Letters should be humble and positive. Be careful of discussing great personal burdens or painting a picture of abundance.
Consider your child’s environment. Be sensitive not to mention your material possessions or elaborate vacations/experiences. This could make the child feel uncomfortable or deprived.
A simple one page letter is ideal. Attempt to use relatively simple sentences that can be translated easily or understood by the child studying English. Avoid clichés or American slang that may not be understood by a person living in a different culture.
Write about yourself, your family, your interests or hobbies. Write about children you know.
Encourage the children in their school work, hobbies, and endeavors.
Avoid conversations about the children dating.
Be sensitive to the fact that a child may be orphaned so questions about family should be approached with caution. Also, some of the children may not know their birth place or birthday.
Find out about their culture, customs, and climate.
Share your favorite scripture and discuss faith but be sensitive to differences in religious customs.
Be careful using words such as love as this may be confusing to the child. Express your care and concern for the child but be clear to identify yourself as their friend.
Tell the child you are praying for them and any prayer requests they share with you.
Do not make any promises to return to see them or future commitments in case you are unable to meet the commitment.
Be cautious that you are not presenting a perception that you will be adopting the child or bringing them to the United States.
Make your letters colorful and decorate them with stickers or stamps, if desired.
Include appropriate pictures of yourself and your family. Be sensitive to differences in apparel or material possessions.
Refrain from using phrases such as “They [Healing Haiti or a specific person] won’t let me send gifts, visit, etc…” In the event that the policies need to be addressed with the child be sensitive to support the policies. Use language such as, “the policy is to protect the children of Grace Village by focusing on relationship building. I respect the people of Healing Haiti for watching out for the children.”
Understand which holidays are celebrated in America but are not celebrated in Haiti or have different meaning. Learn about the Haitian holidays and customs and recognize them in your letters.
Be careful of giving advice/solutions on living experiences as cultural differences in priorities or pacing of life exist. Please consider the Haitian culture in your letter writing.
Build a relationship based on the biblical principles of encouraging others and loving one another in the Holy Spirit.
"Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them,
for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these."
— Mark 10:14