You Asked, We Answered: Facebook Q&A

We recently hosted our first ever impromptu Facebook Q&A session. There were a ton of great questions asked. Here are some of the most popular questions – and a few of our favorites – as well as our answers to them. A few edits have been made for clarity.

Facebook Questions Post

From the point a sponsor selects a new child on the website, generally how long is it before they are told they have been sponsored? – Janet

They find out within one month. We like to share this exciting news with their family as quickly as possible!

How often are the letters usually passed out at the centers? I realize it must vary. – Rocky

Letters are distributed once a month to the children.

Facebook Questions Joanna

For those of us unlikely to be able to travel to see our children, are video messages ever in the works? – Joanna

We understand that visits are not possible for everyone. We’re considering new ways of sponsor and child communication with our system updates that we are working on designing right now. You will see quicker, improved, and even some new ways to communicate with your child soon.

I was at a concert at a church when I got a packet to sponsor a child. I filled out the information and gave it back to the church. I’m not able to access my account online at because it says my email address is not in the records, and no money has been deducted yet. What do I do now? Just curious – Hannah

It takes two to four weeks for sponsorships from events to be finalized. This is why the online system is not recognizing you yet. However, you are welcome to visit or call 800-336-7676 to get started right away. Also, right now is a great time to send off that first letter! You can send any paper stationary or card with your child’s ID number on it to Compassion International, Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004.

Is it wise to “friend” my sponsored child on Facebook? – Marnie

Although this might seem exciting, we strongly advise against this and ask that you keep your communication with your child solely through letters that filter through Compassion first. This is for both the protection of you and your child. You can read our blog about this.

Facebook Questions Dixie

How many sponsors do you have from the United States? And which state has the most sponsors? – Dixie

It literally changes every minute as kids get sponsored. We have over 700,000 sponsors in the US. California has the most, followed by Texas.

Can we learn how Christmas/birthday gifts of money was spent, what gifts were purchased for the children we support? – Linda

You should receive a thank-you letter from your child, 6 months after you send a gift. If it has been more than 6 months, please email us at [email protected] and we can request a letter be sent that tells you how your gift was used.

I had a mailer some time about doing a volunteer position to be an area rep for Compassion Sunday. Do you still do that? – William

We sure do! Here’s how to get involved as a volunteer in your area for events.

Have any sponsored children ever ended up becoming a sponsor to a child once they were grown up themselves? – Rob

Yes, many have! And Olive is one of them! She’s a beautiful testimony of God’s love and goodness.

Facebook Questions Bonita

On average, how many letters do sponsors write a year? – Bonita

In 2014, we processed over 1.5 million letters from our sponsors! This number has been increasing each year!

Is it okay to ask your sponsor child why his name was changed? – Tara

That’s definitely fine to ask. If he doesn’t answer you, let us know and we can send an inquiry to our country office and see why it might have changed. Often this can be due to the parents telling us one thing and then we may find the birth certificate and child’s school records reflect something different.

Are there any statistics around how many churches or individuals are using “Step Into My Shoes” already? – Bonnie

We have roughly 12,500 individual families and church leaders that have been mailed toolkits for Step Into My Shoes!

I saw you post an article about FGM a while back. What kind of programs do you have in place for this issue, and how can people get involved? – Rachel

GREAT question. While we don’t have any formal programs, the care and nurture of each child is of utmost importance. Our project workers in each country are sensitive to cultural issues of this type and handle such matters in a loving manner.

Regarding the long-held practice of female genital mutilation (FGM) by many people in the developing world, Compassion cannot mandate its abolition. Our Christian beliefs sometimes contradict the “moral standards” of the people who believe in the practice of FGM. The sad reality is that a girl raised in this cultural setting who doesn’t undergo circumcision is believed by her community to be “unclean, permanently a child, an outcast, and immoral.” Like poverty, this traditional practice will not be changed overnight. Compassion International does not endorse FGM. However, we do use Christian example and persuasion to teach that God considers our physical body to be a temple.

Facebook Questions Jim

Why not a bigger push for Team Compassion? The website hasn’t even been updated in a couple of years. I love wearing my Team Compassion gear at races. So many people ask about it. – Jim

We hear you! Team Compassion is getting rebooted this summer. Stay tuned!

Can you tell me a little more about your partnership with Stadia and future plans around church planting? – Bonnie

Compassion does not plant churches but we work through the local church to provide direct child development programs that release children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty, enabling them to become responsible, fulfilled adults. Every field office has a formal process for selecting new church partners. The process is specific and has rigorous expectations and must be done prayerfully with the mindset of building a long-term commitment. In areas of extreme poverty where there is no church, Stadia church planting has networked with its US churches to plant churches in these unreached areas. This partnership has resulted in 80 church plants and over 12,000 child sponsorships all over South America and Mexico.

Do other children get jealous when sponsored kids get presents and advantages? – Bobbi

Yeah, they do. It’s never fun for a child to miss out on a letter or gift. That’s why we put a HUGE emphasis on letter writing and gift giving. We even have a correspondence program to write letters to kids who never get them. Email us if you’re interested – [email protected]

Facebook Questions Jesse

So many serious questions… what color is the dress? – Jesse

Note from the Editor: We voted and our consensus was white and gold. Our “black and blue” teammate was naturally vocal in her disagreement.

What is the capital of Ohio? That is were I live, in Ohio. – Elizabeth

It’s the letter O.

And finally…

No real question. Just want to thank all the Compassion International staff for all you do. Actually, here is a question: What is a way that we can pray for Compassion – the staff, the children, and the ministry as a whole? – John

Thanks for your prayers and encouragement, John! Join our prayer partners to regularly pray for our ministry.

This Facebook Q&A was a lot of fun for us. And we hope to do them more frequently in the future, because we wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for your support.

To expand a bit on that last question, while we have many needs among the kids and families we serve, the churches we partner with, and the staff and volunteers who make it all happen, we can sum up our requests in one fell swoop this way:

God’s Kingdom come. God’s will be done. On earth as it is in heaven. Matthew 6:10

Thank you!

35 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Sarah November 22, 2020

    What does urgent need mean and how does it differ from longest waiting?

    1. Christina November 23, 2020

      Sarah, thank you for your question! I’m happy to provide information regarding the different definitions of urgent need and longest waiting.

      A child is placed on our “longest waiting” list when they have been waiting a little over a year for a sponsor. Of course, any child waiting that long is heartbreaking and is in urgent need of a sponsor. Thankfully, they have been receiving support from the Unsponsored Children’s Fund. If an unsponsored child has an urgent need, such as emergency medical care, then they would be considered to have an urgent need as well as waiting very long, so a child can be in both categories.

      Compassion defines a child with an urgent need if they have one or multiple of the following circumstances:

      -lives in a HIV/AIDS affected area
      -lives in an area with high risk for child rights violations such as exploitation or abuse
      -is orphaned
      -has medical needs

      Of course, there are many circumstances where a child may be considered to have an urgent need, but these are usually the most common reasons. Gifts towards meeting urgent needs provides interventions that include emergency medical care, protection from violation or abuse, and immediate care for unsponsored children.

      Please let us know if you have any additional questions. Have a blessed day!

  2. Karen July 6, 2018

    Is it okay to mention the gift in the child’s birthday message? For example, we hope you are able to buy something useful with the birthday gift money? Or do you have any more suitable suggestions?

    1. Shannon July 6, 2018

      Hi Karen,
      You are more than welcome to mention your gift in your letter. Please know that they may not arrive at the same time though, so I would say something like, “I hope you enjoy your gift and can get something useful when it arrives”.

  3. Hali March 22, 2016

    How far in advance do you recommend sending either gifts or money for gifts for their birthday and Christmas? Also I see that my child has a sibling – do we know if they have also been sponsored?

    1. Susan Sayler March 23, 2016

      Hi Hali! We recommend sending both paper and money gifts two to three months prior to the event to ensure timely delivery. It looks like Ezekiel is the only child in his family who is registered in Compassion. This means that regrettably his sister is not able to be sponsored. Your support and letters positively impact the whole family. We provide programming for Ezekiel’s parents and he shares with his whole family the things that he is learning and receiving at the center. You are also welcome to enclose extra notes and paper items for his whole family with your letters to Ezekiel.

  4. Krista March 21, 2016

    Is it better to mail an actual photo or email one?

    1. Sarah March 21, 2016

      Hi Krista! This is honestly a personal preference for each sponsor. Personally, I go back and forth between mailing photos and attaching them to my online letters. The awesome thing about the online letter tool and the app is that you can attach the photos right from your computer and phone without having to print them!

  5. Dianet Depew February 4, 2016

    Hello, my boyfriend and I just became sponsors to two adorable children. On a few blogs and on pintrest I have noticed that some sponsors send their children folders with fun paper items (stickers, coloring pages, cards). I would like to do this for my child as well, what would be the best way? Do have have to staple the items to the folder so they would not fall out, or do I just put them in the folder? I am aware that there is a size restriction too. I found a fun memory card game and it is more like thin cardboard cards, would these go through? How about puzzles? My boyfriend was also wondering if he can send plastic card protectors similar to trading card protectors so the children will have some place to keep their card games. Thank you very much for taking the time to answer our questions.

    1. Susan Sayler February 5, 2016

      Hi Dianet! So many excellent questions here! Yes, you are more than welcome to send folders with fun paper items or the paper items separately. Basically, anything that is paper and fits the size guidelines (8 1/2″ by 11″ by 1/14″) will go through fine. If the folder does not fit the size guidelines, I recommend trimming it down slightly so that it does. As far as stapling the contents, I would recommend just writing or attaching the child’s name and number to each item in case that the items are separated from the folder or each other. Thin cardboard items, like cards (that said please do not send card games to children in Thailand as they are restricted in this country) or puzzles, that are under 1/4″ thick. Plastic card protectors or other protector sleeves may be sent. However, out of all of this, I would recommend sending flat paper items that can be scanned because they will be delivered faster.

  6. Barbara Winslow January 21, 2016

    Can anyone tell me how long it takes for a sponsored child to learn they have a sponsor? I just sponsored two children and am wondering when they will find out. Thank you!

    1. Emily Vanhoutan January 22, 2016

      Your sweet kiddos will find out within one month, Barbara! Thank you so much for sponsoring Carol and Yamir! I would encourage you to write right away and as often as you’d like. They’ll be so excited to hear from you and get to know their new sponsor. You can even write straight from your phone! God bless you!

      1. Barbara Winslow January 22, 2016

        I forgot to add that I have already written to both of them via your website, and have downloaded your app also. Thanks again!

      2. Barbara Winslow January 22, 2016

        Thank you so much for answering my question! God bless you and all of the hard work you do on behalf of the children.

  7. Caryl Tieszen January 7, 2016

    I correspond with 4 girls from Africa. It has been a long time – longer than usual – since I’ve received letters from 3 of them. Usually I would get a letter at least every 2 months. One girl hasn’t written since September, two others in October. Do you know if there are any letters on their way to me? Do you need more information from me so you can check? I know that often letters come less frequently, but for the most part my girls have been writing regularly until recently.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan January 8, 2016

      Hi Caryl! Thank you so much for being such a loving sponsor and caring deeply for your precious kiddos. We appreciate you and how often you write to them. It means the world and your love and encouragement towards them helps boost their confidence and remind them that they’re loved and someone believes in them!

      I reviewed your account and I see that we received a new letter from Sarah on December 29th! You can expect to receive this in the mail soon :). It can take some extra time over the holidays to get that letter out to you. It also looks like a new letter is on its way to our office from Ntagisanimana. It has not yet reached us but once we receive it and process it through our system, we’ll get it out to you. Ahishakiye wrote a new letter and it was received in our office on December 22nd. My prayer is that this letter has already reached you. If not, you should get it shortly! We just received a new letter from Teresia on January 5th and so that letter will be mailed to you in the next few days. Thank you for your patience on receiving new letters from your kiddos!

      1. Colleen Howard January 31, 2017

        Hi Emily,
        I found this website by accident searching for a former sponsor child of mine. Her name is Olive NTAGISANIMANA, from Rwanda. I was her sponsor through World Vision several years ago. They lost track of her and I’ve been hoping to locate her. By any chance, would this Olive?? Thank you for your help!


        1. Christina Wilson January 31, 2017

          Hi Colleen! I’m so sorry to hear that you were no longer able to sponsor your sweet girl through World Vision. Regrettably, we do not work with World Vision, so there is no way for me to confirm whether your child is in our program. However, I have searched our systems for girls from Rwanda with the name of Olive Ntagisanimana. The woman Emily was replying to, Caryl, has a child with a very similar name and, in fact, the only name close enough to your girl’s name. This child’s name is Ntagisanimana Oliver. If you are sure this is the child you sponsored through World Vision long ago, then it is possible that Oliver moved to an area where World Vision did not work, but she was able to be in the Compassion program. The good news is that this sweet girl is receiving the care, support, and love that she needs :).

          1. Colleen Howard February 25, 2018

            Hi Christina,
            A year later and I still have no idea where Olive is. I decided to re-visit your email.. Perhaps it is possible that your “Oliver” is Olive. I still have the letters I received and clearly they refer to her as “Olive.” Just for your information, her mothers name was “Laurence”, they referred to a neighbor named “Claire” and the interpreter of the letters was someone named “Wellars.” Olive’s birthday is 5/6/98. I sent her gifts, some of which were a doll and a ball.

            If you find that your child is the one I’m trying to find, please let her know that I pray for her and would some day like to be back in contact. I enjoyed being her sponsor and was distressed by the sudden loss of communication as I had made a commitment to help her.

            Thank you so much for your help, Colleen

            1. Susan Sayler February 26, 2018

              Colleen, it sounds like you are really determined to find this young woman whom you had previously sponsored! Thank you for your heart for her! Have you checked with World Vision? Please note that World Vision is a completely different organization so if you sponsored through them, they would be the best people to contact about getting in touch with her.

  8. Deborah Mason October 17, 2015

    I wish I would receive a letter from my sponsored child. I do not know if he and his family have gotten the money I sent or the money and gifts I sent my child. If I can’t soon get confirmation something will have to be done.

    1. Emily Vanhoutan October 19, 2015

      Hi Deborah! I know you’re probably very eager to hear what Babu was able to purchase with your generous gift! Thank you so much for blessing him in such a tangible way :). I’m sorry you haven’t heard back from him yet but it does take 2-3 months for your gift to reach him and another 2-3 months to receive a thank you letter from him regarding your gift. Therefore, we do ask that you wait six months to receive a letter after you’ve sent a gift. I see that you sent your gift to him in the beginning of August. Please rest assured that we received your gift for him and sent it to his project. He is likely just receiving your gift this month and our staff will help him make a wise decision on how to use it. You can expect to receive a letter from him acknowledging your gift sometime in January but I pray it’s sooner! 🙂 Thank you so much for your patience!

  9. Kathy Wray April 21, 2015

    I received two very nice letters from my sponsored kids Pastor, what I’m wanting to know can I write them back or contact them? I am going there next year and want to know if I can send the church or school things and what would be best to give them when I go?

    1. Susan Sayler April 21, 2015

      Hi Kathy! That is so sweet of you that you would like to send an encouraging message and send some gifts! Regrettably, we cannot facilitate letters to the pastors at this time. You may be able to drop off gifts for your child or the church when you are there though. Please apply for a custom visit about 8 months prior to your trip and we can provide you some more details about gift drop-off.

  10. Sophia April 4, 2015

    Hey! I just have a few questions. I just started sponsoring a child and sent my first letter I think in late March using the packet, and was wondering how exactly can I send another letter (handwritten), like where to and what I need to put on the envelope/letter for it to go through. Also, since I already sent a letter a short while ago will he get them around the same time? Also, can he send me pictures of himself because I’d really love them! Lastly, to what extent can I send him objects besides letters? (Stickers and bookmarks and etc.) I’m really excited, and truth be told I am actually only 14, but heard about this program through a church retreat with my mother and with her permission was able to sponsor!

    1. Susan Sayler April 7, 2015

      Hi Sophia! Welcome to Compassion! We are so excited that you have chosen to make a difference in a child’s life! Thank you! To send a letter, please write your child’s name and number on the letter and send it to:

      Compassion International
      [No street address necessary]
      Colorado Springs, CO 80997-0004

      We mail boxes of letters to each of our countries once a week and many of the countries deliver letters to the centers once a month. This means that if you wrote your last letter within the same month, it is likely that he will get them at the same time. But I know he would LOVE to hear from you either way! 🙂

      We do photo updates on each of the children about every two years. Luc was just registered into our program in February so we only have one photo of him so far. Other than the photo updates, we do send photos for gifts over $60. Regrettably, these are the only photos your child will be able to send to you of himself.

      Feel free to send any paper item that is under 8 1/2″ by 11″ and no more than 1/4″ thick. You can definitely send stickers, bookmarks, sports cards, coloring pages, etc.

      You sound like a very mature and sweet 14 year old! 🙂 Thanks for deciding to impact the life of a child in poverty through your sponsorship!

  11. kathleen April 3, 2015

    i know that puzzles and gifts must be on larger that 81/2×11. Is this the max size of the envelope as well. Sad to say I’m just getting the hang of the presents in mail. but better late than never. God Bless.

    1. Susan Sayler April 6, 2015

      Hi Kathleen! The envelope that you are sending the items in does not need to be 8 1/2″ by 11.” Your sponsored kids are going to be so blessed! 🙂

  12. Monica Hunter-Mixon March 29, 2015

    How will I know that my money is going to the child? I’m a disable veteran and I really want to help. I just don’t want to never scammed

    1. Emily Vanhoutan March 30, 2015

      Hi Monica! First off, thank you so much for your sacrifice and service to this country and for your desire to bless children around the world! I completely understand your hesitancy as sadly, organizations do not always handle their funds in a way that honors the donor. You will be able to tangibly see the difference your support is making through the relationship you build with your child through letters. Also, if you ever send a monetary gift to your child, they will receive 100% of the gift and you will receive a letter six months later thanking you for your gift and letting your know how your gift was used. If your gift is over $60, you will even receive a picture of your child with their gift. This is one way you can know that your money is helping your child.

      Compassion values integrity and we place high priority on stewarding your money well as you are giving from the goodness of your heart and we are assisting these children in Jesus’ name. We are committed to putting at least 80% of all donated funds towards program costs that benefit the children. Charity Navigator is a third party watch dog that rates non-profits on their financial accountability and transparency-evaluating their business practices, spending habits, transparency in reporting expenditures, and ethical best practices for fund management. Compassion consistently receives top ratings for financial accountability and integrity and I would encourage you to view our 2014 annual report. You can also read about a study that was done testing the effectiveness of our program and read testimonies of children whose lives have been impacted. I hope this helps ease any concerns you had but please don’t hesitate to ask any other questions you might have. We’re happy to answer them if you email us at [email protected]!

  13. Ricky Mabile March 28, 2015

    I wrote a letter to my sponsored child online not long after I signed up to sponsor, then I got an introduction letter from my sponsored child about 1 1/2 weeks later . One of her questions on her letter made me feel like she didn’t get my letter yet . How fast can they get an online letter verses a mailed letter. Would it be better I write just online or just mailed letters to my sponsored child . And also it would be nice to have a confirmation of the child recieving of my letters . Thanks, Ricky

    1. Emily Vanhoutan March 30, 2015

      Hi Ricky! When you sent your letter to your child, your child’s letter had already been written and was in the mail. I am so sorry for any confusion their first letter might have caused you but please rest assured that your kiddo receives every fun sticker and letter that you invest time and energy to send! Letters take 2-3 months to be delivered both ways despite whether you send it via snail mail or through the website. When you write a letter online, it is still printed out in our Colorado office and mailed with the rest of the letters to our countries. We want your child to still have a tangible letter to take home! 🙂 You’re welcome to write in whichever way is most convenient for you. Some of our sponsor’s love to create fun packages with coloring pages, scripture cards, a hand written letter, and pictures to send. While other sponsors enjoy typing their letter online and uploading a photo, especially if they have a busy schedule! At this time, we do not currently have a way for you to track when a letter reaches your child’s hands. However, your child will answer questions that you ask and will often thank you in their next letter if you send any pictures or fun items :). We are currently working on updating our systems and processes as we seek ways to improve and quicken communication with your child so stay tuned for this in the future!

      1. Ricky March 30, 2015

        Thank you Miss Emily for your reply to my questions. I appreciate your time and may the Lord bless you !!!!

  14. Marcy March 20, 2015

    do you know how long it takes for a letter to get to my sponsored child? and have any good tips for for writing older sponsored children? and may i please have correspondent girl to write to?

    1. Emily Vanhoutan March 23, 2015

      Hi Marcy! Letters take 2-3 months to be delivered both ways. This means that all of your wonderful letters will be received by your children within 3 months :). We actually created a new Pinterest board recently that has some wonderful ideas for writing letters to teenagers, that you might find helpful! Older children in our program are in a critical season of life where your love and encouraging words have the opportunity to motivate them and give them hope for the futures that they’re working hard towards! We also wrote a blog about how to write to older children :).

      As requested, I have added you to the waiting list for another girl to correspond with. We will assign you a young lady at the next opportunity. Thank you for your investment in these wonderful children and the amazing letters you send to them!

Add a Comment

Read the ground rules for comments.