The story below is by my friend Jennifer Randall’s experience as a sponsor through World Vision, my former employer:)
City-Spunked, Purple Ski Cap Divine
By: Jennifer Randall
My little girl: I cannot begin to know where to begin to introduce her to you! I can only tell you how absolutely thrilled I am that she has come into my life. Who is she? Raveena. A wonderful 3-year-old girl I have just sponsored through World Vision.
What follows is a bit of sharing about my thought process in deciding which organization to sponsor a child through, what region to pick from, and most intense – which child of so many – to choose to help.
The first choice in deciding where to sponsor a child was the easiest: I chose World Vision because my parents sponsored a World Vision child a decade back, and so, it was only a matter of deciding to actually take the step of making the commitment at hand. I also recently started to work there, but am humbled by the many things I have yet to learn from an organization well-credited for its global humanitarian efforts.
The region to choose where to sponsor a child from was more thoughtful. Should I pick Kenya because of all the problems there, right now? Should I pick the Middle East as one small step in the effort of supporting Christianity in that region? Or a child from a country in China because of the population and child birth issues?
India. India is where I’ve always hoped to go. It is a land I am fascinated with. From the rich, vibrant textiles, to a place ripe with interior and commercial design inspirations, to the flavorful, spicy foods, from sheerly personal interests — this land has its pull.
Then the gears begain turning as I thought of the possibility of visiting my sponsored child there, perhaps, when she is a teenager. I imagine myself becoming like a far-off, but constant support in her life — an “Aunt Jen” to her.
And then the more charitable, supporting reasons: I’ve thought alot about orphans India, since some donor website work and support of the Hopegivers International ministry. India is the one place I’ve heard where the poverty is so bad that humans are born and die on the same sidewalk. This sentence deserves much thought and hopefully stopped you in your tracks as it did me.
I conducted 3 different web searches for her, and each time, was excited to pick one child to sponsor but not moved. I’m sure World Vision never intended me to be surfing for the perfect kid, thumbing through multiple images. But I wanted to see as many of the children available for sponsorship in India as possible, before I could decide which I wanted to support.
This can be good and can be bad. I warn you, in advance, that the server will serve up overlapping but different groups of children each time. So, if you spot “the one” on your first search, make sure you do sponsor right away, because he or she could be sponsored by another in a very short time frame, or not served-up on your next visit.
On one web search, I came unbelievably close to picking a baby boy. He was so precious, — with a huge grin –just tugging at my heart strings. But, I couldn’t do it. I felt that my goal was to sponsor a little girl, and despite how ridiculously darling this boy from India was, I needed to save him for another sponsor who may have really had it on their heart to find a boy.
And then there was a precious little girl in a yellow dress with features as delicate as a buttercup. But why was I picking her? She was too cute. Is that why?!
I thought to myself: how vain. I’m going to pick a child with less pleasing features, the child that everyone skips over. Surely, everybody goes to the website and wants the kid with the most gorgeous mug. That isn’t fair to the ones with maybe bigger noses or smaller eyes or what have you.
So, here I am leafing through photos of not-so-attractive children, with the intent that I will take one. It was difficult as reality started to change. The real poverty and desolation speaking through their frail dispositions and make-up encircled eyes hit me. This was not about finding the cutest girl or the least sponsorable girl at all.
I half-considered not even sharing these earlier outward-focused thoughts, and playing it off, but decided the
transparency was a more honest route.
I began to focus in on age. The younger the girl, the better. Again, probably what others are thinking too? Or at least an adoption-mentality. Who wants the teenagers? And then my guilt: I should pick a teenager because they may be most unwanted.
Ok, enough with the guilt! I have a vision for the first child that I sponsor and I want to stick with it. She’s young so that I can start a long journey with her, and her countenance reflects need and hope. I see one little girl with a purple ski cap. She’s super-perfect to me but not the perfect Punjabi Princess.
Hmm … why the hipster ski cap? Is she cold (isn’t it hot there?), just hairless or injured? I can’t begin to know. But this little girl is the right age and seems to have some city spunk. And likes to play with dolls. 😉
I decide that this child is the one! When I click to sponsor her, the coolest thing happened: I found out that she is an only child living with her parents, and lives right outside of New Delhi. These mirrored similar things in my life: how I grew up as an only child outside of my country’s capitol playing with dolls. Perhaps these traits are common to many, but to me, everything at this moment was perfectly aligned.
Not having had my own child yet, perhaps many of my own expectations for this sponsored child were a bit … ahem… *high*. But God completely knew my heart’s desire, and once I picked the child he surprised me with these precious details.