In English is there a synonym for "godchild" (or the gender-specific versions) without a religious connotation but without necessarily having other specific connotations?
All the words I'm coming up with mean (or at least imply) that the child is living with me, or that I'm acting in loco parentis in some way. I don't want that.
- "orphan", "foster child", "adopted child": these all mean that the child has lost his or her natural parents and is living with a different family or in an orphanage.
- "protégé": this is closer, but to me it still implies that the child lives with the mentor rather than the parents.
What I am looking for is something that describes a similar relationship to "godchild" (i.e. I care about the child's well-being, but he lives with his parents, not with me) without actually having the religious connotation or implying anything about the child.
(As some commenters mention, "godchild" is sometimes used outside of a religious context these days, but it still carries that connotation; it can't really be separated from its origin.)