It's been heartening to read comments left after my posts about Huwaida and the Yasuni rainforest. I certainly wasn't alone in thinking about sponsoring a child in another country, thinking about it so much I yearned to do it, while deferring the decision. There are so many worthy causes and organizations working on behalf of them. It can get dizzying deciding where to send contribution dollars, and there was a time when I donated from my credit cards which really got out of control. About 15 years ago I was in counseling for a short time and got a great "tune-up" from an astute therapist. Debt was only one of my issues, but he weighed it more heavily than I did at the time. In our last session he offered advice for the first time in our counseling relationship, a kind of parting checklist that included pay yourself first. Oooh, how hard that sounded to me but I nodded in agreement. Funny how his words stuck, however. Live and learn.
The monthly donations to the two children we sponsor through Plan USA are budgeted and debited directly from Mike's paycheck. I have gone beyond the $10-twice-a-year limit on gifts at times, but not to excess and actually the gift shop at the organization's website includes gifts that exceed their limit by a bit anyway. What I'm saying is that it's workable for us to do the sponsorships and support our favorite environmental groups, without going into debt as I had in my past. Mike refers to it as "being blessed to be a blessing." If others find they are in a similar position it might add the charm and joy to your lives that it has to mine to become a part of a sponsorship program.
My new friend Francessa in Austria commented that she has sponsored eight children since 1983 through another organization. I wish I'd had that many years of letters, and drawings, and love you can feel just by thinking of the families who have this special tie to your life!
I began this post with the intention of making it the piece about our little guy, Wellington, in Ecuador. Next post will be about him for sure. In the meantime, if you are looking for a quirky movie for the weekend there is one that features Plan USA in the plot. In the 2002 movie About Schmidt, Jack Nicholson's character finds solace in the midst of life-changing chaos from his sponsorship through Childreach, now known as Plan USA. The organization was, until recent years, known in the states as Childreach and they still own the name. They changed it to Plan USA to coordinate the name with the organization worldwide (personally, I still like the name Childreach better!).
photo: Vancouver Sun