6 Ways to Write Your Child As If You’ve Met Them

“Do you want to know the good news or the bad news first?”

We’ve all been asked this question before. I’m a sucker for delayed gratification, so when someone asks me, I always go with bad news first. Today I have some good news and bad news to share with you. And I’ll stick with my gut and start with the bad. But don’t worry, it isn’t really too bad. ?

The “Bad” News: Most people aren’t able to ever meet their sponsored child. I myself have never had the chance to visit Alison, the girl I sponsor. Health concerns, financial restrictions and many other factors keep most of us sponsors from being able to visit — and that’s totally fair! But trust me, if we could send every person on a trip to meet their sponsored child, we would.

The Good News: Even though you may never have the chance to visit your sponsored child, you can learn from others! After hearing so many sponsors tell me that their relationship changed after meeting their sponsored child, I began to wonder how. And it turns out, what changes most is letter writing.

So, even if we’re never able to meet our sponsored child, we can learn how to improve our letter writing from other sponsors! Keep reading for real sponsors’ stories, plus some letter-writing tips based on their experiences.

Becca visited Emanuel in Nicaragua in January 2016.

A girl in a red hat hugs a young boy as they sit in a chair.

How have your letters to your sponsored child changed since your visit?

“He became even more of a real person, with a real personality. It also gave me context. I learned more about his schooling and how his mother was in the midst of an accounting internship. It was great to see a glimpse into his world and then follow up on it.”

Letter Writing Tip:

Becca was able to meet Emanuel’s mother. Even if you can’t meet your sponsored child’s parents or caregivers in real life, make sure to ask about them in your letters. Ask about their job, their faith and their family. We find that the parents of sponsored children often consider you part of their extended family, so this connection can be so meaningful! And make sure to follow up based on what you learn in later letters!

Joanne and Chuck visited Carlos in Colombia in 2019.

A woman and man stand outside with four youth around them.

How have your letters to your sponsored child changed since your visit?

“After [my visit], I realized how important it was to really speak love, faith and encouragement. I realized then that my sponsored children hold on to my letters. They treasure them. How humbling! My letters to all my sponsor children have become more personal and I realize I need to use these treasured letters to encourage them in their faith and share God’s love for them.”

Letter Writing Tip:

Let Joanne’s experience be a reminder to you — your letters are precious to your sponsored child! In every single letter, remind your child how loved he or she is by you and Jesus. Often children save these letters for years to come back to later for encouragement.

Matt visited Edwin in Kenya in December 2013.

A man in a yellow shirt puts his arm around a young man in a peach-colored shirt.

How have your letters with your sponsored child changed since your visit?

“They got longer for sure. We started getting two- and three-page letters from Edwin who was nearing the end of his time in the program.”

Letter Writing Tip:

Long, thoughtful letters are especially fun to receive — Matt knows from experience. Imagine how special it would be to your sponsored child if he or she received an extra long letter from you. Send a longer letter next time you write!

Judy visited Gary in Guatemala in 2018.

A woman in a white shirt and a young man in a red shirt hug one another tightly.

How have your letters to your sponsored child changed since your visit?

“Gary and I had already developed a close connection through our letters before my visit, but a deeper heart-to-heart connection resulted after meeting each other in person.”

Letter Writing Tip:

You can foster a heart-to-heart connection like Judy and Gary did! If you sponsor an older child, next time you write, push yourself to ask deeper questions. “What are you most passionate about?” “Has anything hard been happening at school lately?” “What questions do you have about God?”

Taylor has visited Adam in Uganda three times since 2015.

A woman hugs a small boy in front of a swing set.

How have your letters to your sponsored child changed since your visit?

“My letters have become more powerful since my visit. I learned so much about Adam and his family during my trip that I’m now equipped with the knowledge of how to ask more direct and meaningful questions. Adam was only four when I began sponsoring him so information about this life was hard to come by. Now I know how to ask, who needs prayer, what their current needs are or how they’ve been able to overcome certain battles I knew they were struggling with.”

Letter Writing Tip:

Follow up on struggles you know about, just like Taylor does. If your sponsored child has told you about specific hardships he or she is facing, make sure to ask about them in your next letter. Or maybe you can ask them if they have a specific prayer request. Also, save their letters in one place to refer back to!

Don visited Thalia in Ecuador in 2019.

an older man wearing a colorful scarf and hat poses with a young man.

How have your letters to your sponsored child changed since your visit?

“Writing is always easier for me after a visit because I can now visualize the children in their homes, and I can relate to their families since I have now met them. It seems to make the letters more personal.”

Letter Writing Tip:

Even if you haven’t seen your sponsored child’s home like Don has, there are still things you can do to help visualize it! Try asking your sponsored child to send you a drawing or a description of what their home is like. Children also say they love hearing about their sponsor’s home or community. Next time tell them something unique about where you live.

I hope you find the experiences of these sponsors encouraging, and that they give you some new ideas about how you can write your child! Now that you’ve got some inspiration, write a letter today!


What about you? Have you met your sponsored child? If so, how have your letters changed after meeting him or her? We’d love to hear about your experience — comment below!

18 Comments |Add a comment

  1. lee July 3, 2021

    i love this email and i will spend more time riding my letters in the future

  2. Kim Schmidt April 10, 2020

    Thank you for the privilege to write to my sponsored child. Would it ever be possible to skype or have face to face time on the internet with her?

    1. Sarah April 13, 2020

      Hello Kim! Regrettably, Compassion isn’t able to set up video communications between the children and sponsors, even under normal circumstances for several reasons. Internet can be spotty in many of the communities we work in, which has the potential to cause issues with web based video chats. Also, with several hundred children at each church center, taking time for video calls between the children and their sponsors can be a very long, difficult process, taking away from the church partner’s main priority to the children, delivering the programming that the sponsorship funds is covering. We also take child protection very seriously, which is highly difficult to maintain when connecting sponsor and child through a video call. I am so sorry that we aren’t able to provide this feature for you as a sponsor. Though we aren’t able to do this, please know that we are always working to formulate better ways of keeping you and your precious child connected to each other! We so appreciate your heart in wanting to love on her in a special way.

  3. Nancy Heilman January 1, 2020

    I have mentioned this before over the phone to Compassion reps, but it’s worth mentioning again. I would like to see the online letter-writing setup include being able to place simple captions for the photos we submit. It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or long (in terms of characters allowed) — just a way to identify a few things in our photos. What do you think?!

    1. Shannon January 2, 2020

      Dear Nancy,

      Thank you so much for sharing this wonderful idea! I will absolutely pass this along to our team and see if that is something we can implement in the future!

  4. Nancy January 1, 2020

    We have now met all 4 of our sponsored children — God has blessed us to be able to do this. We saw our Tanzanian child, then our Kenyan child this past Feb. The Tanzanian visit was a Compassion group tour. The Kenyan visit was an add-on, custom visit (since we were already in Tanzania). The letter writing definitely gets more fun/adventurous after a visit. We had the chance to ask the social worker (that day of our visit) about specific needs of the family. This led us to sendng a family gift several months ago… which was used to begin digging a well. Our money reached them during a time when it was extremely dry in that part of Tanzania… & the family could not even bathe. It takes my breath away that the money came at just the right time for them. We then sent more $ — to complete the well. The next thing we knew, we got a picture of the family in front of the fully-finished well. So now, we have lots to talk about! God is good. Our other child (from Kenya), we were able to meet on her ‘turf’ (Compassion center, be in her home, etc.). This was ULTRA special. The family even gifted us a chicken, named after me (which they still care for). Since then, they have named a chicken after my husband, too, so we write back & forth about the chickens. Ha! Also, I taught the girl a simple, catchy song with actions (that we interestingly learned during a previous child sponsorship tour to Kenya). She writes us & tells us that she still remembers that song. The challenge in continued letter-writing after meeting your child — is to continue to ask relevant, poignant questions, while waiting patiently for some answers. As many of us know, you don’t always get questions answered, so you have to be persistent. I have heard that numbering questions helps. I have tried this, & it usually gets a better response. And to conclude, once you’ve met your sponsored child, they become real, living, lovable beings… & sponsorship takes on a whole new meaning & value in your life. And to quote someone, ” We release them from physical poverty & they in turn release us from spiritual poverty.”

    1. Shannon January 2, 2020


      Thank you so much for sharing your sponsorship story with us! You can tell just how much your children mean to you and your family, and it means so much to us here at Compassion to see that loving relationship be built! What a true blessing! We are thankful to know you not only had the opportunity to meet your sweet children, but that has helped you to remain closer and even build more of a relationship! We appreciate your continued support and advocacy for other sweet children in the program who are still looking for loving sponsors! ?

  5. CYNTHIA COOK November 21, 2019

    Yes, we just wrote our first letter to our child and we were very limited. I am not sure how others are saying they wrote 3-4 pages unless they wrote them actual letters. I would love for us to be able to send longer letters, as we have 3 kids of our own that want to write to him as well.

    1. Sierra November 22, 2019

      Hi Cynthia! Thank you very much for this feedback; I have passed it on to our web team to see what they are able to do! In the meantime, the best way to send long letters is by sending them through the mail physically; you’re able to send up to six sheets of paper per letter. We just ask that you put your sponsor number and your child’s ID on each piece you send, in order to ensure it gets to your child. 🙂 Thanks so much for your and your kiddos’ hearts to encourage your child through letters!

  6. Marcella Stewart November 18, 2019

    Thank you for sharing these stories! As I read them and looked at the pictures I could feel the pure love and joy between the sponsors and children. It filled me with excitement about writing my child more and the trip I am planning to visit my child this spring. I found my sponsor child just shy of 3 years and I feel like he is a part of our family. How could I love this 10 yr old boy whom I’ve never met and is thousands of miles away? One word GOD! I feel privileged and honor I am able to build a relationship thru letters with my child. His last letter he told me he keeps all my letters by his bed and looks at them every night and thinks of me. Brought me to tears when I read that, makes me want to write him even more. He also said it would be a dream come true if I would come to visit. Thank you Compassion International for what you do, bringing families together, changing lives. When I decided to sponsor a child I thought I would have the chance to change this sweet child’s life, but actually he is changing mine.

  7. Lynn November 13, 2019

    Send your child your written pray. I certainly feel blessed when prayed for and so will they!

  8. Sarah Hostler November 9, 2019

    All the help with letters is appreciated (and needed!). I’m not social so writing is the hardest thing for me. Plus writing to a child, I have a hard time figuring what would interest them. Lol luckily praying for them is the easiest thing in the world and what’s most important.

    1. Mackenzie November 11, 2019

      Thank you so much for this reply, Sarah! I am glad that this post is helpful to you! We greatly appreciate your prayers and letters!

  9. Robert Ryan October 16, 2019

    Before I met my sponsored child I was writing on a biweekly basis. I would ask her questions about her life and then talk about my life. And then usually end with a quick Bible verse/ lesson. My letters were usually pretty long. Her letters written to me were usually one page long and I would receive a letter every two months. Then I met my sponsored child and things changed. I met my sponsored child in Honduras through a Compassion Tour in February of 2019. She was thirteen years old when I met her but currently she is fourteen years old. Going on the trip really opened my eyes a lot of new things and I learned many lessons from the experience. The biggest thing I learned is even though she lives in the horrible world of poverty, she does not feel poverty. My sponsored child knows that she is loved by God and knows he has great plans for her. I am happy knowing my sponsored child is like any other teenager. It made me happy when she rolled her eyes at me because of my silly antics and dumb jokes. Most people don’t like the teenage attitude but I embraced hers because it was those teenage attitude moments that I knew she was growing up like a normal child and normal teenager. Today, I find myself writing letters to my sponsored child on a weekly basis. Sometimes every few days. Since my visit she writes letters to me pretty often. Her letters get longer (usually four to six pages long). And I have lately been getting photos of her, her family, and other things in her letters to me. Meeting my sponsored child changed in our relationship. I plan to make a second visit soon and I can’t wait for that day when I get to see her again.

    1. Christina October 17, 2019

      Hi Robert! It truly warms my heart to hear about your flourishing relationship with your beautiful Abigail. I’m so glad you had the amazing, life-changing experience of meeting her! What a fantastic opportunity!! Thank you for the tremendous difference you’re making in Abigail’s life through your love, support, and encouraging letters! We very much appreciate you!

  10. Nelson Gartor October 15, 2019

    To God be the glory the most high
    Thanks for your the wonderful work of your organization and the people that have the feeling for the poor.
    May the Lord Almighty God blessings be upon they and their families

  11. Missy Voigts October 15, 2019

    I read where you encourage us to write longer letters, but the online form only allows a certain amount of space and often it’s not enough! Can you give us more space on the online form?

    1. Sierra October 16, 2019

      Missy, that’s a great suggestion! Thank you for your desire to write long letters to your children! I will certainly pass this idea along to our web team to see what they can do. 🙂

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