Saturday, June 23, 2012

How a little girl is changing our life

A few months ago, the typical conversations and attitudes in our house went something like this:

"Why do we have this house? I want a bigger and better one."

"I want a bigger bedroom!!!"

"I really really want to put an addition on the house!"

"So-and-so has a four wheeler. Why don't I have one?"

"I don't want to eat dinner in. I want to go out to dinner!"

You get the idea. Our society tells us we can have whatever we want whenever we want it. Our kids were picking up on it, and there are times that I would slip into that way of thought as well. Pete and I want to raise children who are thankful and work hard for what they have, so we knew we had to do something to change all of our attitudes.

But what could we do? We had a limited budget, limited free time, and wanted a big impact on our children. That's when we decided to look into sponsoring a child through Compassion International.

For $38 a month, we could help a child get an education, have access to health care, develop social skills, receive Christian training, and help the child grow up to be successful and overcome poverty, all things we take for granted.

$38 isn't much in the grand scheme of things, but with our budget, it was going to be a big stretch. We weren't sure we were going to do it, so we waited and prayed about it.

After a few days, we went back on the website and looked at the children available for sponsorship. There were so many of them, we were completely blown away by the amount. How can you choose a child when there are so many? They had ways to narrow down the search: location, gender, age, birth date, those have been waiting the longest, and have them choose a child for you.

We knew we wanted a young child, someone our kids could relate to, but other than that we had no preference. We finally narrowed our search down to three children: a girl who reminded us of Paige, a boy who looked similar to Nate, and a super adorable little girl. We eventually chose the little boy, but by the time we went to sponsor him, he had already been chosen! We were happy for the boy, but sad because we wanted him. So, we started our search over again.

There was no way I was going to be able to choose just one; I wanted to save all the kids, but of course, there's no way I could do that. Pete sent me an email with another link to a child, and instantly I knew she was the one for us.

Freyle is a sweet little girl from Colombia, and she looks exactly like Miss A, the little girl I babysit, just with hispanic coloring. We sponsored her immediately!

That night, we told the kids what we were doing. We explained how not everyone has a nice home like we do, no running water, food for three meals and snacks, or even a school to attend. They were shocked that about that, and immediately wanted to take action. We began praying for Freyle every day, and the kids started having a better attitude about things. Paige even went through her toys one day, saying that there are other kids who may not have many toys that would enjoy them more than she would.

The kids were thrilled the day we received our first letter from Freyle. Pete was in NYC, and he called immediately to hear what she had to say. We write her letters, and the kids love drawing pictures for her.

Today we received a newsletter in the mail, explaining on what kind of area she lives in. I couldn't make it through the letter without crying, and when I explained it to the kids, they were in shock; Paige had tears in her eyes and said "I really need to change my attitude even more..."

Here are some facts about where Freyle lives:

  • The average amount of money a family brings in is $2 per day. We bring in approximately $100 a day when I'm babysitting.
  • The average size house is 215 square feet. That fits in our living room...with a little room to spare. This one affected Paige the most as she says we need a bigger house. It also hit me a lot as I'm usually complaining that we need a bigger entryway and would love to put an addition on for a front mudroom.
  • The houses have one room. That one affected Nate as he's having a hard time sleeping as his and Ryan's sleep schedules are a little different (Ry's a night owl, Nate's an early riser).
  • The houses have grass roofs. Nate thought it was hysterical at first, but then when he saw that that was pretty much the roof, he asked if that meant it leaked when it rained. He didn't think it was funny any more.
Sometimes I see our attitudes slipping; when the kids start getting the "I want" attitude, I just have to gently remind them about how blessed they are, and they calm down. For me, I just have to open our scrapbook we got from Compassion to keep all of our correspondence regarding Freyle and suddenly the things I wanted aren't as important any more. As for the $38 a month that I would be a stretch, we honestly don't even notice that it is missing. Honestly, even if we had to cut back on our budget in other areas, we would in a heart beat. We hope to be able to sponsor another child in the future.

As of today, Freyle is 4 years old. Happy birthday, sweet girl, and may God richly bless you and your family!

Compassion is currently helping 1.2 million children in 26 countries. If you are interested in learning more about them, you can go to their website. They also have ways to help older children go through college, and help mothers and babies. To sponsor a child, you can go here.

How do you keep from getting the "I want" attitude? If you have children, how do you teach them to be thankful for what they have?


  1. By reading your posts! And *sniffing* my way through them, as I am doing with this one... Oh, my goodness...

    *sniff sniff* Boy, I had no idea my allergies were this bad...

    1. How about we just pretend that there's a "Mom, grab the tissues" disclaimer on all my posts? <3

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