A couple of years ago Shawn and I decided we wanted to begin sponsoring a child somewhere. We had heard many wonderful things about the organization, Compassion, and so after some research of our own, we decided to go for it. (There are many, many wonderful avenues for this type of thing available and while this was the right fit for our family, I completely understand that it might not be for yours.)
I think the desire to sponsor a child really came for us after we had Lauren. As we watched her grow into a healthy little girl with plenty of food to eat, lots of learning opportunities, and the chance to hear the gospel every day in our home, our hearts broke for those kids who didn't inherently have those things.
After talking and talking and talking (my husband is a very thorough and thoughtful man) we decided it might be a neat thing for us to sponsor a child with the same birthday as Lauren. So, we clicked through Compassion's database of children with the same birth date and there he was. A boy of seven at the time, Leo was in greater need of sponsoring (he had been waiting six months or more) and we just knew he was the one.
A few weeks later his paperwork arrived at our door along with a picture that we promptly framed and set in our kitchen. It sits there still today (actually we get a newer picture of him each year and replace it in our frame) and it is a visible reminder to pray for him daily.
Our plan at this time is to sponsor one child for every child we have. We love the idea of our biological children and our sponsored children having the same birth date as each other and pray that it is something that connects and bonds them as they grow and communicate with each other through the years. Shawn and I haven’t decided yet if we will wait until Easton is old enough to comprehend or if we will sponsor while he is little like we did with Lauren.
One thing we have done that has worked for our family is to keep a binder of our communication with Leo. We try to write him monthly (I'm sad to say it has been a little less since Easton was born) and he responds often as well. He draws us pictures and tells us what he has been up to. We send him pictures and stickers and our words and prayers. I can't wait to see what that binder looks like through the years.
The back pocket of our binder includes manilla envelopes as well as envelopes from Compassion (because I can never remember their address!)
A view of the inside of our binder. We keep all of his letters and pictures in sheet protectors. For the obvious reason that it protects the letters, but also because I like sheet protectors. A lot.
In the front pocket, we keep stickers and other paper items that we like to include in our letters. If I find stickers on sale somewhere or a bookmark we'd like to send him I stick it in the front pocket so that I don't forget it. Not that I would. Except I totally would.
I think it could be easy to believe that sponsoring a child is noble or that it makes a person uber-spiritual. Truly though, it isn’t noble or even blog worthy, but it is a beautiful experience that I am so glad our family is involved in and that I believe has blessed us more than it has Leo. Shawn and I truly believe that this is a great opportunity for us to teach our children about what life is like in other parts of the world. It can be easy to live with tunnel vision especially in today's age. We want our kids to be globally minded, aware of the work that is to be done for Jesus.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. ~1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (emphasis mine)
Do you sponsor a child? What have your experiences been? We would love to hear your thoughts and ideas here!
I plan on sharing some ideas for letters we have written Leo and little gifts we have sent him as well as specific ways our family has tried to incorporate Leo into our prayers and lives. Would you be interested in seeing these?
Visit ImpressYourKids.org for more wonderful ideas for sponsor children. I have found it to be a really great resource!