Monday, October 1, 2012

Children Who Leave the Program

From time to time, a Sponsor will received distressing news: "Your child has left the Program." This can occurr for a myriad of reasons--the family moved outside the program area, the family's circumstances have improved and they no longer have need of the services, the child has declined to participate further, the child or family is unwilling to meet participation requirements ... Whatever the reason, it is always a sad day for the Sponsor when this notice is received. There seem to have been a lot of LiftOne Sponsors receiving this notification lately, which has many of us on pins and needles, wondering if one of our children will be next.

Sometimes, Children International is able to provide some measure of closure. If they are still in contact with the family, a final letter of farewell can be sent. At the very least, they are usually able to tell the Sponsor why the child left the program. No amount of closure, however, will fill in the gap that the child's absence leaves in a Sponsor's heart. The Sponsor will always wonder if their child is safe, and healthy and happy.

Such is the case with me and my Joan. Her family moved unexpectedly, and did not leave a forwarding address. Children International was unable to locate them, and so I don't even know the circumstances surrounding her move. For years, I have hoped that the change was a positive one for her and her family, and that she is doing well.

On impulse one evening, I typed her name into the search engine on Facebook. Lo and behold! Two profiles popped up with her name. I cannot see much on either one, due to the privacy settings. But one profile is definitely her--I can tell from the cover photos, which are the only ones I can see.

Joan looks happy and healthy in her photos. Her clothes are clean and in good condition. In several of her photos, she is holding some type of smart phone. So it would appear that her family's situation DID improve when they moved, and she is now leading the life of an average teenage girl. This warms my heart--even if I cannot communicate with her, at least I know she is okay.

Hopefully one day she will confirm my friend request, and we will be able to reconnect. I miss her.

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