The first thing to say about Adopt-A-Child is that we are a Christian SPONSORSHIP charity, not an adoption agency. If you ‘Adopt a Polar Bear’ or ‘Adopt a Dolphin’ you don’t expect the polar bear or dolphin to arrive at your house for you to care for! We work on the same principle.
The children we support through our feeding centres in Guatemala and Albania stay with their families and friends in their own communities, and are supported by sponsors who give a financial contribution, currently £18 per month, towards the cost of the nutritious meals they receive twice a week and the basic medical and dental care they can access if and when necessary.
Sponsors are also encouraged to build up a relationship with the child they support by writing to them, sending cards and photographs and, if they are able, sending extra donations for gifts for the child and their family at Christmas and birthday times. We also offer sponsors the opportunity to visit the programmes and their sponsored child by joining one of the 10-day long trips that we organise each year to Guatemala and Albania.
The children we support are not starving, but many are malnourished and families struggle to supply the basic needs of food and clothing that we all take for granted. The balanced, nutritious meals we provide make a big difference to their general health over time and relatively simple illnesses can be identified and treated quickly and easily. There is no free health service in either Guatemala or Albania and most families simply cannot afford to pay for access to doctors, dentists or medication that could help them.
The programmes we operate are open to every child in the community and we support and care for all who come, whether they have a sponsor or not. Often we have whole families coming along each week to the centres. In Albania last year we started extra outreach work into some of the remote mountain villages. These are too far from our centres to provide regular hot food, but instead, we supply monthly food parcels to the families we visit regularly.
Later this year we are planning to launch an initiative called Women in Need to help especially needy widows, single mums, grandmothers, etc, in Guatemala and there will be an opportunity for people to sponsor them too. We are all God’s children – whether we are 7 or 70!
We do not provide general education as part of our programmes, but sponsors can have the opportunity to help families with this too, if appropriate.
Do visit our website, www.adopt-a-child.com which has much more information on all the work that we do and the areas where we work.