matter the weight..so if i’m sending more than a paper or stickers,,,i send all 4 at once, alot cheaper…last week, it was actually 2.oo cheaper than sending each seperate, to colorado……….sandy

  432. jeff and sandy
    Jun 13, 2009
    at 5:32 pm

    @Caitlin -thanks, i’ll remember that…but the ones i found were small enough to get in a 5×7 envelope and it fit……since you sent the balls are you sure they got them? i hope so…….but when i found them, i used my cell phone in the store and called compassion before i bought them and the lady said ” pretty much anything that fits the size and has no metal or liquid and no markers or pencils and pens,,,i asked that coz i got some of the black velvet pictures to color and had markers, she told me to just make a small slit and slide them out.. sandy

  433. jeff and sandy
    Jun 13, 2009
    at 5:35 pm

    thanks, the notecards are a great idea, my printer does photos, i think i’ll try to put their photo at the top with the name, that will be cute, even the teen girls would like that..@Trish -

  434. Valerie Long
    Jun 14, 2009
    at 11:27 am

    I love the idea of the notecards with their names on them! I think I’ll stop at Michael’s next weekend (after payday) and get some to send. :) Blank ones that I can then decorate with their name. :)

    Good ideas with the puzzles too! I’ve been looking at Oriental Trading Company’s website for small little kits for crafts and such. For those of you with only 1 or 2 kids, maybe you could team up with a few other sponsors or something since most of them come in sets of 1 dozen. Between my sponsored kids and my correspondence kids, I have 9, so they would work out well for me and are fairly cheap. I haven’t actually bought any yet, just looking right now.

  435. sandy and jeff
    Jun 14, 2009
    at 9:21 pm

    @Pam – pam, i know there is 433 comments here, but well worth the time to read them all!! alot of awesome ideas from all these people..and your name labels is also a good idea, i’ll do that also….
    also check out “where do you sponsor a child”, and “ourcompassion” and when you read thru “where do you sponsor”, when you come to an address for “spreadsheet” click on it and add your name…..sandy

  436. Marlyn
    Jun 15, 2009
    at 5:17 pm

    Hello, I’ve just begun a sponsorship for a child in Ghana and have sent her (age 7)first envelope. I only included coloring pages and a few postcards with some stickers, note paper and a short letter. I was wondering how bookmarks and scripture verses are to be sent, when most things need translation…do you write the verses on note cards or something and leave room for translation? What kind of bookmarks would someone suggest? Do they have Bibles in their languages?

    This blog is wonderful for ideas, thank you all for sharing. I will refer to your suggestions often in the future.

  437. Hezra
    Jun 16, 2009
    at 8:02 am

    @Marlyn – I generally make the book marks. I use alpha stickers to put their first name, and then decorage with other stickers that I think they’ll like.

    From what I’ve heard, they only translate what is written in the letters. So I would include the verses in the letters maybe in addition to what might be on a bookmark you are sending. Also, biblegateway.com has several different language translations of the bible. Once you find out which language your child is actually writting you in, you could see if it’s one of the listed and you that.

    I usaully try to find things that don’t really neet to be translated. Things with lots of pictures or few words. Most the the post cards I find are self explanitory i.e. pictures of the produce grown in my state, with the state name, a bridge with the river name, maps…those sort of things. And if I want to tell them more about it, I just usually make that the topic of my letter.

    Hope this helps! Welcome to Compassion.

  438. Marlyn
    Jun 16, 2009
    at 5:29 pm

    @Hezra – Hezra, thank you so much for the suggestions. I have spent the first week of my sponsorship reading through this site and finding some great ideas. Many of the questions I had have been answered and I am excited to prepare the next mailing. Thanks again for your very helpful ideas!

  439. Loren
    Jun 16, 2009
    at 6:39 pm

    Marlyn- I heard that the kids dont have many pictures of them selves. SO, what I did is I cut a strip of scrap book paper and put their picture on it and layered it with colorfull paper and put a cross on it. They turned out really cute and I cant wait to hear back from them to see if they liked the book marks :)
    and i sent a check and put the “special” directions about the money saying to buy them a book on their reading level. I wasnt sure if i could do that but i called and the represnative said they could probably do that.

  440. Loren
    Jun 16, 2009
    at 6:41 pm

    Im not enitrely sure if they can get them a book. I only sent them a few weeks ago but so far havent heard that they could buy them a book. If i hear they can Not do that I will post it and let you know. otherwise it went thru(hopefully)

  441. Jeanette
    Jun 17, 2009
    at 1:42 pm

    @Loren – Books are on the list of what we can send as long as they are within the size requirements ie 1/4 inches thick.

  442. Jun 17, 2009
    at 1:58 pm

    I’ve sent coloring books, and even the little photo albums (from Michaels) and so far I haven’t heard anything back saying they couldn’t be sent. It’s been about a month since I sent the first coloring book, so it should be ok.

  443. mary
    Jun 18, 2009
    at 10:02 am

    Hi everyone. I have loved reading these posts…getting great ideas. I wanted to let you know that i tried to send flat pieces of chewing gum and Compassion called and told me that it was considered food and could not be sent…

    I sponsor a 11 yrs old boy in Burkina Faso…and we were getting letters on a very regular basis…but..never got any of our questions answered…so i called Compassion and was told to write something like this is my next letter:
    We are really desiring to know you better Aziz through your letters. It would be so nice if you would answer our questions. In your next letter could you answer these questions? and then you could ask us some questions and we will answer them!..It will be fun……

    So i am anxious to try this and see if it will work.

    I have sent him with the last letter a photo album of our family. so anxious to see if he responds…thanks for all the great ideas!-

  444. Roger,Sandra and Autumn
    Jun 18, 2009
    at 11:30 am

    Hey, Maybe you could send some beautiful stationary or if they like crafts you could send them some things to make cards. How about ribbons for their hair. If they like to tell stories- storybooks to read to younger children or if they enjoy art- easy drawing or sketching books. I am also going to send a little finger shadow book I found for them to use telling stories to younger children.
    Hope this helps!
    The Edgerles@lydia -

  445. Marlyn
    Jun 18, 2009
    at 5:12 pm

    @Loren – Loren, thanks for that idea! I read above that we can order extra copies of the child’s picture from Compassion. I need to do that and make her something(s) using her photo. I like that idea! Thanks.

  446. Hezra
    Jun 19, 2009
    at 8:01 am

    @mary – I another tip I heard to try and get your questions answered you could use in addition is, number or bu