Frequently Asked Questions

Some of the things covered in this section are also elsewhere in the site. We are not trying to be redundant, but wish to be thorough in explaining SEAOF in the clearest manner possible. There are always questions best answered person to person; and things, which for the benefit of the children, are not posted on the Internet, but we try to answer most of your questions below. If you have questions not listed here, or need more detailed answers, contact us and we'll try to give you a satisfactory answer.

How did SEAOF begin?

John Heeg - SEAOF_Logo_LargeSoutheast Asian Orphan Foundation was established in 1996 for the purpose of providing help and hope to some of Vietnam's suffering orphans. SEAOF offers programs through which caring people can provide shelter, food, education, medical care, and vocational training for orphans. SEAOF is a Christian, non-profit organization adhering to Biblical principles, operating inside the country of Vietnam with the goal of giving orphans a family environment and a new start in life.

The founder of SEAOF, Mike Roberts, who is a veteran of the Vietnam War, has been working full-time inside the country of Vietnam since 1997, and pioneered the concept of an orphanage program that would permit us to bring hope to these orphans and their families.

In May of 2001, SEAOF launched its first pilot orphanage program in the impoverished Mekong Delta region of Vietnam. Twenty-six children were initially involved in the commencing project, and because of the immediate results it became clear that the program was an effective method in providing assistance to these orphans. The program does not involve an institutional type orphanage, but employs a method in which the next of kin, if possible, will care for the orphaned children within a single-family home, called a “Hope House.” Since family relationships are pivotal in regards to social interaction in the Vietnamese culture, an orphan placed in an institution has a very hard time in society once they leave, so we have established a program that is family styled in structure. Currently, SEAOF has built hundreds of “Hope Houses” and provides for hundreds of children inside the country of Vietnam.

Are all SEAOF children orphans?

John Heeg - VL-BM-H193-C02-Nov, 20-2015aMost of them are orphans. However, many are actually abandoned children, whose parent’s whereabouts are unknown. Some have only one parent who, because of illness or misfortune, cannot support their children; while others, having lost either father or mother, were abandoned by the surviving spouse. SEAOF’s main concern is to first help needy children that are truly orphans who have no parents; however, we do make exceptions on a case-by-case basis. Every family undergoes a thorough investigation by our staff, the local government authorities, and our founder, Mike Roberts, before being accepted into our program for assistance. One thing is for certain, no matter what the case may be; every child inducted into our program is truly destitute, malnourished, in poor health, lacking clothing, basic necessities, a dry place to sleep; and has no hope whatsoever for their future.

What programs are available to help the orphans?
John Heeg - H105-FARME02-2-28-2008SEAOF currently has three different programs, and an additional way, by which Donors or Sponsors can help the orphans. They are as follows:
1. “HOPE HOUSE” CONSTRUCTION DONORS PROGRAM
Once an orphan family has been accepted into our program, a basic house is slated for construction which will be suited for the family. The house has approximately thirty-two square meters of living space (or about 350 square feet), which includes Chinese tile floors, a tin roof, and stucco brick walls. The foundation of every house is built up above the flood-line to prevent flooding when the Mekong River overflows its banks during the monsoon seasons. With rising cost of materials, and based on previous experience with building these structures, we have refined the manner in which we construct these houses. Greater care and increased materials have been added to every foundation of each house, along with other small but significant details in the design of the walls, roof, doors, and windows, will enhance the longevity and also reduce the need for maintenance on every house. These factors also have brought about an increase in the funds required to construct our “Hope Houses,” but in the long-term will actually reduce over-all maintenance costs. Such a house will be constructed by SEAOF for every donor wishing to enroll in the “Hope House” construction program. You may designate a plaque to be placed upon the house with your name, or your organization’s name on it (as noted on the Enrollment Form). Please understand that we cannot always accommodate your requested plaque inscription because of government regulations in Vietnam. After receipt of the completed enrollment form each donor will receive aHouse Information Packet which includes a picture of the house and family along with a short history background about the family living in the house. Please allow 12 to 18 months to receive the House Information Packet. The process of inducting a family, performing all of the required investigations, filing all of the required paperwork with the government agencies, scheduling the construction, time involved in building the house, and then compiling all of the information on the entire family can take quite an amount of time; therefore we ask for your patience concerning this matter. The cost to construct each house is $2,200.00 If you would like to help with, the construction of a “Hope House” please visit our "Programs" page for more details.
2. ORPHAN SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM (OSP)
The Orphan Sponsorship Program, or OSP, is a “one-on-one“ program established for a sponsor to become involved in the life of an orphan child to provide assistance to him or her. You may enroll to sponsor as many children as you wish. Each child will be chosen by SEAOF for every sponsor wishing to enroll in the sponsorship program. After receipt of the completed Enrollment Form each sponsor will receive an Orphan Information Packet which includes a picture and a short history background about the child. Please allow up to 12 weeks to receive the Orphan Information Packet. The cost to sponsor each individual orphan is $25.00 per month. If you would like to enroll in the “Orphan Sponsorship Program“ please visit our "Programs" page for more details.
3. FAMILY SPONSORSHIP PROGRAM (FSP)
The Family Sponsorship Program, or FSP, was established to allow a sponsor to become involved in the lives of an entire orphan family, including the guardian; through this program you will provide assistance to everyone in the family, including the guardian. You may enroll to sponsor as many orphan families as you wish; you have the opportunity to choose the family size, ie. how many orphan children (all of whom in this family will be siblings), along with one guardian (who is nearly always a relative, typically grandparents, an aunt, or uncle). Each family will be chosen by SEAOF for every sponsor wishing to enroll in the family sponsorship program according to your request as designated on the Enrollment Form. After receipt of the completed enrollment form each sponsor will receive a Family Information Packet which includes a picture and a short history background about each child and also the guardian. Please allow more than 12 weeks to receive the Family Information Packet, as this may vary depending on the availability of matching your request to the family size of your choice (typically, the most common orphan family size consist of 2 or 3 children, plus the guardian). The cost to sponsor each family is $25.00 for the guardian and $25.00 for each orphan, per month. If you would like to enroll in the “Family Sponsorship Program” please visit our "Programs" page for more details.
4. ONE TIME CONTRIBUTIONS
Individual contributions are gladly accepted and will be used as designated by the contributor. If you wish to help these children and be a part of this ministry to the orphans of Vietnam, but do not necessarily wish to enroll in any of our programs you may contribute to our General Fund. SEAOF always has urgent needs to be met, and a donation to SEAOF’s General Fund can help us do this. The General Fund makes it possible for us to provide for orphans who currently do not have a sponsor; and also provides special assistance to your child or family, and also to other children in our program who have special medical or educational needs; it is also used to help establish the orphan families in a small business enterprise to make them self-sufficient. Another use for these funds is to finance the tuition required for some of our exceptional orphans who further their education to receive a college degree. Through our General Fund, we are also able to help with the repair and maintenance of the “Hope Houses,” and to provide each family with furniture, house-wares and equipment. We also are able to provide assistance in the event that any emergency situations may arise. If you would like to donate to SEAOF's General Fund please visit our "Programs" page for more details.
How can I enroll in the program?
John Heeg - BR-BA-H017-Briedge monyey1-5-05-10To enroll in any of our programs please visit the "Programs" page for details, or you may send us an email requesting further information if you have any unanswered questions not addressed in our website. If you need a brochure, FAQ pamphlet or an enrollment form please contact our U.S. office. Sponsors enrolling in the “OSP” (Orphan Sponsorship Program) or “FSP” (Family Sponsorship Program) are welcome to begin monthly financial support prior to receiving the information packet; and may send their first month’s contribution along with the Enrollment Form if wishing to do so; such contributions will be used to provide for the orphan in escrow, offsetting our General Fund, until your orphan is assigned for sponsorship.
What exactly does sponsorship entail?

John Heeg - h026-C01--2007-1-2A Sponsor is someone like you who has made the decision to personally invest in the life of a destitute orphan in need, or an entire family of orphans, depending on which program you enroll in. Sponsorship is NOT adoption. As a Sponsor, you enable your sponsored child, or an entire family, to participate in a program that offers life-changing benefits which include:

  • Food and clothing
  • Housewares
  • Education
  • Health care
  • Vocational/Business skills development

As a Sponsor, you are assured that there is a definite connection between you and the specific orphan or family you support. The child you sponsor will know your name (if you wish to disclose it through your personal correspondence with him or her), and we will actively encourage your orphan to correspond with you; also, your orphan will benefit directly from your monthly sponsorship through your letters, and financial support. Sponsorship establishes a significant relationship between individual donors and sponsored orphans; and if you have chosen to enroll in the Family Sponsorship Program (FSP) you will have a relationship with the entire family, including the guardian. Sponsors provide a monthly gift, which is used to provide all of the needed benefits for their sponsored orphans or family. SEAOF has chosen sponsorship as a means for helping destitute orphan children, because we've found that pairing one child or one family with one sponsor is the most effective way to enable everyone to be involved in this ministry...and therefore provide stable, ongoing benefits and services to the orphans.

What are the responsibilities of a sponsor?

John Heeg - H061-KitchenA-2006-07-28As a sponsor we respectfully ask that you faithfully pray for, and support your orphan or family financially. Also, though not essential, it will be to the mutual benefit of you and your orphan if you take the time to correspond with them and perhaps even surprise them with special monetary gifts from time to time as outlined elsewhere in this FAQ section of the site.

How and where do I send donations?
John Heeg - H071-F08-2006-12-13For Donations via Check or Money Order: Please make all checks or money orders payable to “VIETNAM MINISTRIES” and send to: Southeast Asian Orphan Foundation PO Box 135 Liberty, IN 47353 Be sure to designate it for the appropriate program use as outlined on the "Programs" and "Donate" pages of our site. Sponsorship or "Hope House" donations can be sent by check or money order. To make secure donations online via PayPal or Credit Card please visit the "Donate" page. We do not recommend sending cash through the mail. Sponsorship donations can be made monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, semi-annually, or annually, whatever is the most convenient method for you.
What percentage of contributions are for administrative costs?
John Heeg - H061-Kitchen-2006-07-10NONE - 100% of all gifts and donations received from you the sponsor or donor goes directly to the benefit of the orphans. No administrative costs are deducted from any contribution. All of the staff workers involved with SEAOF donate their time and labor on a voluntary basis; they have their own means of income from other employment or support; and therefore no salaries or compensation are received by them from SEAOF; thereby allowing us to use the full amount of every donation to help these destitute children.
Are my gifts tax deductible?

John Heeg - H071-Kids-2006-12-13Yes! Gifts to SEAOF are deductible for U.S. federal income tax reporting purposes; SEAOF falls under the umbrella of a qualified 501(c)(3) charitable organization. As a requirement of the 1993 Revenue Reconciliation Act, we verify that no goods or services of tangible value are given to you for your contribution; and this is stated on all Contribution Receipts given to every sponsor or donor for the fiscal year. Consult your tax adviser for information about your specific situation.

What kind of documentation will I receive regarding donations?

John Heeg - H079-Letter-03-07-2008At this time we are not equipped to provide sponsors with reminders for donations. It is the responsibility of every sponsor to faithfully send your monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly, bi-annual, or annual financial support to SEAOF for your Orphan or Family. However, we will issue a year-end contribution tax receipt for IRS purposes to each sponsor or donor. If you are not currently sponsoring an orphan or family with SEAOF, and have either donated funds for a Hope House, or you have made one-time donations, we will issue you a year-end contribution tax receipt for IRS purposes.

How can SEAOF provide so much for so little?

John Heeg - H061-KitchenA-2006-07-28SEAOF looks for ways to keep costs down without sacrificing the care and quality each child receives.

We train Vietnamese nationals to work in our project because we realize they are best equipped to understand and meet the needs of the orphans and families. They help us carry out program activities, such as the purchasing and procurement of all the physical necessities used in our program because they are able to purchase these items at a substantial discount.

What if I can’t continue to support my orphan?

John Heeg - VL-BM-H158-C02-Set.27-13aWhile we hope that you will be able to continue in your support of your sponsored orphan or family until they become independent of our program, we recognize that sponsors’ financial circumstances sometimes change. You may discontinue your sponsorship at any time. If for any reason you must discontinue your support, please contact us immediately so we can find a replacement sponsor for the child or family in order to maintain their welfare with as little interruption as possible.

Am I my orphan or family’s only sponsor?

John Heeg - VL-BM-H169-kid's love-Jan.15-14Yes, if you sponsor an orphan or family through our Sponsorship Programs, your child or family will have only one sponsor - you! That's why your prayers, letters and support mean so much to your sponsored orphans. Even if you choose to sponsor an orphan, or an entire family, as a group, or your own family, the orphan or family you help will still be relating to your group or family as his or her only sponsor. No other group or individual will also sponsor the orphan or family you help.

What specific benefits does the orphan I sponsor receive?

John Heeg - VL-LH-H119-Bridge monkey1-9-29-10The orphan or family you sponsor through SEAOF will receive opportunities and services that most of Vietnam's poorest children will simply never see. These opportunities and services include the following:

  • The opportunity to receive an education: In most cases, this means providing the cost of school fees, books, school uniforms and supplies. In other cases, it means providing vocational training for the older children who did not have the opportunity to attend elementary classroom schooling. And if the child shows exemplary aptitude in their studies and wishes to attend a college or university they will have the opportunity to further their education beyond their high school studies.
  • The opportunity to be healthy: The health of the orphan you sponsor will be monitored, and care will be provided as needed. All of the basic foods, such as rice, meats, canned goods, and vegetables along with clean drinking water are provided for all the orphans. Children are taught about hygiene and how to maintain personal health. Also, all of the orphan children are supplied with durable clothing ranging from shirts, pants, shoes, socks, skirts, and school uniforms to undergarments. They also receive necessities such as bedding, dishes, eating utensils, cleaning supplies, home furnishings and building supplies.
  • The opportunity to develop social skills and self-sufficiency: The orphan you support will be trained and established in some type of small business such as raising live-stock, operating small road-side shops, restaurants, cafes, or the production and manufacturing of small essential goods which the Vietnamese purchase. Some may receive vocational or trade school training to specialize in certain careers, while others may go on to achieve degrees in higher education and obtain careers as college graduates.
 
As a sponsor what will I receive throughout the year?

John Heeg - VL-LH-H137-C02-gift bike from kid's at Ch.-Dec,10-2015All sponsors enrolled in any of our sponsorship programs will receive:

  • The option of correspondence from your orphan each year.
  • The opportunity to receive a progress report with a new updated photo of your orphan or family upon request (please contact our U.S. office asking for an update report of your orphan). Please understand that it can take quite some time to get the updated information and photo processed and sent to the sponsor. However, as stated elsewhere in this FAQ section, the best way to keep up to date on your orphan’s progress and to receive current photos of them is via correspondence.
  • Our bi-annual newsletter, SEAOF News, which keeps you informed of the progress SEAOF is making in the lives of our orphan children through the support of sponsors like you.
  • If events warrant, a communication to keep you informed about exactly what's happening with your orphan or family.
  • The opportunity to send Birthday, Christmas, and Easter greetings to your orphan on these and other special occasions.
How will I learn about my orphan’s progress?

John Heeg - H081-C01CLetter-3-08-2008As stated elsewhere in our FAQ section, we will update you on any significant progress or changes about your orphan or family if events warrant a communication. Such a report may include details about the child's health, living circumstances, and educational progress. Also, you may request a progress report with a new updated photo of your orphan or family (please contact our U.S. office asking for an update report of your orphan). However, please understand that it can take quite some time to get the updated information and photo processed and sent to the sponsor. The best way to keep up to date on your orphan’s progress and to receive current photos of them is via correspondence. Your own personal correspondence with the orphan will give you an idea of your child’s condition, interests, school-work, and ambitions.

What if I have specific questions about my orphan?

John Heeg - H085-F01A-07-04-2007The only information kept on file at the U.S. office is what is enclosed in the original Sponsorship Information Packet, which is initially received by the sponsor at the beginning of the sponsorship. Therefore, please contact our U.S. office with your specific questions, and we will attempt to answer them or any other concerns you may have specifically about your child and their family. Please understand that this information must come from our staff workers in Vietnam, which may take some time to receive a reply. As stated elsewhere in our FAQ section, the best way to have specific questions answered about your orphan is through correspondence with them.

If it has been more than six months and you have not received an updated photograph after requesting one, or if you have not received a reply concerning a specific question or concern about your orphan or family, please contact us at our U.S. office. We will be glad to assist you in any way possible.

How long should my sponsorship continue?

John Heeg - H090-C01bGift-3-21-2008There is no set age limit for orphans in our sponsorship program, and the length of sponsorship will be different for each child. That's because sponsorship is affected by many factors: the child's age when sponsorship begins, the circumstances of the orphan and his or her family, the skills and abilities of each orphan, and more. An orphan may be in his or her late teens or even their late twenties but still needs to continue attending school, learning a trade, or being trained to become proficient in a small business or trade. As long as a sponsored orphan is in our project and needs help, he or she continues receiving assistance. SEAOF sponsorship offers you the opportunity to stay with an orphan for a number of years, usually until the child has become self sufficient and does not need to depend on the support provided by our program.

Orphans usually remain in our care until they have completed their education, become indigenous, and graduate from SEAOF's program. Often they have received vocational training or have become established in a small business or trade by this time; we make sure each orphan and their family, including the guardian, has become self-supporting before the entire family is graduated from the program and become independent. When an orphan’s circumstance changes so that assistance is no longer required or needed, and he or she graduates from our program, we will inform you as quickly as possible to such circumstances that affects the orphan or family you sponsor. We will notify you when your sponsored orphan is able to work and earn a living, or when the family no longer needs help. The decision concerning this situation rests with the project workers and founder, Mike Roberts, who are in a position to know what is best for each child and the family. When such a decision is reached to make them independent, the sponsor is sent an explanation of why the orphan or family is graduating from our program.

We realize that it can be disappointing and difficult to say “goodbye” to a sponsored orphan or family - especially one you have become close to. Yet one of the most satisfying experiences of being a sponsor is watching your orphan and his or her family become self-sufficient and independent, leaving sponsorship behind. At that time you will have the opportunity to assist another orphan child or family who needs your help.

May I send monetary gifts to my orphan?

John Heeg - H106-Fishpond-10-10-2007Yes. Sponsors may give additional monetary gifts to their sponsored orphan or family for special occasions, such as birthdays, Christmas, and Easter, or simply as an act of love. These gifts are another effective way for you to reinforce your care and commitment to your child or family.

The entire amount will be forwarded for the orphan, along with your instructions for its use, with no deductions for handling. As a guideline, we ask that sponsors keep these contributions between $10 and $25 for each child and limit their gift giving to three times a year.

We encourage our sponsors to send all money gifts as far in advance as possible, preferably at least two months ahead of the time you wish the orphan to receive the gift. Processing and forwarding funds are time-consuming, and mail tends to get slow as holidays approach.

Special money gifts should be sent to our U.S. office. Please be sure to note the following information with your gift:

  • Your sponsored orphan’s Full Name
  • Your sponsored orphan’s Orphan Number
  • Your Complete Return Address

The Orphan’s Name and “Orphan No.” are printed on your child’s information page of the “Orphan Sponsorship Information Packet.”

If you have any additional questions or need further explanation regarding these special money gifts, please contact our U.S. office.

Can I send packages to my orphan?

John Heeg - VL-MT-H189-table and chair for house-Fer, 10-2015We understand your desire to send packages to your sponsored child or family. However, SEAOF has a policy not to accept packages for the following reasons:

  • Complexity of Vietnam’s postal regulations
  • High duty charges for incoming goods to Vietnam
  • Slow delivery
  • Possibility of loss, theft, or damage
  • Possibility of tension created in the community by one family or family member receiving numerous or expensive gifts

Please understand that we currently cannot conduct shipments of packages of any size to the country of Vietnam. It will be beneficial for all involved to make monetary contributions instead. We hope you understand that it can be very time consuming and expensive when attempting to import items of any size or value through customs in Vietnam. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation concerning this matter.

What other way can I provide for my orphan?
John Heeg - VL-MT-H189-kid and him-July-30-2014As you can imagine, there are always urgent needs to be met, and a donation to SEAOF’s General Fund can help us do this. The General Fund makes it possible for us to provide for orphans who currently do not have a sponsor; and also provides special assistance to your child or family, and also to other children in our program who have special medical or educational needs; it is also used to help establish the orphan families in a small business enterprise to make them self-sufficient. Another use for these funds is to finance the tuition required for some of our exceptional orphans who further their education to receive a college degree. Through our General Fund, we are also able to help with the repair and maintenance of the “Hope Houses,” furniture, house-wares and equipment. We also are able to provide assistance in the event that any emergency situations may arise. If you wish to make a contribution to SEAOF’s General Fund please visit our "Programs" page for more details. When corresponding with your orphan, or family, there may be mention of certain events which arise in their lives concerning further education, the establishment of a small business opportunity, their graduating from SEAOF's program, etc. Many sponsors have expressed their desire to be involved with financing such opportunities for their particular orphan or family and wish to donate funds to help out. Please send us an email with details of how you would like to be involved to meet a particular need and we will respond on how to proceed.
How do I correspond with my orphan?

John Heeg - VL-LH-H202-to survey new family-Aug,8-2015Every Sponsor may periodically write to their orphan if they wish, but is not under any obligation to do so by enrolling in the program. Correspondence with your orphan will be a great encouragement; for many it will be the first time in their life that they realize someone else cares for them. However, please understand that we are not a “Pen-Pal” organization and do not have the resources to conduct such types of correspondence.

Each time you write, please include the following items at the top of your letter:

  • Your sponsored orphan's Full Name
  • Your sponsored orphan's Orphan Number
  • Your Complete Return Address

The Orphan’s Name and Orphan Number are printed on your child’s information page of theOrphan Sponsorship Information Packet. It is not possible for us to release the orphan's mailing address to the sponsor because of security issues; and this also protects your address from falling into the hands of undesirable solicitors.

All correspondence must be routed as noted below through our U.S. office at the following address:

Southeast Asian Orphan Foundation
PO Box 135
Liberty, IN 47353
Attn: “Orphan Correspondence”

How often may I write my orphan?

Because of the translation process we ask that you please limit correspondence to one short letter every four to six months.

What tips can you give on correspondence?

John Heeg - VL-LH-H149-C04-June 26-13It is permissible to send your sponsored orphan a personal or family photograph and a short letter of introduction. SEAOF’s field staff will translate your letter and will deliver both your letter and the translation to the child to keep. Your child will be delighted to learn as much about you as you wish to share. Sponsored orphan children typically keep their sponsors' photos and letters in their homes as treasured possessions.

When you write, your sponsored orphan will benefit from knowing that someone in addition to his or her family really cares about them. Your words of encouragement will make a big difference to your child.

Each time you write, please include the following items at the top of your letter:

  • Your sponsored orphan's Full Name
  • Your sponsored orphan's Orphan Number
  • Your Complete Return Address

The Orphan’s Name and Orphan Number are printed on your child’s information page of theOrphan Sponsorship Information Packet. It is not possible for us to release the orphan's mailing address to the sponsor because of security issues; and this also protects your address from falling into the hands of undesirable solicitors.

All correspondence must be routed as noted below through our U.S. office at the following address:

Southeast Asian Orphan Foundation
PO Box 135
Liberty, IN 47353
Attn: “Orphan Correspondence”

Some things to remember when writing your orphan:

  • A little research will help you find relevant topics to write about. You can find things to correspond about by reading the “History/Background” information included in your child's “Orphan Sponsorship Information Packet.” In addition, you can learn more about the country of Vietnam; its people, traditions, geography, and history, through encyclopedias, travel books, and the Internet.
  • Language will not be a barrier if kept simple. Even if you don't know a word of Vietnamese, SEAOF's staff will translate your letters. However, the translator may not understand slang expressions - so please write carefully to avoid confusion. Also, keep the child's age in mind. For youngsters, it's best to keep the sentences short and the vocabulary simple.
  • Tell the child about you. Each letter is an educational experience for the orphan. If you wish, you may add to your letters a photograph or family picture (as long as they are flat and will fit in an envelope no larger than 6x9 inches) which can be included with your correspondence. Photographs of the sponsor are especially treasured and often find a place of honor in the child's home.
  • Ask about the child. Get to know your sponsored orphan better by inquiring about his or her family, friends and relatives, or their schooling. What does he or she do on a typical day? When you ask questions, make sure to phrase them so they require an answer of more than one word. Also, maintain a balance between your news and your questions for the child.
  • Don't forget to be encouraging in your letters. Comment on any progress you see in your sponsored orphan's letter writing or schoolwork, or praise a talent or skill that the child exhibits. Be generous - it is alright to mention positive things about your sponsored orphan, in doing so it will be a daily reminder that someone cares. By exchanging correspondence with your sponsored orphan, you build a person-to-person relationship that can be valuable to each of you.
Will my orphan write to me?

John Heeg - VL-TO-H144-C02-witting letter thank-Nov,18-2015.bYes they will, however, the first letter must be written by the sponsor, as some sponsors prefer not to carry on correspondence. Although we do not stipulate that orphans inducted into our program must correspond with their sponsor, we actively encourage your orphan to correspond with you; however, we cannot guarantee he or she will reply in a timely manner. Many orphans must receive assistance when writing to their sponsor, which usually comes from our project workers and staff members who supervise (along with all of their other responsibilities) the children when writing to their sponsors. The children's letters are then sent to be translated at the field office in Vietnam. Due to the translation process and limited staff that can perform the translating tasks of all the correspondence, it may take some time to receive a reply from your orphan. Mail service to and from Vietnam is extremely slow, so please allow about 12 weeks for a complete exchange of letters.

Why haven't I received a letter from my orphan?

John Heeg - VL-TO-H162-C01-Oct,4-13bLetters sent to you from your orphan take a little longer. Children who are very young or slow in developing writing skills will need more help writing letters. If your sponsored child is too young to write, a project worker, sibling, guardian or relative will attempt to help the child compose the letter if their circumstances permit. Letter writing is developmental for children, and for some of our orphans that have not had the opportunity to receive an education, or have never been acquainted with the concept of corresponding through letter writing; their ability to put thoughts and feelings into words may be very difficult. So please be patient when waiting for a response from your child. We will attempt to do everything possible to encourage your orphan to reply to your letters, however, if the child just does not develop the literary and comprehensive skills needed to correspond we will inform you of these circumstances.

We hope this will help you understand why communication between you and your sponsored orphan may require some patience. If you do not receive a reply from your child within approximately five months after you have written, please let us know. We will then investigate the matter for you.

Can I email my orphan?

We are not equipped at this time to handle e-mail correspondence. This may be an enhancement to our system in the future. For now, all correspondence should be sent by mail to the address of our U.S. office.

Can I visit my orphan?

John Heeg - VL-TO-kid to office witting letter -Nov,18-2015hYes. Visits are welcome. The orphan children, their families, and their relatives love to meet sponsors. Nothing is better than meeting the child you are sponsoring face to face, to see how your child lives, and witness firsthand what your contributions help provide. We want your visit to your sponsored orphan to be a joyful experience! When you visit your child, the family, and the community, you will see firsthand how your generosity through prayer and financial support are working.

However, visiting the country of Vietnam is not always a simple matter. Because of security reasons and the safety of all involved in this ministry we must take certain precautions concerning sponsor visits. So be sure to contact our U.S. office at least four months in advance. We will try in every way to accommodate your request as far as the time frame of your visit, but cannot guarantee the exact date you requested can be fulfilled. Please contact us by email or postal mail with your request to visit. After we receive your detailed written request, we will forward the appropriate material to you via email or postal mail. Enclosed will be information about “Planning a Visit to Your Sponsored Orphan,” which provides answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding sponsor visits. Once the necessary scheduling requests are made, we will send you a written reply with the exact dates regarding the plans for your visit, provided there are no complications.

Meeting your sponsored orphan or family face-to-face can be an exciting and life-changing event for both of you. SEAOF staff in the field and at home will do their best to arrange your visit and help prepare you for your trip. We can tell you that it will be a very rewarding experience.

Can I bring my orphan to the U.S. for a visit?

John Heeg - VL-VU-H116-Old House3-06-06-08Unfortunately this cannot be arranged. We appreciate your interest in having your sponsored child visit the United States. There are several reasons why SEAOF does not permit visits of sponsored orphan children to the United States:

  • It is nearly impossible to obtain visas or travel permits from the government of Vietnam for the children in our program.
  • The safety and well-being of the child.
  • The uneasiness that language barriers can create.
  • The culture shock experienced by the child.
  • The child's readjustment back to his or her own lifestyle can be difficult.

We believe it is in the child's best interest to remain in a family environment, within their own surroundings and culture inside the country of Vietnam, in order to give them the stability they need.

Is SEAOF involved in foreign adoptions?

John Heeg - VL-VU-H172-F01-Feb,5-2016aNo, we are not an adoption agency. SEAOF provides assistance to destitute children inside Vietnam only, and does not include arrangements for adoptions. The government agencies inside Vietnam will not allow any of the orphan children enrolled in our program to be available for foreign adoptions.

There are, however, many agencies which perform this service for other Vietnamese orphan children inside the country. They will be able to explain the qualifications, procedures, waiting periods, costs, and other aspects of the adoption process. We do not recommend any agency in particular, and you can find some of these organizations listed on the Internet.