Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The Sponsorship Experience

Cathy Porter says her husband was skeptical of sponsorship…until he saw it in action. Recently, the family traveled to Guatemala to visit 11-year-old José Gregorio, chosen specifically because the couple have two adopted daughters from Guatemala. Cathy shares her thoughts with us on what she describes as “a very emotional and rewarding experience.”

Why did you decide to visit your sponsored child?
Gabrielle (Cathy’s adopted daughter from Guatemala) chose José from the Children International site partially because they are the same age and both are Guatemalan (our children were adopted as infants from the country).

A big issue in choosing Children International was also that we could visit the sponsored child. Our younger daughter has contact with her birth family but since Gabrielle does not, we felt like this was a great way for her to have a similar connection.

Describe how it felt meeting José
Even though we had received photos and letters from him, we still held some doubts about whether everything we received and had been told was actually legitimate. As soon as José and his family got out of the Children International truck, we knew it was all true.

We were relieved and excited at the same time.

How did José’s living conditions differ from your expectations?
Because we have made numerous trips to Guatemala and also visited other indigenous families, we weren’t surprised by his family’s sparse living conditions. Had this been our first visit to this type of home, it would have been even more overwhelming.

Could you see the impact sponsorship was having on José?
Yes. Since Children International began helping José, he has started attending the first grade, something that his family was previously unable to afford. We also got to see the new bed that Children International staff purchased for him with a special Christmas donation we made.

What part of your visit did you enjoy the most?
We were thrilled to be welcomed into the family’s home as well as the overwhelming greeting that we received by the community. We were very surprised to find out that José’s family had prepared a special meal for us and we were humbled by the reception we received.

How were the local staff during your trip?
All of the Children International staff were very courteous. The director of the local office was very helpful with organizing and he took many photos of our visit. The translator was also extremely helpful and kind, too.

The visit was better than we could have anticipated and we were very pleased with the staff.

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