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Old Enough To Know Better

Did you know that older children, especially boys, wait longer for sponsors? A couple of weeks ago, I met boys who had been on the waiting list for sponsors for six years. It broke my heart.

Bolivian boys

Older children, especially boys, wait for years to be sponsored. ©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

Apparently, even in our compassion, we’re suckers for cute and little. I get it – I think puppies and kittens are cuter than full-grown adult pets. But older doesn’t mean less in need of mentoring, encouraging, education, and help. And we’re old enough to know better.

Older often means jaded, cynical, and discouraged. The older children I met in Bolivia were defeated. They had been holding onto hope for too long and were giving up.

I saw what it meant to the few older children who did have sponsors. They told us stories of running to the World Vision office every day to ask if they had received a letter or a card. They told us how meaningful it was to know someone in a country far away was praying for them. Their eyes shone with hope fulfilled, and they had dreams for their future.

Bolivian children

©2011 Amy Conner for World Vision

The older children still waiting for sponsors lacked that sparkle.

I am resolved not to ignore the older, both here at home, and in our charitable efforts. They need our help just as much, maybe more. We do battle with cynicism when we come through for people old enough to know.

Restore hope. Sponsor an (older) child today.


Today’s post inspired by The Gypsy Mama’s Five Minute Friday writing prompt, older. Five-Minute Friday posts are written in just five minutes, for the joy of writing. No editing.


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  1. Great post, got me thinking. Our compassion child is older now, but we did get her when she was pretty young. Next time I will go with one of the older kids!

  2. You’re right. And here in America I think about this a lot: When a foster child reaches the age of “adulthood” they’re released. So, if they haven’t been placed in a family – connected with people who care – they’re on their own. When I reached the legal age of “adulthood” I THOUGHT I was grown and could make it on my own. But the truth is…I only thought that because I knew I had people I could fall back on if I needed. People who were cheering me on from the sidelines.

  3. This is a great post! Our family started sponsoring a child through Compassion this last year. Of course I was drawn to the little girls because I have little girls of my own and thought it would be fun for them to relate in that way. But when I saw there was an option for having a child who’s been waiting the longest selected for you, I knew that’s what we should do. Our sponsored child is a 16 year old boy named Bunti. It’s been such a gift exchanging letters with him and it just makes us so excited to think about this young man who’s been waiting and now we get to be that blessing in his life.
    I also like what you said about not ignoring the older ones here at home. Even with my own children I find myself showing less affection and grace as they get older and are not so little and cute. Isn’t that awful? I want to remember they need to FEEL loved no matter how grown up they get.

  4. I ran a group home once for abused and neglected kids. The home situations were so bad that most kids were available for adoption. And it was the same with them – nobody wanted an older kid. And when I got Laska the love Kitty – I was reminded how everybody always goes for the kittens at the shelter. Laska was six months old – still a kitten – but an older one. Joy, I see how your trip to Bolivia colors a lot of your thought now – your compassion – and I mean me compassion with a small c – is awesome. God bless you and keep you and God bless and keep each and every one of yours.


  1. […] Old enough to know better from Joy Bennett […]