Your Sponsored Child’s Photo: What Does It Tell You?

I’ve taken many calls from sponsors about the pictures of the children they sponsor. “Why is he wearing such nice clothing?” “Why is she not smiling?” “His newest picture doesn’t look like the boy I sponsored. Why?”

Your Sponsored Child's Photo: What Does It Tell You?

Picture this: You’re in El Salvador in the middle of summer visiting a newly opened Child Development Center. There is a long line of mothers, fathers and children waiting to be registered for our sponsorship program.

You complete the enrollment paperwork for 4-year old Susie and ask her to go have her picture taken. Because she has never seen a camera before, she gets very nervous and a little scared when standing in front of the photographer. Her picture comes out with her looking unhappy.

Next, you meet Carlos, who is 8. When you send him to have his photo taken, he is so hot and tired that he doesn’t smile for the picture.

Then, at the end of the day you notice Maria standing at the end of the line with her parents. Her outfit looks very familiar. You realize that you have seen that outfit on many little girls. When Maria finally gets to the front of the line, you ask her about her beautiful dress. She says that she borrowed it from a friend so she could look pretty in her picture.

There are so many circumstances when picture-taking day comes around … and we are, after all, working with children who get tired, cry and have limited energy.

Fast-forward two years. It’s time for that same development center to update the pictures of the children enrolled in the program. With nearly 200 kids and just as many photos to take, things get a little out of hand for you.

You’re taking Alex’s picture and in the rush of the afternoon accidentally transpose his child number on your notes. The child number next to Alex’s picture is actually Hector’s number (you are human, after all).

serious looking boy posing for photo with dog in the backgroundOnce “Hector’s” new photo is uploaded to his file, we print a copy, and mail it to Hector’s sponsor.

After about two weeks, Hector’s sponsor calls — the new picture looks nothing like Hector. She’s right, and after I review the pictures in Hector’s file, I agree and contact the country office to fix the issue.

Some of our mistakes have created really funny pictures, and we laugh at them, but most are handled without error.

I know it can be disappointing to receive a photo without a smile anywhere to be seen, but please remember that even though you can’t see it, it’s there. Here’s the proof. And no matter what the picture looks like, it’s the child or teen in that picture that matters most.

We originally published this post on July 12, 2010.

59 Comments |Add a comment

  1. Nicolas Caceres August 5, 2017

    Question # 1 I am wondering why when I look for a child and select one with a photo and go into my account after sponsoring him and it tells me all the information on him but it says photo unavailable?

    Question # 2 I select a child and fill out the credit card info and it says error, I try again and it informs me that the child was sponsored by another sponsor?

    Question # 3 I went ahead and put in my credit card information to sponsor two kids and it accepted payment but later realized that I had cancelled the card because it was fraudulently used by someone, so I wanted to find out how to go in re enter my new credit card information to update the account thank you

    1. Sarah August 7, 2017

      Hi Nicolas! I am so sorry that your children’s photos are not showing on your online account once you’ve sponsored them :(. Can you email us at [email protected] with answers to the following questions and a screenshot of what you are seeing as well. Does this happen on just one browser or multiple ones? Which child does this happen for? It is possible that the child you were trying to fill out information for was indeed selected by someone else before you could select him or her. I can figure out a little more of what happened if you still have the child’s ID number. You can change your card information by logging into your online account and clicking on “Payment Options.

  2. Susan McConnell April 6, 2017

    To Susan Saylor,
    Please help Blessing Laure Mofah. Perhaps she might be able to be given a bit more information. Could she not be sponsored by others if necessary?

    1. Christina Wilson April 7, 2017

      Hi Susan! We very much appreciate your advocacy for those in need in Cameroon. Unlike a relief and development agency, Compassion International is a non-profit, child development agency that works with existing church-based organizations. The funds that we receive are donated from sponsors for individual children in Compassion-assisted projects to provide for their educational, health and nutritional needs. It is our policy to register children ages nine and under into our programs. Sadly, Blessing Laure Mofah is older than 9 years old, so we are not able to register into the Compassion program. Also, because our work is in partnership with the local church, we can only locate in developing countries where the Evangelical churches have building facilities and enjoy the freedom to minister in their communities.

      Regrettably, Compassion is not currently working in Cameroon, nor do we have plans to expand there in the near future. Sadly, we do not have access to additional funds to help with outside ministries nor can we recommend any specific organizations that might. We want to thank you for the love and concern that you have for those who are in need in Cameroon. We pray that God will bless your efforts to minister to them. We also pray that God provides for Blessing Laure Mofah.

  3. Emily March 27, 2014

    I do have to say one cool thing about pictures is watching some of those scared fearful frowns turn to beautiful smiles! I have received several updates recently of some of my sponsored children and what a difference in the child. Whether its because they have a sponsor now or are receiving letters seeing that smile makes me so happy. You can see a light growing in them, sometimes in a couple of the kids that I have received multiple pictures the first they look sad etc, the next you can see the smile starting to come and by the next you get a grin. Also I think some of it can also be cultural I wish my boy in Bolivia would smile in his pictures he looks like he is death staring at the camera. I love each child regardless of if they have smiles in their picture or not. A lot of time even if the child does not smile in their picture I can “feel” their joy in the letters I receive.

    1. Blessing Laure Mofah December 17, 2016

      Hi emily!i’ve read most of your post and have seen how much you care for fifthen and desperately need a sponsor or an advice to get one.i dont nkow if am at the correct place but i guess you may help.i live in cameroon precisely at the capital and wish for a sponsor for my studies so i could help others in in the fourth form in one of the government schools here and really find it difficult to progress my studied.please Emily if not interested in my case,i need some advice

      1. Susan Sayler December 19, 2016

        Hi Blessing! I am sorry but we do not work in Cameroon at this time. We are not able to help you. 🙁 I pray that God will make another way for you to continue your education! Be blessed in Jesus’ name!

  4. tobersandluvs March 26, 2014

    We got a supposed UPDATED PHOTO or our beautiful Ina but it is the EXACT SAME PICTURE. 🙁 I was sooooo excited to open it and once I did I was confused. Has she not aged? Is she still wearing the same exact outfit even though I have sent Christmas and Birthday child gifts and family gifts? How is it possible she is also standing in the EXACT SAME SPOT, in front of some plants on a tile floor, in the EXACT SAME POSE? Sigh. How do I get a REAL photo update of my beautiful girl?

    1. Susan Sayler March 27, 2014

      Hi there! I so appreciate you bringing this to our attention! I just looked at Eveline’s two photos, and while the two pictures are very similar, she has changed a bit. She is wearing similar clothing. For example, it looks like she is wearing the same jeans and a similar shirt in a different pattern. She also has different sandals on. She is standing in the same place at the center but the plants in the background have changed. Also, she looks a little bit older and is smiling more in her most recent photo. However, if you’d like, I can look into this situation further and see if we can get a new photo of Eveline for you. Please email me at [email protected] to request this.

  5. Stacey March 23, 2014

    Only a few of my children have smiled for their picture. Sometimes, it is a cultural thing. Sometimes, the child is scared because he or she has never seen a camera before. When I do get a picture of my child smiling, I treasure it the most. Even a half smile brings joy to me. I know my kids have to smile every day. They have to; their letters constantly tell me what fun the center is and how they love going. When a child loves something, they will smile. When they are having fun, they will smile. Maybe picture day is a day when they really do not want to smile.

  6. Chris Hester March 12, 2014

    Another thing to remember when looking at the pictures is the cultural differences in that country. We sponsor a child in Bangladesh, and having been to Bangladesh multiple times, we know they don’t smile in pictures. We call it “Bangla Face”. They intentionally try to look serious. We were blessed to be able to visit our child’s project and meet him and the other children. They smile and laugh a lot in person. But we never expect to see a smile in the photos.

  7. Tom Ferguson March 12, 2014

    My wife and I have lived outside of the US for almost 20 years now, mostly in Africa but for a short time in India. It is my observation that in many places people don’t smile for photos especially for portraits. The fact that your child is not smiling may be something cultural rather than their state of ‘happiness’. We need to remember that when we look at photos of our children and receive their letters that they will reflect the culture in which the child has been reared. We need to be careful not to jump to conclusions based on our own cultural biases.

  8. Aryanna March 12, 2014

    I used to volunteer for a Compassion project but I moved away. Argh, it breaks my heart every time I see these photos. It makes me want to sponsor them all, if only I could afford it. I intend to sponsor as many kids as I can. They are little angels and watching their hope is really heart-wrenching. The kids loooong so bad to get sponsored and they looong so much for their sponsors to write them, and are always hoping their sponsors actually visit them. A letter means so much, a letter makes a big difference already. I just want everyone here to know that.

  9. Mellissa Rose March 12, 2014

    Thank you for the post. I love reading these blog posts. I have seven kids and it is fun to see their photos change over the years. The little ones with no smiles are now strong teenagers with smiles. Sponsoring these children is one of the most important things in my life. My husband says the same thing. He just told me this week “If I could have a Dodge MegaCab (his dream truck which we will never be able to afford) or sponsor more children, I would pick the children. That really touched my heart. We may not have new material items but we have relationships and that is something that will last.

  10. Leslie March 12, 2014

    Thank you for the article. I don`t worry about the smile, the clothes or anything else…I am thankful my child is receiving the support and the help we give. I know that Compassion is making a difference for our child through the local church and that is all I need to know.

  11. Joe Hewes March 11, 2014

    I spent two years in Ecuador taking pictures of hundreds of children on behalf of another child sponsorship program. Thank you for this article, it brings back fond memories. In many cultures people do not smile in formal photos, so it can be very hard to get the children to smile.

  12. Sharon March 11, 2014

    I have a little guy in Columbia who has taken some really good pictures, and some goofy pictures, and a couple scarey ones too!! I have had him since he was only 7 and he is 13 now so I got to see many aspects of my child. After all they are still just kids doing what the staff photographer tells them to do. Just like our kids when they dont want their picture taken. But I love the goofy joyful pictures, normally showing me his birthday present he was so grateful to receive <3

  13. Fabiola March 11, 2014

    I love my sponsor child… I hope I can meet her soon… God Bless you my sweet child of God..

  14. Steve April 22, 2012

    I appreciate this article.
    In looking at my child’s photo, it appears that he is really unhappy, and with each year that passes, I’m assuming the photos are new, now I’m wondering if not, and it’s the same photo.
    He definitely looks really unhappy, but as others have said– the letters sound really upbeat, that they are really growing, and learning a lot, etc….
    Sometimes I think someone needs to get in there and tickle the child just to get them to loosen it up a bit, and get a smile out of them. Besides– every child needs a good tickle every now and then….

    1. Kees Boer April 22, 2012

      Steve, you can’t really read much into the official child photo. The photos have certain standards, like the child’s eyes need to open, their ears have to be shown, etc…. Then there are probably a bunch of other children around the child while the photo is being taken. They are doing what children do, talking… and having fun and running around and sometimes getting into things, they’re not supposed to be getting into. The photographer is trying to keep all of these children organized, while at the same time maybe having to take 30 photos like that. Then there are parents around too and this is a big day for the child. They want to do their best to follow all of the instructions, because the sponsor is very important to the child.

      Watch this little video that I took of Delicia taking photos of Josue.

      1. Leslie Taylor April 23, 2012

        I have seen your video but just had to watch it again. Delicia has so much patience! I love the little dance Josue does when he is done. It’s a miracle the pictures turn out as well as they do with all the chaos!

        1. Kees Boer April 23, 2012

          Thank you. Yes, Delicia is amazing!!! She really loves the children and the sponsors very much!!! She had an amazing life too. Her little sister was a Compassion child, but she never got to be able to be a Compassion child herself, but she was then sort of sponsored by the church, so she still attended the center. She really loves the Lord a lot.

          This is another video of another photo being taken in CDI BO561 just a few miles away from CDI BO571. You’ll see the mother giving instruction to the child too. If you search for BO561 or BO571 with the word Compassion in Youtube, you’ll find about 50 videos, that I put there. Some of them have Delicia in it. 🙂

  15. Sarah December 17, 2011

    I’m always excited to get new pictures of my kids! I picked my first girl because she looked so determined. Almost like she had a little attitude! 🙂 Hands on hips, staring down the camera. 🙂 I still don’t have a picture where she is smiling, but that’s ok. She’s a very intelligent, lovely young woman who’s now in that awkward middle school stage. 🙂 I want to meet her someday, because then I hope to see her smile.

  16. Susan December 17, 2011

    I find it a bit disturbing to see young girls in the photos wearing dresses that are baring their shoulders. I feel they should be wearing age appropriate clothing.

    1. Sarah December 17, 2011

      They may not be wearing their own dress. It could be that an older girl volunteered to let a younger girl borrow her clean dress or shirt, and it just didn’t fit right. Or that the church got a donation of clothing from somewhere and that was what was available. Remember these children are very poor. They wear what they have, and what they have might not be what fits. We buy clothing for kids so that it will fit for a year or so… they may buy clothing that will “fit” for five years. Also, in some countries very young children go naked because it’s easier than having to change diapers. So “age appropriate” has different meanings in different countries.

      1. Susan December 18, 2011

        The dresses fit very well, I just feel the style of the dress is way too mature for them.

        1. Sarah December 18, 2011

          If this is something you’re very concerned about, I’d call Compassion and ask about it. If they don’t know they can probably find out for you. I know that much is left up to the local project, and it may simply be that that’s how the child showed up for picture day, and there was no polite way to say, “Your child can’t wear that for her photo. It’s immodest.” Who knows how much the mother or father spent on a nice dress for picture day, and it could be very insulting to them to say, in essence “What you spent a week’s earnings on isn’t good enough.” Your concern is certainly valid, since Compassion is trying to instill godly values in the children, and I think that calling Compassion about this might be helpful.

  17. Judy S. Strickland April 13, 2011

    Thanks! The description of the conditions for taking pictures was helpful. My sponsored child is beautiful, smile or not.

  18. Samantha February 24, 2011

    Love the details of picture day! When our sponsored children left the program, we asked to sponsor a new child. Because we’re a women’s ministry (proverbs 31 ministries), we asked for a girl.

    Well, we got our new packet with a “girl” named Abraham Samuel. “She” sure did look like a “he!” We contacted CI and turns out Abraham is a boy. CI offered to swap him out with a girl, but we loved him so much after seeing his sweet face, we knew he was ours!

    Now we sponsor Abraham and a girl… Johanna! Gotta love a happy ending!

  19. Shannon February 24, 2011

    We are so thankful for the photo’s we have that if the children are not smiling, we can deal with that! It is as much a treat for us to receive these precious pictures as it is for the children to recieve items from us! The only thing more precious to us than these photos are the letters we receive!!!! Thank you soooooo much!

  20. Diana Gleaton February 24, 2011

    The picture we got of Joyce, our sponsor child in Uganda, was the proverbial “stand at attention and don’t smile” picture. I have to say it made me wonder if she was unhappy, scared, etc. I hoped it was just the hesitancy at having her picture taken. My concerns were all put to rest last fall when we traveled to Uganda and met her – what a fun, laughing, smiling little girl! Don’t worry about serious pictures….there’s usually a great personality that will eventually come through as you correspond, or if possible, when you visit!

  21. Kristen February 24, 2011

    What a timely blog! We just got our sponsor child’s most recent photo in the mail yesterday and the picture is clearly not Erick! Our kids are concerned so I was planning on calling today to sort it out. We are so grateful to have a picture of him to hang proudly in our home to remember him in prayer and to remember all the less fortunate in the world. Our 8 year old son carries the smaller photos sent in his wallet and won’t hesitate to share who he is with others! Looking forward to seeing the newest photo of our sponsored child when it arrives next!

  22. Beth Baran February 24, 2011

    I laughed when I saw the pooping animal in the background. It could easily be edited out if someone wanted a “less distracting” background. ….but personally, I like it. This is the life of our sponsored children. I love getting photos of the children!

  23. Elaine Ledlow February 24, 2011

    I am just excited to get pictures! I don’t look at what they are wearing I look at the wonderful face! It tells such a story and I cant wait to write and say hello, I got your picture and it is wonderful! I want to know that my child is healthy and happy. I can usually see it in her eyes! Sometimes folks forget that these are precious children who sometimes dont know what a camera is. We are all human and sometimes mistakes are made. I would probably want to know who this child was and does he have a sponser!:=)

  24. Amber February 24, 2011

    Thank you so much for writing this. I have always wondered about most of the kids not smiling, now I totally “get” it. A BIG thank you to Compassion for all of the blog posts – we don’t want to be ignorant any more.

  25. Carrie Haddican February 24, 2011

    Thank you so much for this post because we have often commented about our child Eva’s frown in most pictures. We didn’t realize everything that is involved. I recently wrote a letter to her mentioning that we love receiving her letters and pictures and understand that she may be nervous or afraid of having her picture take not knowing us and why all of this is happening; she was 6 when we first started sponsoring her. She was in the category “more than 6 months” which is one of the reasons we chose her. She had almost a scowl in her picture and we assumed this may have been one of the reasons she had not yet been sponsored but we understood and discussed the emotions you mention above may be behind her “hesitation”. That is why we sent the recent letter, so that she would hopefully feel more comfortable hearing that we understand what she may be feeling when taking the pictures. Thanks for the confirmation.

  26. Sheree February 22, 2011

    The photo of my beautiful girl, Nertia, shows a strong young lady who is very serious about her purpose in life. I see no-nonsense, strength, beauty, and Jesus in her, whether she smiles in her photo or not.

    But thank you for enlightening me on what goes on before, during, and after their photos.

  27. eva October 17, 2010

    [quote comment=”18266″]I love the sheep (?) in the background of that photo. Too funny. Great post!!![/quote]

    that is a dog !!! LOL

  28. Rbekah September 27, 2010

    We sponsored our first two kids yesterday at church. While neither one are smiling, their eyes called out to my hubby and I. The girl is 1 month younger then our daughter and the boy 7 months older then our son. The girl immediately called me with her eyes. There’s something there. Be sure to look past the smile and see what else may be there. The boy called out to my hubby with his eyes as well. It’s AMAZING that our wonderful God used the same features of two different kids to speak to my husband and I. We can’t wait to get our first letters!!!

  29. James August 17, 2010

    The first of my sponsored kids was chosen, just because of the sad face. On compasssion Sunday at the Church I attend, we as a family decided to help a child. Maybe it was the frustration of the day but little Feiger had a look like she never smiled. We hoped we could make a difference. A little over a year later we recieved our second photo, and there in the same little plastic white chair was a smiling little girl. The photo was somewhat worn so I think, that just maybe it was passed around to others that may have just thought, gee, look she is so happy. Thank you to the photographers and to Compassion for reaching out to the children.

  30. Am July 30, 2010

    The dog in the background cracks me up!

    I shared it with my daughter’s boyfriend who is a non-believer that had just made the comment, “Oh, maybe the kids are real!”, after seeing the picture of our sweet little guy.

    It definitely worked a little something in his heart!

    1. Elaine Ledlow February 24, 2011

      It is truly amazing how God works! My husband is a believer but does not attend church but when we got our first letter he had tears flowing! God bless you and your son!

  31. Peter July 26, 2010

    Very funny, it reminds me of a lot of pictures I have taken

  32. Kees Boer July 13, 2010

    This is very accurate. I was at a student center a few weeks ago and I saw 30 new children get registered. They would come into the office one after the other with their mother or father and then they would be asked a lot of questions for the profile and they would talk. After all of this, it was picture taking time. They had all received their new number and we all went outside of the center to the other side of the street and the children would be photographed. It would take about 5 minutes or so per child. They would take several pictures. Since most of them were small, the parent would also help out a lot. It was very nice. I can’t wait to see the profiles and know that I was there for it. I of course took a bunch of other photos too of the children being photographed.
    What was really nice was the next day in the center. There they were, all attending the classes and getting the meals. They were a Compassion child. The mothers would be so thankful. I hope I can find sponsors for a lot of the children in that center. One of them really grabbed my heart. Her father had just died and she was very lonely. When I saw her in the church service that following Sunday, I gave her a small doll and she was so thankful. She gave me a big hug. I told her that she was important and that I will try to find her a sponsor, if I can. She was very thankful.

  33. Marisa July 13, 2010

    Great post. It’s good to remember that it’s not about us, it’s about the children. Have to remind myself of that every so often.

  34. lynda July 13, 2010

    We had the privilege of meeting our sponsored little boy, Carlos, last week while we were in Peru doing some Mission work with our church. For the last 3 years, Carlos’ picture has been on our refrigerator. A sweet smile is upon his face and I’ve often wondered what’s behind that smile. I could only imagine until now. Meeting Carlos and his mother was such a delight and honor. His love for his mother and her love for her son is powerful & strong! Though they live in poverty in a poor remote area in Peru their hearts are Rich with LOVE! The Love in his heart is expressed through the sweetest most tender smile on his face:) Such a Beautiful Gift! Thank you “Compassion” for your Love & Compassion for these children!

  35. Steve July 13, 2010

    Love the pooping sheep!

    Updated pictures show me that my child is still alive and preparing to make a difference in the world.

  36. Dana July 13, 2010

    Thank you for this blog. I’ve chosen some of my children simply because of the look on their faces. My sweet Ana looks so sad and serious in her first picture and she looked like she needed a big. The same with Odhiambo. The lack of smiles on the children’s faces have never bothered me and I respect Compassion all the more for working to preserve the dignity of our children and not showing them in rags and torn clothes.

  37. Amanda July 12, 2010

    Thanks for this article. I chose my sponsored child Luka from India because he really looked like he needed me. He was so thin and standing barefoot on a dirt floor. To be honest I was very distressed when I got the updated picture of him. He looks even worse than he did in the first picture. He still looks so thin, he was so sad looking, and just seemed to have gone downhill since the first picture. I write to him often and get frequent letters from him that are upbeat. But every time I look at the new picture it breaks my heart. I will continue to write to him and pray for him. Thanks for this article. I know it is alot of work to get pictures of all of the kids. May God bless you in all you do.

  38. Keith July 12, 2010

    In every picture,
    there’s a poem;
    In every poem,
    a picture.

    Chinese Proverb.

    A photograph is a secret about a secret.
    The more it tells you the less you know.
    Diane Arbus

    I have not just looked at but inspected this photograph hundreds of times. One copy hangs on my refrigerator another hangs in my office. A small one is kept in my wallet, and this photo is, of course, my Windows wallpaper.

    Since I have not received a letter, everything I know about this girl is contained in that photograph.

    First off there are her eyes and smile. I’m pretty sure she can turn a frog into a prince just by looking at it.
    Next, and probably most relevant to this topic,, bright red, yellow and blue shirt. Looks VERY new. Close inspection shows a Compassion project name and number that differs from the info I received.
    Blue jeans with some decorative patches have a look that seems just a bit juvenile for a 15 year old.
    Her shoes are open toed sandals that seem a bit too mature for a 15 year old.
    Her left arm is straight down with her hand ever so slightly cupped the way you might hold your hand before saluting.
    Her right arm is also straight down but her hand is more relaxed with her thumb touching one of the patches on her jeans.
    The inside of her elbows are facing slightly to front suggesting that someone has told her to “stand up straight”, pulling her shoulders back.
    The background doesn’t say much, just a slight indication of what could be either houses or just shadows.

    And every single day I look at this picture of a girl I know almost nothing about and just wonder.

    To a Childless Woman
    by Siegfried Sassoon

    You think I cannot understand. Ah, but I do…
    I have been wrung with anger and compassion for you.
    I wonder if you’d loathe my pity, if you knew.

    But you shall know. I’ve carried in my heart too long
    This secret burden. Has not silence wrought your wrong—
    Brought you to dumb and wintry middle-age, with grey
    Unfruitful withering?—Ah, the pitiless things I say…

    What do you ask your God for, at the end of day,
    Kneeling beside your bed with bowed and hopeless head?
    What mercy can He give you?—Dreams of the unborn
    Children that haunt your soul like loving words unsaid—
    Dreams, as a song half-heard through sleep in early morn?

    I see you in the chapel, where you bend before
    The enhaloed calm of everlasting Motherhood
    That wounds your life; I see you humbled to adore
    The painted miracle you’ve never understood.

    Tender, and bitter-sweet, and shy, I’ve watched you holding
    Another’s child. O childless woman, was it then
    That, with an instant’s cry, your heart, made young again,
    Was crucified for ever—those poor arms enfolding
    The life, the consummation that had been denied you?
    I too have longed for children. Ah, but you must not weep.
    Something I have to whisper as I kneel beside you…
    And you must pray for me before you fall asleep.

  39. Amy July 12, 2010

    I love the sheep (?) in the background of that photo. Too funny. Great post!!!

    1. Shaina July 12, 2010

      Because taking pictures can be so hectic for the staff, they do not take into consideration the background. This is how the picture of the little boy (above) was created.

      1. Kees Boer January 4, 2012

        I thought it was a dog going to the bathroom…. (Don’t feel bad, that even happened in a James Bond movie by accident “Thunderball” if you want to see it…. in the carnaval) But it is interesting to me, because in Bolivia, dogs aren’t allowed to be in the background. 🙂

      2. Sara Benson July 12, 2010

        Some of my favorite child updates are ones that give me a peak into the child’s community. I feel like I can learn so much about them by those random sheep.

        1. RoseAnn July 12, 2010

          I don’t think that is a sheep. I think it is a dog and I thought it was wonderful to know I am not the only photographer (not professional) that forgets about whats in the background.

  40. Cheryl July 12, 2010

    I have a little boy named Leonard from Uganda. I sponsored him because in his picture, he looked like he was mad at the world. Like all of this bad stuff was happening in his life and he had no control over it. Turned out to be true. His dad had long ago abandoned them and his mother had left him and his two siblings with an aunt and left for greener pastures. I sent a backpack full of stuff to him when my son-in-law made a recent visit and was blessed to have gotten a picture of him with all it. And I discovered he has a beautiful smile. Compassion just updated his photo as well, which tells me he must have been in the Compassion project for two years now. And it has become obvious that after spending time there, he finally has peace and hope in his world. Thank you, Compassion, for letting me be part of Leonard’s life and thank you for loving him.

  41. JD July 12, 2010

    Great post!! Thank you for sharing the behind the scenes look at the children’s Compassion photos. As a photographer, I completely understand how it can be a little chaotic. I wish I could be there to help!

    As an advocate, I have a child information pack in my hands right now of a little boy with the BIGGEST grin *ever*… considering what picture day is like, it makes me appreciate his smile even more.

    If anyone would like to sponsor this little boy from Honduras, with the smile that lights up the world, please let me know!

    1. Joanna March 24, 2014

      When I first went on the site to sponser a child I looked first for the children who had been waiting the longest. There were 2 boys there from Peru, and I think that the first thing that caught my eye was that their pictures were taken in exactly the same location. One boy was smiling and the other was not, and even when I looked around at other children on the site my mind kept comming back to them. I knew I wanted to sponser one of these 2 boys. So I prayed that God show me which child to sponser. As clear as if it had been spoken He answered, “Both of them.” I immedeitly objected – I don’t have the money for that, I can bearly afford to sponser one child! “If I ask you to do this won’t I also provide the means for you to do it?” That was over 6 months ago, and each month God has provided the means.

      What I am trying to say by all this is if it hadn’t been for the picture, and the way it had been taken, I might not have even noticed them.

      After I got the first letters from my boys, then I could see them in my mind talking and laughing and playing and smiling. The letters made them come alive to me more than any picture ever could. Now I can start to know them as individuals – and I can see them smile.

      1. Tashawna Welch July 9, 2014

        That was a very beautiful post. 🙂 I pray that God continues to bless you for being a blessing.

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