I sponsored a child through Compassion International for 8 years. I received translated letters, photos, and an invitation to Brazil to meet my child (I was too sick and broke to accept their offer). When his sponsorship expired due to leaving the program to get a job, I received a phone call from Compassion informing me of that, with the option to begin sponsoring a new child or to end my relationship with them altogether. There was no pressure whatsoever. I thanked them for their honesty, and I left the program.
People may wonder if my child really wrote the letters and drew the pictures. Considering that the pictures drawn were consistently similar over such a long period of time, and the fact that told me he was waiting to turn 14 so he could go get a job at the local Audi plant (and then did so), I believe he really wrote the letters. He also sent me a thank you letter every year after Christmas, and told me exactly what he received with the money I sent. The last photo I received of him was of him posing with his new soccer ball. The letters included his original letter with an accompanying translation from his program manager.
I have known of people who have traveled many times to meet their sponsored child through Compassion International. Their stories are not a hoax. Compassion used to send me annual financial reports, and Charity Navigator (an unbiased company who reviews charities) has consistently given them good ratings.
The article I have shared is in reference to a DIFFERENT organization, World Vision. I do know that World Vision has done some great things in communities all over the world. In fact, they are always on Ground Zero when a disaster strikes, doing what they can to help the suffering. This is fantastic, and I don't discount that work. However, if you are sponsoring a specific child through World Vision or any other children's charity, and you are not having the experience I wrote about above, something is wrong. In an organization as large as this one, there are bound to be communities and managers who aren't doing their job. What happened to this man from Australia, and his sponsored child who didn't know he existed, should not have happened.
I suggest doing extensive research on charities like these before committing. And while being optimistic that they are going to do right by both you and your child is nice, I would advise keeping in close contact with the organization to ensure that they are doing what they claim they're doing for you and the child you chose. They have your money. You have a right to keep them on their toes.
Thanks for reading, and I hope this helps.