In years past I have sponsored 3 different children in 3 different countries thru the same company. The photos of them in dirty clothes and sad faces tugged so deeply on my mama heart, I jumped to sign up and give.
After two years of sending money, Christmas money, and birthday money … we received little communication. One child continued to send the same information. He liked soccer and mangos, what was our favorite fruit?
My boys – thinking this would be a great experience – no longer cared when a letter was in the mail. They started saying “your sponsored child wrote you.” I even stopped posting social media updates when we received mail, because it just didn’t feel like real correspondence. I realize the correspondence is a bonus, but it was marketed to sound like more.
Finally, last summer one of my sponsored boys sent a “friend request” on Facebook.
I was totally unaware of what I should do. Besides, where does a poor hungry little dirty boy get access to the internet? I contacted the company I had been sending my money.
I mean – we’re sponsoring the boy and I suddenly felt bad he’d see us eating out, vacationing, Christmas presents, etc. when we were told early on only “generic photos” could be sent.
But aren’t we supposed to feel like family? Maybe this was the road to when they visit the states and have those beautiful tearful reunions and he shows me all my letters that were kept under his pillow! <~ because that’s what happens, right?
The company agreed there is to be NO contact with the child outside of our writing letters they receive and view first. So naturally, I became curious.
Without accepting the friend request, I clicked on the boy’s Facebook profile. I have to be really honest and share I was shocked looking at the photos in his account. Photos of healthy family members (they were tagged & had same last name), clean clothes, and all of them had iphones. Dad didn’t look like he was “working in the fields”.
Suddenly I became very uncomfortable with the entire situation.
Does this mean sponsoring a child is bad? I don’t believe so, and I would never discourage anyone from doing it. I have some friends who have had an amazing experience.
However, supporting this particular company no longer felt like the best means for my family to “give”. I’ve met people who work for this company and they are genuinely sincere. I respect their efforts and what they believe in I’m not going to link and say -> don’t support this company! My experience is not a blanket for every experience!! But I still was not comfortable about the situation.
So what do you do when your heart isn’t in sponsoring a child anymore??
I ended all sponsoring with that company, because I never felt right about it again.
But I didn’t stop. I found another place to give. Something that fit our whole family much better. Can I say, I think that’s the big thing lately in the news and another sponsor-a-kid company. (not the one I supported)
Because of a marriage stance – supposedly 10,000 sponsorships are gone. Finished. Vanished. Gone.
I’m not going to sit here and cry about the children, or point fingers at the company, nor am I going to trash talk the ones who stopped supporting … but I am going to SHOUT – don’t you stop helping those in need!
If you’re uncomfortable with the overseas poverty and hunger – find the hungry in your town. They are there – we just have to find the smaller organizations to help.
- Serve a meal to a “real person” in need – shelter, sick neighbor, or a new mom.
- Pack food bags.
- Clean up a playground for underprivileged children.
- Bring flowers to hospital patients.
- Offer to babysit for the single moms you know.
- Put on a magic show at the nursing home.
- Stop by the local police station or fire station and leave some snacks and a thank you.
Please don’t stop being “the hands and feet”. Please do not stop being generous with your blessings because of some bad press, one bad experience, or even a Facebook friend request.
Keep finding unique ways to help. Don’t let the enemy win by keeping us cynical and stopping the generosity! Because the fight is really with him!!
‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’
Matthew 25:37-40 nasb emphasis mine