When I decide to take up a sponsorship the only worry I had was that if unexpected changes happen in my life I would have to make the decision to drop the sponsorship again.
If you sponsor a child, if you write letters, if you pray for your child and if you get letters in return, you will get emotionally attached. And that's wonderful, but it also makes you vulnerable. And that's something I wasn't aware of when I first started sponsoring - after all the kids live more than a thousand miles away.
All three girls on the photo above are girls I were assigned to be their correspondence sponsor. Today I am not able to write them letters anymore.
Amanda (the girl in the middle) aged out of the project. I knew that our time was limited from the very beginning. She was assigned to me not even a whole year before she completed the program. I put all my heart into the letters, made sure she knew how much she was loved, how special and talented she was. I shared everything that I thought she needed to know.
A bonus was that I was able to send her a final letter in which I added a photo of me, my husband and our son holding up a sign with "Amanda, we love you" on it.I also received a final letter from her, telling me how thankful she was for the letters I sent and the support she received. It was a clean cut for both of us, which made the goodbye easier.
A couple of weeks ago, a numb feeling started to accompany me. I couldn't pinpoint it's source until I recieved an email from Compassion telling me that Genet had moved out of the project area with her family. My heart broke - a little - because suddenly I knew where the numb feeling came from.
Genet was my very first correspondence child so she will always have a very special place in my heart - but really all the kids have their places and always will - but I'm sure you get what I mean.
And only a few days later I received another email from Compassion telling me that another child had moved away with her family - Naydali. My little Sunshine from Honduras. This news caught me off guard. I received the most happy letters from Naydali; she is such a special, open and lovely little girl.
With both girls already moved away, I didn't have the chance to write them a final letter, to once more make sure they know how much I love them, how special they are and that they will always be in my prayers and thoughts. That fact sure made the goodbye even sadder.
A few months ago, I sent off heartshaped letters, telling all my kids how much I love them, that I will keep praying for them no matter what the future holds for all of us and that above all God will always be there for them, love them and guide them on their way. And at the moment I hope and pray that both girls received those letters before they left the project.
But if you'd ask me if sponsoring a child was worth your own emotional risk there is only one answer for me. Of course.
And there is no chance I would stop writing, only to avoide a relationship to form, because after all that is what matters. I want to use the chance I'm given to tell the kids how much they are loved and how precious they are. Because they deserve to know.