Oscar Mario: An Update

Two years ago, our family sponsored a child in Costa Rica named Oscar Mario. He was the chosen one for very specific reasons – at the time, our family was a bit light in the boy department so we thought a male would even things out nicely. My eldest son was obsessed with Super Mario, so when we saw a child who had the name Mario, it was clearly a good fit.

The kiddos feel very connected with Oscar Mario – they send him letters and art work, and anxiously await his response. When they are all behaving like spoiled brats, I remind them of Oscar Mario and his life, and they humbly retreat back into humans I am proud to have birthed.

Last year for Oscar Mario’s birthday, our family sent off a package with stickers, cards and Mabel’s Labels. Some months later, it was returned unopened. I did what every good mother does – hid it from the kids and forged a letter of thanks from Oscar Mario.

I had been meaning to reach out to the agency to investigate the returned package. But our monthly donation continued to be withdrawn so I assumed everything was fine. Of course, following up on the package ended up at the bottom of my “to-do” list – tied in last place with about 20 other items.

Last month I got a letter saying we have a new sponsored child because Oscar Mario cannot be located. Not be located?! I started flipping out wondering how he just fell off the radar. Upon investigation, it seems that families commonly relocate without notifying the agency. So my next question was about where my money was ending up if my kid had gone MIA. I was told it went to his community. I do remember signing on and reading something briefly about how the money is distributed locally – I think the sponsored kid thing is more of a sales tactic.

It’s a sales tactic that worked very well on us. I’m pretty sad about losing Oscar Mario. For two years, we’ve been looking at his adorable picture on our fridge. He’s been my “go-to guy” when the kiddos need to be reminded about how privileged they are.

I have actually been putting off telling the kids about our now long lost friend. I’m torn between the truth (that he’s gone!) and telling them that his family won the lottery and Oscar Mario is busy managing his house staff in between private school tutorials and cello lessons. Suggestions welcomed.

Picture of Julie Cole

Author: Julie Cole

Julie Cole is the co-founding vice-president of award-winning children's label manufacturer Mabel’s Labels. She has helped her company bring their product to a worldwide market, gain media recognition and win countless entrepreneur awards. Cole is a regular television contributor, an influential and syndicated blogger and a mother of six. Follow her on twitter @juliecole and Instagram @cole.julie

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