Frequently Asked Questions About Sponsoring A Child Through FCM
- What is Child Sponsorship and how does it work?
- How are children selected for sponsorship?
- How long will I be able to sponsor the same child?
- Do my sponsorship gifts actually go to the child I sponsor?
- How often will I receive a progress report on my sponsored child?
- Are all sponsored children orphans?
- Why is there sometimes conflicting information provided about a sponsored child?
- Can I send letters to my sponsored child (or children)?
- Can I send gifts to my sponsored child (or children)?
- Besides sponsorship is there any way to periodically help your child financially? If I would like to send him or her money for the families’ needs, is that acceptable?
- Can I visit my sponsored child (or children)?
- Can my sponsored child visit me in the U.S.?
- Can I adopt a child through Fullness in Christ Ministries?
- I would love to send a one-time gift for school supplies for some kids who may not get them. How do I go about doing that?
Q 1: What is Child Sponsorship and how does it work?
A: Child Sponsorship is an opportunity to impact for eternity the life of a child or teen caught in the bondage of extreme poverty and to be part of God’s plan for that child’s life. At FCM, a strong emphasis is made on education as a means to break the cycle of poverty that is often passed from generation to generation in a child’s family.
Your sponsorship donation of $30 per child per month will provide for your sponsored child: Education, nutritional assistance and pastoral oversight.
Education: School in most developing nations is not free. Therefore, children of poverty are not educated because they cannot pay the fees required nor can they buy the uniforms, books and school supplies they need for school. Thus, they are destined to repeat the cycle of poverty. Education is a top priority for our sponsored children.
Nutritional Assistance: Nearly all of our sponsored children are undernourished when they first come under the care of FCM. We realized early in the ministry to the children that nutritional assistance is essential for the health of the children and for them to do well in school.
Pastoral Oversight: Every sponsored child is assigned to a local pastor who is responsible for the oversight and training for that child. The pastors who care for the children are vital. They introduce the children, and their families, to Jesus Christ as Savior and disciple them, teaching Christian values and victorious living. They also teach life skills, such as personal hygiene. The pastors send monthly reports to FCM.
Q 2: How are children selected for sponsorship?
A: Children and teens are selected from the poorest of the poor children in the locations where we have ministry (currently 28 locations on 4 islands in the Philippines). Priority is given to children living at garbage dumpsites, under bridges, on the streets, in squatter areas and other poverty stricken locations where children are so poor they cannot go to school.
Elementary education is more affordable than junior high and high school. We find that sometimes a poor family can send their children to school through grade 6, but beginning in grade 7, which is the start of junior high school, the cost becomes prohibitive. Without help, many poor children drop out of school after grade 6. Often we will begin sponsoring a child at that point.
The children are identified and selected by local pastors familiar with the needs in the community.
Q 3: How long will I be able to sponsor the same child?
A: FCM sponsored children range in age from about 6 years of age (ready for school) through the teens, with a few even in the early 20’s. They are sponsored as long as they attend school and are qualified under the guidelines. When a child is sponsored, we are committed to see that child finish his or her education. The length of a sponsorship depends on the needs of the child.
While sometimes a sponsor will sponsor the same child for many years until the child graduates, there are times that will not happen for various reasons. Sponsorship of a particular child may end for the following reasons:
- The child moves to a location where FCM sponsorship is not available. By nature the families we serve are transient. Sometimes they move away looking for jobs or for other economic reasons. Sometimes they come back and, if possible, we will sponsor the child again if it is still needed.
- The situation of the child and/or family changes and the child no longer needs our financial help. This is seen as a good thing when families can provide for the needs of their own children and are not dependent on outside assistance.
- The child drops out of school or graduates.
As long as your sponsored child is in a location associated with FCM, has not graduated from school or become self-sufficient, he or she will continue to receive assistance. When your sponsorship of a child ends for any reason, a new child will be assigned to you and will receive your assistance.
Q 4: Do my sponsorship gifts actually go to the child I sponsor?
A: The money is not given directly to the child or the child’s family. The pastor responsible for the child pays school fees, buys the uniforms and school supplies, and provides for other needs of the child. The pastor sends a monthly report to FCM accounting for the funds sent for the needs of the children.
Q 5: How often will I receive a progress report on my sponsored child?
A: We will send you an annual update that tells you about your sponsored child’s health and educational status as well as changes in family situations. This will also include a new photo, so you can watch your sponsored child grow up. The updates go out by email. If you do not receive it, contact Kathy Bohlin (email@example.com).
Q 6: Are all sponsored children orphans?
A: Some sponsored children are orphans or have been abandoned by parents. Most sponsored children have one or both parents. Sometimes orphaned children live with relatives, friends or church members who need assistance to care for the extra needs. Even when home conditions are very poor, it is generally better for a child to live with family. Sponsoring a child or children often helps an entire family.
Q 7: Why is there sometimes conflicting information provided about a sponsored child?
A: While we are committed to providing sponsors with accurate information, changes do occasionally happen in the spelling of names, number of family members and other personal information. English is a second language and sometimes questions and answers are not understood.
Regarding changes in names: Some of the children do not have birth certificates and a name might change when one is later obtained. In developing nations, sometimes neither the children nor the parents know how a child’s name is spelled. Names are sometimes spelled phonetically by parents and pastors, then might be corrected later.
Regarding parents and family information: When children live with relatives or even unrelated families, they sometimes refer to family members as their parents and brothers and sisters. This information will be updated and corrected as it becomes known.
Q 8: Can I send letters to my sponsored child (or children)?
A: Some of the most frequently received questions we see from sponsors are “How can I communicate with my child?” and “Can I send letters to my sponsored child?” Yes, absolutely. The children love to receive letters from their sponsors. Words of encouragement from sponsors mean a lot to the children. English is required in all the schools in the Philippines and most classes are taught in English. So most children will be able to read letters that you send in English. If that is not the case, your letter will be translated by local workers to a language the child understands.
For the protection of the children, sponsors and our staff, we do read letters that are exchanged between sponsors and their sponsored children. The letters are reviewed to ensure people do not threaten children, put their lives in danger or try to develop inappropriate relationships. We also review letters to our sponsors to ensure they do not receive inappropriate solicitation of funds from children’s families.
Although sponsors are not required to write the children, they are welcome to do so by following the procedures outlined below. Due to the high cost and unreliability of sending cards and letters through the mail, we send messages to the sponsored children by e-mail only. E-mail is the only way we can guarantee delivery of the message. Please send your message to firstname.lastname@example.org and be sure to give us the child’s name. The email will be sent to the pastor who cares for your child. The pastor will print your message and give it to the sponsored child. Updates we receive about your child from the pastor, or messages from the children, will be forwarded to you via email.
Some have asked about sending computerized, animated “e-cards.” These are problematic because the child must have access to a computer to view them. E-cards cannot be printed and given to the children.
The cost of sending cards and letters to the Philippines is very high. By following our procedures, it will help us to keep costs down and have more money for the basic needs of the children.
We will be sure you receive any notes or letters that come from the child for you. Even if you don’t hear back, you can know you have made a child feel special.
Q 9: Can I send gifts to my sponsored child (or children)?
A: We cannot deliver envelopes or packages for many reasons. One is the extremely high cost of shipping packages to the Philippines. By not taking on this expense, it helps us to keep costs down and have more money for the basic needs of the children. Another reason is that we try hard not to create jealousy and feelings of abandonment in the children we serve. Remember that your sponsored child likely has brothers and sisters who are not sponsored or perhaps have never received a personal message of any kind from a sponsor. Most of the children we serve live in the midst of large groups of people and there is little and sometimes no “private space” for personal belongings. Everything in the home belongs to everyone in the home.
If envelopes or packages are received for the children, and we are unable to return them to the sender, the items will be donated to a local charity.
Q 10: Besides sponsorship is there any way to periodically help your child financially? If I would like to send him or her money for the families’ needs, is that acceptable?
A: You can provide food by donating to the “Food For Learning” fund, which will help offset the cost of providing additional nutrition for your child and the other sponsored children. If you wish to give for a birthday, then give a “One-time Donation” and indicate in the comments section your child’s name and that you want to donate a certain amount toward their birthday celebration. The pastor will use the funds to offset the cost of a birthday cake in order to celebrate everyone’s birthday for that month. Of course, when Christmas time comes around we do a drive in October and November to generate funds for gifts and a special meal for the children. The funds are distributed directly to their pastor to manage and make the purchases for the families. We cannot give money directly to the families, as we cannot control nor report back where the money is spent. Most of the children we serve live in the midst of large groups of people, some of whom may not be family members, and there is little and sometimes no “private space.” Everything in the home belongs to everyone in the home.
Q 11: Can I visit my sponsored child (or children)?
A: We do not encourage this for a number of reasons. Since we do not have FCM staff members living on sight in the Philippines and we only visit there about once a year, it is not a normal part of the ministry to arrange for visitations between sponsored children and their sponsors.
Our priority is to make sure children are safe. We work closely with the local pastors to protect the children. We also work to protect our sponsors from inappropriate solicitations of funds from children or their families.
We have occasionally arranged for such visits when we are in the Philippines, which is about once a year, and when it can fit into the schedule and agenda of our mission trip. If you are interested in a visit with your sponsored child, please contact Kathy Bohlin, at FCM, via email at email@example.com.
Q 12: Can my sponsored child visit me in the U.S.?
A: We appreciate your interest in having your sponsored child visit the United States. However, FCM does not arrange for sponsored children to visit the US because it is not part of the mission God has given us for the children. This is not recommended for several reasons, including:
- the safety and well-being of the child
- the culture shock experienced by the child
- the child’s readjustment to his or her own lifestyle
Q 13: Can I adopt a child through Fullness in Christ Ministries?
A: No. FCM helps children within the context of their families and communities and does not facilitate adoptions. It is beyond the scope of our ministry.
Q 14: I would love to send a one-time gift for school supplies for some kids who may not get them. How do I go about doing that?
A: We always have a number of children who have yet to be sponsored. A gift of $200 will provide for the needs of 6 or 7 children for one month or one child for 6 or 7 months. You can give an amount of your choosing by clicking on this “One-time Donation” link and indicating in the “Comments” section how you would like the funds to be used.
Are you ready to become a sponsor for a child? It takes only $1 a day ($30 a month) to make a huge impact on the life of a child.