Writing to your Sponsored Child -
Frequently Asked Questions

 

Communicating with your sponsored child is the perfect way to cultivate a meaningful relationship. Your letters and cards to your sponsored child are treasured possessions and will encourage them in ways you cannot imagine. Not only are your letters and cards an encouragement to your sponsored child, but they also let them know that there is truly someone who cares.

- How often will my sponsored child write?
- How often can I write my sponsored child?
- What should I write about?
- What should I not write about?
- How should I approach topics of spirituality with my sponsored child?
- My sponsored child lives in a sensitive country (Jordan or Lebanon). Can I write about topics of spirituality with my sponsored child?
- Do all children write their own letters?
- How long does it take my sponsored child to receive my letter?
- How personal should I expect my sponsored child to be in their letters?
- Will my sponsored child respond to my questions?
- Should I be concerned if my sponsored child’s name is spelled differently in their communications than in the information I originally received?
- How do I write my sponsored child?
- Can I use my own stationery?
- Can I mail my letter directly to my sponsored child?
- Can I give my contact information to my sponsored child?
- Can I email my sponsored child?
- Can I send photographs to my sponsored child?
- Can I recognize special occasions in my sponsored child’s life?
- Can I send packages to my sponsored child?
- Can I write a final letter to my sponsored child when they leave the program?
- If I am involved in a group sponsorship, can we all write to our sponsored child?
- What if I have other questions?
 

How often will my sponsored child write?

 

You will receive three communications from your sponsored child each year. This includes a letter, a Christmas card, and a special communication piece that will change from year to year.

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How often can I write my sponsored child?

 

We encourage you to write your sponsored child two to three times a year, but you may write your sponsored child as frequently as once a month. The letters you write to your sponsored child are a tremendous encouragement to them and greatly treasured.

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What should I write about?

 

You can write your sponsored child about many different aspects of your life, as this will help your sponsored child get to know you. We suggest you begin the process of building a relationship with your sponsored child by writing about some of the following topics:

  • Family
  • Hobbies
  • Climate/Weather
  • Work
  • School
  • Church
  • Pets
  • Sports
  • Holidays you observe
  • Encouragement
  • Prayer Requests
  • Relationship with Christ (unless your sponsored child lives in Jordan or Lebanon)

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What should I not write about?

 

As a general rule, you should avoid any topics that emphasize the poverty your sponsored child is living in or anything that could be culturally offensive to them.

  • Personal possessions - Discussing the size of your home or the number of cars you own does nothing to further your relationship with your sponsored child. It only highlights the disparity between your material wealth and your sponsored child’s poverty.
  • Dating relationships - Cultural differences surrounding this topic are significant. For example, in some cultures, marriages are still “arranged” and your sponsored child may find discussions about dating objectionable.
  • Gifts - Do not ask your sponsored child what type of gift they would like from you. In many cultures, such a question would put them in an awkward, uncomfortable position.
  • Personal Contact Information - Your home address, e-mail address, phone number, and personal or professional website is private information that should not be shared, for both your sponsored child’s privacy and yours. If your personal contact information is included, our staff will remove it before sending it onto your sponsored child.

We reserve the right to withhold any letters or materials we feel are inappropriate or potentially dangerous to the child. In the event that your letters or materials are withheld, our staff will attempt to contact you and inform you of the reasons for withholding your items.

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How should I approach topics of spirituality with my sponsored child?

 

  • Share your story of salvation.
  • If you know your sponsored child is a Christian, let him know that you are praying for him. But please be sensitive to your sponsored child’s age, background, and spiritual maturity.
  • Keep in mind that your sponsored child may not be a Christian.

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My sponsored child lives in a sensitive country (Jordan or Lebanon). Can I write about topics of spirituality with my sponsored child?

 

For the safety of your sponsored child and the project workers, all topics of spirituality should be avoided. We take the responsibility of sharing Christ with our sponsored children in these countries very seriously, and do so in ways that do not jeopardize the safety of the children and our project workers.

When writing to your sponsored child, please help us by keeping in mind the following guidelines:

  • Refrain from sharing the Gospel or using Christian terminology
  • Do not include items of a religious nature, such as Bible verses, stickers, or greeting cards
  • Use generic phrases, such as “You are in our thoughts and prayers”

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Do all children write their own letters?

 

Many younger sponsored children are unable to write on their own, so a project worker or family member may do so on their behalf. At times children join our program when they are older, without having had any previous educational opportunities, and help is needed. We hope that all children can write for themselves by the age of seven, but this is not always possible due to the unique circumstances in a child’s life.

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How long does it take my sponsored child to receive my letter?

 

Your letters are typically delivered to your sponsored child within three months. Shipping to our projects is costly, and as they are often located in remote areas of the world, it takes time. To save costs, we ship to our projects once a month.

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How personal should I expect my sponsored child to be in their letters?

 

Letter writing is an unfamiliar concept to most of our children, and cross-cultural communications are challenging even in the most favorable conditions. Most children have never received a letter prior to becoming a sponsored child, so it takes time for them to become accustomed to writing letters. Please be patient with your sponsored child and encourage them in their learning process.

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Will my sponsored child respond to my questions?

 

Because letter writing is initially unfamiliar to your sponsored child, he may not realize that a response is needed. Over time, our goal is to help your sponsored child become better at responding to your questions and asking their own. Your patience and understanding will help them grow more familiar with letter writing.

Also, the time involved in delivering your letter to your sponsored child often plays a part in unanswered questions. It could take up to six months from the time we receive your letter for you to receive your sponsored child’s response. If you receive a letter from your sponsored child within a few months of sending a letter to him, he most likely has not yet received your letters and may answer your questions in a later letter.

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Should I be concerned if my sponsored child’s name is spelled differently in their communications than in the information I originally received?

 

In many of the languages our children speak, there is no direct English translation and the spelling of names is difficult at best. The spelling of names can and will vary between translator.

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How do I write my sponsored child?

 

Included with your new sponsorship packet, or the letters you receive from your sponsored child, are stationery forms and return envelopes. The form has space on the front and back for your letter and a translation. Please leave the section titled “Translation” blank on both sides. Feel free to copy this form for future use. You can send your written letter to our office with your monthly commitment or on its own to the following address:

One Child Matters
P.O. Box 62600
Colorado Springs, CO 80962

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Can I use my own stationery?

 

Yes. However, if you do, be sure to leave plenty of room for a translation, and include the following information:

  • Your sponsored child’s name and identification number
  • Your name and sponsor number
  • The One Child Matters office address on the envelope:
         One Child Matters 
         P.O. Box 62600
         Colorado Springs, CO 80962

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Can I mail my letter directly to my sponsored child?

 

In order to protect the privacy of both the children and our sponsors, all communications must go through our office.

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Can I give my contact information to my sponsored child?

 

No. We do not allow you give your contact information to your sponsored child, as a measure to protect the privacy of both you and the child.

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Can I email my sponsored child?

 

At this time, you can send a letter electronically through the My Account feature on our website.

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Can I send photographs to my sponsored child?

 

Yes. Your sponsored child would enjoy receiving pictures of your family, pets, and local scenery, as well as simple post-cards of where you live or trips you’ve taken. Because standards of dress may be different in your sponsored child’s culture, please do not send photos that depict people in immodest clothing.

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Can I recognize special occasions in my sponsored child’s life?

 

Yes. You may send greeting cards and other small, flat items as gifts to your sponsored child. Please keep these guidelines in mind:

  • Limit your giving to no more than one envelope per month
  • All gifts must be flat and fit comfortably inside a 9 ½” x 4 ⅛” (#10) envelope. The thickness of the envelope must not exceed one inch.
  • Please write your sponsored child’s name and identification number on each item.
  • Christmas cards and gift envelopes must reach our Colorado office by the end of October to ensure Christmas delivery. Other cards and gifts for special occasions must be received two months prior to the occasion to ensure on-time delivery.

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Can I send packages to my sponsored child?

 

No. Due to high international shipping costs, as well as customs regulations, we cannot send anything to your sponsored child larger than what fits in a 9 ½” x 4 ⅛” (#10) envelope. For example, it costs nearly $150 to send a one-pound package to Swaziland. In the interest of good stewardship, we strive to keep our shipping costs low.

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Can I write a final letter to my sponsored child when they leave the program?

 

Yes. We realize that the relationship you have with your sponsored child plays a significant role in your life and as such, some form of closure may be desired. We will make every attempt to get your final letter to your sponsored child.

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If I am involved in a group sponsorship, can we all write to our sponsored child?

 

We recommend that you appoint one individual to be the group’s correspondent. It is simpler for a child to relate to one person, rather than a group.

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What if I have other questions?

 

If you have questions that we have not answered, please feel free to contact us at sponsors@onechildmatters.org. You can also call us at 800.864.0200, Monday through Thursday, 8 AM to 5:30 PM, or on Fridays from 8 AM to 2 PM (MST).

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