Jul 23 2010

Goodbye through a childís eyes

By Ruth Hubenthal, CFCA Sponsor Services Representative

Sponsors always have questions about their sponsored friends and about how CFCA is helping make that connection between a good-hearted individual and a person brimming with potential but in need of help. Questions sometimes include inquiries about culture, benefits, why letters take so long, and what to write. It is a joy to see that curiosity and to pass on what information I can from the childís point of view.

It might come as a surprise to some sponsors that the children and the elderly have the same questions. Why do letters take so long? What is their sponsor’s culture like? What kind of conditions do they live in? Why does my sponsor leave the program? And, the social workers do a great job in explaining the information they have to the children. But the best way to satisfy the curiosity of the child is through a letter.

Unfortunately, there is always a day when that relationship comes to a practical end, though in our hearts and prayers it continues for a lifetime. There are also questions about this, and it is hard to have to explain, but we can see Godís will allowing us to walk hand-in-hand with someone for a time, and then Him seeing fit to have us part ways.

Itís a tough subject to approach, but when, for some reason, a sponsor or a child leaves the program, a final letter makes the transition a little easier. Even if the sponsor has to stop because of loss of a job, loss of a loved one, or simply because they have other responsibilities, it is always so caring to write a letter letting them know.

The children, the elderly, or someone who knows them usually writes a final letter to the sponsor, and though it might not be satisfying, and it is bittersweet, there is closure. And just like the questions that the children have, a letter from their sponsor is also bittersweet, but it gives them closure.

I guess what I mean to say is that in Sponsor Services, we work so hard for you to see your sponsored friendís point of view, but I want to make you aware that they also want to see yours. They are the reason we sponsor; you are the reason they strive for a better future.

3 thoughts on “Goodbye through a childís eyes”

  1. i believe that a systemcould be devised to keep in touch after the person leaves the program.this would only be with mutual agreement.addresses could be exchanged and future communication would be independent of cfca through int. mail. many sponsors have expressed this desire

    1. Many of CFCA’s staff members are also sponsors, so we can appreciate the sense of loss a sponsor might feel when a child leaves the sponsorship program, and we understand the desire to continue that relationship outside of CFCA’s involvement.

      Nevertheless, our policy is not to facilitate direct contact between a former sponsor and child after the child is retired and CFCA oversight of the relationship ends. Our reasons are drawn from our experiences over almost three decades.

      One of our highest priorities is to protect the privacy and ensure the well-being of both the child and the sponsor. During sponsorship, addresses are not revealed, and all mail is processed through CFCA projects and our Kansas headquarters. Staff members are always present when sponsors visit their friend. We take these measures because our aim is to ensure that no inappropriate letters or in-person contact involve the children, and that no inappropriate requests are made of the sponsor by the child, or other individuals or groups who might obtain the sponsor’s address.

      Our policy is reviewed periodically, but at this time remains unchanged.

      Thanks again for your comment,

      Sponsor Services

  2. Thank you so much for writing this. I sponsored a girl in Guatemala, Consuelo, for 11 years, and I admit that I cried when I received the letter indicating she had left the program. The opportunity to write a final “good-bye” letter to her was so comforting. I immediately requested a new sponsored child, and Angelica has been a delight. I have now sponsored her for 6 years and, as she will turn 15 in October, I am preparing myself for the inevitable. I encourage all sponsors who receive notification that a child has left the program to take time to write a heartfelt farewell. Since we do not know the circumstances that led to a family’s decision, there is at least a 50% chance that the child is heartbroken. Not hearing from you may lead your sponsored child to believe that you are angry at him or her — and we all know that nothing could be further from the truth. Trust me: writing that final letter expressing your continued love, well-wishes and prayers will be as comforting to you as to your sponsored child. And it just might be something that you will both remember for the rest of your lives.

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