protecting our children Sponsors travel far and wide to visit their sponsored children and see how we work in the field. For many, a visit to their sponsored child’s country is simply not an option. Most likely, it’s because of health or financial limitations.

I would LOVE to go and meet all three of my sponsored children, but I definitely don’t have the thousands of dollars it would cost my husband and I to do so. So why can’t my sponsored children come visit me in Colorado?

Even if the child’s parents allowed them to travel outside of the country (many children have never left their communities), there are many logistics that would make this trip difficult.

A sponsor with her sponsored child

Think about it – arranging the child’s visa and departure requirements, finding a Compassion representative to accompany the child, accommodations, translation issues, and most important – protecting the child from unsafe situations.

Child protection is something we take very seriously. We know that 99 percent of you would smother your sponsored child with love, prayer and encouragement. Regrettably, it’s the few bad apples we have to be careful about.

Allowing a sponsored child to travel to his or her sponsor’s home increases the risk of abuse or exploitation dramatically – a risk we cannot take.

Notice that I said this would be difficult – not impossible. Yes, I admit it. It’s possible. But that doesn’t mean we can allow it.

Our purpose is to holistically develop children through child sponsorship. Bottom line, it’s all about the children and what is best for them.

Yes, a trip to the U.S. or wherever you live may seem like a great cultural experience for your sponsored child, but can you imagine how scary that might be for a child who has never left his or her community? Talk about culture shock.

I don’t like the thought of my sponsored children visiting me. I remember how horrified I was at the depth of poverty I witnessed while visiting Zambia a few years ago. The guilt I felt upon returning to my warm home and fully stocked kitchen was debilitating for several days.

Although it would be fun to show my sponsored children the States, I really don’t want them to see my house, my car or my city. I’ve seen pictures of where they live. I know their circumstances. At the core of me, I don’t want them to see how I’m living. Why you ask? I’m ashamed of it.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m very average according to America’s standards. However, a much different picture is painted according to their standards.

But that’s just me. Everyone’s struggles are different, and this is one of my many.

So no, your sponsored child will not be able to visit you – and maybe you won’t be able to visit him or her. But that’s okay. The words of encouragement you speak in your letters mean everything.

Don’t believe me? Listen for yourself.

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  1. Jan 18, 2011
    at 10:00 am

    Well said!!!

  2. Jason
    Jan 18, 2011
    at 10:46 am

    I agree 100% with this. I do hope to go visit my child in Haiti when the begin group tours again. I have been trying to go for over 6 years and I will get there someday.

  3. Jean
    Jan 18, 2011
    at 11:48 am

    Yes well said. On a practical note, it certainly can cost no more for one U.S. adult to fly to a sponsored child than it would for a sponsored child to fly here with an accompanying adult. Seriously, what is best for these children is to be assisted to thrive in their community, to grow, to learn, to come to know God and then, eventually, leave poverty behind and go where He leads.

  4. Mike Stephens
    Jan 19, 2011
    at 4:50 pm

    As much as I love the mountains I love the ocean more, which makes visiting my sponsored kids that live by the ocean that much more enjoyable. I guess maybe the grass is always greener…the whole reason I visited in the first place was because I thought it was impossible, having my sponsored child visit here does not seem so impossible. I am more than happy to comply with Compassion’s guidelines regarding whatever. The only reason it became an issue for me is because one of the kids I sponsor wrote in a letter that he wanted to visit me. I thought, “Hey it could happen.” I didn’t say no way b/c it was his choice/dream/goal but it might take a little bit of a miracle being that the Compassion code restricts it. Maybe if he becomes President of the Philippines he can visit me ;)

    I Peter 5:7 “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for YOU!”

    Mike

  5. Jan 20, 2011
    at 10:30 pm

    Hi, Shaina,

    This is a great article. It’s funny, but I just came from the store and I was thinking about one of my children and how I wish she could be with me at that point. I was listening to some Bolivian music and I thought it would be so much fun to sing these songs together. I could just picture her smiling and I could hear her voice and her laughter (I’ve visited her several times)

    Then I must say, but I was kind of curious to see where the link would take me where it says at the end: “Listen to it yourself”: It took me to a link with Michelle Tolentino. Now, I just happened to talk with Michelle today and guess what she was doing? Visiting her sponsors….. But I know that’s a totally different thing. She is an adult.

    But getting back to the topic at hand. I agree. I think it would cost a ton of money to have the child visit the sponsor. Thus it would take a sponsor quite financially rich to even pull this off. So, then you would get this child visiting this rich sponsor and maybe see his/her house and lifestyle….. Of course, the visit wouldn’t last for just a few hours, so then you’d have to have the child fly back and go right back into their surroundings…. They would have such a hard time to be back there….

    Maybe that’s why God doesn’t allow us to go to heaven for a few days as a break…. He knows what it would be like to have to be back….

    But in the mean time, the sponsor’s letters will mean so much to that child and you can have a huge impact on their lifes. And if you can visit them, definitely do and then become an advocate and get as many children sponsored as you possibly can… And you can have a huge impact on people’s lifes. As I heard an aquaintance say one time: “Don’t watch the news…. be the news.”

  6. Jan 22, 2011
    at 11:08 am

    I was on the sponsor tour where the above photo was taken, and it was an amazing experience. My wife an I initially decided to go on our first sponsor tour because one of our sponsored children had had a particularly difficult year. We went thinking we were doing something for the child. It turns our, we got so much more out of it than she did. We never thought we could afford to go visit our sponsored child, but if you really want to meet your child, there are ways. We planned way in advance, and I worked extra when I could. It wasn’t easy. Now we feel like we can’t afford not to visit our sponsored children.

  7. Mike Stephens
    Jan 24, 2011
    at 8:06 pm

    I agree with Mike, it seems so hard as you are trying to go but once I make the trip I often think, “I need to make sure I visit again and again and again” hahahahahaha! I was working the night shift at wal-mart saving for the Nicaragua sponsor tour and it was more than worth it. Lord I hated working at Wal-mart! What a nightmare ;)

  8. Randy White
    Jan 26, 2011
    at 6:55 am

    It’s too bad that the world has to be this way but I fully agree with this policy. I would love to see my child now but my dream is for her to come for a visit or meet me somewhere years from now when she is a happy successful adult working for the Lord somewhere. Also, I thank God for organizations like Compassion International and for my daughter who “pestered” me until I agreed to participate in this program.

  9. May 17, 2011
    at 5:22 am

    If we get good references is it possible to visit our child while in Equador it would be so good to have that link with the child? My son is engaged to an Ecuadorian so we are invited to visit the family this June. Not sure if we are putting this question in the right place but would really appreciate an answer. Thanks

    • May 17, 2011
      at 7:39 am

      Hi Lynne,

      If you sponsor through the UK then contact the UK office at info@compassionuk.org or ring 01932 836 490. Someone will be able to help arrange a visit for you. I’ve just visited my sponsored child and it was amazing! I’ve uploaded some videos of it on the Compassion UK YouTube page – http://www.youtube.com/compassionuk.

    • Michael Patterson
      May 17, 2011
      at 9:16 am

      Lynne-
      I visited our sponsored children when I went to the Dominican Republic with a charity called Healing Waters. I stayed an extra 4 days and travelled to the homes of our sponsored children. Compassion required that I give them 8 weeks advance notice so they could arrange the visit with our children. The sponsor is required to pay for any travel expenses for the children and their escort. Compassion provides you with a staff member who can translate. It’s a great way to visit your child!

      • May 17, 2011
        at 9:41 am

        Hi, Michael. Yes, that’s the cheapest way to visit your child…. I’ve done over 100 child visits that way…. (Not over a hundred individual trips!!!) Someone might be thinking, that I’m loaded!!! No, actually, the cheapest childvisit I did was 21 cents, but that’s an abnomally…. Very unusual circumstances….. :-) But it’s very Dutch, always…. trying to be frugile!!!!

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