Little Mariam was still sleeping, although the roosters had already crowed several times. Laid on her mat, she was huddled under her covers; it had rained the previous day, and the weather was a bit cold in the first hours of the morning.
Though she was registered in grade two, Mariam was lounging on her mat even after 7 a.m., because she was already on holiday. Moreover, even if she was not on holiday, she could have slept until sunrise because it was Thursday morning and she would not have had a course.
During the rainy season, Mariam, like her brothers and sisters, does not have the privilege to see her father because he moves to a village located a few kilometers away from the city to cultivate there in order to nourish the family.
The mother who stays alone with the five children sells fritters to provide for the needs of the family to the best of her ability.
Abruptly, Mariam who had been sleeping quietly jumps up and rushes outside, as if something important has just occurred.
Every Thursday, Assanata and Zourata leave the house around 7:30 a.m. and come back only after 2 p.m., humming songs that are completely unknown to the other members of their Moslem family.
Mariam always awaits their return so she can taste the food that her sisters bring home, and she does not fail to learn the songs that they sing as they return.
Any letter that Assanata and Zourata receives is an occasion of rejoicing for Mariam too, who is always given part of the gifts that are sent by the sponsor of her twin sisters.
When her sisters go to the child development center Mariam stays at home with her mother and her little brother Madi. She gives a hand to her mother by bringing the millet, which is used to make fritters sold by her mother, to the mill to be made into flour.
Once back from the mill, Mariam sweeps the house, the kitchen and makes the washing up while having her eyes riveted on the way – waiting for her sisters to come home.
Sitting under the only tree of the household, Mariam is lost in dreams deeply moved by the situation of poverty in which she lives with all her family.
She imagines herself in possession of four hundred thousand CFA Francs. Then she sees herself in a large shop of the capital city where she buys clothes, shoes and above all food provisions for her family.
She also sees herself building a new house for her family to replace the small one that was built with earth in which she and all her family live cramped.
Moreover, in Burkina Faso solidarity is still an enduring value, she would find it good to give part of her “fortune” to the needy people who would come her way.
Mariam also wants to be registered at the child development center because she says to herself, “If I were sponsored, all my dreams would be carried out.”
It sometimes happens that she sits down and wonders why she isn’t registered.
Mariam’s mother does not raise questions any more, she is filled with joy to have two of her children registered to a child development center and to have a sponsor who writes and sends presents. Without this sponsorship, her children would not be able to go to school and big health issues could also arise.
Far from sowing discord and competition between the sponsored children and those who are not sponsored, as one might expect to see, this sponsorship on the contrary reinforces the African values of solidarity and sharing between Assanata, Zourata and Mariam.
At Christmas, one does not know who of the three girls is sponsored and who is not. Thanks to their spirit of sharing that, with time was sharpened by the biblical lessons received at the child development center, Assanata and Zourata joyfully share part of their biscuits and lollipops with their beloved sister Mariam and their brother.
Mariam is certainly happy to have her twin sisters registered at the child development center, and her desire to find herself there is undoubtedly related to the difference that the sponsorship made in the lives of her sisters and all the family.
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We are sponsoring our first child right now and are so excited. We have 6 kids and they all want to send things like coloring books to exchange, stuffed animals, clothes and shoes but we are not to send anything other than paper,that is not over 1/8″ thick, correct? My youngest bought a book with stickers to decorate/dress up little girls, are we allowed to send the book or only a few pages at a time? When we send letters by email they are delivered to her as well as written with the translation? Do email messages get to her faster than post office mailed ones? Her birthday is in July and it is now May 13 so we are concerned she may not get her card in time. If we send cash is she able to use it or is it best to do it through the compassion site on debit? Sorry so many questions! We want to cover it all to do this right! Thanks so very much for your help.
I am sure that you can buy a birthday card for the sibling, send it to child that you sponsor via the regular Compassion child and add a note to your own sponsored children, asking if they wouldn’t mind passing it on to the sibling.
What concerns me about this, is that there are things that I can do which would involve the siblings. For instance, I would like to send a birthday card to each of the siblings in the family, however I have no way of doing this. It would cost nothing to Compassion or the family, and yet this is not encouraged or perhaps not even permitted. Why?
i want to be part of it
@Patrick Greene – I understand, as I was in that position too.
Thanks so much for contributing as you are able. You might consider giving to the Unsponsored Children’s Fund on occasion; this is the fund that covers the children from the time they are registered until they receive a sponsor, and in between sponsors as needed. But the Where Most Needed fund is great, too, as it allows Compassion to pull from this fund if there is a need beyond what a designated fund is able to cover. 🙂
My heart breaks to think that kids aren’t sponsored. That is why I give to the “where most needed” fund instead of sponsoring. I would hate to start to sponsor someone and have to quit. That would be just awful and terribly unfair to the sponsored child. The reason I don’t sponsor is when I was in college, I sponsored a child and then when I was done with college, I was broke and couldn’t sponsor any longer. I have felt bad about that for years.
@Barbara M. –
How do you sponsor the child in Rwanda? Are you saying that the sponsorship organization doesn’t have a system in place for writing to the child and won’t facilitate with it?
@Barbara M. –
What a shame you can’t write to your little man. I am sure they wouldn’t know what to do or how to go about cashing the postage coupon. Is there not a way through the organization to write to him? I hope so, my greatest joy is writing to the kids, I write once a week to all 7 of them. How sad if you are not able to get to know him. I wish you luck.
@Kathy Olson – Hi, Kathy, I know how you feel. It would be difficult for me too, especially after I met them.
@Kathy Olson -Kathy, I have a child in Rwanda that I wanted to write to (not connected to Compassion.) These children are so poor they have no money for postage stamps. I tried to no avail to buy Rwandan postage here to send to him. I have not found a way to do it so far. The post office will sell you an international postage coupon which you send to the child and they can cash it in for postage. My child never did this as I don’t think he knew how to go about it. Does anyone know how to purchase Rwandan postage here in the U.S? Or, is anyone going to Rwanda that could purchase it there and bring it back? Thank you!
@Kees Boer –
Thanks Kees, I appreciate your insight. I have years to go, by then hopefully it will sort itself out. I have a feeling I won’t be able to let go by then. It’s only been a year for me and I already feel totally attached. I have been reading lots of your posts and appreciate your experience with this. Thank you!
@Kathy Olson – That’s a great question. I think there is a way of sending some sort of International postage to them. I remember some actors requiring that if they lived in England and an American was asking for an autographed picture. Or something like that. It’s been a while, since I had to deal with that. Maybe the child will be able to write you through the Internet. Sometimes there are very cheap Internet cafes around. Realize that there is no translation or guidance though in the letter writing. So, you have to be careful. You might not get a letter from the child, but from the alcoholic uncle asking for money. I’ve even heard of the child showing up at the doorsteps of their former sponsor, asking him/her to take them in. I’m still planning on staying in touch with my children, but I could see writing a letter and explaining that I sponsored them so they can continue making a living themselves. I can’t imagine not staying in touch with them though.
I am wondering about this too. I have become very attached to my sponsored children and can’t even think about sponsorship ending. I am wondering though if the mother makes about $40 per year to support 6 children and they live in a remote area how would they possibly be able to buy stamps and mail a letter? I would be happy to help them financially but still see the cost to mail a letter to be a deterent in keeping in contact with me. Even if I were to send money how would they cash it? Are they able to open a bank account? This is all a few years away but I am wondering.
@Brianne Mullins –
I just received a letter yesterday that also took 4 months from Brazil. My letter to Brazil also took 4 months. I am surprised it takes longer to go to Brazil than letters to Africa. My letters to 3 countries take 45 days to Ghana, about 7 weeks to Tanzania and about 3 months to Kenya. Interesting.
I have so enjoyed catching up on all the news at Compassion. Thank you one and all for the fantastic, christian ideas for our children. Chris, just reading about how you have helped several members here with problems, gives me great joy that “someone” does listen. Thank you! I have never been disappointed with my relationship with Compassion, and now sponsor 8 children in Burkina Faso with them. I still honor a previous committment to another agency to sponsor 2 children in Zambia. How I wish Compassion would go into Zambia again! That is my prayer. God Bless y’all!
@Chris Giovagnoni – Alyson, Sara and Heather,
Discussions continue about potential changes to our gift policy; changes that would allow gifts to be made to a child from people other than the sponsor.
They’re positive discussions. 🙂
@Jlynn – I need to start saving…so that I can have something to leave behind in a will! 🙂 Perhaps, in addition to the provision to providing for the sponsored children in a lump sum, a direction can be given to Compassion to provide a correspondent. I don’t know whether Compassion would tell the children that the sponsor has died or not…but I hope that situation never (or rarely) comes up!
@Shelly Quigg –
to Shelly Quigg, what a wonderful idea!! I never thought about adding a provision in my will to lump sum pay for our sponsored children. It won’t replace the letter writing, but it’s nice to know that I will be able to follow through on a committment to not only my own children, but the sponsored ones as well. thank you for the idea.
@Chris Giovagnoni – Thank you for looking into this for me. I understand it must be hard to provide these services in remote areas.
you are doing a good job of sponsoring children,like my case i was a college student two year ago and forced to drop my college because of lack of fees,can you be able to sponsor me to continue with my education this may semester?hope to hear from you soon.may God bless you for good work you are doing.
@Jeanette – I heard back from the Ethiopia country office, and they told me that we have very limited services for special needs children in Ethiopia.
Any services we can provide are mostly for children in centers located in Addis Ababa.
No such services are available in the more remote areas of Ethiopia or specifically where Emebet is.
Because of this, her church isn’t able to fully provide holistic development to her.
Hi Jeanette, to answer your question, yes! There is a way to keep in touch with the child/children who have graduated. You (or whoever the sponsor is) will need to contact our phone center (800-336-7676) and request a waiver form. We will communicate to the specified country office about your desire to continue writing the child (or now, young adult) and the process will begin from here.
You will receive more detailed information about this process once you call and request this information.
Hope this helps!
@Chris Giovagnoni – Is there a way to keep in touch with children who have graduated, especially if they are working in a project?
@alyson – Is there a way to stay in touch with children who have graduated?
I sponssored a child in Uganda from about 9 years old until she graduated at about 19. She wanted to be a nurse, but her grades weren’t good enough. She had to miss school often to help at home with her 8 siblings and farming. But she became a preschool teacher. I think she worked at the project but I am not sure.
Thanks, Chris, for taking the time to keep us updated!!
Thank you so much for the update! God is good!
@Chris Giovagnoni – Thank you, but just so you know, I have already sponsored another child and would no longer be able to sponsor Emebet’s sister. But I would still appreciate an answer to my question.
@Jeanette – Thanks. The reason I asked is that the services vary country by country and even child development center by child development center. I’m trying to get an answer that is accurate to your child’s circumstances.
Amanda and Alyson,
Your ideas are still getting attention and being discussed. They’re still alive. 🙂 I don’t have anything more to share at this point, but eventually, I’ll have something.
@Chris Giovagnoni – ET528
@Jeanette – What child development center is Emebet a part of? If you give me the first five characters of her child number, I’ll try to get you a comprehensive answer.
@Chris Giovagnoni -I have inquired into sponsoring the sister of one of my children. I am concerned because Emebet says her sister is retarded. In America we have a lot of services for special needs children. Do you have anything like that in your programs?
Yes, Dionne is correct. My dream is to go to the Compassion.com website and have it say: “Sorry no children available for sponsorship, check back later.”
@Chris Giovagnoni –
What can each of us do to help the millions of Mariam’s out there? Pray. Host a Compassion Sunday. Possibly even apply to be a Compassion Advocate (trained volunteer).
A church in my area met with Compassion’s country office in Uganda. A church that they were working with was interested in joining Compassion Uganda. The country office had to tell them that they were unable to register any new Compassion projects right now because there were too many unsponsored children registered.
It is plain and simple. If we find more sponsors, more churches can reach more children for Jesus. More children will know His joy, peace, and love. More people will be set free to live the abundant life (John 10:10).
Go to compassion.com and look at the share compassion section. Find a way to help Compassion find more sponsors. Then, more children will be helped.
“All it takes for evil to succeed is for good men and women to do nothing.” “Be the change you want to see in the world.”
@Stephanie G –
I sponsor a few older children myself. I’ve been blessed to get to know them and met several of them. I think it’s a big encouragement to a child when they loose their sponsor to get another sponsor again.
From what I can tell, many of them continue serving the Lord. There is also an alumni association in many of the countries, so they can get together.
I just “spoke” to Tony Beltranes. He’s an LDP student from the Dominican Republic, who currently is at Moody. He mentioned that not all sponsor children become believers, but many of them do. They get involved with churches and some of them become leaders. I remember being in several projects where I found that the tutors and several staff used to be formerly sponsored children.
But yes, I can recommend sponsoring an older child wholeheartedly. As a matter of fact, I’m looking for a sponsor for a Bolivian girl named Amalia. She is 16 years old and she lives with her mother. I sponsor a child in her project BO-132, but the child I sponsor is my youngest Bolivian child, only 7 years old. She is very mature for her age. She skipped a grade and she sat on my lap, singing the Bolivian National anthem. She also just wrote me asking me to read the Bible with her next time I see her. She doesn’t know that, but Lord willing that should be really soon! Anyways, that’s not to say that if you decide to sponsor Amalia, that she she would sit on your lap, singing the Bolivian National anthem!!! LOL. You can email me, if you’re interested. ([email protected])
Those are some good questions. I can tell you from experience that it is a joy to sponsor older children. I started sponsoring a 18 year old girl from the Philippines and she writes the most amazing letters.
The graduation age varies from country to country but is usually between 18 and 22 years old. Some of the kids get vocational training as a part of the program so when they graduate they get a job. Some of the kids go on to be project workers and give back to the community in that way. Others probably get married or keep helping their families. Remember that these kids are going to the project at their local churches. Even when they have graduated from the program they are still a part of that church.
I currently sponsor one child and am considering sponsoring another that is older …maybe 16 or 17. I was touched to learn that most kids that age have lost their sponsors for some reason but wondered what kind of impact a new sponsorship has on a child at this later stage. At what age do they typically graduate from the program? What determines when they are elegible to graduate (is it age, knowledge or skills-based)?
Also, I have often wondered what happens to Compassion kids after graduation. I have only ever heard of the LDP program but I understand that represents a small number of all formerly sponsored kids . What becomes of the rest?
Lots of questions…I know – but I’d appreciate any feedback on the subject of older children.
The letters get written in the project. Then they get send to the country office, then they get translated and then they are send to Colorado, where they get logged and send to you. So, sending stamps wouldn’t really help the child in sending you a letter, because the mail has to go through this process. You could maybe send stamps as something for them to collect and learn from different parts of the world. 🙂 That might be a good idea.
@Pat Sendzik –
1) you’d have to get international stamps from the child’s country to send to them (I doubt Peru’s postal system would honor American stamps, unfortunately)
2) all correspondence has to go through Compassion for a couple of reasons, primarily for everyone’s safety. Also to make sure that letters are translated (I do love that service provided by Compassion!). But as for safety, it protects you from a potentially bad family member, wanting to exploit the relationship and asking for money by saying the child needs to go to the hospital, for example. It also protects the children from people having access to their address, who might potentially want to go over and exploit them personally.
Can we send stamps to our sponsered child?
I am thinking if they had stamps maybe we would get a letter from them more often.
Kees brings up an excellent point I think the quickest I ever got a letter was around 1-2 months from when it was written and longest was almost 7 months exactly!!! My advice is if you really want your questions answered write about 1,000 of them and go and visit and ask maybe about 200-300 of the most important ones!!! Even if you are Methuselah and live to be 969 years or so I think visiting you would get more questions answered than Methuselah writing letters!!! Also when you visit many of your questions melt away b/c you want to spend the short time you have interacting etc. But my sponsored child along with many others took a nap in the middle of lunch!!!
Yes, it can take a while for the letters to get there and back and forth. I think sometimes what happens is the LIFO affect. Last in First Out. Think about it this way. When you go on a flight and you bring your suitcase to be checked in. Your suitcase gets put in the plane in the back. The last person putting in their suitcase is put on the front, because the other suitcases are in the back of the plane. When the plane lands, they unpack it in the reverse order of how they came in. Otherwise they would have to first dig to the back of the plane and take the suitcases out that way. I think that is what sometimes happens with a stack of letters too. I don’t know. Just my theory.
One time, I wrote Eliana one of my sponsored children a letter. I told her that I was eating peanuts, while I was writing the letter. Half a year later, I got a letter back, asking me how the peanuts were!
@Judith Tremblay – Judith: thanks for your comment… it helps a lot! Its nice to know that I am not the only one who has had to wait for long periods of time between letters.
Yes, some of the letters can take a while. A letter from Peru took about 2 months to get here, but one from Indonesia took about 3 months–it wasn’t dated, so I’m not sure exactly. It was written at some time before Christmas, and I received it about a week ago.
Now, I’m not sure how long it takes for letters to arrive in either of these countries (I’ve only been writing to Peru since December). I began sponsoring my boy in Indonesia at the beginning of September, and when my cousin–who worked in Indonesia–visited him in early January, she said he hadn’t received any of my letters yet, four months after I sent my first letter.
I am still new to this also, so I’m still trying to figure it out too–but this is what I’ve figured out so far. Hope it helps!
Has anyone else noticed that some letters take super long to go to and from your sponsor child and you? I received a letter about a month ago from my little girl in Ecuador that was written in October! It took four months to get to me. I was wondering if this is normal for some countries. I have only been sponsoring for about 18 months, so I am still kind of new at this.
God bless all the little “Miriams”
As I have been listening to the global food crisis, I can not stop hearing that voice that is asking; How many children could we save with a 750 billion dollar stimulus pakage. Or, Why do we keep getting all these hand out to improe our way of life?
It is always abouot the American way of life, I pray we can soon look at the global.
As for the siblings, I try to mention them in my letters to our sponsored children…and I liked the idea of sending extras….I will do that in my letters today.
I’m sorry I hadn’t checked on here sooner!
@Shelly Quigg – The idea of leaving something in your will to insure that these children will be taken care of is a fantastic idea! This was a old comment – but I really liked that.
@Vicki Small –
Do the letters get sent out once a month? or once a week?
I thought that I remembered that groups of letters were sent out once a week (either Wed. or Thu.) to their respective countries. Does anyone know for sure?
Thanks for listening to our ideas and keeping us updated!
Thanks for the information. God bless!
Thanks for keeping us updated!
Amanda and Alyson,
Your ideas were well received, and we’re on to the next level of meetings to talk about them. 🙂 I’ll keep you posted as I know more.
Thanks for your reply…and thank you for all you are doing for “the least of these.” God Bless You.
Your idea is a great one. I made a note of it for my meeting next week.
I apologize for not replying sooner. I thought I had, but I see I had only responded to Alyson’s idea.
I agree with what the other girls are saying. Alyson’s ideas and the Spotlight of the Week idea are really awesome ideas! I don’t think any of us would want to adversely affect the one on one relationship with the childs sponsor and family. The only thing I was thinking of was the situations in which the sponsored childs sponsor can’t or won’t help out with major needs-like a roof or something like Kamruls work,or anything else that would come up. I know Compassion has a Where Needed Most fund but if there was some program or something on this blog featuring a tremendously needy family or major issue/need that needed help with I know there would be a tremendous response. Sometimes people just need a little visual help 🙂 or some extra proding. Needs are alot harder to ignore and seem more human than just a fund when you can read from the blog what is going on. It personally doesn’t affect me either way but I know for some people it does. 🙂
Sorry bout harrassing you so much Chris 🙂
Thank you for reading and considering my idea!
I like your idea a lot. I will definitely add it to the discussion agenda when talking about our gift policy.
Alyson, I love your idea. I don’t know what it would take from Compassion’s end to make it work, but if they did, I would definitely contribute! I have two sponsored kids who both have 3 siblings, and I’d love to make sure they are able to get something–maybe at Christmas–even when I’m not financially able to send in a family gift that year.
Ever since I put the idea out to help Mariam by sending her a gift, I have also been pondering how this affects the one-to-one relationship between a child and a sponsor. I know from expierience that this is such a special relationship to have. I would in no way want to affect this.
I do have an idea that hopefully would not interupt this relationship, but could still show siblings thay are not forgotten:
What if Compassion could set up a fund in the Contributions page on the Compassion website for siblings of sponsored children (maybe called the Siblings Gift Fund or something)? It would be similar to the Christmas Gift Fund where all the donations are pooled together and spread out evenly among all children. People could donate to this fund just like a normal contribution. Then, along with their contribution thank you letter from Compassion in the mail, a simple card could be included. This card can be filled out by the donor and returned to Compassion to be attached to one of the Sibling Gifts. The card could be very generic, just a colorful card with a small writing space for a sentence or two so the writer could just say something like “God loves you and cares for you”. Compassion could even find volunteers to fill out multiple cards that will end up being attached to the gifts. This way, each sibling’s gift would be personal, yet it wouldn’t have to be extremely difficult for Compassion because any card can be attached to any gift.
Then, once per year, every un-registered sibling under 18 years old would receive a gift from their siblings’s child development project. Compassion could pick a specific day each year that every project would set aside for this. It could be a special day with a Bible lesson, crafts, games, and a snack that the un-registered siblings would get to participate in at the project. At the end of the day each sibling would receive a gift (examples: clothing, crayons and paper, shoes), along with the special card mentioned above. The children could be told that a loving sponsor, just like their sibling’s sponsor, was thinking of them when they donated this gift. They would be able to understand that they are loved and cared for even though they can’t have a sponsor of their own.
Sorry, this was so incredibly looooooong. I hope it wasn’t too confusing! 🙂 Thanks for reading it.
Sorry, but I had just one more thought to add to the “Spotlight of the Week” idea. You could add a disclaimer that said “If we receive more money than is needed for this project the overflow will be transferred to the (global food crisis) project to help other families such as these.” – or whichever project the spotlight is highlighting. That way you won’t have to worry about what to do with any extra funds. Just a thougtht! (smile)
I can definitely understand the importance of using Compassion’s time and financial resources wisely. I am just kicking around a few ideas here. What if Compassion had a “Spotlight of the Week” – or “Spotlight of the Month?” It could be either a child (medical need?), family, or small community need. It could even be in the area of the global financial crisis, disaster relief, child survival program, or some other fascet of Compassion. For example, one week you could highlight the (global food crisis) need of a community in Uganda to have goats or seeds for crops (or both). After the donations have been given you could easily follow up with a story in the blog to share the results of the giving.
If you rotated the ministries spotlighted you would be giving a “face” and a “name” to the various ministries of Compassion.
This is just a thought. I know we all enjoyed the Kamrul story so much and would love to have more opportnities like it to help. Well, sorry about the long post. Thanks for all you are doing each day to help “the least of these.” God Bless You!
Alyson, Sara and Heather,
Please be patient with me regarding your request. It could take several months before I have an answer for you.
I’m taking your kind-hearted and generous request to help Mariam’s family and making it, along with what was already done for Kamrul, a point of discussion to create a policy for how this type of request can be handled cost effectively and efficiently, if it happens in the future.
What we did with Kamrul and what we’d do with this request is very inefficient and costly, from a time and effort perspective, as well as the financial perspective (i.e., the cost associated with that time and effort).
Additionally, I want to get an answer on how this type of request fits in with our philosophy that each sponsor has a one-to-one relationship with his or her sponsored child.
Mariam’s sisters have sponsors through Compassion Canada, so I am working through them to determine if this is possible.
Thank you Chris! I always love to help out!
I’m keeping an eye on this thread. If something is able to be done, I will help out however we can.
Thanks for checking for us Chris!!
I’m in for a donation. Hope it works!
oh by the way, Sara, I like your idea better than mine. It is a good idea to send a family gift and ask that the money be used to buy gifts for all of the siblings. Glancing back at the story, I think that Mariam has a couple siblings that are un-registered like she is. They should be able to receive gifts, too, if Chris finds out that we are able to give this gift.
sorry that was kinda a mouthful 🙂
Thanks so much for doing this, Chris!
Alyson, Sara and Heather,
I’m checking into this for you. I’ll let you know what I learn.
I would be willing to help out also Sara…
Maybe we could send a family gift and ask that part of it be spent on a toy for each of the kids. (It would have to be ok with the sponsors and compassion would have to be able to work it from their end)
That way the whole family can benefit and at the same time Mariam can get a gift that is specifically for her.
Hey, just an idea: remember Kamrul’s cycle van that blog commenter’s bought for him?
My heart goes out to this child. If Compassion is okay with it, would anyone be willing to pitch in and send a small money gift for this beautiful girl, Mariam??
i’m so excited! i finally got the package with everything i need in the mail today! i can’t wait to get to work!!!!
All of these posts have helped a lot. I’ve often wondered if my child’s siblings were sponsored. I will have to send a “child gift” next time for them, now that I know!
Congratulations Laura on sponsoring a child. Mine is from the Dominican Republic as well!
Hi, Vicki and everyone else reading 🙂 ,
I just got off the phone with Compassion. They confirmed to me that when using the website type email, it goes straight to the country office in all of the countries. It is the fastest way of sending a letter, because it would cut out the time it takes to go to Colorado Springs, to be processed there, and the times it takes of the transit to each individual country.
This is what I was told, but now you ask the question, maybe they told it to me in context of Bolivia. I do know that when I was in Bolivia, I heard it a couple of times that the letters that come via the website form (“Contact Us,” on the Compassion Website) are a lot faster. So, it might be that it is just Bolivia and a few other countries. I also sponsor a child in Burkina Faso together with a friend. The letters from Burkina Faso take about a month to get there and a month to get from there. If I ask a question, it only takes 2 months to get an answer back and the letters, I get are normally written a month before. So, I think that you are right in the fact that it makes a big difference which country processes the mail.
I’d like to write handwritten letters, but my handwriting is so bad (almost didn’t pass 2nd grade, because of that). I also miss a “backspace finger” on my regular writing, thus creating a big mess! LOL!
Laura, our regular mail (not of the e- variety), when it arrives at the Global Ministry Center, gets logged in and then goes on a stack of other mail waiting to be sent to the same country. That all goes out about once a month, unless that has changed in the last year, or so.
Seems to me there was a post on this blog about the process, a few months ago. If I could remember the month, I’d re-read it, myself!
Kees, do you know, for sure, if e-mail is sent directly to the country office in *every* country where Compassion works? I’m behind on that information. I know they started doing that in some countries, year before last, but I’m not up on how widespread the practice is. I’d like to know, too.
I do know the children love to get handwritten letters from us, so I try to strike some kind of balance between that and e-mail.
Yes, I agree with you. I feel the same way as you.
My understanding is that when you send a letter via the Internet, on “Contact your Child,” on the website, that the email goes right to the country office. It will be translated and then send on to the project. (Local Church that does the Compassion program) If you sent a regular letter, you would send it to Colorado Springs, where it would go through a little process and then send to the particular country. So, it would take at least another week to send it that way. When I was in Bolivia, several people also told me that it was so much faster to go through the internet, than to do it via the regular mail. The advantage of regular mail though is that you can send pictures and they can see your handwriting, so it’s a little bit more personal.
i imagine they would be…God is very loving and merciful…and he loves children so much. you see proof of it all throughout the gosples.
when sending an email to your sponsored child, how long does it take to get to them?
Yes, people along the coast do get hit really hard, especially when the hurricane is major. They can find themselves in a very similar situation after the storm as the people in developing countries have on a daily basis. I remember Hurricane Andrew, when I was in Miami a few months later. There was still a lot of destruction. I saw a gasoline pump just twisted and bent. (I’m still not sure how it didn’t just break loose from the ground).
Going back to the developing countries… I believe children, especially very young children will go to heaven if they die. Sometimes, I think that these children go right in the Lord’s arms and they don’t have a chance to have their hearts hardened. So, in that sense I see it as a form of God’s mercy to them.
That doesn’t mean that it isn’t our responsibility to help them, but sometimes we even can’t like the situation in Burma a couple of months ago, God might have been very gracious to a lot of little children and take them right into his arms.
But that’s just my understanding from what I see Scripture teach, but I don’t have many passages, that I could be really dogmatic on it. But in light of God’s mercy, His Love, and and His justice and because David said about his little baby/boy that died that he would go with them, it seems to make it clear that all of those children will be with God in heaven.
I should have mentioned folks in some of our coastal communities, especially in the Gulf Coast; they did get hit awfully hard, from Katrina.
Oh, Kees, you are so right about the difference in the impact of the storms between virtually anywhere in the U.S. and some of these other countries. I, too, am more concerned with the impact on Dominicans and Haitians, especially after the devastation there, last year.
I assume most Floridians will take responsible steps to keep themselves and their families safe and well-stocked with essentials. Too many people in Haiti and Dominican Republic, not to mention India, Indonesia and some others, can’t even buy the essentials, let alone stock up on them.
My husband has some history in Gainesville, from long, long before we met.
You’re welcome Vicki. You know one way that being involved with Compassion has changed me is that it made me more concerned with the storm as it goes over the Dominican Republic than over where I live. It’s supposed to go right over Gainesville, Florida, my town. Now, don’t worry too much, if all is going to go as predicted by the time it gets to Gainesville, it will be more of a tropical storm than a hurricane. (The only real danger is the occassional tornado that it produces). Having said that what I mean is that it will be inconvenience for most people here, but for people in some of the countries where Compassion works, it could be death. I don’t know if that makes sense, but we are so much more protected. Thus it gives us a greater responsibility.
Thanks for the link, Kees. At that site, you can also see the headline of a later update (10:30 a.m., RD). At that time, three were known dead: The woman first mentioned, her niece and nephew.
Dominicans and Haitians seem to get hit with these storms and hurricanes almost every year, sometimes more than once. My heart goes out to them.
For those of you praying for the Dominican Republic, I found this news on line about Tropical Storm Fay.
awesome, thanks! i really appreciate it!!!
Just email me at: [email protected] and we’ll work out the details.
i’d love for you to take her a doll! i’ll read up on her more and find out specifically what she likes…it’d be great to go on a mission trip over there and hopefully see her and he family.
i will definately keep the island and my girl in my prayers…i had no idea about Fay…i’ll start tracking it now.
That is so great. I’m so happy for you! I’m going to be going to the Dominican Republic in the beginning of October. If you’d like me to bring her a little doll or something, please let me know.
I don’t know how long it will take for her to find out. One of the children I sponsored, found out the next day, because he dated a letter the day after I sponsored him. Normally, it takes about 1 or 2 weeks, but I’m more familiar with Bolivia though.
You can pray for her especially right now, because tropical storm Fay is going over that island as I’m typing this. I’ve been praying for the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Maybe next week, I’ll ask you all to pray for me. I live in Florida. LOL!
Laura, congratulations on choosing a child! I have two girls in the Dominican Republic and they, too, are beautiful! :o)
Yes, she will know your name. She will not, however, know exactly where you live, and information in your packet will advise you not to provide her with your address or other direct contact information. This is for everyone’s protection.
I think Shelly told you about looking for her picture in your account, on Compassion’s website. That’s a really neat new feature! I’m not sure if you can create your account, until you know your sponsor number, but when you do, you’ll have access to all kinds of information, including some that does not come in your packet.
I know God will bless you greatly for extending your heart and your love to this child!
she’s from the Dominican Republic and she’s the most beautiful girl ever!!! i love her to pieces all ready!
how soon will she find out that i’m sponsoring her?
Thanks for the trick of looking in the status bar for the child project number. I often look for children from the same project as my children but since I did not know about your shortcut, I would click on each picture to open the profile. You saved me a bunch of time!
Wow, Congratulations! I’m really happy for you. The child will find out your real name. The only time I’ve heard of a different name being used is in the case of a dignitary or so sponsoring a child and the child could be endangered by everyone knowing that they were sponsored by them. For instance if a President of a country were to sponsor a child, they might use a pseudo-name, because the child could be in danger of being taken hostage or so to bribe the President. So, unless you have ambitions in that field, you might use your real name. 🙂
Register at the website and you can access your child’s information online anytime you want. It is basically the same information that is mailed to you. I think it may take 24 hours or so before the information is up, but it is better than waiting for two weeks. What country did you choose?
i finally found a child! now all i have to do is wait to get all the stuff i need in the mail…
i’ve been wondering, is it best to use a pseudoname when talking to your child or should you use your real name, but only the first?
If you’d like to sponsor a child in the area, you might give Compassion a call and see if they have another child in that area.
This is another little trick you can use to maybe sponsor a child in the same project: The child has a number. It starts with two letters, which signify the country, then the next 3 numbers, signify the project, and then the next 4 numbers signify the child in the project.
For instance, let’s take a fictionious child number:
BO-932-5435, BO stands for the country, in this case Bolivia. 932 would stand for the project, and then 5435 stands for the child. Thus BO-932-2456, would be in the same project.
Once you see that, if you go to the Compassion website, you can search by country. Then if you want a child in the BO-932 project, you would put your mouse over the children’s picture and look on the bottom of your screen to the status bar and you would see an Internet link. All you would need to do is to find in the complicated internet link, the child number, which you can recognize by BO and then see the next three numbers and you would just look for the ones that start with BO932. That’s how you can see which children are in your child’s project that are looking for a sponsor.
Of course you can also contact Compassion at 1-800-336-7676 and they can help you with it. 🙂
I am learning a lot from this blog. Having been a sponsor of one child for over 5 years, I was looking forward to visiting this year but a flood in our area and my husband’s health have not permitted it. I am sorry I told my sponsored child I would visit this year and now cannot keep that promise. Also was thinking about sponsoring another child but cannot find one in close proximity to the one I sponsor, so what I do visit I could see both. Choosing can be overwhelming. My child was chosen at a Ray Boltz concert I attended and there were not that many choices like on the website. My child has a younger sister and I just found out her name. I think she is a year younger but I have not found out her birthday yet. When I first started sponsoring I wanted to include the family so I send an additional $25 family gift each month. I get a thank you from my child and an itemized list of what the money was used for from Compassion. The same with Christmas, I try to send double and ask that it be used for the sibling if possible. But I also encourage my sponsored child to share what I send with her sister. As to the benefits of the sponsor tour, my step grandson went on a mission trip to the Philippines this summer and told of someone who went on their first trip at age 65 and was blessed. I’m 65 now, so I really want to go before it become a hardship physically.
In comment #8 on this blog I asked a question about the older children listed on the website as needing sponsors. I received a phone call from Bill, a staff member at Compasssion, answering this question. He said that children can come into the program for the first time up to age 9. If Compassion is seeking a sponsor for a child older than 9, then they are doing so because either the original sponsor cancelled or something else happened to end the relationship between sponsor and child.
thanks everybody. i was just talking to someone who used to go to my church last night that works for compassion international. she gave me a lot of good info too..unfotunately i can’t remember it all because it was so late. thanks so much for all the help! i’ll def. look into this more!
Laura, sometimes it can be very rewarding to call Compassion or click the appropriate box online and let them know that you’d like them to choose the child for you. My friend did this and it’s been one of her favorite sponsorships. 🙂 I was thinking she might chime in but I know she’s been busy! (MAPS to you K!)
Good luck in your decision, and yes — it can be difficult to choose!
Yes, compassion has an awesome system for mailing and translating your correspondence.
You can either send an email through the compassion website or use the stationary that is supplied through compassion and then mail it with the included envelope.
Compassion offices in all of the field countries take care of the translation.
As far as choosing a child, I had the same problem. I fell in love with all of them. If you pray and God does not show you a specific child here are some of the guidelines I go by:
– big families
– waiting longest
– special needs (handicapped, etc)
– aids effected area
– an older child
– a child in an area that I may want to visit in the future
You can do a specific search for any of these qualities.
Some sponsors look to sponsor all of their children from the same country.
I chose my first child by entering my daughter’s birthdate into the advanced search feature and then choosing the one that spoke to my heart. I guess I just “knew” she was the one. The other two were in countries that I had an interest in and they just happened to have the same names as my daughter. Every time I went to search for a new child, I looked for an older boy but have always been led to a girl instead. Oh well, it was meant to be I guess.
I understand your delima. I have felt the same way.
There were several factors involved in the children I chose. I had a childhood friend who was from India – so I felt a connection to that country and chose a little boy from there. While in Texas I learned a little Spanish – so I also chose a child from Central America.
The kids I chose are close to the ages of my children. I did this so that the kids would grow up with one another. I want my boys to grow up thinking about others who have not been blessed with as much as they have.
Being a single mother I have decided to focus on orphans and children from single family homes.
Other people choose a child who has the same birthday as themselves or a family member.
If you want – Compassion can choose a child for you.No matter which child I choose I always approach the choice with prayer.
Thank you so much for your kind and compassionate heart for little ones in need! Choosing a child through compassion will make such a difference in both the life of your child and in your own life! God Bless!
You’re right, it is so hard to pick just one child from the website! You might want to ask yourself if there is a certain country you’d like to focus on. Or maybe you’d be interested in sponsoring a child who is living with a single parent or even grandparents? You might want to pick from the children who have been waiting the longest. Also, click on the extra information within the child’s description and look at the project information where the child is going. That information will tell you what benefits the child will be getting. Then you can compare benefits and that might point you towards a certain child.
And if you really can’t decide, you might want to consider asking Compassion to pick out a child for you. You can specify country, age and/or characteristics. Or just keep checking out the website — eventually there will be a child who will really “grab” you.
Those are very good questions. I’d love to help you with them. You can call Compassion on Monday at: (800) 336-7676. I’d be happy to help. You’re welcome to call me too. I’m an advocate (a volunteer, who tries to find sponsors for children). (310) 933-4284.
One solution would be to just let Compassion choose a child for you. I know what you mean about choosing–it’s nearly impossible!
I think any child you choose will be blessed. You may want to think about choosing a child with a heart on their picture. These children have been waiting six months or more. Just a thought.
Or you can let Compassion choose for you. I chose the country and they chose each of my 2 children — one in Ecuador and one in Rwanda.
Unless you have strong preferences, you could just ask Compassion to choose one for you. If you know you want a girl (for example) in a particular age range, you can make those choices–also the country, if it matters. There are currently something like 1800 children pictured on the Internet; that would be pretty overwhelming!
how do you possibly choose a kid? i’ve been looking through pictures and it’s so hard to decide!
Laura, yes, all correspondence between sponsor and child goes through Compassion; it’s a whole lot of mail! Mail for a given country collects for something like a couple of weeks or a month and then is sent to the country office. It is translated either at the office or at the project. Many, if not all, of the projects get mail about once a month.
Letters from our children are translated in-country, sent to Colorado Springs, logged in, and then sent on to us.
Payments may be made annually or monthly. Cash, checks, debit and credit cards are all okay. Payment by auto-withdrawal from checking accounts makes for the best stewardship for Compassion, as it is by far the cheapest process. Next preferences are any other automatic payment–debit or credit card, as Compassion doesn’t have to send out a monthly receipt that serves as a reminder. Quarterly and annual Contribution Statements are sent out to sponsors who set up auto-pay by any means. However, some sponsors prefer to send a check every month.
Lisa, I have expect to get an e-mail, one of these days, from Tanzania or Dominican Republic!
I know what you mean about finding out the names and ages of the siblings. I haven’t gotten any answers to my questions either. One child is supposed to be one of 7 children with 3 brothers and 3 sisters, but the first letter I received listed the names of 4 brothers, no sisters. Another sponsored child has 5 brothers and sisters (I have even seen their picture) but she only mentions two brothers and never any names. I don’t know the reason for this, but at least I am not the only confused sponsor!
That’s so interesting about the e-mail…kids certainly are resourceful, aren’t they?? 🙂 Our child sent us a piece of artwork that looked like it had a phone number written on it that had been erased. We could just make out the numbers. He may have put it on there in the hopes that we would call? Trust me, we wouldn’t have gotten very far — my Amharic is a little rusty.
I think that is so sweet, though, that the kids want to reach out. I’m just picturing my little guy in Ethiopia saying, “Hey, call me!” lol
that makes sense. so you write letters or email through Compassion and they give it to the child? also, how do you pay? is a credit card required?
I like the idea of earmarking a donation for the siblings of my sponsored child. I always send stickers and postcards in my letters and often include extras for the siblings.
Do any of you have the problem that you do not know the names of the siblings? I have asked my child a few times what the names of her siblings were and she has not responded. I did find out that one was a girl but I don’t even know the gender or age of the other one.
I also think it is sad that the older children cannot be registered though I understand the reason. When I visited a child project in Kenya I noticed there were a lot of girls who were between 12 and 15 who would hang around and watch in the windows but they were not sponsored.
I keep praying for them but I wish that I could have sponsored some of them.
Laura, if you mean the child’s address, e-mail and such, the answer is no. Nor will the child be given your home address or any means of contacting you except through Compassion. This policy is best for everyone’s protection.
When I first began sponsoring, I send picture postcards of the area in which I live, and a few of the state. I’ve also sent postcards from places we’ve visited on vacation, and I’ve done the same with each additional child.
On my last tour, I chatted with one of our tour guides from Colorado Springs, who told me he had once received an e-mail from a child he and his wife and been sponsoring for a number of years. The child had had access to the Internet (certainly not at home!) and had searched for her sponsors. This man had to write back to her with the difficult message that all communication between them had to go through Compassion. Obviously, the more of our sponsored children who learn to use computers and are able to access the web, the more they will want to find their sponsors. I’m not sure what’s being done to deal with that.
Compassion will always keep the address of both the child and the sponsor confidentional. The reason for this is for the protection of both the child and the sponsor.
Compassion has over 1,000,000 children registered (PTL). Anyone can register a child. So, people with bad motives could also register children. So, Compassion has to protect the children from this.
At the same time, if your address was given to the child, a bad uncle or who knows could get the address and abuse it and write you directly, saying that your child is in the hospital and needs $1000 right away and if you could please send it. Even though the child is wonderful, many times they are surrounded in their environment with people that would do those types of things. Many times the very reason for the poverty in the child’s life is a direct result of the sin of both or at least one of their parents, like a father that commits adultery and abandons their family and leaves them on the street without income.
So, it is really for both of your protection that Compassion does that.
when you sponsor a child, are you provided with the address, email, etc.?
This is great information to have. The family and sibling gifts are excellent ideas.
Thank you to everyone.
I am so sad for the siblings not in the program as well. I do understand why there is the limit, though.
yes, that answered my question. thank you all so much!
Yes, you actually can send letters any time. You can send give money and have Compassion buy a gift for them on their birthday and other times too for that matter. (I understand a total of up to $300/year) You can also send paper items as long as they are not bigger than 8 1/2 x 11 x 1/8th of Inch. You can also send some cloth things like bookmarks or so. Did I understand the question correctly?
You can give up to $25 twice a year for a child gift, and up to $300 a year for a family gift, I think. The Compassion staff and project staff work with the family to purchase the best thing for the child. You can’t physically send a gift unless it fits in a flat 8.5×11 envelope. I think they limit the number and amount of gifts because it can become a burden on the staff and so that the child doesn’t stand out too much among the other kids.
You can send as many letters and emails as you want to. And I think the children love to get photos of the sponsors. I don’t work for Compassion, but I think this is accurate, unfortunately my computer has blocked me from getting to the main website to verify the information!
so is it possible to send them gifts and letters and all for their birthday, christmas, etc.?
Without meaning to judge someone who has had to stop sponsoring a child, I can’t imagine ever discontinuing my sponsorship for my girls. When I made the commitment to these girls, I knew that I would continue to sponsor them until they graduated or left the program. My commitment to these children is on the same level as my commitment to my own daughter. They are a part of my family and a priority in my budget. They come before cable, internet, phone, eating out, new clothing, etc…
I am also thinking about providing a clause in my will to make sure that should I die before they graduate the program, my estate would pay the remainder of the sponsorship in a lump sum. I haven’t talked to an attorney about it yet, but I have made my desire known to my family. Has anyone else done this?
I understand, but my heart still breaks for this child.
I have Compassion photos on my site of children waiting to be sponsored. I think it is valuable and hopefully someone will see them and be moved, but sometimes I see them and wonder, can I add another?
I had the opportunity to send some gifts to a sponsored child because I knew someone going to Ecuador. I actually started by going through my house to find things. I found things for her mother, father, brother, and sister, as well as her. When I labeled the items, I put, “Para la madre de Delia.” I wanted her whole family to be cared for. And of course, there were a few new items, but I was amazed and humbled by what lies around my house unused.
As far as the older children is concerned, my understanding is that in general childern over 10 years old or so all have lost their sponsor one way or another. This has also been my personal experience, because the children that I sponsored that are older will at times write me about their former sponsor, though I’ve never asked them about their former sponsor.
Thanks for the idea. I am thinking that when it is time for the next birthday I will send a birthday gift plus a family gift and ask that it is used to buy something for the other children.
When I send stickers, bookmarks, etc I try to send a bunch of extra. Then in my letter I tell my child about the small items and tell them I sent extra for their family.
I can see that it would be a problem to sponsor all of the children in just a few families. I imagine that the other community members would be very upset to see a few families receiving all of the benefits while they received nothing. This way the gifts to the community are spread more equally. At the same time my heart aches for those children who do not receive sponsors.
I have also wondered about the older children waiting for sponsors. One of my new girls is in her teens and I wonder if she lost her sponsor..but I hate to ask.
I agree with limiting the number of sponsored children per family. It wouldn’t be right to keep offering sponsorships to a family in poverty who was still having more children…. while other more responsible families might be going without a sponsored child.
I think as Christians we are called to be good stewards, which means that sometimes a little touch love is called for.
I have a question regarding the older children listed on the website as needing sponsors. If most countries have a cut off age of 10, then are these children in need of a new sponsor because theirs cancelled?
In one year I sent two $25 child gifts and one $50 family gift. One of the $25 gifts went to clothing for my sponsored child’s siblings. I hadn’t specified what it should be used for, but I was very happy to get a picture of my sponsored child’s siblings with the new clothes and shoes! My sponsored child also received clothing and a backpack with her $25. The $50 went towards food. The pictures I received showed huge bags of rice, noodles, sugar, flour, and something else I can’t recall. I love that Compassion takes care of the whole family.
My heart breaks, however, for the children who see the benefits the Compassion kids are receiving and aren’t able to receive.
Thanks for addressing this. My sponsored child has siblings and I’ve always wondered how all that worked.
Something we have done re: the sibling issue — we have given a $25 gift (in the “Child Gift” category) and specified that it be used to buy something for the siblings — for their birthday or whatever.
We didn’t get any feedback saying this was not okay — so it’s something we will do every year, unless we hear that we shouldn’t.
I don’t want to place undue burden on the Compassion project workers — but we want our child’s whole family to know they are in our thoughts and prayers.
The first child I met on my first sponsors tour to the Dominican Republic was Melkin (not sure of the spelling). Twelve-year-old Melkin “adopted” me at the beginning of our visit to his project in a “batey” (a Haitian settlement in DR). I assumed, at first, that he was a registered/sponsored child, but much later, when I knew the children were being fed, he found me out on the grounds around the church. I asked if he had eaten; he lowered his head and said, “No.” “Why not?” “I’m not in the project.”
My heart dropped to my feet. This was a new thought, to me, that a child would be turned away when others were eating, because he was not registered. It didn’t seem right.
Further inquiry revealed that his mother had made numerous attempts to get him registered, but he was too old. Another new though. I asked if he knew who Jesus was, and he said “yes.”
“Do you know that He loves you and has a plan for your life?”
I felt so helpless, although my questioning of the tour specialist from the country office taught me some sad facts. Compassion typically registers the youngest, or one of the youngest children in the family; maximum age at registration may be 8 or 10 years old, varying by country. By taking a child while very young, Compassion hopes to have maximum effect in teaching and instilling the values and skills the child can learn through the project and his school. The heart-wrenching fact is that we just cannot help every child, which causes field staff workers great sadness, every day.
Had I been more knowledgeable, I would have asked Melkin if he had any siblings who were registered; if so, he would have been receiving some benefit through their sharing their food, gifts and learning.
I still think often of Melkin and pray for him. The small community he was in, like other bateys, was one of the poorest I have seen, and Opportunity was clearly in short supply.
It’s great that her sisters are willing to share so much, but still sad to think about her not feeling the same as her sisters. That she may feel like she isn’t as good as they are. BUT I do understand the need to limit family members.
I’ll also be praying for Mariam. Although, she may feel like her life may not turn out as great as her sister’s, great things can come from people who share with the people they love. I pray that God gives her peace about the difference and that she will understand she is doing well by helping her mother and listening to her sisters.
One of the things I love the most about coming to Compassion’s blog is that I learn something new almost daily about Compassion and the people that live around the world. I love the fact that I can click on links that refer to older posts and gain more insight about what Compassion offers and how they do it.
So I just have to say–Thank you to all the contributors!
This post helps explain the child registration process. However, it doesn’t answer your question specifically.
We do try to limit the number of children sponsored in one family. In many countries, the normal limit is one. Having two sponsored children in one family is fairly unique and it speaks to the family’s situation and need. And I’ve heard in tremendous circumstances of a family that had three children sponsored.
The church partner in the community that runs the child development center makes that decision, along with the Compassion staff from the country office.
The reason we have this “rule” is that we want to help as many children and families as possible.
When a child is sponsored, much of what is taught at the child development center, whether its about Jesus, hygiene, vocational skills, etc., is brought home and shared with the family. Its impact is extended that way – through the “ripple effect.”
We like to have ripples affecting as many ponds (families) as possible.
Thank you for including Mariam and her family in your prayers.
Chris, Thanks so much! Your explanation makes a lot of sense. It also makes me realize what a great blessing a family gift can be for the unsponsored children in the family!
Why can’t she be sponsored? Was the project full? Was there a limit of two sponsored children per family? Or was there an age limit? I’ve always wondered why some siblings aren’t sponsored. I’ll be praying for this precious little girl!