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Your donation to the Where Most Needed fund will help us better serve children in extreme poverty.
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When you have a firm weekday date to meet your sponsored child, please select the tab that best meets your needs, and then fill out the request form. After your details are reviewed, you will receive an email from Compassion with a link to register for a visit. The next steps you need to take. Once you complete those steps, we will contact our field office and start coordinating your visit logistics. We will then contact you with the visit itinerary and request payment for the expenses that need to be covered prior to your departure. After you submit your payment, Compassion will provide contact information for your visit host and our field office, and any final details.
If your visit is not possible, Compassion will provide you with instructions on preparing a special gift package for your sponsored child. Although at times a face-to-face visit is not possible due to challenges such as holidays or short notice, please be assured that if you send a gift, your child and his or her family will be very blessed by your thoughtfulness.
Yes! Please contact our field staff by phone after you arrive. The numbers will be provided to you before you leave for your trip. This is very important, as our field staff members need to know that you have arrived safely so your visit can go forward as planned.
An Individual Custom Visit is when one sponsor visits one or more children they sponsor. The sponsor may bring other family or friends as guests on their visit. A Group Visit is when two or more sponsors are visiting two or more children whom they sponsor separately. The following examples may help you determine which visit request form to submit:
With a typical visit, you’ll meet with your Compassion visit host and then be introduced to your sponsored child. Children are normally accompanied by a parent or guardian as well as a staff member from their Compassion-assisted child development center. If you visit your child’s home and center, you will see where your child attends his or her Compassion program and learn about his or her day-to-day life. If you have your visit in another location, you will share an activity together. In both instances, you will have time to get to know your child, ask questions, exchange gifts, and share a meal.
A typical visit is limited to a single day, averaging 2-6 hours. If you are visiting more than one child, we may be able to honor additional visit time with a maximum of 3 days.
We can coordinate plans for you to travel to your child’s area or we can bring your sponsored child to your location for a visit. Please share your preference when you register for your visit. (If a visit to your child’s area will not be safe, our field office will notify us of this when we submit your visit request to the office, and suggest an alternate meeting location in a safe place).
Our local field office will recommend activities for your visit, and you may also share your preferences with us, including such activities as a visit to a park or a zoo. We also recommend that you visit your sponsored child’s home and Compassion-assisted child development center if possible.
A child will be accompanied by one parent or guardian during a visit, and if you visit your child’s home then you will have the opportunity to meet additional family members. If your child will be brought to another location for your visit, and you would like additional family members to come as well, please let us know when you register for your visit.
Absolutely! You are welcome to bring gifts for your sponsored children and their families. Please view our list of gift suggestions and helpful tips for your visit.
Even if you are fluent in your child’s language, a Compassion host will still be present to facilitate your visit, in accordance with our child protection policies.
We do not ask Compassion representatives to host weekend visits out of respect for their personal family and worship time. During holidays, our field offices and student centers close to allow children and staff members time to celebrate with loved ones. Children are not required to be in the area to attend the Compassion program, and many travel with their families to visit relatives in other areas. Additionally, our staff members, most of whom are volunteers, are also given this time off. It is important for staff members to have time to rest, so that they can return to their work of serving the children with renewed hearts.
Our local field office staff is responsible for coordinating and hosting all trips and visits for Compassion’s global constituency. This includes not only Compassion USA, but all of our partner countries. The advance notice provides the field office time to balance incoming requests with previously scheduled trips and visits. Visits can also require considerable coordination between your child’s family and local Compassion staff, the field office, our USA office and you.
Although Compassion asks for a minimum of eight weeks’ advance notice, we recognize that in some cases sponsors may not be able to provide such notice. Please proceed with a request form. We will be happy to review your travel information and the logistics necessary to accomplish a visit to determine if a visit can be arranged. Please note that Compassion has limited resources available for arranging and hosting short-notice visits, and approvals are limited. If a visit will not be possible, we will be glad to provide you with instructions for preparing a special gift package for your child.
With a custom visit, Compassion only facilitates the visit day itself, so you are responsible for all international travel and lodging. We recommend you contact a travel agent for assistance
You may need immunizations for international travel. As Compassion cannot suggest which immunizations will be appropriate for you, we recommend you check with your personal physician, as well as the State Department or Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you would like to utilize a travel clinic, we highly recommend Passport Health.
A passport is required for all travel outside of the United States. You may check with the State Department for visa requirements. If you need assistance with your passport and/or visa applications, we recommend Travisa Passport & Travel Visa Service, which also offers Compassion travelers a discount for using its services. The Compassion discount code is CC1229.
It is the policy of Compassion International to protect children in our programs from abuse by instituting reasonable guidelines and procedures to direct the interactions of Compassion International staff, partners, sponsors and other visitors with Compassion beneficiaries. In accordance with our Commitment to Child Protection, Compassion requires a Background Check for all adult visitors (18 and older) who are meeting any beneficiary of a ministry program. Compassion's background checks are valid for 12 months. If you travel on another Custom Visit or Sponsor Trip during this time frame, you will not need to complete another one. This includes arrangements to meet any sponsored child, or Compassion-assisted child development center or Child Survival Program.
Each adult visitor will be responsible for paying the $40 nonrefundable, non-tax-deductible fee, as well as submitting the information to our third-party vendor, ScreeningONE. Instructions for the background check will be provided upon registration for a visit, and completion is required before arranging a custom visit.
We are unable to accept background checks from other sources, as Compassion cannot authenticate the validity of such a report.
Yes, there will be costs incurred with a custom visit. Compassion requires visitors to cover any costs incurred, which may include but are not limited to transportation, host services, meals and lodging. The expenses involved in a visit day depend on the logistics necessary to accomplish the visit. Because each visit is unique, the costs can vary widely and may be anywhere from under $100 up to a thousands of dollars, depending on the logistics. When we arrange a visit, our field office will provide an estimate of any anticipated expenses when they confirm a visit date. We are not able to provide a specific estimate prior to this.
Yes. Compassion charges an administrative fee when going on a visit, which is $25.00 and includes you and one guest (additional guests would be $10.00 per person). This covers the staff and resources necessary for these programs. Since a very small percentage of sponsors have the opportunity to travel on a trip or visit, we do not feel it is appropriate to have the cost taken from the 20 percent administrative side of sponsorship fees. This would not be fair to those sponsors who are not able to meet their children.
Visitors may not give cash directly to the student center staff, Compassion staff, the child or student, or their family. Giving cash to your child and family may cause conflicts and generate negative attention within their community, so we ask that all gifts be given through Compassion USA. By doing so, your donation can be appropriately recorded and we can ensure that it will be used responsibly.
A personal meeting is a deeply significant event. A child in poverty struggles with a deep-seated belief that he or she is insignificant, powerless and hopeless – a belief that perpetuates a poverty of spirit. Nothing says “You are special, valued, significant and powerful” like a visit from a child’s sponsor; it is a life-changing event! The surprise is that the sponsor often feels the same message from his or her sponsored child – this interaction is nothing short of a truly sacred encounter. We encourage you to read the stories of other sponsors who have met their children on our Custom Visits Testimonial tab.
Compassion USA will act as a liaison for your visit. Our guidelines require our Colorado Springs office to be involved to ensure timely and accurate responses to questions, and the prompt acquisition of necessary information. The field offices expect to work through the Colorado Springs office to arrange visits, so if they start working directly with sponsors, even with the best of intentions, often expectations are not met and the quality of the arrangements and plans can be affected.
Because Compassion only facilitates the visit day itself and is not responsible for international travel, there is no minimum age requirement for Custom Visits. However, Compassion requires all minors to be accompanied by an adult.
Compassion is not able to bring children across international borders, so you will need to arrange transportation into your child’s country for a visit to be possible.
Unfortunately, Compassion does not allow sponsored children to be brought to the United States of America for visits. The only way to meet your sponsored child in person is if you travel to her country on a Custom Visit or a Sponsor Trip.
Compassion’s policy is to not inform children of a potential visit until everything is confirmed on both sides and a sponsor has arrived in country, just to minimize the chance of disappointment if plans change. However, it is possible that a child might inadvertently become aware of the visit just through the course of checking with local staff members, parents, etc. to make arrangements for the visit.
Yes, you certainly can. Please contact our Sponsor and Donor Relations' department at [email protected] or call (800) 336-7676 and we will share instructions for bringing a special gift package for your sponsored child.
Yes, they can! The same guidelines apply for your friend or family member to visit your sponsored child. We will make sure your child understands that your friend or family member is visiting on your behalf.
If you will be in the same city as our field office, we can assist you with a visit to one of our child development centers, where you will have the opportunity to meet local staff members and spend time with the children at the center. Please check the Child Development Center Registration tab.
When a child leaves Compassion’s program, contact may become very difficult. If your previously sponsored child left Compassion’s program less than six months ago and you are planning to visit a currently sponsored child in the same country, a visit may be possible, though we cannot make any guarantees. Please contact us at [email protected] so that we may review your specific situation.
Compassion has established guidelines for correspondence to ensure the safety of children and sponsors. All communication must be channeled through our ministry. Please do not respond to or pursue communications through Facebook or other social networking sites. You may contact our Sponsor and Donor Relations department at [email protected] or (800) 336-7676 to notify us if your child or his or her family member attempts to contact you in this way.
Compassion Custom Visit payments are not tax deductible contributions according to IRS guidelines. Traveler payments are directly paying for your visit costs, which is not considered a charitable activity.