How Long Does It Take for My Letters to Be Delivered?

When we asked you what you wanted to know about writing letters to the child you sponsor, one question rose to the top of your comments on Facebook, Instagram and the blog:

How long does it take to send and receive letters?

How Long Does It Take for My Letters to Be Delivered? A file folder full of letters and pictures.

For this month’s Compassion Letter Club, we chatted it up with folks on our Correspondence and Mail Processing Teams here at our headquarters in Colorado. Who better to give us the inside scoop on the U.S. side of the process?

They’ll address some of your specific questions while walking us through what it takes to get your precious words to the country in which the child you sponsor lives. And even better, they’ll share some pro tips for what we can do as sponsors to help the process go smoothly. Because let’s be honest … receiving letters is such a joy, we all — including students in the program — want them to arrive yesterday!

Meet Aaron, Karen and Joe. They manage the teams that care for all of the physical letters from both sponsors and beneficiaries in our program.

How Long Does It Take for My Letters to Be Delivered? Three people stand in a warehouse smiling at the camera

From left: Aaron Brown, Karen Huston and Joe Cammaroto

“2017 was a record-breaking year for letter writing at Compassion. We received over 2 million individual letters from U.S. supporters and over 3 million letters from children in the program to their sponsors!” says Aaron Brown, Correspondence Fulfillment Manager.

“We have people here 16 hours a day to ensure that the process stays super fast. It takes a lot of work but we love to facilitate the relationship between the sponsor and the child.”


“Does it [a letter] go to you first?” — @emily_loves_diy

There are three links in the chain that connect your correspondence to the child you sponsor: our U.S. headquarters, the Compassion office in the country where the child you sponsor lives, and the Compassion center he or she attends at his or her local church.

If you choose to write a letter through your account online or through the Compassion app, it doesn’t come here to our U.S. headquarters. The letter is digitally received — almost immediately — in the office in the country in which the child lives. There it is translated and printed. Then the letter is delivered to the child’s Compassion center and into his or her eager hands.

PRO TIP: Track the progress of your letter in your account. You’re able to see when your letter is in transit, received, in translation and delivered!

Aarons shares, “Currently, about 35 percent of supporter letters are written online, either through the app or the website. This is excellent because it saves time and money in the processing.”

But you can also mail physical letters to us which we will digitally scan to your account for you. This is where the Correspondence and Mail Processing Teams come in.

How Long Does It Take for My Letters to Be Delivered? People sit at desks, sorting through letters in a warehouse.

The Mail Processing Team hard at work taking care of your letters.


“Do the kids receive the original letters/cards or just photocopies of them?” — Sarah

Both sponsors and children expressed their desire for letters to travel back and forth quicker. And we heard them! This is why we now digitally scan and electronically deliver letters and photos. They are printed and mailed within the country rather than shipped internationally.

Joe Cammaroto, Mail Services and Warehouse Manager, shares, “Delivery of sponsor letters to the child has gone from months to weeks.”

Scanning documents into your account also saves time in other ways. “Because we save images of the letters it really helps us sort out issues much faster! In the past, if a translator had a problem with a letter they would have to bring it back to the country office. Then the country office would have to mail it back to Colorado before we could see it and evaluate the problem. Now, that whole process that took weeks can take hours,” says Aaron.


“Generally, how long does it take for a mailed letter or one typed online to be received by your child?” — @jennafifi_music

“Physical letters will take three to five days in the U.S. mail to get to us. Depending on the time of year and workload, letters are processed and scanned within 24 to 48 hours. The scanned documents go to the country within hours,” shares Joe.

If you wrote your letter online, it’s digitally delivered to the country office the same day.

Once the country office has received it, it can take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks for the letter to be delivered. A few factors can affect that timespan, like how close the Compassion center is to the office and how many letters the translators need to process.

(Teaser: We’ll be talking to our amazing translators soon. So be sure to subscribe to the blog so you don’t miss out!)


How Long Does It Take for My Letters to Be Delivered? A letter and envelope sitting on a desk

“In sending gifts together with a letter it says that one can only send things made of paper due to border control rules. Do you have examples on things to send?” — @annavernqvist

“When we ship a package to the field, we ship it as a ‘document only’ shipment. ‘Document only’ shipments clear customs quicker and with a minimum of assessed duties and taxes,” Joe explains.

If you want what you send to get there as quickly as possible, we recommend only sending items that can be scanned – items like letters, photos, postcards, greeting cards, coloring pages and paper crafts. This eliminates the additional processing and shipping times of paper items that cannot be scanned and digitally delivered.

PRO-TIP: Consider sending a monetary gift.

Whether you give online or mail it to us, monetary gifts are always processed digitally so they don’t have to be shipped. Monetary gifts stimulate the local economy and allow the child, along with his or her family and local Compassion staff, to pick a gift that benefits him or her.


“What things do we send that hold up our letters from being sent quickly?” — Yvonne

If you’d like the letter you mail to us to get to that special kiddo quickly, here are some more pro tips to help things go smoothly.

PRO TIP: Use Compassion stationery and leave the translation box blank.

Aaron shares, “One of the best ways for a letter to get there ASAP is to use official Compassion stationery. Just don’t write in the translation boxes — that will slow the process down by three to four days.”

“If the letter is on personal stationery, or greeting cards, with handwritten child and sponsor numbers it will be slightly delayed as those need to go to a staff person for some manual processing. If child or sponsor numbers are missing, the letter goes into a research queue. Those letters can be delayed for days,” says Joe.

How Long Does It Take for My Letters to Be Delivered? Items sitting on a windowsill, including a stuffed fox, paint set, Rubix cube, crayons and toy car

Lovely gifts from sponsors that unfortunately cannot be sent.

PRO TIP: Only send flat paper items.

“One of our biggest problems is items that cannot be scanned or sent physically to the field. These items can cause many hours of labor. It is heartbreaking at times not to be able to send some of the really beautiful items that sponsors send. Our sponsors have big hearts!” explains Joe.

“If the item can’t be sent, an email or letter is sent letting the sponsor know and the gift is donated,” says Karen. But don’t worry, your letter is still scanned and delivered!


Because correspondence from students is always scanned at the country office, it will show up in your online account right after it’s been translated. But if you’ve chosen to receive a paper version of the letter also, the Correspondence team here prints and mails it to you, usually within 24 hours.

How Long Does It Take for My Letters to Be Delivered? A large warehouse room with printers and boxes of letters

Letters from students to sponsors are printed, folded and mailed from here in our warehouse.

Right now, we print about 15,000 letters a day from students to their sponsors. So much love!!

“We have been breaking records nearly every month with letter volumes. We love it when people write!” says Aaron.

PRO TIP: If you’d like to go paperless, head to your account and choose “Child Letter Preferences” to select getting an email notification when a digital letter arrives.

Joe, Karen, Aaron and their teams are just one link in the international, multicultural chain of folks who help connect you with the child you’ve chosen to invest in. Now that you’re in “the know,” take a minute to send some encouragement to the child or teen you sponsor!


We are committed to continually improving this process so we always value your feedback. Keep your questions coming!

For Compassion Letter Club ideas on what to write, join our Compassion Letter Club community board on Pinterest!

Originally published March 29, 2018. 

99 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Stephanie March 12, 2021

    I recently sponsored three girls and I’ve written two letters to them through the Compassion website. I noticed that two of my girls’ letters are “in translation” for a while, which I expected especially with Covid. What I didn’t expect is that the third girl’s letters are “in translation” for only a few days before my option to view the status of her letter disappears. Does this mean that the letter has been fully translated and will soon be delivered to my girl? This post says “PRO TIP: Track the progress of your letter in your account. You’re able to see when your letter is in transit, received, in translation and delivered!” but I haven’t seen any sign that it’s been delivered.

    1. Kaye-Lin March 12, 2021

      Hi Stephanie! I apologize for this inconvenience! I believe these letters may have already made it through translation, but I am happy to check on this for you. 🙂 Will you please send us an email at [email protected] so that we can help you further? Thank you so much!

  2. Nicolette October 24, 2020

    Hi, I recently sponsored two little girls. One in Haiti and one in Ethiopia. My question is in regards to the family Christmas gift. How can I find out what their biggest immediate need is? I’m asking because let’s say they need a goat or chickens or beds. If for example their most important need will cost $200 USD but I send $150 they won’t be able to get their most important need. Is there any way I can find this out so if I’m able to bless them with something I can make that happen?

    1. Shannon October 26, 2020

      Hi Nicolette! Thank you so much for choosing to be a blessing to these sweet children through sponsorship! This is a great question! I want to clear things up a little for you. The gifts provided through the Gifts of Compassion Catalog look first to provide for children and families with the greatest need. You are not able to specify that your sponsored Child’s family receive a gift directly, because often times the gifts that we feel would be helpful, are not what these families need or would choose for themselves. For example, if you buy chickens for a family that lives where they do not have land for these chickens, or where they have a lot of wild animals, your gift is much less beneficial than intended. What we would suggest is if you would like to give a gift of this sort to the families, you should write a letter asking what types of things would be beneficial to them. Once you have an idea of what they need, you can give a monetary gift to the family with instructions on what you would like it used for. Please note that even if you make a suggestion as to what your gift should be used for, the family does have the final say in what they need most at the time they receive the gift, and may choose to use it for something else that they feel would benefit them the most.
      If you do choose to give a gift through the gift catalog, please know that gift will be given to a family in our program with that item as their greatest need. If you have additional questions, please know you can always email our team directly at [email protected]. Blessings! -Shannon

  3. Cheryl Miller September 10, 2020

    Hello. I am looking into sponsoring a child. Will the monthly Sponsorship amount I send go to the child/family or will it go to the community?

    1. Kaye-Lin September 10, 2020

      Hello Cheryl! We are so thankful that you are considering sponsoring a child. 🙂 The monthly support that you send would directly benefit your child. Your monthly sponsorship helps provide your child with life-changing benefits that include: nutritious snacks or meals, educational opportunities, health and hygiene training, medical checkups, the caring embrace of a local church, and the message of God’s love through Jesus Christ. If you have any other questions, please send us an email at [email protected]. We are happy to help. 🙂

  4. Mary Jane Capron July 9, 2020

    When a child is sponsored, how long does it take for the child and family to learn about the sponsorship? Also, how can a sponsor learn how far a dollar goes where their sponsored child lives?

    1. Kaye-Lin July 9, 2020

      Hi Mary Jane! Thank you so much for asking these questions. When you choose to sponsor a child, the time frame in which they find out can vary country to country. There are many variables that can impact how long it takes to deliver this wonderful news. In some cases, the child center can be very rural, so it can take over a month for the child to find out. With that said, we want the child to hear this good news as soon as possible, so the country offices do their best to notify the child and their family as quickly as they can.

      If you are wanting to know how far your dollar goes in any countries, you can actually google this. If you are wanting to know what the estimated cost of an item is in your child’s country, you can contact us. We will do our best to find that for you. 🙂 If you have any other questions, please email us at [email protected]. We are happy to help! Blessings!

  5. Abigail May 28, 2020

    I recently sponsored a girl in Ghana who speaks English. Will my letters still have to go through translation because of different dialects? Also, if she is home because of COVID-19, when will she find out the she is sponsored? Thank you.

    1. Shannon May 28, 2020

      Hi Abigail,

      Congratulations and thank you so much for choosing to become a sponsor! As you mentioned, our projects are still closed due to the virus, so it may take a bit of time to notify your sweet girl that you have sponsored her. This is all dependent on how far away she lives from the center, how many staff are able to work in her area and if she has recently had a home visit. I would say expect anywhere from 3 weeks to a month or two if she is very remote. I know that a very vague answer, and I am so sorry for that, it is just hard to tell in these times. In addition, please know that while your child may speak English, your letter will still go through our translation and quality assurance queue. This will help if the child does speak a different dialect, but also must go through the QA process just for everyone’s safety. I hope that is helpful! ?

  6. Marti February 25, 2020

    Mackenzie-Thank you so much for your quick response and the explanation about how the date is written in Mexico. That makes all the difference in the world to us. God bless you and the work you do.

    1. Mackenzie February 25, 2020

      Oh wonderful! I am so glad to help clear that up that misunderstanding! I hope you have a wonderful week! ?

  7. Mart Chabot February 24, 2020

    My husband and I are relatively new to sponsorship but have faithfully written our child for each of the last four months we’ve had her, though I don’t believe she has received any of them yet. So, needless to say, we are equally anxious to hear from her as well. A letter from her went into our mailbox on Dec. 18th and finally today (Feb. 24) it was available for us to read. So exciting! Imagine our immense disappointment when the letter in her own handwriting was dated July 12, 2019. That letter wasn’t written to us, it was for her previous sponsor who’d had to drop out. Now, we go into waiting mode for another 2 plus months to hopefully get a personal letter to us.

    1. Mackenzie February 25, 2020

      Hi Mart,

      I am so sorry for the frustration you are feeling because of the letters you received. It looks like Deftani’s most recent letter was written on December 7, 2019. In some of the countries where we work, the day is recorded first before the month, which made the letter look like it was written 7/12/2019, but this is just because they used the day/month/year formatting. I am really sorry the letter seemed to be written to her old sponsor. I see on page two of her letter that she wrote a note to you and Roger. If you would like us to send you another copy of the letter, please let us know! We would be happy to assist you!

      I know it can sometimes take a little while to receive a new letter. We currently have a reciprocal letter writing program. This means that your child will write to you, every sixty days, after they receive a letter from you. If you write to your child consistently (at least once every two months), you may expect to receive letters about six times each year. We are so thankful for sponsors like you who are committed to Compassion’s ministry and their sponsored child, and we are so sorry for the disappointment you have been feeling. Please let us know if you have any questions or send us an email at [email protected].

  8. Andy Clipperton January 9, 2020

    I wrote a letter to my child a few months ago and I used a special kind of ink with glitter in it. I also included a sheet of stickers. It was my intent that the actual letter that I wrote be what was delivered, not a digital copy. I knew this would take a lot longer, but the glitter doesn’t digitize well, so I sent a physical letter. I knew that when I used the app or the website to send a letter, it was sent digitally, but did not realize that a physical letter was also digitized. I’m guessing now that the letter my child received was a digitized copy, not the original. Is there some way to indicate that I want the original letter sent, not a copy?

    1. Christina January 9, 2020

      Andy, I am deeply sorry for any confusion or concern caused by seeing your letter scanned and uploaded to your online account. I hear your heart for this ministry and the love you have for your sweet children. We greatly appreciate your desire to bless your kiddos in a very tangible way. I’m sure that your child will delight in the extra care and attention you give through your letters and stickers!

      I would like to provide some information that will hopefully clear things up! Along with a personal letter, you can send: stickers, bookmarks, musical greeting cards, and pop-up cards. These items will be physically delivered to your child. Please keep in mind that all letters and items with writing on it must be translated. For example, if you send a letter with stickers, your letter will be scanned for translation purposes, and then the original letter and stickers will be sent together via mail. Your child will receive the translated letter within a couple weeks, and then they will receive the original, untranslated, letter and stickers within several months.

      You can also send: letters, photos, postcards, greeting cards, coloring pages and paper crafts. However, your child will not receive the original items. The items will be scanned and sent electronically. The total number of items (including stationery and the letter to your child) should not be more than six sheets, and each flat paper gift item should not be larger than 8.5” x 11”. If you have any further questions about our letter writing guidelines, more information is available here. You are also welcome to email us at [email protected]. Thank you so much for blessing your sweet children with your love and support!

  9. Jennifer November 27, 2019

    Cómo hacer para saber y escribirle directamente a su correo o Facebook al patrocinador

    1. Shannon December 2, 2019

      Hola jennifer,
      ¡Muchisimas gracias por preguntar! Mientras un niño está en el programa, la única forma de contactar a su partidario es a través de cartas para niños escritas en el proyecto. Tenemos pautas que garantizan que los patrocinadores y los niños no estén en contacto directo a través del correo electrónico o las redes sociales porque esto puede ser peligroso tanto para el patrocinador como para el niño. Una vez que el niño Compassion se haya graduado de nuestro programa, Compassion se complace en brindarle los medios para mantenerse conectado si tanto el patrocinador como el niño desean hacerlo. Gracias nuevamente por preguntar y espero que esto sea útil.

  10. Missy Voigts November 19, 2019

    I’ve had good experiences with letters coming to me quickly from my kids! Unfortunately, now I am a sponsor of a boy in Ethiopia, and a letter of his has been sitting in translation for five weeks without budging. He now has another letter sitting in there and who knows how long that one will take! I think it really depends on the country and area of where the child lives as to how fast you can get the letter.

    1. Shannon November 19, 2019

      Hi Missy,

      Thank you so much for sharing! You are right. Each country has their own translation queue so they may go at different speeds than other countries. Praying your letter comes through soon! It is pretty common to see some delays during the holidays. ?

  11. Robin November 15, 2019

    This question has probably been answered before, but when I send digital letters, does my sponsored child see the letter (and pictures) in color or black and white? Thanks!

    1. Christina November 15, 2019

      Hi Robin! Great question! The high quality printed letter your kiddo will receive is in color. ?

  12. Mia Starkweather October 14, 2019


    Can I send a Pop-up musical Christmas card to my child? The size is 24”x16” and a little thicker than regular greeting card(about 1/4”). Thanks.

    1. Shannon October 15, 2019

      Hi Mia,

      Thank you so much for wanting to bless your sweet child with this card! Please know that pop-up cards are okay. However, they do need to be 8 1/2 x 11 or smaller. I do apologize, but this card is too big to be sent. I am so sorry for any disappointment this may cause!

  13. Robbin Catt September 15, 2019

    I like using the on-line stationary to write the children I sponsor. Can the on-line stationary have puzzles and games like the stationary that Compassion mails for the sponsor to hand write a letter? I like the ease of on-line but also want the children to receive the different games, puzzles and pictures to color, or make it an option to add one of these.

    1. Sierra September 16, 2019

      Robin, that’s a great suggestion! I would be happy to pass that along to our web team to see if that is something they could implement. 🙂

  14. Jennifer July 12, 2019

    I have sent three letters. After the first, I received a scanned copy of my child’s info., and maybe a response she did previously, the date was scratched off the top. Wrote two letters after I received the first response, in case it was real. I have been checking my account for updates, but it’s been in translation for over a month now. I’m beginning to wonder the legitimacy of this program. Can anyone clarify?

    1. Sierra July 15, 2019

      Hi Jennifer! I am so sorry for the trouble you’ve been having starting a writing relationship with your sponsored girl. Whenever you start sponsoring a child, the first letter you receive from him or her will be a letter they composed when they first entered Compassion’s program, so it will be very generic and sometimes outdated, depending on how long that child has been waiting for a sponsor before the letter gets sent. After that, once the child hears they have a sponsor, that’s when they will start sending you more personal letters. It’s not entirely uncommon for a letter to be in translation for a month or more. How long a letter is in translation depends on how many letters our National Office in the country in which you’re sponsoring has to translate. I am so sorry again that you’ve been having trouble getting your letters to sweet Aba; however, your letters to her should be translated soon, which means you’ll be hearing back from her. Please let us know if you have any other questions!

  15. Laurelyn Head July 8, 2019

    Can I use my own cute, kid friendly stationary and just write on one side of the page to save space for translation? Will that help the tranlators?

    1. Sierra July 9, 2019

      Hi Laurelyn! You are absolutely welcome to use your own stationary to write to your child, and to write on one side to save the translators some trouble! Thanks for doing that. We do ask that you put both your sponsor number and your child’s ID on the top of each page of your letter so that we know who it goes to :). If you need help finding those numbers, please let us know. I bet your kiddo is going to love receiving your letters on this special stationary! -Sierra

  16. Lara June 13, 2019

    Are we able to see the translations for our letters once they are complete? It appears that some of my letters have gone through, but I cannot tell for sure. I was under the impression that I would see the translated version uploaded to the account.

    1. Shannon June 14, 2019

      Hi Lara,
      You will absolutely be able to log in online and see all your previous letters with their translations. If they are not quite done going through the translations process, you will see the letter on your account with an X. Once it has been complete though, you should be able to see the full letter. If this is not the case, please send us an email with your sponsor number to [email protected] and we can take a look to see why you are unable to see the full letters. Thank you so much!

  17. JustMe May 9, 2019

    Hello Compassion, as it turns out, Frit was right! The letter I was asking about DID show up on my account! Yay! 😀 Now I don’t have to bother anyone anymore lol 🙂

  18. Danni May 7, 2019

    I was wondering should I send my family gift and child gift with a letter or does it need to be sent separately with a certain form? Thank You,

    1. Sarah May 8, 2019

      Hi Danni! You are welcome to send your family and child gift along with a letter. If you are using the stationary Compassion includes with each child letter, there is a tear off form for you to fill out for gifts that you can use when giving a gift to your child. Otherwise, please make sure to indicate what the money is to be used for if sending the donation by check.

  19. Frit May 6, 2019

    Hi, JustMe! As a fellow sponsor, I want to tell you that it often takes well over a month from the time I mail something until it shows up in my account. Even when I send something trackable through the post office and know that it got to Colorado, it can take several weeks for it to show up in my account. As suggested, you can certainly send it again. All of my stuff has eventually showed up though.

  20. JustMe May 3, 2019

    Hi Shannon, I think I sent it sometime in April, since that’s when I received the form for the Easter gift (unfortunately I don’t remember the exact day). I got the email asking if I’d like to send a family gift on April 2nd and I think I got the request in the mail just a little while after that. I know it was received because I got an email thanking me for it. I got that email on April 10th, so my guess would be that I sent the letter and gift sometime between April 1st and April 10th. I clearly remember writing the letter on paper stationery and putting it in the mail, but I don’t have a tangible way to confirm that I sent it. Thanks!

    1. Sarah May 6, 2019

      Hey JustMe! I looked through your account at the letters we have received since April and did not find a handwritten letter on stationary with palm leaves either. It is very possible that it just hasn’t been processed quite yet, but I cannot guarantee that. If it doesn’t show up in your account by the end of next week, I would recommend writing it again. I am sorry!

  21. JustMe May 3, 2019

    Hi Sierra, I checked on my account and looked at all the letters from me currently in translation. I didn’t see the letter I sent for Easter. It was written on a piece of the paper stationery with the palm leaves. Sorry if I’m not understanding or being impatient!

    1. Shannon May 3, 2019

      Hello Rhianwen. No problem at all! What day did you send this letter and can you please confirm it was sent physically, not online? Thanks!

  22. JustMe May 2, 2019

    Hi, I have one question: I send a letter and a couple of extra pages with my Easter gift to my girl and her family, but the letter and pages haven’t shown up on my account yet. I know that my gift arrived because I got an email thanking me for the gift, but I don’t know about the letter. Thanks!

    1. Sierra May 3, 2019

      Hello Rhianwen! Thank you so much for sending Sheila something special for Easter. I see on your account that you have a letter currently in translation, so that’s probably the letter you sent for Easter. 🙂

  23. Diane Melvin February 8, 2019

    Hi! i have a question but don’t know where to ask. Can we send stickers that are not completely flat but slightly raised? I purchased a large collection of stickers from e-bay that are so cute but not completely flat and some are made of plastic with glitter or metallic looking but are flat. What stickers are acceptable??? Thanks much

    1. Christina February 8, 2019

      Hi Diane! You may send paper and plastic stickers now, so it is okay if they are a little raised, glitter or metallic looking! If you have any additional questions, I encourage you to check out We are also happy to help you!

  24. Linda Dunn January 14, 2019

    Hello. I sent a letter and a birthday card along with uploaded photos of a couple of coloring pages to my sponsor child in Bolivia this month (both were sent electronically). A few days ago, I could see where both of them said the were in the translation process, but now they just give me the option of viewing them. Does that mean my sponsor child has received them? Thank you.

    1. Christina January 15, 2019

      Hi Linda! Thank you so much for sending your sweet girl loving and encouraging letters! I’m sure that Ayeleth will appreciate each and every letter you send to her. When your letter becomes viewable on your online account, it simply means that it has completed the translation process. Once a letter has been processed, it will be printed out at the country office and delivered to the child’s student center to be given to the child. The time it takes for the letter to be delivered to the child varies depending on how far away they are and how rural their center is. Please rest assured that our field staff will ensure Ayeleth receives your letters as soon as possible. In fact, it’s possible that she’s already received your first letter :).

  25. susan janis mcconnell December 20, 2018

    Hi, I am wondering if the translation process etc could be speeded up a bit between myself and my sponsored child. It is so slow and obviously overlapping that it is impossible to develop any kind of realistic relationship at all. I have been sponsoring my child for a while now and although I believe that things are better because she is older now I have not written so often because I am just receiving the same comments and phrases or questions. There is no continuity here.

    1. Sierra December 21, 2018

      Hi Susan! I am so sorry for the frustration caused by yours and your child’s overlapping letters, and I completely understand where you are coming from. I started sponsoring a boy in Kenya about six years ago, and it took about three years to finally get in the rhythm of sending back-and-forth letters. The time and disconnectedness you may sense in your letters is due in part to distance, time and cultural differences. There are a few challenges that face your child: Letter writing is a foreign concept to developing countries. Sometimes the staff will write a list of suggestions or letter samples on the board to help the children in their letter writing. This is one reason letters can sound scripted or unoriginal; out of a deep desire to communicate with their sponsors, children will copy the samples or follow the list word for word. Remembering what sponsors ask can be difficult for some children. Most children treasure their letters from their sponsors, and they will take them home and put them in a place of honor. They often forget to bring the letter back to the project on the next letter writing day.
      Children are required to write two times a year to their sponsors. The best way to get to know your your child is to write. I know it can be frustrating at times, but the more you write to your child, the more comfortable and open she will be in her letters back to you. In your next letter to your child, you may want to highlight your questions. Try keeping them simple and to the point.
      Please know that we so appreciate your care and support of your girl. Even though she might not be able to express what your sponsorship means to her, be assured you are making a difference in her life.

  26. Ann bradford November 17, 2018

    Hello. I chose to sponsor a one year old boy in Nicaragua. I know it will be many years before he can write to me but I still intend to write to him and his family. Will the tutors work with his mom to write me occasionally or should I just prepare myself that it will be quite the wait to hear from him. Either way is ok, though I’d love to get to know Mom as well while we wait for little Juan to grow. Though I chose a child this age to sponsor because I felt I could be there for him through his whole childhood, reading all these blog posts about letter writing makes me wish I could sponsor an older child too. Perhaps God will provide the means.

    1. Shannon November 19, 2018

      Hi Ann,

      Thank you so much for your kind heart to sponsor a little one with Compassion! 🙂 Please know that while it may be years before your young child writes to you directly, you will still receive letters. Typically, you will receive two letters per year from either a tutor who is working with your child, or a parent or guardian of your child. It may change from time to time on who writes to you, but you will still receive two letters per year at minimum. Also, if you do write often, or at least every couple months, we typically find that you will receive more letters as well. 🙂 I hope this is helpful! And we do pray blessings over your new relationship! Please feel free to reach out to us at any time if you do have other questions. Our email is [email protected]. Blessings, Shannon

  27. Jean November 1, 2018

    I can’t say enough good about this system that lets us reach out to children so very far away in need. I LOVE the speedier letter transfer, too. On-line is easy and reading this article has given me the idea of how to send information & fun stuff even though I am doing most of my letter writing on-line. It seems though that the template restricts children sometimes. I know it is often helpful but after yrs of letter writing, I still get a letter with the exact same opening, weather and closing. There may be a few sentences, 2-3, in the middle that are personal or real. My ‘new’ child Lydia was sent a family and personal gift. Two letters were written to me the same day (date), one for each gift (sent simultaneously), and both told me the weather, I am fine, hope you are fine, etc. (hoping for photos of these gifts, or at least the goat!) She must have been so frustrated having to write the same words over again 4 times! (2 drafts & 2 letters) I wait desperately for these letters, likely with the same intensity the kids do! It is difficult when I can practically “read” the entire letter before I even open it because I know what it will say. Judith, now in 11th grade, is finally writing a few more sentences in the middle of the “I hope you are fine. My family and I are also fine… As sponsors it is easy to become self-focused and forget this process isn’t about us; it is about encouraging the children. It is also difficult to remember that writing a ‘rich’ stranger in a foreign land is overwhelming to these children. Maybe it takes until 17 yrs of age to ‘loosen up’ a little so I am working on my patience 🙂 May God bless this process. Praise Him for the new speed! Keep up the good work. And remember, we LOVE photos, too!

    1. Christina November 1, 2018

      Hi Jean! We are so grateful that you responded to God tugging at your heart to sponsor your two beautiful girls! I hear your heart for this ministry and your desire to foster relationships with your sweet young ladies. Please know that our desire is for every sponsor to have this opportunity to develop a meaningful relationship with their child. Sadly, many children feel timid or have a lack of confidence when it comes to writing. It is also quite common for letter-writing to still be a foreign concept, so the idea of opening up in a letter may feel strange. I encourage you to continue writing and encouraging them, and we sincerely hope they will open up more in their future letters. Thank you so much for blessing Lydia with your generous gifts! You can expect to receive a thank you letter from your about six months after the gift is given, letting you know what was purchased. If the gift amount is $60 or more, you will also receive a photo of what was purchased. Sadly, because your previous gifts were less than $60, you will not receive a picture. However, I see that you just gave another generous gift of $60, so you may look forward to a picture with that thank you letter :). That is so exciting that Lydia was able to get a goat! We very much appreciate your kind words and the love you have for your kiddos!

  28. Joanna Mitchell October 14, 2018

    Hi, thank you for this informative article. We submitted a letter for our sponsor child online on Monday and it doesn’t show up in our ‘View Correspondence’ – ‘Letters to and from your sponsored child’ yet. Is there a delay in this usually or are we looking in the wrong place? Just want to check that our letter is working its way through the system. Many thanks, Joanna and Ben

    1. Christina October 15, 2018

      Hi Joanna! I’m so sorry to hear that you cannot see your letter yet. Did you use the mobile app on your phone, or are you using the website on a computer? If you’re on a computer, you should be able to select Write My Child, My Letters, and then Conversations. I would also be happy to check that your letter did get received, but I am unable to locate your account. Will you please send us an email at [email protected] with your sponsor number? Thank you!

  29. Doug Mabry September 25, 2018

    I saw the following statement in the blog post.

    “PRO TIP: Track the progress of your letter in your account. You’re able to see when your letter is in transit, received, in translation and delivered!”

    After trying to find the information in my account I called the support line. I was told this information is not available.

    Hopefully someone can correct this part of the blog and save people effort trying to track it down.

    1. Christina September 26, 2018

      Hi Doug! I’m so sorry for any confusion caused by receiving different information than what is written in this blog. I sincerely apologize for any misunderstanding or misinformation we may have given you. When a letter to or from your child is in process, you can see that status next to the letter on your account. You can view this by going to “Write My Child” and then “My Letters”. Under conversations, you’ll see a list of your letters to and from your kiddo. If all of the letters have been translated and processed, you will simply see the option to view the letter. If it is not ready yet, you will see that it is processing. I hope this information helps!

  30. Mike August 1, 2018

    My wife and I sponsored a child from the Dominican Republic last weekend and she wrote her first letter that night. The country office is only 7 miles from the childs (Ruth) center/Church, how soon will Ruth know she has a sponsor (and get the letter)?

    God Bless all the workers and sponsors who read this, we are all God’s children.

    1. Susan Sayler August 2, 2018

      Mike, the children are typically notified that they have a sponsor within the first month of sponsorship. It also typically takes between a few weeks to a few months for letters to be translated, processed, and delivered. That said, it is always possible that your letters and information will travel faster because there is further to go from the country office to your child’s center. Thank you for choosing to love and support a child! God bless you and your family!

  31. Moriah Motyka May 21, 2018

    My girl is 7 and can’t write vary well. Her father sends me letters I don’t think he understands what I say because he asked how my children are doing in a previous letter I told him I live with my parents (I’m 14). How do I make it so he understands? How should I address the letters? Thanks

    1. Madison Raska May 22, 2018

      Hello Moriah! I’m happy to help you today! 🙂 Sometimes when children are writing letters, they may not have your previous letter in front of them while they are writing their letter. They could have forgotten, but to make sure your child does know that you live with your parents, I would bold or highlight that statement in a letter. This will pop out of the page! Let us know if you have any further questions and we will be happy to assist you!

  32. Pam Madril May 14, 2018

    I bought some very cool bookmarks to send my 2 kids. Will they receive the actual bookmarks? They are flat and I put both our #’s on them. I will be doing most of my letters online for convenience but wanted them to get a few little things in the mail also. Thanks, Pam

    1. Sarah May 15, 2018

      Hi Pam! Yes, your bookmarks are going to be delivered physically to your kiddos :). Thank you so much for sending them such sweet gifts!

  33. Patti April 13, 2018

    I received our 1st letter from our sponsored child in the mail. I’m not sure if our letters crossed paths since some of the things we asked or talked about were not acknowledged. His letter to us seemed like he may have written it prior to receiving ours. So now my 9 year old son thinks we need to wait until Ivan writes to us before we send another letter. I don’t know who’s turn it is.
    How does the child find out that he has gotten a sponsor?
    Does he write a letter at that point, or wait to hear from the new sponsor?
    Thank you.

    1. Christina April 13, 2018

      Hi Patti! Welcome to the Compassion family! Thank you so much for choosing to bless a child with your love, support, and encouraging letters! When a child is notified they have a sponsor, they write their “Introduction Letter” right away, so their first letter is almost always written before they have received any letter from their sponsor. Therefore, it is very possible that your child received your letter after they had already written their first letter to you. I encourage you to not wait to write your next letter because the more letters you write, the more you will receive in return, up to about 6 letters per year :). I usually recommend writing about 1 letter every 1-2 months. This will develop a regular writing schedule between you and your kiddo. Please know that it may take a little time to develop a regular back and forth conversation in your letters. Thank you for your patience and understanding. We are so grateful for your desire to develop a meaningful relationship with your child! Please let us know if you have any additional questions or concerns. Have a blessed weekend!

      1. Christine Schroth April 14, 2018

        What if you don’t receive an introductory letter from the child you are sponsoring? I wrote a letter soon after signing up, and another just recently. I’m not sure she is even receiving them, how can I be sure? If she is, then I will just keep writing, thank you.

        1. Christina April 16, 2018

          Christine, I’m so sorry to hear that you have not received Alejandra’s first letter yet as I’m sure you’re very eager to build a relationship with your precious girl. Regrettably, there are many variables involved with each individual letter, so it may take some letters more or less time to be received, processed, and delivered. When you have sponsored a child, you should receive your first letter within 4 months and no longer. I do see that our field office receive Alejandra’s first letter for you about a month ago, but they did have to send it back to have something fixed with it. I’m sorry for this delay, but you should receive Alejandra’s first letter soon! Please rest assured that your letters are indeed being sent to your sweet girl, and she is receiving them!

  34. Paul Thomas April 5, 2018

    Anytime you guys have an article on letter writing and the timing of how it all works is always a welcome read! I understand that when it comes to translating one language to another, and driving sacks of letters across train not meant for cars or trucks for many miles is going to take a long time. All in all I think you guys do a great job.
    My question has to do with my account and letter writing. There were a few letters I wrote online and submitted them last month, in March. I was watching the tracking of them. They went straight to Translation were it was said they had been submitted. They were there for 4 to 5 days. The tracking ended when the translation was apartently done.
    For the first time I viewed my letter drafts the other day and all but one letter was there. The heading said that these letters were “unfinished”, even though I saw each of these letters tracked as being in translation and having been submitted. I also want to point out that at no point did I ever ask that these letters be saved as a draft, at least I don’t ever remember ever having done so nor did I ever think I had an option to do so.
    My question is, are these letters that are in draft submitted or not? Are they on the way to my child or are they held up? Again, I wrote 4 letters in March, 3 are in draft and one of them isn’t, yet I tracked all of them as having gone through translation.

    1. Shannon April 6, 2018

      Hi Paul,

      Thank you so much for your kind feedback! I see that we did process, translate and send 4 letters to your sweet child. They were written on the 7th, 16th, 23rd and 29th. If you wouldn’t mind, can you please email us a screenshot of what you are seeing so we can ensure nothing is wrong with your account online? You can email us at [email protected]. Thank you so much!

      1. Paul Thomas April 6, 2018

        I sent the email, and thanks for letting me know that my letters are on the way!

  35. Jaclyn April 5, 2018

    Hi ladies! I’ve seen you respond to how to “track” our letters to our kiddos but when I do this, it only says “view” the letter I sent (I sent it online)! It doesn’t say processing, being reviewed, translated, etc. Is there perhaps a different way I’m missing?

    1. Shannon April 6, 2018

      Hi Jaclyn,
      It sounds like you may just be checking your letter a little too late and it has already gone through these different status updates. Are you checking your letters right after sending, or is this quite a bit after? -Shannon

      1. Jaclyn April 6, 2018

        Hey Shannon,
        We just started sponsoring him on the 4th so we sent him a letter that day! I know I read that when we submit letters online, it will be delivered to that place the same day. I remember at one point it did have something along the lines of “processing” or “reviewing” or something like that but I never saw it again. Now it just says “view” the letter I sent. It doesn’t tell me if it was delivered or being translated? Maybe they’re just SUPER fast lol!

        1. Susan Sayler April 6, 2018

          Jaclyn, yes, that letter was delivered. 🙂 Thanks so much for writing to your child! It makes a huge difference!

  36. Pearl Wall April 1, 2018

    At the end of February/beginning of March I sent birthday cards and final letters to two of my sponsored kids whose birthdays and completion dates are in May. Based on the above, it would seem like they should have been scanned into the system my now as I live in a suburb of Denver. Is it slower right not processing items?

    1. Shannon April 2, 2018

      Hi Peal,
      Thank you so much for blessing your kiddos with these letters! We may see timing fluctuate just a little bit because it depends on so many variables. I would be happy to take a look into this for you! Which kiddos were these cards and final letters for? -Shannon

      1. Pearl Wall April 2, 2018

        Thank you for your offer. Derartu was written to on February 28th ((ET043400100) and Jean on March 2nd (HA081905783). I have kind of been tracking how long it takes my “handwritten” communications to reach your office and be put in translation since the move to the scanning system. I am not complaining but just concerned as they could have been lost by the USPS. I might need to resend, at least the final letters. They will need to be translated and I wanted to ensure that the letters are received by the time the student completes the program as I have received some rather strange letters on occasion that I firmly do not believe were written by the departing students. The new process seems to have really worked much better overall once some of the bugs were ironed out. Even at Christmas which is when I would expect you to be deluged, your staff has done a great job. It is possible that I made an error, but I did copy like I did for this for the final letters. Pearl

        1. Christina April 3, 2018

          Pearl, thank you for this helpful information! I’m so sorry that your birthday cards and final letters to Derartu and Jean have not been received and scanned into our system for processing yet. Regrettably, I do not yet see them on my side either. I understand your eagerness for your letters to reach your young man and lady as their estimated completion dates and birthdays are quickly advancing. Usually, physical letters may only take a couple of weeks to be received in the mail and scanned. However, as we said early, there are many variables involved with each individual letter that may cause them to be a little delayed in processing. Because of this, we do need to allow a full eight weeks before inquiring our mail staff about a letter. Since you sent your letters about four to five weeks ago, we do need to wait another several months. Please do let us know if you do not see your letters to Derartu and Jean once it has been eight weeks, and we will be happy to inquire after them. Also, please rest assured that we are able to accept final letters for students a full 90 days after they have officially completed the program, so there is still plenty of time to ensure they receive your final letters :). Thank you so much for your grace and patience!

  37. Rebecca Littel March 31, 2018

    Send me a planning guide DVD that I can show to parishioners. My sponsor number is 4079367-5.

    1. Shannon April 2, 2018

      Hi Rebecca,
      Why type of planning guide DVD are you requesting exactly? -Shannon

  38. Rebecca Littel March 31, 2018

    I am happy to receive letters from my sponsored child. I will ry to send my letters on line when I can get into my account. I am willing to show the DVD planning guide to parishioners. My sponsor number is 4079367-5. You have my e-mail address. When I try to send it, the computer won’t put in the at.

    1. Shannon April 2, 2018

      Hi Rebecca,
      I am so sorry but I am not sure I understand what you need assistance with. Are you having trouble logging into your online account? Thank you so much for clarifying! -Shannon

  39. Norma Lewis March 30, 2018

    I was wondering how long it usually takes a child to write back? I began my sponsorship 2 months ago and though I have written a couple of letters, we have not received any letter from her. My daughters have each written a letter and wanted to hear back from our sponsored child as well.

    1. Shannon April 2, 2018

      Hi Norma,
      I am so sorry to hear that you have not heard from your sweet child yet! Please know that depending on where your kiddo lives it can take up to six weeks to even make them aware they are sponsored. Keeping this mind, it typically takes about 4 months to receive your first letter. If you still have not heard from your kiddo in 4 months, please let us know and we will be happy to send in an inquiry to make sure they have a letter on the way! 🙂 -Shannon

  40. Deanna Johnson March 30, 2018

    My child’s language is Spanish so a couple of times I have written in Spanish to hopefully convey my interest of her language to her. I have a co-worker who was raised by Spanish-speaking parents so I have him look over my letter beforehand to make sure it all makes sense. Could doing this possibly slow up the delivery of my letter to her? One time I made a coloring page of a Bible verse in English & then the same verse in Spanish. I know how excited I would feel it she were to write something to me that she had written in English so I wanted to also do that for her by writing in Spanish.
    Thank you for all you do to bring us closer to our sponsored children.

    1. Shannon April 2, 2018

      Hi Deanna,
      This is such a sweet idea! It is completely fine if you would like to write in Spanish, but we would also ask that you include an English copy. Sometimes our kiddos live in placed where they use a different dialect and this does help our translators in case there is a difference they cannot get from the Spanish copy. 🙂 Thank you so much for doing this and for blessing your sweet child! -Shannon

  41. Missy Voigts March 29, 2018

    I’m not quite sure if the blog post addressd this, but is it still possible to mail physical paper items, like stickers, bookmarks, and the like?

    1. Shannon April 2, 2018

      Hi Missy!
      We would love for you to continue to bless your child in this way! You may still send a letter accompanied by stickers, a bookmark, photos, or coloring pages. Anytime you send something to your child, please make sure to keep it to six pages or less. 🙂 -Shannon

  42. Margie Ryne March 29, 2018

    I sent $100.00 to Iris & I’ve not heard anything. The information said I would receive pictures of Iris & what she received. I’ve never gotten any pictures or not even a mention of the money I have sent to her in the past. Some one else writes her letters & they are far & few between. I even sent her pictures & they’ve never been mentioned. I’ve talked with other sponsors & they have beautiful stories to tell. I’m a little let down with this experience. I’ll stop now, I’m sorry I probably shouldn’t have said anything!! Thank you!

    1. Shannon April 2, 2018

      Hi Margie,
      I am so sorry to hear that you never heard anything about the very generous gift that you gave, nor about the photos you have sent. I see that the $100 gift that you gave was in February of this year. Typically it takes about 6 months for your gift to be sent to the country, meet with the child and family to decide to purchase, buy these items, take a photo and write a thank you letter. Please know this is a little bit of an in depth process to ensure the family gets exactly what they need. If you do not hear anything about your gift after 6 full months, then we would be more than happy to send in an inquiry! 🙂 I hope this helps! -Shannon

  43. Katrina V. March 29, 2018

    Thanks for this window into the letter delivery process! I love writing to and hearing from my sponsored children. I currently sponsor four, in Rwanda, Uganda, the Dominican Republic, and Sri Lanka. Letters from the first three come to me promptly, and the process goes faster now than before. But the translation process in Sri Lanka really needs work–it takes a letter up to 10 *months* to reach me. Sometimes Sayuri asks me well in advance to pray for something, but by the time I receive her letter it’s too late. So frustrating, and so hard to maintain a relationship that way.

    1. Shannon April 2, 2018

      Hi Katrina!
      Thank you so much for your kind words and your feedback! Please know we are aware some countries are a little behind others. But we always working on finding ways to speed things up and improve your relationship with your kiddos! Also, please know you can make us aware anytime there are six months between letters and we will happily send an inquiry for you to ensure everything is okay. You may email us [email protected]. Thanks so much! 🙂 -Shannon

  44. Laurie March 29, 2018

    Hello, I was wondering if the translators actually speak both languages, or do they type it into translating software? I have gotten pretty good at recognizing words and phrases in the various languages, and sometimes I can tell that the translation is not correct, so I use a translation app to see what it really says. I really appreciate all that you do, and the letters have been a huge blessing in my life. Thank you so much!

    1. Christina March 29, 2018

      Hi Laurie! Our amazing translators do know both languages, but English is often a second language to them. We do utilize translation software, but our translators double check and make sure that every single letter is completed before sending to the next step for quality assurance checks. We purposefully have people who are fluid in their native dialect because they are able to understand local idioms and slang that translation software may not pick up on. That being said, nobody’s perfect, and there is always a margin for mistakes to occur. We appreciate your grace and understanding! Thank you so much for your heart to bless your sweet children with your love and support!

  45. Michael Bailey March 29, 2018

    Thank you for your blog post. Your time and effort in making the letter writing process clear is helpful to us who are eager to receive letters from our sponsored children. This was an insightful post. I have elected to write all my letters online and receive a digital copy of the letters that come from my sponsored children to save time and money. I can tell the process has definitely gotten more streamline from what it was 15 years ago.

    I am curious to know more about who translates the letters in country. Who are the translators? Do they work for compassion? I am sure the process is similar in the various countries. I noticed that some countries seem to take longer to translate letters than others. Why might this be?

    I always feel blessed when I receive a letter from one of my children. It warms my heart when I hear them respond to my letters, thank me for support or hear that they pray for me and love me. I believe that the letter writing process gives these children who are sponsored an opportunity to practice ministering and encouraging others through writing.

    Thank you again for your post!

    1. Christina March 29, 2018

      Hi Michael! Thank you so much for your kind words and support of our ministry. You have asked some great questions! Our next Compassion Letter Club post will most likely answer your questions about our translators and how the translation process works. Stay tuned! We cannot thank you enough for the incredible difference you are making in the lives of your kiddos through building meaningful relationships with them! God bless you!

  46. Betsie Phillips March 29, 2018

    Hello! I cannot find how to “track” my letter as mentioned in the Pro Tip above. Can you direct me?

    1. Christina March 29, 2018

      Hi Betsie! I have responded to your previous comment with the answer to your question. Please let us know if you have any additional questions. Have a blessed day!

  47. Betsie Phillips March 29, 2018

    Thanks for this post! I did not know you could track your letters. I am having trouble finding this is my account. Can you direct me?

    1. Christina March 29, 2018

      Hi Betsie! Thank you so much for choosing to bless Princess with your sponsorship, and welcome to the Compassion family! Since you are so new to sponsorship, Princess’ first letter to you has not yet been received or scanned. Therefore, you are unable to see her letter in your account. It may take some time to build a regular back and forth letter writing relationship with her, but once a letter from her has been scanned into our systems, you will be able to see that it is in process. You may see this on your app or online by logging into your My Account. Once logged in, select “Write My Child” and then “My Letters”. Please let us know if you have any additional questions. Have a blessed day!

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